Biography

Fred Artis brings local history to life.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 June 1992.

On 9 October 1912, Fred Artis, 23, married Mattie Lewis, 18, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Alonzo Phillips, Samuel Mercer and Tobe Beland.

In the 1920 census of Fountain township, Pitt County: Fred Artis, 33; wife Mattie, 23; and children Christine, 5, and Fred, 4.

Mattie Artis died 2 December 1927 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 32 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Frank Lewis and Clarrisa Joyner; married to Fred Artis; and resided at 1013 Stantonsburg Street.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 101 Reid Street, school janitor Fred Artist, 56, widower; children Christine, 16, Fred, 14, and Mildred, 11; and lodger Luddie Brown, 22, private cook.

Fred Artis [Sr.] died 12 May 1936 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 38 years old; was born in Wilson County to Edward Artis and Addie Artis; was married to Annie Artis; lived at 101 Reid Street. Fred Artis Jr. was informant.

In 1940, Fred Artis Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 17 March 1916 in Wilson; resided at 101 North Reid Street; his contact was mother Annie Artis; and he was unemployed.

Betty Ann Artis died 4 December 1960 in Wilson at her home at 501-A Hadley Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 September 1925 in Wilson County to Ben Guest and Fannie Harris; and was married to Fred Artis.

Nona Braswell Artis died 17 September 1996.

Fred Artis Jr. died 18 September 2000 in Wilson.

Wiley Ricks is still barbering.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 October 1980.

Wiley Ricks and young customer.

——

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Millie Ricks, 40, widow, with sons William, 12, and Wiley, 1.

In the 1910 census

On 27 July 1918, Wiley Ricks, 21, of Toisnot, married Fannie Fort, 21, of Toisnot, in Elm City. Presbyterian minister A.E. Sephas performed the ceremony in the presence of John Gaston, Samuel T. Ford and T.H. Nicholson.

Fannie Ford Ricks died 9 March 1924 in Elm City, Toisnot township. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 January 1899 in Wilson County to Sam Ford of Halifax County and Mattie Williams of Wilson County and was married to Wiley Ricks.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Wiley Ricks, 30, barber; wife Carrie, 29; and children Miriam, 2, and Maggie, 9 months.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Branch Street, barber Wiley Ricks, 41; wife Cary P., 39; and children Miriam, 12, Maggie R., 10, Lois, 8, and Malinda, 1.

Wylie Ricks died 28 March 1985 in Hollister, Halifax County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 December 1898 in Wilson County to Wiley Sharpe and Millie Sharpe; was a barber; resided in Elm City; and was married to Carrie Parker Ricks.

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A 1947 photo taken outside Wiley Ricks’ barbershop. Courtesy of Thomas Griffin via Wilson Daily Times, 15 January 2002.

Haircut photo courtesy of article re Ricks in History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).

Roscoe Harvey gets along with everybody.

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Wilson Daily Times, 8 August 1994.

  • Roscoe Lee Harvey — in the 1910 census of Lumberton, Roberson County: Lonnie L. Harvey, 31, wife Rosa L., 24, and son Rosco, 5.

In the 1920 census of Lumberton, Roberson County: Rosa Harvey, 32, cook, and son Roscoe, 14.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harvey Love barber 114 E Barnes h 410 E Walnut; (also) Harvey Roscoe L barber Love Harvey 114 E Barnes h 410 E Walnut

In the 1926 Polk’s Tampa, Florida, city directory: Harvey Roscoe L barber Lee Davis r 301 Hillsborough

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harvey Roscoe barber r 1112 Carolina

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harvey Love L (c; Mollie) r 507 Banks; (also) Harvey Roscoe (c) barber r 507 Banks

On 27 June 1930, Roscoe Lee Harvey, 24, son of Lony Harvey of Wilson and Rosa L. Clark of Florida, married Helen McMillan, 20, daughter of Morris and Victoria McMillan, in Wilson. Rev. G.J. Branch of the United Holy Church of America performed the ceremony in the presence of Anderson Holden, Levi Godwin and Haywood Townsend.

In 1940, Roscoe Lee Harvey registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he resided at 724 East Green, Wilson; was born 5 July 1905 in Lumberton, N.C.; his contact was wife Helen McMillan Harvey; and was self-employed at 114 East Barnes.

On 7 July 1947, Roscoe Lee Harvey, 42, son of Lonnie Lovelace Harvey and Rosa Lee Harvey, married Rowena Stephenson, 26, daughter of Deans and Hattie Stephenson, in Wilson.

Roscoe Lee Harvey Sr. died 17 August 2003 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  • Carolina Stompers
  • Cherry Apartments — in the mid-1980s, Wilson Housing Authority renovated the former Hotel Cherry to create 108 apartments for senior citizens. See Wilson Daily Times, 20 October 1994, page 3.
  • Fred Artis — “Fred Artis Jr., son of the late Fred and Mattie Artis, was born March 17, 1916. He and his sister, Christine Currie, who preceded him in death, lived all of their lives in Wilson, NC. Fred departed this life on Monday, September 18, 2000.” Wilson Daily Times, 21 September 2000.

Fred Artis Jr.

  • Louis Perrington — Louis Alexander Manuel Perrington. “March 14, 1914 Dec. 5, 2001 Louis Alexander Perrington, 87, of 702 Elvie St., died Wednesday at his residence. The funeral will be conducted by the Rev. William L. Neill at 2 p.m. on Sunday at St. John AME Zion Church, 119 N. Pender St. Burial will follow at Rest Haven Cemetery. Perrington was a member of St. John AME Zion Church and Mount Hebron Masonic Lodge No. 42. He was retired from the Cherry Hotel. He is survived by his wife, Pearlean Barnes Perrington; one daughter, Jean Perrington-Ballard of Raleigh; one sister, Wilhelmenia Smith of Portsmouth, Va.; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.” Wilson Daily Times, 8 December 2001.

A resolution in honor of John W. Jones.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2005

RATIFIED BILL  

RESOLUTION 2005-47

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 197 

A JOINT RESOLUTION HONORING THE LIFE AND MEMORY OF JOHN WESLEY JONES, FORMER EDUCATOR AND INFLUENTIAL LEADER.

Whereas, John Wesley Jones grew up in the City of Wilson; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones graduated from Charles H. Darden High School in 1941 at the age of 15; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones spent a year helping to construct a new addition to Charles H. Darden High School before attending North Carolina A & T State University; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones’s college education was interrupted by World War II when he was drafted into the United States Navy; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones returned to North Carolina A & T State University after serving in the United States Navy, earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1948 and later receiving a masters degree in mathematics; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones was a schoolteacher in Greene and Wilson Counties from 1948 to 1968 and served as an assistant principal and principal in the Wilson County public schools from 1968 to 1988; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones served the education community proudly as a member of State and national organizations, including the North Carolina Teachers Association, Inc., the North Carolina Association of Educators, Inc., and the National Education Association; and

Whereas, after his retirement as a principal, John Wesley Jones continued to be an advocate for education by becoming a member of the Wilson County Board of Education, serving as a member from 1988 to 2004 and as the Chair for one term; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones rendered distinguished service to his community by helping to establish the Charles H. Darden High School Alumni Association, Inc., in 1971, a national, nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to promote the educational, cultural, and social level of the community; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones’s success in establishing the Alumni Association has allowed former students of Charles H. Darden High School, who now live in other parts of the country, to communicate and stay in touch with each other, resulting in an annual reunion held in the City of Wilson and reunions held in other states; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones served as the Alumni Association’s first president and later as executive secretary to the board of directors; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones’s vision to build a community center came true in 1991 when the Charles H. Darden Alumni Center opened, providing a location for a tutorial program and community activities; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones was a member of the National North Carolina A & T State University Alumni Scholarship Committee, which provided four-year scholarships to deserving high school graduates and helped students achieve their dreams of attending college; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones was active in the American Legion Post #17, NAACP, Men’s Civic Club, served as treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Hattie Daniels Day Care Center, and was a charter member and past president of the Beta Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones was a devoted member of the Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, serving on the Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, and as Chair of the Construction Committee for the Education Building; and

Whereas, John Wesley Jones died on April 3, 2004; Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

SECTION 1.  The General Assembly honors the life and memory of John Wesley Jones for the service he rendered to his community, State, and nation.

SECTION 2.  The General Assembly extends its deepest sympathy to the family of John Wesley Jones for the loss of a beloved family member.

SECTION 3.  The Secretary of State shall transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the family of John Wesley Jones.

SECTION 4.  This resolution is effective upon ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 9th day of August, 2005.

From The Trojan (1964), the yearbook of Charles H. Darden High School.

Like a blazing meteor.

Another encomium for Rev. J.H. Mattocks, A.M.E. Zion minister, this time in W.H. Quick’s Negro Stars in all Ages of the World (1898):

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“… At the ensuing Conference he was appointed to the church at Wilson, N.C., where for one year he was kept on the go. Like a blazing meteor he flashed here and there in interest of his beloved Zion; but like a fixed star of the first magnitude his light was unfading. Wilson has never before nor since been so mightily stirred. …”

[The church was Saint John A.M.E. Zion, which yesterday celebrated its 150th anniversary.]

 

From cathouse to White House.

Chef Jesse David Pender published his memoirs in 2007 at the age of 92. Pender’s life has been singularly interesting in many ways, but I am most drawn to the book’s first 75 pages, in which he offers a richly detailed account of life in Wilson and Wilson County in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Below, I highlight the people and places he mentions from that era.

  • mother and father — On 11 January 1899, Joe Pender, 21, son of Ed and Caroline Pender, married Ella Hinnant, 19, daughter of Eliza Barnes, at Dred Barnes’ house in Black Creek.  In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Joseph Pender, 21, wife Ella, 22, and daughter Mamie, 8 months. In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Plank Road, Joe Pender, 28, wife Ella, 20, and children Mamie 11, Dred, 5, and Ernest, 1. In the 1920 census of Goldsboro township, Wayne County: farmer Joseph Pender, 49; wife Ella L., 42; and children Edward D., 14, Maggie, 9, Ernest, 12, Alonzi, 7, Jesse, 4, Georgiana, 3, and Josephine, 1. Ella Hinnant Faulkland died 8 October 1967 at her home at 718 Viola Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 April 1886 in Wilson County to Deed Barnes and Luzannie Hinnant. Informant was Georgia Harris.
  • “my brother Elonzie” [also spelled Alonzie and Alonzo] — Alonzo Pender.
  • “my sister Maggie” — Maggie Pender Brooks Blocker (1910-2000).
  • “my niece Abby”
  • “my baby sister Josephine,” — Josephine Pender Thompson Williams, the youngest of Jesse Pender’s 13 siblings, died in Wilson in 2014, aged 96. This photo accompanies her obituary.

  • “my sister Georgia” — Georgia Anna Pender Jenkins Harris (1917-1990).
  • “We lived on a plantation owned by Mr. Frank Hooks which was way out from a little town called Fremont, North Carolina.”
  • “my father’s brother, Uncle Tiko” and his children “HB, Sug, Buddy, Pete and Bessie Mae”
  • moved to Black Creek to “Mr. Johnson Daniels’s farm” from 1923-1926, then to Dudley [in southern Wayne County] from 1927-1928
  • in 1929 “moved back to Wilson County between Wilson and Willsbanks [sic; Wilbanks] on Mr. Dick Cozart’s farm”
  • “my older brother Dred” — Edgar Dred Pender.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 May 1929.

  • a couple named Clyde and Eva; Eva’s brother John — Eva Strickland Roberson died 27 February 1929.

  • family moved into Wilson in 1930, and father took a job in a tobacco factory
  • Zeb Whitley’s grocery and fish market on Nash Street — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Whitley Zebediah (c; Mazie) pdlr [peddler] h 202 Manchester. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 702 East Nash, rented for $8/month, Zeb Whitley, 37, wood yard proprietor, and wife Mazie, 38.
  • “Blacks didn’t live on the west side of town. If you were up there, you were working there. We had everything we needed on the east side of town — theater, drugstores, grocery stores and everything else you could think of.”
  • mother went to work cooking and cleaning for Duncan Savage, who owned a outdoor advertising agency
  • “cousin James Robins” who lived in Elm City with his wife Flory and her son Frank, whom he adopted — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City-Wilson Road, James Robbins, 26, wife Flora L., 23, and son Frank, 12.
  • stayed with grandparents Dred and Louzanna near Black Creek just before grandfather died in September 1931 — Dred Barnes, 33, of Black Creek township, son of Nelson Barnes, married Luzana Hinnant, 30, of Black Creek township, daughter of Hardy Hinnant, at her home on 14 March 1893.  In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dred Barnes, 42; wife Lou J., 37; son Johnnie, 4; and boarder Alex Johnson, 29. In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dred Barnes, 54, and wife Louzanie, 48. In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dred Barnes, 69, and wife Louiza, 67. Dred Barnes died 29 September 1930 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 70 years old; was born in Wilson County to Nelson Barnes and Annie Daniel; was a farmer; and was married to Luzina Barnes.
  • grandparents’ neighbors James Caper and John Barnes — near Dred and Louzania Barnes in the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer James Caple, 36, wife Mary, 37, and children Willie, 16, and Augusta, 12.
  • C.E. Artis Funeral Home
  • mother’s sister Aunt Maggie and her son John, who lived in Kenly — Supercentenarian Maggie Hinnant Barnes (1882-1998) was the daughter of Louzanie Hinnant.
  • cousins Buddy and Nell — children of Maggie and Orangie Barnes.
  • Flory Robins’ brother, who lived at 411 East Jones Street
  • friend Jimmy D. Barns
  • hired out on the farm of the Batts family near Elm City (Mr. Batts, wife Lula and sons Douglas and J.D.) — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City-Wilson Road [next door to the James Robbins family, above], farmer Leroy Batts, 26; wife Lula, 23; son Armour, 9 months; uncle Stephen B. Strickland, 61; and boarder James E. Pender, 22, farm laborer. [Is this, in fact, Jesse Pender?]
  • Clyde Batts, the tailor in Wilson — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory:

  • siblings Margaret and George Pipos, cafe owners — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pappas Geo (Elite Cafe) h 404 E Nash and Pappas Margaret waitress Elite Cafe h 404 E Nash.
  • cooks James and “Jelly Butt”
  • the Dixie Inn, a “seafood and barbecue place”
  • “Aunt Maggie’s husband, Uncle Orangie Barnes, had a sister living in Wilson on Pettigrew Street named Mittie Barnes
  • Martha Coverton, a cook for Betty Powell — possibly, in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 South Lodge Street, rented for $18/month, widow Annie Covington, 54, laundress, and children Martha, 20, servant, and James, 9. In the 1930 city directory, Martha Covington was listed as a cook.
  • Betty Powell, a downtown madam who employed Pender from 1934 to 1946
  • Powell’s husband, Mr. Taylor, who raised chickens and ran a cafe on Tarboro Street
  • Mr. Benny, a retired teacher
  • Mr. Howard, a high school principal — William H.A. Howard, principal of the Wilson Colored High School.
  • Dardens High School — Wilson Colored High School was renamed C.H. Darden High School in 1937.
  • Mallie Paul of Wilson and Katie King of Goldsboro, madams in nearby towns
  • Effie Mae Dean, a cook, and her mother Rosie Battle
  • Charles Barnes, houseman and butler for Dick Cozart; Elks Club member; struck by a car and killed in 1937
  • Herbert Woodard‘s place, a motel and cafe on the outskirts of WIlson
  • Shade’s Drugstore — pharmacy owned by Isaac A. Shade at 527 East Nash Street.
  • John D. and his sister Irma Dean [Hines], whom Pender married — in the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Hines, 42; wife Martha, 41; and children William D., 15, John D., 11, Lewis Jr., 8, Annie E., 7, Etta E., 6, and Debora, 2,  plus mother-in-law Jack A. Barnes, 74. On 29 December 1937, Jesse Pender, 23, of Wilson County, son of Joe and Ella Pender of Wilson County married Erma Dean Hines, 18, daughter of Louis and Martha Hines of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.
  • daughter Betty Lou Pender, born in 1938
  • house on Carole Street up by Darden’s High School — Carroll Street.
  • parents moved to a house on Vance Street
  • Pa Faulkland, his mother’s second husband, who died in 1956 — Willie Faulkland died 1  November 1955 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 November 1883 in Wilson County to Phillip Faulkland and Jannie Farmer and was a laborer. Informant was Ella Faulkland, 718 Viola Street. [He was buried by Hunter’s Funeral Home, 900 East Nash Street — who?]
  • mother’s house on Viola Street — 718 Viola Street.
  • Watson Tobacco Warehouse on Lodge Street
  • Pender, Milton Fitch, Albert Wingate, Cris [Chrisdell] Leach and Albert Gay got taxi licenses and opened Veteran Cab Company in a “little office shack in the backyard of Hamilton Funeral Home” —
  • cousin Frank Durham — Son of James and Flora Robbins, above. On 12 November 1938, at Nashville, Nash County, Frank Durham, 23, son of James Durham and Flora Durham Robbins, married Annie Gray Finch, 23, daughter of Alonzo Finch and Annie Hall Finch in the presence of W.R. Lucas of Elm City and Louis Hines and Dollie Mae Williams Hines of Wilson.

“Work’s never hurt me”: The life of Willie R. Barnes.

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 April 1995.

In the spring of 1995, the Daily Times profiled Willie Roscoe Barnes, 84, long-time proprietor of Wardrobe Cleaners. He passed away the following year.

Highlights:

  • Willie R. Barnes began working at Wardrobe in 1923, when he was 13 years old.
  • He was an only child whose mother died when he was 6. His paternal grandmother reared him.
  • He attended Wilson Colored Graded School through third grade, then he “had to get out of there and go to work.” He first delivered groceries for H.W. Baxter’s store at Pender and Nash Streets. His second job was in a wood yard. He then went to work for Jim Barbour, whose Wardrobe Cleaners was across the street from Baxter’s.
  • At age 18, Barnes started dry-cleaning clothes. He eventually married Barbour’s widow.
  • He served in Morocco and Italy during World War II and at one point was assigned to guard Winston Churchill in Marrakech.
  • After the war, Barnes returned to Wilson, and he and his wife built a new facility on one of eight lots they owned on Elvie Street. The new cleaners faced Pender.
  • After his first wife died, he married a woman named Clementine. They live in a house they built on Elvie adjacent to the cleaners.
  • He scorned the quality and durability of modern fabrics.
  • He took up golf and joined the advisory board of Wedgewood Golf Course.
  • Long-time neighbor and customer Bertha H. Carroll noted that Barnes believed in helping people.
  • Long-time friend Herbert Woodard Sr., 87, said he and Barnes shared an interest in sports going back to the 1930s, often traveling to New York together to watch prize fights and the Yankees.

——

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1005 Atlantic, owned and valued at $2000, Nancey Barber, 30, widow and presser at pressing club; son James D., 14; widowed mother Linna Carroll, 63; and lodger Willie Barnes, 21, tobacco factory cooper.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1005 Atlantic, pool room owner Daniel Carroll, 27; wife Lenora, 24, sewing; widowed mother Lina, 76; sister Nannie Barber, 40, owner of pressing club; her son James Barber, 23, presser at pressing club; and roomer Willie Barnes, 28, pressing club tailor.

On 7 January 1957, Willie R. Barnes, 47, parents unknown, married Clementine Rogers, 46, daughter of Will and Carrie Rogers, in Wilson.

  • “grandmother” — Henrietta Farmer Lloyd died 16 December 1961 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 August 1886; her parents were unknown; she resided at Barnes Rest Home, 626 East Vance; and she was a widow. Informant was Willie R. Barnes, 732 Elvie Street.
  • Jim Barbour — James Daniel Barbour died 23 September 1959 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 September 1915 in Wilson County to James Barbour and Nannie Carroll; never married; resided at 1005 Atlantic Street; worked as a presser at Wardrobe Cleaners; and was a World War II veteran. Informant was Daniel Carroll, 715 Elvie Street.
  • “Barbour’s widow” — Barnes did not Barbour’s widow at all, but his mother Nannie Barbour (and per James Barbour’s World War II draft registration, she owned Wardrobe Cleaners.) Nannie Barbour Barnes died 13 April 1956 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 October 1897 in Henderson, North Carolina, to Daniel Carroll and Lina Coppedge; and worked in dry cleaning. The informant was Willie R. Barnes, 1005 Atlantic.
  • Clementine Rogers Barnes
  • Bertha H. Carroll — Bertha Bryant Hawkins Carroll’s husband Daniel Carroll was the brother of Willie Barnes’ wife Nannie Barbour Barnes.
  • Herbert Woodard Sr.

Willie R. Barnes registered for the World War II draft in 1940.

I do like they done.

Martha Ann Tyson Dixon of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, sat for an interview with a Federal Writers Project worker in the late 1930s. Dixon had spent her childhood enslaved near Saratoga, Wilson County, and she and her husband Luke D. Dixon had migrated west in the late 1880s. More than 50 years after Emancipation, she vividly described the hardships of life during and after slavery.

“I am eighty-one years old. I was born close to Saratoga, North Carolina. My mother died before I can recollect and my grandmother raised me. They said my father was a white man. They said Jim Beckton [Becton]. I don’t recollect him. My mother was named Mariah Tyson.

“I recollect how things was. My grandmother was Miss Nancy Tyson’s cook. She had one son named Mr. Seth Tyson. He run her farm. They et in the dining room, we et in the kitchen. Clothes and somethng to eat was scarce. I worked at whatever I was told to do. Grandma told me things to do and Miss Nancy told me what to do. I went to the field when I was pretty little. Once my uncle left the mule standing out in the field and went off to do something else. It come up a hard shower. I crawled under the mule. If I had been still it would have been all right but my hair stood up and tickled the mule’s stomach. The mule jumped and the plough hit me in my hip here at the side. It is a wonder I didn’t get killed.

“After the Civil War was times like now. Money scarce and prices high, and you had to start all over new. Pigs was hard to start, mules and horses was mighty scarce. Seed was scarce. Everything had to be started from the stump. Something to eat was mighty plain and scarce and one or two dresses a year had to do. Folks didn’t study about going so much.”

“I had to rake up leaves and fetch em to the barn to make beds for the little pigs in cold weather. The rake was made out of wood. It had hickory wood teeth and about a foot long. It was heavy. I put my leaves in a basket bout so high [three or four feet high.] I couldn’t tote it — I drug it. I had to get leaves in to do a long time and wait till the snow got off before I could get more. It seem like it snowed a lot. The pigs rooted the leaves all about in day and back up in the corners at night. It was ditched all around. It didn’t get very muddy. Rattle snakes was bad in the mountains. I used to tote water — one bucketful on my head and one bucketful in each hand. We used wooden buckets. It was a lot of fun to hunt guinea nests and turkey nests. When other little children come visiting that is what we would do. We didn’t set around and listen at the grown folks. We toted up rocks and then they made rows [terraces] and rock fences about the yard and garden. They looked so pretty. Some of them would be white, some gray, sometimes it would be mixed. They walled wells with rocks too. All we done or knowed was work. When we got tired there was places to set and rest. The men made plough stocks and hoe handles and worked at the blacksmith shop in snowy weather. I used to pick up literd [lightwood] knots and pile them in piles along the road so they could take them to the house to burn. They made a good light and kindling wood.

“They didn’t whoop Grandma but she whooped me a plenty.

“After the war some white folks would tell Grandma one thing and some others tell her something else.  She kept me and”

“cooked right on. I didn’t know what freedom was. Seemed like most of them I knowed didn’t know what to do. Most of the slaves left the white folks where I was raised. It took a long time to ever get fixed. Some of them died, some went to the cities, some up North, some come to the country. I married and come to Fredonia, Arkansas in 1889. I had been married since I was a young girl. But as I was saying the slaves still hunting a better place and more freedom. Grandma learnt me to set down and be content. We have done better out here than we could done in North Carolina but I don’t believe in so much rambling.

“We come on the passenger train and paid our own way to Arkansas. It was a wild and sickly country and has changed. Not like living in the same country. I try to live like the white folks and Grandma raised me. I do like they done. I think is the reason we have saved and have good a living as we got. We do on as little as we can and save a little for the rainy day.”

——

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Nancy Scarborough, 47; Victoria, 10, Susan, 6, and Laurina Scarborough, 3; farm manager Seth Tyson, 23; and Julia, 18, Nancy, 17, Aaron, 15, and Abner Tyson, 13.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Mary Tyson, 62, with Edith, 23, John, 21, Abraham, 16, and Martha Tyson, 11.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: Martha Tyson, 20, was a cook in the household of white marchant/farmer Mark Atkinson.

Martha Tyson, 26, married Luke Dixon, 26, in Wilson County on 12 February 1885. Minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Batts, Tempey Cotton and Green Taylor.

In the 1910 census of Watensaw township, Prairie County, Arkansas: Luke Dixon, 49, saw filer at Bar factory, and wife Martha M., 52.

In the 1920 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cedar Street, farmer Luke Dixon, 58; wife Martha, 59; and cousins Margaret Tyson, 14, and Oleo McClarin, 9.

In the 1930 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke D. Dixon, 70, born in Virginia, and wife Martha, 70, born in North Carolina, with cousin Allen Reaves, 8.

In the 1940 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke Dixon, 84, born in Virginia, and wife Martha A., 84, born in North Carolina.

Federal Writers’ Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 2, Arkansas, Part 2, Cannon-Evans, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mesn.022.

Rev. Joseph C. Price, educator, orator, civil rights leader.

Rev. Joseph C. Price‘s extraordinary career began in 1871 as principal of an African-American school in Wilson, likely Wilson Academy.

Rev. Joseph C. Price (1854-1893).

“Joseph Charles Price, black educator, orator, and civil rights leader, was born in Elizabeth City to a free mother, Emily Pailin, and a slave father, Charles Dozier. When Dozier, a ship’s carpenter, was sold and sent to Baltimore, Emily married David Price, whose surname Joseph took. During the Civil War, they moved to New Bern, which quickly became a haven for free blacks when it was occupied by Federal troops. In 1863 his mother enrolled him in St. Andrew’s School, which had just been opened by James Walker Hood, the first black missionary to the South and later the bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church. Price showed such promise as a student at this and other schools that in 1871 he was offered a position as principal of a black school in Wilson. He taught there until 1873, when he resumed his own education at Shaw University in Raleigh with the intention of becoming a lawyer. But he soon changed his mind and transferred to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania to study for the ministry in the A.M.E. Zion Church. He was graduated in 1879 and spent another two years at its theological seminary. During this period, he married Jennie Smallwood, a New Bern resident he had known since childhood. They were the parents of five children.

“In 1881, soon after his ordination, Price was chosen as a delegate to the A.M.E. Ecumenical Conference in London. While there,Bishop Hood urged him to make a speaking tour of England and other parts of Europe to call attention to the plight of black education in the South and, more specifically, to raise funds to establish a black college in North Carolina. His effectiveness as an orator drew large crowds and resulted in contributions of almost $10,000. This, plus the support of white residents of Salisbury, enabled him to establish Livingstone College and to become its president in October 1882, when he was twenty-eight years old. (Originally called Zion Wesley College, its name was changed to that of the African explorer and missionary David Livingstone in 1885.) Sponsored by the A.M.E. Zion Church, Livingstone began with five students, three teachers, and a single two-story building, but it grew rapidly to become one of the South’s most important liberal arts colleges for blacks. Though he encouraged the support of southern whites, such as Josephus Daniels, and philanthropists, such as Leland Stanford and Collis P. Huntington, Price felt that blacks themselves must bear the real responsibility for educating their race. In 1888 he stated that ‘Livingstone College stands before the world today as the most remarkable evidence of self-help among Negroes in this country.’

“Price’s leadership of the college and his ability as an orator gained him national attention. In 1888 President Grover Cleveland asked him to serve as minister to Liberia, though he declined, saying he could do more for his people by remaining in Salisbury. In 1890 he was elected president of both the Afro-American League and the National Equal Rights Convention and named chairman of the Citizens’ Equal Rights Association. But conflict among the groups and lack of financial support led to their decline soon afterwards. Like Booker T. Washington, Price believed that blacks’ self-help through education and economic development was their best hope for solving the race problem, and he assured whites that social integration with them was not among their goals. But he was less conciliatory than Washington in demanding that the civil rights of blacks be upheld. Blacks were willing to cooperate and live peaceably with southern whites, but not at the cost of their own freedom of constitutional guarantees. ‘A compromise,’ he wrote, ‘that reverses the Declaration of Independence, nullifies the national constitution, and is contrary to the genius of this republic, ought not to be asked of any race living under the stars and stripes; and if asked, ought not to be granted.’

“Price’s activist role in civil rights and black education ended abruptly in 1893, when he contracted and died of Bright’s disease at age thirty-nine. He was buried on the campus of Livingstone College. W. E. B. Du Bois, August Meier, and others felt that it was the leadership vacuum created by Price’s death into which Booker T. Washington moved, and that had he lived, the influence and reputation of Price and of Livingstone College would have been as great or greater than that achieved by Washington and Tuskegee.”

Text (citations omitted) from Joseph Charles Price, www.ncpedia.org.