Births Deaths Marriages

Killed as she crossed the street.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 May 1928.

Mattie Farmer was knocked down and killed as she crossed from one side of the 500 block of Nash Street, where she lived, to the other. 


Mattie Farmer died 23 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 28  years old; was married Eli Farmer; lived at 522 East Nash Street; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Laurinburg, N.C., to Henry and Hattie McLaurin. She was buried in Rountree cemetery.

The resting place of Cornelius Barnes.

After reading about Cornelius Barnes, Officer Jose A. Rivera Jr. visited Bethel cemetery to look for his grave. Officer Rivera and the Stantonsburg Police Department have taken an interest in the upkeep of this historic graveyard, and he sent this photo this morning. (The marker was carved by the fine folk artist and stonecutter Clarence B. Best.)

Thank you!

Mother and child killed in oil can explosion.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 1921.

In 1917, Avery Johnson registered for the World War I draft in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he was born 25 June 1891 in Marietta, N.C.; lived at 636 Green, Wilson; worked as a laborer for Worth Bros., Coatesville, Pennsylvania; and had a wife and one child.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Avery Johnson, 27; wife Carrie, 24; and children Evaline, 2, and John L., two months.

The child who died in the oil can explosion was a son, John Elry Johnson, not a daughter. He was two weeks past his second birthday.

Avery Johnson’s wife Carrie Wingate Johnson also succumbed to her injuries, after four days of suffering. 

The obituary of Braxton R. Winstead.

Samuel H. Vick penned this memorial to his friend Braswell R. Winstead, his schoolmate at Wilson Academy and Lincoln University, his assistant postmaster, his fellow teacher and Mason, and his co-founder of Calvary Presbyterian.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 August 1928.


Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing the clipping.

The obituary of Henrietta Hill.

An anonymous writer submitted this tribute to Henrietta Hill for publication in the 27 April 1928 Wilson Daily Times. It contains a rare detail of Hill’s early life — that she “escaped” to Wilson with her unnamed owners during the Civil War when the Union army captured Washington, N.C. The daughter mentioned was Cecilia Hill Norwood, and the A.C.L. railroad station was the precursor to the 1924 Flemish-style building that stands today.


In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Henry Hill, 35, blacksmith; wife Henrietta, 29; and children Celicia [Cecilia], 9, Robert, 4, and James H., 1.

On 28 February 1895, Celia A. Hill, 22, daughter of H. and H. Hill, married Richard Norwood, 21, son of B. Norwood of Chatham County, in Wilson. Episcopal minister J.W. Perry performed the ceremony at Saint Marks in the presence of John H. Clark, B.R. Winstead and S.A. Smith.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: odd jobs laborer Richard Norward, 36; wife Celia, 34, public school teacher; Robert T., 14, Richard V., 15, Christine, 11, and Henry E., 8; mother Henry E. [Henrietta] Hill, 65, depot janitoress; Mack Peacock, 17, doctor’s office servant; and Joe Burnett, 17, hotel servant.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 134 Pender Street, Heneretta Hill, 70, A.C.L. railroad matron; Celia W. Hill, 40, teacher; Cora A. Hill, 27, teacher; Hazell Hill, 16; Christina Hill, 19; Barlee Hill, 22, laborer; Rosa Hicks, 22; and Archer Martin, 14.

On 19 July 1922, Hill drafted a will in which she passed all her property to her daughter Ceciia Norwood after payment of debts for “drugs and medical attention” and other expenses.

Henrietta Hill died 21 April 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 78 years old; was a widow; lived at 205 Pender; was a retired maid for A.C.L. station; and was born in Washington, N.C., to Robert Cherry and Martha Goodyear of Washington, N.C. Cecilia Norwood was informant.

Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing the clipping.

Massachusetts marriages.

Around the turn of the 19th century, at least five Wilsonians said their vows in Boston, Massachusetts:

  • John A. McLeod and Abbie G. Holloway

On 12 February 1892, John A. McLeod, 24, of Boston, waiter, born in Fayetteville, N.C., to John and Ruth McLeod, and Abbie G. Holloway, 21, resident of New York, N.Y., domestic, born in Wilson, N.C., to James and Amanda Holloway, were married in Boston.

In the 1900 census of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts: at 15 Village, porter John McLeod, 33, and wife Abbie, 28, and 13 lodgers (all but one, a New Jersey man, were migrants from the South.)

In the business section of the 1911 Boston, Massachusetts, city directory, under “Laundries”: McLeod Abbie, 10 Clarendon.

In the 1920 census of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts: at 72 Yarmouth Street, John A. McLeod, 50, laundry business, and wife Abagail, 46, laundry business, with eight lodgers.

  • William Henry Harris and Henrietta Murphy Allen  

On 29 November 1899, Wm. Henry Harris, 30, of 183 Elm Street, barber, born in Wilson, N.C., to James H. and Nancy Hill, and Henrietta (Murphy) Allen, 40, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, born in Baltimore, Md., to Benjamin and Caroline Murphy, were married in Cambridge.

  • Charlie Hinton and Lottie Green 

On 6 March 1905, Charlie Hinton, 24, resident of 393 Northampton Street, laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., to Calvin Hinton and Maggie Thomas, and Lottie Green, 24, same residence, domestic, born in Savannah, Ga., to John Green and Mary Field, were married in Boston.

  • Walter S. Hines and Sara E. Dortsch

On 6 September 1907, Walter S. Hines, 27, of Wilson, N.C., barber, son of Walter S. Hines [sic] and Della Barnes, and Sara E. Dortsch, 24, of Goldsboro, N.C., school teacher, daughter of Whitmore Dortsch and Mary Burnett, were married in Boston.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Walter Hines, 30; wife Sarah, 29; children Elizabeth, 2, and Walter D., 8 months; and boarder Inez Moore, 31, a school teacher.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Walter Hines, 40, wife Sara, 37, Elizabeth, 11, Walter Jr., 10, and Carl, 5.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Walter Hines, 50, wife Sarah, 48, and children Elizabeth, 21, Walter, 20, Carl W., 16, and Clifton R., 7.

  • Charles Dashun and Carrie Pitts 

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer William Pitts, 34; wife Violet, 25; and children Ailsey, 10, Martha, 5, Hattie, 3; and Laura, 10 months.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Violet Pit, 50, washing, and children Martha, 24, washing, Hattie, 22, cooking, Lula, 21, cooking, Ben, 19, tobacco stemmer, Carry, 12, cooking, Rosa, 16, nurse, Meaner, 11, Jenney, 5, and Edward, 2.

In the 1905 state census of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York: Carrie Pitts, 19, servant, in the household of William Fletcher, 752 Ocean Avenue.

On 10 October 1911, Charles Dashun, 26, resident of New York, N.Y., bartender, born in Danish West Indies to John Dashun and Rosalind Steven, and Carrie Pitts, 26, resident of New York, N.Y., domestic, born in Wilson, N.C., to William Pitts and Violet Woodard, were married in Boston.

In 1918, Charles Dasher registered for the World War I draft in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 20 April 1884; lived at 2403 East 39th Street, Cleveland; and his wife was Carrie Dasher.

In the 1920 census of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio: Harvey C. Dasher, 36, Pullman porter, New York; wife Carrie, 34, North Carolina; son Harvey Jr., 17, North Carolina; and widow Hattie Johnson, 42, department store elevator operator, North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of New York, New York County, New York: on West 121st Street, Carrie Dasher, 58, widow, maid, North Carolina, with six lodgers.

Strange Negro killed in gun battle.

This story, as breathlessly reported by the Wilson Daily Times, hit all the marks for maximum titillation — a strange “big black” criminal, a shoot-out in Darktown, a triumphant police officer. 

Wilson Daily Times, 17 December 1924.

In a nutshell (with facts, or purported ones, augmented by a Wilson Mirror article published the same day): Around midnight, Officers Buck Stallings and Jesse Hamilton were patrolling near the Atlantic Coast Line railroad station when they encountered Pearl Morris, who had just been badly beaten “in a boarding house on East Nash street … formerly known as the Carnation Hotel.” (Though I’ve never seen it called by this name, I am certain this is the Orange Hotel.) The policemen followed Morris to the boarding house; a 25 to 30-year old man standing in the doorway turned and ran inside when he saw them. (Per the Mirror, “The police were informed … of the stranger’s presence in town and also were acquainted with the fact that he was carrying a gun ….”)  The officers confronted the man on the second floor balcony, and he allegedly shot Stallings in the hand. Stallings and Hamilton opened fire; the man unloaded, turned and leapt over the railing. When he hit the ground, he did not move.  (Per the Mirror, a shot sent him “whirling around and crashed him up against the upper porch railing.”) “A colored physician happened to be in the crowd” — William Mitchner, who lived a few doors down? — and declared the man near death. He was loaded into somebody’s car and rushed to Mercy Hospital, but died en route. (Again, the Mirror casts a more dramatic scene: Stallings, despite his injuries, holding back the crowd with his gun until reinforcements arrived.)

The man’s body was taken to police headquarters. A search of his clothing yielded a name, Thomas Leak, and an address in Durham, N.C. He had been shot four times by two guns, with one shot passing through his heart and killing him. Meanwhile, Officer Stallings basked in adulation at the station house, cracking jokes and recounting his adventure. (The Mirror: “His escape from death was little short of miraculous.”)

Without explaining the discrepancy with the information found in his clothes, the Times named the strange man as Willie Leach. The Mirror added that he had come from Columbia, S.C., or Durham, and his suitcase contained “a strange assortment of articles, razors, four or five fountain pens, carton of cigarettes, screw driver, vanity box and numerous other things.”

Within hours of the shooting, a coroner’s jury held an inquest and found the homicide of Willie Leach justified.


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Green Street, painter David Morris, 34; wife Lillian, 30; and children Pearl E., 12, Charles, 9, Lillian, 7, and David E., 7 months. [The Morrises appear to have lived on the first block of Green east of the railroad in a block that was otherwise occupied by white families.)

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Morris Pearl (c) dom h 114 N Pettigrew

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Morris Pearl (c) cook h 215 Stantonsburg

Pearl Morris died 16 October 1936 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 28 years old; was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to David Morris of Henderson, N.C., and Lillian Hinson of Boston; and lived at 723 East Nash Street. Mable Phillips, Smith Street, was informant.

The obituary of Olander Williams, World War I veteran.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 April 1949.


In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Mollie Williams, 28, cook, and children Orlanda, 9, Nathaniel, 8, and Rosetta, 2.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Mollie Williams, 37, private cook, and children Nathaniel, 18, odd jobs laborer; Roseta, 12, laborer; and Allander, 19, odd jobs laborer.

Aulander Williams registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in August 1891 in Wilson County; lived on Route 6, Wilson; was single; and farmed for Sallie Graves near Stantonsburg.

Orlander Williams, 26, of Stantonsburg, son of Alex Joyner and Mollie Williams, married Lula Evans, 24, of Wilson, daughter of Mingo and Martha Evans, on 5 August 1917 in Wilson County. Alexander Leake applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister H.H. Sanders performed the ceremony in the presence of Ernest May, Jesse Darden and Walter Haskins

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Aulander Williams, 28, cropper; wife Lula, 25; and son Aulander jr., 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Orlanda Williams, 34; wife Lula, 35; children Orlanda, 12, Nick, 8, Sarah, 7, Nora, 5, and Lula M., 2; and nephew Elmer, 14.

Lula Williams died 29 July 1947 at her home at 1016 Wainwright Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 January 1898 in Edgecombe County to Mingo Edwards and Martha Mercer; was married to Olanda Williams; and was a factory worker. She was buried in Rountree cemetery.

Olander Williams died 26 April 1949 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 August 1890 in Edgecombe County to Elex Johnson and Mollie Williams; lived at 520 Hadley Street; and was a laborer. Daisy Williams was informant.