Births Deaths Marriages

Maggie Lena F. Cooper, 99.

Maggie Lena Farmer Cooper, 99, of Wilson Pines Nursing Care Facility and formerly of 704 Maury Street, Wilson, NC died August 31, 2014. The funeral will be held Saturday at 1:00pm at St. Rose Church of Christ, 605 S. Douglas Street, Wilson, NC with Elder Ernest Melton officiating. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery. Public viewing will be Friday from 2-7 pm at the funeral home. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 12 noon to 1pm at the church and will assemble on Saturday at the residence of her son Thomas E. Williams, 501 W. Daniel Street Wilson, NC at 11:00am. Professional and personal services are entrusted to EDWARDS FUNERAL HOME, 805 E. Nash Street, Wilson NC. Condolences may be directed to edwardscares.com.

Obituary online.

Willie Simms.

 

Wilson Daily Times, 7 August 1954.

On 25 January 1911, Willie Simms, 21, of Black Creek, married Lucindy Barnes, 22, of Black Creek, at William Spells’ house in Black Creek.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Old Stantonsburg Road, farmer Will Simms, 34; wife Lucindy, 30; and daughters Emma, 16, Clara, 11, and Agnes, 3.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, farmer Willie Simms, 49; wife Lucindy, 37; and daughters Clara, 19, Agnes, 13, Addie M., 6, and Elizabeth, 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1205 East Nash, rented for $6/month, carpenter Willie Simms, 50; wife Lucindy, 52; and children Clara, 33, Addie, 16, and Elizabeth Simms, 14; and daughter Emma Farmer, 37, widowed cook, and her children Turner Jr., 8, Emma C., 4, and Marie, 1. [The “sisters” named in the obituary were actually Simms’ daughters.]

Willie Simms died 6 August 1954 at his home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 October 1890 in Wilson County to Benjamin and Beckie Simms; had worked as a laborer; and was a widower. Addie Jennifer was informant.

[For more re Elder Fate Melton, see here.]

The last will and testament of Carter W. Foster.

Carter Washington Foster died 17 February 1955, deeply in debt.

Foster had been Wilson County’s Negro agricultural extension agent. To open his estate, his widow Estelle Duncan Foster testified that she had found his will among papers in a locked box at the National Bank of Wilson. Sadie H. Collins, Helen W. Branford and John M. Miller Jr. examined the paper and positively identified as the document they had witnessed Foster sign just a month before.

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On 24 February 1955, Wilson County Superior Court opened the estate. Foster’s will was straightforward — he left all property left after his debts were settled to his wife and named her his executrix. The attachment to the will is more perplexing.

First, “I suggest that the $5000 Metropolitan Policy payable to my wife be loaned to the Company and payable to Csrlotta and Barbara shall need same for schooling.” (What company? Was this suggestion lawful? Barbara Jean, born 1942, and Carlotta Estelle, born 1951, were the couple’s daughters.)

Second, Foster named three people who owed him a total of $30 — Isham Bryant, Leona Hines, and Maggie Bryant.

Third, he named eleven people that he owed a whopping $3007.5 (roughly $27,000 in 2017 dollars) — M.R. Zachary ($320), Mrs. Branford ($375), Percy Williams ($100), Mark Sharp ($825), Joe Hester ($650), Frank Murphy ($350), W.R. Barnes ($105), Cora S. Wilson ($75), Isiah Whitehead ($100), M.G. Garris ($25), and Martha Mitchell ($82.50). [As newspaper notices gave witness, attempts to pay them all back would require the sale at auction of Foster’s personal belongings, such as a 1951 Plymouth, and the house on Vance Street that he and his sister had inherited from their mother.]

Fourth, he designated seven people as trustworthy advisors to his wife — Bing Miller, Charles James, Rev. Farmer, Rev. Watkins, M.R. Zachary and Thomas J. Moore.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 707 Vance Street, Walter Foster, 46, fireman at wagon company; wife Rosa, 34; children Heneretta, 18, Carl [sic, Carter], 6, and Naomi, 4; and sister-in-law Etta Parker, 32, a school teacher.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 808 East Vance Street, teacher Rosa Foster, 42; children Carter, 16, Daily Times newsboy, and Naomi, 14; and two roomers Alice Jones, 36, and Mamie Key, 20, both teachers.

The 1939 Ayantee, yearbook of North Carolina A&T State University.

On 29 December 1939, Carter Washington Foster, 26, of Wilson, and Estelle Duncan, 25, of Maysville, North Carolina, were married in Danville, Virginia. Foster, son of Walter Foster and Rosa Parker, worked as an agriculture teacher at Chatham County Training School and lived in Siler City, and Duncan, daughter of Samuel Duncan and Annie Hicks, lived in Clinton, North Carolina.

In 1940, Carter Washington Foster registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 15 January 1914 in Wilson; resided at 808 East Vance; worked as county farm agent at 559 1/2 East Nash Street; and was married to Estelle Duncan Foster.

This newspaper article about county officials reveals that Foster was paid less than half of his white counterpart’s salary:

Wilson Daily Times, 1 December 1941.

His work, alongside black home demonstration agent Jane Boyd, was recognized, however:

“Wilsonia” column, John G. Thomas, Wilson Daily Times, 24 January 1945.

Carter Washington Foster died 17 February 1955 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 January 1914 in Wilson to Walter Foster and Rosa Parker; was married; resided at 801 East Green; and worked as a county agricultural agent.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 February 1955.

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  • Sadie Collins — Wilson cafe operator Sadie Collins.
  • Helen W. Branford — per the 1953 Raleigh city directory, Helen Wade Branford (1913-1994) was a agricultural extension agent living in Wilson.
  • J.M. Miller Jr. — Wilson elementary school principal John Maxwell Miller Jr. 
  • Isham Bryant — Sampson County native Isham Bryant (1891-1961) was a machinist in Wilson.
  • Leona Hines — Leona T. Hines (1901-1988) of Wilson County and later Lenoir County.
  • Maggie Bryant — Wilson teacher Maggie Walker Bryant (1910-1958).
  • M.R. Zachary — Hertford County native Molton R. Zachary was a classmate of Foster at A&T and was a county farm agent.
  • Mrs. Branford — probably Helen W. Branford above.
  • Percy Williams
  • Mark Sharp — Wilson County farmer Mark B. Sharpe.
  • Joe Hester — Granville County native Joe Hester (1900-1984) was a Wilson County farmer.
  • Frank Murphy
  • W.R. Barnes
  • Cora S. Wilson
  • Isiah Whitehead — Isaiah Whitehead Jr. (1894-1969) was a farmer near Tarboro, Edgecombe County.
  • M.G. Garris
  • Martha Mitchell — probably, Martha Taylor Mitchell (1895-1976) of Wilson.
  • Bing Miller
  • Charles James — undertaker Charles D. James.
  • Rev. Farmer
  • Rev. Watkins — Baptist minister Talmadge Adam Watkins (1915-2002)
  • Thomas J. Moore
  • Jane Boyd — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1111 Washington Street, Walter Thorpe, 63; wife Rebecca, 46; and roomer Jane Boyd, 37, Virginia-born county home demonstration agent.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Dr. Joseph F. Cowan.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 July 1985.

In the 1900 census of Abbeville, Abbeville County, South Carolina: farmer Edward Cowan, 43; wife Harriet, 41; and children Edward, 22, Governor Moses, 17, Lawyer Squire, 15; James, 13, Hattie, 11, Johnnie, 6, and Effie [Joseph Franklin], 4.

In the 1910 census of Abbeville, Abbeville County, South Carolina: on Vienna Road, widow Hattie Cowan, 49; children Edward, 27, James, 22, John, 16, and Effie, 13; and grandchildren Lillie, 14, Ernest, 8, and Samuel Ware, 7.

Joseph Franklin Cowan registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he lived in Blue Hill, Abbeville County, South Carolina; was born 28 September 1899; was a picker hand at Abbeville Cotton Mills; and his nearest relative was his mother Harriet Cowan.

As the annual city directory shows, Dr. Joseph Franklin Cowan arrived in Wilson as early as 1928 to set up practice at Mercy Hospital.

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Shortly thereafter, he delivered an address at Calvary Presbyterian on “social hygiene,” i.e. sex education with an emphasis on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and related topics.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 November 1929.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: medical doctor Joseph Cowan, 42; wife Annie, 35, receptionist in doctor’s office; and son Joseph Jr., 12; plus Julia Green, 59. Cowan was a native of Abbeville, South Carolina.

In 1942, John Franklin Cowan registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his draft registration card, he lived at 1115 East Nash Street; was born 27 September 1898 in Abbeville, South Carolina; was a self-employed medical doctor; and his contact person was Edward Cowan, Abbeville.

J.F. Cowan died 17 September 1985 in Wilson.

John E. Dixon, educator.

John E. Dixon, The Trojan (1950), Darden High School

John Ezra Dixon, 95, died Aug. 17, 2004. Homegoing services for Mr. Dixon will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23, 2004, at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1210 S. Eugene St., with Pastor Anthony Cozart presiding.

John Ezra Dixon was born on Aug. 16, 1909, to the union of the late James Stewart Dixon and Ruetilla Dixon in Bladen County, N.C. He received his early education in Bladen County and he received his high school training and education from Burgaw Normal and Industrial High School in Pender County, N.C. After graduation, Mr. Dixon attended Shaw University in Raleigh and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He continued his studies at Pennsylvania State University where he earned a Master of Science degree. His thirst for knowledge led him to pursue further studies at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina State University.

An educator by profession, Mr. Dixon worked in the North Carolina School System for 39 years. He served 24 years as a math and science teacher and 15 years in school administration as a principal.

While living and working in Wilson, N.C., Mr. Dixon was affiliated with Jackson Chapel Baptist Church with his usual dedication and spirit. He faithfully served as chairperson of the Deacon board, member of the Gospel and Mens Choirs and he was a Sunday school teacher. For many years, he served as the church clerk. Upon his retirement, Mr. Dixon relocated to Greensboro in 1976, where he joined Shiloh Baptist Church. At Shiloh, Mr. Dixon served in many capacities including: the Mens Choir, the Sunday school department, the Laymen League, the Bible Study Group and the Shiloh Bowling League. He was involved in the Boy Scouts of America for 46 years and completed advanced training at the Schiff Reservation in New Jersey. Other civic and community involvements included: the Shaw University Alumni Club, the Gamma Beta Sigma Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Ever Achieving Retired Teachers Club, and the North Carolina Retired School Personnel Group. Mr. Dixon worked and lived by his favorite quotes: “To those whom much is given, much is expected” and “Keep God in all you do.”

John Ezra Dixon leaves to cherish his memory a devoted and loving wife, Ann Belle-Dixon; one son, John E. Dixon II (Paula); a grandson, Dr. John K. Dixon; three sisters, Amy D. Young, Genola D. Burks and Verona D. Vaughn; one brother, Levie Dixon; daughter-in-law, Betty Jean Dixon; three step-children, Barbara Belle Jones, Peggy Belle Parks and Robert P. Belle; four step-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; one adopted grandson, David Miller; and a former daughter-in-law, Faye Dixon.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mabel Brewington Dixon; a son, Levie C. Dixon; and a grandson, Ian J. Dixon.

Visitation will be at 1 p.m. at the church.

Community Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Greensboro News & Record, 21 August 2004.

Cemeteries, no. 19: Nelson Armstrong family.

This cemetery — way down an unpaved track and surrounded on three sides by soybeans — is back in the cut, as they say, but lovingly maintained. Nelson Armstrong and his brother Gary were prosperous farmers who owned large farms northeast of Elm City near the Edgecombe County line.

In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Abraham Armstrong, 52, wife Cherry, 32, and children Nancy, 16, Haywood, 14, Nelson, 12, Joshua, 11, and Burlee, 7.

On 10 January 1884, Nelson Armstrong married Mary Ann Bulluck in Edgecombe County.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Armstrong, 45, wife Mary Ann, 40, and children Mamie, 15, Hattie, 13, and Henry, 12.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot, Wilson County, on Wells Daws Avenue, Nelson Armstrong, 58, Mary, 45, daughter Hattie Armstrong, 22, son Henry Armstrong, 20, son-in-law Thomas Hilliard, 25, daughter Mamie, 24, and their children Carnelia, 3, and Magnora Hilliard, 2.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot, Wilson County: Nelson Armstrong, 60, wife Mary, 50, and boarder Grover Barnes, 19.

Nelson Armstrong was an initial investor in Commercial Bank of Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot, Wilson County: Henry Armstrong, 42, wife Mimia, 33, and children Mary, 11, Fred, 8, Rosa, 6, Clarence, 4, and Nathan, 1, plus widower father Nelson, 75.

Nelson Armstrong died 8 December 1934 in Toisnot township. Per his death certificate: he was 80 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Abraham and Cherry Armstrong; was a farmer; and was a widower.

  • Mary Ann Armstrong

Mary Armstrong died 25 September 1924. Per her death certificate, she was 58 years old; married to Nelson Armstrong; and born in Edgecombe to Crumel and Rena Bulluck.

  • Hattie Armstrong Lucas

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Armstrong, 45, wife Mary Ann, 40, and children Mamie, 15, Hattie, 13, and Henry, 12.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot, Wilson County, on Wells Daws Avenue, Nelson Armstrong, 58, Mary, 45, daughter Hattie Armstrong, 22, son Henry Armstrong, 20, son-in-law Thomas Hilliard, 25, daughter Mamie, 24, and their children Carnelia, 3, and Magnora Hilliard, 2.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Elias Lucas, 44; wife Hattie, 40; and children Ada, 16, Turner, 14, Eva, 13, Marie, 6, and Nathaniel, 5.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Elias Lucas, 54; wife Hattie, 52; and children Marie, 16, and Nathanel, 15.

Hattie Lucas died 17 November 1943. Per her death certificate, she was 56 years old; born in Wilson County to Nelson Armstrong of Wilson County and Hattie Armstrong of Edgecombe County; was married to Elias Lucas; and was buried in the Armstrong cemetery.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.

Cemeteries, no. 18: Cherry Chapel.

Cherry Chapel Baptist Church today is located just outside Elm City. Historically, however, the church’s home was several miles east on East Langley Road, just inside the Edgecombe County line. The small edifice is now occupied by Pleasant Hill Church of God, but Cherry Chapel’s cemetery remains. Well-maintained except along the edges where the woods encroach, most of its graves date from the mid-twentieth century and include:

  • Joseph Virgil (1909-1945)

Joseph Virgil died 16 January 1945 near Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 June 1910 in Florence, South Carolina, to Ed Virgil and Candis Scott; was a farmer; and was married to Fannie D. Virgil, who was informant.

  • Anner B. Knight (1901-1961)

Annie Knight died 17 January 1961 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 April 1902 in Norfolk, Virginia, to Wiley Batts and Lucy Bullock; was widowed; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. [Is this a recording mistake? Was she disinterred and moved?] Informant was Mary Lancaster of Wilson County.

  • Blanche B. Barnes (1906-1959)

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Blanche Barnes died 26 September 1959 in Toisnot township. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 June 1906 in Wilson County to Charlie Batts and Lizzie Joyner; was a farmer and housewife; and was married to Wiley Barnes.

  • Clara Dawes (1884-1953)

Clara Dawes died 23 July 1953 in Elm City, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 September 1883 in Wilson County to Handy Lawrence and Georgeanna Bullock and was widowed. Lonnie Weaver, Elm City, was informant.

  • Sarah Satterwhite

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Sarah Satterwhite died 7 January 1945 at the Wilson “county TB sanatorium.” Per her death certificate, she was born 18 December 1900 in Nash County to Robert Arrington and Caroline Bryant; was married to Eddie Satterwhite; lived near Elm City; and was buried at Cherry’s Chapel.

 

Their future home.

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Raleigh Gazette, 4 September 1897.

Whatever their plans, the Rawlinses did not remain in Wilson long. They do not appear in the 1900 census, but when he registered for the World War II draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their son Allen Benjamin Rawlins reported that he was born 11 February 1900 in Wilson. By the 1910 census, Benjamin F. and Ella Westray Rawlins had returned to Rocky Mount.

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Cemeteries, no. 17: Littleton and Judie Ellis family.

This small family cemetery is completely hidden in a copse of trees just outside the gates of Wiggins Mill Water Treatment Plant on Forest Hills Road in Wilson. Until relatively recently, this area — nearly four miles south of downtown — was outside city limits. Few gravestones are visible in the tangle of catbrier, pines and oak saplings, but several oblong indentations — some feet deep — mark burial sites just as clearly. This cemetery holds the remains of several generations of the family of Littleton and Judy Barnes Ellis, a couple born in slavery. The couple and at least four of their children — Bryant, Lucy, Maggie, Lizzie Sarah — are buried here on land that once belonged to Littleton Ellis.

The view from the edge of the woods:

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The dark patches at right are a series of sunken graves:

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  • Maggie Ellis Darden (1886-1969). Gone to take her rest. We loved her but God loved her best. The family.

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 45; wife Judah, 30; and children Bryant, 14, Martha, 12, Patsey, 10, Mary, 8, Bud, 6, Thomas, 4, Rose, 2, and James, 1.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 73; wife Judy, 55; and children Lucy, 21, Littleton, 18, Sarah, 16, Maggie, 14, Nettie, 12, and Minnie, 10.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Wiggins Mill Road, farmer Littleton Ellis, 27; his mother Judie, 62; and sisters Lucy, 30, Sarah, 24, Maggie, 23, and Lettie, 21.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Judie Ellis, 80, widow; children Lucy, 32, Litt, 30, and Maggie, 25; and granddaughter Manerva Barnes, 22.

On 18 March 1923, George Darden, 35, married Maggie Ellis, 25, in Wilson County. Free Will Baptist minister Tom Thomas performed the ceremony in the presence of Willie Darden, Jonathan Ford, and W.H. Cotton.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Darden, 42; wife Maggie, 35, and daughter Artelia, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1021 South Mercer Street, laundress Maggie Darden, 46, and daughter Artelia, 11.

Maggie Ellis Darden died 22 September 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 March 1886 in Arkansas to Littleton Ellis and Julia Barnes [were the Ellises returned Exodusters?] Informant was Artelia Neal.

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A vault cover hidden under pine needles and creeping foliage:

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  • Rev. Jesse Herring (1890-1956). Gone but not forgotten.

In the 1900 census of Indian Springs township, Wayne County, and the 1910 census of Brogden township, Wayne County, Jessie Herring is listed in the household of his parents Amos and Lucy Herring.

In 1917, Jesse Herring registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Her his registration card, he lived at 618 Lodge Street, Wilson; was born 23 September 1892 in Mount Olive, North Carolina; worked as a carpenter for George Whitley in Wilson County; and had a dependent wife and two children.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 413 Lodge Street, carpenter Jessie Herring, 27; wife Sarah, 33; and children Daisy, 5, Minnie, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Jessie Herring, 34; wife Sarah, 36; and children Daniel, 13, Minnie, 12, Mary E., 11, Amos, 9, Maggie, 7, James L., 3, and Mary E., 1 month. Herring paid $3/month in rent. [Next door, the household of Sarah’s brother Bryant Ellis.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 301, farmer Jessie Herring, 53; wife Sarah, ; and children Dazel, 25, Amos, 20, James L., 14, Mary Elizabeth, 9, George R., 7, and Ruby Lee, 6. Herring owned his house.

Jessie Herring died 5 June 1956 in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 September 1889 in Wayne County to Amos Herring and Lucy Whitfield; was a farmer; was married to Sarah Herring; and was buried in Ellis cemetery. Sarah Herring was informant.

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  • Lizzie Sarah Ellis Herring (1884-1964). We loved you. She was the sunshine of our home.

Sarah Ellis Herring died 9 July 1964 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 May 1891 in Wilson County to Littleton Ellis and Judy [last name unknown]; was widow of Jessie Herring; and was buried in the family cemetery. Informant was Amos Herring. [This is a fine example of a Clarence Best gravestone and features many of his signature motifs.]