Births Deaths Marriages

The obituary of Moses Woodard.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 August 1928.

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In 1918, Moses Woodard registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 6 November 1873; lived at 615 Darden, Wilson; worked as a laborer for Imperial Tobacco Company, Ltd.; and his nearest relative was wife Mary Woodard.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 615 Darden, carpenter Moses Woodard, 47, and wife Mary, 32.

“Septicemia due to a burn on finger. Arm had to be opened in two places”

Hat tip to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing this clipping.

A rowboat capsized, drowning two.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 May 1928.

  • Tom Wilson

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, farmer Thomas W. Wilson, 42; wife Anna, 33; and children Winnie, 12, Vina, 10, Corina, 8, Hester, 6, Thomas, 4, and Georgianna, 2.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Tom Wilson, 56; wife Leanna, 40; and children Sarah, 17, Ester, 15, Thomas, 14, Georgia, 11, Nancy, 9, Gola, 7, and Margie, 3; and sister Nance, 16.

Thomas Wilson Jr. died 20 May 1928 in Wilson township, Wilson County, “drowned, boat capsized.” Per his death certificate, he was 22 years old; single; a farmer; born in Wilson County to Thomas Wilson Sr. of Caswell County and Leanna Briggs of Pearson [Person] County; and buried in Rountree cemetery.

  • Babe Tyson

Leanda Tyson died 20 May 1928 in Wilson township, Wilson County, “drowned, boat capsized.” Per his death certificate, he was 18 years old; single; a farmer; born in Wayne County to Walter Tyson and Olive Parker; and buried in Rountree cemetery. Walter Tyson, Elm City, was informant.

  • Jarvis Lofton

Eddie Jarvis Lofton registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 1 May 1911 in Wayne County, N.C.; lived at 816 Mercer Street; his contact was mother Tynce Lofton, 902 West Broad Street; and he worked for Loftin Cafe, Tarboro Street, Wilson.

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

The obituary of Rev. James C. Bess.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 April 2002.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Clinton Bess, 37; wife Minnie, 26; and children Hampton, 7, Ruth G., 6, and James C., 4. 

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, brickmason Clinton Bess, 40; wife Minnie, 30; children Glenwood, 5, Gladis, 15, and James, 12; and boarders Mary Reid, 21, and Martha Robinson, 25, teachers.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, widow Minnie Best, 48; and children Hartford, 30, delivery boy for retail dry goods business; Ruth, 27, teacher at Williamston School; James, 23, janitor at Oettinger’s store; and Glenwood, 10, grocery delivery boy.

James Clinton Bess registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 November 1915 in Wilson County; lived at 208 Pender; his contact was mother Minnie Bess; and he worked for Oettinger’s Estate, Wilson.

[N.B.: “Wilson Training School” was another name for the Wilson Industrial and Normal School.]

The obituary of Frances “Frankie” Best.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 June 1941.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook Nannie Best, 34, widow, and daughters Francis, 20, and Eliza, 16, and boarder Lula Garrett, 25. The latter three were house servants.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Nannie Best, 48, cook; her children Francis, 28, cook, Eliza, 24, public school teacher, and son Aaron, 9; and lodgers, Lula, 24, cook, and Nannie Best, 16, private nurse.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 330 South Spring Street: widowed Nannie Best, 61, her daughter Frank, 30, son Aaron, 21, daughter-in-law Estelle, 19, widowed brother Harper Best, 65, and a lodger, nurse Henrietta Colvert, 24.

In the 1922 and 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories, Frankie Best is listed as a domestic living at 320 South Spring.

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, cook Nannie Best, laundress Frankie Best and seamstress Eliza Best are listed as residents of 1009 East Nash Street.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Best Frankie (c) lndrs 1009 E Nash

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nan Best, 75, widow; daughter Frankie, 55; and grandsons William, 19, and Audrey, 15.

Frankye Best died 23 June 1941 at her home at 1009 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 58 years old; was born in Lenoir County, N.C., to Aaron Best and Nannie Best; was single; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Eliza Best was informant.

The death of Lula Hinnant.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 February 1920.

Despite being described as a “good old colored woman,” Lula Jones Hinnant Hinnant was barely 40 when she died.

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Murray Hinnant, 21, of Springhill township, son of Randle and Angeline Hinnant, married Lula Locus, 18, of Old Fields township, daughter of John and Milly Locus, on 4 December 1897 at Gray Deanes‘ residence in Old Fields. D.H. Hinnant of Springhill, James Deanes of Old Fields, and James Dolphus Williams of Springhill were witnesses.

Roscoe Hinnant [misspelled “Hinyard” on the upper portion of the license application], 24, of Old Fields township, son of Gray and Milbry Hinnant, married Lula Hinnant, 21, of Old Fields, daughter of Jno. and Millie Locus, on 23 March 1904 in Wilson County.

Roscoe Everett Hinnant registered for the World War I draft in 1918 in Wilson County. Per his draft registration, he was born 4 January 1879; lived at Route 1, Sims, Wilson County; farmed for William Dew; and his nearest relative was Lula Hinnant.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Turkey Creek Road, farmer R.E. Hinnant, 40, wife Lula, 37, and daughter Minnie, 12.

Loula Hinnant died 28 January 1920 in Bailey, Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 37 years old; was born in Nash County to John and Mary Lucus; was married to Everett Hinnant; and farmed.

If he doesn’t bring that money in, something has happened.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 August 1911.

“The worst had happened, Fields was dead,” and the Times penned a tribute to its loyal subscriber.

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On 26 February 1903, James Fields, 52, of Wilson, son of Alex and Mary Fields, married Lucy Warren, 30, of Wilson, at her residence. Missionary Baptist minister E.P. Pearsall performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles B. Gay, Ella Gay, and William C. Barnes.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: James Fields, 49, odd jobs laborer, and wife Lucy, 32, laundress.

James P. Fields died 21 August 1911 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 58 years old; was married; lived at 213 Hackney Street; worked as a gardener; and was born in Boyton [Boydton], Virginia, to Elex Fields and Mary Smithering. W.B. Fields of Wilson was informant.

 

The Oliver Marable case.

I happened upon this Notice signed by Columbus E. Artis, one of the principals of the undertaking firm Artis, Flanagan & Batts, in the Wilson Daily Times. Who was Oliver Marable? What was his “case”? What were the “false reports being circulated”?

Wilson Daily Times, 14 December 1925.

Here is Marable’s death certificate:

Filled out largely in C.E. Artis’ bold, readily recognizable hand, it states that Marable died 4 December 1925 in Spring Hill township; was about 55 years old; was married to Bettie Marable; resided at 717 Manchester Street; was born in Henderson, N.C., to Grand and Cornelia Marable. In a different script, Marable’s cause of death: “fracture of base of skull accidentally incurred in a cave-in of earth.” 

Or was it accidental at all?

An inquest held into Marable’s death revealed a bizarre set of facts. On a Friday evening, Marable, who lived on Roberson Street in East Wilson, was miles away in Springhill township digging with a dozen other men for “buried treasure.” Later that night, Marable’s battered body was taken to C.E. Artis and his business partner Walter E. Flanagan, who were preparing to bury him when the police intervened. 

When Artis and Flanagan could not produce a death certificate, the police halted the funeral and contacted the coroner, who went with several county officials to the dig site. Dissatisfied with the accounts of witnesses as to what had happened to Marable, the coroner ordered an inquest. A jury traveled out to Tobe Hinnant‘s farm in Old Fields [Springhill?] township, where they found a “huge hole” in a field near a creek bank. 

The witnesses, who had been digging the hole with Marable, testified that he had been killed when the hole’s sidewalls caved in, but the jury found foul play involved. 

The physician who conducted a post mortem of Marable’s body concluded he likely met his death from a skull fracture, but had also suffered a broken arm, collar bone, and femur and contusions of the back, neck and face.

The police arrested seven people in connection with Marable’s death. Tom Boykin, conjure doctor Richard Pitts and Amos Batts [who was both Marable’s brother-in-law and the third business partner of C.E. Artis] were held without bond; William Edwards, McKinley Edwards, Tobe Hinnant, and John Hinnant bonded out. The story these witnesses told: conjure man Pitts showed up in Hinnant’s neighborhood, claiming that there was buried treasure nearby. Hinnant said he had often dreamed of such a thing, and Pitts said he could locate it. Hinnant pointed out the X in his dreams, and Pitts performed a divination with mineral oil. Though it is not clear how the rest of the treasure hunters were assembled, digging commenced. When the tip of a seven-foot augur embedded itself in a wooden object, the treasure was found. Marable died during the attempt to dig it out. The jury viewed the stuck augur, several shovels, and some sounding rods, as well as a length of white cord festooned about the perimeter to keep out the “haints” lingering in a nearby cemetery in use during slavery. (The jury concluded the augur was more likely stuck in a coffin lid than a treasure chest.) On a side note, investigators also found a large hole, filled in, in Marable’s back yard on Roberson Street, evidence of an earlier search.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 December 1925.

The next day, Raleigh’s News and Observer reported that the jury had adjourned without a verdict, but with a recommendation that Pitts be held pending investigation by a lunacy commission. (Per the Times the same day, Pitts “in his many trips and ‘treasure hunts’ in and around Wilson county had poisoned the minds of many of the negro inhabitants in regards to buried treasure and hidden pots of gold. In many cases sections of the county Pitts has ‘engineered’ treasure hunts, receiving pay for his ‘knowledge’ while honest negroes work in good faith at the task of uncovering the treasure which is never found.”) Everyone else was released. The jury had gone back to the site to find that it had been tampered with. The augur and divining rods were gone, and someone had thrown four feet of dirt into the hole. Several convicts were put to work to shovel out the dirt, but Marable’s pick could not be found. Amos Batts had testified that he did not know about the digging until Marable had died, but when told that Marable had his hand on the money when the pit collapsed, joined the enterprise. (Presumably by agreeing to bury Marable reporting the death or issuing a death certificate.) Someone named Lee Pearce testified, but no details as to what.

Five days later, the matter was dropped. Most of the 20 witnesses had testified to hearsay, Tobe Hinnant’s six-year-old swore he had never accused his father of killing Marable, and county officials gave ambiguous testimony about whether they had seen blood in the pit. The jury was hopelessly confused. Hinnant was freed, leaving only Pitts in jail, presumably for his chicanery.

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  • Oliver Marable

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Marable Oliver (c) lab 501 Lucas al

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Marable Oliver (c) lab Robinson nr Stantonsburg rd

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Marable Oliver (c) lab 501 Robinson

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 501 Robinson Street, Oliver Marable, 56, oil mill laborer; wife Betie, 48; and daughter Hattie, 7; plus brother-in-law John Batts, 52, oil mill laborer.

  • Tobe Hinnant  
  • Amos Batts
  • Richard Pitts
  • Tom Boykin 
  • William Edwards and McKinley Edwards — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 South Railroad Street, rented for $16/month, farm laborer William Edwards, 52; wife Lillie, 49; son McKinly, 28, worker at Hackney Body Company; McKinley’s wife Maggie, 25, farmworkers; and his son Bernard, 6.
  • John Hinnant

Allen is getting along nicely.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 1937.

Allen died two days later of complications from her surgery.

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In the 1900 census of Stewarts Creek township, Harnett County, N.C.: farmer Ed Armstrong, 29; wife Mary, 25; and six daughters Josephine, 12, Ella, 9, Mary, 6, Rachel, 5, Ola, 3, and Julia, 1.

In the 1910 census of Duke township, Harnett County: farmer Ed Armstrong, 45; wife Cornelia, 45; and children Ellie, 19, Mamie, 17, Rachael, 15, Viola, 14, Julia, 12, Maggie, 10, Ernest, 8, and James, 6.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James B (c; Rachel) rest 217 S Goldsboro h 900 Atlanta [217 S. Goldsboro is the site of today’s Worrell’s Seafood.]

On 26 November 1929, Rachel Armstrong, 36, of Harnett County, daughter of Eddie Armstrong and Lelia Smith, married James Bland Allen, 45, divorced, of Craven County, N.C., son of Wyatt Allen and Eliza Hicks, in Greensville County, Virginia.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Atlantic Street, cafe proprietor Jim Allen, 45; wife Rachel, 32, private nurse; children Elouise, 10, and Fred, 8; and these lodgers — farm laborer Floyd Baker, 26; cook Gertrude Kannary, 27; and Katherine, 10, Martha, 7, and Elouise Baker, 1.

Rachel Allen died 5 June 1937 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1897 in Dunn, N.C., to Edward and Cornelius [sic] Armstrong; was married to James Allen; lived at 405 East Green Street; and worked as a midwife and hospital nurse. Informant was Maggie Armstrong, Durham, N.C.