Births Deaths Marriages

Spicie Eatman dies.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 January 1944.

In the 1940 census of Bailey township, Nash County: on Finch Perry Road, farmer James Terrel, 60; wife Della, 58; children Luther, 26, Jessie D., 24, and Millard, 15; grandson Robert, 14; and lodge Spicy Eatmon, 99, an old age pensioner.

Spicie Eatman died in the Wilson County Home and was buried at New Vester. Her death certificate identified her mother as Gracie Flowers.

[Sidenote: I know nothing more about Spicie Eatman. I can say unequivocally, however, that the twenty years she spent enslaved were not the sum total of her long life.]

Who was the victim?

Pittsburgh Courier, 16 May 1942.

In a nutshell: James Applewhite was arrested and charged with the murder of Willie Fate. A burial society paid an undertaker to conduct Fate’s funeral. After the service, a burial society adjuster thought he saw Willie Fate on his way home. The society contacted the Wilson County draft board for information about Willie — presumably, his whereabouts, if not dead — but got none. Had the adjuster seen Willie’s brother Perry Fate instead? Or was Perry the man dead and buried? Applewhite confessed, but whom did he kill? Perry was nowhere to be found.

Willie H. Fate’s death certificate shows that he was killed on 25 April 1942 on 264 Highway by a pistol shot to the chest. Toney Funeral Home of Spring Hope, Nash County, performed the burial, but there’s no indication of the society that paid for it.

Apparently, the matter was not cleared to the satisfaction of the United States military until 10 August 1942, when Willie Fate’s registration card was cancelled.

Willie H. Fate’s draft registration card.


In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Fate, 33; wife Monna, 31; children Alice, 17, Willie H., 17, Perry, 11, Geneva, 7, Robert Jr., 5, and Mary E., 2; and in-laws Alice Jurant, 55, and Melvin Jurant, 56. All save the youngest three children were born in South Carolina.

In 1940, Willie Henry Fate registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 27 January 1917 in South Carolina; he resided at R.F.D. #4, Wilson; his contact was Lula Fate; and he worked as a laborer for Mark Ellis, R.F.D. #4, Wilson.

In 1940, Perry Fate registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 7 January 1920 in Florence, South Carolina; resided at Route 1, C-10, Elm City; his contact was M.L. Ellis, Route 4; and he worked for James L. Ellis, Route 1, Elm City.

Wilsons of Wilson.

Though there is only one individual headstone, this family plot in Rest Haven cemetery likely holds the remains of several members of the John Adam Wilson and Mollie Newsome Wilson family.

On 13 July 1893, Adam Wilson, 26, married Mollie Newsome, 19, in Wayne County.

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Adam Wilson, 34; wife Mollie, 27; and children Leonard, 5, Nina, 4, Adam, 2, and Zilphia, 1 month; and John Locus, 20, boarder. [Locus was the son of Adam Wilson’s sister Louisa Wilson Locus.]

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Adam Wilson, 44; wife Mollie, 36; and children Lenna, 15, Nina, 14, Adam J., 12, Zilpha A., 10, Sarah P., 8, Bunna, 6, Hurman, 4, William H., 2, and James J., 8 months.

Adam Wilson has two death certificates — (1) Adam Wilson died 30 October 1916 at the State Hospital in Fork township, Wayne County; he was 51; his regular residence was in Wilson County; and he was a carpenter, and (2) Adam Wilson did 31 October 1916 in Wilson; he was about 51; he was born in Wayne County to John Wilson and Zilfie Artis; he was a carpenter; and informant was Mollie Wilson of Wilson. [J. Adam Wilson was the brother of Elizabeth Wilson Reid.]

Fredrick Odel Wilson died 19 May 1918 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 December 1916 in Wilson County to Adam Wilson and Mollie Newsome, both born in Wayne County. He died of ileocolitis, and Mollie Wilson was informant.

John Adam Wilson registered for the World War II draft in Newport News, Virginia, in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 25 February 1899; resided at 2131-22nd Street, Newport News; worked as a carpenter for Boyle-Robertson Construction Company; and his nearest Relative was Mollie Wilson of Wilson, North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Vick, Mollie Wilson, 46; son Lennie, 25, house carpenter; daughter-in-law Georgia, 23; grandson Lennie Jr., 2; and children John A., 22, house carpenter; Annie D., 19, Sarah, 17, Bunyon, 16, Hirmon, 14, William H., 12, James J., 10, and Ira, 7.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Vick, owned and valued at $2000, widow Nolly Wilson, 54, laundress; son John B., 20, theatre janitor; daughter Irene, 17; and lodgers Mollie Zackery, 30, nurse; Blonnie Zackery, 22, cook; and Earl Zackery, 44 barber. [This entry is riddled with errors. Nolly Wilson was in fact Mollie Wilson, and Mollie Zackery (who was male, not female) was Nolly Zachary, who was a barber, not a nurse. Earl Zachary, son of Nolly and Blonnie Barnes Zachary’s son, and was 4 years old in 1930. Also, it is not clear who “John B. Wilson” is, unless this is a misnomer for son James J. Wilson.]

In the 1930 census of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey: at 10 Burnett Street, apartment janitor Leonard Wilson, 34; wife Georgia, 33; brother Herman, 21, lather; and children Leonard Jr., 11, Elma, 10, Ernest, 8, and Toney Lee, 6. All were born in North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Viola Street, owned and valued at $1800, widow Mollie Wilson, 66; fish market owner Dorphus Williams, 61, roomer; and father James Newsome, 86.

Mollie Wilson died 30 January 1952 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 September 1875 in Wayne County to James Newsome and Penina Artis; was the widow of John A. Wilson; and resided at 301 North Vick. Informant was Irene Sherrod, 302 North Vick.

The graveyard artistry of Clarence Best, pt. 3.

I’ve written here of Clarence B. Best, the marble cutter whose custom gravestones can be found in cemeteries across Wilson County and beyond. Here’s more, all in Rest Haven cemetery.

  • Joseph Earl Mercer, died 1969. Apparently, a young man who loved cars.
  • Clifton L. Howard, died 1969. Best made gravestones affordable by offering customers damaged or repurposed markers such as this one, which appears to be the top portion of a larger piece.
  • Ruby M. Ellis Opie, died 1965, and Charles E. Ellis, died 1964. THEY WAS AN AFFECTIONATE SON & DAUGHTER.
  • Charlie H. Thomas, 1965. Modeled after the white marble markers provided by the military to veterans.
  • Johnnie G. Baker, died 1962. GOD LOVES LITTLE CHILDREN.
  • Rev. Nebraska H. Dickerson, died 1969. To his oft-used dogwood and cross motifs, Best added an open book.
  • Dora M. Hoskins, died 1963. Past Matron, Order of Eastern Star. DIEING IS BUT GOING HOME.
  • William Earl Artis, died 1961. Inclusion of his mother Cora Dawes’ name is unusual as is the near-italicization of the date lines.

Buried in a white cemetery?

A bit of follow-up on the post about Tobe and Martha Smith, described as having been buried in the cemetery of the white Winstead family. The Winstead graveyard stands in the middle of the parking lot behind the defunct Wilson Mall, a tree-shaded green square protected by a chainlink fence. Within that fence is a low, wrought-iron, bow-and-picket fence that surrounds the Farmer and Winstead graves. Outside the wrought-iron fence are the graves of Joseph “Tobe” and Martha Wheeler Smith, as well as that of Jack Boss, whose identity is not at all clear, but may also have been African-American.

So, arguably in the Winstead cemetery, but certainly not of it.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2018.

Della Barnes Thomas.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1951.


In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Wright Barnes, 31; and wife Jane, 29; and children Henryetta, 11, Susan, 9, Della, 8, William W., 7, Mattie, 5, and John R., 4 months.

On 10 June 1893, Tommy Thomas, 26, married Della Barnes, 20, at Martha Winstead‘s in Wilson township. Free Will Baptist minister Daniel Blount performed the ceremony in the presence of Julia Blount, Albert Winstead and Giney Winstead.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, farmer Thomas Thomas, 44; wife Della, 31; and children Joseph, 14, Fred, 6, Lizzie, 3, and Ida, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 211 Walnut Street, rented for $12/month, Tom Thomas, 63; wife Della, 40; and children Ida, 21, Larrie, 19, George, 17, and Jessie W., 15.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 604 Warren Street, Tom Thomas, 74; wife Della, 69; and son Jessie, 24, who worked in a tobacco factory machine room.

In 1942, Jessie Wright Thomas registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 7 January 1915 in Wilson; resided at 604 South Warren; his contact was mother, Della Barnes Thomas; and he worked for Southern Tobacco Company, South Tarboro Street, Wilson.

Fred Thomas died 25 December 1945 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 March 1905 in Wilson County to Thomas Thompson [sic] and Della Barnes; worked as a laborer; and resided at 604 South Warren.

Della Thomas died 14 October 1951 at her home at 604 South Warren Street. Per her death certificate, she was 79 years old; was born in Wilson County to Thomas Thomas [sic] and Jane Barnes; and was a widow. Jessie Thomas was informant.

Pioneer passes.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1942.


In the 1870 census of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina: Chaney Crenshaw, 40, and daughters Jinnie, 15, Ida, 7, and Ella, 6.

In the 1880 census of Raleigh township, Wake County: at Saint Augustine School, Jinnie, 19. Ida, 18, and Ella Crenshaw, 14.

In the 1887 Raleigh, N.C., city directory: Crenshaw Ida (col) houseservant at 522 Fayetteville, r outside

On 28 March 1888, John H. Clark, 24, of Wilson County, son of Harry and Flora Clark of Beaufort County, North Carolina, married Ida R. Crenshaw, 21, of Wake County, daughter of John and Chaney Crenshaw. Robert B. Sutton, Doctor of Divinity, Presbyter of the Protestant Episcopalian Church, performed the ceremony at the Chapel of Saint Augustine Normal School, Raleigh.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: school teacher John H. Clark, 36; wife Ida R., 34; and children Chaney V., 8, and Flora R., 2.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, letter carrier John H. Clark, 46; wife Ida, 46, school teacher; and daughter Floyd [sic], 12.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 635 Manchester Street, mail carrier John Clark, 56; wife Ida, 48; and daughter Flora, 12.

On 18 June 1930, Flora Ruth Clark, 21, of Wilson, daughter of John H. and Ida R. Clark, married Wilton Maxwell Bethel, 21, son of Ernest and Phillis Bethel, at Saint Mark’s Presbyterian Episcopal Church in Wilson. Presbyterian Episcopal minister Eugene Leon Henderson performed the ceremony in the presence of John H. Clark and Ida R. Clark.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Nash Street, John Clark, 76; wife Ida, 65; son-in-law Wilton Bethel, 33, insurance agent for N.C. Mutual Insurance; and daughter Flora, 30, school teacher at Darden High School.

Ida R. Clark died 13 June 1942 at her home at 706 East Nash, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 May 1873 in Franklin County to Prince and Chaney Crenshaw of Franklin County; was married; was a teacher and homemaker; and was buried in the Masonic cemetery. John H. Clark was informant.

Two of the oldest.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 January 1931.

Hancy Best was the widow of Orren Best, who owned much of the property in the old Grabneck community before its residents shifted over to New Grabneck.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Daniel Best, 62; wife Jane, 50; children Laura, 19, Nicy, 17, Noah, 16, and Orange, 21, and [Orren’s wife] Hancy, 21.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: hireling Daniel Best, 72, and wife Jane, 55, living amid a cluster of household that included farmer Orren Best, 31, wife Hansey, 31, and children James, 9, Oscar, 6, George, 4, Fannie, 2, and Hattie, 3 months; hireling Lewis Best, 53, wife Harriette, 50, and children Daniel, 23, Sarah, 12, John, 8, and Willie, 10; and brickmason Noah Best, 27, wife Sarah, 25, and sons William, 2, and Thomas, 4 months.

On 28 March 1900, Fannie Best, 22, married Willie Rountree, 28, at Orren Best’s house. Minister R.S. Rives performed the ceremony in the presence of Levi James, Fred Vastenable and Martha Vastenable.

On 31 December 1902, Willie Barnes, 22, son of Willis and Cherry Barnes, married Hattie Best, 21, daughter of Orange and Hancy Best, at Orren Best’s residence in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles B. Gay, John H. Lewis, and Orren Best.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, house carpenter Orange Best, 67; wife Hansy, 60, laundress; widower son Oscar, 37, grocery store owner; daughters Roberta, 22, laundress, and Bethena, 19; son Robert, 17, wagon factory laborer; and granddaughter Sarah, 8.

On June [no date], 1919, Hattie Barnes, 38, daughter of Orren and Nancy Best, married Shepherd Smith, 38, son of Billie and Polly Smith, in Wilson, Free Will Baptist minister R.D. Smith performed the ceremony in the presence of Henry Young, Henry Batts and Jim Long.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Street, carpenter Orange Best, 76; wife Hancey, 65; daughter Bethenia F., 28; son-in-law [sic; grandson?] Henry Sulors(?), 9; widowed granddaughter Sarah Bess, 20; great-grandson William Bess, 3; and granddaughters Nancy, 5, and Margret Fultis(?).

Oren Best died 26 March 1924 in WIlson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 February 1848 in Greene County to Daniel Best and Jane Edwards; was a carpenter; and was married to Hancy Best.

On 8 September 1926, Bertha Best, 32, daughter of Orren and Hansy Best, married Henry A. Freeman, 44, son of Julius and Eliza Freeman, in WIlson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Jas. Robert Bess, Ardena Holloway and Orren Best of Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Bertha Freeman, 39, cook, and mother widowed Hancy Best, 92.

Hancy Best died 25 January 1931 in WIlson, Per her death certificate, she was 75 years old; was born in Greene County to Hardy Harper and Harriett Harper; and was a widow. Bertha Freeman was informant.

Fannie Rountree died 2 September 1953 in Philadlephia, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 February 1876 in WIlson, North Carolina, to Oren Best and Nancy Harper; was a widow; and resided in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Ethel T. Rountree, Asbury Park, was informant.

The last will and testament of Isaac Rich.

In the Name of God, Amen. I, Isaac Rich, of Lucama, Wilson County, State of North Carolina, being of sound mind and memory do this 22nd day of March, A.D. 1911, make and publish my last and testament in manner following, that is to say: At my death I wish to be decently buried and according to the wishes of my friends.

ITEM. I give to my beloved wife, Jack Ann Rich, during her life time or widowhood, the home place where on I now live containing thirty (30) acres, more or less, which is separated and marked by a line from the railroad bridge to the old line the corner, and after her death I give my granddaughter Viola Dawson the said home place during her life time

ITEM. I give my daughter, Martha Ann, wife of James Pearce, one tract of land separated from the home place by a line from the railroad bridge above mentioned, to the old line including the church lot adjoining Mr. Jesse Lucas line and also three and one fourth acres across the railroad, all together containing thirty (30) acres, more or less, to her and her heirs forever.

ITEM. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Marilda Forsythe, one tract of land called the grave yard tract, adjoining Jesse Lucas’s line at spring branch, a corner, thence to the railroad corner above, to include two acres across the rail road, the whole together containing twenty one (21) acres, more or less, to have and to hold to her the said Marilda Forsythe, during her life and after her death I bequeath the aforesaid land to Martha Ann Pearce, her heirs and assigns.

ITEM. I give and bequeath to my grand daughter, Viola Dawson, after the death of my wife, the home place mentioned in my will, to her and her heirs.

ITEM. I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife one horse and buggy her choice at my death. Also her share according to law of the cattle and other stock, and also her share of all other perishable property at my death and the sale of my property.

ITEM. At my death I give to Roman Oneal, my foster son, who has been faithful to me, a horse worth not more than twenty dollars and one Bible to cost one dollar

And if any money remain after the settlement of my estate, I bequeath the same to my children and their decendants

In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand an seal the day and date above mentioned in the presence of T.C. Davis and F.S. Davis the subscribing witnesses to this my will.                 /s/ Isaac (X) Rich


On 30 April 1872, Isaac Rich, son of Branch O’Neal and Rachel Peacock, married Elizar Darden, daughter of Lizzie Darden, at George Thompson’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Rich, 30; wife Eliza, 30; children Martha Ann, 9, Marilda, 7, Zachariah, 5, and Elafare, 2; mother Mary Howell, 65; and George Washington Bass, 15, farm worker.

On 13 September 1899, Marilda Rich, 23, daughter of Isaac and Eliza Rich, married Mack Forsythe, 28, son of Alex and Nancy Forsythe, in Cross Roads township. William Forsythe applied for the license.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: widower Isaac Rich, 50, farmer; daughters Martha A., 28, and Wibby, 16; niece Lettie Langston, 8, and nephew Rommie Oneil, 8.

On 12 December 1900, Isaac Rich, 50, of Wilson County, married Jack Ann Ricks, 35, of Wilson County. Methodist minister G.A. Wood performed the ceremony at the bride’s residence in Wilson in the presence of Moses Depree and Mingo Hines.

Willie Dawson, 23, of Black Creek township, son of Benjamin and Caroline Dawson, married Susie Ann Richs, 22, of Cross Roads, daughter of Isaac and Eliza Richs, on 12 January 1905. Free Will Baptist minister W.H. Frost performed the ceremony at W.M. Forsythe’s in the presence of Forsythe, William Daniels and Aaron Barnes, all of Lucama.

James Pierce, 28, of Cross Roads, married Martha Rich, 24, of Cross Roads, daughter of Isaac and Eliza Rich, on 18 January 1906 at Martha’s residence. Free Will Baptist minister J.M. Richardson performed the ceremony in the presence of Thomas Ayers, William Forsythe and J.T. Horton, all of Lucama.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Rich, 60, farmer; wife Jacan, 45; nephews Roman Oneil, 18, and Robert Creech, 18; and laborer Bruce Depree, 18.

Isaac Rich died in the summer of 1913. James H. Newsome applied for letters of administration for his estate, naming widow Jack Ann Rich and Martha Ann Pearce, Marilda Forsyth, Viola Dawson (minor) and Roman O’Neal as heirs. Rich’s estate was estimated at $5600, including land.

Martha A. Pierce died 23 February 1918 in Cross Roads township. Per her death certificate, she was 42 years old; the daughter of Isaac Rich and Eliza Hayes; was married; and was buried in the Ricks graveyard. William Forsythe was informant, and Mack Forsythe, the undertaker.

Image of original will and administration letters available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],