Births Deaths Marriages

Studio shots, no. 83: Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.

Willie Mae Hendley Freeman (1888-1971).

In the 1900 census of Civil District #11, Davidson County, Tennessee: carriage driver William Hendley, 37; wife Connie, 32; and children Willie May, 12, Virgil, 9, Malone, 7, Hattie, 6, George, 4, Connie, 3, and Iola Leroy, 1.

In the 1910 census of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee: coachman William Hendley, 54; wife Connie, 44, washerwoman; and children Willie, 20, teacher at industrial school, Virgil, 18, coachman, Malone, 17, houseboy, Hattie, 15, George, 14, Connie, 12, Leroy, 11, John, 9, Mildred, 6, and Julian, 4.

On 18 November 1910, Willie M. Hendley and Oliver M. Freeman were married in Montgomery, Alabama.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Oliver N. Freeman, 38; wife Willie May, 31; and children Naomi, 8, Oliver N. Jr., 7, Mary F., 5, and Connie, 4.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1300 East Nash Street, valued at $6000, Oliver N. Freeman, 48, building contractor; wife Willie May, 41, born in Tennessee; and children Naomi, 18, Oliver N. Jr., 17, Mary F., 16, and Connie H., 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nestus Freeman, 58; wife Willie, 51; and daughters Connie, 25, and Mary Frances, 24.

Willie Mae Freeman died 9 October 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 June 1888 in Tennessee to William Hendley and Connie Stevens; was a widow; was a retired teacher; and resided at 1300 East Nash Street.

 

 

Obituary of Mary Bridgers Jenkins.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 May 1952.

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Gray Jenkins, 21, son of Gray and Lucinda Jenkins, married Mary Jane Bridgers, 17, daughter of Si and Penny Bridgers, on 17 September 1898 in Township #11, Edgecombe County.

In the 1900 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Gray Jenkins, 20, wife Mary J., 18, and son Isaac, 1.

In the 1910 census of Township #10, Edgecombe County: on the Tarboro & Wilson Road, farmer Gray Jenkins, 30; wife Mary Jane, 29; and children Charity, 9, Joseph, 7, William G., 5, Lucinda, 4, and Mada, 2.

In the 1920 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Mark Jenkins, 46; wife Mary Jane, 35; children Joseph, 17, William, 15, Lucinda, 12, Mada, 11, Mark, 9, Turner, 7, Rosa, 5, and Rachel, 4; adopted son Lester, 7; and servant Frank Braswell, 18.

Joe Jenkins died 5 April 1924 “on W.W. Cobbs farm” in Township #10, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was 22 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Gray Jenkins of Edgecombe and Jane Bridgers of Wilson County; farmed for Walter Brown; was single; and was buried “in Wilson County Mr. Hyram Webb.”

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Jenkins, 54; wife Mary J., 40; and children Mark, 19, Rachel, 15, and Lucy, 9.

Billie Gray Jenkins died 3 February 1931 in Pinetops, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1905 in Edgecombe County to Gray Jenkins and Mary J. Bridgers; was a laborer; resided at 310 Gold Leaf, Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County; and was buried in Wilson County.

Gray Jenkins Jr. died 8 December 1937 in Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1879 in Edgecombe County to Gray Jenkins and Sinda Bynum; was married to Mary Jane Jenkins; and was a farmer. Informant was Bess Jenkins, Pinetops, North Carolina.

Mary Jenkins died 19 May 1952 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 June 1893 to Sie Bridgers and an unknown mother; was a widow; had worked in farming; and resided at 124 Narroway Street, Wilson. Turner Jenkins was informant.

Lucinda Dixon died 27 February 1956 at her home at 604 East Vance Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 March 1910 in Edgecombe County to Gray Jenkins and Mary J. Bridgers; was a widow; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Mark Jenkins was informant.

Rachel J. Wooten died 23 November 1960 in Pinetops, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 December 1916 to Gray Jenkins and Mary Bridgers; resided on East Cobb Street, Pinetops; was married to Charles W. “Sam” Wooten; and was buried in Pinetops cemetery.

Turner Jenkins died 11 January 1967 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 April 1912 in Edgecombe County to Gray Jenkins and Mary Jane Bridgers; worked as a laborer; was married to Lossie Jenkins; and resided at 128 Narroway Street.

Mark Jenkins died 11 June 1969 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 August 1910 to Gray Jenkins and Mary Bridgers; resided near Elm City; was married to Leatha Hill; was a farmer; and was buried in Sharpe Cemetery.

Charity Williams died 6 March 1970 in Tarboro, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 March 1910 in Edgecombe County to Gray Jenkins and Mary Jane Bridgers; was a widow; resided in Pinetops; and was buried in Pinetops cemetery.

Rosa Mae Bynum died 24 August 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 March in about 1915 to Gray Jenkins and Mary Jane Bridgers; lived at 701 Manchester Street; and was married to Fred Bynum.

Final rites for Aggie M. Williams.

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 March 1951.

The Daily Times‘ editorial policy, apparently, provided that the most remarkable fact of the lives of men and woman who had been enslaved was that they had been enslaved. However, as set forth in detail here, Aggie Mercer Williams died possessed of a house and two lots in Elm City and two farms outside of town, which suggests a lifetime of notable achievement.

The Greatest Generation: M. Elmer Carter Jr.

Milford Elmer Carter Jr. recently celebrated his 95th birthday. Born in Wilson in 1923 to Wayne County natives Milford E. and Beulah Aldridge Carter, he and his family boarded briefly in Cora Miller Washington‘s home at 701 East Green Street, around the corner from the Elba Street home of Milford Carter Sr’s uncle, Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. and, per the 1922 city directory, lived at 905 East Vance Street. The family soon migrated to Pennsylvania, then New York City. M. Elmer Carter Jr. is a veteran of World War II.

Photos courtesy of Carla Carter Jacobs.

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.

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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.
  • James Powell, died 1939. DEAR FATHER. GOD FINGER TOUCHED HIM AND HE SLEPT.

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.

Obituary of Della Barnes Thomas.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1951.

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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.