Business

Old Cabin Lunch.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 August 1925. 

In 1925, 1401 East Nash Street was just beyond eastern city limits. I have not been able to find anything else about Old Cabin Lunch.  I’m not at all sure it was a Black-owned business, though it was located in an African-American residential area. Three years later, the address was the location of William Wells‘ auto repair garage.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1928). 

Health Department ratings.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 July 1922.

The (county?) health department rated five “colored” cafes during a monthly inspection in July 1922.

Tate’s Cafe, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

  • Central Cafe — per the 1922 city directory, this eatery was located at 415 East Nash Street and had a Greek (or Greek-American) proprietor, Mike Vekrakos.

Central Cafe, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

  • Gilliams Cafe — per the 1922 city directory, this cafe was located at 509 East Nash Street, and Rachel Gilliam was proprietor. Gilliam lived at 228 Smith Street, the narrow lane running parallel to Nash.
  • Carolina Cafe
  • Barnes Cafe

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

For (white) women who care.

This entry in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson city directory is what first caught my eye:

Odessa Beatrice Reid was the daughter of Ietta R. M. Reid and noted veterinarian Elijah L. Reid. Why did she occupy a space at the rear of 109 1/2 West Nash Street? Lawrence Brett & Company were civil engineers; John D. Wells was a tobacconist. Odessa B. Reid, it turns out, was a hairdresser who catered to white women and located her business accordingly.

Reid announced her opening in October 1918, having graduated from a course in the Elizabeth Kink System (about which I can find absolutely nothing). Her beauty parlor was on the second floor of the Carolina Building on Goldsboro Street. (This location is not clear. The building most commonly known as “the Carolina” was at 105 North Tarboro Street, just beyond Nash Street. Interestingly, it had been the site of Lemon Taborn‘s 19th-century barbershop.) Reid kept an 11-hour day and made her client pool clear.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 October 1918.

Nine years later, Madame Reid announced a move to the space over the World Theatre in the Wells Building, today the site of a dance studio.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1927.

She didn’t stay long. A year later, she was in the Tarboro Street Carolina Building in room 12, second floor. She asked that her clients call her home for appointments between 5 and 10 P.M. “on account of the illness of my mother.”

Wilson Daily Times, 2 October 1928.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Eliza [sic] Reid, 38, veterinary surgeon; wife Ietta, 36; and daughter Beatrice, 13.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 650 Viola Street, Eligha Reid, 50, doctor [sic] in general practice; wife Ietta, 44; and daughter Odess, 22, beauty parlor manager.

On 26 September 1923, Heathen Sorrell, 25, of Rocky Mount, N.C, son of Lizzie Sorrell, married Odessa B. Reid, 26, of Wilson, daughter of E.L. and Ietta R.M. Reid. Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of Levi Jones, Norma E. Duncan, and Ethel L. Hines. (The marriage ended quickly.)

For several weeks in December 1924, the Wilson Daily Times published a Notice of Summons and Warrant of Attachment in Odessa Reid Sorrell vs. Leslie Boise Pender, a case in which Reid Sorrell was seeking a $370.00 judgment. I have no further information about the lawsuit.

On 23 February 1925, Alfred G. Spicer, 24, of Washington, D.C., son of Addie Spicer, married Odessa B. Reid, 27, of Wilson, daughter of E.L. and Ietta Reid, in Wilson. M.E. DuBissette, M.D., applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist Elder Tom Dickens performed the ceremony at Dr. E.L. Reid’s residence in the presence of DuBissette, Reid, and A.T. Spicer of Rocky Mount.

In the 1930 census: at 309 Elba, doctor of veterinary surgery Eliria L. Reed, 67; daughter Odessa B. Spicer, 28, a beauty parlor operator; and wife Ietta Reid, 57. The house was valued at $5000.

On 31 December 1931, in Arlington County, Virginia, Alfred G. Spicer, 31, of South Washington, Virginia, was awarded a divorce from Odessa B. Spicer, 309 North Elba Street, Wilson, on the grounds of desertion.

Odessa Reid Sorrell Spicer, perhaps during her beauty salon years.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $20/month, veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, 78; wife Ietta R., 65; and daughter Odessa B., 30, a graduate nurse. [When and where did Odessa Reid train as a nurse?]

Dr. Elijah L. Reid died 8 November 1948 at home at 811 Viola Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 January 1881 in Wayne County, N.C., to Wash Reid; was married to Ietta Reid; and worked as “doctor (veterinarian).” Odessa Reid, 811 Viola, was informant.

Ietta R.M. Reid died 14 February 1961 at home at 816 Elvie Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate; she was born 12 August 1867 in Edgecombe County to Jairett Staton; was a widow; and was a retired teacher. Odessa Reid, 816 Elvie, was informant.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com user Joyce Rucker-Barnes.

Benefit for the old people’s home.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 July 1917.

Did the “old people’s home, colored” ever open? Apparently so, at 310 Lodge Street.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 August 1918.

A.A.I Davis soon moved on to another old folks’ home in Wilmington, North Carolina. (Per newspaper accounts, Davis was pastor of a Baptist church in Albany, New York, as late as 1915, but by 1916 was running an old folks’ home  in Maxton, North Carolina, in 1916. What was going on here?)

Wilmington Morning Star, 11 November 1921.

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Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C. (1922).

Safety, efficiency, courteous service.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 October 1921.

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  • James H. Bailey, cashier — of Goldsboro, N.C.
  • H.S. Stanbach, assistant cashier — Henry S. Stanback.
  • S.H. Vick, president — Samuel H. Vick.
  • J.D. Reid, vice-president
  • F.S. Hargraves, vice-president — Dr. Frank S. Hargrave, physician.
  • J.G. Mitchell, vice-president — James G. Mitchell, a farmer near Elm City.
  • W.R. Hinnant, vice-president — a farmer from Kenly, Johnston County.
  • C.D. Sauls, vice-president — Cain D. Sauls, a Greene County businessman.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Charlie Battle, “horse shoeing a specialty.”

Wilson Daily Times, 8 May 1896.

Charles Battle was a well-known blacksmith in late 19th century Wilson. 

The 1897 Sanborn fire insurance map shows two blacksmith shops near Frank Daniels’ Cotton Gin. The one at left, most nearly opposite the gin, is likely Battle’s shop.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Dedication of historical markers.

At last, the official dedications of four historical markers installed in Wilson in 2020-21.

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“Colored Citizens” published a note to mark the end of the second year of the Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute. Wilson Daily Times, 1 June 1920.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.