Where we worked: 1922 — B.

City directories offer fine-grained looks at a city’s residents at short intervals. The 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., directory reveals the types of work available to African-Americans during the booming tobacco era. This post is the second in an alphabetical series listing all “colored” directory entries for whom an occupation was listed. The address is the resident’s home, unless a business address is noted.

  • Bailey, Albert, fireman, 523 South Spring
  • Bailey, Rita, domestic, 118 Ashe
  • Baines, H[enry] Roscoe, carpenter, 307 North Reid
  • Baker, James, tobacco worker, 546 East Nash
  • Baker, William M., carpenter, 610 South Spring
  • Banaman, Frank, tobacco worker, 109 Ashe
  • Banner, Edward, driver, 614 Spruce
  • Banner, Mamie, domestic, 614 Spruce
  • Barber, Ethel, domestic, 1100 East Nash
  • Barber, Sallie, teacher, 1100 East Nash
  • Barbour, James M., proprietor – Wardrobe Pressing Club, 916 Atlantic
  • Barefoot, Bertha, domestic, 918 Washington Avenue
  • Barefoot, Ernest, porter, 324 Hackney
  • Barefoot, Hubert, presser, 412 North Vick
  • Barefoot, Linwood, proprietor – Barefoot Pressing Works, 918 Washington Ave
  • Barefoot Pressing Works, 507 East Nash, Linwood Barefoot proprietor
  • Barham, William, presser – Edwin Thomas, East Nash extended
  • Barnes, Agnes, tobacco worker, 523 Smith
  • Barnes, Albert, tobacco worker, 204 Sunshine Alley
  • Barnes, Alonzo, barber, 806 E Green
  • Barnes, Anna, laundress, 106 South Carroll
  • Barnes, Artelia, domestic, 500 East Green
  • Barnes, B. Frank, laborer, 106 South Carroll
  • Barnes, Bud, driver, 306 South Lodge
  • Barnes, Charlie G., 106 South Carroll
  • Barnes, Cherry, domestic, 608 Stantonsburg Road
  • Barnes, Clifton, tobacco worker, 417 South Goldsboro
  • Barnes, Cora, tobacco worker, 111 Manchester
  • Barnes, Dave, barber – W.S. Hines, 613 East Green
  • Barnes, Della, domestic, 613 East Green
  • Barnes, Dicey, domestic, 901 Stantonsburg Road
  • Barnes, Dorothy, maid, 209 West Nash
  • Barnes, Edward, porter, 418 North Vick
  • Barnes, Ella, laundress, 602 South Daniel
  • Barnes, Eva, tobacco worker, 302 Stantonsburg Road
  • Barnes, Fannie, tobacco worker, 642 Wiggins
  • Barnes, Frances, domestic, 512 Stemmery
  • Barnes, Frank, plasterer, 517 Railroad
  • Barnes, Frank, tobacco grader, 801 Mercer, (home) 716 South Goldsboro
  • Barnes, Fred, laborer, 126 Ashe
  • Barnes, George, farmer, 526 East Barnes
  • Barnes, George, laborer, 203 West Gold
  • Barnes, Harriett, laundress, 214 Manchester
  • Barnes, Henrietta, domestic, 1109 Atlanta
  • Barnes, Henry, laborer, 409 North Pine
  • Barnes, Henry, tobacco worker, 804 South Lodge
  • Barnes, Henry, tobacco worker, 406 Viola
  • Barnes, Howard W., barber – W.M. Hines, 420 Vick
  • Barnes, James F., laborer, 106 Carroll
  • Barnes, James H., barber, 420 East Nash, (home) 670 Viola
  • Barnes, John, helper, 114 Smith
  • Barnes, John, laborer, 810 South Lodge
  • Barnes, John, presser, 413 South Goldsboro
  • Barnes, John H., tobacco worker, 312 South Lodge
  • Barnes, John M., plasterer, 500 East Green
  • Barnes, Joseph, barber, 212 Manchester
  • Barnes, L[eonard]. Elroy, plasterer, 500 East Green
  • Barnes, Larry, presser, 212 Manchester
  • Barnes, Lemon, laborer, 1009 Atlanta
  • Barnes, Littleton, carpenter, 407 Viola
  • Barnes, Lizzie, maid, 1109 Atlanta
  • Barnes, Lonnie, barber – W.S. Hines, 802 East Green
  • Barnes, Louise, laundress, 418 North Vick
  • Barnes, Lucy D., tobacco worker, 212 Manchester
  • Barnes, Maggie, cook, 303 Stantonsburg Road
  • Barnes, Mal, laborer 408 South Lodge
  • Barnes, Mazie, domestic, 642 Wiggins
  • Barnes, Oscar, laborer, 406 South Goldsboro
  • Barnes, Pate, laborer, 1112 East Nash
  • Barnes, Rodenia, tobacco stemmer, 212 Manchester
  • Barnes, Rosa, domestic, 403 East Walnut
  • Barnes, Rosena, laundress, 119 East Walnut
  • Barnes, Sarah, cook – Carolina Hotel, 116 Pender
  • Barnes, Short W., carpenter, 616 East Green
  • Barnes, Sudie, tobacco worker, 602 South Daniel
  • Barnes, Tobe, tobacco worker, 309 Spring Street Alley
  • Barnes, Victoria, tobacco worker, 102 Ashe
  • Barnes, Weldon, laborer, 108 West Lee
  • Barnes, William, laborer, 1020 Wainwright
  • Barnes, Wright, laborer, 608 Railroad
  • Bass, Dezell, tobacco worker, 107 Stantonsburg Road
  • Batchelor, Amanda, domestic, 808 Suggs
  • Batchelor, Bonnie, laborer, 410 East Hines
  • Battle, Arza L., hairdresser – Carrie Strickland, 300 South Spring
  • Battle, Cary, horse shoer – J.Y. Buchanan, East Nash near East
  • Battle, Daisy, tobacco worker, 404 South Lodge
  • Battle, Dave, section hand, 404 South Lodge
  • Battle, Delphia, tobacco worker, 705 East Nash
  • Battle, Edward, laborer, 813 East Green
  • Battle, Ella, tobacco worker, 322 South Spring
  • Battle, Ernest, laborer, 609 South Lodge
  • Battle, Esther, tobacco worker, 209 East Spruce
  • Battle, Frank, freight hand, 902 East Nash
  • Battle, Frank, tobacco worker, 705 East Nash
  • Battle, Frank, tobacco worker, 912 Wainwright Avenue
  • Battle, Frank F., laborer, 1101 Woodard Avenue
  • Battle, Grace, maid – Oettinger’s, 322 South Spring
  • Battle, Hattie, laundress, 705 South Lodge
  • Battle, John, factory hand, 322 South Spring
  • Battle, Joseph, tobacco worker, 606 South Spring
  • Battle, Marie, domestic, 813 East Green
  • Battle, Maud, cook, 106 West Vance
  • Battle, Miller, section hand, 405 Spring Street Alley
  • Battle, Minnie, cook, 209 East Spruce
  • Battle, Narcissa, domestic, 503 Warren
  • Battle, Roberta, teacher, 322 South Spring
  • Battle, William L., tobacco worker, 506 South Lodge
  • Batts, Amos, Grand Scribe Knights of King Solomon Inc., 1113 East Nash
  • Batts, Jacob, 601 South Lodge
  • Batts, John, laborer, 317 South Goldsboro
  • Beckwith, Cora, domestic, 516 South Lodge
  • Beckwith, Odelle, cook, 208 Manchester
  • Becoat, Robert, tobacco worker, 108 South Vick
  • Bell, Charles, laborer, 509 Railroad
  • Bell, Hester, tobacco worker, 908 East Nash
  • Bell, Jasper, tobacco worker, 908 East Nash
  • Belmon, Tobe, laborer, 511 Railroad
  • Bennett, James W., tailor – Powell’s Cleaning Works, 527 Church
  • Bennett, Mable, domestic, 527 Church
  • Bennett, Pearl, laundress, 524 East Barnes
  • Bentley, Mary, domestic, 908 Mercer
  • Berry, Samuel, 508 North Pine
  • Best, Aaron, porter, 517 South Spring
  • Best, Ada, domestic, 1105 West Nash
  • Best, Clinton, bricklayer, 208 Pender
  • Best, Eliza, seamstress, 320 South Spring
  • Best, Frankie, domestic, 320 South Spring
  • Best, Harper, farmer, 320 South Spring
  • Best, John, laborer, 106 Ashe
  • Best, John W., soft drinks, 304 South Lodge, (home) 400 South Lodge
  • Best, Lossie, laundress, 913 Washington Avenue
  • Best, Minnie, domestic, 208 Pender
  • Best, Nannie, tobacco worker, 320 South Spring
  • Best, William, bricklayer 913 Washington Avenue
  • Best, Wilson, bricklayer, 1105 West Nash
  • Bethea, Iola, waitress, 304 East South
  • Black, Grover, laborer, 907 Robinson
  • Black, James, laborer, 501 Stantonsburg Road
  • Black, Martha, laundress, 907 Robinson
  • Black, William, tobacco worker, 507 Bank
  • Blackman, Andrew, drayman, 620 Darden Alley
  • Blow, Harrison, tobacco worker, 902 Mercer
  • Blow, Jane, tobacco worker, 902 Mercer
  • Blow, Sudie, laundress, 310 East Walnut
  • Blow, William, laborer, 513 Smith
  • Blue, Susie, domestic, 137 Ashe
  • Blue, William, tobacco worker, 137 Ashe
  • Boone, James, tobacco worker, 611 South Spring
  • Boone, Linwood, tobacco worker, 414 South Spring
  • Booten, Caroline, laundress, 206 East Hines
  • Borden, Liza, domestic, 204 South Vick
  • Bowden, William R., presser – Powell’s Cleaning Works, 110 Finch
  • Bowen, Horace, laborer, 802 South Lodge
  • Bowers, Bud, laborer, 414 Walnut Alley
  • Bowling, Fletcher, laborer, 518 South Lodge
  • Bowser, Astor B., insurance agent, 520 East Nash
  • Bowser, Sarah L., dressmaker, 520 East Nash
  • Bowser, Thomas F., cook, 520 East Nash
  • Boyette, Bud, tobacco worker, 304 East Walnut
  • Boyette, Emma, domestic, 210 Pender
  • Boyette, Jensie, tobacco worker, 304 East Walnut
  • Boyette, Nathan, carpenter, 210 Pender
  • Boykin, Bettie, 190 North East
  • Boykin, Charles, chauffeur, 306 East Walnut
  • Boykin, John, carpenter, 801 Viola
  • Branch, J.G., Rev., pastor Mount Zion Holiness Church, (home) Goldsboro, N.C.
  • Branch, Letta, tobacco worker, 507 Hadley
  • Brant, Elnora, domestic, 416 East Green
  • Brant, Joseph, bricklayer, 416 East Green
  • Braswell, Cora, domestic, 639 Wiggins
  • Braswell, William, laborer, 414 Whitley
  • Braxton, Viola, domestic, 415 South Railroad
  • Brewington, Angeline, domestic, 601 South Railroad
  • Brewington, David, laborer, 601 South Railroad
  • Brewington, Edward C., proprietor – Brewington Pressing Works, 1212 East Nash
  • Brewington Pressing Works, 561 East Nash, Edward C. Brewington proprietor
  • Bright, Martha, tobacco worker, 802 East Nash
  • Brin, John, tobacco worker, 110 South Vick
  • Brinkley, Nannie, domestic, 203 Stantonsburg Road
  • Britt, Mamie, cook, 113 Manchester
  • Brody, David, grader, 303 Mercer
  • Brody, Gertrude, domestic, 113 Pender
  • Brody, Josephine, student, 303 Mercer
  • Brooks, Burley, bicycle mechanic – C.H. Darden & Sons, South Atlantic
  • Brooks, Eva, laundress, East Nash extended
  • Brooks, Jesse, sexton – First Baptist Church, Stantonsburg Road
  • Brooks, Jesse B., barber – W.M. Hines, Atlantic near Nash
  • Brooks, John, carpenter, East Nash extended
  • Brooks, Minnie, domestic, 810 East Nash
  • Brooks, Seth, barber – W.M. Hines, 908 Elba
  • Brown, Edward, laborer, 411 North Pine
  • Brown, Edward H., carpenter, 202 South Vick
  • Brown, Ellis, tobacco worker, 906 Viola
  • Brown, Estelle, laundress, 306 Pender
  • Brown, Eva L., dressmaker, 202 South Vick
  • Brown, Jesse, tobacco worker, 1202 East Nash
  • Brown, Maggie, laundress, 1008 Woodard Avenue
  • Brown, Mattie, laundress, 809 Suggs
  • Brown, Nora, tobacco worker, 205 South Railroad
  • Brown, Oma, domestic, 209 South Railroad
  • Brown, Peter, cook, 406 Spring Street Alley
  • Brown, William, laborer, 809 Suggs
  • Brown, William H., printer, 202 South Vick
  • Bryant, Beatrice, domestic, 632 Suggs
  • Bryant, Cora, domestic, 111 Pender
  • Bryant, Edward, cook, 411 North Pine
  • Bryant, Harry H., tobacco worker, 619 Suggs
  • Bryant, Julia, domestic, 619 Suggs
  • Bryant, Millie, cook, 308 West Nash
  • Buie, Alma, tobacco worker, 209 North East
  • Bullard, Ayatte, domestic, 112 Fourth
  • Bullard, Minnie, domestic, 112 Fourth
  • Bullard, Wesley, presser, 112 Fourth
  • Bullard, William, carpenter, 112 Fourth
  • Bullock, Jolly, laborer, 120 North Railroad
  • Bullock, Lizzie, domestic, 525 Church
  • Bullock, Mack, tobacco worker, 1008 Robinson
  • Bullock, Martha, laundress, 1106 Wainwright
  • Bullock, Richard, laborer 1208 East Nash
  • Bullock, Swindell, butler, 1200 West Gold
  • Bullock, William, laborer, 525 Church
  • Bunk, William, 913 Robinson
  • Bunn, Abraham, carpenter, 629 Wiggins
  • Bunn, Bertie, domestic, 502 South Bruton
  • Bunn, Martha, domestic, 629 Wiggins
  • Burke, Lottie, laundress, 211 Stantonsburg Road
  • Burks, Georgia, teacher, 322 South Spring
  • Burl, Linda, domestic, 304 Stantonsburg Road
  • Burns, Henry, laborer, 409 Spring Street Alley
  • Burton, William H., tobacco worker, 201 North Vick
  • Burtsell, Paul, pastor Holy Apostolic Church, (home) Goldsboro, N.C.
  • Busy Bee Shoe Shine Parlor, 513 East Nash, Jake Johnson proprietor
  • Buthine, Charles, tobacco worker, 108 North Pettigrew
  • Buthine, Shulor, laundress, 108 North Pettigrew
  • Bynum, Albert, Rev., 627 Suggs
  • Bynum, Alice, tobacco worker, 510 Stantonsburg Road
  • Bynum, Annie, cook, 113 Narroway
  • Bynum, Charlotte, midwife, 117 Manchester
  • Bynum, Charlotte, millhand, 632 Wiggins
  • Bynum, Dudley, barber, 913 Atlanta
  • Bynum, Estella, domestic, 807 Stantonsburg Road
  • Bynum, Herbert, laborer, 1000 Mercer
  • Bynum, Ida, domestic, 510 Stantonsburg Road
  • Bynum, John, laborer, 807 Stantonsburg Road
  • Bynum, Joseph, laborer, 113 Narroway
  • Bynum, Katherine, student, 532 East Nash
  • Bynum, Mack, tobacco worker, 532 East Nash
  • Bynum, Penny, domestic, 627 Suggs
  • Bynum, Thomas, tobacco worker, 117 Manchester
  • Bynum, William, tobacco worker, 510 Stantonsburg Road
  • Byrd, Minnie, cook, 402 South Goldsboro
  • Byrd, Thomas, laborer, 514 East Nash


  • “Domestic” likely encompassed domestic work done both within one’s home (i.e. the work of a “housewife”) and for an outside employer.
  • In this era, there were no African-American firemen in Wilson in the “firefighter” sense. A “fireman” in this context was a stoker, i.e. someone responsible for tending the fire needed to run a boiler to heat a building or power a steam engine.
  • As is clear here, Barnes is by far the most common surname for African-Americans (and whites) in Wilson County. As a result, one should not assume that any two Barneses are related.
  • The streets now known as Atlantic Street and Washington Street were originally designated Atlanta Street and Booker T. Washington Avenue, both in honor of the “Wizard of Tuskegee,” who spoke in Wilson in 1910.
  • “Robinson” Street is, in fact, Robeson.
  • Whitley Street was a short, narrow block running alongside Williams Lumber Company between South Lodge Street and the terminus of South Spring Street. Per the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, it was lined with seven small houses on the south side of the street. Hominy Swamp ran perhaps 150′ behind.

Today, Whitley Street and the last stretch of South Douglas, below the Norfolk & Southern tracks, have been swallowed up by the site of Garris Evans Lumber Company.

  • Oettinger’s Dependable Shop was at 100-106 East Nash Street.
  • The Carolina Hotel was at 225 East Barnes Street.
  • Carrie Strickland’s beauty shop was at 528 East Nash Street.
  • James Younger Buchanan was a blacksmith and horse shoer who operated a shop at 209 East South Street.
  • Powell’s Cleaning Works was at 117 South Tarboro Street.
  • Walter S. Hines barber shop.
  • William M. Hines barber shop.
  • Mount Zion Holiness Church was on Lodge Street near Walnut.
  • Holy Apostolic Church was on Banks Street near Spring.

Current map courtesy of Google Maps.

Where we worked: 1922 — A.

City directories offer fine-grained looks at a city’s residents at short intervals. The 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., directory reveals the types of work available to African-Americans during the booming tobacco era. This post is the first in an alphabetical series listing all “colored” directory entries for whom an occupation was listed. The address is the resident’s home, unless a business address is noted.

  • Adams, Bessie, domestic, 107 South Carroll
  • Adams, Ella, cook – Wilson Sanatorium, 410 South Goldsboro
  • Adams, Gertrude, proprietor – Lynnhaven Hotel, 537 East Nash
  • Adams, James, laborer, 105 West Walnut
  • Adams, Jesse, laborer, 1114 East Nash
  • Adams, Millie A., nurse – Wilson County Home
  • Adams, Ned, laborer, 704 Walnut
  • Adams, Roy, tobacco worker, 604 South Daniel
  • Aiken, Georgie, domestic, 120 Pender
  • Alexander, England, laborer, 511 Warren
  • Alexander, Lillie, domestic, 511 Warren
  • Allen, Henry, laborer, 523 South Lodge
  • Allen, Jesse, laborer, 527 South Lodge
  • Allen, Mary, laundress, 609 South Spring
  • Alston, Lucy, dressmaker, 417 Walnut
  • Alston, Robert T., jeweler, 552 East Nash
  • Alston, William, farmer, Mercer near Five Points
  • Anderson, Ed, porter, 213 Manchester
  • Anderson, Mabel E., dressmaker, 202 South Vick
  • Anderson, Mary, domestic, 608 Stantonsburg Road
  • Anthony, James, dressing, 113 Pender
  • Armstrong, Alice, tobacco worker, 521 South Lodge
  • Armstrong, Bessie, tobacco worker, 645 Wiggins
  • Armstrong, Ernest, barber, 510 Railroad
  • Armstrong, James, laundress, 523 Stemmery
  • Arrington, Allie, shoe polisher, 213 East Spruce
  • Arrington, Ernest, ice cutter, 705 South Lodge
  • Arrington, Levi V., carpenter, 206 North Reid
  • Arrington, Mary, laundress, 404 South Goldsboro
  • Arrington, Roxie, cook, 711 Robinson [Roberson]
  • Arrington, William, laborer, 711 Robinson
  • Artis, Columbus E., proprietor – The Delicatessen, 308 Pender
  • Artis, Emma, laundress, 310 East Walnut
  • Artis, Ezekial, drayman, 407 Bank
  • Artis, James, bellboy, 518 East Nash
  • Artis, Pauline, tobacco worker, 514 Smith
  • Artis, Peter, confectioner, 502 East Nash
  • Artis, Plummer, eating house, 901 East Nash
  • Artis, Sumner, cement worker, 1108 East Nash
  • Atkinson, James, tobacco worker, 307 Stantonsburg Road
  • Austin, Alice, tobacco worker, 208 East Jones
  • Austin, James, laborer, 507 East Green
  • Austin, Samuel, tobacco Worker, 208 East Jones
  • Aycock, Pat, tobacco worker, 414 South Lodge


  • “Domestic” likely encompassed domestic work done both within one’s home (i.e. the work of a “housewife”) and for an outside employer.
  • The Wilson Sanatorium, founded in 1896, was Wilson’s first hospital. It was located on East Nash Street next to what is now Imagination Station.
  • The 1922 Sanborn map reveals that the Lynnhaven Hotel was a boarding house occupying the second and third floors of a four-front commercial building at 535-541 East Nash.

  • The Wilson County Home was likely the “poor house” located beyond southern city limits on Goldsboro Street.
  • A “dresser,” perhaps, was a valet.
  • Wilson Ice & Fuel Company was located on South Lodge at the Norfolk & Southern Railroad.

The Silver Boot Grill.

Ola and Georgia Anna Williams Dupree opened the Silver Boot Grill in 1947, serving an all-black clientele.


Wilson Daily Times, 26 March 1948.

Two years later, the restaurant closed for enlargement and remodeling. When it reopened, it announced that curb service was available for their “white friends.”


Wilson Daily Times, 30 June 1949.


Wilson Daily Times, 30 June 1949.


On 29 January 1927, Ola Dupree, 30, married Georgia Williams, 20, in Wilson. Methodist minister J.T. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of Mrs. Mamie Pender, G.W. White, and Suprema Croom.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Avenue, butler Ola Dupree, 44; wife Georgia, 32; and roomers Florence Atkinson, 24, and her husband William Atkinson, 26, a medical doctor.


Newest and finest.


Wilson Daily Times, 26 March 1948.

Seventy years later, Edwards Funeral Home — still operated by the Edwards family — remains a cornerstone of East Wilson business. Its website sets out the company’s history:

“On a calm, sunny day in March 1948, two brothers, Oliver H. and James Weldon Edwards, opened the doors of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. at 805 E. Nash Street in Wilson, North Carolina. The story does not begin there. Rather it begins with the conception and dream that two brothers had of being entrepreneurs and opening their own business, a funeral home. Oliver, the older of the two, lived in Raleigh and worked at a funeral home as a licensed funeral director. He encouraged James, who had just completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in World War II, to attend school in funeral service and mortuary science rather than pursue another career and major. James was in New York City by this time, and he began and completed American Academy of Mortuary Science in New York City (now American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service) as a licensed funeral director and mortician. The dream moves toward reality. Having met two of the requirements (experience and knowledge) for starting an enterprise of this type, both men had to decide where to locate the business. The decision was a fairly easy one – to go home. “Home” was the tri-county area of Wilson, Nash, and Edgecombe Counties where the Edwards family had deep roots, dating back several generations to at least the 18th Century and where the brothers, as well as the extended family, grew up, went to school, and attended church. Their father, the Reverend B.H. Edwards, was a highly respected Baptist minister who pastured Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist, Red Oak Grove Missionary Baptist, Rising Sun Missionary Baptist, and Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Churches over a span of 42 years. In their youth, Reverend Edwards carried his boys (and all his children) throughout the various church communities and neighborhoods in these counties. Thus, Oliver and James knew the people, and the people knew them. The decision was made – Wilson. The brothers, encouraged by their parents and wives, bought a two story white frame house in East Wilson. Located on the main thoroughfare, this “home” was a classic representative of the Colonial Revival type of architecture. It still has the original interior paneling, crown molding, woodworking, winding stairway and a marble hearth fireplace. The site was chosen as much for its location and the charm of this house far for the warmth and friendliness of the neighbors and the neighborhood (some of whom reside there today). The funeral home (with interior and exterior renovations and expansions) remains in the same location today due mostly out of a desire to remain in the area where the family still lives and because of the history and symbolism of the structure. Oliver and James worked hard and opened the doors to Edwards Funeral Home and established it as a thriving business. Both brothers ran the business until Oliver’s death in July 1963. James assumed leadership, ownership and management of the business until May 1982 when he died. James’ widow, the former Josephine Farmer from Nash County, assumed leadership, after her husband’s death. She wanted to keep the dream and legacy alive for their children, Angela and Carla. Having worked as a classroom teacher in the public schools of Nash and Wilson Counties for 36 years, Josephine joined the ranks of the funeral home staff upon her retirement in 1987. Under her watchful nurturance, the funeral home continued to operate and prosper in a profession that has been traditionally dominated by men. Despite “being a woman in a man’s world,” Josephine expanded the funeral home to include, among other changes, a chapel with an organ. The chapel has a seating capacity of 200 people. Her commitment to the business, the people, the community and to serving Wilson and surrounding counties is evidenced by her ever presence at the funeral home and at funerals. Josephine’s community orientation and dedication to Wilson County is also evidenced by her service as a county commissioner, per participation in the various local, civic, and service organizations/clubs and her service through appointment on state committees by Governor Hunt. The future of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. is certain. It is moving into the second millennium under the family oriented leadership of Mrs. Edwards with the support of her children: Angela R. Edwards Jones, Carla D. Edwards Williams, Tyrone P. Jones, III, and Darryl A. Williams. Hopefully the third generations will keep the legacy alive with the grandchildren, Darian and Carlin Williams. The legacy lives. Mrs. Edwards remembers and is appreciative for the kind support of her patrons throughout the years. She hopes to continue serving you in the difficult times during and after the loss of a loved one. She gives the best in dignified, personalized, professional care and service at the time of death and afterwards. Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. hopes to continue this tradition of meeting people’s needs with friendliness, kindness, understanding, warmth, innovation, and confidentiality. Over these sixty years, many employees have helped to insure quality service and care to patrons. Mrs. Edwards is thankful to all persons who have assisted the family since 1948. The fine tradition of service with dignity continues to be the aim of the Edwards Funeral Home staff. ‘Let Gentle Hands and Kind Hearts Care For You When Loved Ones Depart.'”

  • Rev. B.H. Edwards — Buchanan Hilliard Edwards (1891-1967)
  • O.H. Edwards — Oliver Hazel Edwards (1907-1963)
  • James W.  Edwards — James Weldon Edwards (1921-1982)
  • Josephine Farmer Edwards (1922-2013)


Colored cafe.

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 11.24.25 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1948.

Wrote Roy Taylor in My City, My Home: “And Negroes congregated en masse on Barnes Street in the block in which P.L. Woodard is located. It wasn’t that they had to gather there, for they had the privilege of meeting at any place in town, just as did the whites. They liked that area, and too, it was in close proximity to several hot dog joints and other eating places. Few white people were seen in that block on Saturday, and few Negroes were seen on Nash Street. It was a matter of the two races choosing to be with their own kind.”

Taylor’s take on the privileges and choices of legally sanctioned and enforced segregation is ridiculous, but this passage does offer context for the location of Gus Gliarmis’ cafe on the southern edge of downtown, far from Wilson’s African-American neighborhoods in the 1940s.


Your father probably taught you to do this.

In 1924, “White Barbers of Wilson” placed an ad in the Daily Times complaining of white customers — women, even — patronizing African-American barber shops. Hair-cutting had  long been dominated by black men, and white barbers keenly felt the loss of caste that their trade entailed. After chastising “the public” for going to “dark skin shops,” they shook a challenging finger: “Ladies and gentlemen, we believe when you see the thing the way we do you will be a full blooded Southerner, and join the ranks of a true born American citizen.”


Wilson Daily Times, 5 September 1924.

Aldridge’s beauty shoppe.

Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 5.31.13 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 4 November 1946.

The 1947-48 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Annie’s Beauty Shop at 1114 1/2 Carolina Street. 1114 1/2 apparently was the address assigned to the small addition built to the grocery store at 1114 Carolina, at the corner of Carroll. Annie Edmundson Aldridge and her husband Prince A. Aldridge lived at 303 North Reid.

DeShazor’s Beauty College was a popular black-owned training school in Durham. See this video.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps.

Intersection of Nash and Pender.

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, North Carolina.

  1. Colored Baptist Church — Formerly home to First Missionary Baptist Church, by 1922 this wood-framed building housed Wilson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church.
  2. Wilson County Gin Company — A cotton gin. The main building later housed Faulkner Neon Company.
  3. 546 East Nash Street — In the 1922-23 Wilson city directory, this house is listed as the residence of several apparently unrelated people, including tobacco workers James Baker and James Green, helper Robert Hines, and laundress Easter Ruffin.
  4. 548 East Nash Street — J. Wesley Rogers, a porter at Oettinger’s department store, lived at this address. By the 1930s, this house had been demolished, and a fish market stood in its place.
  5. Law office at 550 East Nash Street — The 1922-23 Wilson city directory shows African-American attorney Glenn S. McBrayer‘s business address as 525 East Nash. Oddly, the advertising novelties concern of white businessman Troy T. Liverman and the office of African-American physician Michael E. DuBissette are listed at 550.
  6. Watch shop at 552 East Nash Street — Robert T. Alston ran a jewelry and watch repair shop at this location.
  7. Grocery at 556 East Nash Street — The 1922-23 city directory carries no listing for 556 East Nash, but at 558 there is the white-owned grocer Baxter & Company.
  8. Pender Street — In 1922, Pender Street ended (or began) at Nash Street. The dog-legged continuation across Nash was then called Stantonsburg Street. Much later, the course of Pender was shifted via an angle to meet Stantonsburg Street, and Stantonsburg was renamed Pender.