Children

Class of ’45.

More from the walls of the Darden Alumni Center, a graduation photo of the C.H. Darden High School Class of 1945:

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The photograph is not labeled, but below is a list of members of the class:

  • Mary E. Anderson Bynum
  • Mattie B. Bynum Jones (1926-??, daughter of Irene Jones)
  • Lunia M. Cannady Farmer Amy (1927-1992, Albert M. and Sylvan Andrews Cannady)
  • Jasper Allison Coley Jr. (1927-1986, Jasper and Lydia Meeks Coley)
  • Gladys M. Darden Farmer
  • Gladys Cordelia Ellis
  • Dorothy M. Farmer
  • Elizabeth Farmer
  • Mattie I. Ford (1925-??, daughter of Evander and Chellie Ford)
  • Virginia Dare Ford Bynum (1926-??, daughter of William and Lillie Gauss Ford)
  • Mary Louise Gilchrist Leazer (1926-2014,  daughter of Cannon and Ruth Norfleet Gilchrist)
  • Gloria Anetta Hagans Bethea (1926-??, daughter of Isaac and Essie Mae Farmer Hagans)
  • Helen J. Harrison Coburn (1927-2015, daughter of Eli W. and Rosa Harrison)
  • Doris Haskins (probably, Doris Lee Haskins, 1926-??, daughter of Moses and Minnie Eva Woodard Haskins)
  • Roland Esmon Hayes (1926-1978, son of James and Lula Sutton Hayes)
  • Herman Wesley Hines (1926-2014, son of Wesley and Lucy Hines)
  • Alva Montee Hodge Wilson (1927-??, daughter of Ben H. and Rogene Barnes Hodge)
  • James Thomas Jones (1927-2011, son of Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones)
  • Odessa Mae Jones Simms (1927-1977, daughter of Winford and Mary Edwards Jones)
  • Clara Mae Knight Cromartie (1925-2007, daughter of Willie H. and Florence Jones Knight)
  • Gretchen Gray Marshall Reid (1928-1992, daughter of John and Annie Perrington Marshall)
  • Lois McCall (1924-??, daughter of Oscar and Florence McEachin McCall)
  • Mary Etta McCoy Henderson (1927-1989, daughter of Russell and Ometa Smith McCoy)
  • John J. Melton Jr. (1926-1988, son of John and Cora M. Barnes Melton)
  • Mary R. Moore (1925-??, daughter of Lewis and Maude Moore)
  • Evangeline Vonzell Royall Darity (1926-1994, daughter of Dock and Ossie Mae Jenkins Royall)
  • Gladys Ruffin
  • Robert Elton Speight (1926-??, son of Theodore E. and Marie Thomas Speight)
  • Thelma Percel Speight (1924-2000), daughter of Christine V. Speight)
  • McCartie Watson
  • Marquerette White
  • Victoria Whitehead McCray (1927-2017, daughter of John H. and Victoria Ennis Whitehead)
  • Nancy Gray Wilkins King (1927-1981, daughter of Washington and Nancy Adams Wilkins)
  • Lindbergh Wilson (1927-??)
  • Alma G. Woodard (1927-??, daughter of Sylvester and Blossie Woodard)

Ninth graders.

This 1938 photograph of ninth grade students and their teacher also hangs in the back hall of Darden Alumni Center. Though it is unlabeled, the following list of members of the Class of 1942 may provide clues:

  • Jesse F. Barnes (son of Harry and Rena Jones Barnes)
  • Gladys Adell Best (1924-1969, daughter of Charlie and Addie Braswell Best)
  • Elaine Clark (1926-2004, daughter of William and Katie Elliott Clark)
  • Lovie Elizabeth Dancey Tabron (1921-2009, daughter of Johnnie C. and Penny Mills Dancey) 
  • Lois L. Debose (1924-1948, daughter of James and Lillie Hines Debose)
  • Raymond Edwards (1924-1942, son of McKinley and Maggie Thomas Edwards)
  • Xzymena Farmer; Harvey Gray Ford (1921-1942, son of Curtis and Mamie Battle Ford)
  • Maurice Branch Hayes (1925-2005, son of James and Lula Sutton Hayes)
  • Annie Jones
  • Noel Bunch Jones III (1923-??, son of Noel and Mattie Bunch Jones)
  • Hattie Marshall (1922-1989, daughter of Luke and Myrtie Taylor Marshall)
  • Virginia B. Melton (1924-1993)
  • Cora Lee Mewborn Purefoy (1925-??, daughter of Albert L. and Helen Hines Mewborn)
  • Lethia Mewborn
  • James Mincey Jr. (1924-??, son of James and Lucinda Mincey)
  • Jual Devetta Peacock Anderson (1925-1978, daughter of Levi H. and Eloise Reavis Peacock)
  • Lucy Gray Pittman Parker (1922-2003, daughter of Aaron and Lucy Graham Pittman)
  • Anne Parthenia Robinson Burrell (1925-1996, Goldwyn and Bertie Parks Robinson)
  • Retha Mae Robinson Jones (daughter of David and Katie Williams Robinson)
  • Otto Eugene Sanders Jr. (1925-1969, son of Otto and Annie Goins Sanders)
  • Estelle Stephens (1920-2007, daughter of James H. and Permilla Jackson Stephens)
  • Jessie Gray Swinson Barnes Steverson (1924-1996, daughter of Calvin and Alice Jones Swinson)
  • Elmer Thompson
  • Elnora Tillery (1922-1989, daughter of John H. and Geneva Barnes Tillery)
  • Christine Townsend Jackson (1922-2004, daughter of Andrew and Lula McCoy Townsend)
  • Mable Frances Whitehead Parks (1926-2000, daughter of John H. and Victoria Ennis Whitehead)
  • Annie Margaret Winley (1923-??, daughter of Charlie and Martha Barefoot Winley)
  • Mary Frances Winley Brown (1925-2000, daughter of Charlie and Martha Barefoot Winley)

[Update, 14 August 2017: Freshmen in ’38 would have graduated as seniors in the Class of 1941, not ’42. More importantly, Darden High School graduated students from the 11th grade until 1943-’44, when a twelfth year was added. Thus, the ninth graders in this photo would have been in the Class of ’40. Karole Turner Campbell immediately recognized her mother, Willia B. Jones Turner, ’40, on the first row, third from right, but also her cousin Jessie Gray Swinson Steverson, ’42, on the second row, third from left. The label, then, may not be strictly accurate. — LYH]

Freeman brothers.

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Ernest Aaron Freeman (1890-1970) and Joseph Thomas Freeman (1894-1991) were sons of Julius F. and Eliza Daniels Freeman and younger brothers of Oliver N. Freeman and Julius F. Freeman Jr.

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Tom and Ernest Freeman.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 56 year-old carpenter Julius Freeman, wife Eliza, 46, and children Elizabeth, 19, Nestus, 17, Junius, 11, Ernest, 9, Tom, 6, Daniel, 4, and Ruth, 4 months.

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Ernest A. Freeman.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter Julius Freeman, 65; wife Eliza, 54; and children Nestus, 28, bricklayer; Ollie, 18, Daniel, 14, John, 7, Junius, 22, Ernest, 20, and Thomas, 17.

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Joseph T. Freeman.

Ernest Freeman registered for the World War I draft in Cleveland, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 3 November 1890 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 2169 East 90th Street, Cleveland; worked as a sailor for the Pitts. Steam Ship Co. on the the steamer D.M. Clemson; and was single.

In the 1920 census of Cleveland, Ohio: at 2339 East 49th Street, steel foundry laborer Earnest Freeman, 30; wife Gertrude, 26; and daughter Gertrude, 11 months.

In the 1920 census of Los Angeles, California: at 1501 Essex Street, North Carolina-born post office clerk Joseph T. Freeman, 26, a lodger.

In the 1930 census of Cleveland, Ohio: at 2258 Ashland Road, factory clerk Earnest Freeman, 39; wife Gertrude, 35; and children Evelyn, 11, Eanest, 7, and Arthur J., 10 months; as well as boarder Myrtle Bufford, 35, a domestic servant. Freeman owned the house, valued at $4000, and rented apartments in it to two families.

In the 1930 census of Los Angeles, California: at 1220 – 33rd Street, mail clerk Joseph T. Freeman, 34, and wife Phyllis N., 31, cafe waitress. Joseph was born in North Carolina, and Phyllis was born in Minnesota to a Danish immigrant parent.

In the 1940 census of Cleveland, Ohio: at 2211 East 81st Street, National Steel foreman Ernest A. Freeman, 49; wife Gertrude; children Evelyn G. 21, Ernest Jr., 17, and Arthur J., 10.

In 1942, Earnest Aaron Freeman registered for the World War II draft in Cleveland. Per his registration card, he was born 3 November 1890 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 2211 East 81st Street, Cleveland; worked for National Acme Company, East 131st and Coit Road; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Gertrude Freeman.

In 1942, Joseph Thomas Freeman registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he lived at 1248 West Jefferson, Los Angeles; was born 31 July 1894, Wilson, North Carolina; worked for the U.S. Postal Department, Terminal Annex, Mary Street and Alameda Street, Los Angeles; and his contact was Mrs. Sophia Freeman.

Ernest A. Freeman died 17 December 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Joseph T. Freeman died 8 February 1991 and was buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Photographs of Freeman boys and teenaged E. Freeman courtesy of Ancestry user JaFreeman34; photo of J.T. Freeman as young adult courtesy of Ancestry user rcbrown1592rcb; The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18, The F.J. Heer Printing Co. (1926), online at Ancestry.com.

Class of ’37.

This photograph of Wilson Colored High School’s Class of 1937 also hangs in the hallway of the Darden Alumni Center.

A label listing the students’ names has been augmented where possible with birth and death dates and parents’ names, below.

  1. Charles Darden James (1914-1994, Randall R. and Elizabeth Darden James)
  2. Howard Monroe Fitts Jr. (1921, Howard M. and Elizabeth Plummer Fitts)
  3. Doris Louise Crooms Caldwell Robinson (1920-1992, Lloyd and Maggie Jones Crooms)
  4. Herman Oliver Marshall (1918-??, John and Annie Marshall)
  5. Delores Robbins Coleman (1920-2003, James D. and Louise Davis Robbins)
  6. Alice McCoy (1915-1983, Russell and Ometa Smith McCoy)
  7. Lucy Dawson Artice Moss (1922-1989, Jesse A. and Sophia Dawson Artice)
  8. Hennie Ennis Campbell (1919-??, Samuel and Maggie Taylor Ennis)
  9. Hattie E. Ross McKeithan (1918-2008)
  10. Estelle Dew McNair (1917-2005, Ross and Ivory Taylor Dew)
  11. Catherine Joyner Foster
  12. Williard Jordan
  13. Primrose Carter (1914-1972, Willie E. and Henrietta Cooper Carter)
  14. Montez Colesse Hooker Boatman (1922-1990, Gray F. and Bettie Caddell Hooker)
  15. Celeste Hardy McClain
  16. William Nelson Knight (1916-2011, James H. and Ada Green Knight)
  17. Virginia Walden Wilson (Albert L. and Annie Moore Walden)
  18. Ernest D. Lassiter (1918-??, Jesse C. and Lessie Dew Lassiter)
  19. Jesse Fitzhugh Reid (1920-??)
  20. William Harry Howell (1921-2004, Harry B. and Annie Mae Thompson Howell)
  21. Evelyn Johnson Stone
  22. Alvis Ashley Hines (1918-1981, Ashley and Mattie Barnes Hines)
  23. Charles Futrell
  24. Henry Venson Whitehead (1918-2004, William and Nettie Bivins Whitehead)
  25. Arthur Lee Battle (1917-2007, William and Nora Williams Battle)
  26. Earl E. Ennis (1917-1964, Samuel and Maggie Taylor Ennis)

Photograph courtesy of Darden Alumni Center, Wilson.

Class of ’38.

The Class of 1938 was the first to graduate from the newly rechristened Charles H. Darden High School. Camillus L. Darden, after donating books to stock the school library, won the right to rename Wilson Colored High School after his father.

A label listing the students’ names has been augmented where possible with birth and death dates and parents’ names, below.

First row: Kester Congress Mitchell (1919-??, Kester R. and Martha Taylor Miller); William Aaron Best (1921-??, Aaron and Estell Best); Clarence Herman Best (1918-1994, Clarence and Best); Milton Jasper King (1920-??); Walter M. McMillon (1919-1994, Tommie and Willie McMillon); Herbert Vendrick Whitehead (1920-2007, Henry and Victoria Ennis Whitehead); James F. Coley.

Second row: Ida Doretha Parks Hinnant (1917-2007, John and Emmeline Bobbitt Parks); Lillian Boykin Kent (1917-2006, William and Sarah Williamson Boykin); Helen Elveta Reid Worsley (1921-1981, Willie C. and Mary Galley Reid); unknown; Carlotta Bernice GeraldClyde Joan Dickerson Faison (1921-1997, Fred and Almeter Edmundson Dickerson); Bessie Mae Joyner Redden (Eddie L. and Annie Joyner)Doris P. Freeman James (1920-2003), Julius and Pattie Hagans Freeman); Yvonne Taylor; Edna Gray Taylor Desvigne (1921-2011, Roderick and Mary John Pender Taylor; Doretha Hunter Farmer (1912-1992, Will and Mary Whitehead Hunter); Annie Elizabeth Cooke Dickens (1921-??, Jerry L. and Clara Godette Cooke); Annie Frances Crawford (1921-??, Clarence and Maggie Barnes Crawford); unknown; Lusynthia Page Johnson Marshall (1922-??, Theodore R. and Rachel Bynum Johnson); Mary A. Barnes; unknown.

Third row: Katie Powell; Virginia Ann Mitchell Williams (1918-2002, George and Rose Lipscomb Mitchell); Sallie Baldwin Howard (1916, Marcellus Simms and Narcissa Baldwin); Mary MooreAurelia Janet Lucas Hagood (1920-1997, Henry and Mamie Battle LucasMary Tena Melton (1920-1992, John and Lora Barnes Melton); Margaret PowellBeulah Sutton Legrand (1915-1975, George and Henrietta Sutton); Lena Cherry Goodman (1920-1988, John and Mable Langley Cherry); Mary J. BarnesHelen L. Potter; Estelle Ellis Coble Newsome (1919-1994, Oscar and Mamie Bynum Ellis); Cora Bynum Boney; Margaret Powell [one of these women is mislabeled; there was only one Margaret Powell in this class]; Nora Allen Jones MitchellRosa Lee Hart (1920-1943, Grover and Mamie Taylor Hart); Addie Pearl Farmer Vailes (1917-??, John D. and Rosetta Simms Farmer).

Photograph courtesy of Darden Alumni Center, Wilson.

The bullet pierced his heart.

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Wilson Daily Times, 5 August 1924.

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“Rifle shot wound in breast by drunken father”

——

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer John Bynum, 35; wife Carrie, 29; children Rosetta, 5, and John, 4; nephew and niece Isaac, 7, and Geneva Bynum, 4; niece Susan Bridges, 19; laborer Bruce Daniel, 19; and niece Sudie Ward, 15.

Glee.

Another gem from Darden Alumni Center, here depicting the Wilson Colored High School glee club in 1937. A label listing the students’ and teachers’ names has been augmented where possible with birth and death dates and parents’ names, below. Many eastern North Carolina counties did not provide secondary education for African-American children in the 1930s. As a result, families who wanted schooling beyond the elementary grades chose to send their children to Wilson to board with local families and attend high school. Where discovered, the hometowns of such children are noted below.

Front row: Annie Elizabeth Cooke Farmer (1921-??, Jerry and Clara Godette Cooke); Delores Robbins Coleman (1920-2003, James D. and Louise Davis Robbins); Edna Gray Taylor Desvigne (1921-2011, Roderick and Mary John Pender Taylor); Helen E. Reid Worsley (1921-1981, Willie C. and Mary Galley Reid); Lucy Gray Pittman Cunningham Parker (1922-2003, Aaron and Lucy Graham Pittman); unknown; Bessie Mae Joyner Redden (Eddie L. and Annie Joyner); Gracie White Terrell (1923-1994); Willia B. Jones Turner (1923), Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones); Lucy Dawson.

Second row: Spencer J. Satchell; Aurelia Janet Lucas Hagood (1920-1997, Henry and Mamie Battle Lucas); Helen Crutchfield Lewis (1924-1993, Willie and Novella Bryant Crutchfield), Doris Louise Crooms Caldwell Robinson (1920-1992, Lloyd and Maggie Jones Crooms); Bernice Gerald; Annie Frances Crawford (1921-??, Clarence and Maggie Barnes Crawford); Retha M. Best; Millicent Monroe; Naomi Lee Dawson Clark (1920-1978, Clarence and Elizabeth Thomas Dawson); Rosemary Plummer Fitts Funderburg (1923-2000, Howard and Elizabeth Plummer Fitts); Hattie L. Dixon; Evelyn Knight (1921-??, James H. and Ada Green Knight); Alice McCoy (1915-1983, Russell and Ometa Smith McCoy); Juanita Pope Morrisey.

Third row: Leroy Foster (1917-??, Claude and Cora White Foster); Harvey Gray Ford (1921-1942, Curlis and Mamie Battle Ford); Cornelius Best; Eula Mae Horton Bryant (1912-1990, Louis and Minnie Horton); unknown; Montez Colesse Hooker Boatman (1922-1990, Gray F. and Bettie Caddell Hooker);  Virginia Walden Wilson (Albert L. and Annie Moore Walden); Thomas H. Haskins (1919-1978, Robert and Gertrude Haskins); Primrose Carter (1914-1972, Morehead City, Carteret County, Willie E. and Henrietta Cooper Carter).

Fourth row: William Nelson Knight (1916-2011, James H. and Ada Green Knight); John Henry Mincey (1919-1982, Benjamin and Mattie Barnes Mincey); Charles Darden James (1914-1994, Randall R. and Elizabeth Darden James); James F. Coley (1921-??); Clarence Herman Best (1918-1994, Clarence B. and Geneva Smith Best); Weldon Williams; unknown; Clinton Rudolph Leacraft (1918-2007, Swansboro, Onslow County, Frank and Hagar Duncan Leacraft).

Fifth row: James Aaron Best; Marion Vernon Jones (1919-??, Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones); unknown; Charles Elva Kittrell (1918-1990, Solomon and Lettie Roberts Kittrell); unknown; Elmond Henry McKeithen (1914-2003, Cumberland County, Henry and Sarah Robinson McKeithan).

Second grade.

Darden High School graduated its last class in 1970. Within a few years, though, a robust alumni association formed to keep memories of Wilson’s black high school alive. Today, a middle school on Lipscomb Road carries Darden’s name. Across the street from its campus is a small brick building that houses the Darden Alumni Association’s offices. A banquet room, site of nearly weekly wedding receptions, birthday parties or repasts, occupies most of the space. Off that room, a back hall is lined with class photographs dating to the 1920s, depicting generations of the Wilson children who attended Darden, Sam Vick Elementary, and the Colored Graded School (later Sallie Barbour Elementary.)

The earliest pictures hanging in the hall are unlabeled, though recent visitors were able to identify a few of the children whose solemn faces peer out. Here are three.

The first is marked “Wilson Graded School, 1921-22 Second Grade.”

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The second is  “Graded School, 2nd Grade, 1934-35, Teacher — Miss Robinson.” In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, brickmason Clinton Best, 40; wife Minnie, 30; children Glenwood, 5, Gladis, 15, and James, 12; and lodgers Mary Reid, 21, and Martha Robinson, 25, a public school teachers.

The third carries no label, but boys seated at center hold a banner emblazoned “Second.” Though it is undated, tentative identification of four of the boys — all born in 1931 or 1932 — yields a date of about 1939. If so, the photo was taken just after Sam Vick School opened.

On the first row, third from left, a Freeman (possibly Daniel E.); third from right, a Brodie (either George or Henry); next to him, Jacobia L. Bullock; and, at the end of the row another Freeman (if not Dan, then Joseph Thomas.)

A classroom.

Classroom

This photograph depicts a classroom at Colored Graded School (later known as the Sallie Barbour School) on what was then Stantonsburg Street. The children appear to represent several grades, but only two have been identified. Roderick Taylor Jr. (born 1928) is at center, in front of the hand-drawn North Carolina state flag. Lucian J. Henderson (1926-2003) is third from right, behind the model house. The occasion and the photographer are unknown.

Photograph from the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks, now in the possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.