Studio shots, no. 111: the Powell children.

Julius, Sally, Julia, and Savannah Powell, circa 1918.


In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Howard Powell, 21; wife Geneva, 24; and children Savannah Lee, 19 months, and Sallie V., 1 month.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Howard Powell, 31; wife Geneva, 33; and children Savannah L., 11, Sallie, 9, Julius and Julia, 6, Johnny H., 4, and Christine, 2.

Thank you to Levolyre Farmer Pitt for sharing a copy of this precious photograph.

Little Bobby Parker fatally struck by car.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 November 1949.

Bobby Lee Parker died 12 November 1949 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 May 1945 to Walter Parker and Daisy Harris; resided in Sharpsburg, Wilson County; and was buried in Cherry’s Chapel Cemetery.

Darden High School’s football team.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 November 1949.

The members of the 1949 Darden gridiron squad were Eddie Best, Hunk McNeal, Herman, Hall, Bill White, Leo Dancy, Harold Darden, Charlie Floyd, John Wesley, Joe Tucker, Offie Clark, Bill Kerr, Booker T. Bridges, Fred Barnes, Jimmy Ellis, Clyde Speight, Johnny Moore, Ben Knight, and Isiah Ward

Everybody played both of the ball and subbed.


In memoriam: her daddy, Willie Taylor.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1939.

What a lovely tribute by ten year-old Fannie Beatrice Taylor to her father. (It’s a fading practice, by the way, but until recently “Daddy” was unselfconsciously used by Southerners of any and every age to call their fathers.)


In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Joe Taylor, 42; wife Hattie, 28; and children Emmit, 10, Rosetta, 8, Willie, 6, and Daisey, 5.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Joe Taylor, 51; wife Hattie, 57; and children Willie Robert, 16, and Hattie Lee, 14.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Willie Taylor, 24; father Joe, 62; mother Hattie, 51; sister Daisy, 23; and niece Hattie M., 10.

Willie Taylor died 6 November 1938 in Gardners township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 October 1903 in Wilson County to Joseph Taylor and Hattie Lucas; was married to Maybelle Taylor; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Wilson [his headstone stands in Rest Haven Cemetery.]

On 11 March 1948, Fannie B. Taylor, 19, of Saratoga, daughter of Willie Taylor and Mable Best Taylor, married Wright Horne, 20, of Saratoga, son of Osborn Horne and Annie Lane Horne, in Wilson, Wilson County.

Girl Scouts hoop.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 November 1950.


This little two-team league charms me endlessly, not least because I know so many of the players, who are now (or would be — rest in peace) in their late 80s.

The Red Raiders’ squad were co-captains Barbara Jones and Hattie Henderson, and Marjorie Taylor, Louise Holiday, Betty Mincey, Evangeline Reid, Helen Barnes, Myrtle Lynch, Ruth Hart, Jean Wynn, and Mary Morris.

Ruby Delaney and Fay Bryant were co-captains of the White Phantoms, with Bernice Artis, Shirley Best, Charlotte Cooper, Julia King, Annie Coley, and Jean Reid rounding out the team.

Kiddie story hour at the library.

In October 1945, the Negro Library on Pender Street observed its first “kiddies story hour” for members of its book club. Librarian Pauline Coley read two books to the children, including Munro Leaf’s now-classic The Story of Ferdinand. Nine year-old Hattie Margaret Henderson was elected group leader, and Rosalind Taylor as her assistant. The reading club included Patricia Garner, Gail Peacock, Betty Handy, Doris Crooms, Helen Pepper, David Pepper, Delores Wilson, Wendell Hines, Joane Jenkins, John Barnes, Randolph Speight, Willie Wynn, Vilma Dew, David Charles Smith, and William H. Thomas Jr.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 October 1945.

History award winner!

Over the weekend, I picked up from Levolyre Farmer Pitt a box of newspaper clippings that her mother Savannah Powell Farmer had saved in the 1970s and ’80s, and —

Wilson Daily Times, 23 February 1982.

Look at that young historian!

As a friend remarked, “The village love is priceless!” Much more to come from that treasure trove!

The toll.

The Spanish flu pandemic decimated families within days.

Between October 23 and 28, 1918, Daniel and Celia Lewis Ellis lost sons Sam, 20, Jackson, 17, and Orran Ellis, 8. 

Sam Ellis died 23 October 1918.

His brother Jackson Ellis had passed three hours earlier. 

Their little brother Orran Ellis died five days later on 28 October 1918. Will Artis buried all three on the E.C. Exum place in Wayne County.

Austin and Clara Lawrence Dawes lost sons Rosevelt, 8, Handy, 1, and Thomas Dawes, 4, over a four-day span.

Rosevelt Handy died 19 October 1918.

Handy Dawes died the next day. 

Thomas Dawes died on the 23rd. 

And then their father Austin died.

Austin Dawes, 49, tenant farmer. 


In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Daniel Ellis, 50; wife Celia, 35; and children Maeliza, 13, Willie, 14, Samson, 11, Harry, 10, Robert, 7, and Jackson, 8.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Austin Daws, 37; wife Clara, 26; and children Hazel M., 9, Annah M., 4, Lara L., 2, and Theodore R., newborn.

The children of the estate of Thomas Williamson.

In an earlier post, we examined the will of Thomas Williamson and the sale after his death in 1856 of 16 boys and girls he had enslaved.

On 16 May 1859, nine men bought the children at top dollar:

Williamson lived in what is now far southwest Wilson County. These 16 children, some just toddlers, were pulled from their mothers, fathers, and siblings, and sold across three counties. It breaks my heart that I can trace only one of the children forward into freedom.

  • John T. Barnes purchased Nathan, 8, Denick, 7, Dillicy, 10, and Carolina, 7.

In the 1860 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County, John T. Barnes, 29, is listed as the sheriff of Wilson County. He claimed $5000 in real property and $18,000 in personal property. He was living in the household of Jesse H. Adams and presumably owned farmland out in the county. The bulk of his personal property would have been comprised of enslaved people, but I have found no record of their names.

  • W. Swift purchased Ben, age 7, for $800.00, and Harriet, age 9, for $950.00.

Wesley Swift is listed in the 1860 census of the Town of Wilson with his wife and daughter. Though no occupation is ascribed to him, he is listed with $6000 in real property and $30,000 in personal property. In the slave schedule the same year, he claimed 12 enslaved people.

  • Garry Fulghum purchased Amos, 5, and Catherine, 3.

Garry Fulghum does not appear in the 1860 census, but was a 16 year-old living in his parents’ household in Nash County (in the section of the county that would soon become Oldfields township, Wilson County).

  • Wright Blow purchased Joe, 5.

In the 1860 slave schedule of the district east of the Neuse River, Johnston County, North Carolina, Wright Blow claimed 12 enslaved people, including a six year-old boy who likely was Joe. In the federal census, Blow was described as a merchant with $1800 in real property and $12,225 in personal property.

Joe was the son of Charity, who went to Mourning Williamson Peele under the terms of Thomas Williamson’s will. Joe was reunited with his mother after Emancipation, and the family appears in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Charity Blow, 32, domestic servant, and children Joseph, 18, Lenday, 9, Thomas, 3, and Lucind, 1. By the late 1880s, Joe Blow was serving as constable of Wilson township.

  • James Boyette purchased Allen, 3.

In the 1860 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: James Boyette, 53, farmer, who claimed $2900 in real property and $9500 in personal property.

  • John Wilkins purchased Bethea, 8.

Of three John Wilkinses in the area in 1860, the most likely is the John Wilkins listed in Joyners & Gardners district, Wilson County, with $2400 in real property and $14,750 in personal property. In the 1860 slave schedule, he claimed 14 enslaved people. I have not been able to identify them by name.

  • Joshua Barnes purchased Chaney, 7.

Father of Wilson County General Joshua Barnes enslaved dozens and dozens of Black people. He claimed in $79,000 in personal property in 1860, and the slave schedule shows him with 66 enslaved people housed in ten dwellings on his plantation.

  • William Ricks purchased Renner, 5.

In the 1860 census of Collins township, Nash County, farmer William Ricks, 32, claimed $2000 in real property and $15,650 in personal property. I have not been able to identify the people he enslaved by name.

  • Ransom Hinnant purchased Dizey, 5.

Ransom Hinnant was an enslaver of relatively modest means, appearing in the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County, with a very precise $2023 in real property and $5487 in personal property. I have not been able to identify any of the people he enslaved by name.

  • A.J. Taylor purchased Lyddey, age 2.

Forty-two year-old farmer Alsey J. Taylor appears in the 1860 census of Bailey district, Nash County, owning $25,000 in real property and $42,850 in personal property. He appears in the slave schedule of Sullivants district with 35 enslaved people housed in ten dwellings. I have not been able to identify them by name.

Snaps, no. 107: the widow Argie Croom Savage and her loves.

There is no contest, but this is surely the most heartbreaking photograph I’ve encountered in my Black Wide-Awake research. Jesse Savage and Argie Croom married in 1913 and quickly had two daughters together. In the spring of 1916, however, Jesse Savage succumbed to tuberculosis. Shortly after, his widow balanced their babies on her lap and leaned his large, framed portrait against her knees for a family photo.


In the 1900 census of Great Swamp township, Wayne County, N.C.: farmer John Crooms, 38; wife Priscilla, 30; and children Marthey A., 11, Sam R., 10, Hannah J., 8, Maggie L., 5, Augine, and Loyd, 1.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Priscilla Crooms, 45, and children Annie, 21, Samuel, 20, Hannah, 18, Maggie, 14, Argen, 11, Loyd, 9, and James W., 3.

Jesse Savage, 23, of Toisnot township, son of Bill and Hannah Savage, married Argy Croom, 18, of Toisnot township, daughter of John and Pricilla Croom, on 22 October 1913 in Toisnot township, Wilson County.

A Wilson County index of delayed births lists Minnie B. Savage, daughter of Jesse Savage and Artie Croom, born in 1914.

Jesse Savage died 15 April 1916 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 March 1891 in Wilson County to William Savage of Martin County, N.C., and Hannah Sanders of Wilson County; was married; and worked as a farm tenant.

On 28 October 1937, Minnie B. Savage, 23, of Wilson County, daughter of Jesse and Argie Savage, married Willie B. Baines, 24, of Wilson County, son of Mattie Baines, in Nashville, Nash County, N.C.

Photo courtesy of user Jonathan Artis.