In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 411 Wiggins Street, city pipe fitter Benj. Mency, 38; wife Mattie, 37, tobacco factory worker; and children Benjamin J., 11, Mildred, 7, Maddison, 5, and John, 3 months.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 656 Wiggins Street, valued at $800, town of Wilson plumber Benjamin Mincy, 48; wife Mattie, 49; and children Benjamin Jr., 23, Briggs Hotel cook; Madison B., 16; Mildred, 17; and John H., 11; and roomer Andrew P. Sugg, 59.
On 13 October 1935, Madison Mincey, 25, of Wilson, married Lalla Rook Barnes, 25, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Charles T. Jones performed the ceremony in the presence of Frank Davis, Frank Barnes, and Anna Barnes.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: hospital orderly Madison Mincey, 25; wife Lalla Rook, 22; and children Elizabeth E. and Robert E., 3; Johnny M., 1; and Luther, 5 months.
In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 803 East Green Street, Elois Parker, 29, widow; her sons William T., 11, Jessie, 6, and Ralph, 3; brother-in-law Madison Mincey, 36 collect garbage at city garbage department; nieces and nephews Elizabeth, 13, Luther, 10, Mildred, 9, Madison, 8, and Fredrick Mincey, 6; mother Mary Barnes, 71, widow; and cousin Hallie Ward, 27, private servant.
Maggie Dew — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Joseph Dew, 28; wife Mittie, 27; and daughters Julia, 4, and Maggie, 1.
Willie C. Maryland — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Richard Maryland, 36; wife Mary, 30; and children Dasie Lee, 14, and Willie C., 12.
Frances Weaver — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Lonnie Weaver, 40; wife Anner, 34; daughter Frances, 9; and widowed mother-in-law Clara Daws, 56.
James Hall — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Sela Hall, 34, and children Sylvester, 16, Joe and Joseph, 15, James, 13, Ora Lillie, 9, Erma Lee, 7, and Mildred R., 4.
Daniel Armstrong — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Armstrong, 52; wife Minnie, 42; and children Mary, 19, Fred, 18, Rosa, 16, Clarence, 14, Nathan, 11, Daniel, 9, Louise, 8, David, 6, and Henry, 6 months.
Vera Armstrong — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Harvey Lee Armstrong, 36; wife Lelah, 30; and children Vera, 11, James, 9, Harvey Lee, 7, Mary, 5, Shirley, 3, and William E., 1.
DigitalNC recently uploaded a ledger of African American children admitted into Grant Colored Asylum, an institution established by the North Carolina legislature in 1883. The facility’s name was changed to the Colored Orphanage Asylum of North Carolina in 1887 and is now known as the Central Children’s Home of North Carolina. Ledger entries record a child’s name, town and county of residence, date of admittance into the orphanage, date of birth, physical description, and observations about the child’s character. Other information documented could include the child’s parents’ names and church affiliation, notes about the parents, and names of those recommended the orphanage and filed the application for admittance. Some entries contain detailed information about the child’s stay at the orphanage and his or her whereabouts after the stay. [Warning: by today’s standards, descriptions of the lives of these children and their families can appear harsh and judgmental.]
I found entries for these six Wilson County children:
Edwin [Edward] Pitt
Ten year-old Edwin Pitt entered the orphanage on 8 June 1908. His parents, who were not married, were Thomas Day, who died in 1902 after a fall, and Martha Pitt, who was living. Dr. Frank S. Hargrove recommended Edwin’s admission; Martha Pitt applied; and A.M.E. Zion minister Nicholas D. King approved it. “Neither mother nor child bear good reputation. The mother once stood well.”
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Violet Pit, 50, washing, and children Martha, 24, washing, Hattie, 22, cooking, Lula, 21, cooking, Ben, 19, tobacco stemmer, Carry, 12, cooking, Rosa, 16, nurse, Meaner, 11, Jenney, 5, and Edward, 2.
In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Martha (c) laundress h 410 S Goldsboro
In the 1910 census of Fishing Creek township, Granville County, North Carolina: at Oxford Colored Orphanage, Edward Pitt, 12, inmate, home farm laborer.
Edward Pitts died 14 January 1918 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 21 years old; was born in Wilson County to Thomas Day and Martha Pittman [sic]; was single; and worked as a hotel waiter. Elsie Pitts was informant.
Twelve year-old Eddie Woodard entered the orphanage on 23 November 1908. His parents, who were not married, were Eddie Sanders, who died in 1902, and Chloe Woodard.
In the 1910 census of Fishing Creek township, Granville County, North Carolina: at Oxford Colored Orphanage, Eddie Woodard, 12, inmate.
In 1917, Eddie Woodard registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 21 October 1896 in Wilson, N.C.; lived in Wilson; was single; and worked as a delivery boy at a dry goods store, Barrett Patrick Company, Wilson.
On 17 July 1919, Eddie Woodard, 23, married Ada Melton, 18, at Milton’s house. Otis Wright applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony in the presence of Augustus Blow, Otis Wright, and Sarah Jones.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Cora [sic] Woodard, 47; won Eddie, 24, tobacco factory worker; daughter-in-law Ada, 19, tobacco factory worker; grandson Robert Wright, 6 months; and son-in-law Odis Wright, 25, widower, hardware company laborer.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 815 Mercer Street, owned and valued at $1500, Clora Woodard, 56, washing; son Eddie Woodard, 34, clothes presser at pressing club; and Robert L. Wright, 10, grandson.
In 1942, Eddie W. Woodard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 3 October 1895 in Wilson; lived at 815 Mercer Street (411 Church Street, Norfolk, Virginia, was crossed out); was unemployed; and his contact was mother Cloara Woodard.
Sixteen year-old Nola Davis entered the orphanage on 16 November 1909. Her parents Alonzo and Adeline Parks Davis were dead; they had had a “good reputation.” Dr. William Mitchner had recommended her admittance; Amanda Bynum had applied; and Samuel H. Vick had approved it.
Lillian and Dave Morris
Siblings Lillian Morris, 12, and Dave Morris, 7, entered the orphanage in February 1917. Their father Dave Morris had died of tuberculosis several years earlier, and their mother Lillian Hinson Morris was “a hopeless invalid.” Episcopal rector E.R. Perry [R.N. Perry] recommended that they be sent to Oxford.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Green Street, painter David Morris, 34; wife Lillian, 30; and children Pearle E., 12, Charles, 9, Lillian, 7, and David, 7 months.
By 1920, Lillian had aged out of the orphanage and returned home. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Smith, William Johnson, 25, born in South Carolina; wife Lillian, 32, born in England; and [his] stepchildren Charles, 17, Lillie, 15, and Mabel, 6.
However, in the 1920 census of Fishing Creek township, Granville County, N.C.: in the Oxford Colored Orphanage, inmate David Morris, 10.
Lillian [Hinson Morris] Johnson died 6 March 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 38 years old; was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia; was married to William Johnson; and lived on Smith Street.
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Morris Lillian (c) elev opr Court House h 22 Ashe
On 14 December 1935, David E. Morris married Lorenza Williams in Brooklyn, New York.
In the 1940 census of Kings County, New York: at 624 Madison, David Morris, 30, W.P.A. worker; wife Lorenza, 22; and son Edward, 4.
However: also in 1940, David Edward Morris registered for the World War II draft in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. Per his registration, he was born 28 February 1909 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 99 Stockton Street, Brooklyn; his contact was Sylvia Lipshitz Morris; and he worked for W.P.A., 70 Columbus Avenue, New York. On the reverse of the card, Morris is described as having a light brown complexion with black hair and brown eyes. Under “Race,” the check mark beside “Negro” is blacked out and the word “Error” written in; “White” is checked with a different pen in a different hand.
Detail from David E. Morris’s draft registration card.
In the 1950 census of Brooklyn, David Morris is not found, but S.O. Morris is described as divorced, and Lorenza Morris as separated.
David Morris died in Brooklyn on 3 August 1965.
Scant notes survive for Maggie Cox, who was 13 years old when she entered the orphanage in, most likely, 1917. There were “no particulars” about her background, other than that she had been “sent by S.N. [sic] Vick.”
In 1940, after leadership by boys proved uninspired, girls took over Wilbanks 4-H Club, which met at Wilbanks Colored School.
Odessa Hardy — in the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: widow Viola Hardy, 36, farm helper, and children Odesa, 15, Albert, 13, and Arthur L., 10.
Cora Lee McNair — Cora McNair traveled a few miles from Edgecombe County to 4-H Club in Wilson County. In the 1940 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: William McNair, 70; wife Marina, 50; daughters Mary, 18, and Cora, 12, and extended family.
Mamie Dell Sharp — in the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Allen Sharp, 64; wife Mary, 56; son Mark, 27; daughter-in-law Clara, 23; and grandchildren Odel, 17, Roosevelt, 16, Mammie D., 14, Suddie M., 5, Barbara G., 3, Rudolph, 2, and Eugene, 8 months.
Mary Lee Weaver — in the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Ephram Weaver, 71, farmer; wife Carrie, 65; children Annie, 28, Mattie, 25, and Jessie, 20; granddaughter Mary L., 12; and lodger John Taylor, 18.
The Vick family plot was the nucleus of what is now Odd Fellows Cemetery. It contains five marked graves — Samuel H. Vick, his wife Annie Washington Vick, their daughters Irma and Viola Vick, and his parents Daniel and Fannie Blount Vick — but likely other family members.
With funds crowdsourced from Black Wide-Awake‘s readers, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care has been expertly cleaning, repairing as necessary, and resetting grave markers in Odd Fellows. The past few days, Billy Foster has worked his magic in the Vick family plot.
The earliest of these markers belongs to little Viola Leroy Vick, who died in 1897 just before her third birthday.
It is a pretty little headstone, but oddly proportioned and badly in need of cleaning. When Billy Foster began to work on it, he discovered that the two-part base of the stone was completely buried — we’ve only been seeing the stele.
Foster dismantled the headstone.
When he cleaned it and reassembled it, an epitaph came into view on the pedestal:
A light from our household is gone
A voice we loved is stilled
A place is vacant in our hearts
Which never can be filled.
The plinth is also inscribed: Burns & Campbell, Petersburg, Virginia, a prolific firm known as much for its headstones as for constructing Confederate monuments.
My deep thanks to M. Barnes, R. Breen, S. Brooks, V. Cowan, D. Dawson, D. Gouldin, J. Hackney, J. Hawthorne, B. Henderson, T. Lewis, B. Nevarez, and M. Wrenn for sponsoring headstone repairs. There is more restoration work to be done, and I hope others will donate to support our efforts.
The third in a series documenting enslaved people held by the Bardin/Barden family, who lived in the Black Creek area in what was once Wayne County, but is now Wilson County.
Phebe Barden was born in 1826 to William and Nancy Cook Barden. After their father’s death in 1837, Phebe Barden and her siblings migrated to Mississippi, primarily to Pontotoc County.
Phebe Barden died shortly after her 18th birthday in 1844. Her brother Jacob Barden was appointed administrator of her estate. On 8 February 1845, he sold Phebe Barden’s property — four enslaved people. Phebe had received Cherry and one of Cherry’s children in the distribution of her father’s estate. It seems likely the boys Addison, Jack, and Nathan were Cherry’s sons. Phebe’s brother William Barden purchased Cherry, whose price was either discounted or suggests poor health, and the children were parted from their mother (or mother figure) when Phebe’s brother-in-law John Smith (married to Penelope Barden Smith) bought Addison and brother James Bardin bought Jack and Nathan.
I have no further information about Cherry, Addison, Jack, or Nathan.
Fifty years earlier, a reference to a colored skating rink seemed to suggest a freestanding building, but this suggests a “Colored Night” at an otherwise segregated facility.
Wilson Daily Times, 21 September 1936.
Bob Speight — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 624 Viola, barber Thedo S[p]eight, 27; wife Marie, 25; children Robert E., 3, and Margret E., 9 months; and brother Rufus, 22.
Lillian Black — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 616 Viola, house servant Bessie Thomas, 44, and niece Lillian Black, 17.
Goldwin Robertson Jr. — Golden Robinson Jr. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Vick Street, barber Golden Robinson, 30; wife Bertie, 23; and children Parthenia, 5, Gold M., 3, and Glean, 1.
Clarence Dawson [Jr.] — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 East Green Street, printing office laborer Charlie Thomas, 65; daughter Elizabeth Dawson, 32; son-in-law Clarence Dawson, 31; and grandchildren Eris Dawson, 11, Naomi, 9, Clarence, 7, and Thomas V. Dawson, 3; and daughters Sarah, 19, theatre ticket seller, and Beatrice Thomas, 17.
Ray Hines — Clifton Ray Hines. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Walter Hines, 50, wife Sarah, 48, and children Elizabeth, 21, Walter, 20, Carl W., 16, and Clifton R., 7.
It is difficult to know what to take away from this erratum. Unfortunately, the previous day’s paper is not available for details of the Dew children’s tragedy.
Oscar Dew — in the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Dew, 32; wife Annie, 24, farm laborer; children George F., 2, and Bettie M., 5 months; sister-in-law Fannie Strickland, 26, widow, farm laborer; and “sister-in-law son” Sydney Woodard, 10, farm laborer. In the 1920 census, Oscar and Annie Dew’s children were George F., 12, Annie Bell, 5, Rita Bell, 2, and James Arthur, 5 months. Presumably, the children killed in the fire were Bettie and a child born after the 1910 census was taken.
Nora Woodard — most likely: in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Woodard, 69; wife Sarah, 59; daughters Nora, 21, and Francis, 17; and servant Bessa Foard, 19. [It appears that Alfred Woodard died 1900-10 — did Nora inherit farmland from him?] In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Woodard Norah (c) h s of Cemetery rd nr A C L Ry