Shot over the heart. (But will live.)

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 October 1911.

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Wilson Daily Times, 27 October 1911.


Ruth Maultsby was the sister of Mattie L. Maultsby, who was a daughter of Daniel L. and Smithia C. Maultsby and wife of Dr. William A. Mitchner. It appears that the Maultsbys were from Pitt County, North Carolina, and D.L. Maultsby briefly served as pastor at a Methodist church in Wilson, most likely Saint John A.M.E. Zion.

Studio shots, no. 90: Edna E. Gaston.

Per an eBay listing for a reproduction of this photo: “Photo. North Carolina. Black girl and doll carriage. The girl’s name is Edna Earl Gaston. She was the niece of John Clark who was a founder of St Mark’s Episcopal Church. He was also the first Black mail carrier in Wilson, North Carolina. 1925.”

In fact, Edna Earline Gaston was the daughter of Albert Sessle Gaston of Wilson and Annie House Gaston of Moore County, North Carolina. John H. Clark was her great-uncle, brother of Albert Gaston’s mother Ella Clark Gaston.


In the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: Ella Gaston, 30, divorced, with sons Ralph, 10, and Albert, 2. [Also in the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson township, North Carolina: 44 year-old barber John Gaston, [second] wife Sabrina [Sattena] 22, and children Theodore, 13, Cicero, 10, George, 8, and Caroline, 2 months. John A. Gaston was Albert Gaston’s father.]

In 1918, Albert Gaston registered for the World War I draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he was born 16 August 1897 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 2105 Nassau Street, Philadelphia; worked as a longshoreman; and his nearest relative was Anna Gaston.

In the 1920 census of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: at 2105 Nassau Street, building laborer Albert Gaston, 22; wife Anne T., 23; daughter Edna E., 1;  lodger Harry Jenkins, 19, a laundry laborer; and “mother” Hellen Hunton, 53. All were born in North Carolina.

Shortly after the census, the Gastons returned to North Carolina, where they took positions in Annie H. Gaston’s home county. On 28 April 1921, The Moore County News of Carthage printed principal Albert Gaston’s address to the Shady Grove colored school.

By October 1921, Gaston had take over as head of the struggling Addor school. Per this 1997 National Register of Historic Places nomination report, the Gastons began an energetic campaign to raise money for a Rosenwald School, and the Lincoln Park school near Pinebluff was the result.

Albert Sessel Gaston registered for the World War II draft in 1942 in Raeford, Hoke County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1897 in Wilson; was employed by the Board of Education in Raeford; and his contact was Annie L. Gaston, 119 Lincoln Street, Hampton, Virginia.

Annie Lillian Gaston died 2 June 1952 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 July 1896 in Moore County to John House and Maggie Gunter; was a schoolteacher; and was married. Albert Gaston was informant.

Per the Social Security Death Index, Albert Gaston died November 1979 and Edna Gaston Coles died 25 July 1999, both in Philadelphia.

It’s got a little twang to it.

Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. worked as a janitor at Five Points (later Winstead) School and did gardening odd jobs at the home of school superintendent Charles L. Coon. His great-niece Hattie Henderson Ricks, whom he adopted, told this story:

“Papa was up there cutting grass. ‘Go in the house, and ask ‘em for some water, a pitcher.’  Talking ‘bout my daddy wanted some water. And the first time I ever seen a grapefruit was there.  I said I’d never forget that.  ‘Cause I went in that house and asked for some water, and I said ‘Daddy said’ – I called him Papa.  Anyway, ‘he wanted to know if he could have some water.’  And the lady said, ‘Yeah,’ and she got a pitcher and a glass.  And I took it on out there, and then I just sit on the steps.  So Papa stopped and drinked him some water. But I was just standing there while they was fixing the water, and I looked on that table, and all ‘round the table there by the plate they had a salt cellar and half a grapefruit and a cherry sitting in the middle.  And that thing just looked so pretty, looked so good.  And I said, ‘Unh, that’s a big orange!’ I said, ‘Well, next time I go to the store I’m gon get me one, too.’  And sho’ nuff, I asked Papa, when we left – I don’t remember whether it was, it wont that particular time, but we come out and were on our way to Edmundson’s store in Five Points, and he wanted me to go in and get a plug of tobacco. Part of a plug.  And tell Old Man Edmundson to put it on the bill. So he waited, he was out there on a wagon, he had a little horse, and I went in and told Mr. Edmundson Papa wanted a, whatever amount it was, he didn’t get a whole plug, ‘cause I think it was three or four sections to a plug of tobacco, and for him to put it on the bill, and I said, ‘He said I could have a orange.  And put that on the bill.’  And it was boxes sitting up – I’ll never forget it – the boxes sitting up with all the oranges sitting up in there.  And I got the biggest one out of the group.  The one that wasn’t even orange.  I made sure I was gon get me a big orange!  I got that and come on back out there and got on the wagon and coming from Five Points to almost home, I was peeling that thing and peeling it ‘til I got it off, and it was sour, ‘Ugh, that’s a sour orange!’  I never seen a orange that sour. And I said, ‘Now, that didn’t look like, that’s a light-complected … yellow.’ But it was still like a orange, and it was so big.

“From then on I didn’t want no big orange. Now I always get little oranges. Today I don’t buy no big orange.  ‘Cause the little ones is sweeter than the big ones.  But, honey, that was a grapefruit, and that was the first I’d ever known it was a grapefruit.  We ain’t never had no grapefruit.  And so, I told Mama that was a, ugh, sour orange.  And I told her ‘bout what the Coons had on their table when I went up there.  And she said, ‘Well, that was a grapefruit.’  ‘A grapefruit?,’  I said, ‘well, what’s a grapefruit?’  And she said, ‘It’s like a big orange.  But you have to put sugar on it most time.  It’s a little sour.  It’s got a little twang to it.’  She said, ‘But your daddy didn’t never like none, so I don’t care that much about it.’  And I said, ‘A grapefruit?  I got myself a grapefruit.’  I said, ‘The cherries, where they get the cherries?,’ I said. ‘That little red thing where was on there.’  She said, ‘Well, you buy ‘em in bottles from the store.’ But, anyway, it was sour, but I learned the taste, you put a little sugar on it, makes a little bit sweeter.  I swear, Lord, I think about those things that I did when I was little.”


The house with the grapefruit was at 109 North Rountree Street in Wilson’s College Park neighborhood. Charles L. Coon’s house has been demolished, but was catalogued in Bainbridge and Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980):

“This house was built c.1915 for Wilson’s foremost educator, Charles L. Coon. He served as superintendent of the Wilson Graded School from 1907 until his death in 1927 and was County School superintendent for the last fifteen years of this period. Coon, credited with the creation of a model school system in Wilson, also served on the North Carolina Child Labor Committee, the State Teachers Assembly, the editorial board of the North Carolina Historical Review and was the author of North Carolina Schools and Academies 1790-1840 and Public Schools of Wilson County. His house is sturdy and simple. The tile roof is unusual in a house of this vintage, and it enriches the texture of the facade. The front porch was constructed in typical Bungalow style, with square flared columns supporting the overhanging hipped roof.”


Hattie H. Ricks, circa 1920, probably a few years after she first tasted grapefruit.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1916).

  • Plug tobacco is made by pressing cured tobacco in a sweet (often molasses-based) syrup. The resulting sheet of pressed tobacco was cut into “plugs.” Edmundson likely carried locally manufactured product.

Adapted from interview of Hattie Henderson Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.

Back to school!

More Raines and Cox photographs of Saint Alphonsus School, these taken in 1949.

Book Week.

Your Best Friends Read Good Books.

This photo, perhaps also shot by Raines and Cox, appears to date from the 1950s.


Saint Alphonsus School Drum & Bugle Corps.

[On a personal note: One day when I was 4, I followed another child out the front of Kiddie Kollege of Knowledge (formerly St. Alphonsus School) with my arms spread wide. In the inexplicable way that crazy things happen to little kids, my pinky got caught and crushed between the heavy double doors seen in the third image above. My aunt, Hattie H. Ellis, came up Carroll Street from Darden High School — she was a guidance counselor — to take me to the doctor, and I proudly showed off my little cast when I returned to school the next day.]

Top photos: many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as PhC_196_CW_StAlphonsusClassroom3 and
PhC_196_CW_StAlphonsusClassroom2. Bottom: courtesy of Wilson Community Improvement Association.

Colored graded school honor roll.

WCGS students

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1922.

  • Blount, Hellen — Born about 1915 to Mark and Mary Alice Black, Blount. Helen died 15 April 1932 of pulmonary tuberculosis. She lived at 113 South East Street.
  • Williams, Edmund — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 Vance Street, A.C.L. station laborer Allen Williams; wife Fennie, 39, laundress; and children Guss, 23, barber; Osca, 20, barber; Rosca, 20, A.C.L. station laborer; Lenard, 16; Edmond, 12, Albert, 10; Lizzie, 11; and Frederick, 3.
  • Boykin, Lila Ruth — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Viola Street, valued at $4000, Christian church clergyman James Boykin, 44; wife Nancy S., 59; daughter Lila R., 19; and roomers Ines Williams, 23, widow, and Minnie Nelson, 20, who both worked as servants.
  • Haskins, Estelle — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Warren Street, Robert Haskins, 37, bottling company laborer; wife Gertrude, 28; and children Mandy, 14, Elizabeth, 12, Estelle, 10, Robert, 7, Lossie, 5, Lawrence, 4, and Thomas, 1. Estelle H. Goodman died 6 January 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 February 1911 in Wilson to Robert Haskins Sr. and Gertrude Farmer; was married to Arthur Goodman; and resided at 1224 Queen Street.
  • Cooke, Clementine — Perhaps, Cook Clementine (c) cook Cherry Hotel h 605 Nash.
  • Freeman, Naomi — Naomi Olivia Freeman. In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Oliver N. Freeman, 38; wife Willie May, 31; and children Naomi, 8, Oliver N. Jr., 7, Mary F., 5, and Connie, 4.
  • Wilson, Irene — Probably, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Vick, Mollie Wilson, 46; son Lennie, 25, house carpenter; daughter-in-law Georgia, 23; grandson Lennie Jr., 2; and children John A., 22, house carpenter; Annie D., 19, Sarah, 17, Bunyon, 16, Hirmon, 14, William H., 12, James J., 10, and Ire, 7.
  • Gilliam, Matthew — In 1940, Matthew Stanley Gilliam registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 19 August 1913 in Wilson; his contact was mother Annie Lee Gilliam; and he was employed by State Department (K.R. Curtis), Court House, Wilson. [His father was physician Matthew S. Gilliam.]
  • Bynum, Lizzie Mae — Probably, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 Narroway, widow Annie Bynum, 47, and children Ruth, 23, Joseph, 17, Curley C., 16, Feedy, 14, Lucy, 15, and Lizzie M., 7. Lizzie Bynum died 16 April 1932 of pulmonary tuberculosis. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1909 to Cooper and Emma Woodard Bynum, both born in Edgecombe County; was a student; and the family resided at 208 North East Street. Curley Bynum was informant. [Three blocks from Hellen Blount, above, who died the day before Lizzie.]
  • Brooks, William
  • Cox, Ebenezer — in the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Eddie Cox, 27, wife Mattie, 27, and son Ebernezer Cox, 11. In the 1925 Wilson city directory, Ebenezer is listed as a resident at 111 Carroll Street, the address at which his father operated Cox’s Pressing Club.
  • Williams, Martha — Perhaps, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laundress Minnie Williams, 27, and children Martha, 11, and Lawrence, 9, on Bynum Street.
  • Speight, Inez L.
  • Barnes, Frank Washington — Frank W. Barnes (25 March 1911-21 March 1982) was the son of Jesse Reese Barnes and Sarah Eliza Barnes. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farmer Jesse Barnes, 46; wife Sarah, 47; and children Ned, 23, farm laborer; Nancy, 22, college student; Lemon, 20, pressing club laborer; Jessie Belle, 18, high school student; Maggie, 15; Ardenia, 13; Frank, 11; James, 6; and Mildred, 3.
  • Brown, James
  • Purdie, Esther — in the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Street P. Purdie, 49; wife Lenora, 28; and children Ethel, 20, Jane, 19, Raleigh, 20, Needie, 18, Mittie, 16, Esther, 14, Niney, 7, Paul, 6, Samuel, 5, and Erand, 3.
  • Williams, John
  • Blount, Florence — Florence Blount Hollingsworth English (26 March 1912-26 February 1988) was the sister of Hellen Blount, above. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cafe cook Mark Blount, 67; wife Alice, 31; children Florence, 10, and Helen, 7; son-in-law Boston Griffin, 39, furniture company delivery man; and roomer David Carrol, 40, tobacco factory worker.
  • Griffith, Mildred
  • Bullock, Viola — perhaps Viola Bullock Sams, who died 14 May 1974 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 March 1909 in South Carolina to Sam Bullock and Martell Coper; was widowed; resided at 415 South Pender Street. Fred Woodard was informant.
  • Battle, Daisy — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 404 Spring Street, Mary Battle, 41, tobacco factory worker, and children Flonnie, 12, Daisy, 12, David, 22, railroad crossing flagman, Jimmie, 7, and John, 5.
  • Farmer, Alice Gray — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 506 Hines Street, tobacco factory worker Jeff Farmer, 57; wife Blanche, 47, laundress; and children Charlie, 24, a tobacco factory worker, Jeff Jr., 18, a grocery company truck driver, Henry, 14, Alice, 12, Sam, 8, and Blanche, 5.
  • Jones, Gertrude — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 808 East Nash, Butler Jones, 39, painter; wife Myrtle, 36; and children Gertrude, 12, Louise, 6, Joseph, 5, Ruth M., 3, and Willard, 3 months.
  • Parker, Lucile — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon factory laborer Allison Parker, 46; wife Mary, 40, a tobacco factory worker; and children Marie, 14, Martha, 11, and Lucille, 8, at 901 Nash Street.
  • Taylor, Ossie Mae — Ossie Taylor Barnes died 12 February 1970 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was born 4 July 1908 in Wilson to Joseph and Martha Taylor and resided at 202 North East Street. Informant was Ida Edmundson, 711 Suggs Street.
  • Wilkerson, Maggie Belle
  • Barnes, Frank
  • Bowens, Nathan — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 406 South Lodge Street, rented for $10/month, North Carolina native Flora Royal, 42, tobacco factory worker, and her Florida-born son Nathan Bowens, 22, tobacco factory laborer.
  • Ellis, Robert — perhaps, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 640 Nash Street, sawmill laborer Robert Ellis, 30; wife Ella, 28; and children Robert, 9, John H., 7, James H., 6, and Ella P., 4; plus sister-in-law Hermenetta, 25.
  • Gardner, Levi — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, tobacco factory worker Will Gardner, 44; wife Mary, 40; and son Levi, 9.
  • Perry, Samuel — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, wagon factory laborer Sam Perry, 39; wife Sis, 36, tobacco factory worker; and children David, 11, Samuel, 9, and Nettie, 7.
  • Perry, David — see above.
  • Townsend, Haywood — Haywood Townsend’s delayed birth certificate indicates that he was born in Wilson in 1909 to Andrew Townsend and Lula McCoy. In the 1928 Wilson city directory, Townsend Haywood (c) student h 506 Banks.
  • Battle, Clara — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 304 East South Street, rented for $24/month, Joseph Battle, 50, janitor at colored high school; wife Gertrude, 42; and daughter Clara, 22; and roomers Earnest Heath, 24, cook, barber James Pettiford, 32, Robert McNeal, 23, servant, Essie M. Anderson, 18, servant, and Viola McLean, 24, “sick.”
  • Tarboro, Emma Lou — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, ice plant laborer Issac Tarboro, 39; wife Emma, 38; and children Thomas, 14, Emma Lou, 12, Issac Jr., 8, John, 5, Virginia, 3, and Richard, 8 months.
  • Weaver, Lewis — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 620 Stantonsburg Street, oil mill laborer Nathan Weaver, 47; wife Pattie, 45; and sons Lewis, 12, and Perry, 6.
  • Spells, E____
  • Williams, Marie — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1004 Nash Street, Edd Williams, 39; wife Minnie, 37; and children Marie, 14, Reges, 12, Gency, 10, and Jessie, 5 months.
  • Best, Herman — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1107 Nash Street, William Best, 37; wife Ada, 39; children Dorthy L., 6, Andrew(?), 12, Herman, 11, and Elizabeth, 8; plus brothers-in-law James Sims, 48, and Willie Sims, 38.
  • Woo[dard?], George A.
  • Ruffin, ____
  • DuBerry, Sherman — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 307 Stantonsburg Street, rented for $12/month, tobacco factory worker Linda Deberry, 70, widow, and sons Sherman, 19, tobacco factory worker, and Herman, 10.
  • Venters, ____
  • Shade, Sarah — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 535 Nash Street, Turner Stokes, 50, carpenter; wife Morah, 39; mother-in-law Martha Pitt, 83; and boarders Isac Shade, 44, drugstore manager; wife Estella, 38; and children Kenneth, 13, and Sarah, 9.
  • Shade, Kenneth — see above.
  • Huzzy, [Eliza]beth
  • Baker, Irene
  • Peacock, Susan — Susan Peacock Prince.



Summerlin fatally injured.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1932.


Though the news report did not find it worth mentioning, Benjamin Summerlin, “negro tenant farmer,” was only 13 years old when he was killed.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Summerlin, 24; wife Pearl, 22; and sons Harvey, 4, and Benjamin, 6 months.

Play with all your might.

On 12 May 1946, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox visited Saint Alphonsus Catholic School to take these priceless photos of young pupils. Can you identify any of the children?

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as  PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool1,  PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool2 and

Troop 11 receive their pins.



  • W.C. Hart — Walter C. Hart
  • Calvary Presbyterian Church
  • Rev. O.J. Hawkins
  • The Girl Scouts — Jean Wynn, Marjorie Taylor, Helen Barnes, Ruth Hart, Vilma Dew, Mary Morris, Barbara Jones, Evangeline Reid, Myrtle Lynch and Dorthy Bynum

Hattie Margaret Henderson joined Troop 11 shortly after the first group of girls received their pins. This Girl Scout Handbook, published in 1948, belonged to Henderson.

Negro scouts revived.


Wilson Daily Times, 16 August 1946.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 May 1949.

  • Mrs. W.C. Hart — Spartanburg, South Carolina native Sophia Shelton Hart was a teacher.
  • Mrs. B.O. Barnes — Flossie Howard Barnes.
  • The Girl Scouts — Mildred Mincey, Cleo Taylor, Louise Holiday, Joyce Walker, Joan Wright, Thelma Weaver, Betty Mincey, Bella Mildred Gilchrist, Barbara Hodges, Brownie Moore, Ruth Hart, Helen Barnes, Hattie M. Henderson, Marjorie Taylor, Clara Cannon, Selma Brown, Vilma Dew, Jean Wynn, Myrtle Lynch, Mary Morris, Barbara Hodges, Evangeline Reid, Barbara Jones.

Sophia and Walter C. Hart, early 1930s.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1947-1948).

Photograph courtesy of grandson Keith M. Harris.