Raleigh Gazette, 19 December 1896.
The one-hundred-twenty-sixth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompassed 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, showing a grocery store at 1000 East Nash
As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; Progressive Primitive Baptist Church; brick-veneered former grocery and bottling plant; parapet front with spire added.”
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Higson Bros (B H and V H) gros 1000 E Nash [The Higsons — owners Booth H. and Velborn H., clerk William B, and his wife Sidney S. — lived at their shop. Like all who operated businesses at 1000 East Nash, the Higsons were white.]
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pridgen Babe D (Mattie) gro 1000 E Nash and 513 Stantonsburg h 506 Pender
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pilot Beverage Co (Roger J Crawley Andrew C Byrd) 1000 E Nash
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wilson Bottling Co Moffett L Carson Mgr, Bottlers of Nesbitt’s California Orange 1000 E Nash tel 2408
Ad, 1947 city directory.
In the 1950 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wilson Bottling Co Moffett L Carson Mgr, Bottlers of Nesbitt’s California Orange 1000 E Nash tel 2408
In its 30 July 1953 edition, the Wilson Daily Times announced the opening of a new grocery business, Super Duper, at 1000 East Nash. Thus, the building returned to its original use.
Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1956.
In the 1963 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Super Duper Market No 1 (Lerby Bryant Odell C Tant) gros 1000 E Nash
These food stamp credit tokens for Super Duper No. 1 date from the 1970s. For an interesting history of this currency, see this 2015 CoinWeek digital article.
In 1978, the owners of the building advertised it for rent in the Daily Times.
Per mentions in the Wilson Daily Times, from 1982 to 1988 and possibly longer, Goodwill Progressive Primitive Baptist Church operated from 1000 East Nash Street.
Per mentions in the Wilson Daily Times, from 1995 to 1999 and possibly longer, Brotherhood of Deliverance Pentecostal Church operated from 1000 East Nash Street.
The building has been demolished.
1000 East Nash Street now, per Google Street View.
Portraits of Rev. Franklin B. Woodard are posted on the blog of Legacy Museum of African-American History in Lynchburg, Virginia. The text of the post: “Rev. Frank B. Woodard was born and raised in Wilson County, North Carolina. He studied at Virginia Seminary and graduated in 1904. Woodard led churches in Michigan and Iowa and served as the President of the Iowa–Nebraska Convention. He died in 1919.”
In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Frank Woodard, 25; wife Appie, 23; son Frank Jr., 1; and Samuel, 20, farm laborer.
In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Woodard, 37; wife Appie, 32; and children Frank, 11, and Romulus, 9.
On 29 August 1906, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Franklin Brown Woodard, 38, born in Wilson County, North Carolina, to Frank and Apsilla Woodard, married Margaret C. Minnis, 27, born in Bedford County, Virginia, to Henry L. and Mamie Minnis.
In the 1910 census of Bluff Creek township, Monroe County, Iowa: Frank B. Woodard, 41, born N.C.; wife Margurite C., 31, born Virginia; and children Thelma K., 2, born Michigan, and Virginia L., 1, born Iowa.
On 2 June 1915, Franklin Brown Woodard, 46, widowed, born in Wilson County, N.C., to Frank and A. Woodard, married Rosa Mildred Jones, 36, born in Buxton, Iowa, to Lewis and M. Jones, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The Bystander (Des Moines, Iowa), 7 June 1918.
Rev. Frank B. Woodard died 5 September 1919 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Bystander (Des Moines, Iowa), 12 September 1919.
Rev. Woodard’s body was returned to Lynchburg for burial.
Woodard’s wife Rosa was appointed guardian to her step-daughters Thelma and Virginia. Though certified to teach, Rosa Woodard was in poor health, and year after year applied to the Linn County, Iowa, District Court to draw money from Frank Woodard’s estate to provide for the girls.
Petition for letters of guardianship.
Rosa Woodard’s first application for funds. She stated that it was too late in the year to get a teaching job.
Another petition for funds, in which Rosa Woodard revealed that she had been ill for months and had spent several weeks at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Virginia Lavurn Woodard, born in Buxton, Iowa, to Frank Brown Woodard and Margaret Celeste Minnis, married John Henry Hughes Jr., born in Bedford County, Virginia, to John Henry Hughes and Lucretia Ann Griffin, on 1 March 1931 in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Rosa Jones Woodard
Rosa Jones Woodard died 1 August 1957 at her home at 904 Eighth Street, Lynchburg, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 February 1885 in Lynchburg to Louis Jones and Margaret Taylor; was a widow of Frank B. Woodard; and had worked as a teacher and school matron. Informant was Virginia Hughes, Lynchburg.
Wilson Daily Times, 20 June 1928.
- James T. Parker — James Thomas Parker. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1003 Washington Street, chauffeur George Connie, 41; wife Nona, 36, laundress; and laborers Cora Parker, 38, widowed cook, and her son James T., 15.
- Jim L. Parker — probably, in the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Parker James L (c) student h 305 Pender
- Joe Haskins — Joseph Franklin Haskins. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1200 Wainwright, valued at $1700, Coca-Cola Plant laborer Damp Haskins, 24; wife Sudie B., 21; children Damp Jr., 2, and Hellen, 6 months; mother Hester, 72; brother Jospeh , 18; sister Martha Pitt, 52, servant; and nephew Jim R. Haskins, 10.
- Fletcher Pierce — Fletcher Forest Pierce. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, insurance agent Nazareth Pierce, 54; wife Ada, seamstress; son Fletcher, 17, and daughter Elmira, 25.
- Esmond Langley — Esmond Connell Langley. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Viola Street, grocery store merchant Jarrette J. Langley; wife Mary, 49; and children Ivary, 21 public school teacher, Esmond, 19, grocery store delivery boy, Ruttena, 16, Alcesta, 14, and Eunice, 8.
- Chas. W. Gilliam — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 805 East Nash Street, valued at $8000, physician Matthew S. Gilliam, 45; wife Annie L., 42; and children Charles W., 17, Matthew, 15, Emily, 13, George T., 12, and Herman, 10.
- Chas. Edwards — probably: Charles Edwards registered for the World War II draft in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born in Wilson, N.C., on 20 July 1912; he lived at 1342 Fulton Street, Brooklyn (updated to 1165 Fulton Street); his contact was sister Scottie Carter, 150 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn; and he was employed by Etta Webb, 1144-A Fulton Street, Brooklyn.
- James E. Farmer — James Edward Farmer. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Green, plasterer John A. Farmer, 60; wife Nona, 61; sons James E., 17, and Woodie, 22, barber; and daughter-in-law Savana, 22, lodge bookkeeper. [His parents, in fact, were John W. and Edmonia Barnes Farmer.]
Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing this clipping.
Per county GIS mapping data, there are two property owners remaining in Wilson County whose named include the word “Colored.” The first I know well — Elm City Colored Cemetery Commission. The second pulled me up short — Sharpsburg Colored Primitive Baptist Church.
Though I have driven through it on U.S. Highway 301 hundreds of times, I know little about Sharpsburg, other than that its town limits straddle three counties — Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe. Because I’m not familiar with the locations of these boundaries, I have not looked closely at Sharpsburg as a source of material for Black Wide-Awake.
I pulled up the GIS map for Sharpsburg Colored Primitive Baptist and was immediately struck by two things.
One, the Wilson County sector of Sharpsburg is cleanly bounded by SE Railroad Street on the west and Main Street on the north. Two, this is the historically Black section of town — the church is there, it is “across the tracks,” and its street names include Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
And then there’s this grainy Google Maps image of the church itself:
Per county tax records, trustees bought the lot at the corner of Railroad and Lincoln Streets in 1915 and built Sharpsburg Colored Primitive Baptist Church in 1920. Another grainy photograph linked to the tax record and date-stamped 2016 shows a large sign mounted on the church tower that reads “Bellamy Chapel P.B. Church.” Bellamy Chapel appears to be defunct as well.
I’ve added Sharpsburg Colored Primitive Baptist Church to my follow-up list. Stay tuned.
I was on my way to Saratoga when I spotted a road sign for Cornerline Place and thought of this old church. The first post about Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church relied on Google Maps for a relatively recent photo. The up-to-date situation reveals not just the expected decay of an abandoned church, but quite intentional depredation as well.
Here is Corner Line straight on. At left, a collapsed wooden building, one room wide, with a gabled front.
The church’s plywood sign has rotted beyond help. In its last days, Corner Line held worship services only once a month.
The church’s front doors are gone. As is half its floor, which, based on the straight cut across its width, appears to have been scavenged. The back of the church shows ordinary damage, collapsed ceilings from a rotting roof. The church’s original tongue-and-groove beadboard is visible under the wall’s faux paneling and sheetrock ceiling. Look closely at bottom left. That stump may have been one of the original posts supporting the church’s floor.
Corner Line Primitive Baptist, 2020.
Below, at the far edge of the frame, are the four white columns of Mercy Hospital (then Wilson Colored Hospital). The houses between the church, demolished in the 1990s, were 508 and 510 East Green Street.
The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson showing the old Calvary, Mercy Hospital, and the two houses between. The house at 510, closest to the church, was later replaced by a two-story dwelling. It served as Calvary’s parsonage.
The automobile below is a Ford coupe. I estimate its model year as circa 1940. Can anyone give a better identification?
This streetlight dangled above the intersection on crossed wires.
The highway signs below designate U.S. 301, U.S. 264-A, and N.C. 58. Highways 301 and 264 date to 1932, but the “A” indicates that the photograph was taken no earlier than 1950, when 264 was re-routed.
The resolution of the photograph is too poor to render the church’s message board or cornerstone readable. (Was the cornerstone saved during demolition?)
The small white obelisk at the corner was a street sign of a type seen in Wilson well into the 1970s. PENDER ST was stamped into one side, and GREEN ST into the other, and the letters painted black.
Photo courtesy of Wilson City Archives. Hat tip to L. Monson.
Below, a figure holding a level, said to be O. Nestus Freeman, standing atop a wall at the construction site of the second iteration of Calvary Presbyterian Church, completed in 1924.
Photo courtesy of Wilson City Archives; hat tip L. Monson.
This image of First Missionary Baptist Church (later Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church) was taken by an unknown photographer circa 1920.
Below, detail of the original entry facing Pender Street. A girl in a hat stands near the cornerstone and what appears to be a street sign at the corner of Nash and Pender Streets. Today, this entrance is seldom if ever used and features a solid set of steps lined with wrought-iron railings leading down to a landing, then turning left toward Church Street.
The close-up below reveals that the boy and man (or perhaps man and taller man) at far right of the image are standing next to their bicycles, which may have purchased cattycorner across the street at C.L. Darden‘s bicycle shop.)
Photograph courtesy of the Monk Moore Collection, digitized at digitalnc.org.
This copy of a photograph is said to show O. Nestus Freeman‘s workmen building Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on West Vance Street, Wilson. Does it though?
Freeman came out of retirement to direct the stonework at Our Redeemer, which was completed after World War II. The photo above is undated, but appears to date from earlier in the twentieth century. Moreover, this crew is clearly building an addition to a pre-existing church.
Here’s a photo of Our Redeemer published at the church’s 25th anniversary at the Vance and Rountree Streets site. (The building itself was not completed until after 1941.) This does not appear to be the same church as the one above. The men above are laying brick, not stone. The buttresses between the windows below do not appear in the image above. And the windows themselves are much taller in the image above. The church’s raised stone rake is also missing from the gable end above.
Wilson Daily Times, 7 May 1966.
On 1 September 2001, the Daily Times featured a long piece contributed by Robert B. Lineberger, whose father was pastor at Our Redeemer in the early 1940s. In pertinent part, here is Lineberger’s recollection:
“Oliver Nestus Freeman was the stone mason for the church. The stone was delivered to the lot in 1942. It was supposed to be 4 inches thick, and the supplier brought half to it from the quarry at Roleville [Rolesville, in Wake County, N.C.] and dumped it on the lot when no one was there. It was 8 inches thick. When the quarry realized its mistake, they said Dad could have it at half price if he would accept it where it was.
“He asked what he could do with it that thick. They indicated it could be split just like a cake of ice … except you would use a sledge hammer with a pointed side to it instead of an ice pick. Tap it on one side, roll it, tap it on the second side, roll it, tap it on the third side, roll it … and when you tap it on the fourth side, it would split in half. That meant the church got the stone for 25 percent of the original price!
“[My father] acted as general contractor for the church. During the early war years contractors and builders were doing all the work they could at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Camp Lejeune. He hired Mr. Freeman, who came out of retirement to build the church.
“Mr. Freeman then lived in a stone house off of East Nash …. I mixed mortar for him and placed the stones at his directions on the scaffold on which he worked. He chose each stone for a particular place as he worked. I worked with him for a long time during the summer and after school of the year the church was built.
“Mr. Freeman was a fine man, and I learned a lot about stone masonry, mixing mortar and life from him. …”
Lineberger provided some photographs of construction, including these:
Wilson Daily Times, 1 September 2001.
These images further strengthen my belief that the first photograph depicts Freeman’s crew working on some church other than Our Redeemer.
Our Redeemer Lutheran today.
Top photo courtesy of Freeman Round House and Museum, Wilson, N.C., digitized at Images of North Carolina, digitalnc.org; bottom photo by Lisa Y. Henderson.