Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist Church.

I’d seen numerous references to a Sandy Fork Baptist Church in Wilson County, but was confused because the church I found by that name is a mile or so across the line in Nash County. Even more confusingly, Sandy Fork’s cemetery is on Old Bailey Highway, more than a mile from the church. 

Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist Church off Hornes Church Road in Wilson County.

Lisa Winstead-Stokes clarified the matter for me. Originally, there was a single Sandy Fork church, and a faction broke away to found “Little” Sandy Fork, also known “new” Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist Church of Wilson County. 

Neither the little nor big church is located at the original site of the church, which was near the crossroads just south of Sandy Fork cemetery. Annie Eatmon Locus is regarded as the first “mother” of the new church, which was built on land conveyed by her and her husband Asa “Ace” Locus to church trustees L. Blackwell, Wesley Strickland, Herbert Taylor, and Ace Locus on 18 October 1917.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2023; aerial (without annotations) courtesy of Google Maps. 

The final resting place of Rev. John Perry and family.

I’ve written here of Rev. John W. Perry, the Episcopal rector who served both Tarboro’s Saint Luke and Wilson’s Saint Mark’s for more than a decade beginning in 1889. 

I was headed out of Tarboro back toward Wilson yesterday when a sign at the edge of a somewhat shabby cemetery caught my eye — it was Saint Luke’s graveyard. The cemetery was established in the 1890s and likely contains many more graves than its headstones would indicate. Rev. Perry, his wife Mary Pettipher Perry, and several of their children are among the burials. 

The Perry family plot lies in the shadow of this impressive light gray granite marker. 

Rev. John W. Perry 1850-1918 He served St. Luke’s Parish for 37 years with honor to his Maker and himself.

Mary Eliza Pettipher Wife of Rev. J.W. Perry 1854-1929 Our lives were enriched because she lived among us.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2023.

Handel’s Chorus performs in concert.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 March 1943.

Hartford E. Bess‘ Handel’s Chorus, comprised of teens and young adults, performed to standing-room-only crowds for decades. In 1943, its members included Clara B. Taylor, Pauline Farmer, Ernestine Floyd, Mattie Ford, Eunice McCall, Devera Jackson, Eunice Cooke, Dora Dickerson, Henrietta Hines, Matteele Floyd, Inez Dickerson, Deloris Haskins, Romaine Hagans, Doris Joyner, Herman Hines, Harding Thompson, Ambrose Towe, Thomas Dawson, John W. Jones, Arthur Brodie, and Rudolph Best. Unfortunately, the accompanying photograph is not available.

New Vester Church and School.

Several rural African-American churches donated or contributed to the purchase of land upon which Wilson County Board of Education built public schools for the surrounding community. New Vester Colored School thus sat adjacent to New Vester Missionary Baptist Church, in far western Wilson County.

The photos of the old church (since replaced) above and the Rosenwald-funded school, below, come courtesy of New Vester Missionary Baptist Church, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in the fall of 2022.

New Vester School was built on the two-teacher plan, but was later enlarged. The view above shows one of the two banks of six windows at the rear of the building.


Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. (It closed its doors in 2010.) The church’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

This page is entitled “at a Conference held at Black Creek church the 3rd Sunday before the second Sunday in April 1853 Apointed Wm Lewis Clerk of the church.” Seven (13?) “servants,” i.e., enslaved people, appear in the list.

  • Seal, a servant of “B. Br.”, died 1853
  • Jim, a servant
  • Mariar, a servant
  • Mike, a servant
  • Fany, a servant of James Newsom
  • Hester, a servant of Johnathan Barnes
  • Zilpha, a servant of H. [illegible] D. Reson, “Turned out for fornication”
  • James, a servant [same as above?]
  • Fanney, a servant, “excommunicated charged with fornication” [same as above?]
  • Hester, a servant [same as above?]
  • Seal, a servant [same as above?]
  • Mariah, a servant [same as above?]
  • Mike, a servant [same as above?]

The obituary of Rev. Arthur Fuller, Disciples pastor.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 January 1937.


In the 1900 census of Great Swamp township, Wayne County, N.C.: farmer Allen Fuller, 66; wife Mollie, 36; children Mittie, 18, Arthur, 16, and Willie, 14; and grandson George A., 4.

On 26 July 1902, Arthur Fuller, 21, applied for a license to marry Hattie May Newsome, 19. The license was not returned.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Arthur Fullar, 22, oil mill worker making guano; wife Nettie, 24; and children Lester, 9, Emma M., 6, and Arthur R., 2.

On 4 May 1916, Arthur Fuller, 34, of Fremont, married Carrie Braswell, 22, daughter of Anna Braswell, at Lillea Sanders’ residence in Nahunta township.

Wilber Fuller died 3 June 1916 in Fremont, Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 February 1916 in Fremont to Arthur Fuller and Hattie May Vick.

In 1918, Arthur Fuller registered for the World War I draft in Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1882; lived in Fremont, Wayne County; farmed for Willie E. Edmundson; and his nearest relative was Carrie Fuller. He signed his card “Arthur Fuller.”

In the 1920 census of Buck Swamp township, Wayne County: farmer Arthur Fuller, 38; wife Carrie, 26; and children Arthur, 13, Albert L., 10, Jasper, 7, Josaphine, 6, and Charles H., 21 months.

Carrie Fuller died 28 July 1920 near Pikeville, Wayne County. Per her death certificate, she was 26 years old; was born in Wayne County to Bert Braswell and Anna [no maiden name listed]; and was buried in Fremont Colored Cemetery, Fremont.

On 16 January 1922, Arthur Fuller, 40, of Wayne County, son of Allen and Mollie Fuller, married Mary Hunter, 38, of Wilson County, daughter of Charlie Taylor, at First Baptist Church, Wilson. Nathan Boyett applied for the license, and Baptist minister John A. Mebane performed the ceremony in the presence of E.J. Hayes, A.E. Weeks, and Mrs. J.D. Reid.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Fuller Arthur (c; Mary) lab h 904 Mercer

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 904 Mercer, Holiness church minister Arthur Fuller, 48; wife Mary J., 46, laundry; daughter Mildred, 12; and roomers Lonnie B. Fields, 42, laundry, widow, and Darthy M. Fields, 3.

Arthur Fuller Sr. died 15 January 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 January 1882 to Allen Fuller of Nash County and Mary Wolfington of Lagrange, N.C.; was married to Mary Fuller; lived at 604 Warren Street; and was a preacher. He was buried in Fremont [Wayne County,] N.C.