Rev. W.S. Barnes of Barnes Chapel Baptist.


On 28 December 1904, Samuel Barnes, 23, of Wilson, son of George Barnes, married Emma Mincey, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Prince and Susan Mincey, at Susan Mincey‘s residence in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of C.C. Goffney, Mary J. Barnes, and J.D. Stallings.

Aurthur Barnes died 11 August 1917 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 13 November 1905 in Wilson to W.S. Barnes and Emma Mincey; worked as a common laborer [at age 11!]; and was buried in Wilson County [possibly, the Mincey family plot in Odd Fellows Cemetery.]

William Samuel Barnes registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 19 January 1887; lived at 810 East Vance Street; worked as a laborer for Hackney Wagon Company; lived at 810 East Vance; and his nearest relative was Emma Barnes.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 810 East Vance, Samuel Barnes, 39, farmer; wife Emma, 35; and children Lizzie M., 11, Dora S., 8, and Naomi, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 402 Walnut Street, Sam Barnes, 49, Missionary Baptist minister; wife Emma, 45, laundress; and children Dora, 21, cook, Jake, 11, Samie, 8, and Leona, 12.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 804 May Avenue, gardener William S. Barnes, 59; wife Emma, 56, laundress; son William, 18, warehouse trucker; grandson William, 4; son-in-law Johnny C. Hairston, 21, WPA laborer; daughter Neoma, 21; and Shelley, 2, and Maggie Hairston, 2 months.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 March 1947.

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1102 Atlantic Street, William S. Barnes, 65, janitor at tourist court; wife Emma, 57, housecleaning; Naomie B. Hairston, 31; Charlie, 32, mortar mixer; and William B., 14, Shirley, 12, Maggie, 10, Annette, 9, Charlene, 7, Charles Jr., 6, Naomia A., 2, Clarence, 1, and Earl H., born in January 1950.

Emma Barnes died 13 September 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 December 1884 in Greene County, N.C., to Louis Mincey and Susie Suggs; was married to Sam Barnes; lived at 700 Edwards Street; and was buried Rest Haven Cemetery.

William Samuel Barnes died 1 August 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 90 years old; was the son of George Barnes and Sylvia [no maiden name]; was a widower; was a retired minister; and lived at 904 Phillips Street. Naomi Harriston [Hairston] was informant.

Special thanks to Mel Baines for sharing.

Dr. Swearinger addresses Trinity A.M.E. Zion.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 October 1943.


  • Trinity Methodist Church — Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church
  • Cora Jordan Fitch
  • Grace Patterson — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County:  Walter Patterson, 35, W.P.A. project laborer; wife Grace, 33, housekeeper; and children Walter Jr., 11, and Julia, 10.

The dedication of Calvary Missionary Baptist.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 April 1965.

Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s current sanctuary on Gay Street was dedicated in 1965, but the church was originally organized in 1921 under Rev. E.D. Joyner, who later lead Barnes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. The photo above depicts Walter Jones, “the oldest deacon and one of the founders,” Rev. D.D. Williams, and Joe Williams. Clarence B. Best engraved the church’s marble cornerstone.


  • E.D. Joyner — Eddie D. Joyner lived in Rocky Mount, N.C. In addition to leading Calvary, he was the long-time pastor of Barnes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Walter Jones — Walter Jones died 19 February 1968 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 March 1886 to Frank Jones and Rebecca Hood; was married to Inez Reynolds; lived at 503 Moore Street; and was a retired tobacco factory laborer.
  • D.D. Williams
  • Joe Williams

Sunday school at Calvary, no. 3.

This photograph of Della Hines Barnes‘ Sunday School class at Calvary Presbyterian appears to have been taken at the same as this one. Della Barnes’ grandchildren Walter Dortch Hines and Elizabeth Scott Hines stand on either end of the front row. Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick‘s son Robert E. Vick stands between them in knickers. The three were born in 1908 and 1909, which dates the photo a little later than the 1915 earlier estimate. 

Thank you to an anonymous contributor.

Thank you, Freeman-Hagans family.

I was honored to be asked to speak at the Freeman-Hagans reunion last night — the first family reunion I’ve addressed beyond my own. The family is fortunate to have richly documented genealogical knowledge, so I knew I couldn’t just show up and tell the Freemans about the Freemans. As I considered topics, I remembered a passage in Mary Freeman-Ellis’ fantastic The Way It Was in which she vividly described attending services at London’s Primitive Baptist Church. As genealogy is brought to life, so to speak, by an understanding of the contexts of our ancestors’ lives, I decided to talk about the history of the church that was so central to the lives of Eliza Daniels Freeman and several of her children. My thanks to Patricia Freeman for the invitation;  to the Lillian Freeman Barbee family for sharing their table with me; and to all who welcomed me so warmly.

London Church twelve years after it was moved from its original location on Herring Avenue. A hoped-for benefactor had not materialized, and the building was beginning to break down. Wilson Daily Times, 31 March 2004.

Here’s the inspirational excerpt from Mary Freeman-Ellis’ memoir:

“… Aunt Lydia [Freeman Norwood Ricks], Uncle Lovette [Freeman], and Julius [F. Freeman Jr.] were members. Once a year, usually early spring, the church had its annual meeting. People came from near and far. A great deal of time was spent inside the church during the service. This was the annual ‘Big August Meeting,’ I used to hear Aunt Lydia say, lots of preparation occurred during the year to cleanse the heart, soul and the mind in order to be able to receive communion. The church grounds, as they were called, were set up with long wooden tables with benches to sit on. Each table was covered with a sheet then a white table cloth.

“I had never seen so much food any place before. There was fried chicken, roast beef, roast pork, potato salad, slaw and several tin tubs with iced cold lemonade. There were also several kinds of pies and cakes. This was the first time I had ever seen anybody eat only cake and fried chicken together. We tried it and it was good. People ate, greeted each other with big hugs and the preacher did his share of hugging the sisters. London Baptist Church was a primitive church; I never understood that term.

“Although the fellowship of the church grounds was a vital part of this Big August Meeting, what transpired inside was the thing that had us traumatized. For example, the services started with the pastor greeting the congregation. The membership was made up of all blacks and the women far outnumbered the men. The service continued with a long prayer, going into a song led by the pastor. There was no organ or piano. Most of the songs appeared to have anywhere from five to eight verses. I was familiar with the hymn, Amazing Grace, but had never heard it sung the way the Primitive Baptists sang it. The preacher would read off two lines as follows: ‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. It saved a wreck [sic] like me.’ The congregation would follow with these same two lines. The pastor would continue with, ‘I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.’ This was called ‘lining a hymn.’ The preacher took his text from the Prodigal Son. He had him going places and doing things I had never heard of before. Since we were children, we knew to keep quiet because this was a house of worship and it was good manners to sit quietly. We had also begged Aunt Lydia to take us and we did not want her to know how disappointed we were. There was very little going on for children other than eating when the time came.

“We could not get home fast enough to tell Mother and Dad about our experience, especially how hard those wooden benches were. I wanted the center of attention so I began relating each thing as it happened. Dad momentarily looked up at me for a moment with a sheepish grin on his face. He said, ‘You know you were not forced to go.'”

The arrival of the Catholic trailer chapel.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 July 1941.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 July 1941.

The first Catholic services for African-Americans in Wilson were held at Reid Street Community Center in 1941, with construction of a new church — to be known as Saint Alphonsus — soon to get underway.