Church

The Bear Creek Baptists.

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Baltimore Afro-American, 3 November 1917.

“The Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Association was organized in 1872 by Rev. R.H. Harper, who was in the organization of Educational and Missionary Convention, together with Rev. W.H. Croom, Rev. J.C. Carroll and Rev. I.N. Patterson. Much credit is also given to Rev. A.A. Smith, the secretary who did much to strengthen the cause of the Bear Creek Baptist Association.” Rountree Missionary Baptist is not listed as a current member of the Bear Creek Association.

Received at Toisnot Baptist, pt. 3: F-R.

Baptisms of African-American members of Toisnot Primitive Baptist Church, continued from here. The names in parentheses indicate a slaveowner.

F

  • Abraham Farmer (John Farmer’s) was baptized on 28 August 1842.
  • Abraham Farmer was a member about 1870.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Abraham Farmer, 57, farm laborer; wife Cherry, 54; Caroline Armstrong, 30, Jane Farmer, 16; Gray Armstrong, 6; Thadeus Armstrong, 4; John Armstrong, 2 months; York Gill, 35.

  • Anecay Farmer was baptized in 1861.
  • Chaney Farmer was baptized 24 July 1853, dismissed 22 February 1856, and restored to fellowship on 24 June 1871.

H

  • Hannah Horn (Jeremiah Horn’s) was dismissed by letter 22 June 1822.
  • Jeffery Horn (Henry Horn’s) was baptized 24 June 1821.
  • Nancy Horn (Henry Horn’s) was dismissed by letter after 1820.
  • Nancy Horn was baptized 25 December 1853.
  • Sarah Horn (John Horn’s) was baptized 24 September 1826.
  • Hulda was baptized 25 February 1856.

J

  • Jeffry was dismissed by letter 26 September 1863.
  • Jeptha was baptized 25 June 1854.
  • Charlotte Jordan was baptized 26 August 1855.

In the 1870 census of WIlson, Wilson County: farm laborer Thomas Harrell, 47; wife Mary, 34; Mary Jordan, 17; Charlotte Jordan, 51; and Celia Barnes, 110.

  • Fran Jordan (Cornelius Jordan’s) was excommunicated after 1820.
  • Rily Jordan was a member about 1870.
  • Violet Jordan (Henry Jordan’s) was excluded from membership on 24 March 1821 for having “two husbands.”

L

  • Hardy Lassiter, a free black, was a member prior to 1820.
  • Orpha Lassiter was baptized 22 December 1872.

In the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Silas Lassiter, 38; wife Orpie, 34; children Sallie, 12, Mary, 11, James, 9, John, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Penina, 4, Hardy, 3, Silas, 1, and George, 2 months; and Delpha Simpson, 14.

M

  • Martha Mayo was received 23 July 1870.
  • Milbery was baptized 22 July 1855.
  • Milley was baptized 23 September 1855.

P

  • Caesar Pittman was a member about 1870.
  • Hester Pittman (Jesse Pittman’s) was baptized 24 February 1854.

In Gardners township: Cesar Pittman, 75, and wife Hester, 60.

R

  • Rachel was excluded from membership 23 June 1821 for “Stealing and Lying.”

Negro ministers recruit colored workers.

To address the acute labor shortage created by World War II, the Wilson Colored Ministerial Association came to the aid of tobacco factories and volunteered to recruit workers. “Three meetings of the colored ministers have already been held at the Darden funeral home, and colored church workers are making a house to house canvass for workers as a result of this meeting.”

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Wilson Daily Times, 22 August 1944.

Corner Line Primitive Baptist.

Lois Artis Daniels generously shared several photographs of Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church, a congregation active for about 100 years near the town of Saratoga. Her great-great-grandmother Eva Ellis Edmundson Barnes was the first of many family members who belonged to Corner Line, and was married to its long-time pastor, Reverend Wiley Barnes. Daniels’ great-grandmother Ella Jane Edmundson Smith was also a member, as were her daughters Geneva Smith Anderson (Daniels’ grandmother) and Bessie Smith Barnes.

Corner-Line Primitive Baptist Church sign, 1989.

Exterior of Corner-Line Primitive Baptist Church, 2003.

Interior of Corner-Line Primitive Baptist, 1989.

This photo and write-up of Corner Line appear in Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Inventory (1980).

“The parent institution of Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church was Bartee Church in Stantonsburg Township. In the early twentieth century Bartee Church was abandoned and Thomas and Victoria Felton gave the land and lumber for the construction of the church. The name of the church was inspired by its location at the junction of three separately owned parcels of land. The first pastor was Elder Sam Brystern, who served the church until his death in 1930. Wiley Barnes was the church’s second pastor, and his son, Tom Barnes, took charge of the church in 1964 and is the present pastor. The Barnes family has historically been active in church affairs and Ellen, grandmother of the present paster, was one of the first black members of the White Oak Primitive Baptist Church. The church building, like many other Wilson County country churches, is a one-room rectangular building with a gable roof. The gable end entrance consists of double five-panel doors and the six-over-six windows in the side and rear elevations are protected by board and batten shutters.”

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On 20 December 1899, Rufus Edmundson, 24, son of Green Edmundson and Rancy Edmundson, married Eva Ellis, 25, daughter of Laura Hudson, at “Few In Number Church” in Township #8. [Township 8? Were they married in Edgecombe County? The license was issued in Wilson County.] Primitive Baptist minister N.T. Johnson performed the ceremony; Louis Hagins applied for the license.

In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Rufus Edmundson, 28; wife Eva, 26; and children Robert, 2, and Alfred, 2 months.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Ellis Road, farmer Rufus Edmonson, 33; wife Eva, 33; and children Ella J., 7, Hada, 6, Sadie, 4, and “son-in-law” [stepson] Robert, 13.

On 2 January 1918, Crum Smith, 19, of Saratoga, son of Ed and Annie Smith, married Ella Edmundson, 18, daughter of Rufus and Eva Edmundson, on J.B. Eason’s farm in Saratoga. Rufus Edmundson applied for the license, and Sam Bynum, Isaa Bynum and James Bynum witnessed.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Rufus Edmonson, 45; wife Eva, 46; and children Robert, 20, Haden, 17, and Sadie, 15.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Crum Smith, 21, wife Ella, 19, and daughter Eva, 1.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Rufus Edmundson, 50, and wife Eva, 32.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, farmer Crumble Smith, 31; wife Ella, 30; and children Jeneva, 11, Tommy, 10, Minnie, 7, Mary, 5, Bessie, 4, Moses, 2, and Hattie, 1.

Rufus S. Edmundson died 13 May 1934 in Saratoga township. Per his death certificate, he was born in Greene County, North Carolina, to Green Edmundson; was married to Eva Edmundson; and was a farmer. Wiley Barnes was informant.

Ella Jane Smith died 23 December 1977 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 August 1903 in Wilson County to Rufus Edmundson and Eva Rice; resided in Stantonsburg; and her informant was Geneva S. Anderson, 1630 Freeman Street Extension, Wilson.

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Mid-century obituaries for two of Corner Line’s members:

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Wilson Daily Times, 1 February 1947.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1952.

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Wilson Daily Times, 17 April 1993.

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Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church is now abandoned, but still stands on Speight School Road near its termination at Highway 264 Alternate. This Google Maps image dates to 2012.

 

Sanctified church.

The 1913 edition of Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson shows a small building on East Jones Street, near South Lodge, labeled Sanctified Church (Negro).

The 1912 city directory reveals this to be Holy Apostolic, one of four African-American Holiness churches large and permanent enough to be mentioned.

The 1913 Sanborn map shows the church next door to 313 East Jones, but by 1922, per Sanborn, the address had been renumbered 414.  The lot is now vacant and is adjacent to a rambling sheet metal warehouse at 410-A once occupied by Mello Buttercup Ice Cream Company.

The Jackson Chapel choir.

In about August 1946, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox visited Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist to photograph its choir. Recognize anyone?

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_177H_BaptistChurch.

Troop 11 receive their pins.

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  • 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.

The story of Rocky Branch church.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 2000.

Highlights of this history of Rocky Branch United Church of Christ:

  • Shortly after the Civil War, six or seven people began holding regular worship services on the banks of Rocky Branch
  • Church celebrates Harvest Day in October, as it has done for seven generations. Nearly half who attended in 2000 could trace their ancestry to a founding church member.
  • Alice Shaw Stevens, daughter of Seth T. Shaw, was unofficial church historian, as her father had been.
  • A footbridge marks the location of the early gathering site, as well as the site of baptisms in the creek.
  • Though early records are scarce, it appears the church was formally organized in 1870 under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Conference of Christian churches. Subsequent denomination mergers resulted in its current designation as Rocky Branch United Church of Christ.
  • A crude one-room building was erected early, and a cemetery plot purchased alongside it. Several improvements and additions were made over the years.
  • The church celebrated its centennial in August 1970.
  • In 1986, shortly after members paid off a mortgage on a new addition, lightning struck the church’s steeple and destroyed the edifice. Members met in a nearby church and the Rocky Branch Masonic Lodge building until a new facility was built.
  • The church had 15 pastors between 1870 and 2000 – Revs. Elisha Horton, Robert Pretty, William Allen, Haywood Horton, W.H. Dugger, P.R. Alexander, C.A. Harris (who served two terms), E.L. Sellers, W.H. Jeffreys, C. Hodges, L.E. Young, Eli Burton,and H.L. Hartsfield.

 

Negro scouts revived.

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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.