Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, 106 South Reid Street. This building replaced an earlier one on the site. Saint Mark’s sanctuary now serves its historic African-American congregation as well as a Latino mission, La Iglesia de la Guadelupana.
London Woodard was born in 1808. In 1827, James Bullock Woodard purchased him for $500 from the estate of Julan Woodard.
In 1828, London Woodard was baptized at Toisnot Primitive Baptist.
In 1866, he sought permission to preach among his people.
In 1870, he was “dismissed” from Toisnot so that he could pastor the church he founded. He died lass than a month later.
London Church appears to have become disorganized after Woodard’s death, but in 1895, Toisnot P.B. dismissed several “colored brethren and sisters” who wanted to reestablish worship at London’s. The same year Union (now Upper Town Creek) P.B. released Haywood Pender, George Braswell, Dublin Barnes, and couple Charles and Rebeckah Barnes for the same purpose.
London Woodard married Pennie Lassiter, born free about 1810 and possessed of considerable property, including 29 acres purchased from James B. Woodard in 1859. [Penelope Lassiter was his second wife. His first, Venus, was enslaved.]
London and Pennie Woodard’s children were Priscilla (1846), Theresa (1848), Hardy (1850), Haywood (1852), William (1854), and Penina (1858). “Another child was probably named Elba, born in 1844; she was working for the John Batts family in 1860.” [London and Venus Woodard had nine children; Elba was not among either set.]
Many “old-time colored Christians” remained members of the churches they attended during slavery. Their children and grandchildren, however, gradually formed separate congregations.
Haywood Pender — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Haywood Pender, 50, farmer; wife Feraby, 45; children Mollie, 39, and Ann, 8; and grandchildren Gold, 5, Nancy, 3, and Willie, 16. Haywood Pender died 15 July 1942 in Elm City, Toisnot township. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 October 1852 in Wilson County to Abram Sharp and Sookie Pender; was a farmer; was a widower; and was buried in Piney Grove cemetery, Elm City.
Dublin Barnes — in the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Doublin Barnes, 25; wife Eliza, 21; daughter Sattena, 2; and Jane Thomas, 12, farmhand.
Charles and Rebecca Barnes — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmhand Charley Barnes, 50; wife Rebecca, 57; and children John, 26, William, 23, Annie, 17, Tom, 18, and Corah, 12.
Ella Bryant — possibly, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: William Bryant, 55; wife Ella, 53; and niece Willie Merrill, 23. William was a hospital cook; Ella and Willie, cooks in private homes.
Rev. M.C. McNeil
And, again in 1942, prayers for white people (though “a few colored contributed.”)
Wilson Daily Times, 23 December 1942.
George M. Mason
Four years later, Bryant was still thanking the Good White Folks for their generosity.
Wilson Daily Times, 16 December 1944.
Mattie Poole — possibly, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 309 Stantonsburg Street, Jim Poole, 55, and wife Mattie, 45, both tobacco factory laborers, and daughter Odell, 10.
Elder C.L. Faison is elusive in census records and directories of Wilson, and apparently divided his time between Wide-Awake and Durham, North Carolina, where his Church of God in Jesus Christ, New Deal, Inc., was incorporated. Per his death certificate, Cluster L. Faison died 27 March 1963 in Durham. He was born 9 September 1889 in McCrae [McRae], Georgia, to Eli Faison and Della Thorpe; was a clergyman; and was married to Isabelle Faison.
Ruth Whitehead Whaley — Ruth W. Whaley was a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per Wikipedia, Whitehead Whaley (February 2, 1901–December 23, 1977) was the third African American woman admitted to practice law in New York in 1925 and the first in North Carolina in 1933. She was the first Black woman to graduate from Fordham University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 1924.
Another encomium for Rev. J.H. Mattocks, A.M.E. Zion minister, this time in W.H. Quick’s Negro Stars in all Ages of the World (1898):
“… At the ensuing Conference he was appointed to the church at Wilson, N.C., where for one year he was kept on the go. Like a blazing meteor he flashed here and there in interest of his beloved Zion; but like a fixed star of the first magnitude his light was unfading. Wilson has never before nor since been so mightily stirred. …”