Church

Cemeteries, no. 15: Living Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

This small cemetery, outside Lucama on Artis Road next to Living Hope Missionary Baptist Church, contains only eight marked graves.

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The earliest burial seems to be that of Rev. Clemon J. Phillips, one of the church’s pastors.

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Clement Phillips, 20, of Gardners township, son of Walter Phillips and Lizzie P. Edwards, married Estelle Farmer, 17, of Gardners, daughter of Jim Farmer and Mary F. Horne, on 4 December 1929 in Gardners. Elder Robert Edwards, a Primitive Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Oscar Braswell, Jessie D. Pender and Elanzer Pender.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Macclesfield Road, farm laborer Clement Phillips, 28; wife Estelle, 27; and children Lula, 8, Mary L., 6, and Clement Jr., 5; plus uncle Ernest Blunt, 40.

In 1940, Clemant Phillips registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 February 1912 in Norfolk, Virginia; was married to Estelle Phillips, Route 3, Stantonsburg; and worked for Lonnie C. Worrell, Route 3, Stantonsburg.

Clemon Phillips died 8 October 1973 in a car accident near Lucama, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 February 1912 to Walter Phillips and Lizzie Blount; was married to Estelle Minerva Farmer; and was a Protestant clergyman. He was buried at Living Hope Church cemetery.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2016.

A singer in evangelistic meetings.

“Who are the best-known African American voices in Adventist church music?

“Some may answer with selections from among today’s well-known songsters: Wintley Phipps, Charles Haugabrooks, the Aeolians. But there is also a good case to be made for names not so well known, their music sung by saints from week to week and year to year in a thousand congregations across the breadth of our world church: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Nothing Between My Soul and the Savior,” “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” “Give Me Jesus.” Isn’t it worth our while to remember who these individuals are? Their contributions to the spiritual growth and grounding of generations of Adventists and other Christians deserve more than the casual rendition of their songs. These composers and arrangers deserve our intelligent appreciation.

Charles Lee Brooks (1923-1989), born in Wilson, North Carolina, and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, began singing at age 4. Though keenly interested in classical music, Brooks is best remembered by Adventists as a singer in evangelistic meetings. As a personal memory, I was fortunate to serve as his teenaged accompanist during a memorable evangelistic series by E. E. Cleveland labeled the ‘Trinidad Triumph.’ Later, as an associate in the General Conference Secretariat, Brooks established the Office of Church Music and became its chair. He served as chair of the Church Hymnal Committee.”

— Excerpt from Nevilla E. Ottley-Adjahoe, “We Sing Their Songs: Significant Voices in African American Church Music,” Adventist Review, http://www.adventistreview.org

The Saint John deacon board.

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Wilson Daily Times, 2 July 1976.

On the basis of Charles S. Thomas’ inclusion in this photograph, I would date it no later than mid-1937, not the early 1940s.

Celebrating 50 years in the Episcopal priesthood.

William Hines, Ann J. Hines, Anna Burgess Johnson, Rev. Robert J. Johnson, Wilton M. Bethel, Rev. O.J. Hawkins and Rev. David _____, 1960.

  • Ann J. Hines — Anna Johnson Goode Hines (1927-2010) was the daughter of Robert and Anna Johnson. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she married Charles Edwin Hines, son of Wesley E. and Mary Ellis Hines, on 19 December 1957 in Wilson.
  • O.J. Hawkins

Photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).

Johnson Chapel Baptist Church.

HISTORY

Johnson Chapel Baptist Church, Elm City, N.C.

Rev. B.J. Daniels, Pastor

Johnson Chapel Baptist Church was organized 1886, under the pastorate of the Reverend Croom, in a house in Wilson Street, in Elm City, North Carolina. This organization grew out of a prayer meeting held in this house by a group of Missionaries. Some of the pioneers were: Bro. Tom Drake and wife; Bro. Levi Loverette and wife; Bro. Ollyston Walters and wife; Sister Blessing Winstead, and others.

During the time of these prayer meetings, a revival was held. Several candidates were added to the membership. Among them were Sister Belle Loverette, Sister Sarah Loverette, Bro. Wells and others.

During the year 1888, or soon afterward, this building was moved from Wilson Street to Main Street (its present site) under the Rev. Johnson’s administration. The name Johnson was selected in honor of the first pastor of the church; thus Johnson Chapel Baptist Church of Elm City was born.

After Rev. Johnson’s administration, other ministers followed. There were: Rev. Cheek, Rev. L.W. Williams, Rev. T. Ceils, Rev. Bill Tucker, and Rev. Dunston. These ministers preceded Rev. John Watson, who became pastor in the year 1914 and served 34 years before his health failed him and he died.

During Rev. Watson’s administration the church expanded. The membership increased; and a “T” was added to the building (1925). During 1944, the church was remodeled and the “T” was removed by widening the building out to encompass the “T,” and a choir stand was built. In 1946, Rev. H. Hoskins served as pastor until the death of Rev. Watson (1948), and succeeded him as a fulltime pastor of the church.

In 1954, Rev. R.H. Johnson succeeded Rev. Hoskins as pastor and served the church for four years. During his ministry, Johnson Chapel saw many innovations in the church program taking place. Some of them are being used today (taking of the Lord’s Supper, etc.)

In 1958, Rev. Daniels, our present pastor, was elected. Under his leadership many improvements have been made, and many members have been added to the membership. Major improvements are: new ceiling, new windows, new heating system and the Pastor’s Lounge and rest room toilets installed. The cornerstone was laid, 1963. We have also built a kitchen, dining room, and several ante-rooms.

Early officers of the church (all deceased) were:

Bro. Tom Drake, Bro. Charlie Hunter, Bro. Robert Lucas, Bro. Thomas Broadie, Bro. Andrew Parker, Sister Blessing Winstead, and Sister Kate Walters, Mothers; and Bro. Dolphus Wilcher, Clerk.

Other officers that followed later were:

Brothers *P.P. Lindsey, *James Robbins, *Noah Dawson, Elisha Wells, *Howard Joyner, Joe Rountree, Jesse Lindsey, Johnny Parker, Governor Winstead, William Kelly, and Elvie Robbins, respectively; Mothers — *Eugenia Lindsey, *Christianna Coley, Flora Robbins, Jennie Dawson, Rosa Armstrong, Bluma Joyner, and Corine H. Winstead, respectively. Other Clerks — Sister Ruby Hargroves and Bro. Governor Winstead, respectively.

* — Denotes deceased members. Total Membership to date: approximately 200. Oldest living members: Bro. Elisha Wells and Sister Minnie Parker.

— Elm City Centennial Committee, Elm City North Carolina Centennial 1873-1973 (1973).

——

  • Blessing Winstead — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Bryant Winstead, 49, and wife Blessing, 45, a farm laborer.
  • James Robbins (1897-1979) — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer J.R. Robbins, 38; wife Flora L., 40; daughter Nellie Ruth, 2; and grandson Elv., 6.
  • Howard Joyner — Howard Lee Joyner died 27 October 1954 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was resided in Elm City; was married; was a farmer; and was born 24 October 1912 to Bunion and Sarah Farmer Joyner. Blummer Joyner was informant.
  • Governor Winstead (1920-1986) — in 1942, Governor Winstead registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 September 1920, and his nearest relative and employer was Josh Winstead.
  • Elvie Robbins — see James Robbins, above.
  • Christianna Coley (1886-1956) — Christiner Coley died 22 September 1956 in Elm City. Per her death certificate, she was born in 20 August 1886 in Sampson County to Virgal Smith and Adline Merritt and was widowed. Carl Coley was informant.
  • Flora Robbins — wife of James Robbins, above.
  • Bluma Joyner (1916-1981) — on 28 December 1934, Howard Lee Joyner, 22, of Taylors township, married Bloomer Winstead, 19, of Toisnot township. Baptist minister Howard Farmer performed the ceremony in the presence of Henry WinsteadWilliam A. Farmer and  W.D. Wells.
  • Noah Dawson (1877-1962) — Noah Dawson died 1 August 1962 on East Nash Street in Elm City. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 February 1877 in Lenoir County to Rachel Sutton; was married; and worked as a railroad man. Informant was Lula Dawson.
  • Elisha Wells (1901-1992) — Elisha Wells, 25, of Toisnot, son of Dave and Sarah Wells, and Pearlie Brodie, 23, of Toisnot, daughter of Peyton and Julia Brodie, were married 17 January 1932 in Wilson.
  • Charlie Hunter — in the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Charlie Hunter, 45, and wife Eliza, 32.
  • Thomas Brodie — on 19 January 1918, Thomas Brodie, 32, of Nash County, son of Payton and Julia Brodie [and brother of Pearlie Brodie Wells, above], married Mary Ford, 37, of Taylors township, daughter of Swift and Mary Ford, at the courthouse in Wilson.
  • Andrew Parker — on 12 September 1918, Andrew Parker registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 1 February 1873; resided at R.F.D. #2, Elm City; worked as a farmer; and his nearest relative was wife Lou Conteser Parker.
  • Dolphus Wilcher — in the 1930 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: odd jobs laborer Dolpher Wilcher, 28; wife Clara, 26; and children Sylvesta, 10, Essie M., 5, Clarance, 4, and Clora M., 2. [The Wilchers were in Dodge County, Georgia, in the 1920 census, and in 1940, in Washington, D.C.]
  • Joe Rountree (1913-2001) — on 27 December 1933, Joe Rountree, 20, of Toisnot township, son of Freeman Rountree and Martha R. Williams, married Geneva Pitt, 20, of Toisnot, daughter of Arthur and Ollie Pitt. Arthur Pitt and Wiley Rountree applied for the license, and Baptist minister McKinley Whitley performed the ceremony in the presence of William Pitt, Elisha Webb, and Frank Webb, all of Elm City.
  • Jesse Lindsey (1914-1994) — on 8 January 1938, Jessie Lee Lindsey, 21, of Wilson County, son of P.P. and Lugenia Lindsey, married Emma Bulluck, 21, of Wilson County, daughter of Alfred and Mattie Bulluck, in Nashville, Nash County. P.P. Lindsey, W.R. Lucas and Virginia Lindsey were witnesses. [P.P. and Virginia wrote their surname as “Lenzy.”]
  • Eugenia Lindsey — Lugenia Lindsey died 25 August 1967 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 August 1889 in North Carolina to George Hawkins and an unnamed mother and her regular residence was Elm City. She was buried in William Chapel cemetery.
  • Minnie Parker — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Mack Parker, 33; wife Minnie, 20; and children Lula, 8, John, 7, and Mack, 6.
  • William Kelly (1919-1986)
  • Corine H. Winstead — Corine Hunter Winstead (1922-2012) was the wife of Governor Winstead, above. In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Winstead, 59; wife Dora, 45; son Governor, 19; and daughter-in-law Corine, 17.

Artist, lawyer, preacher.

On 15 September 1939, Cora L. Bennett, a writer employed by the Works Project Administration interviewed William Arthur Cooper for the Folklore Project. The transcript of the interview is housed at the Library of Congress. Here is an excerpt:

William A. Cooper, artist and preacher gives the story of his life as follows:

“My work has been my life. Whatever degree of success I have had has come about, I believe, as a result of my dogged determination to do something tangible for my race.

“I was born in the country near Hillsboro, N.C. As a small boy I worked on the farm. I worked in the tobacco fields, worming and stemming tobacco as well as in the cotton fields. For about four months in the winter I attended a Mission school in Hillsboro for negros. In summer time I worked as a janitor and some times as a cook or house boy.

“When I was about fourteen I began to support myself, and soon there after went to the Industrial Institute at High Point, N.C. as a work student. I worked on the school farm,
got up at five o’clock in the morning to milk the cows, plow and hoe cotton and corn, and anything else that needed to be done. While I was at this school I also took up brick laying along with my other studies.

“From High Point I went to the National Religious Training School at Durham, N.C. There I took the four year Theological Course. Still working my way through school, I received the Bachelor of Theology Degree from that institution.

“As soon as I had finished I went to Wilson, N.C. where I started out as an insurance man, and at the same time preaching at a small church on Sunday.

“I went from there to Burlington, N.C. where I was elected Principal of a high school. I also served as Principal of the high school at Graham, N.C. and taught at various other places. All this time I was studying law at night and passed the State Bar examination in 1922.

“I became interested in art for the first time a few years before this. I was in bed with a severe cold and while lying idle I thought I would try to do two pictures illustrating the Biblical quotation: ‘Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, but straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be who
find it.’ The members of my church were quite pleased with the pictures. Their pleasure encouraged me a great deal, and from that time on I began to paint other things. It was then I started painting the members of my race, anybody I could get 3 to sit— field hands, teachers, children, cooks or washerwomen. I had taken no formal lessons at the time but I kept right on trying to see what I might do.

“I have attempted to show the real negro through art. I believe that unless we have some record of the negro that is neither burlesqued with black face nor idealized with senmentality, the younger generation of negroes will be deprived of inspiration from their own race. …”

——

William Arthur Cooper (1895-1974), preacher, lawyer, and artist, painted the portraits of Negro field hands, domestic servants, children, religious and civic leaders and business executives. As a member of the North Carolina Interracial Commission, Cooper made a “good will” tour to colleges and universities in North Carolina where he exhibited his portraits and lectures on art and black culture.

Cooper’s papers, housed at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, include: “Biographical materials; correspondence, concerning portrait commisions, lectures on art, and exhibitions of his work; two account books containing expenditures; receipts; a journal, 1935, containing expenditures and notes concerning his “good will” tour; a report on the tour; Cooper’s publication Educating Through Fine Arts; his book A Portrayal of Negro Life, 1936, which contains reproductions of his portraits acompanied by his explanatory text, and documents related to the book including proposed plans, sales records, and a typescript of the book which contains portraits not included in the published version; price lists for Cooper’s paintings; exhibition catalogs, clippings, miscellany, and a book by Charles C. Dawson, ABCs of Great Negroes; and 36 photographs of Cooper, of his friends and church members, and his portrait paintings.”

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The Bathing Girl (1932).

Sunday School at Calvary.

calvary Sunday SChool

This photograph, taken circa 1915, depicts Samuel H. Vick at left with Sunday School participants at Calvary Presbyterian Church. Four of his children — George W. (1903-1985), Irma (1905-1921), Robert E. (1908-2001), and Doris V. (1911-2010) — are among those gathered.

Photo courtesy of Freeman Roundhouse Museum, Wilson, and digitized here.