City of Wilson

Lane Street Project: the end of Season 2.

Vick Cemetery, May 2022.

Thousands of graves lie here. … As do a parking lot and several utility poles. The City — or whomever they contract the work to — finally got around to cutting the grass at Vick Cemetery this past week, but the neglect otherwise continues. Wilson’s voters saw fit to return four incumbents to office. What will you demand of them in return? 

Lane Street Project’s Season 2 ends this Saturday. Please come help us mow the front section of Odd Fellows and clear cut limbs and debris a final time. We need you now as much as ever. As always, thanks for all you have done to restore dignity to our ancestors.

Rest in peace, Rederick C. Henderson.

I know East Wilson because my father knew East Wilson. He was born in a house on Elba Street, was raised on Queen and Reid Streets, and was educated at Samuel H. Vick Elementary and Charles H. Darden High School. He played basketball at the Community Center, spent whole Saturdays watching movies at the Ritz Theatre, and knocked on the back door of Hines Barbershop to get spending money from his father. Long before Black Wide-Awake, my father introduced me to so many of the people and places that have made their way into this blog’s 4000 posts. Even as his final illness progressed, he loved to ride through the streets of East Wilson, pointing and narrating, peeling back layers of time to expose the pentimenti of our shared birthplace.

My father transitioned Friday night, surrounded by the four women who loved him most — his wife of 61 years, his two daughters, and his granddaughter. We are heartbroken, but blessed that we could comfort and care for him as he has done for us always. I honor his life and legacy here. Rest in power, Daddy.

504 North Vick Street.

The one hundred sixty-sixth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

The approximate location of 504 North Vick.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roofed porch.” This house has been demolished.

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Detail from 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harris Milton (c; Florence) lab 504 N Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) lndrs 504 N Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick Street, rented at $12/month, Janie Bright, 26, laundress, and sons James, 7, and Theo, 5; and sister Malisia Murphey, 35, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick, widow Janey Bright, 40, and sons James, 18, CCC camp, and Joshua, 15, new worker.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) cook 504 N Vick; also Bright Jas (c) h 504 N Vick; also Bright Joshua (c) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

In 1942, James Theo Bright registered for the World War II draft in Richmond, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 24 February 1922 in Wilson; lived at 407 East Clay Street, Richmond, Virginia; his contact was mother Jannie Bright, 504 North Vick, Wilson; and he worked for John Sarras, Richmond.

Joshua Royal Bright died 25 October 1943 at “Wilson Co. T.B. Hospital.” Per his death certificate, he was born 12 March 1925 in Wilson to Joshua Bright of Sampson County, N.C., and Jannie Murphy of Duplin County, N.C.; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Magnolia, N.C.

In October 1944, Leslie and Minnie Diggs Artis transferred title to the property at 504 North Vick to their daughter Sallie Mae Artis Bell (later Shackelford).

Wilson Daily Times, 28 October 1944.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c; wid Joshua) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2022.

924 Carolina Street.

The one hundred sixty-fifth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roof.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lowe Charles (c) lab h 924 Carolina

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Chappman Viola (c) h 924 Carolina

The bend of Carolina Street between North East and North Vick Streets was once lined with endway [shotgun] houses. Detail from 1940 aerial photograph of Wilson, N.C.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cromartie Leslie (c; Nora; 6) lab h 924 Carolina

In 1942, James Leslie Cromartie registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 31 August 1920 in Saint Paul, N.C.; lived at 924 East Carolina; his contact was Nolie Cromartie, 924 East Carolina; and he worked “Imperial Tobacco (season) … Defense work at present.”

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Mitchell McKinley (c; Augusta) porter RyExp h 924 Carolina

Wilson Daily Times, 5 June 1989.

This 1989 notice reveals that the six shotgun houses at 904 through 924 Carolina Street were built on a single lot and required a zoning variance for repairs because they did not meet setback requirements. 

Dr. Yancey’s defeat.

A recent post revealed pharmacist D’Arcey C. Yancey‘s April 1947 declaration of candidacy for a seat on Wilson’s Board of Aldermen, today’s equivalent of City Council. I had not been aware of Yancey’s political career, and his campaign is not covered in Charles McKinney’s Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina.

The Daily Times made sure, of course, to highlight Yancey’s race, but otherwise made no comment about his extraordinary bid for elected office.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 April 1947.

The campaign season was only weeks long, and the Times wasted little ink covering it. May 6 saw a record turnout at the polls, and the Daily Times announced the results the next day. Yancey had been badly defeated, garnering only 75 votes to incumbent Ed W. Davis’ 348.

My thanks to Matthew Langston for following up on the initial post. 

The obituary of Rev. J.O. Vick, A.M.E. minister.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1945.

A.M.E. minister James Oscar Frank Vick, died just a year before his eldest brother Samuel H. Vick.

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In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: grist mill worker Daniel Vick, 38; wife Fannie, 35; children Samuel, 16, Nettie, 14, Earnest Linwood, 12, Henry, 10, and James O.F., 8; plus boarders (nephews) Frank O., 20, and Marcus W. Blount, 26.

O.F. Vick is listed as a second-year English student, Preparatory Department, in the 1892-1893 catalogue of Biddle University [now Johnson C. Smith University], Charlotte, North Carolina.

I have not determined when Vick graduated from Gordon Theological Seminary, but by 1902, he was well-established in the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Boston District.

Boston Globe, 10 June 1902.

On 30 June 1903, the Fall River Evening News reported that J.O. Vick had been transferred the A.M.E.’s New York Metropolitan District. His first known pastoral assignment was at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Kinderhook, N.Y., just south of Albany.

Courtesy of Dennis Dickerson’s The Past Is In Your Hands: Writing Local A.M.E. Church History (1989).

New York Age, 2 February 1905.

In mid-1906, a Brooklyn newspaper noted that Rev. Vick had taken charge of Bethel A.M.E. in Freeport, New York, on Long Island.

The Brooklyn Daily Times (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 21 July 1906.

By 1909, Rev. Vick led yet another Bethel, this time in Olean, New York, about 40 miles south of Buffalo.

Times Herald (Olean, N.Y.), 31 March 1909.

In the 1910 census of Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York: clergyman James O. Vick, 40, boarder in the household of Willard, a day laborer, and Frances Reaze, who were white.

Buffalo Evening News, 28 February 1910.

Between 1910 and 1914, Rev. Vick married Ella Ruth Reeves and assumed duties at Emmanuel A.M.E. in Montclair, New Jersey.

In the 1914 Montclair, New Jersey, city directory: Vick James O Mrs nurse h 26 Myrtle av; also, Vick James O Rev pastor Emmanuel AME  Church h 26 Myrtle av

In the 1915 state census of Montclair, New Jersey: at 14 Miller, clergyman James O. Vick, 34, and wife Ella R., 29.

Rev. Vick held refreshingly progressive views:

“Why I Am Going to Vote for Equal Suffrage, By Fifty Montclair Men,” The Montclair Times, 2 October 1915. 

Between 1915 and 1918, the family moved again, this time to Easton, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia on the Delaware River.

In 1918, Rev. James Oscar Vick registered for the World War i draft in Easton. Per his registration card, he was born 10 March 1874; lived at 416 Canal, Easton; was minister of the gospel at Union A.M.E. Church, 439 Ferry, Easton; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Ella Ruth Vick.

Rev. Vick’s signature on his draft card.

During the first half of the 1920s, Rev. Vick pastored at several A.M.E. churches in northern New Jersey, including Mount Teman in Elizabeth and Heard in Roselle, but settled in Princeton by 1926.

In 1920 census of Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey: M.E. Church pastor James O. Vick, 46; wife Ruth, 36; servant Emma Robins, 22; and niece Fanny M. Vick, 10. [Like her uncle, Fanny Vick was born in North Carolina. I’m not sure whose daughter she was.]

In the 1920 Montclair, New Jersey, city directory: Vick James O Rev rem to Easton Pa

In the 1921 Elizabeth, New Jersey, city directory: Vick James O Rev pastor Mt Teman AME Church h 16 S Union

In the 1926 Asbury Park, New Jersey, city directory: Vick J Oscar h 126 Atkins av

In the 1927 and 1928 Princeton, N.J., city directory: Vick J Oscar pastor Mt Pisgah AME Church h 22 Jackson; also, Vick Mrs J Oscar (Ella R) 22 Jackson

In the 1930 census of Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey: clergyman James O. Vick, 49; wife Ella R., 35; and adopted son Victor, 0, a “foundling.”

In the 1931, 1932 and 1933 Princeton, N.J., city directories: Vick J Oscar (Ella R) pastor Mt Pisgah AME Ch h 10 McLean [Sidenote: Mount Pisgah’s modest former parsonage at 10 McLean Street is now valued at more than a million dollars.]

In the late 1930s, Rev. Vick assumed his last assignment at Trinity A.M.E. Church in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Asbury Park Press, 5 March 1941.