City of Wilson

313 Elba Street.

The seventy-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 house is: “ca. 1940; 1 story; shotgun altered and expanded with side wing; aluminum sided; porch replaced.”

313 Elba Street is listed in neither the 1940 census nor the 1941, 1947 or 1950 Wilson city directories. In the 1963 directory, however: Dublin Mozie P Mrs maid h 313 Elba

It is possible that the address of this house was once 315 Elba, as that number appears in records pre-1963, but not after.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, 2017.

Desperate gambling gang.

In 1909, Wilson police raided Samuel H. Vick‘s Orange Hotel to bust up a “gambling joint” ensconced in its upper floor. Two gamblers escaped through windows, but the police managed to round up seven, plus the operator.

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News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 11 June 1909.

  • Charles Evans, alias Charles Stover, alias “Dog Head”
  • Banks Blow
  • Arthur D. Keiser
  • Wallace Dixon
  • Walter Scott
  • “Kid” McKoy
  • Henry Battle — perhaps, in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wiggins Street, railroad laborer Harry Battle, 50; wife Ezabell, 45, hotel servant; and sons Henry, 24, and Frank, 21, railroad laborer. Henry Battle died 31 December 1910 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he lived on Nash Street; was born 6 January 1888 in Edgecombe County to Harry Battle and Isabella Bullock; and worked as a railroad hand. Informant was Harry Brant.
  • Jim Thompson

Like most negroes, she was full of superstition.

In 1891, Rev. Owen L.W. Smith‘s sister, Millie Smith Sutton, shot and killed his wife Lucy Smith at point-blank range, believing that Lucy had poisoned her son.

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Wilson Advance, 9 July 1891.

On 5 November, the Advance reported that Smith had been found “mentally deranged” at the time she killed Smith and was committed to the insane asylum in Goldsboro.

The Wilson Mirror offered more on 11 November:

This tragedy had sequels.

Six years later, Sutton’s walking companion, Nettie Vick Jones, was stabbed to death on the street by her husband, A. Wilson Jones.

Ten years later, on 22 November 1901, the Times reported that Sutton had been released from the hospital and had returned to Wilson and, with Carrie Pettiford, had threatened the life of her brother’s newest wife, Adora Oden Smith. (In the 1900 census, Carrie was a boarder in the Smiths’ home.) Both were arrested.

703 Viola Street.

The seventy-third 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; two-roomed house with shed-roofed porch.”

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola Street, house carpenter Jessie Ward, 36; wife Mary, 34; and children Mabel, 17, Gertrude, 12, Kerfus, 7, Malachi, 5, Dempsey, 3, Virginia, 2, and Sara, 1 month. However, the house above was number 654  until about 1922. The family at 654 Viola: widow Dora Bobbit, 47, and niece Parthina Avery, 17.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rice George, barber The Mayflower h 703 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Palmer Horace (c; Mary) slsmn Eastern Carolina Service Corp h 703 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola, rented at $10/month, widow Marjorie Benjamin, 53, tobacco factory hanger; son Harry, 26, truck driver; son’s wife Lelia, 26, in household service; and daughter Elizabeth, 20, tobacco factory laborer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Benjamin Eliz (c) tob wkr h 703 Viola and Benjamin Margie (c) tob wkr h 703 Viola

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Ossie Mae Royall is yet living.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1939.

On August 10, 1928, Dockery Royall, 28, of Wilson, married Ossie Mae Jenkins, 25, of Wilson in Wilson. Baptist minister B.F. Jordan performed the ceremony in the presence of Lossie Jenkins, Flonnie Farmer, and Maggie Jordan. Walter M. Foster applied for the license.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 321 Hackney Street, rented at $12/month, Doc Royall, 34, body plant laborer, and wife Ossie May, 26, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evauline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.

By the late 1950s, Ossie Royall had moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and was working as the dining hall supervisor at Elizabeth City State Teachers College. She died in Amherst, Massachusetts, on 16 March 2000.

 

 

Snaps, no. 39: unknown man.

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Over their 60+-year career as Wilson’s preeminent photographers, Charles Raines and Guy Cox recorded nearly every facet of county life, including weddings, schools, street scenes and the tobacco industry. In 1993, a Wilson Daily Times article reported that Raines & Cox had shot more than 39,000 studio portraits.

From 1947 until the early 2000s, Raines & Cox’ studio occupied the upper floor of 315-317 East Nash Street, the Carroll building. The image above, which likely depicts the building’s elevator operator, was probably shot shortly after the studio opened.

[UPDATE, 3 July 2018: Per Guy Cox Jr., Doll Speight was the long-time elevator operator and de facto building superintendent at the Carroll Building. However, this is not Speight and does not appear to be the Carroll Building elevator. Was it at Cherry Hotel? The First Union National Bank Building?]

If you can identify this gentleman by name, please let me know.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 April 1947.

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. Though it was not taken there, this photograph is found among those shot at the Zam-Zam Club, a night club just north of Wilson city limits. The Zam-Zam, named for an Egyptian ship torpedoed by the Nazis in 1941, opened just after World War II to entertain eastern North Carolina’s “movers and shakers.” The photo is catalogued as PhC_196_ZZ_187_Elevator_Operator.