Civic Life

Town business.

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Wilson Daily Times, 6 August 1918.

Among business considered the first week of August 1918 by Wilson’s town commissioners were matters raised by:

  • J.D. Reid, who requested that the city install lighting at the corner of Green and Hackney Streets
  • Rev. Alfred L.E. Weeks, who, pleading cashflow problems, requested an extension of time for the A.M.E. Zion church to pay the city for installing “closets,” i.e. toilets
  • Henry Tart, who requested an increase in the fees he charged for hauling baggage.
  • The colored fire department (the Red Hots), who requested funding for firemen’s tournaments.

Paul T. Williamson.

Paul Thomas Williamson (1879-1960).

Merchant-farmer Paul T. Williamson donated the land upon which the Wilson County School Board built a six-room high school to serve African-American students in southwestern Wilson County. Williamson High School, which opened in 1942, later became known as Springfield High School.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 January 1960.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 December 1960.

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In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Elic Williamson, 44; wife Gracy, 29; and children John, 14, Lugen, 11, Joseph, 9, Jennie, 7, Mary, 6, Clem, 4, Sarah J., 2, and Pall, 1.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Alex Williamson, 63; wife Gracy, 50; children Genny Whitley, 26, and Sarah, 22, Paul, 21, Daniel, 19, Henietta, 15, Edna, 15, and Katie Williamson, 12; and grandchildren Nancy, 8, Della, 5, and Pearle Whitley, 4.

On 23 November 1904, Paul Williamson, 25, son of Alex and Grace Williamson of Springhill township, married Mary Hinnant, 23, daughter of Joe and Rhoda Hinnant of Spring Hill township. W.H. Horton of the Christian denomination performed the ceremony at Thom Hinnant‘s house in the presence of  J.T. Hinnant, L.H. Horton and W.H. Shaw.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Smithfield Branch Road, farmer Paul Williamson, 31; wife Mary, 28; and children Beatrice, 4, and James C., 3.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Clayton & Wilson Road, farmer Paul T. Williamson, 40; wife Mary, 38; and children Beatrice, 14, and James, 12.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Paul T. Williamson, 51; wife Mary, 48; daughter Beatrice, 24; son James C., 23; daughter-in-law Anna D., 22;  grandson James W., 6 months; and boarder Ozie Allen, 35, a farm laborer.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Paul Williamson, 61; wife Mary, 57; daughter Beatrice, 34; son James, 33, filling station operator; daughter-in-law Anna, 32; and grandchildren Jantice, 8, and Paul W., 6.

Paul Thomas Williamson died 27 December 1960 in Lucama, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 February 1879 in Wilson County to Alex Williamson and Grace Shaw; worked as a grocery store merchant; and was married to Mary Williamson.

Photo of Williamson courtesy of Wilson Daily Times.

Annie Weeks and the Federated Club.

In the 1880 census of Wake Forest, Wake County, North Carolina: farmer Henderson Cook, 37; wife Mariah, 30; and children Livelina, 12, Lidia J., 9, Bryant, 7, Bettie A., 5, Willie, 3. and Laura A., one month.

In the 1910 census of New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina: at 176 George Street, pastor Alfred L. Weeks, 34; wife Annie, 34, a teacher; daughter Marie E., 4; and sister Bessie, 20.

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Hill’s New Bern, N.C., City Directory (1911-1912).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson township, Wilson County: Alfred Weeks, 44, a minister; wife Annie, 44; daughter Marie, 14, and sister Bessie, 26.

In the 1930 census of Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey: at 233 West Grand Street, minister Alfred L. Weeks, 54; wife Annie, 54; and seven boarders.

Annie Elizabeth Cook Weeks, then a resident of Elizabeth, New Jersey, died while visiting Wilson on 19 April 1943. Her death certificate noted that she was born in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on 4 December 1875 to Henderson B. and Mariah D. Batchlor Cook of Wake County, and was a teacher. [Annie Weeks died at 916 East Green Street, the home of her brother Jerry L. Cook. He acted as informant on the death certificate.]

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Community Chest drive.

community chest

Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 1933. 

  • North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
  • Community Chest
  • Rev. C.H. Richmond — C.H. Richmond was a Presbyterian minister.
  • C.S. Thomas — Charles S. Thomas (1878-1937), an insurance agent, was a native of Bennettsville, South Carolina.
  • Dr. W.A. Mitchner — William Arthur Mitchner.
  • William Hines
  • Levi Jones — Levi Hunter Jones.
  • John H. Clark — John Henry Clark.
  • Walter Hines — Walter Scott Hines.
  • Rev. B.F. Jordan — B.F. Jordan was a Missionary Baptist minister.
  • Dr. G.K. Butterfield — George Kenneth Butterfield.
  • Dr. Z.M. Johnson — Bertie County, North Carolina, native Zebulon Myer Johnson (1873-1934) was a chiropodist.
  • G.J. Faison
  • Loyd Thomas — Brickmason Lloyd Cheatam Thomas (1890-1968) was a native of Forest, Virginia.
  • Daniel Vick — Known as “Bud,” Daniel Leon (or Lionel) Vick (1898-1975) was a son of Samuel and Annie Washington Vick.
  • A.A. Lovette — Blacksmith Almus Ashton Lovette (1877-1938) was a native of Sylvania, Georgia.
  • James Crockett — James Crockett (1868-1935) was a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina. He was the brother of Georgia Crockett Aiken.
  • Andrew Townsend — Person County native Andrew Townsend (1881-1960) worked as a laborer.
  • Washington Wilkins — Washington Wilkins (1894-1958) was a plumber and laborer for the city. He was the son of Richmond and Patsy Armstrong Wilkins.
  • Rev. R.A. Horton
  • Golden Robinson — Golden Robinson (1897-1948) was the nephew of Alfred Robinson and a native of Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • James E. Stokes — Probably James Stokes (born circa 1895), who worked as a barber.
  • Ed Humphrey — James Edward Humphrey (1874-1936) was a carpenter.
  • Dr. B.O. Barnes — Boisey Otha Barnes.
  • N.A. Pierce — Nazareth Andrew Pierce.
  • S.H. Vick — Samuel Hines Vick.
  • C.E. Artis — Columbus Estelle Artis.
  • L.A. Moore — Lee Andrew Moore.
  • Rev. I.A. Moore
  • John M. Barnes — John Mack Barnes.
  • Prof. Edward Barnes — Edward Morrison Barnes.
  • Prof. Johnson
  • J.J. Langley — Jarrett Judge Langley (1878-1967) was a grocer.
  • O.N. Freeman — Oliver Nestus Freeman.
  • Wesley Rogers — John Wesley Rogers.
  • H.C. Brower
  • Clarence McCullers — Clarence McCullers (1885-1945) was a Johnston County, North Carolina, native.
  • George White — Either George Washington White (1877-1939), a city boiler operator, or George C. White (1901-1945), a cook and native of Franklin County, North Carolina.
  • Robert Haskins — Robert Douglas Haskins.
  • George Hagins — Possibly, George Hagans (1900-1978), a farmer.
  • Clarence Best — Clarence Benjamin Best.
  • Roderick Taylor
  • Wm. Barnes
  • John Battle — Probably John Parker Battle (1890-1945).
  • Prof. H.M. Fitts — Howard Monroe Fitts.
  • Rev. H.E. Edward
  • James Whitfield — James Ashley Whitfield.
  • E.W. Fisher — Virginia native Edwin W. Fisher (1873-??) was a district manager for North Carolina Mutual.
  • Dr. I.A. Shade — Isaac Albert Shade.
  • Rev. J.S. Jackson — Joseph Sylvester Jackson Sr. (1870-1942) was a Granville County, North Carolina, native.
  • Dr. J.F. Cowan — Physician Joseph Franklin Cowan (1901-1985) was a native of Abbeville, South Carolina.
  • Rev. Fred Davis — Fred Marshon Davis.
  • Levi Arrington — Levi V. Arrington (1887-1964), carpenter, was a native of Nash County, North Carolina.
  • J.H. Knight — James Henry Knight (1886-1951), was a grocery merchant.
  • Dr. S.H. Vick — is this a duplicate entry for Samuel H. Vick?
  • J.H. Cook
  • W.M. Bethel — Wilton Maxwell Bethel.
  • Ash Hines — Ashley Hines (1895-??) was a laborer.
  • A.J. McCoy — Probably Alfred McCoy (1874-1953), a laborer employed by the city of Wilson and a native of Edgecombe County.
  • A.N. Neil — Austin N. Neal.
  • Rev. Eddie Cox — Wayne County, North Carolina, native Eddie Harrison Cox was probably a Baptist minister.
  • Clinton Best — Bricklayer Clinton Bess (1885-??) was the son of Noah and Sarah Bess.
  • Edgar Diggs — Barber Edgar Hiram Diggs (1891-1970) was a Wayne County native.
  • Walter Whitted — Walter Craig Whitted.
  • C.L. Darden — Camillus Lewis Darden.

 

Dr. Butterfield goes home.

Thirty years after he establish a dental practice in Wilson and became one of the early architects and builders of the town’s nascent civil rights strategy, the Bermuda Record published a glowing report of George K. Butterfield‘s return to his home country.

Bermuda Recorder, 10 August 1957.

[N.B.: Dr. Butterfield‘s son, shown peering at the camera in the photograph above, is George K. Butterfield, Jr., member of the United States House of Representatives.]

William Hines, making good.

In March 1913, the Indianapolis Recorder, a nationally focused African-American newspaper, ran a front-page feature on William Hines, a “native of [Wilson] and a forceful character for the intellectual, moral, spiritual, social and economic development of young North Carolinians.”

Citing Samuel H. Vick and Biddle University as Hines’ influences, the article detailed his entry into the real estate business after establishing a successful barber shop. In just five years, Hines had accumulated 11 houses and “a number of very desirable lots.”

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Indy Recorder 3 1 1913

Indianapolis Recorder, 1 March 1913.

Hines’ real estate investments eventually made him one of the largest builder-owners of rental property in east Wilson. His barber shop operated for many decades, and his varied civic involvement included work as leader in the World War I Liberty Loan Campaign, charter investor in the Commercial Bank of Wilson, founding member of the Men’s Civic Clubboard of trustees of the Negro Library, board of directors of the Reid Street Community Center, and administrator of Mercy Hospital.

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William Hines, a little later in life.

William Hines was born 29 October 1883 in Edgecombe County and died 17 October 1981 in Wilson. He is buried in Rest Haven cemetery.

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

Progressive citizens, pt. 1.

Sometime in 1914, the Wilson Times published a three-page insert highlighting the achievements of the town’s African-American community. “Wilson is fortunate in having a large proportion of sensible negroes,” the writer opined, and counted among the laudable such well-known citizens and institutions as Samuel H. Vick; J.D. Reid; Dr. Frank S. Hargrave; Charles, Camillus and Arthur Darden; Levi Jones; William Hines; Henry Tart; and H.G. Barnes; Wilson Hospital and Tubercular Home for Colored People; the Colored Graded School; First Baptist Church; Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church; C.H. Darden & Sons Undertakers; and Lincoln Benefit Society.

On page one, the main text of digitized version of the insert is difficult to read, but the advertisements and photographs are clear. Surrounding an image of the just-opened Wilson Hospital and Tubercular Home are ads placed by Henry Tart, “The Transfer Man”; York Pressing Shop; and C.H. Darden Undertakers. In addition to their funeral business, the Dardens touted their bicycle and firearm dealerships and their status as agents for Victor talking machines and records. The proprietors of the pressing club are listed only as Reed and Whitty. I have not been able to identify Whitty, but Reed seems to have been Lonnie Reid (a cousin of J.D. Reid), who is listed in the 1912 Hill’s city directory of Wilson operating a clothes cleaning shop at 603 East Nash Street. York was short-lived, as in the 1916 directory Reid was in business with Dunn, North Carolina, resident William Bates. Their tailor shop, Bates & Reid, also operated from 603 East Nash.

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Original document in the collection of the Freeman Round House Museum, Wilson, and digitized at www.digitalnc.org.

Benjamin Frank Barnes.

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Cornerstone, Mount Hebron Lodge.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Charley Barnes, 50, wife Beckey, 36, and children John, 10, Frank, 6, Ann, 4, William C., 3, Thomas, 1, and Corah H., 1 month.

On 3 May 1899, Benjamin F. Barnes, 25, son of Charles and Rebecca Barnes of Wilson County, married Prudy Miller, 20, daughter of Prissy Miller, in Wilson. Rev. S.B. Hunter performed the ceremony at Saint John’s A.M. E. Zion in the presence of L.A. Moore, Charlotte Aycock and Annie V.C. Hunt.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house mover Frank Barnes, 28, wife Prudence, 21, mother-in-law Priscillia Miller, 45, and her son John, 14.

On 14 September 1904, B.F. Barnes, 31, of Wilson County, son of Charles and Rebecca Barnes, married Nicey A. Harper, 30, daughter of John and Edna Harper of Greene County, in Snow Hill township, Greene County.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Benj. F. Barnes, bricklayer, is listed residing at 221 Pender Street.

In the 1910 census of Snow Hill, Greene County: in the household of John and Edna Harper, son-in-law Frank Barnes, 37, married twice, brickmason, and daughter Nicie A., 38.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 418 Green Street, brickmason Frank Barnes, and wife Nicey, 47.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Frank Barnes, 68, wife Nicey, 69, and brother-in-law Will Harper, 62.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2016.

Wilson County Negro Library.

negro library trustee board

Board of Trustees, Wilson County Negro Library, 1948: Willie Mae Freeman, Carter Foster, Anna Johnson, D’arcy Yancey, Barbara Foster, Elizabeth Jenkins, James Whitfield, G.K. Butterfield, William Hines.

library

Willie Mae Freeman, Elizabeth Jenkins, Dora Dickerson.

This early iteration of the Negro library was located in a first-floor storefront of Mount Hebron Masonic Lodge No. 42, 115 North Pender Street.

Photographs courtesy of Freeman Round House Museum, Wilson, North Carolina, and digitized at http://www.digitalnc.org.