Civic Life

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.


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

Benjamin Frank Barnes.


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.


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

The Colored Red Cross battles the 1918 influenza pandemic.


Wilson Times, 19 November 1918.


Wilson Daily Times, 31 December 1918.

  • Bessie Weeks — Bessie M. Weeks, sister-in-law of Annie Cook Weeks, below, is listed in the 1922 Wilson city directory as a teacher living at 500 Hadley Street.
  • Eva Mitchell — Eva Mae Mitchell Haywood. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Annie Mitchell, 70, her children Sallie, 46, Eddie, 44, Albert, 42, Eva, 36, and Floyd, 34, plus niece Sevreane, 18, and nephew Lester, 15. On 16 April 1923, Eva Mitchell, 33, obtained a license to marry Lucien F. Haywood, 41, of Wake County, in Wilson. The license was not returned. On 1 October 1925, Eva Mae Haywood died in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1885 in Wayne County to Edward J. Mitchell and Anna Peacock; resided at 540 East Nash, Wilson; was the widow of Lucien Haywood; and worked as a dressmaker. Walter Mitchell was informant.
  • Frankie Best — In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 330 South Spring Street: widowed Nannie Best, 61, her daughter Frank, 30, son Aaron, 21, daughter-in-law Estelle, 19, widowed brother Harper Best, 65, and a lodger, nurse Henrietta Colvert, 24. In the 1922 Wilson city directory, Frankie Best was listed as a domestic living at 320 South Spring.
  • Glace Battle
  • Mrs. Mary Taylor — probably Mary John Pender Taylor. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Roderick Taylor, 47, wife Mary J., 39, and children Edna G., 8, Mary J., 4, and Roderick, 1. Mary John Taylor died 17 September 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 July 1896 in Wilson County to Maggie Pender and was a widow. Informant was Roderick Taylor.
  • Mrs. A.L.E. WeeksAnnie Elizabeth Cook Weeks. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: church minister Alfred Weeks, 44, wife Annie E., 44, daughter Marie, 14, and sister Bessie Weeks, 26. Annie Elizabeth Cook Weeks died 19 April 1943 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 December 1875 in Wake Forest, North Carolina, to Henderson T. Cook and Mariah D. Batchelor; was married; was a retired teacher; and resided in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Informant was Jerry L. Cook, 916 East Green Street, Wilson.
  • Sarah Coley — Sarah Sherard Coley. Sarah E. Coley died 18 July 1926 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 March 1883 in Wayne County to Swinson Sherrood and Laura Hooks, both of Wayne. She was the widow of Rufus Coley and resided at 1012 East Atlantic Street, Wilson. John Sherrood was informant.
  • Mrs. N.J. Tate. Hattie Pearce Tate. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, barber Noah Tate, 42, wife Hattie, 34, boarder Mary Jennings, 28, and children Helen, 16, Mary Jane, 8, Andrew, 11, and Noah Jr., 3.
  • Mrs. Robt. N. Perry.
  • Mrs. Lawrence Coley — probably, Laurena Coley. Laura V. Coley died 12 May 1923 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1883 in Wayne County to Isaac and Penny Coley, was a teacher, was married to Jasper Coley, and was buried in Pikesville township, Wayne County. [Jasper Coley married Lydia Grissom the following year; see below.]
  • Mrs. H.A. Faulk — Arzulia Mitchell Faulk. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 210 Pender Street, barber Hiram Faulk, 44, dressmaker Arzulia, 40, and daughter Marie, 14. Arzulia Faulk died 7 March 1922 in a tornado accident. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 April 1879 in Perquimans County, North Carolina, to John Mitchell of Pasquotank County and Rossie Kirk of Gates County; was a teacher; and was married to Hiram Faulk. She was buried in Hertford County.
  • Nancy Crocker — Nancy Dew Crocker. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James W. Crocker, 40, odd jobs laborer, and wife Nancy, 34. Nancy D. Crocker died 10 October 1958 at her home at 617 Darden’s Alley, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 December 1880; her father was Ned Dew; and she was widowed. Informant was Robert Sheridan of her home address.
  • Mrs. L. Grissom — Lydia Meeks Grissom Coley. In the 1922 Wilson City directory, Lydia Grissom was listed at 201 North Vick Street. On 9 October 1924, Lydia Grissom, 30, married Jasper Coley, 40, in Wilson. Lydia Lee Coley died 7 March 1946 at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she resided at 201 North Vick Street, Wilson; was born 9 October 1892 in Tarboro, North Carolina, to Rebecca Meeks; was a teacher; and was married to Jasper Coley. Informant was Dorothy Parker, 624 East Green Street, Wilson.
  • Mrs. Elijah ReedIetta R.M. Staton Reid. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: veterinary surgeon Elija Reid, 35, wife Ietta, 30, and daughter Beatrice, 13. Ietta R.M. Reid died 14 February 1951 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 August 1867 in Edgecombe County, her father was Jainett Staton, she was a widow and retired teacher, and resided at 816 Elvie Street. Odessa Reid was informant.
  • Della Barnes — this seems unlikely to be Della Barnes, mother of William and Walter Hines. Perhaps, in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer George Barnes, 40, wife Mary, 42, and children Della, 23, and John, 22.
  • Mildred Toler — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: butler Claude Toler, 24, and wife Mildred, 20. Mildred Toler died 29 December 1921 in Wilson of pulmonary tuberculosis. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1901 in Wayne County to Isiar and Lizzie Moore, was a teacher, and was married to Claude Toler. She was buried in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
  • S.E. Hines — Sarah Elizabeth Dortch Hines. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Green Street, Walter Hines, 40, wife Sara, 37, and children Elizabeth, 11, Walter, 10, and Carl, 5. Sarah Elizabeth Hines died 22 October 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 September 1879 in Wayne County to Ralph Whitley Dortch and Mattie [last name unknown]; resided at 617 East Green Street; and was married to Walter Scot Hines. Carl W. Hines was informant.
  • S.H. Vick — Samuel H. Vick.
  • W.S. Hines — Walter S. Hines.
  • Clarence Carter — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 423 Green Street, barber Clarence Carter, 36; wife Meena, 25; and children Omega, 9, Clarence H., 7, and Mina G., 5.
  • Wm. Hines — William Hines.
  • Ben Muncey — Benjamin J. Mincey. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, Ben Mency, 38, pipefitter for town; wife Mattie, 37; and children Benj. J., 11, Mildred, 7, Maddison, 5, and John, 3 months. Benjamin J. Mincey died 14 July 1950 at his home at 712 Wiggins Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1883 in Greene County to Prince Mincey and Susan Suggs, was married, worked as a plumber for the Town of Wilson, and was buried at Rountree Cemetery.
  • James Woodard
  • John Bullock
  • Mary Williams
  • Junius Best
  • Geneva Sims — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, sawmill worker Ellic Simms, 27; wife Geneva, 26, a farm laborer; stepdaughter Lelia Butts, 7; and sons Ned, 4, and Ed Simms, 1.
  • B.J. Mincey — see Benjamin J. Mincey, above.
  • Luanna Brown


Newsy notes from Wide Awake.

The state colored firemen‘s convention came to town. Negroes, who “generally have very fine, rich, resonant voices, full of volume and melody,” sang. Braswell R. Winstead, normally “well-behaved,” had the “bad taste” to “inject venom” into the festivities by complaining of “being oppressed and denied of their rights.” But the finest and most learned Frank S. Hargrave poured oil on the waters with some “very happy and admirably conceived remarks.”


Raleigh Morning Post, 11 August 1904.

Poll holders for the coming election.


Wilson Advance, 6 October 1892.

  • A.D. Dawson — Alexander D. Dawson (circa 1860-??) worked as a teacher, and then a fishmonger and merchant.
  • Samuel Gay — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Sam Gay, 54, wife Alice, 50, and children Charlie, 23, Edgar B., 25, Lucy, 17, Samuel, 14, Albert, 10, Beatrice, 10, and Lily, 4. Samuel Gay died 2 July 1919 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 73 years old; born in Wilson County; married to Allace Gay; and worked as a tenant farmer at W.E. Warren’s.
  • Jack Woodard — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jackson Woodard, 56, wife Fannie, 53, and children Daisy, 30, Aaron, 22, Harry, 19, Augustus, 18, Steven, 16, Mary, 11, and Harriet, 8, plus grandchildren Eddie, 5, Bessie, 3, and Nank, 10 months. Jack Woodard died 15 March 1920 in Black Creek township. Per his death certificate, Jack, 78, was born in Wilson County to Aaron Farmer and an unknown mother, was married to Carlin [Caroline] Woodard, and was a tenant farmer for Graham Woodard.
  • Smith Mercer — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Smith Mercer, 60, wife Chaney, 46, children Lily V., 12, LeRoy, 8, and Linda, 24, and grandchildren Annie Bell, 6, and Charlie, 1.
  • Isaac Rich — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: widower farmer Isaac Rich, 50, daughters Martha A., 28, and Wibby, 16, niece Littie Langston, 8, and nephew Rommie O’Neil, 8.
  • Joseph Hinnant — in the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer James T. Hinnant, 35, his mother Rhoda, 59, father Joseph, 70, sisters Louisa, 25,  Martha, 21, and Mary, 18.
  • Richard Jones — in the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Jones, 65, wife Lucy, 52, sister Cherry, 50, granddaughter Annie, 9, brother Joseph Huston, 50, and nephew Weston Huston, 25.
  • Noel Jones — in the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: laborer Noel Jones, 34, wife Sarah, 32, and children Josiah, 13, Charity, 12, Edieth J., 10, and Noel J., 6.
  • Hilliard Ellis — see here and here and here and here.
  • Alfred Woodard — in the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Woodard, 69, wife Sarah, 59, daughters Nora, 21, and Francis, 7, and servant Bessa Foard, 19.
  • John Ellis — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: day laborer John Ellis, 50, wife Marry, 50, and children Antney, 21, Alex, 18, James, 16, Marry, 14, and Delphia, 8.
  • Mark Barron — in the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Barron, 54, wife Mason, 50, children Frank, 18, Peter, 21, John, 20, and Mary, 16, granddaughter Mary M., 6 months, and sister Gatsie, 51. Mark Barron died 26 April 1928 in Gardners township. Per his death certificate, he was 83 years old; lived on Route 3, Elm City; was born in Wilson County to Benjamin and Marion Barron, both of Wilson County; and worked as a tenant farmer.
  • William Taylor
  • Amos Ellis — in the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Amos Ellis, 39, wife Cherry, 37, and children Samuel, 15, Lizzie C., 14, James, 7, Lena, 4, Mack B., 3, and Walter L., 9 months.
  • Louis Barnes — in the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Lewis Barnes, 57, wife Allie, 53, and children Adline, 24, James, 19, Sallie, 15, and Lucinda, 13.