Commerce

Bill Hargrove, horse shoer.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 August 1897.

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In the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County: Jerry Hargrove, 29; wife Sarah, 29; and children Anna, 9, Gordon, 6, William, 4, and Marcus, 1.

In the 1880 census of Cocoa township, Edgecombe County: Gerry Hargrove, 39; wife Sarah, 38; and children Gordon, 15, William, 13, Marcus, 11, Farrar, 8, Matthew, 6, Frank, 6, and Henry, 10 months.

On 30 December 1890, William Hargrove, 23, of Wilson, son of Jerry and Sarah Hargrove, and Louvenia Hines, 21, of Edgecombe, daughter of Joshua Bulluck and Harriet Hines, were married at Joshua Bulluck’s in Township #14, Edgecombe County. Hilliard Reid and Bush Dew of Wilson were witnesses. 

Wilson Mirror, 23 September 1891.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith William Hargrove, 32; wife Leuvenia, 30, washing; daughters Bessie, 6, and Lillie, 3; widowed sister Mary Boddie, 25, cooking; and cousin Julious Heat, 20, farm hand.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hargrove Wm blksmith 206 E Goldsboro h 606 E Green

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 606 Green, blacksmith William Hargrove, 43; wife Louvenia, 40; daughters Bessie, 17, and Willie L., 13; and boarder John Howard, 18. But also, in the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Joyner, 51; wife Annie, 51; and boarder William Hargrove, 40, horse shoer in own shop.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hargrove Wm blksmith h 606 E Green

Per his headstone, William Hargrove died 4 January 1914. Per Findagrave.com, Hargrove is buried in the Hines/Bullock cemetery near Pinetops, Edgecombe County.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 606 East Green, Luvenia Hargrove, 40, widow, and daughter Willie, 20, public school teacher.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 605 East Green, Luvenia Hargrove, 60, widow, and daughter Willie, 29, public school teacher.

Luevenia Hargrove died 22 February 1958 in Wilson at her home at 605 East Green. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 February 1869 in Edgecombe County to Joshua Bulluck and Harriet Hines and was buried in Bulluck cemetery, Edgecombe County. Informant was Mrs. Willie Smith, 605 East Green.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Black businesses, 1908, no. 4: 200 block of South Goldsboro Street.

Detail, Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1908.

Cross-referencing the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Above, the intersection of the 100 block of East Barnes Street and the 200 block of South Goldsboro Street.

  • Sidney Wheeler
  • J. Thomas Teachey
  • William Hargrove — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith William Hargrove, 32; wife Leuvenia, 30, washing; daughter Bessie, 6, and Lillie, 3; widowed sister Mary Boddie, 25, cooking; and cousin Julious Heat, 20, farm hand.
  • Isaac J. Young‘s blacksmith shop operated in the present-day location of Worrell’s Seafood. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 315 Spring Street, horse shoer Isaac J. Young, 46; wife Laura, 29; and sons Cornelius, 12, and Robert, 9; plus lodger Henry Moy, 5.

Aerial view courtesy of Google Maps.

Black businesses, 1913, no. 5: City Baking Company.

A three-page Wilson Times insert published about 1914 highlighting the town’s “progressive colored citizens” featured City Bakery, then located at 540 East Nash Street, “under Odd Fellows Hall,” with R.B. Bullock as proprietor.

The bakery had a predecessor though, as shown in the 1912 city directory:

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1912).

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1913.

This detail from the 1913 Sanborn map shows the location of the oven in the back of the small brick “bake house.” In 1914, City Bakery boasted that its premises were “sanitary in ever particular.” Such a claim must have been difficult to make when it sat within feet of multiple rail lines. 

  • Richard Bulluck — Bulluck is listed in the 1912 directory living at 412 South Lodge Street.
  • Alex Henderson — perhaps, Sandy Henderson.
  • William Kittrell

Black businesses, 1913, no. 4: 400 block of East Nash Street.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1913.

Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Here’s a closer look at one side of the first block east of the railroad.

Though described as a restaurant in 1913, the 1912 city director listed Charles H. Knight‘s barbershop at 414 East Nash Street. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: barber Charles Knight, 35; wife Elsie, 37; and sons Charles, 8, and Frank, 6; plus boarders Ethel Coleman, 23, and Sarah Jackson, 28, both teachers.

Sarah Gaither operated a small eating house at 418 East Nash as early as 1908, per city directories. In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: day laborer Rufus Gaither, 57; wife Sarah, 56; and children Julius, 22, Mandy, 18, Aaron, 17, and Clarence, 15, sharing a house with Ella Gaston, 30, and her sons Ralph, 10, and Albert, 2. Rufus and Sarah Parks Gaither married 2 February 1873 in Iredell County, N.C., and are listed in the 1880 census of Turnersburg, Iredell County, with their young children. Sarah Gaither died 1912-1915. Rufus Gaither died 23 July 1915 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 August 1853 and was a widower. Bertha Farmer was informant.

John Blount‘s barbershop occupied 422 East Nash. 

The three buildings that now occupy this block were built in the 1920s. However, Google Maps shows a modern barbershop operating in the footprint of Blount’s business.

Black businesses, 1908, no. 2: South Goldsboro Street.

Cross-referencing the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Above, the west side of the first block of South Goldsboro Street.

Richard Renfrow purchased the furnishings for his barbershop from Noah J. Tate, Walter S. Hines, and Joshua L. Tabron, partners in another barbering business, in 1906. Renfrow was a barber in Wilson as early as 1887, but around 1900 began to move back and forth between Wilson and Norfolk, Virginia.

Hardy & Holland’s livery stable was wedged, improbably, between a wholesale grocery and a garage with a second floor print shop. Per the Wilson, North Carolina, Industrial & Commercial Directory, published in 1912, “This business is located on South Goldsboro street between Nash and Barnes streets and the business has been established for the last four years. The proprietor [James Hardy] has succeeded in building up a good patronage. He is very prompt in answering calls and his prices for Livery are very reasonable. Telephone Number 9. Hack and Dray work solicited. The proprietor wants your patronage and guarantees the right sort of treatment. He is a colored man and has the good wishes of all.” Hardy’s business partner was Thomas Holland, a Wake County native.

Henry C. Holden‘s barbershop occupied the basement level of the Branch Bank building at the corner of East Nash and South Goldsboro Streets. 

This screenshot from Google Streetview shows the wrought-iron rail around the former exterior entrance to the barbershop below the Branch Bank building.

Black businesses, 1913, no. 3: East Nash at South Lodge Street.

Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century.

This block of East Nash Street fronts the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad’s passenger station. In 1913, it contained four storefronts, all housing Black-owned businesses, and a large house. Just a few years later, all were demolished to make way for the Terminal Inn, the two-story, multi-bay building that for decades was anchored by Terminal Drug Store and Star Credit Department Store and still stands today.

Moses Brandon operated an eating house next to the Atlantic Coast Line tracks. His death is reported here.

Austin Neal‘s barber shop was next door at 409 East Nash. The business later moved to the 500 block of Nash Street.

The business at 407 was labeled “cobbler.” The city directory listed Bud Wiley, bootblack, as proprietor.

John G. Corbin‘s pool room rounded out the storefronts. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: street laborer Brazell Winstead, 48; dressmaker Ada, 22; sister-in-law Martha Corben, 31, laborer; and brother-in-law John, 34, farmer. [Braswell Winstead was, in fact, a college-educated teacher turned barber who had been an assistant to postmaster Samuel Vick. It seems unlikely that Martha Corbin was a laborer or John a farmer.]

The house at 401 East Nash was occupied by white millhand J. Frank Johnson.

Black businesses, 1913, no. 2: South Spring, now Douglas, Street.

Page 3, Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1913.

Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century.

Above, the west side of the 400 block of South Spring [now Douglas] Street, showing a heavy concentration of small restaurants and groceries. This stretch bordered the American Tobacco (later Liggett & Meyers) tobacco warehouse to the rear and was a block away from Smith’s warehouse, Watson warehouse, Export Leaf warehouse, a larger American Tobacco warehouse, and the Norfolk & Southern cotton loading platform, and these businesses no doubt targeted the swarms of warehouse workers. 

Meet Virginia native Jacob Tucker here; Neverson Green here and here; and Nannie Best here

Agnes Taylor does not appear in Wilson census records, but her full entry in the 1912 city directory shows that she lived at 418 South Spring, just a few lots down from her eating house.

All these buildings have been demolished.