Commerce

319 South Pender Street.

The ninetieth 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.

October 2018.

The address of this location was originally 315 Stantonsburg Street, then 319 Stantonsburg Street, and finally 319 South Pender Street.

Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; Harrell’s Grocery; exemplary grocery in district, with parapet front and recessed entry.” In the “Physical Description” section of the for:, “The local grocery is exemplified by “Harrell’s,” a frame structure with a simple parapet front and recessed entry, where a variety of fresh greens are on display.”

Since 1988, the appearance of this “exemplary” building has been much, and unfortunately, altered. The parapet front has been covered with a square facade of siding and, most drastically, the entrance to the store has shifted from the street to the side facing the parking lot. The original entryway is just visible below the store sign.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Dew Geneva (c) beer 315 Stantonsburg h 203 Stantonsburg. (In the 1947 city directory, the address has shifted 319 Stantonsburg.)

In the 1963 city directory, S&D Fish Market (Robt L Crook) 319 Stantonsburg

The store’s ownership continues to turn over regularly. As recently as 2016, Romanian Hero was called Jordan’s.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson.

1114 and 1114 1/2 Carolina Street.

The eighty-ninth 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.

October 2018.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1950; 1 story; Corner Grocery; concrete-block grocery with parapet front.” The building was classified as “non-contributing,” i.e. lacking historic value per the terms of the historic register. However, there is evidence of a grocery at the corner of Carolina and Carroll Streets as early as 1928.

In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, William F. Peacock is listed as the owner of a grocery at 1114 Carolina Street. Peacock, who was white, lived at 706 Academy Street.

Thomas W. Thorne, also white, is listed as owner of the grocery at 1114 Carolina in the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory. The smaller attached building shown above seems to have been added during the previous decade, and Dublin Hargrove is listed as the proprietor of a fish market at 1114 1/2 Carolina.

In the 1947-48 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Winstead Geo (c; Martha) gro 1114 Carolina h 1110. Also, Annie’s Beauty Shop (c; Mrs Annie Aldridge) 1114 1/2 Carolina Street. The store was offered for sale late in 1947.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 November 1947.

Now empty and decaying, this building housed a corner store into the 21st century. This 2015 photograph shows a sign, hand-lettered by Louis S. Thomas, for Gray Boy’s, the last active grocery in the building.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson.

The obituary of David Horne.

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Wilson Daily Times, 26 September 1980.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Park Avenue, gardener Abram Horne, 40; wife Ella, 33; and children Abram Jr., 16, David, 7, and Dazella, 4 months.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: David Horne, 29, living alone, fertilizer plant laborer.

David Horne died 20 September 1980 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 29 February 1912 in Wilson County to Abram Horne and Ella Mae Barnes; resided at 300 North Reid Street, Wilson; was married to Beatrice Batts Horne; and worked as a laborer.

Newest and finest.

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Wilson Daily Times, 26 March 1948.

Seventy years later, Edwards Funeral Home — still operated by the Edwards family — remains a cornerstone of East Wilson business. Its website sets out the company’s history:

“On a calm, sunny day in March 1948, two brothers, Oliver H. and James Weldon Edwards, opened the doors of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. at 805 E. Nash Street in Wilson, North Carolina. The story does not begin there. Rather it begins with the conception and dream that two brothers had of being entrepreneurs and opening their own business, a funeral home. Oliver, the older of the two, lived in Raleigh and worked at a funeral home as a licensed funeral director. He encouraged James, who had just completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in World War II, to attend school in funeral service and mortuary science rather than pursue another career and major. James was in New York City by this time, and he began and completed American Academy of Mortuary Science in New York City (now American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service) as a licensed funeral director and mortician. The dream moves toward reality. Having met two of the requirements (experience and knowledge) for starting an enterprise of this type, both men had to decide where to locate the business. The decision was a fairly easy one – to go home. “Home” was the tri-county area of Wilson, Nash, and Edgecombe Counties where the Edwards family had deep roots, dating back several generations to at least the 18th Century and where the brothers, as well as the extended family, grew up, went to school, and attended church. Their father, the Reverend B.H. Edwards, was a highly respected Baptist minister who pastured Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist, Red Oak Grove Missionary Baptist, Rising Sun Missionary Baptist, and Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Churches over a span of 42 years. In their youth, Reverend Edwards carried his boys (and all his children) throughout the various church communities and neighborhoods in these counties. Thus, Oliver and James knew the people, and the people knew them. The decision was made – Wilson. The brothers, encouraged by their parents and wives, bought a two story white frame house in East Wilson. Located on the main thoroughfare, this “home” was a classic representative of the Colonial Revival type of architecture. It still has the original interior paneling, crown molding, woodworking, winding stairway and a marble hearth fireplace. The site was chosen as much for its location and the charm of this house far for the warmth and friendliness of the neighbors and the neighborhood (some of whom reside there today). The funeral home (with interior and exterior renovations and expansions) remains in the same location today due mostly out of a desire to remain in the area where the family still lives and because of the history and symbolism of the structure. Oliver and James worked hard and opened the doors to Edwards Funeral Home and established it as a thriving business. Both brothers ran the business until Oliver’s death in July 1963. James assumed leadership, ownership and management of the business until May 1982 when he died. James’ widow, the former Josephine Farmer from Nash County, assumed leadership, after her husband’s death. She wanted to keep the dream and legacy alive for their children, Angela and Carla. Having worked as a classroom teacher in the public schools of Nash and Wilson Counties for 36 years, Josephine joined the ranks of the funeral home staff upon her retirement in 1987. Under her watchful nurturance, the funeral home continued to operate and prosper in a profession that has been traditionally dominated by men. Despite “being a woman in a man’s world,” Josephine expanded the funeral home to include, among other changes, a chapel with an organ. The chapel has a seating capacity of 200 people. Her commitment to the business, the people, the community and to serving Wilson and surrounding counties is evidenced by her ever presence at the funeral home and at funerals. Josephine’s community orientation and dedication to Wilson County is also evidenced by her service as a county commissioner, per participation in the various local, civic, and service organizations/clubs and her service through appointment on state committees by Governor Hunt. The future of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. is certain. It is moving into the second millennium under the family oriented leadership of Mrs. Edwards with the support of her children: Angela R. Edwards Jones, Carla D. Edwards Williams, Tyrone P. Jones, III, and Darryl A. Williams. Hopefully the third generations will keep the legacy alive with the grandchildren, Darian and Carlin Williams. The legacy lives. Mrs. Edwards remembers and is appreciative for the kind support of her patrons throughout the years. She hopes to continue serving you in the difficult times during and after the loss of a loved one. She gives the best in dignified, personalized, professional care and service at the time of death and afterwards. Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. hopes to continue this tradition of meeting people’s needs with friendliness, kindness, understanding, warmth, innovation, and confidentiality. Over these sixty years, many employees have helped to insure quality service and care to patrons. Mrs. Edwards is thankful to all persons who have assisted the family since 1948. The fine tradition of service with dignity continues to be the aim of the Edwards Funeral Home staff. ‘Let Gentle Hands and Kind Hearts Care For You When Loved Ones Depart.'”

  • Rev. B.H. Edwards — Buchanan Hilliard Edwards (1891-1967)
  • O.H. Edwards — Oliver Hazel Edwards (1907-1963)
  • James W.  Edwards — James Weldon Edwards (1921-1982)
  • Josephine Farmer Edwards (1922-2013)

 

Batts Grocery.

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This photograph depicts the interior of Graham W. Batts’ grocery at 418 South Goldsboro Street. Batts is standing at right. The unidentified African-American man and woman at rear likely were employees.

The west side of the entire 400 block of South Goldsboro Street — between Jones and Hines Streets — has been demolished. 418 stood in what is now the grassy side parcel of a Family Dollar store.

Photograph courtesy of Keith Thomas. Many thanks for sharing.

Centre Brick auction.

Per Keith Barnes’ The World’s Greatest Tobacco Market: A Pictorial History of Tobacco in Wilson, North Carolina, this photograph depicts a tobacco auction at Centre Brick Warehouse in the 1920s. Several African-American farmers or warehouse workers can be seen standing behind the tobacconists who owned and operated the warehouse.

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A cash register for Tate & Hines.

In May 1910, Walter S. Hines, on behalf of Tate & Hines Barbershop, 213 East Nash Street, purchased a sixty-dollar register from National Cash Register for use on the barbershop’s back counter.

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Model No. 317, National Cash Register Company.

Deed book 72, page 570, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; image of cash register courtesy of www.pinterest.com.