Goldsboro’s not Wilson, but it’s right down the road, and many of Wilson’s African-American families have roots in antebellum Wayne County. On 6 February 2018, I’ll be giving a talk about Wayne County’s free communities of color as part of the Wayne County Public Library’s Black History Month observation. I welcome your support!
Wilson Advance, 12 November 1891.
Richard Hagans married Ann Faithful 1 May 1849 in Edgecombe County. Lemon S. Dunn was bondsman, and John Norfleet, witness.
In the 1860 census of Edgecombe County: Richd. Hagans, 33, wife Alley, 31, and children Lawrence, 10, Laura, 8, Margaret, 6, Richard, 5, Neely, 3, and Charles Hagans, 3 months.
The family is not found in the 1870 census.
On 30 December 1874, Lawrence Hagan, 25, married Mollie Pender, 20, at the residence of William Woodard in Wilson County. Witnesses were R. Hagan, Dobson Powell and Anderson White.
In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Laurence Hagans, 30, wife Mary, 24, and children James, 6, and Elizabeth, 3. Next door, Lawrence’s father Richard Hagans, 52, mother Alley, 51, and brothers Charley, 20, Julus, 16, Bisco, 14, Thomas, 11, and Joe, 1.
In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Larnce Haggan, 49, wife Etha, 44, and children Joe, 21, Augustus, 19, Oscar, 18, Charlie, 16, Annie, 13, Connie, 10, Lena, 8, Mollie, 7, William L., 4, Minnie, 3, and Pattie, 1, and Lawrence’s widowed mother Alice, 70.
[I have found no evidence that Richard Hagans served the Confederacy, either as a body servant (or in the less likely role of soldier throughout.) I will continue to search.]
In the 1850 census of the north side of the Neuse district, Wayne County, North Carolina: C.M. Richardson, 32, brickmason; wife Sarah, 24; and their children Jacob, 7, Joseph and Benjamin, 3, and Cisara, 1; plus, Julia Walton, 21, apprentices Green Bryant, 20, and Noah Linch, 20, and brickmason Thomas Piloot, 23.
Noah Lynch married Piety Rose on 2 March 1853 in Edgecombe County.
In the 1860 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: plasterer Noah Lynch, 30; wife Piety, 33, washerwoman; domestic Julia Higgins, 20; John James, 10; and Martha Taylor, 7; all mulatto. Noah reported owning $700 in real property.
Noah and Piety Lynch apparently divorced or otherwise separated in the early 1860s.
Noah Lynch, 34, colored, waiter, married, born in North Carolina, appears in a consolidated list of men who registered for the Union draft in June 1863 in New York City. Also in the list, Shered Lynch, 32, seaman, married, born in North Carolina. (Sherod Lynch married Harriet Moore at Gatlin Lynch’s in Wayne County on 12 July 1855.) Both resided on East Houston Street.
On 4 May 1868, Noah Lynch, 29, black, son of Lary Lynch and Nancy Wilkins, married Mary Sweeny, 25, white, daughter of Patrick Sweeny and Bridget Bilon, in Manhattan.
In the 1870 census of New York, New York County, New York: mason Noah Lynch, 40, and wife Mary, 30. Noah was a native of North Carolina; Mary, of Ireland. Both were described as white. In a duplicate entry in the 1870 census of New York City: on Houston Street, Noah Lynch, 42, machinist, born in North Carolina; wife Mary, 25, born in Ireland; and John Lynch, 30, waiter, also born in Ireland. All were described as white.
On 8 January 1875, Noah Lynch, 40, son of Larry Lynch and Nancy Wilkins, married Anne Carey, 30, daughter of Luke Carey and Catharine Sweeney, in Manhattan.
In the 1880 census of New York, New York County, New York: plasterer Noah Lynch, 50, and wife Annie, 34, both described as white.
In the New York, New York, city directory of 1883: Noah Lynch, mason, 153 Second.
In the 1905 New York state census: at 153-2nd Street, Noah Linch, 75, painter, white.
In the 1910 census of Manhattan, New York County, New York; at 14 Avenue A, widower Noah W. Lynch, 80, and adopted daughter Matilda M. Roth, 37, a stage actress. Noah was described as white and born in North Carolina to German parents. Matilda was born in New York to German parents.
Noah W. Lynch died 23 November 1913 in Manhattan. Per his death certificate, he was 84 years old; born in North Carolina to Larry and Nancy Lynch; was a pensioned mason; and was olive brown (colored). He was buried in Calvary Cemetery.
On 1 December 1913, Matilda Roth of 14 Avenue A testified in Surrogates’ Court to prove Noah Lynch’s will. She averred that she had known Lynch about 33 years, that she had witnessed him sign his will on 23 November 1913 [the day he died] at his residence at 14 Avenue A and that Johanna Kuhnel and Valentine A. Schulz were also present. Johanna Kuhnel testified similarly, noting that she had known Lynch for about 25 years.
Noah Lynch achieved a significant degree of prosperity in the Lower East Side, though he never bought a house or apartment or spent much on material possessions, as his will reveals:
I, Noah Lynch of the City, County and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this life, do make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament as follows, hereby revoking all other and former Wills by me at any time made.
1st First, after my lawful debts are paid, I give to my beloved half-sister, Mary Tillman (widow) residing at Bergen Street near 3rd Avenue in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York City the sum of Eight Hundred Dollars, the same to be held in trust in the name of my executor, and the same to be deposited in the Bank, during her life. I direct my Executor to pay her from time to time the amount necessary to defray the expenses for her maintenance, that he may see fit after her death, my executor shall see that she has a proper burial and whatever moneys he may have on hand or the balance of the above named sum shall be used in erecting a monument or Tombstone, over her last resting place.
2nd. I give to Mary Sands of 2472 Marion Avenue, Borough of Bronx, New York City, the sums of Five Hundred Dollars, that is to say if there is so much on hand to pay her the same, if there is not so much on hand, she shall receive Two Hundred Dollars.
3rd. I give my (gold watch) to my friend John Sands of 2472 Marion Avenue, Borough of the Bronx, New York City.
4th. I give to Ellen Dwyer, for her good services rendered in my sickness and my last moments and for her kindness, the sum of Five hundred Dollars, that is to say if there is so much on hand to pay her the same, if there is not so much on hand, she shall receive Two Hundred Dollars.
5th. I give to my Executor Val. A. Schulz of 214 East 4th Street New York City, for the faithfull performance of his duty or extra compensation for the amount of Labor he will have in attending to matters of my estate he is to have Two hundred and Fifty Dollars, besides his legal allowance.
6th. I hereby direct my executor to give me a decent funeral and a Requiem High Mass at the Church of the Nativity, 2nd Avenue, bet 2nd and 3rd street, New York City.
7th. I hereby direct my executor to pay one hundred dollars to the Most Reverend Father Reilly, the Rector of the Church of the Nativity, at 2nd Avenue bet 2nd-3rd Street New York City, the same is to be used for reading Masses after my death.
I hereby direct my Executor to use the balance of my estate if there be any balance to erect a suitable Monument over my last Resting place.
8th. I hereby direct that my Executor Valentine A. Schulz of 214 East 4th Street, shall serve as my Executor without filing any bonds as I have confidence in his honesty, faithful performance of his duty and I am sure he will carry out my last wishes.
9th. My entire estate consists of 1 Bank account on Bank Book number 658,003 on the Bowery Savings Bank, and another Bank book number 1,015 832 on the 4th Ave Bank at 200 4th Avenue, New York City, and other small articles of no value.
10th. I give to Matilda Roth of 14 Ave A, New York City, who I have raised and who has done so much for me, and for services rendered to me during my lifetime and during my sickness, I hereby give her eight hundred Dollars and I direct my Executor to pay her the same as soon as the law permits. I also give her a ring of plain type.
11th. I hereby direct my executor to pay any attention to those claiming relationship. I have no relatives living accepting my half sister Mary Tillman of Brooklyn, New York City.
12th. And I further direct my Executor not to pay any one who will cause him any trouble, that is to say of those named in this my last will and testament, by trouble I mean any one contesting this my last will and Testament.
I hereby appoint Valentine A. Schulz, 214 East 4th Street, New York City, to be Executor of this my last Will and Testament.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and affixed my seal, the 23rd day of November in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirteen. Noah (X) Lynch
Witnesses: Matilda Roth, Valentine A. Schulz, Johanna Kuhnel
I have no record of Mary Tillman in North Carolina. However, in the 1894 Brooklyn, New York, city directory: Tillman, Mary, wid. Thos., h 263 Bergen. In the 1900 census of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York: at 263 Bergen, widowed North Carolina-born laundress Marie Tillman, 74, with boarder Alexander Moore, 27, and his wife Julia, 26, and three other families. In the 1910 census of Brooklyn: at 263 Bergen, Virginia-born Susan Brown, 34, laundress, and her Florida-born boarder Joseph Robertson, 28, a hotel waiter, and North Carolina-born Mary Tillman, 87, and her lodger Benjamin Simmons, 70, a carpenter.
Executor Schulz quickly advanced Mary Tillman money to purchase a burial plot and grave marker, but she complained to the court that she needed $40/month for support. She averred that Schulz had agreed to pay that sum, but had not remitted any money to date. It is not at all clear why this minor demand warranted the attention of two New York City newspapers, but:
The Sun, 10 March 1914.
New York Times, 10 March 1914.
Wilson Advance, 2 February 1883.
The “old man” was William Ayers, who appeared in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, as a 46 year-old farmer. Though he was marked married, he is listed as the only person in his household.
William’s wife, Rose Ayers, quickly moved to open his estate in probate court, relinquishing her right to administer his estate to Thomas J. Rowe.
The court duly appointed Rowe, estimated the size of Ayers’ estate at $250, and named Rosa, Jesse and Joseph Ayers as his heirs. The latter two, presumably, were his sons (or descendants of deceased children.)
By late February, William Ayers’ personal property had been sold at auction, yielding a little more than $200. The account revealed that, in addition to carpenter’s tool, household furnishings and clothing, Ayers owned a fiddle and a single bottle of cologne.
On 22 November 1883, commissioners laid off Rose Ayers’ dower, granting her twenty acres of her late husband’s 80 acres in Cross Roads township, representing one-third value of the land. In December 1883, commissioner F.A. Woodard placed a series of notices in The Wilson Advance (Josephus Daniels’ first newspaper), presumably advertising the sale of Ayers’ land.
Estate records show that Edwin Barnes was the highest bidder at $430 for Ayers’ property on 7 January 1884. (The commissioners’ report also lists another heir, Council Ayers.)
- Rose Ayers — Rose Ayers, 45, married Nash Horton, 50, on 5 December 1888 at Meeksville post office, Spring Hill township. James G., I., and Guilford Wilder were witnesses.
- Jesse Ayers — probably, in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: 28 year-old farmer Jesse Ayers; wife Elizabeth, 28; and children Ida, 8; Harriet, 6; Howard, 5; and Hubbard, 2; all described as mulatto.
- Joseph G. Ayers
- Council Ayers — In the 1870 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: Council Ares, 52, wife Mary, 33, and William Smith, 3. However, this man was older than William and could not have been his son. (He died 1 December 1915 in Spring Hill township, and his death certificate lists his father as Sampson Ayers.) Similarly, the Council Ayers, age 21, who appears in the 1910 census of Spring Hill township with wife Beadie, 25, was born after William Ayers’ death.
North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
The families of William and Nancy Rose Hawley illustrate the fluidity of identity along the color line and the complexity of Southern race relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their families lived among a cluster of families in the Lucama area — Hawleys, Roses, Ayerses and Taylors — whose members’ racial classifications shifted back and forth over time. Both William and Nancy were regarded as mixed-race for much of their lives, but died white.
In the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: John Sillivant, 53, farmer; Sally Hawley, 60; and Martha Hawley, 35, and her children Nancy, 12, William, 9, Mary, and Elizabeth, 3. All were described as white.
Also in the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: Sarah Rose, 44, and children Piety, 22, William 11, Nancy, 3, and James, 0. All were described as white.
Piety Rose married Noah Lynch on 2 March 1853 in Edgecombe County. [Lynch was probably a brother of Wyatt Lynch.]
In the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County: Sallie Hawley, 75; daughter Patsey [nickname for Martha], 35; and grandchildren William, 17, Mary, 14, Cerenia, 10, Willey, 4, Saffira, 4, and John D., 1. Patsey, Cerenia and John were described as mulatto; the others, white. [Kirby’s district had been the north-most part of Johnston County before Wilson County was created in 1855.]
Also in the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County: Sarah Rose, 50; Richard Odom, 21, cooper; Willis Taylor, 45, turpentine worker; Nancy Rose, 11, and Alice Rose, 7. Taylor and the Rose girls were described as mulatto. Sarah reported owning $500 real estate and $300 personal.
In the 1860 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: plasterer Noah Lynch, 30; wife Piety, 33, washerwoman; domestic Julia Higgins, 20; John James, 10; and Martha Taylor, 7; all mulatto. Noah reported owning $700 in real property.
On 26 June 1867, William Hawley, son of Joseph Hair and Patsey Hawley, married Nancy Rose, daughter of Sarah Rose, at Sarah Rose’s house in Wilson County.
In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer William Hawley, 28, wife Nancy, 20, son Joseph, 1, and Aquilla Hawley, 17. William, Joseph and Aquilla were classified as mulatto; Nancy, as white.
In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Patsey Hawley, 40; and children Betsey, 18, Rena, 17, Willie, 16, Quilly, 16, and John D., 10; all white. Next door: Sarah Rose, 59, and daughter Alice, 15, both described as white. Next door to them: Willis Taylor, 51, farm laborer, white.
On 26 February 1874, Piety Lynch, 40, and Raiford Edwards, 52, both colored, both of Smithfield, were married in Johnston County. The ceremony was performed at J.B. Alford’s in the presence of Daniel Alford, Bettie Alford, and Daniel Freeman.
In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer William Hawley, 39, wife Nancy, 32, and children Joseph, 10, Sally An, 7, and John, 3; all described as mulatto.
In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Patsey Hawley, 60, and grandson Charles Anderson Hawley, 11, both mulatto. Willis Taylor, 70, farmer, mulatto — who had lived with the Roses in 1860 — lived next door. Next door to him: farmer Leonidas Adams, 38, his wife Alice, 25, and children Willis, 8, Junius, 7, Mary Ann, 5, and John, 2; plus Piety Lynch, 54, and John E. Denson, 30, a fruit tree seller. All were mulatto except Denson, who was white. (Alice Adams and Piety Lynch were Nancy Rose Hawley’s sisters.) Also in Cross Roads, widow Sarah Rose, 72, living alone, described as white.
[Also in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, this cluster of families: #162. Sylvia Hawley, 22, with children Paul, 3, and Minnie, 2; #163. Martha Ann Hawley, 25, with children Chalmus, 5, and Maud, 2 months; #164. Quillie Hawley, 25, with children William, 5, and Victoria, 2; #165. Patrick Hawley, 35, wife Polly, 29, and children Mary Jane, 9, and Penelope, 5; and #166. John Dancy Adams, 54, Martha Ann Hawley, 45, Pharo Rowe, 30, and Dudley Hawley, 22. All were classified mulatto except John D. Adams and Pharo Rowe. Quillie appears to be Patsey Hawley’s daughter Aquilla. Dudley was Patsey’s son John Dudley Hawley. John D. Adams was the father of Alice Rose Adams’ husband Oleander Adams. In the 1860 census of Kirby’s, Patrick Hawley and the elder Martha Ann Hawley were listed as Patrick and Martha Taylor in John D. Adams’ household, and Sylvia Hawley and the younger Martha Ann Hawley were Taylors in the household of William Taylor, 22, and Sallie Taylor, 30 (who were probably siblings.) All were mulatto in this census, but race-fluid as demonstrated in other records. Who were these people? Were they related to Sally and Patsey Hawley? To the Roses? To Willis Taylor?]
Sarah Rose executed her will in early 1888:
I Sarah Rose of the County of Wilson and state of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say: —
First – That my executor (hereinafter named) shall provide for my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my relations and friend, and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts howsoever and to whomsoever owing out of the moneys that may first come in to his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.
Second I want my land sold to the highest bidder for cash and pay the same to my last will & testament here after mentioned. Also my personal property All that may be found at my death sold as above written and apply the same to all my heirs.
3rd I give to my son John Rose twenty dollars to be paied to him and his personal representative for ever. 4th I give to my Daughter Pity Linch five dollars to be paied to her. My daughter Allice Adams I want to give her twenty five dollars to be paied to her or her personal representative.
After those above mention received what I have given them my will is to equally divide the balance among William Rose, Mary Alford, and Nancy Holley.
And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my trusty son in law William Holley my lawful executor to all intents and purposes, to execute this my last Will and Testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause thereof hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all others wills and testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I the said Sarah Rose do hereunto set my hand and seal. This the 14th day of March A.D. 1888 Sarah (X) Rose
Signed sealed published and declared by the saied Sarah Rose to be her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at her request and in her presence do subscribe our names as witness thereunto /s/ J.T Renfrow, A.G. Price
In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: William R. Hawley Sr., 60, wife Nancy, 52, and children Willie, 15, and Patience, 13. All were described as black.
In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Leander Adams, 46, and wife Alice, 46, both black.
In the 1900 census of Smithfield, Johnston County: widow Piety Lynch, 72, black, living alone.
In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Lucama Branch Road, William M. Hawley, 69, wife Nancy, 62, and daughter Patience, 22; all described as mulatto.
In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: railroad laborer Arnold Adams, 67, wife Alice, 57, and widower son John, 35, a brickyard laborer; all mulatto.
In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Ainley Adams, 711, and wife Alice R. Adams, both white.
William Hawley executed his will in 1913:
In the name of God, Amen, I, William Hawley of the county of Wilson and state of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory do hereby make, publish and declare this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made, and as to my worldly estate and all the property real or personal which I may die seized and possessed I devise, bequeath and dispose thereof in the following manner, that is to say –
First – My will is that all of my just debts and funeral expenses shall be paid out of my estate by my executor hereinafter named as soon after my decease as by him shall be found convenient.
Item 1st. I give devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Nancy Hawley all of my real estate for and during her lifetime or widowhood, the said lands being situated in the county and state aforesaid in two tracts – the first tract being the land whereon I now low bounded on the west by the lands of Luke Tedder, on the north by Arch Atkinson and M.B. Hinnant, on the east by the lands of B.A. Scott and on the south by Jethro Moore containing Eighty Eight acres more or less, also one other tract of land adjoining the lands of J.T. Rentfrow, Seth W. Scott, B.A. Scott and others containing Seventy five acres more of less and known as the Sarah Rose tract – all of which I hereby give to my said wife Nancy Hawley for and during her lifetime or widowhood as aforesaid. I also give devise and bequeath to her all of my person al property not otherwise herein disposed of to-wit – all of my household and kitchen furniture, all of my live stock and all farming tools and all other personal property except such personal property as I may herein dispose of otherwise.
Item 2. I give, devise, and bequeath to my beloved daughter Sallie Tedder all of the following land by and after the decease of my said wife Nancy Hawley, bounded as follows: Beginning at a stake at the crook of the ditch in Bull Pond Branch and runs north to a corner to be made in Arch Atkinson’s line, thence southwesterly with Atkinson’s line to Luke Tedder and Jethro Moore’s corner, thence easterly with Jethro Moore’s line to the head of the ditch in Bull Pond branch thence north with the ditch about 100 yeards to the beginning, containing thirty acres more or less, to her the said Sallie Tedder and her heirs by and after the decease of the said Nancy Hawley as aforesaid, provided however that one eight of an acre of this land be reserved to my family as a Graveyard for myself and family.
Item 3rd. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son J.G. Hawley one hundred and fifty Dollars in money to be paid to him by my executor hereinafter named out of my estate. I also give to him the said J.G. Hawley one feather bed, bedstead and furniture.
Item 4th. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son John Hawley One Hundred and fifty Dollars in money to be paid to him by my executor hereinafter named out of my estate. I also give to him one feather bed, bedstead and furniture.
Item 5th. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son Willie Hawley the following described tract of land by and after the decease of his mother the said Nancy Hawley, bounded on the West by the lands of Benajah Scott, and on the north by Isaac W. Lamm and on the East by the lands of Haywood Lamm and on the south by J.T. Rentfrow containing Seventy five acres more or less, the same being known as the Sarah Rose place, to him the said Willie Hawley and his heirs in fee simple forever. I also give to him the said Willie Hawley one feather bed, Bedstead and furniture.
Item 6. I lend to my daughter Patience Taylor for and during her lifetime only the following described tract of land. Beginning at a stake in the Bull Pond Branch in Joseph Tedder and Adolph Taylor’s line and runs thence westerly to Sallie Tedder’s corner, thence northerly with her line to Arch Atkinson line thence a northeasterly course with Atkinson’s line to Mary Ann Hinnant’s deed line thence with said Hinnant’s line easterly to the Road thence south with the Road to creak below the Tobacco Barn thence a south line to the beginning containing twenty-five acres more or less to her the said Patience Taylor for and during her lifetime only and after her decease I hereby give the same to such children as she may have born of her body if any living and if no children living then to her Brothers and sisters then living. I also give to her the said Patience Taylor, one feather Bed, Bedstead and furniture.
Item 7. All of the property which I may die seized and possessed not herein disposed of or any personal property herein bequeathed to my wife Nancy Hawley, and not disposed of by her during her lifetime, I desire the same to be sold by my executor hereinafter named, and after my said sons J.G. Hawley and John Hawley receive the sums of one hundred and fifty Dollars each as herein provided in the third and fourth Items of this my last will, I desire that the remainder of the proceeds of said sale be equally divided between my daughter Sallie Tedder and my daughter Patience Hawley and my son Willie Hawley share and share alike, and lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my friend John T. Revell to be sole executor to this my last will and testament to all intents and purposes thereof. In testimony whereof I the said William Hawley have hereunto set my hand and seal this 13th day of January 1913. /s/ Wm. Hawley.
Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said William Hawley to be his last will and testament in the presence of us as witnesses hereto. /s/ John T. Revell, Sarah Revell
In the 1920 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Aycocks Crossing Road, William M. Hawley, 77, and wife Nancy, 73, both mulatto.
William Hawley died 22 March 1920 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson County to unnamed parents; was married to Nancy Hawley; was a farmer; was buried at the home place; and was declared white. J.S. Tedder was informant. [Per Findagrave.com, he was buried in the J.D. Hawley cemetery near Rock Ridge, North Carolina. Others buried there are Nancy Rose Hawley, William A. Hawley, Sarah Rose and Sally Hawley Tedder.]
Alice Adams died 1 June 1927 in Cross Roads township. Per her death certificate, she was about 70 years old; was born in Wilson County to Sarah Rose and Willis Taylor; was married to Onley Adams; and worked for Ambrose Loucas. She was colored. Informant was John Adams, Lucama. [Alice Adams’ death record reveals the relationship between Sarah Rose and her close neighbor, Willis Taylor, who presumably was also the father of Rose’s other mixed-race children.]
Nancy Hawley died 14 February 1935 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of the late W.M. Hawley, was born 8 December 1837 in Wilson County to an unknown father and Sarah Rose, and was white. J.S. Tedder was informant.
John Dudley Hawley [brother of William Hawley] died 27 September 1948 at his home at 407 Factory Street in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; was born in Wilson County to unnamed parents; and was white. Informant was Miss Maggie Hawley.
In death, William and Nancy Rose Hawley’s children, like their parents, achieved the permanent crossing of the color line that had eluded them in life:
Sally Ann Hawley Tedder died 11 June 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 November 1872 in Wilson County to William Hawley and Nancy Rose and was a resident of Lucama. Informant Mrs. Berry Lewis certified that Sally Ann was white.
William A. Hawley died 14 March 1948 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was a 64 year-old barber; resided in Lucama; was born in Wilson County to William Hawley and Nancy Rose; and was white. J.S. Tedder was informant, and William was buried in Hawley cemetery.
Pattie Hawley Taylor died 14 May 1972 in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was 85 years old, white, widowed, and the daughter of William Wilson Hawley and Nancy Rose. Informant was Grace Sasser, Monroe.
On the other hand, Alice Rose Adams’ children died classified as “colored,” like their mother:
Junious Adams died 25 September 1926 in Wilson township, Wilson County. His address was a rural route near Lucama. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1871 in Wilson County to Leander Adams and Alice Rose; worked as a tenant farmer for Josiah Hinnant; was married to Susan Adams; and was colored. Informant was Willis Adams, Black Creek.
Willis D. Adams died 4 July 1942 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 68 years old; was born in Wilson County to Leander Adams and Alice Rose; was a farmer; was married to Eva Adams; and was colored. Informant was Eva Adams.
John Q. Adams died 23 September 1964 at Dew’s Rest Home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, his regular residence was Lucama; he was born 20 May 1879 in Wilson County to Onley Adams and Alice Rose; had worked as a farmer; was a widower; and was Negro. Informant was Ollie Adams Sr., Norfolk, Virginia.
On Old Raleigh Road, just west of Interstate 95, lies the old Jones Hill Primitive Baptist church cemetery. The church itself is perhaps a half-mile down the road to the east. The cemetery has been so overgrown that I failed to locate it on two previous attempts, but appears to have been rough cut within the last couple of years. It contains, among others, the graves of several members of a large free family of color, the Joneses. Per Findagrave.com, there are at least 25 marked graves here, but because of dense weeds and underbrush, I missed several. (Including Julious Locus 1854-1922, Josiah Jones 1862-1925 and Benjamin Coley 1864-1921.)
The view from the road today:
Two views within the cemetery, which lies in a narrow strip of woodland sloping upward between two cultivated fields:
- Elijah Powell
In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Allen Powell, 32, dipping turpentine, wife Charity, 22, and children Robert and Cena, 2.
In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Allen Powell, 42, wife Chana, 36, and children Robert 13, Seneori, 11, Eligah, 9, Thomas R., 6, and James L., 1.
On 30 January 1896, Elijah Powell, 26, of Old Fields, married Sarah Tabron, 19, of Taylors, in Taylors township.
In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Elliga Powell, 29, wife Sarah, 22, children Roxie, 2, and Daisy, 6 months, sisters-in-law Maggie, 12, and Ida N. Batts, 8, niece Loutory Taborn, 14, widowed grandmother Sarah Williams, 70, and boarder Henry Barnes, 25.
In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Elijah Powell, 39, wife Sarah, 31, and children Roxie, 12, Daisy, 10, Emma L., 8, Bettie, 6, and Elijah, 3. Nearby: Dempsie, 30, Joe, 21, and widow Chanie Powell, 68.
In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on the Road to Horns Bridge, Elijah Powell, 51, wife Sarah, 45, and children Daisy, 19, Emma, 16, Bettie, 14, and Elijah Jr., 13.
In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Elijah Powell, 60, wife Sarah Powell, 52, and Isaiah Farmer, 22, a roomer.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on 407 East Walnut, Elijah Powell, 71, and wife Sarah, 62.
Elijah Powell died 8 September 1948 at his home at 407 Walnut Street. Per his death certificate, he was 77 years old, married to Sarah Powell, born in Wilson County to Allen Powell and Channie Boykins, and buried in Jones Hill cemetery.
- John H. Jones
On 25 June 1848, Jacob Jones married Milly Powell in Nash County.
In the 1850 census of Nash County: Jacob Jones, 25, wife Milly, 28, siblings Shade, 18, and Susan Jones, 21, plus Levi Worrel, 30.
In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: steam sawmill worker Jacob Jones, 43, wife Milley, 43, and children John H., 17, Stephen, 15, Joanna, 13, Josiah, 11, Nancy, 7, and Milly A., 3, plus Jesse, 21, and Eliza Jones, 21.
On 16 May 1872, John Jones, son of Jacob and Milly Jones, and Penny Locust, daughter of Gaines and Fanny Locust, at Gaines Locust’s.
In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: John H. Jacobs, 26, wife Penny, 22, and children Sallie Ann, 6, Frances, 4, and William H., 1.
In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer John H. Jones, 49, wife Pennie, 46, and children George, 18, Jacob, 15, Richard, 13, Elizabeth, 11, Willie, 9, Callie, 5, and Mattie and Hattie, 2.
In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer John H. Jones, 58, wife Penny, 57, and children Richard, 21, Chellie, 19, Willie, 17, Hattie and Mattie, 13, and Charlie Jones, 12.
In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Richard Jones, 33, and his widower father, John H. Jones, 66, both farmers.
- Pennie Jones
In the 1870 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Ganes Locust, 40, wife Zana, 35, and children Penny, 15, Hasty, 12, James, 9, Julius, 5, Sarah, 4, and Amanda, 1.
She married John H. Jones in 1872. See above.
- Keziah Jones
Thomas A. Jones and Kissiah Jones obtained a marriage license on 31 March 1888 in Wilson County, but did not return it.
In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: farmer Willis Jones, 50, wife Sarah, 42, and children Henry, 13, Alex, 10, Noel, 8, Kingsberry, 3, and Peyton, 9 months. Willis’ mother Thany Jones, 78, was next door.
In the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Willis Jones, 62, black, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 51, mulatto; and children Henry, 20, Alexander, 17, Noel, 16, Willis, 12, Paton, 10, Burthany, 7, Sarah, 13, and James, 10. Also, Noel Jones, 15, making turpentine, with Gray Flowers, 28, white, also making turpentine.
On 12 July 1866, Noel Jones and Sarah Jones were married in Wilson County.
In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Noel Jones, 26, wife Sarah, 23, and children Josiah, 3, Charity, 1, and Edith, 4 months.
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.
In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Noel Jones, 68, wife Sarah, 66, daughter Pearly, 25, grandsons Eddie G., 15, and Earnest, 11, and brother Alexander Jones, 69 (who was described as “afflicted.”)
The headstones of Ausborn Dunstan and wife, Maria Dunstan, are found in Row E of Rest Haven Cemetery. Mariah Munday Dunstan died in 1896, and Osborne Dunstan in 1905. Their graves were almost certainly removed and reinterred from Rountree cemetery or the even older Oakdale cemetery.
In the 1850 census of North Side of the Neuse district, Wayne County: Moriah Munda, 9, listed as farmhand in the household of white farmer John G. Barnes, 33. Maria Mundy and her brother Stephen was first apprenticed to Barnes in 1848, under a law designed to attach the labor of orphaned or “illegitimate” free children of color to a (usually white) neighbor. Apprentice records filed in Wayne County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions name their mother as Elizabeth Mundy, a white woman. For reasons not clear, the children were rebound to Barnes in 1852.
In the 1850 census of Louisburg, Franklin County, Lemuel Dunn, 60, blacksmith; Milly Dunn, 60; Jane Fog, 19; Osborn Dunstan, 14; and John Fog, 8. The household is listed among a cluster of Dunstan households, including: Osborn Dunstan, 57, sawyer, Barbary, 50, and Sarah Dunston, 18, and Osborn May, 6. (Also, in Timberlakes township, Franklin County: Osborn Dunston, 52, and Sally Dunstan, 16.) Osborne’s parentage and his relationship to the other Osborne Dunstans in Franklin County is not clear.
In the 1860 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County: Asburn Dunstan, 23, laborer, in the household of H.L. Winton, boarding house operator.
Though both were free-born, and accordingly not subject to legislation creating a path to legitimation of slave marriages, Orsborn Dunson and Mariah Monday registered their five-year marriage on 24 August 1866 in Wilson County.
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Osborn Dunstan, 37, wife Mariah, 45, and children Dora, 4, Cora, 2, Sarah, 2 months, John, 12, and Fanny, 6. [It appears that the latter two children were Mariah’s prior to her marriage to Osborne.]
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm worker Osbourn Dunston, 44, wife Mariah, 40, and children Dorah, 12, Corah, 11, Sarah, 9, Frances, 7, Hubbard, 5, Mary, 4, and Harriet, 3. Next door, in the household of farmer Henry Miller, was John Dunston, 20.
On 4 May 1882, John Simpson, 22, son of Dick Simpson and Mariah Dunston, married Tilder Rountree, 19, daughter of Dave and Nancy Rountree. P.E. Hines performed the ceremony at Disciples Church in the presence of Daniel Bess, Robert Rountree and Tilly Rountree.
On 3 March 1890, Cora Dunston, 19, daughter of Osborn and Moriah Dunston of Wilson township, married Haywood Becton [Beckwith], son of Pheraby Becton of Wilson. Freewill Baptist minister Solomon Arrington performed the service in the presence of Mariah Dunston, Crocket Best, and Mark Barnes.
On 17 January 1897, Dora Duntson, 25, married Joe Battle, 24, in Wilson County. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at the bride’s home in the presence of J.R. Bullock, L.D. Johnson and Fanny Rountree.
On 22 May 1897, Mary Dunstan, 21, married Walter Thorn, 27, in Wilson County. Missionary Baptist minister M. Strickland performed the ceremony.
In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: teamster Haywood Beckwith, 40, wife Cora, 31, and daughter Delzel, 14, plus father [in-law] Osborn Dunson, 67, who still worked as a farm laborer. Also, wagon driver Joseph Battle, 28, and wife Dora, 22.
On 11 September 1901, Sarah Dunston, 23, of Wilson, North Carolina, daughter of Osborne and Mariah Dunston, married Marshall Bells in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, Rebecca Beckwith, 47, a widowed laundress, and daughter Dezell, 20, a teacher. On Spring Street, ice factory laborer Joe Battle, 28, and wife Dora, 32, a cook.
On 24 December 1913, Walter Whitted, 24, of Durham, married Helen Beckwith, 22, of Wilson. Rev. M.A. Talley performed the ceremony, and A.J. Townsend and Robert Haskins were witnesses. [“Helen” was Delzelle Beckwith’s first name.]
On 5 June 1917, Walter Whitted of 516 South Lodge Street, Wilson, registered with the Wilson County draft board. He reported that he was born in Durham, North Carolina, on 3 October 1889; that he was a self-employed tailor in Wilson; and that he had a wife and two children to support. He was described as medium height and weight with dark brown eyes and black hair.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 708 Spring Street, tobacco company laborer Joe Battle, 58, wife Dora, 52, and daughter Esther, 19, a private servant.
On 14 August 1920, Cora Beckwith, 45, married William G. Reeves, 37, in Wilson. Rev. Charles T. Jones performed the ceremony at J.E. Artis‘ house in the presence of Artis, Alfred Robinson and Levi H. Jones.
Cora Beckwith died 29 October 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born in May 1876 in Wilson County to Osborne Duston of Louisburg, North Carolina, and Maria Moudin of Virginia, and was married to Haywood Beckwith. Dazelle Whitthead was informant.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on South Lodge Street, house carpenter Walter Whitted, 38, wife Delzle H., 35, a public school teacher, and children Walter H., 14, and Cora J. Whitted, 13.
Sarah Bell died 29 December 1930 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 54 years old, born in Wilson County to Osbourne Dunston and Mariah Monday. She was married to William Marshall Bell and resided at 710 East Vance. The informant was Hattie [Dunston] Wilkerson, 712 Blount Street, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Dora Battle died 8 January 1943 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1871 in Wilson County to Arsborn Dunston of Lewisburg, North Carolina, and Mary Mandin of Richmond, Virginia. Informant was Dezelle Whitted; Dora was buried at Rountree cemetery.
Helen Delzelle Beckwith Whitted died 15 February 1976 in Wilson.
State of North Carolina, Wayne County
I Roday Reed of said county as this 16th day of Sept 1863 make and declare this to be my last Will & testament in manor & form following (Viz)
I lend to my daughter Patsey Hall all my lands & all my other property of all kind my money & debts all that I may have at death after my just debts & burying Expense are paid provided the the said Patsey Hall takes her Two sisters in with her Say Bytha & Vina to be supported on the land & this property sepperate & apart from their husbands at the death of the last one of my before named daughters say Bytha & Vina & Patsey I give my mare Dobie to Edmond Hall my grandson & I give all the rest of above named property to my grand children Edmund Hall & Eveline Hall to them & their heirs forever to be Eaqually divided be tween them. I also give it so my will for my husband David to be supported out of the above named property during his life. Lastly I nominate my beloved son Washington Reed to Execute this my last will & testament to all interests declaring this & no other to be my will, I or witness whereof I have unto set my hand & seal Roda X Reed
Signed & acknowledged W Thompson John Read
Rhoda Reid was a prosperous free woman of color born about 1795, most likely in southern Edgecombe or northeastern Wayne County. She and her sister Tabitha Reid married enslaved men whom they informally manumitted. Rhoda, who recorded her first deed in 1821, amassed considerable property in the Nahunta area of Wayne County north of present-day Eureka. Rhoda and David Reid’s children included Tabitha “Bitha” (born circa 1811), Melvina “Vina” Reid Artis, alias Sampson (circa 1813), Zion (circa 1815), Washington (circa 1818), Martha “Patsey” Reid Hall (circa 1824), John (circa 1826), Isaac (circa 1828) and Benjamin (circa 1831).
By the late 1800s, Rhoda’s grandchildren and great-children had begun to spread north from Wayne County into Wilson County. Several established themselves as skilled tradesmen in Wilson, and two of Washington Reid‘s sons — veterinary surgeon Elijah L. Reid and principal/hospital administrator/banker J.D. Reid — joined Wilson’s African-American elite. The town’s 1916 city directory reflects their settlement on the east side:
Members of the Reid family who have previously appeared in this blog include Washington’s son Henry S. Reid (and here); Washington’s grandsons James D. and Herbert O. Reid; and John’s great-grandson Allen T. Reid.
Wilson Daily Times, 25 April 1911.
Nathan Blackwell, born in Wilson County circa 1840, drafted his last will and testament in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1907.
Nathan left five dollars to son Nathan Blackwell Jr. He directed that his daughter-in-law Hattie Blackwell receive his household goods and furniture provided that she care and keep house for him. Granddaughter Martha Blackwell, daughter of his deceased son Edwin Blackwell, was to receive the remainder of his estate (or, if she died, it went to her brother Peter Blackwell.) Edwin’s son John Blackwell received a double-barreled shotgun.
Nathan Blackwell died 2 December 1908.
Indiana Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
NORTH CAROLINA, WILSON COUNTY
I, ASA LOCUS, of Wilson County, North Carolina, DO MAKE, DECLARE and PUBLISH this to be my last WILL and TESTAMENT, hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made:
(1) FROM the first monies coming into her hands MY EXECUTRIX hereinafter named shall be all debts owing by me at the time of my death, including burial expenses and the costs of an appropriate grave stone.
(2) AFTER the payment of all my debts aforesaid, I GIVE and BEQUEATH unto my daughter, EVA HESTER the sum of Twenty Five dollars ($25.00) and to my daughter, ADA HESTER the sum of Twenty Five dollars ($25.00).
(3) AFTER the payment of all of the items set forth in Paragraph One and Paragraph Two hereof, I GIVE , DEVISE and BEQUEATH unto my beloved wife ANNIE LOCUS, all of my property, both real and personal, tangible and intangible, of every kind and description and wheresoever situate, to have and to hold unto my said wife ANNIE LOCUS for and DURING THE TERM OF HER LIFE, provided, however, my said wife ANNIE LOCUS shall have full power and authority to dispose of any of the PERSONAL PROPERTY bequeathed to her FOR LIFE but she have no power to dispose of any of said real estate.
(4) UPON the death of my beloved wife, ANNIE LOCUS, I GIVE and DEVISE unto my two sons, JOHN LOCUS and PAR LOCUS, share and share alike, all of my real estate of any and every kind and description and wheresoever situate heretofore devised to my beloved wife, ANNIE LOCUS for the term of her life to have and to hold unto my said sons, JOHN LOCUS and PAR LOCUS for and during the term of their lives only, and at the death of each my said sons, JOHN LOCUS and PAR LOCUS his share in said real estate shall vest in his children in FEE SIMPLE, provided, however, if either of said sons shall die without children, or issue of children, then his share shall vest in the other of said sons, subject to the same limitations hereby imposed.
(5) I HEREBY constitute and appoint my beloved wife, ANNIE LOCUS as the EXECUTIRIX of this will and she shall be required to execute on bond.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, ASA LOCUS, Testator, as aforesaid have hereunto signed my name and affixed my seal this the 6th day of May, 1939. Asa (X) Locus
Witness K.J. Herring
Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said Asa Locus, Testator, as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of others have signed our names as attesting witnesses. K.J. Herring, David W. Isear
In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Nelson Eatmon, 66; wife Eliza, 50; [Eliza’s children] Amanda, 18, Mary J., 14, Asa, 10, and Lougene Locus, 4; and Margaret Howard, 21, and Harriet Howard, 2.
Also, in the 1880 census of Fishing Creek, Warren County, North Carolina: Levi Richardson, 25, wife Temy, 16, and cousin Acy Locus, 10.
On 17 June 1895, in Brinkleyville, Halifax County, Asa Locus, 23, of Halifax County, married Annie Eaton [sic], 18, of Halifax County.
In the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Asa Locus, 27, wife Anna, 22, and children Larry, 5, Johney, 4, and Kniver, 1.
In the 1910 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, farmer Acy Locust, 40, wife Annie, 33, and children Larry, 15, John, 13, Eva, 11, James, 8, Ada, 6, and Paul, 3, and mother-in-law Wilmur Eatman, 68.
In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Asa Locus, 49, wife Annie, 40, daughter Ada, 14, and son Paul, 12.
In the 1930 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Ace Locus, 60, wife Annie, 50, and granddaughter Teanestus Locus, 10.
In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Ace Locus, 72, and wife Annie, 68.
Asa Lucus died 14 July 1955 at Park View Hospital in Rocky Mount, Nash Carolina. His residence was Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born October 1860 in Wilson County to Martin Lucus and Liza Brantley. He was buried in a family cemetery in Wilson County.
Asa Locus (circa 1870-1955)
Photograph courtesy of Europe A. Farmer. North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.