Health

Practicing midwifery without a license.

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Wilson Daily Times, 19 January 1938.

Mariah Battle Gaston‘s plight was a common one for midwives in the early twentieth century. As the practice of medicine professionalized, and backed by the twin pressures of sexism and racism, doctors began to usurp the traditional role of granny midwives and to criminalize their practice of their vocation.

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In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Frank Battle, 48; wife Martha, 49; and children Dolly, 25, Patsey, 17, and Mariah, 14.

On 16 July 1874, William Gaston, 22, married Mariah Battle, 20, in Toisnot township.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer William Gaston, 28; wife Maria, 21; and children Willie, 7, Lola E., 5, Clara, 4, and Nannie, 2; plus schoolteacher George Harrison, 35.

In the 1900 census of Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: washerwoman Mirah Gaston, 35, widow; children Lola, 22, Nancy, 19, Lula, 16, Eddie, 15, Cora, 13, Fredrick, 8, and Elma, 6; and “orphans” Eva, 11, and Mary Barnes, 20.

On 23 October 1906, Ed Gaston, 22, son of Mariah Gaston, married Stella Williams, 22, in Elm City.

In the 1910 census of Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on East Main Street, widow Maria Gaston, 49, washer woman, and sons Eddie, 24, lumber mill laborer, Fred, 21, Elma, 17, odd jobs laborer, Arma, 15, and Willie, 12.

Fred Gaston died 17 November 1916 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 27 years old; was born in Elm City to William Gaston of Virginia and Marriah Battle of North Carolina; and worked as a farm hand.

On 19 October 1920, Ed Gaston, 40, of Toisnot, married Ida Price, 39, in Elm City. Jesse Wynn applied for the license.

In the 1940 census of Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Nash Street, widow Mariah Gaston, 79, and son Ed, 53, a laborer at Williams Lumber.

Myria Gaston died 18 March 1947 in Elm City, Toisnot township. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 December 1880 in Wilson County to Frank and Martha Battle of Wilson County and was the widow of William Gaston. She was buried in Elm City cemetery, and Lula Dawson of Elm City was informant.

Eddie Gaston died 10 November 1951 in Elm City, Toisnot township. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 February 1886 in Wilson County to William Gaston and Mariah Battle; was a widower; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Elm City cemetery. Lula Lawson was informant.

Cora Gaston Latham died 9 January 1964 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 August 1891 in Wilson County to William Gaston and Mariah Battle; was widowed; and resided in Elm City. Maxine Kelly of Elm City was informant.

Registered nurses.

Early African American Registered Nurses in NC lists all known African-American nurses in the state to 1935, including two in Wilson:

(The number presumably refers to the nurse’s license and the date to the date she was certified or registered to practice.)

Ada Artis died 31 December 1950 at her home at 611 East Green Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 18 June 1891 in Brooks County, Georgia, to William Adams and Elizabeth Troup; was married [to Columbus E. Artis]; and worked as a “R.N. nurse.” Katie Creigh of Waycross, Georgia, was informant and her husband’s firm handled her burial.

Henrietta Colvert was from Statesville, North Carolina, and trained at Raleigh’s Saint Agnes Hospital, prior to Good Samaritan, a large African-American hospital in Charlotte.

Many thanks to Renate Yarbrough Sanders for bringing this article to my attention.

The disgraceful condition of Stantonsburg road.

Wilson Advance, 16 March 1893.

Into the early years of the twentieth century, Stantonsburg road started at Nash as the continuation of Pender Street and continued past the Colored Graded School along what is now Black Creek Road. Its neglected condition alarmed the paper not so from concern for the African-Americans who crowded its neighborhoods, but for the threat they posed to white Wilson if cholera broke out.

 

Who was the “new colored doctor”?

Wilson Daily Times, 13 October 1939.

Arkansas native Dr. William H. Atkinson Jr. seems to have practiced in Wilson for less than a year. (Dentist George K. Butterfield has been spoken of here.)

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In the 1920 census of Dallas, Fordyce County, Arkansas: teacher William H. Atkinson, 36; wife Pearl, 28, teacher; son William H., 6; and sister Jeppie Mathews, 25, farm laborer.

In the 1930 census of Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio: post office letter carrier William Atkinson, 44; wife Pearl, 39; son William, 16; and lodger Theodore Jones, 24, a steel mill laborer.

On 22 December 1938,  in Norfolk, Virginia, William Henry Atkinson Jr., 25; physician; of 1007 Harmony Street, Youngstown, Ohio; born in Van Buren, Arkansas, to William H. Atkinson Sr. and Pearl Ella Crosby; married Florence Lee Branch, 23, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; born in Pittsburgh to John Lawrence Branch and Minnie Elise Robinson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Avenue, butler Ola Dupree, 44; wife Georgia, 32; and roomers Florence Atkinson, 24, and her husband William Atkinson, 26, a medical doctor.

In 1940, William Henry Atkinson Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card: he was born 26 April 1913 in Van Buren, Arkansas; resided at 206 North Vick Street, Wilson; was a self-employed medical doctor with an office at 559 1/2 East Nash Street [the Darden commercial building]; and his contact was Florence Lee Atkinson, 1007 Harmony Street, Youngstown, Ohio.

However, also in the 1940 census of Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio: mail carrier William Atkinson Sr., 57, wife Pearl, 42, and son William Jr., 26, a medical doctor.

Further, William and Florence Atkinson’s daughter Florence was born in Los Angeles, California, on 30 December 1940.

William Henry Atkinson Jr. died 15 August 1896 in Inglewood, California.

Supercentenarian.

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Maggie Hinnant Barnes at age 115.

“Maggie Pauline Barnes (née Hinnant; 6 March 1882 – 19 January 1998) was a verified American supercentenarian who holds the record for the oldest verified person from the state of North Carolina. She claimed to be 117 but her age was verified as being born on 6 March 1882 (according to a family bible; the 1900 census said “Mar 1881”) and she died 19 January 1998, from gangrene infection, at the age of 115 years, 319 days. She was survived by 4 of her 15 children. She was the 3rd-oldest verified living person and the 2nd-oldest in the United States after Sarah Knauss, although she has since been surpassed by Jeralean Talley, Besse Cooper, and Susannah Mushatt Jones, among others.

“Maggie Pauline Hinnant was born in Black Creek, Wilson, North Carolina as the daughter of Louzaine Hinnant and an unknown father. She married William Orangie Barnes at Maggie’s stepfather Dread’s farm in Black Creek, Wilson 22 October 1899. The couple would have 15 children, of which eight would reach an adult age: Lillian, Clara, Gladys, Nell, Willie, Mary, Ruth and Mildred. The family moved to Kenly, Wilson, North Carolina in 1904 and Maggie spent the remaining part of her life in this area. Maggie Barnes died in Kenly, Johnston, North Carolina 19 January 1998 aged 115 years, 319 years.”

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On 22 October 1899, William Barnes, 22, of Wilson County, son of Gastin and Waity Barnes, married Maggie Hinnant, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Luzana Hinnant, at Dread Barnes‘ house in Black Creek. Joseph Farmer, Grant Farmer and C.H. Darden were witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Orange W. Barnes, 21, sawmill laborer, and wife Maggie, 18, farm laborer.

Entry and photo from gerontology.wikia.com.

20 beds for white patients; as many for Negroes.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 August 1941.

This hospital was not Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium (now Longleaf Neuro-Medical Treatment Center), which was under construction when the above facility opened and admitted its first patients in January 1943. It seems a curious duplication of scarce resources to build two TB hospitals essentially simultaneously in one small city.

By the 1970s, the Wilson County Tuberculosis Hospital building at 1808 South Goldsboro Street housed the offices of the Wilson County Cooperative Extension agency. It now houses the Wilson County Senior Activity Center.

Photo courtesy of Wilson County Senior Activity Center Facebook page.

Wilsonian Ward appointed Chief Surgeon at Tuskegee.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 January 1924.

More than 40 years after he left, the link between Dr. Joseph H. Ward and Wilson was well-enough known that the Daily Times printed an article about his appointment as Chief Surgeon at Tuskegee’s veterans hospital.

Contributions to Mercy, part 1.

On 30 January 1947, the Wilson Daily Times published a lengthy list of contributors to the fundraising drive of the Mercy Hospital Women’s Auxiliary. The list, reproduced here in five parts, included many of black Wilson’s leading individuals, businesses and institutions.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 January 1947.

  • Dr. Badie T. Clark — Clark Badie T (Margt S) phys Carolina General Hosp home 607 Raleigh Rd
  • B.O. Barnes — Barnes Boisey O (c; Flossie H) physician 525 1/2 E Nash h 613 E Green
  • Doris Parks — Parks Doris L (c) case war County Bd of Charities & Public Welfare h 604 Green
  • William Hines — Hines Wm M (c; Ethel L) barber h 615 E Green
  • Anna J. JohnsonJohnson Robt Rev (c; Anna) pastor St Marks Episcopal Church h 1111 Washington
  • Norma Darden — Norma Duncan Darden. Darden Norma E Mrs (c) v-pres Darden Mutual Burial Assn h 108 Pender
  • Ethel L. Hines — Ethel L. Cornwell Hines.

All annotations, some edited for clarity, are entries in Hill’s Wilson City Directory 1947-48.

Mortality, no. 3.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating  individuals who had died in the previous year previous. Each entry noted family number in the population schedule, name, age, sex, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.

Here is the 1870 mortality schedule for part of Wilson township, Wilson County (which does not include the town of Wilson and does not specify family numbers):

  • Hines, Charles. Age 1, black, died in June, cholera infant.
  • Locust, Infant. Age 1 day, black, died in February, asphyxia.
  • Mercer, Robert. Age 1 month, black, died in December. Hooping cough.
  • Thomas, Lucy. Age 25, black, domestic servant, died in April, consumption.
  • Blunt, Vilet. Age 70, mulatto; married; domestic servant; died in July; cancer.
  • Jordan, Mary. Age 26, mulatto, domestic servant; died in May; died from child birth.
  • Edwards, Marzillie. Age 3 months, black, died in December, intermittent fever.
  • Lassiter, Jesse. Age 6, mulatto, died in November, typhoid fever.

“Remarks: 366. Lassiter Jesse. Cause of death unknown; supposed to be typhoid fever from best information obtained.” Household #366: farm laborer Silas Lassiter, 47, and children Ophelia, 25, Mary, 20, Elizabeth, 16, Handy, 14, Penninah, 15, Silas W., 12, Milly, 8, and Jerusha, 4.

  • Powell, Nannie. Age 25, mulatto, farm laborer, died in September, bowel disease.
  • Edmundson, Shepard. Age 51, black, married, farm laborer, died in September, paralysis.
  • Due, Amanda. Age 4, black, died in October, “brain inflam. of.”
  • Horn, Mary. Age 30, black, married, died in April, child birth.
  • Due, Stella A. Age 6 months, black, died in July, cutting teeth.
  • Cook, Alex’dr. Age 3, black, died in August, ascites.
  • Cook, Infant. Age 1 month, black, died in April, epilepsy.
  • Cook, Infant. Age 1 month, black, died in April, epilepsy.