Health

Hangouts and hospitals.

In 1991, front desk clerk turned newspaper man Roy G. Taylor (1918-1995) self-published a memoir of his years working in Wilson. Though tinged with the casual racism of the time, My City, My Home offers fascinating glimpses of Wilson in the World War II era.

Here are excerpts:

“And Negroes congregated en masse on Barnes Street in the block in which P.L. Woodard Company is located. It wasn’t that they had to gather there, for they had the privilege of meeting at any place in town, just as did the whites. They liked that area, and too, it was in close proximity to several hot dog joints and other eating places. Few white people were seen in that block on Saturday, and few Negroes were seen on Nash Street. It was a matter of the two races choosing to be with their own kind.” p. 44. [Editorial note: This is revisionism of the worst stripe. Wilson in the 1940s was as rigidly segregated by law as any other Southern town. — LYH]

“In the mid-1940s there were three hospitals in Wilson — the Woodard-Herring, the Carolina General, and Mercy. … Mercy Hospital was for the citizens of color. And it didn’t boast many, if any, doctors in those days. Doctors from both hospitals treated Negroes and performed surgery on them, but the surgeons went to Mercy and took their own nurses, did the operations and left the patients in the care of black nurses and attendants.

“If there was an emergency at either hospital and surgery was required, it was performed  at the hospital, and the patient kept there until they came out of the anesthetic. Then they were transported back to Mercy Hospital.

“Mercy Hospital was established in 1913 and had a 40-bed capacity.” pp. 45-46.

——

[Sidenote: P.L. Woodard Company, founded as an agricultural supply store in 1898, is the oldest established business still operating in Wilson. It’s in the 100 block of Barnes Street between Goldsboro and Tarboro Streets.]

Pandemic.

The 1918 influenza flu pandemic (January 1918–December 1920) was an unusually deadly outbreak. “Spanish flu” infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and killed 50 to 100 million of them—3 to 5 percent of the world’s population—making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

Wilson County did not escape the scourge. October opened with a smattering of flu deaths that quickly swelled to shocking numbers. The beginning of November seemed to spell an end to fatalities, but they surged again mid-month. A survey of death certificates yields insight into the impact of this pandemic on Wilson County’s African-American community.

October

5 — Carrie Horne, 20, Saratoga township.

5 — Sudie Smith, 30, Black Creek township.

6 — infant of Roda and Ed Barnes, 12 days, Saratoga township.

11 — David Mack, 40, Saratoga township.

11 — Florence Pleasant, 39, Black Creek township.

11 — Edward Sims, 8, Wilson town.

11 — Lula Winstead, 11, Wilson.

12 — Leslie Brooks, 37, Black Creek township.

13 — Stella Brooks, 28, Black Creek township.

13 — Cora Lee Howard, 18, Taylors township.

13 — Benjamin Jones, 54, Wilson town.

13 — Georgeanna King, 1, Wilson township.

13 — Arch Morrison, 37, Wilson town.

13 — Abon Neal, 30, Wilson town.

13 — William Henry Williams, 21 Toisnot township.

15 — Dutch Bennett, 65, Wilson town.

15 — Beatrice Edwards, 23, Wilson town.

15 — Bertha Lee Mack, 2, Saratoga township.  [Bertha Lee was the daughter of David Mack, who died on the 11th.]

16 — Fred Barnes, 18, Black Creek township.

16 — Alex McCray, 22, Wilson township.

16 — Laurence Wells, 28, Wilson township.

17 — Zula Leach, 16, Wilson town.

17 — Peter Mack, 4, Saratoga township. [Peter was the son of David Mack, who died on the 11th.]

17 — Ola Lee Rowe, 5, Cross Roads township.

18 — Ed Jones, 13, Saratoga township.

18 — Joseph Sanders, 28, Wilson town.

18 — Elma Stokes, 35, Wilson town.

18 — Theresa Carolina Williams, 4, Wilson town.

19 — Mannie Battle, 38, Wilson town.

19 — Rosevelt Dawes, 8, Toisnot township.

19 — Rosevell Campbell, 13, Gardners township.

20 — Handy Dawes, 1, Toisnot township.

21 — Paul Mercer, 30, Gardners township.

21 — Jim Offie Jr., 1, Wilson town.

21 — Fredrick Douglass Rountree, 1, Wilson township.

22 — Henry Artis, 51, Stantonsburg township.

22 — Martha Batts, 18, Toisnot township.

22 — Daisy Farmer, 37, Toisnot township.

22 — Mary Susan Farmer, 35, Stantonsburg township.

22 — Samuel Jenkins, 35, Wilson town.

22 — Nathanael Rountree, 6, Cross Roads.

22 — Gertie Skipper, 23, Wilson town.

22 — Ulus Ward, 1, Elm City.

23 — Irene Bynum, 26, Wilson town.

23 — Thomas Dawes, 4, Toisnot township.

23 — Sam Ellis, 20, Stantonsburg township.

23 — Jackson Ellis, 17, Stantonsburg township.

24 — Turner Anderson, 48, Toisnot township.

24 — Austin Dawes, 49, Toisnot township. [Austin Dawes was the father of Roosevelt, Thomas and Handy Dawes.]

24 — Earnest Far, 23, Toisnot township.

24 — Will Johnson, 29, Wilson town.

24 — Minnie Knight, 49, Gardners township.

24 — Appie Ann Parker, 1, Wilson township.

25 — Minnie Ellis, 13, Saratoga township.

25 — Louise Edmunson, 6 months, Black Creek township.

25 — Mary Farmer, 32, Wilson town.

25 — Jobie Joyner, 15, Wilson town.

25 — Lizzie Ruffin, 30, Wilson town.

25 — Mary Elizabeth Williams, 19, Wilson township.

26 — Avester Evans, 6, Wilson town.

26 — George Williams, 2, Toisnot township.

27 — Olive Barnes, 20, Wilson town.

28 — Olivia Barnes, 19, Cross Roads township.

28 — Frances R. Batts, 20, Wilson town.

28 — James Batts, 33, Wilson township.

28 — Dora Brazil, 19, Stantonsburg township.

28 — Orran Ellis, 8, Stantonsburg township. [Sam, Jackson and Orran Ellis were sons of Daniel and Celia Lewis Ellis.]

29 — Mary Hines, 18, Wilson town.

29 — John Berthia, 33, Wilson town.

29 — Julia Jones, 29, Wilson town.

29 — Rosa Williamson, 16, Springhill township.

30 — Elvis Alston, 4, Wilson town.

30 — Luburta Bynum, 3, Wilson township.

30 — Martha Bynum, 26, Cross Roads township.

30 — Curley Rozin, 35, Wilson town.

November

1 — Mark Floyd, 28, Wilson town.

1 — Emanul Lundsford, 21, Wilson town.

2 — Floyd Lee Braswell, 16, Toisnot township.

2 — Lula Bullock, 28, Stantonsburg township.

3 — Manboy Anderson, 12, Toisnot township. [Manboy was the son of Turner Anderson, who died October 24.]

3 — Bennie Roberson, 2, Wilson town.

3 — Carrie Williams, 47, Toisnot township.

4 — William Creech, 33, Cross Roads township.

5 — Andrew Barnes, 8, Wilson township.

5 — Hattie Novilla Bynum, 5, Wilson town.

5 — Pearl Pearce, 21, Springhill township.

6 — Josh Winstead, 38, Wilson town.

7 — Isaac Wright, 19, Toisnot township.

16 — Herbert Campbell, 20, Gardners township.

16 — Easter Mitchell, 40, Cross Roads township.

17 — Sarah Haggens, 37, Wilson town.

25 — Savanah Rice, 29, Springhill township.

25 — Alex Williamston, 1, Springhill township.

27 — Willie Chamblis, 36, Wilson.

28 — Lula Bullock, 12, Stantonsburg township.

December

1 — William Barnes, 18, Taylors township.

11 — Floyd Carter, 20, Taylors township.

20 — Mims Edwards, 26, Wilson township.

28 — Lizzie Jenkins, 29, Wilson township.

29 — Ellen Nora Carter, 20, Saratoga township.

29 — Earnest Carter, 3 months, Saratoga township. [He was the son of Ellen Nora Carter.]

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 10.26.28 PM

For an in-depth understanding of this pandemic, check out:

great influenza

North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Physiology, Hygiene, Narcotics.

Moore book

This book was found discarded near the former home of insurance salesman Lee A. Moore at 106 North Pender Street. Orestes M. Brands’ Health Lessons for Beginners: A Physiology and Hygiene, With Special Reference to the Effects of Alcoholic Drinks and Other Narcotics Upon the Human System was a book for school children first published in 1885.

The inside cover bears two inscriptions: “Mr. L.A. Moore, book Jan 5, 1898, Wilson Station, N.C.” and “Ometa Parrington, #324 South Spring St. Wilson.”

inside cover

——

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 614 Gold Street, widow Louise Perrerrington, 48; daughters Annie, 22, and Omma, 23, both cooks; son John, 17; and grandchildren John, 2, and Virginia Glastor, 4.

Morris M. Ellis, 25, and Ometa Sylvia Perrington, 22, daughter of Louisa Perrington, all of Wilson, were married 10 August 1910 at Saint John A.M.E. Zion church. Rev. D.L. Maultsby performed the ceremony in the presence of Floyd Mitchell, Dr. W.A. Mitchner and Chas. H. Darden.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 324 South Spring Street, barber Morris Ellis, 35; wife Ameta, 34; children Morris Jr., 5, and Linnai, 2; widowed mother-in-law Louisa Perrington, 62; and her granddaughter Inez Perrington, 14.

Ometa Ellis died 3 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Morriss Ellis; resided at 702 Nash Street; was 42 years old; and had been born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Weldon Perrington of Wilmington and Louisa Scarborough of Wilson. Louisa Parrington was informant.

Many thanks to Edith Jones Garnett for sharing these images.

Mercy goes on the block.

Eighty-seven years ago today, Mercy Hospital was sold at auction to the highest bidder. J.D. Reid had pledged the facility as security several years before, and the scandal that undid the Commercial Bank also dragged the struggling Mercy under. Oliver N. Freeman had signed the deed of trust transferring title.

The hospital soon reopened under new ownership.

PC 3 8 1930 mercy sold

Pittsburgh Courier, 8 March 1930.

The Colored Red Cross battles the 1918 influenza pandemic.

wdt-11-19-1918

Wilson Times, 19 November 1918.

wdt-12-31-1918

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

 

When they first arrive, they are wild.

wdt 8 25 1911.jpg

Wilson Daily Times,  25 August 1911.

Again, if you are interested in the wretched world of the Eastern North Carolina Insane Asylum, please read Susan Burch and Hannah Joyner’s Unspeakable, the story of Junius Wilson (1908-2001), a deaf African-American who spent 76 years there, including six in the criminal ward, though he had never been declared insane by a medical professional or found guilty of any criminal charge.