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.


Mortality, no. 1.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating  individuals who had died in the previous year. 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 Stantonsburg township, Wilson County:

  • Ward, No Name. Age 2 weeks, died in June, cholera infantum.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Nathan Ward, 46; wife Mariah, 26; and children Sarah, 15, Scott, 13, Waltin, 10, Larrence, 5, and Ida, 2; plus Lydia Moye, 58. Cholera infantum was a term for non-specific diarrhea and/or dysentery in children under age five.

  • Barnes, ____. Age 14, farm laborer, died in January, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Hardy Barnes, 50; wife Mary, 49; and children Alfred, 21, Riley, 24, Jacob, 22, Isaac, 19, Warren, 17, Lilly, 12, Mary, 9, and Wade, 6. Consumption is an archaic term for pulmonary tuberculosis.

  • Speight, Mary S. Age 1 month, died in October, cholera infantum.
  • Speight, Mary E. Age 2 months, died in November, cholera infantum.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Speight, 22, and wife Mary, 22; Penny Thomson, 48, and son Noah, 14; and Jane Speight, 2.

  • Donald, Sylvesta. Age 2, died in April, [illegible].

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lawson Donald, 23; wife Mariah, 20; and Ellic, 6, and Rufus, 1; and likely brother Hamilton, 12.

  • Ellis, No Name. Age 1 month, died March, cholera infantum.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, family number 67 is a Barnes family. Number 68, however, is: farm laborer Littleton Ellis, 30, wife Judah, 21, and children Bryant, 4, and Martha, 3.

  • Barnes, Jackson. Age 19, farm laborer, died in July, inflammation bowels.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Henry Barnes, 22, Nelly, 23, Mary J., 1, Henrietta, 2, Short, 9, Anaka, 50, Sherard, 16, Hilliard, 18, Clara, 40, Jason, 19, and William, 1.

  • Barefoot, No Name. Age 3 hours(?), died in January, asphyxia.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Stephen Moore, 23, wife Rodah, 23, and Lazarus, 8 months.

  • Lindsay, Susan. Age 1 month, died in April, pertussis.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Amos Ellis, 47; wife Mary, 40; children Adeline, 23, Authur, 19, Learh, 17, Mary, 15, Jane, 11, and Lewis, 10; and Authur Barnes, 60, and wife Betsey, 60.

  • Barnes, Mouring. Age 5, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Austin. Age 4, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Loyd. Age 2, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Richard. Age 1, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Mary. Age 9 months, died in April, pertussis.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Austin Barnes, 45; wife Cintha, 33; and their remaining children Fonser, 12, and Etna, 7. Remarks: “These children in this family (113) all died within a period of five weeks. The Physician attending says their deaths were due to filth as much as to the disease.” Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory disease.

  • Edmundson, No Name. Age 4 hours(?), died in September, asphyxia.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Edmondson, 27; wife Mary, 22; and children Richard, 2, and Kate, 10.

  • Thomson, Ally. Age 38, died in February, worked on farmer, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Ellis, 36; wife Milly, 35; and children John, 17, Daniel, 10, Adeline, 5, Mary, 3, and Martha, 1.

  • Peacock, Clara. Age 18, died in July, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Ellic Peacock, 51, and Elizabeth, 22, Soloman, 11, George W., 8, George L., 8, and Jason, 7.

  • Barnes, Redmond. Age 47, married, died in April, farm laborer, scrofula.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: George, 24, Dempsey, 23, Calvin, 22, Esther, 44, Alice, 18, Anna, 19, Robert, 20, and Jane Barnes, 19, all farm laborers except Esther. Scrofula is tuberculosis of the lymph nodes of the neck.

  • Stanton, Violet. Age 59, farm laborer, died in September, scrofula.

Remarks: “Stanton, Violet of no family. Living alone at time of death.”

Dr. T.C. Tinsley.

Five years ago, I was forwarded an email from a researcher looking for information about Dr. Thomas C. Tinsley for a book on African-American physicians who served during World War I. Dr. Tinsley, he said, had lived and worked in Wilson in the 1920s. I had never heard of him.

Doug Buckley and Joanne Fisher published African-American Doctors of World War I: The Lives of 104 Volunteers in 2015. Today, I stumbled across a reference to Dr. Tinsley in a Wilson record — the first I’ve seen. On 5 April 1926, at his office at 525 East Nash Street, he signed the death certificate of Caroline Brown, who had died the day before.

Dr. Thomas Clinton Tinsley was born in Henderson, Vance County, North Carolina in 1887. He received a bachelor’s degree from Shaw University. In 1910, he graduated from University of West Tennessee College of Medicine and Surgery. a defunct black medical school founded in 1900, and shortly after set up practice in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Asheville Gazette-News, 20 July 1912.

Tinsley quickly moved on, however, and on 13 November 1913, Scotland Neck’s The Commonwealth published a welcome to Dr. Tinsley and his wife, Lois Hoffman Tinsley.


By 1917, however, Tinsley had returned to Henderson and from there volunteered for military service. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Reserve Corps; trained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa; and served in France. Tinsley was awarded the Croix de Guerre and was honorably discharged in 1919.

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“Ridgewood, N.J.,” New York Age, 22 June 1918.

In 1920, Tinsley briefly took a position in Mexico with Atlantic Refining Company. When he returned to the U.S. the next year, he established a practice in Durham, North Carolina, where he became a charter member and officer of the Durham alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

By 1925, Tinsley was in Wilson. On April 25, the Pittsburgh Courier reported that Dr. T.C. Tinsley of Wilson delivered a lecture on “Sinuses and Focal Infection as Effecting Dentists and Physicians” at the Old North State Dental Association convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The peripatetic Tinsley had moved on by 1930, however.

The photo accompanying Dr. Tinsley’s 1920 passport application. He had taken a job in Mexico.

Dr. Thomas C. Tinsley died in 1954 in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was buried in Henderson, North Carolina.

U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line],

Dr. Phillips arrives.

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New York Age, 28 September 1916.

In the 1900 census of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina: cook Frank Phillips, 47; wife Margarett, 45; and children Mary, 25, Jeanett, 21, Dealian, [illegible], Frank, [illegible], Willie, 8, Bessie, 15, and Susie, 6.

In 1917, William Haywood Phillips registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 23 December 1891 in Raleigh, North Carolina; lived at 530 1/2 Nash Street, Wilson; was single; and worked as a dentist.

On 30 November 1917, William H. Phillips, 25, married Jewell Jennifer, 18, in Washington, D.C.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 332 South Spring, widow Ella Battle, 52, and her children Grace [Glace], 27, teacher Roberta, 29, tobacco worker John, 25, and Olga Battle, 11, shared their home with boarders Georgia Burks, 25, a Georgia-born teacher, and chauffeur Theodore Speight, 17; and roomers William Phillips, 35, a dentist, and his wife Jewel, 23.

On 6 May 1930, William Haywood Phillips, 36, divorced, son of Frank and Margarett Haywood Phillips, married Rena Manor Carter, 34, widow, daughter of Robert and Mary D. Carter, in Norfolk, Virginia.

In the 1930 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: renting at 115 Andrew Street, dentist William H. Phillips, 37, and wife Rena C., 33.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Green Street, dentist William H. Phillips, 47, and wife Rena C., 45.

William Haywood Phillips died 26 October 1957 at his home at 405 Green Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 December 1892 in Raleigh; was married to Rena J. Phillips; and worked as a dentist.

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Caldwell, A.B., History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (1921).

Lee C. Jones, dentist.

For a brief period in the 1920s, a second African-American dentist plied his trade on East Nash Street in competition with Dr. William H. Phillips. He appears in the 1925 and 1928 Wilson city directories and, as far as known, nowhere else:

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In the 1900 census of Raleigh, Wake County: on Cabarrus Street,  lineman Richard Jones, 36; wife Alice, 34; and children Charlie, 15, Walter, 10, Palmer, 8, Leclair, 4, and Lewis V. Jones, 4; Sonnie Mitchell, 5 months; and mother-in-law Laura Gray, 55.

In the 1910 census of Raleigh, Wake County: on NWest Cabarrus Street, tobacco factory laborer Richard Jones, 42; wife Alice, 43; and children Charley, 24, Walter, 20, Lee C. and Louis V., 14, and Nathaniel, 10, plus mother-in-law Laura Gray, 59.

Lee Clarence Jones registered for the World War I draft in 1917 in Wake County, North Carolina. Per his draft card, he was born 2 September 1895; resided at 124 West Cabarrus; was unemployed; and was single.

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Mess Attendant Lee C. Jones, left, on the deck of the USS Susquehanna during World War I, February 1918. 

In the 1920 census of Raleigh, Wake County: at 124 West Cabarrus, Alice Jones, 56; sons Walter, 27, L.C. and Louis V., 22, and N.R., 19; and mother Laura Gray, 64.

On 8 November 1921, Lee Clarence Jones and Sadie Lee Coley were married in Washington, D.C.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory: Jones Lee C, dentist 553 E Nash h 111 N Pender

On 30 June 1926, Lee and Sadie Coley Jones’ twins Clinton Merrill Jones and Clarence Conte Jones were born in Wilson.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Jones Lee C (c; Sadie L), dentist 559 1/2 E Nash h 1010 Atlanta

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1010 Atlantic Street, seamstress Sadie Jones, 32, and sons Emery L., 7, Clarance and Clinton, 3; and lodgers Catherine Joyner, 14, James Coley, 9, and Elaine Coley, 15. [Sadie Jones was described as “single” and presumably was divorced.]

In the 1940 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 116 North Lee, dentist Lee C. Jones, 35, and sons Emory L., 17, Clarence, 13, and Clinton M., 13. [The boys were also listed in their mother Sadie Jones’ household in the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.] Per the Salisbury Historic District (Boundary Amendment and Additional Documentation) form submitted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, Dr. Jones opened an office on North Lee as early as 1939, and he and his son Clinton practiced there in the 1950s.

Lee Clarence Jones died 27 October 1961 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 September 1895 to Richard Jones and Alice Stewart in Raleigh; resided in Salisbury; was married to Alice M. Jones; and worked as a dentist. He was a World War I veteran and was buried in Oakdale cemetery, Salisbury.

Photograph reprinted in the 26 January 2015 edition of the Salisbury Post, on-line here.

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.]


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.


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.


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.


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.]

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

great influenza

North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [database on-line],