Houses

812 Viola Street.

The seventy-eighth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1922; 1 1/2 stories; gambrel-roofed house; double-pile; turned porch posts; locally rare.”

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980) provides additional details about the house, including the photo above. “This house, probably built in the early twentieth century, has an extremely unusual gambrel roof. Two peaked louvers ornament the gable end and a shed roof porch with turned columns shelters the front facade.” This house has been demolished.

From the mid-1920s to the late 1940s, this house was owned by Nancy Staton Boykin and her husband James Boykin.

Erasure.

Wrote Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno in Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980):

“Residence Park was Wilson’s first subdivision. This land, formerly used as farmland, on the western edge of Wilson was purchased by a group of developers from Norfolk, Virginia. The first lot was sold to Selby Hurt Anderson in 1906. The architectural fabric of the area is predominately representative of the Bungalow style, although many houses were built in the Colonial Revival style as well. This area flourished in the 1910’s and 1920’s but few houses date after 1930. Residence Park is the most cohesive residential neighborhood in town.”

Farmland? No doubt there were farms in the area. However, Residence Park’s development and expansion came at the immediate expense of the black community of Grabneck, which, anchored by the Best family, had taken root along a stretch of West Nash Street in the late 1800s. By the mid-1920s, all traces of the Bests and their neighbors had disappeared under Residence Park’s lovely bungalows, and within a few decades few remembered that black people had ever lived on that side of town.  Here, encapsulated, is the raison d’etre of Black Wide-Awake — to combat the erasure of African-American people and spaces of historic Wilson.

Detail of Bainbridge and Ohno’s map of Residence Park, which lies atop the old Grabneck neighborhood. #322, the H.W. Abbitt home, was built on land purchased from Wilson and Ada Best.

For more about Grabneck, see here and here and here and here.

106 South Carroll Street.

The seventy-seventh in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “1951; 1 1/2 stories; concrete-block dwelling with Tudor Revival influence.” It was classified as a non-contributing structure.

This house replaced the house Frank and Annie Green Barnes lived in from about World War I through the 1940s.

106 South Carroll sits on the west side of a double lot, shown below as lots 8 and 9 in the original plat of the neighborhood.

Map courtesy of Google Maps; Plat Book 78, pages 34-35, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse, Wilson.

 

 

Destroyed by fire.

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Wilson Daily Times, 1 April 1931.

In the 1910 census of Lumber Bridge township, Robeson County, North Carolina: Walter Bullard, 39; wife Emma, 38; and children Siilva J., 17, Mollie, 15, John F., 17, Earnest, 11, Wesley, 8, Walter S., 5, and Sudie B., 2.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farmer Walter Bullard, 50; wife Emmy, 42; and children Walter S., 15, Sudie Belle, 10, Olivia, 7, Sarah, 5, and Alice, 4.

On 26 October 1926, Walter Bullard, 21, son of Walter Emma Bullard, married Lucille Powell, 22, daughter of Jno. and Mariah Powell, in Wilson. John P. Battle applied for the license. E.H. Cox, a minister of the U.A. F. Will Baptist Church, performed the ceremony in the presence of Cora Hinnant, Joe Anna Hinnant and Mary Burnett.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bullard Walter B (c; Lucille) lab h 109 N Carroll

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bullard Walter B (c; Lucille) taxi driver h 105 N Carroll

Walter Bullard died 12 July 1946 in the Wilson County Sanitorium. Per his death certificate, he was 41 years old; was born in Robeson County, North Carolina, to Walter Bullard and Amy Clark; was married to Ester Bullard; worked as a bell boy and taxi driver; and lived at 1008 Carolina Street. He was buried at Rountree’s cemetery. Informant was Emma Bullard.

 

903 East Vance Street.

The seventy-sixth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 1 1/2 stories; Ximena Pitt house; Queen Anne cottage with double-pile, hip-roofed form and wraparound porch with classical posts and balustrade; similar to #905; Pitt was a store clerk.”

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Hattie laundress h 903 E Vance; Pitt Violet laundress laundress h 903 E Vance

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Elsie cook h 903 E Vance; Pitt Violet dom h 903 E Vance; Pitt Ximena clk h 903 E Vance

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Mena (c) sch tchr h 903 E Vance.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 903 East Vance, owned and valued at $2000, Elsie Pitt, 54, cook; sister Hattie Pitt, 52; sister Louisa McNeil, 49, cook; niece Evelyn Pitt, 9, born in Ohio; sister Mina Pitt, 36, public school teacher; and sister Elizabeth Pitt, 26, public school teacher.

Elsie Pitt died 19 June 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1875 in Wilson County to William Pitt of Nash County and Violet Emerson of Wilson County and was single. Informant was Ximena Martinez.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Ramon Martinez, 38, is listed as a roomer in the household of Mena Pitts, 39, at 903 Vance Street. He reported that he was born in Argentina, had been living in Pennsylvania five years previously, and worked as a sign painter.

On 16 February 1942, Ramon Jose Martinez registered for the draft in Wilson. He listed his birth date and place as 7 September 1898 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He worked as a commercial artist, resided at 903 Vance Street, and Ximena Pitts Martinez was his contact person. He was 5’6″, 184 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark brown skin. The registrar noted: “he limps (right leg).”

Ramon Jose Martinez died 15 September 1973 in Wilson. His death certificate reports that he was born 7 September 1900 in Argentina; lived at 903 East Vance; and worked as a self-employed commercial artist. His parents were unknown. Wife Ximena Pitt Martinez was informant.

Ximena Pitt Martinez died 21 December 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate she was born 12 August 1896 to Violet Pitt; was widow; was a retired teacher. Evelyn P. Stoney of Brooklyn, New York, was informant.

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980) provides additional details about this house, including the photo below.

“This turn of the century cottage is stylistically related to entry 286 [705 East Green Street], the same modified L-plan is followed, and the house is enhanced by the use of metal ridge pole ornaments and a wrap around porch with doric columns and a pedimented porch entry.”

Though the metal roof and balustrade have been replaced, 903 East Vance Street retains much of its original exterior detail and is one of the best-preserved houses in the district.

——

Wilson Daily Times, 5 December 1981.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

502 South Lodge Street.

This house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, South Lodge Street — below the warehouse district — has been an African-American residential area since the turn of the twentieth century.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, house carpenter Neverson Green, 49; wife Ezabell, 45 and children Ada, 22, Viola, 19, Rosa, 16, William O., 14, Lula, 12, Henry, 8, Bessie, 6, and Eva, 2. Ada, Viola and Rosa were tobacco factory laborers; William worked in a box factory.

Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson showing 502 South Lodge Street in 1913.

Sanborn map showing two locations at which Neverson Green operated grocery stores, across from the Norfolk Southern tracks at 400 and 412 South Spring Street. 

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Green Neverson grocer 412 S Spring h 502 S Lodge

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: grocery merchant Neverson Green, 58, grocery merchant; wife Isabella, 54; daughters Lula, 21, Bessie, 16, and Eva, 12; and roomer Willie Ward, 19.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: grocery store merchant Nelson Green, 72; wife Isabella, 65; daughters Lula, 30, and Eva, 23; and grandchildren Lila R. Barnes, 12, and Lissa Strickland, 12.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Green Nelson (c; Isabella) gro 400 Spring h 502 S Lodge

Neverson Green died 3 March 1936 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 March 1857 in Granville County, North Carolina, to Henry Green and Rosa Green; was a merchant storekeeper; resided at 504 [sic] Lodge; was married Isabella Green; informant was Viola Strickland, Wilson.

Isabella Green died 13 August 1936 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 March 1865 in Granville County to Haywood Thorpe and Rachel Thorpe; lived at 504 [sic] South Lodge; and was a widow. Ada Knight of Wilson was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Aaron Pittman, 38; wife Lucy, 37; daughters Helen, 18, and Lucy Gray, 17; and lodger Emmaline Hayes, 21.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pittman Aaron (c; Lucy) brcklyr h 502 S Lodge

In 1941, Haron Pittman registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 6 September 1901 in Robeson County, North Carolina; resided at 502 South Lodge Street; his nearest relative was Helen D. Ford, 502 Lodge; and he worked for Jones Brothers Contractors, Wilson.

Haron M. Pittman died 9 March 1949 at Albemarle Hospital, Pasquotank County, North Carolina, of a cervical vertebra fracture suffered in an auto accident on Highway 17 near Elizabeth City. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 September 1901 in Robeson County to Mack Pittman and Lummie Mitchell; was divorced; resided at 502 South Lodge Street, Wilson. Informant was Helen P. Ford, 502 South Lodge.

On 6 March 1957, Helen Pittman Ford and husband Quincy, Clara E. Pittman and Lucy Pittman Cunningham and husband Prince Cunningham borrowed $3000 from real estate developer George Stronach Jr. and Atlantic Building and Loan Association and gave a mortgage on the property at 520 South Lodge. The Pittman family defaulted.

The notice that ran in the Daily Times in March 1960 mentioned that Aaron Pittman had purchased the property in 1937, and Neverson Green well before that. (Though the exact date is not mentioned, deed book 42 dates to the 1890s.)

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1960.

It appears that members of Neverson and Isabella Green’s extended family regained the house at 520 South Lodge. Daughter Ada Green Knight died 3 March 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born in Virginia on 13 March 1887 to Nelson Green and Isabell Thorp; resided at 502 South Lodge Street; and was a retired laborer. Informant was Nancy Doris Lucas, 502 South Lodge.

Jesse Vernon Lucas and Nancy Doris Knight Lucas lived at 502 South Lodge Street until their deaths in 1986 and 2013, respectively.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 April 2013.

[A lost-and-found photo album belonging to Neverson and Isabella Thorpe Green’s granddaughter Etta Mae Barnes Taylor was the subject of a New York Times feature in early 2017.]

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

204 North Pender Street.

The seventy-sixth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1922; 2 story; John Spells house; L-plan cottage with patterned-tin roof; asphalt shingles.”

A 1905 plat of Pender Street property shows that John Spells (or Spell) owned this lot as early as 1905. The house has been demolished. In the photo above, Ashe Street (parallel to Pender) and its elbow intersection with Darden Lane (formerly Darden’s Alley) are visible beyond the vacant lot at 204. The darker green area at left marks the former continuation of Darden Lane to Pender Street. Today, a foot path — just visible below the green house at far left — snakes diagonally to exit into Pender via the former driveway of 208 North Pender, the now-demolished Best house.

In the 1908 Wilson city directory,  Jno. S. Spell appears as a contractor living at 133 Pender Street. (133 was the earlier number of the lot now designated 204 North Pender. Whether the house surveyed for the nomination committee was the same house that earlier stood at 133 is not clear.)

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pender Street, carpenter John E. Spell, 50, wife Martha A., 39, and son John E., Jr., 16.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory, the following are listed at 204 Pender Street: Jno. S. Spell, carpenter; Jno. S. Spell, Jr.; and Martha A. Spell, dressmaker.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Pender Street, building carpenter John L. Spell, 65, and wife Martha, 46, a seamstress. They owned the house, which was valued at $3000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Pender Street, odd job laborer J.S. Spell, 74, born in Pitt County, and wife Martha, 65, an invalid born in Oxford. Grocery deliveryman Arthur Darden, 27, and his wife Bettie, 19, rented rooms in the house.

John Stephen Spell died 31 January 1946 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 204 Pender Street; was married to Martha Spell, age 61; was 80 years old; was born in Pitt County to Easter Spell; was a carpenter; and was buried in the Masonic cemetery. M.G. Spell was informant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Spells Martha A h 204 Pender

In May 2018, the Wilson Times published this notice:

PUBLIC NOTICE

WILSON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

OFFER TO PURCHASE PROPERTY

204 North Pender Street

The Public will take notice that the Board of Commissioners of Wilson County has received and proposes to accept an offer to purchase the property located at 204 North Pender Street, PIN# 3721-59-1516, in the amount of $1,000. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the County Manager’s Office, 252-399-2803, 2201 Miller Road South, PO Box 1728, Wilson, NC 27896-1728, http://www.wilson-co.com, or by email amparrish@wilson-co.com.

Any person may raise the bid within ten (10) days of this notice. The bid must be raised by at least 10% of the first $1,000 and 5% of the remainder. The raised bid must be delivered to the Clerk to the Board located in the County Manager’s office and must include a 5% bid deposit.

Raised bids will be advertised until no further qualifying upset bids are received.


The 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, N.C., shows the original course of Darden Alley hard by the north edge of 204 North Pender. 204, 206 and 208 have been razed.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps.

313 Elba Street.

The seventy-fifth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1940; 1 story; shotgun altered and expanded with side wing; aluminum sided; porch replaced.”

313 Elba Street is listed in neither the 1940 census nor the 1941, 1947 or 1950 Wilson city directories. In the 1963 directory, however: Dublin Mozie P Mrs maid h 313 Elba

It is possible that the address of this house was once 315 Elba, as that number appears in records pre-1963, but not after.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, 2017.

1927 Oaklawn Avenue, Charlotte.

McCrorey Heights is an historic mid-century neighborhood in west Charlotte, North Carolina, that was once home to many of the Queen City’s leading African-American doctors, lawyers, educators and businesspeople. The McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association is constructing a website featuring the histories of many of the homes in the neighborhood. One is 1927 Oaklawn Avenue, a bungalow belonging for fifty years to Abraham H. and Susan Peacock Prince.

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1927 Oaklawn Avenue. Photo courtesy of McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association.

“Rev. Prince ranked among the leading ministers in the southeastern United States, director of evangelical outreach for the Atlantic Synod and later the Catawba Synod of the Presbyterian Church.” … “He married Susan Peacock Prince in 1930 and the pair likely built this house soon after. She came from Wilson, North Carolina, where her father [Levi H. Peacock] had been a political leader during the years before Disfranchisement, appointed Assistant Postmaster in 1891. Susan attended Shaw University in Raleigh and became a lifelong educator in Charlotte’s public schools. In 1940 the U.S. Census indicated that the couple had two daughters: Dorothy, age eight, and Susan, age six.” … “Rev. Prince lived in this house at 1927 Oaklawn Avenue during the 1930s and into the 1940s. His work for the Presbyterian synods evidently spurred him to find a home more central to his travels. By 1951 he was no longer listed at this address, nor even in Charlotte. But he continued to own the house as rental property at least into the 1970s. A note in the 1967 JCSU yearbook indicated he was then living in Columbia, South Carolina, pastor of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church.”

For more on Rev. Prince and the house at 1927 Oaklawn, see here. (Many thanks to M.H.N.A. for citing  Black Wide-Awake as a source.)

 

703 Viola Street.

The seventy-third in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; two-roomed house with shed-roofed porch.”

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola Street, house carpenter Jessie Ward, 36; wife Mary, 34; and children Mabel, 17, Gertrude, 12, Kerfus, 7, Malachi, 5, Dempsey, 3, Virginia, 2, and Sara, 1 month. However, the house above was number 654  until about 1922. The family at 654 Viola: widow Dora Bobbit, 47, and niece Parthina Avery, 17.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rice George, barber The Mayflower h 703 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Palmer Horace (c; Mary) slsmn Eastern Carolina Service Corp h 703 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola, rented at $10/month, widow Marjorie Benjamin, 53, tobacco factory hanger; son Harry, 26, truck driver; son’s wife Lelia, 26, in household service; and daughter Elizabeth, 20, tobacco factory laborer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Benjamin Eliz (c) tob wkr h 703 Viola and Benjamin Margie (c) tob wkr h 703 Viola

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.