Houses

312 Finch Street.

The twenty-first 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: “1941; 1 ½ stories; Benjamin Harris house; brick-veneered Tudor Revival dwelling built by Harris for his home; Harris was a brick mason; fine example of this style in district.”

This home has been continuously occupied by the family since its construction. For more about Benjamin A. Harris Sr., see here.

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

706 East Green Street.

The nineteenth 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, this house is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; extensively remodeled two-room house with stuccoed facade and added wings.” Because of its extensive remodeling, the house was considered “non-contributing” to the historic character of the district.

The photograph below accompanies a fine article published in the January 2011 volume of North Carolina Historical Review, Richard L. Mattson’s “The Cultural Landscape of a Southern Black Community: East Wilson, North Carolina, 1890-1930.” The image dates from about 1910, and 706 East Green — though now heavily modified — is easily recognized in the twin gables fronting the house. The family depicted is that of John W. and Edmonia Barnes Farmer, whose grandson James E. Farmer provided the photograph.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Washington Farmer, 43; wife Wady, 44; and children Edith, 14; Fordin, 13; Gimsey, 11; John W., 8; Nancy, 6; and Orgius, 6; and Nelson Farmer, 21.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Barnes, 30; wife Anner, 24; and children Hardy, 8, Rena, 7, Edna, 1, and Jesse, 3.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Washington Farmer, 52; wife Waity, age about 50; and children Edieth, 25; Gincy, 21; John W., 18; Nancy, 16, Ojus, 13; Mariah, 2; and Margaret, 2.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: George Barnes, 41; wife Anna, 34; and children Hardy, 19; Reny, 17 (“toothache”); Jessee, 12; Edmonia, 11; George, 9; Minnie Adeline, 6; twins Joshua and General, 3; and William, 1 month.

On 25 December 1884, John W. Farmer, 22, married Edmonia Barnes, 18, at George Barnes’. G.T. Williamson and B.B. Barnett were witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon driver John W. Farmer, 37; wife Edmonia, 33; and children George, 13, Paul, 12, Annie, 9, Mary, 7, and Fannie, 5.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: express wagon driver John Farmer, 48; wife Edmonia, 41, a laundress; and children George, 23, factory laborer; Paul, 19, hotel servant; Annie, 18; Mary, 16; Fannie, 14; Arthur, 8; Melton, 6; and William, 4.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Green, plasterer John A. Farmer, 60; wife Nona, 61; sons James E., 17, and Woodie, 22, barber; and daughter-in-law Savana, 22, lodge bookkeeper.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: washer Edmonia Farmer, 71; husband John, 73; son James E., 27, a plasterer; daughter-in-law Doretha, 27, a beauty operator; and their son James E., 6; and grandchildren Marvin, 10, and Vera Farmer, 14.

Edmonia Farmer died 18 January 1947 at home. Per her death certificate, she was 77 years old, married to John Wash Farmer, and born in Wilson County to George Barnes of Wilson County and Annie Parker of Edgecombe County. George W. Farmer was informant, and Dr. William Hines certified the death.

John Wash Farmer died 20 January 1947 at home. Per his death certificate, he was 79 years old; was born in Wilson County to Wash Farmer of Wilson County and an unknown mother; and worked as an expressman. The informant was George W. Farmer, 1207 Carolina Street, Wilson.

915 Atlantic Street.

The eighteenth 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. 1930; 1 story; bungalow with traditional one-room, gable-roofed form; half-timber motif in porch gable; alum. sided.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 915 Atlantic, rented for $16/month, James Hawkins, 30, truck driver for a hardware company, and wife Sally, 27, a cook.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Robert Ethridge is listed at 915 Atlantic Street.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

305 North Pender Street.

The seventeenth 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. 1908; 1 story; John Blount House; triple-A cottage with bracketed porch posts; Blount was a barber.”

John Blount, 24, married Jane Bryant, 21, on 4 March 1886, at Caroline Vick‘s in Wilson. E.H. Ward, Missionary Baptist minister performed the ceremony in the presence of Vick, Julius Watkins and Bettie Rountree.

In the 1900 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: on William Street, John Blount, 38, and wife Jane, 35.

John Blount is listed in the 1908, 1912 and 1916 Wilson city directories as a barber living at 206 Pender. The 1912 directory lists his work address as 422 East Nash.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hagarty Street [briefly, the name of Pender Street], barber John Blount, 48, wife Mary J., 44, and son Walter, 9.

John Blount died 29 October 1917 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1863 in Greene County to Wright and H. Blunt and worked as a barber. Informant was J.W. Blunt.

In the 1920 Wilson city directory, Jane Blount is listed as a domestic living at 206 Pender Street.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 305 North Pender Street, Julius Parker, 50, coal company laborer; wife Mollie, 42; and children Pearl Mae, 23, and James O., 19.  In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Julius Parker is listed at 305 Pender with wife Mollie. His occupation was driver for Carolina Builders Supply Corp. Son James L. Parker, a student, had a separate listing at 305 Pender. (Julius Parker, 20, son of Jason and Annis Parker, married Mollie Ricks, 18, daughter of A. and Cherry Ricks, in Toisnot township on 25 December 1913. Elder B.W. Tippett, a Freewill Baptist minister, performed the ceremony at Jason Parker’s in the presence of S.S. Strickland, H.F. Boswell and Mc. Whitehead.)

In the 1959 and 1963 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city director Herman W. Edwards was listed as the occupant of 305 North Pender Street. His descendants own and occupy the house today.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

624 East Green Street.

The sixteenth 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, this house is: “ca. 1922; 2 stories; Dr. Frank S. Hargrave House; district’s most distinguished Colonial Revival house when completed in the early 1920s; retains cubic form with cross gables and columned porte-cochere; aluminum; Hargrave was influential physician who helped organize local hospital for blacks.”

The house has been heavily modified, and its original charm is not easily detected. It remains, however, an imposing structure that, with Samuel H. Vick‘s house next door, dominates East Green Street.

Hargrave’s accomplishments have been chronicled here, here, and elsewhere at Black Wide-Awake. He did not live in the house long, migrating to New Jersey in the mid-1920s.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2016.

911 Viola Street.

The fifteenth 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, this well-preserved house is a: “ca. 1913; 1 story; Queen Anne cottage; double-pile, hip-roofed with projecting front wing; bracketed porch posts.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 911 Viola, paying $10/month rent, farmer George Bullock, 59, wife Ella, 56, sons Buddie, 15, and Author, 13, grandchildren Bulah M., 8, Willie, 6, and Charlie L., 5, and daughter Effie Davis, 23, and her husband Ernest Davis, 28.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 911 Viola, laundress Cherry Ellis, 42, and son Paul, 19, a farm laborer. Ellis rented for $10/month and reported that the family had lived in the house in 1935. In the 1941 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Cherry Ellis is listed at 911 Viola Street. In 1942, when Wesley Edwin Hines registered for the World War II draft, he listed Cherry Ellis of 911 Viola as his contact person. Per his registration card, Hines lived at 1001 East Vance Street; was born 28 April 1904 in Wilson County; and worked for Hackney Wagon Company on Gold Street in Wilson. Paul Ellis also registered in 1942. Born 1 April 1921, he lived with his mother at 911 Viola and was unemployed.

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

William Hines, making good.

In March 1913, the Indianapolis Recorder, a nationally focused African-American newspaper, ran a front-page feature on William Hines, a “native of [Wilson] and a forceful character for the intellectual, moral, spiritual, social and economic development of young North Carolinians.”

Citing Samuel H. Vick and Biddle University as Hines’ influences, the article detailed his entry into the real estate business after establishing a successful barber shop. In just five years, Hines had accumulated 11 houses and “a number of very desirable lots.”

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Indianapolis Recorder, 1 March 1913.

Hines’ real estate investments eventually made him one of the largest builder-owners of rental property in east Wilson. His barber shop operated for many decades, and his varied civic involvement included work as leader in the World War I Liberty Loan Campaign, charter investor in the Commercial Bank of Wilson, founding member of the Men’s Civic Clubboard of trustees of the Negro Library, board of directors of the Reid Street Community Center, and administrator of Mercy Hospital.

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William Hines, a little later in life.

William Hines was born 29 October 1883 in Edgecombe County and died 17 October 1981 in Wilson. He is buried in Rest Haven cemetery.

Photo of Hines courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).

913 East Green Street.

The fourteenth 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. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; Darcey Yancey House; bungalow with engaged porch; Yancey was a druggist.”

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Dr. Darcey C. Yancy, proprietor of Ideal Pharmacy, was listed as a boarder at Union Hotel.

Darcey C. Yancey, 28, of Danville, Virginia, son of W.A. and F.S. Yancey, married Lelia Beatrice Ireland, 25, of Guilford County, North Carolina, on 14 September 1910 in Sedalia, North Carolina. One of the witnesses to the ceremony was Charlotte E. Hawkins, later Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who founded what would become Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia in 1902. Lelia Ireland, a graduate of Scotia Seminary, was the first teacher Hawkins Brown hired.

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Wilson Times, 24 August 1917.

Darcy Cecil Yancey registered for the World War I draft in Wilson on 12 September 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1883; resided at 547 East Nash Street; worked for himself as a druggist at 546 East Nash; and his nearest relative was Lelia B. Yancey.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: residing at 547 Nash Street, Darcy C. Yancey, 37, manager at drug store, and wife Lelia B., 32.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 538 East Nash Street, druggist Darcy C. Yancey, 46, wife Lelia B., 40, and daughter Maude, 9.

Also in 1930 census of Wilson, the enumerator found four young single women at 913 East Green Street: Minnesota-born Ruth A. Brown, 23, North Carolina-born Annie Wilson, 25, and Lucile Wynn, 22, and Washington, D.C.-born Bessie Davis, 28, all teachers, paying a total of $25/month in rent. The house, in effect, was a teacherage for Wilson Colored High School, which sat right across Carroll Street.

Intersection of Green and Carroll, Sanborn insurance map, 1930.

At some point in the 1930s, the Yanceys purchased 913 East Green and left their rented digs on Nash Street across from the pharmacy. The 1941 Hill’s city directory lists Darcey C. and Lelia B. Yancey’s residence as 913 East Green, and Yancey’s Drug Store at 563 East Nash.

D’arcey Yancey died 12 April 1957 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 February 18983 in Danville, Virginia, to William Alexander Yancey and Florence E. Stewart; resided at 913 East Green Street; and worked as a druggist. Wife Lelia B. Yancey was informant.

Lelia Beatrice Yancey died 4 June 1983 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1889 to unknown parents; was the widow of D’arsey C. Yancey; and was a retired superintendent of elementary schools. She was buried with her husband at Rest Haven cemetery in Wilson.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

102 North East Street.

The thirteenth 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; 2 stories; Queen Anne house with L-plan and cross-gable roof; intact turned-post porch.”

The history of occupancy of this shabby gem is spotty. Though the house’s year of construction is estimated at 1913, the house does not appear on the 1922 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson unless the house at 901 East Nash was moved and reoriented to face East Street at the red X. The plan of the house at 901 closely resembles that of 102 North East.

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Laborer Rufus Hilliard* and his wife Pennie are listed at 102 North East Street in the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory. However, in 1940, when Roosevelt Leech [Leach] registered for the World War II draft, he listed his address as 102 North East Street. He also indicated that he was born 25 May 1913 in Johnston County; was married to Hattie Leech; and worked as a cook in his own cafe at 512 East Nash Street.  He signed the card with an X. The 1941 city directory also shows Leach at the address. In 1942, when George Lee Williams registered for the draft, he named Hattie Leach of 109 [sic] North East Street as his nearest relative. Williams was born in Goldsboro on 10 March 1924 and worked for Draper Brothers in Frederica, Delaware. Roosevelt Leach died 30 October 1943 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he lived at 102 North East Street, was married to Hattie Leach, worked as a cook, and was born in Johnston County to Colman Leach and Mary Hall. In 1945, Robert Earl Williams, presumably George’s brother, named Hattie Leach, 102 North East Street, as his guardian on his draft registration card. He indicated that he had been in Wayne County on 11 August 1927 and worked as a laborer.

Sarah Sauls died 3 October 1961 in Wilson at her home at 102 North East Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1888 in Greene County to Patric Sauls and Ada Thomas and was buried in the family cemetery in Black Creek. Bessie Sauls of 102 North East Street was informant.

In the 1963 Hill’s city directory, Hattie E. Lee is listed at 102 North East.

*The National Register nomination form describes 903 East Nash Street, just around the corner from 102 North East, as the Rufus Hilliard house and notes that Hilliard operated a store at 901 East Nash [the People’s Palace, built about 1940 and destroyed since the district was registered] and speculated in local real estate. Such real estate included 104 North East Street, built circa 1930.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.