Houses

The clean-up of Happy Hill.

“There were two ice companies near the railroad tracks and one area was called ‘Happy Hills’ where a few blacks lived. ‘Green Hill’ near the other ice company was a white neighborhood.” — Roy Taylor, My City, My Home (1991).

The Happy Hill neighborhood, wedged between the railroad and Lodge Street south of Hines, developed as early as the 1920s. In the 1950s, the city of Wilson began “slum clearance” in the area. Per the article accompanying the photo below, to avoid condemnation, property owners were forced to add two rooms and two baths to 19 four-room Happy Hill dwellings, each housing two families living without running water or toilets. Eventually, with federal funds, the city condemned and demolished the houses anyway and erected W.T. Adams Elementary School (now Saint John Community Development Corporation) and Whitfield Homes housing project (much of which is now shuttered) in the area formerly known as Happy Hill.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 January 1955.

Happy Hill was designated as a street address in the 1940 census of Wilson:

The 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory contained this description of the neighborhood:

 

303 North Vick Street.

The one hundred-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: “ca. 1930; 1 story; James Moore house; bungalow with high hip roof and distinctive wraparound porch; aluminum sided; Moore was a barber.”

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Small James barber W S Hines h303 N Vick and Small Maggie cook h303 N Vick [Is this James “Moore” above?]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: owned and valued at $2000, barber James Small, 45; wife Maggie, 43; children James Jr., 9, and Kathryne, 7; and sister-in-law Dora Hawkins, 25, laundress.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: owned and valued at $1500, teacher (at “Sally B. School”) Margaret Hines, 37, widow, and roomers Separist Artist, [no age], barber at Artist Barber, and his wife Grace Artist, [no age], beauty parlor operator, and Annie Dupree, 38, high school teacher.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hines Margt W (c) tchr Sallie Barbour Sch h303 N Vick

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hines Margt W (c; widow Ashley) tchr Sallie Barbour Sch h303 N Vick

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

Sankofa: the Wards come home.

Joseph Henry Ward left Wilson in the late 1880s on a journey that would lead him to a trail-blazing career as a physician in Indiana and Alabama. It does not appear that he ever returned to his birthplace. Yesterday, however, his granddaughter and great-granddaughter, both born and reared in the Midwest, came home. Zella Palmer FaceTimed me as she and her mother Alice Roberts Palmer stood outside David G.W. Ward‘s house near Stantonsburg, the house in which Joseph Ward’s mother Mittie Ward and grandmother Sarah Ward toiled while enslaved. David Ward was the father of at least three of Sarah Ward’s children, including Mittie.

Cousin Alice is an accomplished educator and politician, a former member of the Illinois state senate. Zella is chair of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture in New Orleans. One hundred and thirty years after Joseph Ward left Wilson County, in the spirit of sankofa, they returned to claim their ancestors. There was laughter — Zella said she felt like she was in a scene from The Color Purple — and tears, as Cousin Alice, standing in her people’s footsteps, recalled the teachers who told her that black people did not have any history. The pilgrimage to North Carolina included time in Robeson County at a Lumbee pow-wow in honor of Dr. Ward’s wife, Zella’s namesake, Zella Locklear Ward. It was “magical, spiritual and sobering,” Cousin Alice said.

I’m so thankful to have been able to share, even if remotely, this incredible homecoming with you, cousins!

Zella’s photo of the house in which her great-great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother were enslaved by her great-great-great-grandfather.

1100 East Nash Street and 1208 Woodard Avenue.

The one hundred-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.

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 Wilson Daily Times, 12 April 1946.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, 1100 East Nash Street: “ca. 1913; 2 stories; Sallie Barbour house; Queen Anne house with hip-roofed main block and front two-story wing; asphalt veneer; modernized porch; Barbour was noted schoolteacher whose name was given to the former black elementary school (Wilson Colored School) that once stood on Stantonsburg Road.” The house was demolished in the early 1990s.

In the 1922, 1925 and 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Parker Allison (c; Mary) hlpr h1100 E Nash

Allison Parker died 27 January 1930. Per his death certificate, he was 75 years old; was born in Halifax County, North Carolina, to Hillard and Dianah Parker; was married to Mary Parker; lived at 1100 East Nash; and worked as a housecleaner. Cause of death: “heart attack probably died suddenly while sitting up in chair. Died before Doctor reached him.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1100 East Nash Street, Sallie Barber, 67, widowed public school teacher, and her sister Tiny Hill, 69, also a widowed teacher.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barbour Sallie M (c) h1100 E Nash; Barbour Luther (c) barber h 1100 E Nash

Sallie Minnie Barbour died 22 April 1942 at her home at 1100 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; was born in Wake County to Essex Blake and Clara Hodge; was a widow; and was a schoolteacher. Ardelia Nunn, 1100 East Nash, was informant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rogers Rufus (c; Dora) tob wkr Export Tob h1100 E Nash

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, 1208 Woodard Avenue is: “ca. 1917; 1 story; shotgun with gable returns and hip-roofed porch; asphalt veneer.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, this house was vacant. In the 1930 directory: Davis John (c; Vinie) h 1208 Woodard Av

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1208 Woodard Avenue, rented for $12/month, sawmill laborer William Davis, 42; wife Vina, 42; and children Margana, 17, Curtis, 14, Viola, 13, Arabella, 8, Castella, 7, James, 5, Laura J., 4, and Augusta, 3.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Nash Sidney (c) tob wkr h1208 Woodard av

In 1942, Alvin Sidney Nash registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 9 August 1900; lived at 1208 Woodard Avenue, Wilson; his contact was Rosa Nash Battle, 913 Washington Street; and he worked for W.T. Clark’s Tobacco Factory, Wilson.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ward Floyd (c; Beatrice) rodmn City h1208 Woodard av

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

1310 East Nash Street.

The one hundred-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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; James Joyner House; bungalow with gable roof, brick veneer, engaged porch; Joyner was an auto mechanic who owned a shot next door; builder was Nestus Freeman.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Joyner, 30, garage mechanic, and wife Annie, 28.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Joyner, 40, laborer, and wife Annie, 40, tobacco factory stemmer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Joyner Jas J (Annie) auto repr 1310 E Nash h [ditto]

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Joyner Jas J (Lillian) h 1310 E Nash

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As of the date of this posting, this property is listed for sale online by multiple real estate database companies. The listings provide 21 photos of the interior and exterior of the house, including these, which reveal the attention paid to detail and aesthetics in even working-class homes built in this era.

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Adjoining rooms with corner fireplaces share the two chimneys. The surround is brick and is topped with a shallow wooden mantel. Also, notice the subtle flare of the trim atop the doorframes.

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Bricked-in firebox with former stovepipe attachment point visible. Contrast the fireplace and mantel surround with that above.

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Five-panel doors; two-and-a-quarter-inch oak flooring.

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Oversized four-over-over windows. Same flared edge on trim at the headers.

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Center hall staircase.

 

 

1110 Hines Street.

The one hundred-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. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; bungalow with gabled roof and dormer; shingled gables; fine example of the side-gable bungalow in E. Wilson.” The house was originally 1110 Wainwright Avenue. County property tax records show that the house was built in 1940.

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In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pridgen Jas H (c; Meta) gro 1218 E Nash h 1110 Wainwright Av

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harrison Eli W (c; Rosa) Jones Constn Co h 1110 Wainwright Av

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2018.

515 South Douglas Street.

Formerly 515 South Spring Street, this house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, South Spring Street, now Douglas — below the warehouse district — has been an African-American residential area since the turn of the twentieth century.

The house likely originally comprised only two rooms — known as the “saddlebag” type. An ell at the rear would have been added later to encompass a kitchen and bathroom. Current tax records show that the house measures 792 square feet.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hargett Lemuel (c; Beadie) lab h515 Spring

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Whitley Connell (c; Louise) USA h515 Spring

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2019.

206 North Pender Street.

The one hundred-fourth 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.

The vacant lot at 206 North Pender Street. Visible in the distance is the corner of Ashe Street and Darden Lane.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; John Clark tenant house; gable-end, side-hall house with turned-post porch; a variant of the shotgun; Clark was a white tobacconist, who built house for black tenant.”

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Crocker James lab h 206 Pender and Crocker Nancy cook h 206 Pender

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Crocker James H (c; Nancy) sta fireman h 206 Pender

In 1940, Donnie Daniel Graham registered for the World War II draft in Chowan County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 15 February 1908 in Wayne County; he resided at 211 East Church, Edenton, Chowan County; his contact was Nancy Crocker, 206 Pender, Wilson; and he worked for George P. Folk, Hotel Joseph Hughes, Edenton.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Crocker James H (c; Nancy) h 206 Pender

James H. Crocker died 3 May 1945 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; was born in Wayne County to Joseph I. Crocker and Celia Hooks; was married to Nancy Dew Crocker; resided at 206 Pender Street; and worked as a common laborer. Informant was Gaston Crocker, Fremont, North Carolina.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Council Adam (c; Ophelia) chauffeur Dave Woodard h 206 Pender

Photo courtesy Google Maps Streetview.

203 North Pender Street.

The one hundred-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1890; 1 story; Reverend Henry W. Farrior House; L-plan cottage with intact Victorian motifs, including bracketed chamfered porch posts and bay window; Farrior was minister of the St. John’s A.M.E. Zion Church.”

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 L-plan cottage probably dates c. 1880. It boasts a handsome three-sided baby in the front ell. The bay is ornamented by a molded cornice, paired scrolled brackets, and arched window surrounds.” As shown in Sanborn fire insurance maps, prior to 1923 the house was numbered 130 Pender.

From the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.

In the 1916 and 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Farrior Henry W Rev h 130 Pender. (In 1916, also:, Farrior Dancy h 130 Pender)

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 130 Pender, minister of the Gospel Henry W. Farrior, 56; wife Icey, 54; and granddaughter Florence, 10; plus Isadora Estoll, 18.

In the 1922 and 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Farrior Henry W Rev h 203 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender, owned and valued at $4000, Christian Church minister Henry W. Farrior, 60, and wife Aria, 60, with boarders tobacco factory stemmer Earnest Bulluck, 35, his wife Lena, 30, and children Earnest Jr., 12, Paul T., 8, and Lee, 7.

Henry William Farrior died 6 March 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 12 August 1859 in Powhatan, Virginia, to Henry and Sylvia Farrior; resided at 203 Pender Street, Wilson; was married Isiebell Farrior; and was a preacher. Dalley Farrior was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evaline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 September 1948.

203 North Pender has been demolished. The property now belongs to nearby Calvary Presbyterian Church.