Houses

721 East Vance Street.

The twenty-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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1945. 1 1/2 stories. Cape Cod cottage.”

The form characterizes this house as a “non-contributing” structure because it was not 50 years old at the time the district was surveyed and nominated.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

Ground-breaking. 

A couple of weeks ago, the Freeman Round House African-American History Museum broke ground on its new exhibition hall. When I was in Wilson last weekend, workmen — the occupational descendants of Oliver and Julius Freeman — were pouring cement for the hall’s foundation. The addition is being developed by a professional design team, and I look forward to seeing the museum’s holdings displayed and interpreted in their brand-new facility!

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The Round House and Oliver Freeman’s famous concrete dinosaur, which once stood in his front yard.

 

Rufus Edmundson plantation.

The Rufus Edmundson House lies just two blocks off Stantonsburg’s main street, but at the very edge of town. Behind it stretch miles of fields and woodland.

“This antebellum house was built circa 1846 for Rufus Edmundson. … The house is similar to the William Barnes and Ward-Applewhite-Thompson Houses (both in Stantonsburg Township) and the Elias Barnes house (Saratoga township). It stands two stories high and the main block is capped with a shallow hipped roof. Unusual heavy dentils ornament the frieze and the three-bay facade was once sheltered by a double-gallery porch supported by square columns. Although the door leading to the second floor porch has been altered, the original trabeated entrance to the first floor is still intact. A single-story, hipped-roof porch with Doric columns replaced the earlier double-gallery porch in the early twentieth century. On the interior the house is divided by a wide central hall with two rooms to either side. Some original woodwork remains intact including a handsomely curved newel post.”  — Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981).

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In the 1860 census of Saratoga township [which included Stantonsburg], Wilson County, Rufus Edmundson’s reported wealth comprised $15,000 in real property and $30,600 in personal property. The 1860 slave schedule parses Edmundson’s wealth — the $30,600  mostly took the form of 34 enslaved men, women and children, aged 1 through 38, who inhabited six dwellings on Edmundson’s farm and toiled for him.

The 1870 census was the first post-Emancipation enumeration. Next door to Rufus Edmundson were Margaret and Bailum Hall and their son John, 4 months. (Balaam Hall, son of James Woodard and Liza Hall, had married Margaret Edmundson, daughter of Proncey Edmundson, on 19 July 1870 in Wilson County.) Next to the Halls was a household comprised of members of several families, including Bertha Edmundson, 20, and Winnie, 12, and Gray Edmundson, 14, who were all listed as farmer’s apprentices. Though close proximity and shared surname, as well as indenture as apprenticed labor, do not guarantee that these young people had been enslaved by Rufus Edmundson, these facts are strong evidence.

William Barnes plantation.

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“[T]he William Barnes house was built in a style which was popular in Wilson County between 1848 and 1860. Barnes was the brother of General Joshua Barnes, one of the most influential men in the area and a founder of Wilson County. Barnes was born in 1811. Like his brother, he was a planter, and by the time of his death he had accumulated over 1,000 acres. …The exterior of the Barnes house has remained basically unaltered except for the constriction of a two-story portico with Doric columns which dates circa 1914. The William Barnes House is very similar stylistically to the house of his brother. General Joshua Barnes, which was built circa 1845. The exterior consists of a plain two-story box with a shallow hipped-roof and a three-bay facade. A wide trabeated entrance, surmounted by a smaller door on the second floor, is located in the central bay. The unusual six-panel door is similar to those found on the Daniel Whitley House (also in Stantonsburg Township). The interior plan is that of a wide center hall with two large rooms located on each side. Major alterations have been made on the interior. A large two-story packhorse and small gable-roof storage building, both contemporary with the house, exist on the grounds.” — Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981).


The six-paneled door.

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In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, 48 year-old farmer William Barnes’ listing notes that he owned real property valued at $35,000 and personal property at $89,000. The latter, of course, largely consisted of enslaved men and women, whose crucial role on his plantation went unmentioned in the description above. The 1860 census credits him as the owner of 10 men or boys and 16 women or girls, ranging in age from 1 to 60.

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Aerial shot of the Barnes House and outbuildings at the intersection of Fairfield Dairy Road and Highway 58.

Photograph of Barnes house taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2015; photo of door taken July 2017; aerial photo courtesy of Google Map.

Suggs Street project.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 January 1961.

In the winter of 1960-’61, the Wilson Housing Authority published a series of notices in the Wilson Daily Times concerning its intent to exercise eminent domain over two parcels of land at Suggs and Moore Streets for Project 20-2A. (Hence, the term “the projects.) The family who owned the land were the heirs of George Washington Suggs, who had died in 1914. (Specifically, they were heirs of his daughters Serena Suggs Moore, Edmonia Suggs Perrington, and Julia Suggs Bryant.)

The development, still occupied, remains the property of the Housing Authority.

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916 East Green Street.

The twenty-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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 2 stories; Thomas Cook house; cubic form with low hip roof and bungalow elements; asphalt shingles; Cook was a house painter.”

Actually, Thomas Cook lived at 900 Stantonsburg Street, across from the Wesley Jones family. This home, instead, belonged to Jerry L. and Clara Godette Cook, who arrived in Wilson from New Bern, North Carolina, in the 1920s.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hadley Street, railroad mail clerk Jerry L. Cook, 43; wife Clara, 39, teacher; children Henderson, 20, Edwin D., 18, Clara G., 14, Georgia E., 12, Annie, 8, Jerry L., 6, and Eunice D., 4; sister Georgia E. Wyche, 48, teacher; and nieces Kathaline Wyche, 7, and Reba Whittington, 19.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 916 East Green Street, railway clerk J.L. Cook, 54, born Wake County; wife Clara, 48, born Craven County; children Henderson J., 30, Clara, 24, Annie, 18, Jerry, 16, and Eunice, 14; and cousin Ella Godette, 18. Henderson and young Clara were born in New Bern; the remaining children in Wilson.

Clara Godette Cook died 31 January 1952 at her home at 916 East Green Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 18 April 1891 in Craven County, North Carolina, to Jesse P. Godette and Eliza Ann Fenner; was married; and worked as a teacher. Clara Cook Bailey, 916 East Green Street, was informant.

Jerry Lee Cooke died 9 September 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 November 1886 to Henderson Cooke and Mariah D. Matchlor; resided at 916 East Green Street; was widowed; and was a retired postal clerk.

106 North Reid Street.

The twenty-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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 2 stories; George White Vick House; Colonial Revival house with hip-roofed popular in district; wraparound porch with classical columns; fine example of the style; Vick was son of S.H. Vick, and operated taxi service.”

There is no listing for 106 North Reid in the 1930 census (or earlier); the house presumably was built shortly thereafter. In the 1930 Hill’s city directory of Wilson, there is a George W. White listed at the address. Is this a typographical error? Was George W. Vick actually the resident?  Other records suggest that he did not live in the house until after World War II.

On 23 October 1937, George White Vick, 32, son of Samuel and Annie Vick, married Blanche Curry, 25, daughter of Worth and Isabel Curry, in Nashville, Nash County.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1109 1/2 Washington Street, taxi driver George Vick, 34, and wife Blanche, 22, tobacco factory stemmer. At 106 North Reid: Ernest Jones, 34, tobacco factory truck driver; wife Nancy, 28, tobacco factory laborer; and sister Daisy Lindsey, 12; Ernest Barnes, 27, tobacco factory grader, and his wife Louvenia, 27, tobacco factory laborer; and Sylvester Page, 32. All three families rented rooms in the large house.

In 1942, George White Vick registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 June 1903; resided at 1109 1/2 Washington Street; worked for Safety Taxi Company; and his nearest relative was Mrs. S.H. Vick of 622 East Green Street.

George White Vick died 24 June 1985 in Wilson.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Camillus L. Darden.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1956.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wheelwright Charles Dardin, 44; wife Dianna, 40, sewing; and children Annie, 21, sewing; Comilous, 15, tobacco stemmer; Arthor, 12; Artelia, 10; Russell, 5; and Walter, 4.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Darden, 55; wife Dianah, 48; and children Cermillus, 24, bicycle shop owner; Arthur, 22, teacher; Artelia, 18, teacher; Russel, 16; and Walter, 14.

Camillus Louis Darden registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 June 1884; resided at 110 Pender Street; was a self-employed undertaker at 615 East Nash Street; and his nearest relative was his father Charles H. Darden.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 110 Pender Street, blacksmith Charles H. Darden, 65; wife Mary E., 55; sons C.L., 35, and Artha W., 27, undertakers; and [step-] daughter Mary H., 19, and Cora B., 11.

Camillus Darden married Norma E. Duncan of Montgomery, Alabama.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Pender Street, Calamus L. Darden, and wife Morma, 30. Their home was valued at $10,000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Pender Street, undertaker C.L. Darden, 45, and wife Norma, 40.

C.L. Darden executed his will on 1955. He devised his business, Darden Memorial Funeral Home, to his wife Norma E. Darden, brother Dr. Walter T. Darden and nephew Charles Darden James in one-half, one-quarter and one-quarter shares respectively. The property on which the funeral home was located, 608 and 610 East Nash Street, as well as an adjacent lot known as the Darden Shop lot, were similarly devised. His wife was to receive his residence at 108 Pender Street, and property at 203 Stantonsburg Street was to be sold and the proceeds divided between his sisters Elizabeth Morgan and Artelia Tennessee; his nieces Artelia Tennessee Bryant, Thelma Byers and Artelia Davis; and a long-time employee Frank Davis (with provisions to guarantee each received at least $1000.) All personal property was devised to wife Norma, and equal shares in all other real property to nieces and nephews Charles Darden James, Randall James, Johnnie K. Reynolds, Artelia Davis, Thelma Byers, Bernard Tennessee, Eugene Tennessee, Artelia Tennessee Bryant, Norma Jean Darden, Carol Darden, and Charles Arthur Darden.

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Camillus L. Darden died 12 January 1956 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he resided at 108 Pender Street; was born 26 June 1884 in Wilson to Charles Henry Darden and Diana Scarborough; was married to Norma Duncan Darden; and worked as a mortician. Charles D. James was informant.

Read more about Camillus Lewis Darden here and here and here and here.

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The Darden house at 108 North Pender Street.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017; U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Tampa, Florida, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787- 2004, digitized at Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

106 North Pender Street.

The twenty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “1925; 2 stories; L.A. Moore house; hip-roofed cubic house with simple Colonial Revival detail; end chimney with exposed face; aluminum sided; Moore was an insurance agent for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; builder was Short Barnes.”

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Idea Moore, 67; Samuel, 23, Vinah, 20, Lee, 7, Nellie, 6, and Jane Moore, 1 month; Sidney, 8, Frances, 7, Nancy, 13, and Edmond Moore, 14.

On 23 January 1873, Lawrence Moore, 30, married Vinah Moore, 25, in Wilson County. Minister London Johnson performed the service.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Moore, 38; wife Viny, 25; and children Lee, 16, Nellie, 13, Esther and Delah Ann, 10, John, 7, David, 5, and Austin, 2.

On 6 April 1886, Lee Moore, 21, and Louisa Morgan, 18, were married in Black Creek.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: merchant Lee Moore, 36, wife Louisa, 32, and son Ernest, 12.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, house carpenter Lawrence Moore, 70; wife Lavinia, 65; and children Lee, 38, Joe, 36, John, 34, Benjamin, 32, Annie, 30, Ellen, 20, and Nellie, 18.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 646 Nash Street, Leon A. Moore, 57, insurance agent; wife Virginia, 29; stepchildren Westry, 11, Wall C., 10, and Lula Darden, 9; and children Walter L., 5, Ruth, 3, and Xzimena Moore, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Pender Street, insurance agent Lee A. Moore, 59; wife Virginia, 37; and children Walter, 14, Ruth, 13, Simenia, 9, Bernard, 6, and Corteze, 4. The house was valued at $5000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Pender Street, insurance agent L.A. Moore, 70, retired insurance man; wife Virginia, 46, day laborer at tobacco factory; children Xizmenna, 19, E.R., 23, cafe waiter, Bernard, 17, drugstore delivery boy, and Cortez, 13.

Lee A. Moore died 17 February 1948 at Mercy Hospital after a stove explosion in his home. Per his death certificate, he was married to Virginia Moore; resided at 106 Pender Street; was born in Wilson County about 1863 to Lawrence and Vinnie Moore; and worked as an insurance agent. William C. Hines was the certifying physician, and Moore was buried in the Masonic cemetery.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1948.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

 

Vicksburg Manor.

In 1925, Samuel H. Vick engaged a surveyor to lay out several hundred lots on a large tract of land he owned southeast of downtown Wilson. Vicksburg Manor was to be called Vicksburg Manor, and a Durham auction company handled sales. A twenty-five feet wide, these lots would have been marketed to developers and working-class buyers.Plans_Page_05 1

Nearly one hundred years later, the footprint of Vicksburg Manor remains largely the same — other than U.S. highway 301 slashing diagonally across it — though several original street names failed to stick. Elliott Street was instead named Elvie and Masonic Street is Lincoln. Douglas Street disappeared under the highway, but a truncated Dunbar exists. Irma (named for a daughter of Vick who died early), Graham and Davie Streets remain, as do the cross streets Manchester, Singletary and Hadley.

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Plat filed at Book 3, page 13 of Plat Book, Wilson County Register of Deeds office, Wilson.