Maps

504 North Vick Street.

The one hundred sixty-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.

The approximate location of 504 North Vick.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roofed porch.” This house has been demolished.

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Detail from 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harris Milton (c; Florence) lab 504 N Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) lndrs 504 N Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick Street, rented at $12/month, Janie Bright, 26, laundress, and sons James, 7, and Theo, 5; and sister Malisia Murphey, 35, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick, widow Janey Bright, 40, and sons James, 18, CCC camp, and Joshua, 15, new worker.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) cook 504 N Vick; also Bright Jas (c) h 504 N Vick; also Bright Joshua (c) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

In 1942, James Theo Bright registered for the World War II draft in Richmond, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 24 February 1922 in Wilson; lived at 407 East Clay Street, Richmond, Virginia; his contact was mother Jannie Bright, 504 North Vick, Wilson; and he worked for John Sarras, Richmond.

Joshua Royal Bright died 25 October 1943 at “Wilson Co. T.B. Hospital.” Per his death certificate, he was born 12 March 1925 in Wilson to Joshua Bright of Sampson County, N.C., and Jannie Murphy of Duplin County, N.C.; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Magnolia, N.C.

In October 1944, Leslie and Minnie Diggs Artis transferred title to the property at 504 North Vick to their daughter Sallie Mae Artis Bell (later Shackelford).

Wilson Daily Times, 28 October 1944.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c; wid Joshua) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2022.

Lipscomb’s property at East Street.

Plat Book 3, page 67, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Another section of Sallie B. Lipscomb’s property was surveyed, subdivided, and platted in December 1934. Though the name Lipscombe Alley was abandoned in favor of Narrow Way (and later Narroway Street), the layout is readily recognizable today.

Aerial image courtesy of Google Maps.

The Elvie Street area in 1930.

Page 56, 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C.

This page from the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance shows the area around present-day Daniels Learning Center (formerly Elvie Street Elementary School.) Cemetery Street runs along the left side; the old public graveyard lay abandoned in the large blank space alongside it.

Contentnea Guano Company, which manufactured fertilizer, and Export Leaf Tobacco were major employers of African-American men in East Wilson. And real estate developers had already built two rows of shotgun (or “endway”) houses on South Railroad and Elvie Streets to accommodate laborers. The set facing Railroad Street is still intact.

South Pender Street as we know it did not exist, and the street marked Stantonsburg  is what we now call Black Creek Road.

This aerial image, adapted from Google Maps, shows the area today.

Anonymous grave moved to Rest Haven Cemetery.

In January 1974, to make way for a road project — likely the construction of Firestone Parkway — the North Carolina State Highway Commission contracted with a private company to move an unnamed African-American cemetery from Rosebud Church Road to Rest Haven Cemetery. 

The cemetery contained one anonymous grave.

That grave was relocated to a plot adjacent to Bertha T. Pope (1908-1952).

Documents from Grave Removal volume, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The removal of graves from Jones-Hill-Coleman cemetery.

Though the Grave Removals volume in the Wilson County Register of Deeds Office did not include a Removal of Graves Certificate for Julia Boyette Bailey and those buried near her, it did contain this file for the 1995 disinterment and reinterment of graves from the Jones-Hill-Coleman cemetery.

The graves in this large graveyard — on Old Raleigh Road in Oldfields township –were moved to two cemeteries, the nearby Eva Coleman cemetery and Rest Haven cemetery in Wilson. 

The Jones-Hill-Coleman cemetery had six rows of twelve to sixteen graves, but the identities of the bodies buried in most were unknown. 

Fifty bodies were reinterred in a cemetery on Eva Coleman’s property on Old Raleigh Road just west of Interstate 95.

Ten were re-laid to rest in Rest Haven.

 

One hand reel.

The first page of the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map contains a paragraph detailing the city’s fire protection. West of the tracks the fire department utilized horse-drawn equipment, including a steam fire engine, a hook and ladder truck with extension ladders, and 2500 feet of hose. East of the tracks, in “Colored Section” covering roughly sections 11, 12, most of 13, 22, and 23, there was one hand reel with 300 feet of hose — operated by the famous Red Hots.

718 East Green Street.

The one hundred thirty-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.

718 East Green Street, formerly numbered 649, is now an empty lot. Any buildings on the lot were demolished prior to the survey of the East Wilson Historic District. In the early 20th century, however, it was the site of a small Black-owned grocery, one of the earliest in East Wilson. City directories reveal the store’s existence, under an ever-changing series of proprietors, as early as 1908 and as late as the 1940s.

John H. Miller and John H. Lewis are the earliest identified grocers at the location in 1908.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1908.

Four years later, the city directory shows Jacob C. Speight as the owner. He lived two houses down Green Street.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1912.

Detail of page, Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1913.

By 1916, Selly Rogers was the operator of this grocery, as well as another on Stantonsburg Road (now Pender Street South).

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1916.

By 1922, several houses had been built around the store, and its number had changed from 649 to 718.

Detail of page, Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.

Grant J. Foster is listed as the owner in 1925, but within a few years he was operating a grocery on Viola Street.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1925.

The ownership of the grocery during the 1930s is not yet known. By 1941, Green Street Grocery and Market had a white owner, however, John M. Coley.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1941.

Sometime during or after World War II, the building at 718 ceased use as a grocery and became a residence, perhaps as a result of intense post-war housing shortages. By 1947, it was the home of photographer John H. Baker and his wife Rosalee.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 1947.

Elm City in 1923.

I regularly mine Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Wilson for information, but only now have discovered the 1923 maps of Elm City. Sheet 4 covers the town’s historic African-American east side. Three inserts show streets beyond the borders of the map.

Though the street grid has not changed much in a hundred years, the names of Elm City’s streets have.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Elm City, N.C. (1923).

Tarboro Road is now East Langley Road. The “First Baptist Church (Colored),” founded 1875, remains an active congregation, now known as First Missionary Baptist Church of  Elm City. The building now sits perpendicular to the road.

Corker Street is now Tyson Lane. The Elm City Colored Graded School stood near its intersection with Church Street.

Wilson Street retains it name. A lodge hall — Masons? Odd Fellows? — stood near the current location of Wynn’s Chapel Church.

Further east on Wilson, the First Presbyterian Church (Colored), which would gain national attention nearly 40 years later when targeted by the Ku Klux Klan.

Sheet 5 shows the area south of Elm City’s business and residential center. The Free Will Baptist Church (Colored) beneath J.D. Winstead Cotton Gins was Wynn’s Chapel in its original location.

Elm City, Wilson County, N.C., Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Library of Congress.

503 East Hines Street.

The one-hundred-thirty-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 building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; shotgun with shed-roofed porch and gable returns.”

The constriction date of this house puzzling. Hines Street did not cross the railroad until the early 1970s. When it was finally cut through, Hines Street followed, more or less, the course of the old Wiggins Street, which no longer exists. But Wiggins Street had stopped at Stantonsburg [now Pender] Street before picking up again east of Manchester Street. The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows no street east of Stantonsburg and no house either. 

And 503 East Hines? This isn’t the 500 block of East Hines Street. It should be the 800.

Was this house moved from elsewhere? 

Ah!

In my post on 505 South Pender, I noted that two adjacent houses on then-Stantonsburg Street had been cleared out to make room for Hines Street, which was much wider than Wiggins. They were numbered 501 and 503. Was 503 Stantonsburg Street simply lifted from its lot and slotted behind, and perpendicular to, 505?

Detail from Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.

I am certain this is the case.

503 Stantonsburg Street is now 503 East Hines, though the house is in the 800 block. 503 and 505 are identical shotgun houses, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn map. Photographs of 503 and 505 (prior to renovation) confirm that they share vented gables with gable returns, shed-roofed front porches, and no back porches. 503 has been heavily, but superficially, modified, with faux-brick tarpaper siding and tin skirting. Cinderblock pillars have replaced the original brick; the porch posts, probably originally turned, have been replaced with four-by-fours; and a small shed-roofed porch has been tacked onto the back.

The houses shown in 1922 at 507 and 509 Stantonsburg are long demolished, but 511 — which was identical to 503 and 505 — is under renovation. Will 503 be renovated next?

The rear of 503 East Hines.

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In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thompson Nelson (c) mill hd h 503 Stantonsburg

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thompson Nelson (c; Annie M) lab h 503 Stantonsburg

In 1930, the city directory lists the house as vacant.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hammett John S (c) City Light Water & Gas Dept h 503 Stantonsburg

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hammett John S (c; Flossie L) firemn Town of Wilson h 503 Stantonsburg

This aerial image, courtesy of Google Maps, shows 503 East Hines tucked behind the apartment building that replaced 507 South Pender [Stantonsburg] Street.

Photos taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2021.

Distribution of the slave population of the U.S. South.

In about 1861, the United States Coastal Survey issued a map showing the distribution of enslaved people throughout the South. As Susan Schulten noted in a 9 December 2010 piece called “Visualizing Slavery,” “[t]hough many Americans knew that dependence on slave labor varied throughout the South, these maps uniquely captured the complexity of the institution and struck a chord with a public hungry for information about the rebellion.”

Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States Compiled from the Census of 1860 — Sold for the Benefit of the Sick and Wounded Soldiers of the U. S. Army.

A close-up of eastern North Carolina shows that Wilson County, with a population 37% enslaved, lay at the western edge of the state’s heaviest band of slave-holding counties.