Newspapers

414 North Reid Street.

The one hundred eighty-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: “ca. 1913; 1 story; Levi Peacock House; Queen Anne cottage with hip roof and double-pile plan; aluminum sided but retains distinctive patterned-tin roof; Peacock was a barber.” The patterned-tin roof has been replaced by ordinary shingles.

The original address of this house, as shown in the detail below from the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, appears to have been 418. The drawing of the house shows that the porch wrapping around the Green Street elevation and the front extension were later modifications.

From the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, page 31. Note that East Green Street dead-ended at North Reid at the time, and Queen Street did not yet exist.

Prior to the Peacocks, Henry and Julia Clark Tart owned this house. Henry Tart was a well-regarded drayman, and his headstone is one of the most imposing in Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Henry Tart registered for the World War I draft on 18 September 1918. He recorded his address as the corner of Green and Reid Streets, his birth date as 11 April 1884, and his occupation as self-employed in the transfer business. His wife Julia C. Tart was his next-of-kin, and he signed his card in a neat, well-spaced hand.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tart Julia (c) laundress h Reid cor E Green

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tart Julia (c) lndrs h 418 N Reid

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tart Julia (c) h 418 N Reid; also, Tart Olivia (c) student r 418 N Reid

Thomas Levi Peacock registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1946. Per his registration card, he was born 6 December 1928 in Wilson County; resided at 414 North Reid Street; his contact was Levi Harry Peacock; and he was a student at Darden High School.

Elouise R. Peacock died 15 June 1951 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 July 1906 in Wilson to Etta Fain; was a public school teacher; was married; and resided at 414 North Reid Street. Informant was Jeuetta Anderson.

The front room modification. Wilson Daily Times, 27 April 1962.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2022.

A special Sunday service.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 1936.

As signaled by the use of the honorifics “Mrs.” and “Miss,” Lula Craft and Dovie Adams were white women. The “Stantonsburg colored school house” was on Macon Street near North Whitley Street. Saint Luke Free Will Baptist and Travelers Rest Primitive Baptist were, more or less, “back of” the school, but  I am not familiar with an Ebenezer Baptist in Stantonsburg.

Teen stabs teen; goes to movie.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 October 1942.

On 11 December 1942, Willie Lucas pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Hezekiah Reid. He received a sentence of three to five years in prison, but was paroled by Governor J. Melville Broughton in August 1943, having served nine months.

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  • Willie Lucas
  • Hezekiah Reed

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Westover, farmer Zion Read, 56; wife Lara, 25; and children Zoreana, 8, Hesicar, 12, William, 4, and Walter E., 0. 

Willie Reid died 20 October 1942 at Centre Brick Warehouse, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 June  1923 in Wilson to Zion Reid and Laura Davis; was single; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Cause of death: “homicide — knife wound of left breast.”

Stepney Buck, a faithful newspaper worker.

In an undated manuscript titled “Early Wilson Newpapers,” James H. Evans reminisced about working for various Wilson journals between 1865 and 1882.

As he recalled his hire by Josephus Daniels at the Wilson Advance, Evans noted: “… and by the way, I have been overlooking one very faithful worker on every newspaper in town — Stepny Bush[sic], a colored man, he pulled every Washington hand press on every newspaper in the town, and it kept him very busy; he had press work every day except Sunday.”

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Martha Vick, 30, servant; her children Thomas, 13, Lucy, 8, Peter, 3, and John, 10 months; and Stepney Buck, 50.

In the summer of 1881, a pseudonymous writer contributing news of Elm City happenings praised Buck’s work while the Advance‘s editors were away:

Wilson Advance, 1 July 1881.

A year later, Buck’s name appeared in this incomprehensible jab at future United States Congressman James E. O’Hara published in the Wilson Siftings, which Evans described as “a semi-news and humorous newspaper”:

Wilmington Weekly Star, 4 August 1882.

Eight months later, Buck was dead. On 20 April 1883, horse dealer T.H. Selby, newspaper owner/editor Josephus Daniels, bookkeeper H.R. Strong, printer J.C. Rhodes, James Lucas, and lawyer (and later United States Congressman) F.A. Woodard posted a seventy-dollar bond for the appointment of Selby as administrator of Stepney Buck’s estate. I have found nothing further about this.