Newspapers

They believed they were merely playing.

On 27 March 1932, Chester Parker shot to death his sister Sarah’s husband, Ed Howard.

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 9.59.20 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 28 March 1932. 

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, David Parker, 39; wife Elizabeth, 38; and children William E., 15, Richard, 13, Anna, 12, Sarah, 10, Sylvania, 9, Millie K., 7, Mary L., 5, Chester, 3, and John F., 7 months.

Eddie Howard, 21, of Edgecombe County, son of Tim and Mary Howard, married Sarah Parker, 20, of Gardners township, on 4 February 1920 at Joe Pender‘s house in Gardners township. Primitive Baptist elder Ruffin Hymon performed the ceremony in the presence of Crumel Farmer, John Barnes and another.

S123_1080-2238.jpg

“Murdered by Chester Parker shot through chest with revolver”

 

 

 

 

Princess Batoula?

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 2.30.53 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 2.31.24 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 2.31.56 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 2.32.08 PM.png

Indianapolis Recorder, 22 July 1939.

The Recorder was rather late to Harriett Mercer‘s remarkable story. A month earlier, the New York Daily News had cast Mercer as latter-day Cinderella in a piece whose mockery was only thinly veiled.

A few basics about Mercer: she was born in Wilson about 1913; lived in Philadelphia with her uncle and family; graduated Simon Gratz High School; briefly attended Cheyney State; worked as a teacher in a W.P.A. project; moved to New York after a layoff; and found work as a laundress. (Note that the African-American Recorder — choosing to focus on the uplifting aspects of Mercer’s life — omitted this last detail. The Daily News, on the other hand, blared it in its headline.)

New York Daily News, 27 June 1939.

There was, unfortunately, more.  Reportedly, a Pullman porter named Carson C. Rollins Jr. glanced at a newspaper on a train to find that his estranged wife, Harriett Mercer Rollins, was about to marry Prince Batoula of Senegal. Rollins claimed that the two had married in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1931 and separated ten months later when she walked out on him.

New York Daily News, 29 July 1939.

Things got worse.

Baltimore Afro-American, 22 July 1939.

Perhaps needless to say, Prince Batoula was no prince at all. But here’s what the Brooklyn Daily Eagle had to say about him when he arrived in New York:


7 May 1939.

The New York Age, another African-American paper, ran a full article six days later. Batoula had arrived at the World’s Fair to find that he was not welcome in the best New York hotels and was forced to seek lodging in Harlem at the Braddock, which adjoined the Apollo Theater and catered mostly to the theatrical trade. In addition to touting his own religion, Batoula, a self-professed World War I hero, expressed in meeting Father Divine and Franklin D. Roosevelt and hoped to “make a tour of the Negro educational institutions of the South.”

In fact, per historian Katherine Keller, who is working on a scholarly treatment of his life, Prince Batoula was Mamadou Alioune Kane, a Senegalese immigrant to France who worked as a taxi driver and fruit seller in Paris before transforming himself into African royalty.

Prince Batoula, Pittsburgh Courier, 20 May 1939.

As for Harriett Mercer, there’s relatively little.

Pittsburgh Courier, 1 July 1939.

I have found no references to her birth family or life in North Carolina. Nor have I found her 1931 marriage license to Carson Rollins.

In the 1930 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: at 1910 North 21st Street, John Highsmith, 45, grocery store keeper; wife Katie, 42; uncle William Mercer, 18; nieces Cary, 14, and Harritt Mercer, 17; and roomers Winnie Robinson, 25, maid, and Elizabeth Cart, 35, cook, all born in North Carolina.

And here, the manifest for the ship that returned Harriett Mercer to New York.

She apparently made the best of her situation, spending six weeks in France. On 10 August 1939, she boarded the S.S. Champlain at Le Havre, bound for New York City. On 17 August, she was back at home.

New York New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957, www. familysearch.org.

George H. Washington is buried at Crown Hill.

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 1.04.11 PM.png

Indianapolis Recorder, 9 May 1936.

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: blacksmith Jerry Washington, 42; wife Jane, 29; and children Georgiana, 14, Joshua, 12, William, 11, George H., 7, Andrew, 5, and Samuel, 2.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: blacksmith Jerry Washington, 52; wife Jane, 40; and children George H., 17, works in blacksmith shop, Andrew, 14, Samuel, 12, Anna Maria, 8, Paul, 6, Sarah Jane, 3, and Mary Cathren, 11 months.

On 15 August 1901, George Henry Washington, 38, of Wilson, son of Jerry and Jane Washington, married Cora Miller, 25, of Wilson, daughter of Cynthia Miller, at the bride’s residence on Green Street. A.M.E. Zion minister C.L. Alexander performed the service in the presence of Sallie M. Barbour and Alice F. Moore. [George Washington was the brother of Samuel H. Vick‘s wife, Annie Washington Vick. She is the “Anna Vicks” erroneously listed as George’s daughter in the obituary.]

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana: Marie Smith, 35, single, laundress, born in Kentucky, and George H. Washington, 50, widower, railroad company coach cleaner, born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed cook Lou Miller; her daughter Cora Washington, 34, a widowed school teacher; her grandchildren Irene, 7, James, 4, and Cora Washington, 1; and two boarders, Mary Hadley, 20, cook, and Mary Pender, 60, widowed servant. [Obviously, neither George nor Cora Washington was, in fact, a widower. They had been either separated (most likely) or divorced since George H. Washington had taken up residence in Indiana in 1903.]

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana: Emma Lilly, 49, widow, laundress, born in Kentucky, and George Washington, 30 [sic], married, railroad employee, born in North Carolina.

George H. Washington died 28 April 1936 in Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1856 in Wilson County, North Carolina, to Jerry Washington; was the widower of Cora Washington; was a laborer; and lived at 802 1/2 Indiana Avenue.

The remains of West Vick, a colored soldier, return.

Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 9.41.30 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 18 March 1919.

In the 1900 census of Stony Creek township, Nash County: farm laborer John Vick, 45; wife Hanna, 40; and children Tassey, 21, Clara, 19, Johnnie, 17, Berry, 15, Elisha, 13, Joseph, 10, Westray, 9, Paul 3, and Baby, 1.

Wesley Vick, 21, son of John and Hannah Vick, married Sarah Locus, 20, daughter of Jesse and Florida Locus, on 25 May 1912, in Wilson.

Three drown; three thousand attend funeral.

The day after graduation, Darden High School’s Class of 1942 road-tripped south to Kinston for a picnic at a lake. The day ended in tragedy when three young men drowned trying to save the life of a classmate.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 June 1942.

The Daily Times estimated that three thousand mourners jammed the “Wilson Community Center” [Reid Street Community Center] for joint services for Harvey Ford, Raymond Edwards, and Russell Clay

202002191936597820.png

Wilson Daily Times, 8 June 1942.

  • Harvey Ford — Per his death certificate, Harvey Gray Ford died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson, N.C., to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Mamie Ford, 910 East Green Street, was informant.
  • Raymond Edwards — Per his death certificate, Raymond Edwards died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 15 November 1924 in Wilson, N.C., to McKenly Edwards of Greene County and Maggie Thomas of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Maggie Edwards, 609 South Railroad Street, was informant.
  • Russell Clay — Per his death certificate, Russell Clay died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 April 1921 in Jarrett, Virginia, to Larry Clay of Wilson, and Hattie Grice of Wilson; was a student; and was single. He was buried in Newsome cemetery near Lucama. Hattie Clay, 902 Viola Street, was informant.
  • Parthenia Robinson — Anne Parthenia Robinson. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Vick Street, barber Golden Robinson, 30; wife Bertie, 23; and children Parthenia, 5, Gold M., 3, and Glean, 1.
  • E.M. Barnes — Edward M. Barnes was principal of C.H. Darden High School.
  • Rev. F.M. Davis — Fred M. Davis was pastor of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Rev. A.D. Dunstan
  • Charles D. James
  • Eunice Cooke — 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.
  • James Mincey — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: fertilizer plant laborer James Mincey, 39; wife Lucinda, 35; grandfather William Ran, 87, widower; and James Mincey Jr., 15.
  • Eleanor Reid — Eleanor P. Reid was principal of Sallie Barbour Elementary School.
  • Annie Cooke
  • M.D. Williams — Malcolm D. Williams was principal of Samuel Vick Elementary School.
  • Rev. W.A. Hillard — in 1942, William Alexander Hilliard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; was a minister in the A.M.E. Zion Church serving in Wilson; resided at 119 Pender Street; and his contact was Mrs. Veta Watson, 2449 Woodland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Quincey Ford — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 409 Carroll Street, carpenter Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19, tobacco factory laborers; wife Mayme, 48, teacher; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22, tobacco factory laborer; daughter Leah, 22, and granddaughter Yvette, 2.
  • Leah Ford — Leah Ford Sellers‘ daughter Yevette Sellers died just three and a half years after her uncle Harvey.
  • Kennie and Maggie Edwards — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 South Railroad Street, William Edwards, 52, farm laborer; wife Lillie, 49; son McKinley, 28, wife Maggie, 25; and son Ramond, 6.
  • Hattie Clay — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 902 Viola, hospital cook Hattie Clay, 42, widow, and children Russell, 19, Buelah M., 15, and Arthur, 7; plus mother Mary Grice, 76, widow.
  • Beulah Clay
  • Arthur Clay

New school open.

More details from the opening of the Wilson Normal and Industrial School, also known as the Independent School, which opened after African-American students boycotted Wilson public schools.

Screen Shot 2020-03-08 at 10.04.06 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 12 November 1918.

Episcopal priest Robert N. Perry and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis were placed at the school’s head. (As principal and vice principal?) Samuel H. Vick was appointed chairman of the board of directors and Dr. William H. Phillips, secretary. The school was incorporated, and $2400 raised for its operation. The school was to have a high school department (which the Colored Graded School did not.) And most surprisingly, the school building, on Vance Street near Pender, had been the old (white) Methodist church and had been moved several blocks across the tracks to the site.

The Latham-Farmer marriage.

201902072211111882.png

Wilson Daily Times, 8 March 1948.

The Daily Times‘ 8 March 1948 edition announced the marriage of Nelson T. Farmer and Almeter L. Latham. Their marriage license gives a few more details (and the correct spellings of attendees’ names.)

42091_343649-00128.jpg

——

  • Mr. and Mrs. James Lathan — James H. Latham, 21, son of Moses Latham and Fannie [maiden name unknown], married Marzella Jones, 19, daughter of Daniel H. and Lillie J. Jones, at the bride’s home in Wilson on 5 October 1924. Free Will Baptist minister E.W. Hagans performed the ceremony in the presence of Peller Chambers, William Uzzell, and James Brady. In the 1930 census of Williamston, Martin County: on State Highway No. 90, farmer James Latham, 24; wife Marzella, 24; daughter Almeta, 5; and sister Carrie, 15.
  • Almeter La Verne Lathan
  • Nelson Thomas Farmer — Nelson Thomas Farmer registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 10 November 1925 in Wilson County; his contact was father John Robert Farmer, Elm City; and he worked for S.S. Daniel, Elm City.
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Farmer — in the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Jhon R. Farmer, 53; wife Clee, 46; and children Robert, 22, Ruth, 19, Willie, 16, Nelton, 14, Marshall, 12, and Mary Ann, 10.
  • Rev. P.J. McIntyre
  • Jennette Cooper — Jeanette Cooper.
  • Dan H. Jones — in the 1920 census of Rocky Point township, Pender County, North Carolina: widowed farmer Daniel H. Jones, 40, and children Ellis, 17, Lottie, 14, Marsella, 13, Daniel H. Jr., 11, Minnie, 9, Alexandra, 7, and Pembrook, 6. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 700 East Suggs Street, tobacco factory laborer Daniel H. Jones, 49; wife Lou H., 48; children Lottie, 23, Daniel Jr., 21, Alexand, 16, and Pembroke, 15; roomers Alexander, 23, and Minnie Yarborough, 20; grandchildren Hattie L., 16, David, 13, Marian, 24, and Etta Lewis, 21, James Maloyed, 6, and Mattie L. Lewis, 3; and roomer Willie Windley, 30.
  • Alice Jones
  • Rhody Jurify — Rhoda Jones Purefoy died 12 September 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 November 1895 in Virginia to Dennis Jones and Sarah Eliza Miller; was a widow; and lived at 104 South Vick Street. Informant was Thaddeus Purefoy of the home.
  • Bert Farmer
  • Morris Farmer — in 1945, James Morris Farmer registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 4 June 1927 in Wilson County; his contact was John R. Farmer; and he worked “farming with father.”