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The Oleanders Quartette performs.

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Wilson Daily Times, 8 December 1937.

This was probably the Oleander Quartet, comprised of George Boyd, Cecil Murray, Howard Scott, George Hall, and pianist Elijah Lamar, which performed blues and spirituals on radio, mostly as a backup to Leadbelly, the legendary folk and blues singer. (Notably, the group backed him on a recording of “Pick a Bale of Cotton” circa 1935.)

The birthday of Tyncie Darden Lofton Woodard, 101.

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Wilson Daily Times, 13 January 1981.

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In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Howard Darden, 47, farm laborer; wife Esther, 38; and children Warren, 20, Eliza, 18, Martin, 17, Toby, 12, and Crawford, 1.

On 22 December 1871, Martin Darden, son of Howell Darden and Esther Jordan, married Jane Dew, daughter of Haywood and Jane Dew, at H. Dew’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Martin Darden, 27, farmer; wife Jane, 25; and children Easter, 6, Ellen, 5, and Nellie, 3. Next door: Howell Darden, 53, and children Elizer, 28, Toby, 22, and Crawford, 11.

In the 1900 census of Great Swamp township, Wilson County: farmer Martin Darden, 48; wife Jane, 50; and children Tincey A., 14, Howard, 14, Jineva, 11, and Silvey, 9.

On 15 December 1900, Ben Lofton, 29, married Tynsie Durden, 19, in Pikeville township, Wayne County.

In the 1910 census of Buck Swamp township, Wayne County: Ben Lofton, 42; wife Tincie A., 27; and sons Willard, 3, and Benjiman, 8 months.

Martin Darden died 22 December 1926 in Kenansville township, Duplin County. Per his death certificate, he was 74 years old; was married to Jane Darden; was born in Wilson County to Howard and Easter Darden; and worked as a farmer and blacksmith. Howard Darden of Fremont was informant.

In the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Ben F. Lofton, 63; wife Tyncie, 47; and sons Janeis E., 18, and Major J., 8.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: servant Tincy Lofton, 57, working in a private home.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on 816 Mercer Street, Ruth Lofton, 26, day work stemmer in redrying plant; husband Benjamin, 29, storage room worker in redrying plant; niece Mary Jones, 12; daughter Marjorie, 7; sons Benjamin Jr., 6, and Herbert Lee, 4; roomer Martha Norfleet, 67, widow; mother-in-law Tincy, 56, cook in service in a private home; and brother-in-law Major, 18, stemmer in redrying plant.

In 1942, Major Lofton registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he lived at 816 Mercer Street, Wilson; born 12 December 1921 in Black Creek, N.C.; contact was Tincy Lofton, 816 Mercer Street; and worked for Thomas Barnes, Service Laundry, Five Points.

Tyncie Lofton Woodard died 29 July 1986 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 December 1882 in Wayne County, North Carolina, to Martin Darden and Jane Branch; was a widowed homemaker; and lived at 409 Park View Street, Wilson. Benjamin Lofton, 805 Meadow Street, was informant.

Freeman’s Pond.

Among the many ventures to which Oliver Nestus Freeman turned his hand was the establishment of a recreation area for African-Americans. The exact location of the park is surprisingly hazy, given that it contained a pond large enough to swim and boat in. This article about the 1933 drowning of Lawrence Haskins is the only written reference to Freeman’s Pond that I’ve found. The “fair grounds,” which had hosted horse racing, bicycle racing and baseball since the late 1800s, was beyond city limits in a wooded area just beyond present-day Dick’s Hot Dog Stand and Wells Elementary School.

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Wilson Daily Times, 29 July 1933.

This photo of Connie Freeman and friends in small rowboats on Freeman’s Pond is reproduced at the Freeman Round House and Museum.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Warren Street, Robert Haskins, 37, bottling company laborer; wife Gertrude, 28; and children Mandy, 14, Elizabeth, 12, Estelle, 10, Robert, 7, Lossie, 5, Lawrence, 4, and Thomas, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: insurance agent Robert Haskins, 44; wife Gertrude, 39; and children Mandy, 22, Elizabeth, 20, Estell, 18, Robert, 17, Lossie, 14, Larence, 12, and Tommie, 11.

Laurence Edward Haskins died 29 June 1933 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 September 1917 in Wilson to Robert Haskins and Gertrude Farmer; he was a school boy; and he lived at 1300 Atlantic Street. Cause of death was “accidental drowning while in [sic] bathing in Contentnea Creek.” [This does not comport with the conjectured location for Freeman’s Pond above.]

Williams admits a shooting.

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Statesville Record & Landmark, 16 November 1949.

Here is Delbert Williams‘ death certificate. It reports that he was born 12 May 1912 in Dillon, South Carolina, to Hat Williams and Katie Singletary, was married; lived (and died) on Dew Street; worked as a laborer; and died of a gunshot blast to the neck.

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Sepia Serenade.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 September 1948.

In this Historymakers.org interview, educator/musician/poet Carl W. Hines Jr. spoke of his early musical influences in Wilson: “I discovered rhythm and blues early in my youth and in my hometown, there was one station that played Black music for an hour or two during the day. CPS [Sepia] Serenade was the name of the program, and us teenagers would listen to [Sepia] Serenade during that time, and then we would listen to Nashville, Tennessee, Randy’s Record Mart [WLAC], I don’t know if you know about that, but, this was the days before rock and roll, so, we would listen to Randy’s Record Mart late at night, and we would hear rhythm and blues, the Black music of the day.”

Sepia Serenade was one of two radio shows hosted by Theodore “Ted” Hooker, first on WVOT, then WGTM by the early 1950s. Hooker was Wilson’s first African-American on-air personality, and his one-hour programs were first to showcase “race music.”

Sent to the roads.

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Wilson Times, 17 November 1911.

In this follow-up to “Teck got shot,” we get a close look at the way justice was administered (and reported upon) in 1911.

First, the Times flatly pronounced Herbert “Goldie” Horton guilty of shooting Ed Walker. The trial, however, had been on the charge of carrying a concealed weapon. The “trial for shooting … Walker will be deferred until Ed. recovers or dies.” On the basis of testimony from Jake Tucker, Annie Lewis and Elijah Saunders — testimony that sounds much more relevant to the shooting than mere concealed carry — Wilson’s mayor convicted Horton and sentenced him to four months on a road gang.

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  • Herbert Horton
  • Edward Walker
  • Jake Tucker — Jacob Tucker was also a key witness in the inquest into the homicide of James A. Hunt and the robbery of Neverson Green‘s grocery.
  • Annie Lewis — perhaps, in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 555 Spruce Street, Ed Lewis, 49, odd jobs laborer; wife Nancy, 37, private family cook; sister Sue, 19, factory laborer; and daughter Annie, 16, private family cook.
  • Elijah Saunders

Efficient, painstaking and polite superintendent marries.

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Wilson Mirror, 19 November 1890.

Frank Oscar Blount married Nettie Amanda Steward in Philadelphia in 1890.

Nettie S. Blount of 926 Lombard Street, aged about 30, died 2 April 1892 in Philadelphia. She was buried in Philadelphia’s Lebanon Cemetery.