Newspapers

Finch’s Mill Road (or, Erasure, no. 2).

Wilson Advance, 16 February 1899.

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Wrote Bainbridge and Ohno in Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980):

“Finch’s Mill Road was developed in the 1920’s on the former site of a shantytown.”

The “shantytown,” of course, was an African-American community. Until the 1920s, Finch’s Mill, like nearby Grabneck, was a black westside neighborhood.

“A natural extension of Residence Park, lying between that neighborhood and the main road to Raleigh (Rt. 264), Finch’s Mill Road, as it name suggests, once led to Finch’s Mill, outside of Wilson. A major change in the roadway in the 1920’s and then again in the 1970’s has changed this neighborhood. In the 1920’s Finch’s Mill Road became a less traveled way and it linked the older residential neighborhoods to the fashionable neighborhood which was to grow in the 1930;s along the Raleigh Road axis beyond Recreation Park. Finch’s Mill Road sill branches this gap between the old and the new neighborhoods. The character of the neighborhood is mainly residential, although the Recreation Park creates a large public open space. A few houses were built here in the 1920’s, but the bulk of the growth of the neighborhood took place after 1930, although few houses are being constructed in the 1970’s.”

Here is Finch’s Mill Road as depicted in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, branching west off the northern end of Kenan Street and heading out toward Nash County. It is lined with tiny duplexes, likely no more than one or two rooms per side. (Finch’s Mill Road is now Sunset Road. South Bynum roughly follows the course of today’s Raleigh Road; the little spur is Cozart Road; and Sunset Drive is now Sunset Crescent.)

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, 29 households appear on Finch Mill Road, every single one of them African-American.

Excerpt from 1910 census of E.D. 114, Wilson township, Wilson County.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 October 1918.

In 1920,  the census taker recorded 23 households on Finch’s Mill, mostly African-American, but with a sizable white minority. All were farmers, and none of the black heads of household owned their land. Soon, however, there would be no farmers of any kind at the end of the road nearest town.

In the mid 1920s, a large swath of the neighborhood, now known as Westover, was subdivided into “high-class residential” lots on Kenan and Bynum Streets, Sunset Road and Sunset Crescent, and offered for sale at auction:

Wilson Mirror, 16 December 1924.

Wilson Mirror, 17 December 1924.

By 1930, the old neighborhood was gone. Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory for that year lists only four occupied households on “Finch’s Road” and only one by an African-American family, the Reeds at #630. It’s not entirely clear what thoroughfare was considered Finch’s at that point, as the section of Finch’s Mill off Kenan Street had been rechristened Sunset Road and was home to Wilson’s white elite. The 1930 census lists cotton merchant Willie T. Lamm in a $25,000 house on “Westover.” Next door, in what may have been the last of the little duplexes shown on the 1922 Sanborn map, this household: Louisiana-born farmer Zion Read, 56, his North Carolina-born wife Lara, 25, and children Zoreana, 8, Hesicae, 12, William, 4, and Walter E., 0, in one half, and farm helper Jack Dixon, 25, wife Hattie, 24, their children John H., 3, and Susie M., 0, and a roomer Fes Scarboro, 45, in the other. Each family paid $6/month rent. Nearby, wholesale distributor John J. Lane was listed in a $15,000 house at 1015 Sunset Drive.

This Google Maps image shows today’s short stretch of Sunset Road, formerly Finch’s Mill Road, between Kenan Street and its dead-end at Recreation Park Community Center. The old road would have skirted the swimming pool and continued west across Hominy Swamp toward Finch’s Mill, five miles away near what is now the intersection of Raleigh Road/U.S. 264 and Interstate 95.

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  • Windsor Darden — in the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Winsor Dardin, 45; wife Mattie, 35; and children George, 22, Jesse, 16, Willie, 14, Winsor, 12, Charlie, 10, Olivia, 7, Annie M., Leroy, 3, and Mattie, 9 months.
  • Luther, Henry and Lottie Harris

Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1910.

The obituaries of Mary R. Wingate and Ozzie Locus.

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Wilson Daily Times, 2 September 1949.

  • Mary Rachel Wingate

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Gay Street, rented at $16/month, Remond Wingate, 29, cotton oil mill laborer; wife Mary R., 24; daughters Cathleen, 7, and Mary E., 0; and roomers William White, 20, drugstore delivery man, and Lettice Owens, 17, cotton oil mill laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Gay Street, rented at $14/month, Fred Wingate, 40, oil mill fireman; wife Mary, 34, tobacco factory laborer’ daughters Mary E., 10, and Valera, 1; cousin Lillie Robinson, 20, born South Carolina; stepdaughter Catherine White, 17; and niece Lavonne White, no age listed.

Mary Rachel Wingate died 28 August 1949 at her home at 802 Gay Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 June 1905 on Salemburg [Sampson County], North Carolina to Getrue Royall and Sallie Blackwell and was married. Informant was Pauline Thompson, 802 Gay.

  • Ozzie Luzelia Davis Locus

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn Road, farmer Richard E. Davis, 44; wife Lessie A., 42; and children William A., 21; Albert E., 18; Retha M., 16; Jessie L., 14; Richard E., 12; James I., 10; Susie M., 7; Osie L., 5; Dorris A., 3; and Lessie M., 3 months.

In the 1940 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Richard Davis, 56, farmer; wife Lessie, 54; and children Richard E., 22, James I., 20, Susie M., 17, Ozzie, 16, Davis L., 13; Lessie M., 10, Gladys F., 8; and grandchildren Violene, 10, James A., 6, and Bythia L., 8.

Ozzie Locus died 30 August 1949 near Sims, Old Fields township. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 June 1924 in Wilson County to Richard Davis and Lessie Atkinson; was engaged in farming; and was buried at Rocky Branch church.

Who did religion show plainest in the face of?

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 March 1934.

Notes from Julius John Thorn’s tribute to Wade Barnes:

  • “Elder A.J. Moore’s wife, late of Whitakers, N.C., was his young mistress in the days of slavery”
  • “Ex-sheriff Ed Farmer’s father [Larry Dew Farmer], late of Wilson County, was his master.”
  • “He joined the church at London, Wilson Co., about 1890, and was baptized by Elder Peter Battle.”
  • He was a deacon.
  • He died 2 March 1934, aged 89.
  • Elder C.H. Hagans may have preached his funeral — Charles H. Hagans.
  • He was buried in the colored cemetery in Elm City.
  • He was a “good, useful and noble old colored Lamb of God.”

——

Per Some Black Families of Wilson County, North Carolina, a compilation of The Hugh B. Johnston Working Papers published in 1997 by Wilson County Genealogical Society, in notes on the family of Benjamin and Feriby Woodard Artis:

“5. Julia Ann ‘Juda’ Artis was born on April 25, 1865, and died on April 28, 1960. She first married Columbus ‘Lum’ Thompson and lived near Lucama. [Their children were twins Mary Jane and Martha J. Thompson, born 26 April 1886. Martha married Joe Barnes, son of Wilson ‘Wilse’ Barnes, and their son Frank Barnes was born 29 January, 1909. Martha died 15 April 1909.]

“Jude Artis married secondly Wade Barnes, son of Silas Barnes and wife Rosetta Farmer. He was born August 1, 1845, and died on March 2, 1934. (He had first married Adeline Bynum, by whom he had (1) Rev. John Albert Barnes (Methodist, died July 20, 1944) who married Sarah Staton, (2) Willie Barnes never married, and (3) Betsy Barnes married Ned Holland of Delaware.) The Wilson Daily Times of March 24, 1934, carried a “Memorial to Wade Barnes” written by John Julius Thorne. … Frank Barnes was born on December 4, 1888. Ned Barnes was born on March 15, 1890. On December 12, 1917, he married Sally Simms, daughter of Ben Rawls and Mary Knight Bullock. She was born on April 1, 1900, and was reared by Jim and Hattie Simms. In the 1970 they lived at the corner of Pender and Dixon Street in Elm City. During World War I he served with the 344th Labor Battalion in the European Theatre.”

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In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Silas Barnes, 49; wife Rosa, 45; and children Feribee, 20, and Wade, 23.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Wade Barnes, 33; wife Adline, 25; and children John, 6, Willis, 3, and Varina, 1; plus grandmother Dury Simms, 60.

On 20 August 1892, Wade Barnes, 45, of Gardners, son of Silas and Rose Barnes, married Juda Thompson, 26, of Gardners, daughter of Ben and Feribe Artis. Missionary Baptist minister W.T.H. Woodward performed the ceremony in Wilson in the presence of [illegible] Townsend, Kate Perry and Louisa Williams.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Wade Barnes, 53; wife Julia Ann, 36; and children Betsy, 16, Martha, 15, and Ned, 9.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Farmers Mill Pond Road, Wade Barnes, 69; wife Julie Ann, 47; children Ned, 19, and Betsy, 23, and grandson Frank, 1.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Nashville Road, Waid Barnes, 75, and wife Julia, 56.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: in a home owned and valued at $3000. farm laborer Wade Barnes, 83; wife Juliann, 65; Frank, 21; lodger Alevia Batts, 39, widowed servant; and sister-in-law Mary Westray, 50, divorced.

 

Destroyed by fire.

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Wilson Daily Times, 1 April 1931.

In the 1910 census of Lumber Bridge township, Robeson County, North Carolina: Walter Bullard, 39; wife Emma, 38; and children Siilva J., 17, Mollie, 15, John F., 17, Earnest, 11, Wesley, 8, Walter S., 5, and Sudie B., 2.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farmer Walter Bullard, 50; wife Emmy, 42; and children Walter S., 15, Sudie Belle, 10, Olivia, 7, Sarah, 5, and Alice, 4.

On 26 October 1926, Walter Bullard, 21, son of Walter Emma Bullard, married Lucille Powell, 22, daughter of Jno. and Mariah Powell, in Wilson. John P. Battle applied for the license. E.H. Cox, a minister of the U.A. F. Will Baptist Church, performed the ceremony in the presence of Cora Hinnant, Joe Anna Hinnant and Mary Burnett.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bullard Walter B (c; Lucille) lab h 109 N Carroll

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bullard Walter B (c; Lucille) taxi driver h 105 N Carroll

Walter Bullard died 12 July 1946 in the Wilson County Sanitorium. Per his death certificate, he was 41 years old; was born in Robeson County, North Carolina, to Walter Bullard and Amy Clark; was married to Ester Bullard; worked as a bell boy and taxi driver; and lived at 1008 Carolina Street. He was buried at Rountree’s cemetery. Informant was Emma Bullard.

 

Corner Line Primitive Baptist.

Lois Artis Daniels generously shared several photographs of Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church, a congregation active for about 100 years near the town of Saratoga. Her great-great-grandmother Eva Ellis Edmundson Barnes was the first of many family members who belonged to Corner Line, and was married to its long-time pastor, Reverend Wiley Barnes. Daniels’ great-grandmother Ella Jane Edmundson Smith was also a member, as were her daughters Geneva Smith Anderson (Daniels’ grandmother) and Bessie Smith Barnes.

Corner-Line Primitive Baptist Church sign, 1989.

Exterior of Corner-Line Primitive Baptist Church, 2003.

Interior of Corner-Line Primitive Baptist, 1989.

This photo and write-up of Corner Line appear in Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Inventory (1980).

“The parent institution of Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church was Bartee Church in Stantonsburg Township. In the early twentieth century Bartee Church was abandoned and Thomas and Victoria Felton gave the land and lumber for the construction of the church. The name of the church was inspired by its location at the junction of three separately owned parcels of land. The first pastor was Elder Sam Brystern, who served the church until his death in 1930. Wiley Barnes was the church’s second pastor, and his son, Tom Barnes, took charge of the church in 1964 and is the present pastor. The Barnes family has historically been active in church affairs and Ellen, grandmother of the present paster, was one of the first black members of the White Oak Primitive Baptist Church. The church building, like many other Wilson County country churches, is a one-room rectangular building with a gable roof. The gable end entrance consists of double five-panel doors and the six-over-six windows in the side and rear elevations are protected by board and batten shutters.”

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On 20 December 1899, Rufus Edmundson, 24, son of Green Edmundson and Rancy Edmundson, married Eva Ellis, 25, daughter of Laura Hudson, at “Few In Number Church” in Township #8. [Township 8? Were they married in Edgecombe County? The license was issued in Wilson County.] Primitive Baptist minister N.T. Johnson performed the ceremony; Louis Hagins applied for the license.

In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Rufus Edmundson, 28; wife Eva, 26; and children Robert, 2, and Alfred, 2 months.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Ellis Road, farmer Rufus Edmonson, 33; wife Eva, 33; and children Ella J., 7, Hada, 6, Sadie, 4, and “son-in-law” [stepson] Robert, 13.

On 2 January 1918, Crum Smith, 19, of Saratoga, son of Ed and Annie Smith, married Ella Edmundson, 18, daughter of Rufus and Eva Edmundson, on J.B. Eason’s farm in Saratoga. Rufus Edmundson applied for the license, and Sam Bynum, Isaa Bynum and James Bynum witnessed.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Rufus Edmonson, 45; wife Eva, 46; and children Robert, 20, Haden, 17, and Sadie, 15.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Crum Smith, 21, wife Ella, 19, and daughter Eva, 1.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Rufus Edmundson, 50, and wife Eva, 32.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, farmer Crumble Smith, 31; wife Ella, 30; and children Jeneva, 11, Tommy, 10, Minnie, 7, Mary, 5, Bessie, 4, Moses, 2, and Hattie, 1.

Rufus S. Edmundson died 13 May 1934 in Saratoga township. Per his death certificate, he was born in Greene County, North Carolina, to Green Edmundson; was married to Eva Edmundson; and was a farmer. Wiley Barnes was informant.

Ella Jane Smith died 23 December 1977 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 August 1903 in Wilson County to Rufus Edmundson and Eva Rice; resided in Stantonsburg; and her informant was Geneva S. Anderson, 1630 Freeman Street Extension, Wilson.

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Mid-century obituaries for two of Corner Line’s members:

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Wilson Daily Times, 1 February 1947.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1952.

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Wilson Daily Times, 17 April 1993.

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Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church is now abandoned, but still stands on Speight School Road near its termination at Highway 264 Alternate. This Google Maps image dates to 2012.

 

Goodsey H. Holden.

Before moving to Wilson, brickmason and restaurateur Goodsey H. Holden led a colorful life in Johnston and Harnett Counties.

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Smithfield Herald, 17 September 1887.

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The Central Times (Dunn, N.C.), 23 June 1892.

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On 28 November 1883, Goodsey Holden married Laura McCullers in Johnston County, North Carolina.

In the 1900 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County, North Carolina: on Church Street, hotel cook Nathan Eason, 28; wife Mary E., 28; and son Luther, 2; boarder James Dean, 42, a clergyman;  boarders Goodsy, 38, James, 26, and Eddie Holden, 16, all brickmasons; and boarder Andrew McCellus, 30, painter. Goodsy Holden reported that he was married.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Goodsey Holden, 36; wife Lorra, 35; and children Estell, 15, Albertha, 14, and Ianea, 11.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Goodsy, bricklyr 603 S Spring

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Goodsy H, eating house 406 1/2 S Spring h 603 S Spring

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 59; wife Laura, 52; and roomer Carrie Strickland, 29, tobacco factory worker.

In 1924, the Wilson Daily Times published a notice of execution sale for Holden’s Spring Street property, which meant that a court had ordered a sheriff sale to satisfy an unpaid debt — in this case, to Wilson Wholesale Company.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 November 1924.

The Holdens’ large South Spring home, as shown in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.

Laura Etta Holden died 13 September 1929 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 59 years old; was born in Johnston County to Willis McCullers and Emly Sanders; was married to Goodsey Holden; and resided at 804 East Green Street. Ione Perrington was informant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 512 East Spruce Street, owned and valued at $1500, Gustus Holden, 65, brickmason, and roomers Ella Farmer, 35, laundress, and Corrine Young, 40, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 400 Viola Street, widower Goodsey Holden, 77.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1947.

 

The colored people deserve this relief.

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Wilson Daily Times, 19 February 1937.

In 1940, the city of Wilson took definite steps to close down the town’s old colored cemetery, which had had no burials since the mid-1920s, and move its graves to the new cemetery, Rest Haven. As this article demonstrates, however, conditions at Rest Haven were also challenging. Unpaved and poorly maintained roads and access drives, as well as bad drainage, blocked burials for weeks at a stretch, forcing undertakers to put bodies in storage.

An aged negro pays her respects.

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Wilson Daily Times, 23 August 1929.

I have not been able to locate Lucy Worthington in records.

Virginia “Jennie” Wise Boykin’s husband William Monroe Boykin was the son of Hilliard and Willie Flowers Boykin. In the 1850 census of Nash County, Hilliard Boykin reported $200 worth of real estate and, in the slave schedule, ownership of three enslaved people — a 35 year-old mulatto man, a 21 year-old mulatto man, and an 11 year-old black girl. With the creation of Wilson County in 1855, the 1860 census found Hilliard Boykin in Old Fields district of Wilson County (with son Monro, 15, in his household), claiming $3000 in real property and $7655 in personal property, which included women aged 33 and 22; girls aged 3, 2, and one month; and boys aged 7, 5 and 4. Presumably, Lucy Worthington was one of this group of enslaved people.

Obituary of Mary Mercer Williams Bullock, 104.

Mrs. Mary M. Mercer Bullock, 104, of 1712 Westwood Avenue, Wilson, NC, passed away on January 4, 2017 at Wilson Medical Center.

The funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday, January, 11, 2017 at 12:00 noon at Contending For The Faith Church Ministries, 1006 Academy Street, Wilson, NC.  Elder Johnny Stevenson will deliver the message and burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery, Lane Street Ext., Wilson, NC.

A public viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2017 from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Wilson, NC with the family present for an inspirational wake service from 6:00 pm until 7::00 pm.

Mrs. Bullock was preceded in death by her first husband and the father of her children, Samuel Williams.  Later, after Mr. Williams passed, she married Gurney Bullock who also passed prior to her death.  In addition, she was preceded in death by her parents, Dempsey Mercer and Mattie Knight Mercer; two sons, Samuel Williams, Jr. and Charlie Williams; one daughter, Elnora W. Williams Green; five brothers, Robert Mercer, Charles Mercer, Will Mercer, James Mercer and Walter Lee Mercer; and one sister, Cornelia Barnes.

She leaves cherished memories to: four daughters, Daisy Credle (Hubert) of Bayboro, NC, Cleo Applewhite (June) of Wilson, NC, Lugene Williams of the home and Mattie King of New York, NY; 22 grandchildren; 55 great grandchildren; 43 great great grandchildren;  and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

Arrangements are Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Wilson, NC.

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In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Dempsy Mercer, 40, widower, and children Charley, 17, William, 15, Robert, 10, Walter, 9, and Maggie, 8; and sister-in-law Maggie Hines, 26, and her children Lula, 8, Silvy, 7, and James, 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 527 Lodge Street, Louise B. Johnson, 34; Samuel Williams, 34; wife Mary, 28; and children Samuel Jr., 11, Daisey Lee, 6, Cleo, 5, Charlie Lee, 2, and Eugenia, 9 months. Johnson and Samuel and Mary Samuel Williams worked in a tobacco redrying factory.

Samuel Williams died 5 June 1949 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 December 1904 in Wilson County to Bill Williams and Rachel Andrews; was a farmer; resided at Route 3, Elm City; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Mary Williams was informant.

Gurney Bullock, 48, son of Ed and Lula Thomas Bullock, married Mary Mercer Williams, 38, daughter of Demp and Mattie Knight Mercer, on 30 December 1950 in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user credler2.