Buffalo (N.Y.) American, 14 August 1924.
Willis Bryant was among the scores of African Americans who left Wilson County for Indianapolis, Indiana, in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Indianapolis Star, 20 March 1915.
Probably, in the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Louiza Bryant, 30; Cornelius Harriss, 23; Catherine Harriss, 20; Cornelius Harriss, 1; Ann Bryant, 9; Willie Bryant, 8; and Alice Ellis, 15.
Catalogue of Lincoln University, Chester County, Pennsylvania, for the Academical Year 1886-87 (1887).
On 4 May 1890, Willis Bryant, 26, son of Wiley Bryant and Louisa Branch, married Ida M. Webb, 22, in Marion County, Indiana.
As were many Lincoln alumni, Bryant was very active in the Presbyterian church and helped found Senate Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Indianapolis News, 20 June 1892.
In the 1900 census of Center township, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 808 Wyoming Street, coal dealer Willis Bryant, 36; wife Ida, 32; and children Ralph, 6, and Edna May, 1.
In September 1900, Wilson native Daniel C. Suggs, then teaching at Georgia State College, visited the Bryants in Indianapolis. Suggs was also a Lincoln graduate.
Indianapolis News, 7 September 1900.
Fifteen years after he graduated, Bryant and his wife returned to Pennsylvania to attend a Lincoln graduation, then made a round of East Coast cities.
Indianapolis News, 25 May 1901.
In 1901, Lucy Gay visited her uncle Willis Bryant in Indianapolis. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Sam Gay, 54; wife Alice, 50; and children Charlie C., 23, Edgar B., 25, Lucy, 17, Samuel, 14, Albert and Beatrice, 10, and Lily, 4. [Alice Gay was the 15 year-old Alice Ellis listed in the 1870 census above. When she married Samuel Gay, she gave her maiden name as Bryant.]
Indianapolis News, 28 December 1901.
In October 1904, the Indiana Recorder reprinted “His Trip West,” an article by Harry S. Cummings originally posted in the Afro-American Ledger. In the chronicle of his tour of Indiana cities, Cummings mentioned Wilson native Dr. Joseph H. Ward and Willis Bryant and his father-in-law Charles A. Webb’s transportation and hauling businesses.
Indianapolis News, 22 October 1904.
In 1907, Willis Bryant and other black businessmen formed a committee to assist the city’s Juvenile Court with finding employment for “delinquent colored boys and girls.”
Indianapolis Star, 24 April 1907.
In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 808 Wyoming Street, Willis Bryant, 44; wife Ida M., 42; and children Ottis R., 16, Edna, 11, and Hulda M., 3.
Indianapolis Recorder, 13 March 1915.
Willis Bryant died 19 March 1915, barely a week after celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary.
Indianapolis Recorder, 18 March 1916.
His widow, Ida Webb Bryant, outlived him by decades, and was featured in this 1963 Indianapolis Recorder piece.
Indianapolis Recorder, 22 June 1963.
Like her brother Paul L. Jackson, Mary Elise Jackson Jenkins migrated from Wilson to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Toward the end of her life, she was featured several times in Philadelphia Inquirer articles.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 June 1983.
Philadelphia Daily News, 17 February 1987.
The “very special block” was, of course, the 600 block of East Green Street, home to the Vicks, the Hines/Barnes family, the Hargraves, the Reids, and other striving East Wilsonians. However, Claflin University (then College) was an unusual choice for a Wilson family. I have not been able to determine who the “girl from my home” was.
Elise Jenkins contributed keepsakes to “Let This Be Your Home,” a year-long exhibit at Philadelphia’s Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum [now the African American Museum] chronicling the lives of “the new Philadelphians” who arrived in the city as part of the Great Migration.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 February 1990.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 616 Green Street, Joseph S. Jackson, 48, minister; wife Annie H., 45; and children Mary E., 18, Joseph S., Jr., 15, Paul L., 11, and John B., 9.
On 18 August 1926, Leroy H. Jenkins, of Philadelphia, son of John and Molie Jenkins, married Mary Eleis Jackson, 25, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister J.S. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, C.S. Thomas and H.S. Stanback.
In the 1930 census of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: at 2346 North 25th Street, owned and valued at $2900, South Carolina-born Leroy Jenkins, 33, a doctor of dentistry; North Carolina-born wife Elise, 28; and brother Augustus, 21, automobile works inspector.
In the 1940 census of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: at 2351 West Haggart, owned and valued at $3000, dentist Leroy H. Jenkins, 42; wife Elise, 39; and children Leroy, 8, and Anne, 5.
Mary Elise Jackson Jenkins died 6 May 1990 in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 May 1990.
M. Elise Jackson Jenkins (1901-1990).
Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user GusJenkins.
Wilson Mirror, 5 July 1893.
Probably, in the 1870 census of Wilson , Wilson County: Clay Farmer, 60, Gray W. Farmer, 13, and Jonas Gay, 14. Gray worked in a brickyard.
On 15 March 1876, Gray Farmer, no age listed, married Argent Blount, 20, at Smith Knight‘s in Wilson.
In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter Gray Farmer, 27, wife Argent, and children Ellenor, 3, and Charlie Gray, 2.
Indianapolis Star, 18 May 1939.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Setta Whitfield, 37, domestic servant; Gross Conner, 18, a white news dealer; Tillman McGown, 35, farm laborer, wife Charity, 36, and children Amy, 17, Lucinda, 15, Aaron, 20, Ira, 5, Delia A., 7, Nathan, 3, and Courtney, 1.
In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Tilman McGown, 43, wife Charity, 49, and children Delia A., 18, Ira R., 15, and Nathan, 13.
Ira R. McGowan married Alice A. Stout on 2 December 1894 in Marion County, Indiana.
Indianapolis Journal, 30 April 1895.
In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 928 Camp Street, Ira McGowan, 33, foundry day laborer; wife Alice S., 27; son Benjamin, 4; and two boarders Carrie Stout, 15, and Frank Stout, 13.
In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 928 Camp Street, market house salesman Ira McGowan, 45, born in North Carolina; his Kentucky-born wife Alice, 38; and Indiana-born son Benjamin T., 13.
In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 952 Camp Street, Ira McGowan, 54; wife Alice, 60; son Ben, 23; and daughter-in-law Helen, 27.
In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 952 Camp Street, owned and valued at $6000, Ira R. McGowan, 61, public market salesman; wife Alice, 57; and cousin Lottie Freeman, 8.
Ira McGowan died 17 May 1939 at his home at 952 Camp, Indianapolis. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 January 1865 in North Carolina to unknown parents; worked as a laborer; and was married to Alice McGowan.
Benjamin McGowan died 20 October 1945 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 May 1899 in Indiana to Ira McGowan of North Carolina and Alice Stout of Paris, Kentucky; worked as a custodian at the “Income Tax Division”; and was married to Ruth McGowan.
Xenia Daily Gazette, 11 April 1935.
Ardeaner (Mrs. Fred) Rountree Cosby and David, Helen and Charles P. Rountree Jr. were cousins, the children of Joseph and Adeline Artis Rountree and Charles and Alice Thorn Rountree, respectively. Their relationship to Hannah Ellis Artis Farmer is unclear. Were they related via her first husband, John Artis, son of Arch and Rose Farmer Artis? Via Charles and Joseph Rountree’s father (or grandfather) Jesse H. Artis? Was Ardeaner (who shared a first name with Hannah Farmer’s daughter) a double-cousin via her mother Adeline, daughter of Ned Artis? If so, how were Ned, Arch and Jesse H. Artis related?
In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jackson Ellis, 45; wife Margaret, 36; children Hannah, 17, and Hewel, 11; and Hannah Ellis, 90.
On 29 February 1872, Hannah Ellis, daughter of Jack and Margaret Ellis, married John Artist, son of Arch and Rose Artist, at H. Dew’s.
In the 1894 Polk’s Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory: Artist Hannah (wid John) h James (B[rightwood]). [Brightwood was a railroad settlement formed in the 1870s and is now a neighborhood in northeast Indianapolis.]
On 23 February 1897, Jason Farmer married Hannah Aretts in Marion County, Indiana.
In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 2313 Oxford, day laborer Jason Farmer, 37; wife Hanna, 46; and step-daughters Maggie, 25, cook, Ardena, 14, and Pennie, 12. All were born in North Carolina.
In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 2325 Oxford, foundry laborer Jason Farmer, 46; wife Hanna, 56; and stepdaughter Penetta Artis, 22, hairdresser.
On 25 May 1918, Pennetta Artis, 29, of Wilson, N.C., daughter of John Artis and Hannah Ellis, married Osber Ballinger in Marion County, Indiana.
In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 2325 Oxford, auto shop laborer Jason Farmer, 55; wife Hanna, 60; son-in-law Osborne Ballinger, 26, auto shop laborer, born in Kentucky; and daughter Pettie, 32, housekeeper.
In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: odd jobs laborer Jason C. Farmer, 60, and wife Hanna, 75.
Hannah Farmer died 6 April 1935 in Center township, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 April 1856 in North Carolina to Jack Ellis and Margaret [maiden name unknown]; was married to Jason C. Farmer; lived at 2329 North Oxford; and was buried in Crown Hill cemetery. Maggie Taylor, 441 West 25th, was informant.
Jason Cornelius Farmer applied for a Social Security number in September 1937. Per his application, he was born 6 May 1869 in Wilson, N.C., to Cornelius and Peggy Farmer.
Jason Cornelius Farmer died 12 August 1842 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 May 1853 in Wilson,N.C., in Wilson, N.C., to parents unknown; was a widower; and was a job laborer. Informant was Maggie Taylor.
Ardena A. Hamm died 10 December 1942 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 January 1890 in Wilson, N.C. to John Artis and Hannah Ellis; was married to John H. Hamm; resided at 1038 Roache Street; and worked as a maid. She was buried in Crown Hill cemetery.
Maggie A. Taylor died 30 May 1943 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was born 30 April 1882 in North Carolina to John Artis and Hannah Ellis; was married to John Taylor; resided at 441 West 25th; and was buried in Crown Hill cemetery.
New York Age, 11 July 1912.
On the Fourth of July 1954, the Edwards family — 200 strong — held its 20th annual reunion in Nashville, Nash County, North Carolina. Rev. Buck H. Edwards of Wilson County, the oldest living family member, gave the invocation prior to a dinner of barbecue, fried chicken and slaw.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 July 1954.
The tradition continues! On 4 July 2019, Edwards family members gathered in Wilson to celebrate their 85th annual reunion.
Special thanks to Carla Edwards Williams, granddaughter of B.H. Edwards, for the photo!
The facts are little muddled, but the message is clear. James Lucas was sentenced to 30 days of roadwork after assaulting principal J.D. Reid (not C.L. Reed) for failing to defend Mary Euell from Charles L. Coon’s abuse.
The Union (Wilmington, N.C.) Labor Record, 25 May 1918.
The 1920 census records two African-Americans named James Lucas in Wilson. One was a 16 year-old boy, the other was, at 610 Lodge Street, lumber company laborer James Lucas, 27, with wife Mattie, 30, and children Jack, 13, and Georgia Belle, 11.
Months after the fact, a North Carolina newspaper picked up this blurb about the murder allegedly committed by a Wilson man:
Wilmington Messenger, 1 August 1893.
This short account appeared in an Atlanta paper just after the crime:
The Atlanta Constitution, 4 April 1893.
After Courney’s execution, The Constitution ran a deeply detailed story of Courney’s life and the events that led to Smith’s death:
The Atlanta Constitution, 29 July 1893.