Oral History

I do like they done.

Martha Ann Tyson Dixon of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, sat for an interview with a Federal Writers Project worker in the late 1930s. Dixon had spent her childhood enslaved near Saratoga, Wilson County, and she and her husband Luke D. Dixon had migrated west in the late 1880s. More than 50 years after Emancipation, she vividly described the hardships of life during and after slavery.

“I am eighty-one years old. I was born close to Saratoga, North Carolina. My mother died before I can recollect and my grandmother raised me. They said my father was a white man. They said Jim Beckton [Becton]. I don’t recollect him. My mother was named Mariah Tyson.

“I recollect how things was. My grandmother was Miss Nancy Tyson’s cook. She had one son named Mr. Seth Tyson. He run her farm. They et in the dining room, we et in the kitchen. Clothes and somethng to eat was scarce. I worked at whatever I was told to do. Grandma told me things to do and Miss Nancy told me what to do. I went to the field when I was pretty little. Once my uncle left the mule standing out in the field and went off to do something else. It come up a hard shower. I crawled under the mule. If I had been still it would have been all right but my hair stood up and tickled the mule’s stomach. The mule jumped and the plough hit me in my hip here at the side. It is a wonder I didn’t get killed.

“After the Civil War was times like now. Money scarce and prices high, and you had to start all over new. Pigs was hard to start, mules and horses was mighty scarce. Seed was scarce. Everything had to be started from the stump. Something to eat was mighty plain and scarce and one or two dresses a year had to do. Folks didn’t study about going so much.”

“I had to rake up leaves and fetch em to the barn to make beds for the little pigs in cold weather. The rake was made out of wood. It had hickory wood teeth and about a foot long. It was heavy. I put my leaves in a basket bout so high [three or four feet high.] I couldn’t tote it — I drug it. I had to get leaves in to do a long time and wait till the snow got off before I could get more. It seem like it snowed a lot. The pigs rooted the leaves all about in day and back up in the corners at night. It was ditched all around. It didn’t get very muddy. Rattle snakes was bad in the mountains. I used to tote water — one bucketful on my head and one bucketful in each hand. We used wooden buckets. It was a lot of fun to hunt guinea nests and turkey nests. When other little children come visiting that is what we would do. We didn’t set around and listen at the grown folks. We toted up rocks and then they made rows [terraces] and rock fences about the yard and garden. They looked so pretty. Some of them would be white, some gray, sometimes it would be mixed. They walled wells with rocks too. All we done or knowed was work. When we got tired there was places to set and rest. The men made plough stocks and hoe handles and worked at the blacksmith shop in snowy weather. I used to pick up literd [lightwood] knots and pile them in piles along the road so they could take them to the house to burn. They made a good light and kindling wood.

“They didn’t whoop Grandma but she whooped me a plenty.

“After the war some white folks would tell Grandma one thing and some others tell her something else.  She kept me and”

“cooked right on. I didn’t know what freedom was. Seemed like most of them I knowed didn’t know what to do. Most of the slaves left the white folks where I was raised. It took a long time to ever get fixed. Some of them died, some went to the cities, some up North, some come to the country. I married and come to Fredonia, Arkansas in 1889. I had been married since I was a young girl. But as I was saying the slaves still hunting a better place and more freedom. Grandma learnt me to set down and be content. We have done better out here than we could done in North Carolina but I don’t believe in so much rambling.

“We come on the passenger train and paid our own way to Arkansas. It was a wild and sickly country and has changed. Not like living in the same country. I try to live like the white folks and Grandma raised me. I do like they done. I think is the reason we have saved and have good a living as we got. We do on as little as we can and save a little for the rainy day.”

——

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Nancy Scarborough, 47; Victoria, 10, Susan, 6, and Laurina Scarborough, 3; farm manager Seth Tyson, 23; and Julia, 18, Nancy, 17, Aaron, 15, and Abner Tyson, 13.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Mary Tyson, 62, with Edith, 23, John, 21, Abraham, 16, and Martha Tyson, 11.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: Martha Tyson, 20, was a cook in the household of white marchant/farmer Mark Atkinson.

Martha Tyson, 26, married Luke Dixon, 26, in Wilson County on 12 February 1885. Minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Batts, Tempey Cotton and Green Taylor.

In the 1910 census of Watensaw township, Prairie County, Arkansas: Luke Dixon, 49, saw filer at Bar factory, and wife Martha M., 52.

In the 1920 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cedar Street, farmer Luke Dixon, 58; wife Martha, 59; and cousins Margaret Tyson, 14, and Oleo McClarin, 9.

In the 1930 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke D. Dixon, 70, born in Virginia, and wife Martha, 70, born in North Carolina, with cousin Allen Reaves, 8.

In the 1940 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke Dixon, 84, born in Virginia, and wife Martha A., 84, born in North Carolina.

Federal Writers’ Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 2, Arkansas, Part 2, Cannon-Evans, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mesn.022.

I joined to be with my husband.

On 25 October 2009, Wilson native Kay C. Westray sat for an interview with a member of Washington, D.C.’s Zion Baptist Church Historical and Preservation Commission’s Oral History Committee. Here is an excerpt:

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

BRISCOE: What is your name?
K. WESTRAY: My name is Kay C. Westray.
BRISCOE: When and when were you born?
K. WESTRAY: I was born on March 6, 1918 in Wilson, North Carolina.
BRISCOE: What were your parents’ names?
K. WESTRAY: My mother’s name was Melissa Hill and my father was named Lovet Hill.
BRISCOE: What is your educational background?
K. WESTRAY: I was educated in the Wilson, North Carolina public schools, and I graduated from Fayetteville State Secondary College in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
BRISCOE: What were the main jobs you have held?
K. WESTRAY: I worked as a clerk at the Veteran’s Administration. I quit that job in 1951. I am now retired.

BRISCOE: Tell me about your marital status and your family.
K. WESTRAY: Since September 6, 1947, I have been married to Lynwood C. Westray. We have been married for 62 years. We have one daughter, Gloria Westray Nuckles, who lives in Fort Stockton, Texas. She teaches at the prison school. We have no grandchildren.
BRISCOE: Where else have you lived?
K. WESTRAY: I lived in Wilson, North Carolina and in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where I went to college. I came to Washington, DC in 1939.
BRISCOE: Thank you for telling me about your life up to now. Our next set of questions will ask about your Faith Life.

FAITH LIFE

BRISCOE: When and where did you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior? What was the name of that church?
K. WESTRAY: I accepted Christ as my Savior and got baptized at 8 or 9 years of age. My father took me to St. Johns AME Zion Church in Wilson, North Carolina. Rev. B. P. Coward was the pastor.
BRISCOE: Why did you join Zion?
K. WESTRAY: I joined Zion in 1947 to be with my husband.

——

In the 1920 census of Township 9, Craven County, North Carolina — farmer Hugh L. Hill, 34; wife Malissie, 32; and children Mamie, 8, Katie, 6, Evolena, 4, and William, 2.

Malissa Hill died 21 March 1929 in childbirth in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 38 years old and was born in Greene County, North Carolina, to Frank Jenkins of Pitt County and Allie Mae Fonville of Greene County. Henry L. Hill was informant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 232 Manchester Street, rented for $18/month, widower Henry L. Hill, 44, sawmill laborer, and children Mamie E., 18; Evenlyne, 15, Katie B., 17, William, 2, Jessie M., 9, Emaniel, 7, Benjamin, 5, and Myrtina, 3.

Henry Lovet Hill died 25 August 1957 of a heart attack at Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 [sic] November 1871 in Craven County to William Jackson Hill and Emma Jane Hill; resided at 507 Hadley Street, Wilson; was married; worked as a preacher and laborer; and “as a lay preacher he had just finished his sermon, turned to sit down, when he slumped over.”

Katie C. Westray, age 100, died “[o]n Monday, May 13, 2013; loving and devoted wife of Lynwood C. Westray; beloved mother of Gloria J. Nuckles. She is also survived by her sister Mertina H. Hill; and a host of other relatives and friends. A Memorial Service will be held at Zion Baptist Church, 4850 Blagden Avenue NW on Tuesday, May 21 at 12 noon. Interment private. Services by Stewart.”

Studio shots, nos. 38 and 39: Hattie Henderson Ricks.

Shortly after World War II, Hattie Mae Henderson found work at Wilson Awning & Tent Company’s factory on South Douglas Street.

Hattie Factory 01

As recalled here, handling fabric and sewing the oversized tents was challenging work. The dresses and skirts women commonly wore in the 1940s were not suitable for maneuvering atop the long tables on which the tents were stitched, so Henderson and other female workers donned full-legged dungarees on the factory floor. These photos were taken in unnamed Wilson studios during this period.

Hattie Henderson in trousers

Photograph in the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks, now in the possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Marvin Jones: “We were just making the day.”

As noted in NCPedia.org, “[h]istorian David Cecelski wrote a popular oral history series called “Listening to History” for the Raleigh News & Observer from 1998 to 2008. With the support of the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cecelski traveled across the state listening to, recording and preserving stories that spoke to the state’s history throughout the 20th century. ‘Listening to History’ appeared monthly in the newspaper’s ‘Sunday Journal,’ a special section of the Sunday edition of the newspaper that focused on the state’s cultural life.”

In 2004, as part of his series, Dr. Cecelski interviewed Marvin Jones, who began working for the Export Leaf Tobacco Company in Wilson in 1946. An excerpt from that interview, in which Jones “recalled the strong, and sometimes irreverent, camaraderie that enlivened tobacco factory life and laid a foundation for” the historic tobacco workers’ labor movement, is found here.

Marvin Jones died ten years after his “Listening to History” interview. Per his obituary:

“Mr. Marvin Jones, age 90, of 1020 SE Hines Street, Wilson, NC died Sunday, June 1, 2014 at his residence. Funeral arrangements are scheduled for Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm at Tabernacle of Prayer, 1601 Lane Street, SE, Wilson, North Carolina.

“Mr. Jones was preceded in death by: his wife, Johnnie Mae Brevard Jones; his parents, Rufus Haney and Gladys Jones Barnes; two sons, Bobby Julian Batts, Sr. and Tony Lewis; six sisters, Jessie Haney Locus, Thelma Roundtree, Annie Mae Barnes, Bessie Lee Davis, Rosa Barnes and Louise B. Johnson; four brothers, Rufus Haney, Jr., Joe Bonnie Haney, Issac Barnes and Jasper Barnes.

“He leaves cherished memories to one son, Walter Jones Jr. of the home; three daughters, Evelyn Wade (Donald) of the home, Gale Artis (James) of Wilson and Gwendolyn Fisher of Wilson; twelve grandchildren; thirty-one great grandchildren and nineteen great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Louise Reynolds of Philadelphia, PA; one sister-in-law, Ruth Barnes of Wilson; two special care givers, his great granddaughter, Tamara Richardson and Hattie Batts; and  a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

“A public viewing will be held on Friday, June 6, 2014 from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm with the family receiving friends from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King Jr., Parkway, Wilson, North Carolina.”

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——

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: in Happy Hill, road construction laborer Jesse Barnes, 41; wife Gladys A., 38; and children Marvin J., 16, Mary, 18, Rosa, 15, Isaac, 11, Bessie, 10, and Jasper Lee, 7.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 912 East Vance Street, South Carolina-born tobacco factory cooper Rufus Haney, 38, and children Rufus Jr., 13, and Jiosa Lee, 10, and mother Minder, 74.

In 1942, Marvin Jones registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 18 November 1923 in Wilson; resided at 612 Wiggins Street; his contact was Mrs. Julia Barnes, Wainright [sic], Wilson; and he worked for N.L. Baker, Route 1, Wilson.

The life and times of Nathan W. Boyette.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 1921.

In a nutshell: Nathan W. Boyette lived at 210 Pender Street. He was born 18 September 1850 and was enslaved in Old Fields township by Jimmy Boyette. He was the second oldest of 11, eight boys and three girls. His mother Julie was literate and taught her children to read and write. In October 1865, Boyette purchased a Blueback Speller from Moses Rountree’s store at Tarboro and Broad Streets in Wilson. In 1871, he began subscribing to the Wilmington Post. Before he was 20, he became Sunday school superintendent at New Vester Baptist Church. Shortly after, he moved to Goldsboro and went to work for “Old Man” John Robinson. After seven years, he became a carpenter and continued to work into his 70s. In 1920 Boyette married his sixth wife. All but one — Roscoe Boyette — of his 14 children were dead. However, Roscoe’s whereabouts since his discharge from the military after World War I were unknown. Boyette was hardworking and thrifty and gave up his sole vice, smoking, as a condition of his last marriage. He had only been inside a courtroom to serve as a juror three times. He was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church on East Nash Street. “Never had a doctor but once in my life and then I could have done without him. The Lord has been good to me.”

——

The 1860 slave schedule of Old Fields township, Wilson County, lists James Boyett as the owner of eight enslaved people: a 28 year-old woman [Julia?]; six boys aged 19, 12, 9 [Nathan?], 7, 4 and 2; and a girl aged 8. They were housed in two dwellings.

On 23 February 1882, Nathan Boyett, 31, of Wayne County, son of Moses Bayley and Julia Bayley of Wilson County, married Charity Crow, 27, of Wayne County, daughter of Jorden and Jane Crow of Wayne County, in Mount Olive, Brogden township, Wayne County, North Carolina.

On 2 March 1904, Nathan Boyette, 53, married Louisa Fowler, 38, daughter of Suckey Wiggins, in Goldsboro, Wayne County.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Boyette Nathan carp h 210 Pender; Boyette Emma dom h 210 Pender.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Boyett Nathan W (c, Emma) carp h 210 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 115 West Walnut Street, rented for $20/month,  Nathan Boyette, 79, and Emma Boyette, 56, cook for private family.

Nathan Boyett died 2 June 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 February 1850 in Wilson County to Moses Bailey and Julia Boyett of Wilson County; had worked as a laborer until three months prior to his death; was married to Emma Boyett; and lived at 115 West Walnut. [Note that Nathan Boyette adopted his mother (and former owner’s) surname upon Emancipation. Julia Boyette apparently died before 1870. In that census Moses Bailey is listed as the single parent of several children, and on 5 January 1871, he married Isabella Renfrow in Wilson County. Per their marriage license, Bailey was the son of Benja Bryant and Juda Jones.]

Buried in a white cemetery.

Tracing Their Wilson Roots: Towering Tree Marks African-American Couple’s Grave in White Cemetery

By Drew C. Wilson, Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 2017.

Paul Sherrod and his nephew spent a day last month cleaning brush off their ancestors’ graves.

“Every time I come here to Wilson I come here to visit this cemetery because it is so special to me,” Sherrod said as he walked up to the resting place for his grandparents, Joseph Tobe Smith, 1871-1956, and Martha Elizabeth Wheeler Smith, 1875-1932.

A massive pine tree stands over the top of the gravesite, which is in the Winstead family cemetery, also referred to as the Parkwood Cemetery, surrounded by the parking lot of the now-closed Wilson Mall.

“I remember as a kid this being farmland,” Sherrod said. “My grandfather was a sharecropper on land owned by the Winstead family. My grandfather was allowed to plant this tallest tree here, we believe, sometime between 1918 and 1922, and he was promised that he could be buried there right along with my grandmother. So proud of this, to know that my grandfather planted that tree.”

Sherrod is not sure who it was in the Winstead family who offered and then kept that promise, but he suspects it might have been Charles Winstead Sr.

“They owned land from here all the way down to Raleigh Road. I had two uncles who sharecropped almost all the way down to the parkway,” Sherrod said.

It is remarkable to Sherrod that early in the 20th century, a black couple would be permitted to have a final resting place in a white cemetery.

“That is really truly amazing because here we are in 1929, in the middle of the Depression and some oppression, you have this act of compassion and courage from this Winstead family to allow this to happen,” Sherrod said. “Looking back on it, I think they must have had, what you call it now, some flack about that, but they were courageous enough to see it through because they made a promise to my grandfather and they held to their promise. And moving forward to the mall being here, as the developers were putting it together, I understand that the Winstead family made a stipulation when they sold them the land that the graves and the bodies will not be exhumed, so here they are. I don’t know which family members it was, but they, again, had the same courage as their forefathers. So that’s remarkable, in 1929, having an African-American buried in a white cemetery.”

Sherrod never knew his grandmother, as she died before Sherrod was born.

“I only know about my grandfather,” Sherrod said. “I remember so much about him because he was actually both a father and a grandfather to me because my father died when I was quite young. He died in 1945. Right after that I started to live with my grandfather, and he mentored me in so, so many ways. He would take me with him as he would take his wagon and his mule and cultivate gardens. He was a farmer, but he was not farming anymore, so he was cultivating people’s gardens, and I learned so much from him about agriculture, how to grow things. I had my own garden. He would help me take care of the tomatoes and the okra. He was a wonderful person.”

They lived together from about 1944 to 1950 when Sherrod was 13 to 18 years old.

“It was a pleasure living with him because I learned so much,” Sherrod said. “He was so patient with me. I understand now, that he could see that I was different. I loved the books, and he wanted to give me the opportunity to do my homework, so he had to always make sure there was enough kerosene in the lamp. A little step up from Lincoln and the candle, but a similar situation.”

Sherrod laughed.

“The house was about a mile and half from here, east of here in New Grab Neck,” Sherrod said. “Later it was called Jefferson Street, and now it’s called Forest Hills. They have changed the name a couple of times.”

Sherrod, who is now 84, said growing up in Wilson in the 1940s wasn’t as bad as it might have seemed that it could have been.

“Our neighborhood was partially integrated. About a quarter of a mile up the street from where we lived, there was a white family. As a matter of fact, my grandfather had lived in that very house back in the early ’40s,” Sherrod said. “The only real signs of segregation were more the public places. We had a colored and white drinking fountain in front of the courthouse. Now it is a memorial to veterans, I believe. You could not sit in a restaurant. You had to go back to the back to get your food handed out the back door to you. And when buses came along, we had to ride in the back of the bus. So those were outward signs of the segregation, but there was never really any brutality. You weren’t afraid to walk around. You knew your place. You understood that. It wasn’t really as bad as it could have been because I have heard some real horror stories from other cities around the country later on. Not then. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”

The pine tree that Joseph Smith planted is at least 4 feet thick and the most prominent tree in the graveyard. There is a crack up its middle, perhaps made by a lightning strike many years ago.

When his grandfather died in 1956, Sherrod was overseas serving in the Air Force and could not attend the funeral.

“Before, they just had a simple marker,” Sherrod said.

Family members placed a granite marker at the site several years ago, and Sherrod recently purchased an additional stone marker to note the couple’s birth and death dates.

When Sherrod and his nephew, Bradley Sherrod of Wilson, spent the day clearing the brush around the gravesite, they left one little sapling.

“We toyed with the idea of taking it out, but my nephew and I decided no. Let that grow and see what happens. It’s obviously from the seed of this tree, so we left that one alone, that little baby pine, and over the years I’ll see what happens,” Sherrod said. “I hope the Lord allows me to be on this Earth long enough to see it be a pretty big tree. It’s growing nicely.”

Sherrod, who now resides in California, recently held a large family reunion on the site of the Sherrod family homeplace near Stantonsburg. He had spent the whole summer preparing for the event.

That is from his father’s side of the family. The Smiths are from his mother’s side of the family in Wilson.

“I firmly believe that if more people explored the roots from which they came, there would probably be a better world,” Sherrod said. “There is so much rich history on all sides on all ethnic groups, and if we had that history, we would have an opportunity to have a better understanding. It would be wonderful if people would do that on a large scale.”

——

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer James Smith, 34, born in Virginia; wife Adline, 30; and children John, 14, Joseph, 9, Windsor, 12, Kate, 6, Allace, 5, and Julious, 2.

On 19 October 1892, Joe Smith, 21, of Wilson, son of Jim and Adeline Smith, married Martha Wheeler, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Amy Wheeler, at Amy Wheeler’s home. Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Bess performed the ceremony in the presence of Noah Wood, John Wheeler and Jno. Artis.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Joseph Smith, 29, farmer; wife Martha, 25; and children Addie, 5, Fenner, 4, and Mark, 2, and widowed mother Amma, 55.

In the 1910 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Joseph Smith, 39; wife Martha, 36; and children Addie, 15, Fenner, 13, Mark, 11, James, 9, Lillie, 7, Mary F., 5, and Martha, 15 months.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Joseph Smith, 49; wife Martha, 41; and children Mark, 21, Lillie, 19, Mary Ford, 13, Martha, 10, Margaret Earls, 4 months, and Josie Brow, newborn.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Tobe Smith, 59, farmer; wife Martha, 54; and children Frenner, 35, farm laborer, Mark G., 32, farm laborer, James, 30, schoolhouse janitor, Josephine, 14, and Beulah, 11.

Martha Smith died 21 March 1932 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born born in Nash County to Dick Wheeler and Amy Rice; was married to Tobe Smith; and worked as a tenant farmer.

Joseph Tobe Smith died 20 January 1956 at his home at 315 Jefferson Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 August 1884 in Wilson County to James Smith and Adline Darden; was a retired farmer; resided at 315 Jefferson Street; and was buried in Winstead cemetery. Mrs. Martha Sherrod, 315 Jefferson, was informant.

Aerial view of Winstead cemetery behind Wilson (former Parkwood) Mall, Wilson. Courtesy Google Maps.

Evildoers.

News & Observer, 18 December 1907.

  • R.G. Wynn
  • Albert Ward
  • Oliver Brown
  • Sylvia Barnes — in the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Harry Barnes, 67; wife Sylva, 66; son Harry, 20; daughter-in-law Rena, 17; and granddaughter Henrietta, 14. Silvia Barnes died 8 September 1925 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 83 years old; married to Harry Barnes; was the daughter of Peter and Rosa Barnes; and worked as a tenant farmer for Billie Sims. Harry Barnes Jr. was informant.
  • Willie Moore
  • Moses Smith — in the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: day laborer Dudley Smith, 53; wife Mittie, 32; and children Polly, 13, Moses, 6, and Herbert, 4.
  • Tom Faison

Karl Fleming’s Wilson.

The Wilson Daily Times is the source of many of the newspaper articles posted at Black Wide-Awake. I am not unmindful of the racist over- and undertones of many of the clippings, especially those reporting alleged criminal activity. Nevertheless, they have value as imperfect documentation of the existence of so many African-Americans whose lives went otherwise unrecorded. Journalist Karl Fleming made his name covering the Civil Rights movement — most notably, Freedom Summer — for Newsweek magazine in the early 1960s. Fleming’s newspaper career began about 1947 at the Daily Times, which, in Son of the Rough South: An Uncivil Memoir (2005), he credits with introducing him to the brutal racist policies of his native state.

Fleming devotes several chapters to his time in Wilson. His behind-the-scenes explanation of the Times‘ race conventions is illuminating:

“The style of the Daily Times decreed that unmarried black women of whatever age be called ‘girl.’ A married ‘colored’ woman after being identified by her whole name, perhaps, perhaps Elsie Smith, in the first mention, would in succeeding graphs be called ‘the Smith woman.’ This avoided the honorifics ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs.’ being applied to colored women. Colored men, of course, were never referred to as ‘Mr.,’ not even on the full page that ran ever Saturday headlined ‘News of the Colored Community,’ which catalogued the doings of the colored Charles L. Darden [sic] High School, church and Sunday school events, marriages, funerals, and social clubs. Darden ran the colored funeral home and a colored insurance agency and was the colored community’s most substantial citizen.”

His physical description of the town remains recognizable in many ways, even in the water fountains have been dismantled:

“Wilson and the surrounding county was half white and half colored. The town squatted in the sweltering heart of the table-flat and sandy North Carolina coastal plain, throughout which tobacco was the main cash crop. In the center of town, in front of a marble courthouse with six fluted Doric columns, two magnolia trees, and a confederate statue, were ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ water fountains.”

“The old train depot, the faded brick six-story Cherry Hotel alongside it, and the tracks of the Atlantic Coast Line railroad separated these black and white worlds.”

“What the colored people across the tracks may actually have felt about segregation in general and separate schools specifically no one in the white world knew. It was simply assumed that what they said to the white people was true — that they were content with the status quo. The pillars of the black community, the ministers and school teachers and the owners of the few colored businesses allowed to exist because whites wanted nothing to do with them — such as restaurant, beauty parlors, barber shops, funeral homes, pool halls, and juke joints patronized entirely by colored people — did not publicly protest or resist. There seemed to be among them a seeming general air of good-natured acceptance. When one of them excelled, or died, it was said that “he was a credit to his race,” suggesting that ordinary blackness was a debit somehow.”

Fleming exaggerates the uniform decrepitude of East Wilson’s building stock. As this blog has amply demonstrated, East Wilson was a lot more than shotgun rentals in need of whitewash. There were certainly a fair number of those though.

“The colored community was a close-packed warren of gray unpainted shotgun shacks rented from white landlords on dirt alleys across the railroad tracks. Its only paved roads were Nash Street, becoming Highway 41 [91] going east into the country towards the coast, and U.S. 301 going north and south, the principal highway from New York to Miami. Its inhabitants were for the most part menials of every sort, field hands on the surrounding tobacco farms, manual laborers for the city and county maintenance departments, and unskilled workers in the tobacco warehouses and wholesale packing houses.”

And then this observation, followed by a truism:

“Few white people ventured into ‘niggertown.’ … The arrival of a white man could mean nothing good. He was either ‘the law,’ a bill collector, or someone selling something — usually life of burial insurance.”

Fleming also offers a reporter’s assessment of (and white Wilson’s take on) the trial of Allen T. Reid, who was sentenced to death in 1949 for burglary.

 

Studio shots, no. 38: the family of Tarrell and Minerva Locus Parker.

Courtesy of my collaborator Edith Jones Garnett comes this priceless set of photographs of several generations of a southern Wilson County family founded by Tarrell and Minerva Locus Parker. Several are accompanied by text drawn from a family history booklet, A Recorded History of the Descendants of Tarrell Parker, published, it appears, in the 1970s or ’80s.

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Tarrell Parker (ca. 1835-1922).

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Terrell Parker, 23, living in the household of white farmer Elias Farrell, 40.

In the 1880 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Tarrell Parker, 45; wife Minerva, 18; and children Trecy, 5, Jesse, 3, and Mancy Ann, 1.

In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Tarrel Parker, 65; daughter Nancy, 20; and her children William H., 6, Leonora, 3, Georg L., 1, and Jesse, 0.

In the 1910 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Tarrell Parker, 74, and grandson William H. Parker, 16, farm laborer.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George Carter, 49; wife Nancy A., 40; and children Leonard, 19; Jessie, 18; Lillie, 18; Ada, 14; Ida, 12; Robie, 7; Trecie, 5; and Rosetta, 4; plus father-in-law Thomas [sic, Tarrell] W. Parker, 88.

Tarrell Parker died 23 April 1922 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; born 30 May 1832 in Wilson County to Treasy Parker; and worked as a tenant farmer for Wiley Williamson. William Henry Parker was informant.

——

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Nancy Parker Carter (1884-1959).

“Nancy Ann Parker was born May 16, 1884 to Tarrell and Manerver Parker. She was the baby girl, with an older brother named Jessie and a older sister named Trecia. She met and married George Carter as an early age. They had ten living children who are our parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents etc… Most of us remember her as Mama Nancy. Mama Nancy was employed at a sewing plant in Lucama and was the only black seamstress who worked there at that time. She loved and enjoyed children and helped to raise many of her grandchildren. She was a very religious person and a dedicated member of Mary Grove Baptist Church. She enjoyed reading her Bible daily, Bible study, Prayer meetings and traveling to visit her children and grandchildren. She was a beautiful woman.”

George W. Carter (1877-1943).

“George Washington Carter was born in the year 1877 to Peter and Julia Carter. He was born in Rockingham, North Carolina, and had one sister named Lenora and two brothers named Andrew and Henry. His father was part Indian. Grandpa George was a member of Mary Grove Baptist Church and served on the Deacon Board until his illness. He worked as a sharecropper and did well on the farm. Grandpa George was a hard worker and a good provider for his family. However, he had a stroke and family obligations were assumed by his wife Nancy.”

George and Nancy Parker Carter.

George Carter, 25, married Nancy Ann Parker, 22, daughter of T.W. and Manervia Parker, on 10 March 1902 in Black Creek township. Willie B. Barnes, Frank Barnes and Haywood W. Sessums were witnesses.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: George Carter, 39; wife Nancy A., 27; and children Lenora, 12, George L., 10, Jesse W., 8, Lilly M., 6, Ada L., 4, and Ida, 2. [Next door, on one side, Nancy’s father Tarrell Parker, and on the other the household of Wright and Sallie Barnes Creech.]

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George Carter, 49; wife Nancy A., 40; and children Leonard, 19; Jessie, 18; Lillie, 18; Ada, 14; Ida, 12; Robie, 7; Trecie, 5; and Rosetta, 4; plus father-in-law Thomas [sic, Tarrell] W. Parker, 88.

In the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer George Carter, 60; wife Nancy A., 52; and children Robie, 18, and Rosetta Carter, 14, and Mary Ida Brockington, 22.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Jessie Carter, 39; his wife Pauline, 31; and children Robert, 11, Flossie May, 9, Leloe, 7, and Rematha, 2; plus father George, 70; mother Nancy, 60; and brother Roby, 28.

George Carter died 31 January 1943 in Lucama, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1877 in Rockingham County, North Carolina, to Peter and Julia Carter; was a farmer; and was buried in Williamson cemetery.

Nancy Ann Carter died 5 October 1959 at her home on Route 1, Lucama. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 March 1884 in Wilson County to Terrel Williams; was widowed; and was buried in Renfrow cemetery. Lillie Jones was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 October 1959.

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William Henry Parker (1894-1972), Pullman porter.

“William Henry was born on December 26, 1894 in Wilson County, North Carolina. Henry attended gramma school and later attended Dobe School of Mechanical Drafting. He married Ora Renfrow on January 6, 1918 in Wilson, North Carolina. To this union were born five children. Clovis, Margaret (deceased), Tarrell, Dorothy and Henry (deceased). He farmed in North Carolina and worked with the school district of Wilson. He later moved his family to Philadelphia and there he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Henry then went to work for the Government (Frankford Arsenal) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He had many interests and hobbies. He enjoyed reading, repairing things, traveling, shopping for antiques and inventing different things. He invented a new metal clip, and obtained a patent for it on March 24, 1964. (See below) In his later years, he operated a clock repair/antique shop. He was very well known for his workmanship. William Henry died on October 28, 1972 of a heart attack.”

William H. Parker’s patented metal clip.

W.H. Parker, 24, of Springhill township, son of Nancy Parker, married Ora Renfrow, 19, of Old Fields township, daughter of John and Margarette Renfrow, on 6 January 1918 in Old Fields. G.W. Carter applied for the license.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer William H. Parker, 26; wife Ora, 21; and son Clovis, 10 months.

In the 1930 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: at 3905 Folsom Street, railroad porter Henry Parker, 36; wife Ora, 31; and children Clovis, 11, Tarrel, 9, Dorothy, 7, and Henry, 5.

In the 1940 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: at 3905 Folsom Street, Pullman Company porter Henry Parker, 45; wife Ora, 40; and children Clovis, 21, retail store porter, Henry, 18, truck driver, and Dorthy, 17.

In 1942, William Henry Parker registered for the World War II draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he resided at 3905 Folsom Street; was born 26 December 1894 in Wilson County, North Carolina; worked for the Pullman Company, P.R.R. 30th Street Station, Philadelphia; and his contact person was Mrs. Ora Parker.

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Lenora Carter Barnes (1897-1988) and children Willie, Lenetta and Clinton, circa 1920.

On 10 December 1916, Elijah Barnes, 22, son of Joe and Cherry Barnes, of Springhill, married Lena Carter, 20, of Springhill, daughter of George and Nancy Carter. Missionary Baptist minister Robert Crockett performed the ceremony at Mary Grove Baptist Church in the presence of Guilford Ellis, Lannie Sutton and J.H. Battle.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Elijah Barnes, 26; wife Lenora C., 22; and children Wilie, 5, Lenetta, 2, and Clenon, 1.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Middlesex Kenly Road, farmer Elija Barnes, 36; wife Lenora, 32; and children Willie G., 15, Lenetta, 12, Joseph C., 11, Eliza, 10, Nancy V., 7, James F., 5, Andrew, 3, and Mary E., 1.

In the 1940 census of O’Neals, Johnston County: farm renter Elijah Barnes, 46; wife Lenora, 43; and children Willie, 23, Clinton, 21, Elijah Jr., 17, Varnell, 18, George, 17, Floyd, 15, Andrew, 14, S.L., 12, Genetta, 9, Odessia, 8, Blonnie, 5, and Sarah, 2.

Lenora Carter Barnes died 17 September 1988 in Johnston County, North Carolina.

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George Leonard Carter (1899-1971).

George Leonard Carter registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 February 1900; resided at Route 3, Lucama; and was a farmer for George Carter, Springhill township near Rock Ridge.

On 14 October 1920, George L. Carter, 21, of Springhill, son of George and Nancy Carter, married Elvira Boykin, 19, of Springhill, daughter of Troy Boykin, in Oldfields township. G.W. Carter applied for the license.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George L. Carter, 31; wife Roxia A., 24; and children Mittie M., 8, George W., 4, Thelma, 3, and Josephine, 2.

Leonard Carter registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 3 February 1899 in Wilson County; resided at 709-6th Street, N.E.; worked for Charles H. Tompkins of Charles H. Tompkins & Co., contractors, at 907-16th Street, N.W. His contact was Roxie Carter.

Rev. Leonard Carter died 17 May 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 February 1899 to George and Nancy A. Carter; was a minister; was married to Lydia Freeman; and resided at 627 Suggs Street. He was buried at Mary Grove church cemetery.

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Jesse Warren Carter (1900-1962).

On 27 December 1920, Jesse Carter, 21, of Springhill township, son of George and Nancy Carter, married Mary Jones, 18, of Oldfields township, daughter of Jesse and Sally Jones, in Cross Roads township. Baptist minister Emerson Hooks performed the ceremony.

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Jesse Carter, 29; wife Mary, 26; and children Williard, 8, and Robert L., 1.

On 16 May 1936, Jesse Carter, 36, of Lucama, son of George and Nancy Carter, married Pauline Coley, 27, daughter of Thomas and Alice Coley, in Smithfield, Johnston, County.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Jessie Carter, 39; his wife Pauline, 31; and children Robert, 11, Flossie May, 9, Leloe, 7, and Rematha, 2; plus father George, 70; mother Nancy, 60; and brother Roby, 28.

In 1942, Jessie Warren Carter resgistered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 June 1900 in Wilson County; resided at Box 252, Route 1, Lucama, Wilson County; and was employed by Mrs. Sallie Williamson, Lucama.

Jesse W. Carter died 19 September 1962 in Middlesex, Drywells township, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 June 1900 in Wilson County to George Carter and Nancy Parker; was a farmer; was married to Pauline Carter; and was buried at Mary Grove cemetery.

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Lillie Mae Carter Knight Jones (1903-??).

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Lillie Knight, 26; and children Carter L., 7, Lissie M., 5, Ratha E., 4, and Daisy M., 1. [Husband Jim Knight, 27, appears in the enumeration of the Wilson County stockade.]

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Ada Lee Carter Lucas (1905-1986) and Mary Ida Carter Brockington (1908-??).

On 22 December 1921, Ada Lee Carter, 18, daughter of George and Nancy Carter, married Carl Locus, 20, son of Sanford and Ada Locus, in Wilson.  Jesse Carter applied for the license, and he, S.B. Locus and Jim Knight witnessed.

On 31 January 1929, James Brockington, 26, of Black Creek township, married Ida Carter, 20, of Springhill township, in Wilson. Their parents Nancy Carter, John Brockington and Mary Brockington witnessed.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Carl Locas, 28; wife Ada, 24; and children Nancy M., 8, Paul D., 6, Alice V., 4, Helen O., 2, Neom C., 1, and Carl R., 0.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Carl Locus, 38; wife Ada, 33; and children Nancy, 16, Paul D., 15, Allice, 14, Helen, 12, Florence, 11, Carl Rowland, 10, Leona, 8, Cristine, 6, and Grady, 4.

In 1942, Robert James Brockington registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 13 June 1903 in Florence, South Carolina; was married to Ida Brockington; resided at 1013-3rd Street, N.E.; and worked for Charles H. Thompkins (see Leonard Carter, above).

James Brockington died 13 May 1947 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 13 June 1909 in Florence, South Carolina, to John Brockington and Mary Skeeter; was married to Ida Brockington; and was buried at Mary Grove.

Per the Social Security Death Index, Ada Lucas died December 1986 in Washington, D.C.

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Robie Carter (1911-1942).

“Robie was born January 1, 1911 in Wilson County, North Carolina. He too attended Williamson Elementary School. He never married, but had one son, James Willis Graham, who is also deceased. At an early age, Robie moved from Wilson, North Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and later to Washington, D.C. Prior to his death he was employed at the Sheraton Hotel. He died in 1942 when he was thirty-one years old from a heart attack.”

Roby Carter registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 1 January 1912 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided in Washington, D.C.; and his next-of-kin was sister Lillia Jones.

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Trecia Carter Renfrow (1913-1939) and Rosetta Carter Jones (1914-).

James and Trecia Carter Renfrow.

“Trecia Carter Renfrow was born May 18, 1913 in Wilson, North Carolina. She grew up and attended school there. Trecia met and married James Plummer Renfrow in 1928. They later moved to Hampton, Virginia for a short while. Between the year 1934/35 Trecia and Plummer ventured to Washington, D.C. making that their new home with their three children, James born December 1, 1929, Rudolph born May 10, 1931, and Mabel born November 3, 1933. Trecia had a short but wonderful life, always smiling, caring, being the lovable person she is well remembered by; and although she never got to see her three children become adults, Trecia was blessed with an offspring of thirteen (13) grand children and twenty (20) great-grandchildren. Our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother Trecia Carter Renfrow left us on May 31, 1939 at 2:10 A.M. at the age of 26 years.”

On 25 June 1927, James Plumer Renfrow of Kenly, 21, son of John and Mary Renfrow, married Tracie Carter, 18, of Kenly, daughter of George and Nancy Carter, in Smithfield, Johnston County.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer James P. Renfrow, 19, wife Trecy E., 17, and son Levie J., 3 months.

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Levi and Rosetta Carter Jones on their wedding day.

On 22 November 1935, Levi Jones, 21, of Wilson County, son of Ernest and Lillie Jones, married Rosetta Carter, 19, daughter of George and Nancy Carter, of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 513 G Street. N.E., construction laborer Alfred Jones, 27, wife Lily, 33, and children Carter L., 15, Melissa, 13, Relphel, 12, and Daisy, 11; plus cafe busser Levi Jones, 24, wife Ruth, 22, a maid, and [brother?] Sylvester Jones, 22, a restaurant dishwasher; plus James Renfro, 29, and children David J., 10, Rudolph, 8, and Mable, 7; plus Lenard Hinnant, 23. All except Hinnant indicated that they had been living in Wilson in 1935. [This household, of course, comprised Lillie Carter, her children and her second husband; Lillie’s sister Rosetta (erroneously called Ruth) and her husband; and their sister Trecia’s widowed husband James and their children.]

In 1942, Levi Jones registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 3 June 1915 in Wilson; resided at 513 G Street, N.E.; was married to Rosetta Jones; and worked for Mrs. Fordson at the Government Printing Office.

The house that Jack built.

STANTONSBURG — The house that Jack Sherrod built is a hidden history.

Built as a wood structure in 1886, the entire building has been encapsulated into brick and has had multiple additions over the years, but Leonard Paul Sherrod Jr., great-grandson of the builder, knows what’s underneath.

Sherrod and other family members are preparing for a grand reunion on Sept. 1-3 to be held at the Sherrod homestead.

“We are refurnishing, repairing, remodeling when necessary and getting it ready to be used as a venue for the upcoming September reunion,” said Sherrod, who was born in Wilson in 1933 and graduated from Charles H. Darden High School in 1952

A picnic and a banquet are planned at the event, which Sherrod has titled “Exploring Our Family History.”

“There is so much history,” Sherrod said. “Not only is it family history, it is African-American history, and in some small portion, American history.”

That history begins with Jack Sherrod and his wife, Cassie. Both had been slaves, yet 20 years afterward had managed to build a home on what is now Watery Branch Church Road south of Stantonsburg near the confluence of Wilson, Greene and Wayne counties.

“He had been a slave until the end of the war,” Sherrod said. “As a freed man, he acquired this land and built a home on it. He could not read, nor write, but he could build things. He had this God-given talent for building things. It is not written, but certainly said, that he built a lot of structures in this area. He was a builder. It took him two years to build this house.”

Last week, Sherrod stood in the graveyard behind Watery Branch Free Will Baptist Church. The graves of Jack and Cassie Sherrod are right there, with those of other deceased family members, about 200 yards away from and within sight of the homestead.

“To be able to stand there in your yard and see where your great-grandparents are buried, that raises a lot of emotions within me,” Sherrod said. The house that he built and I can see his grave from the front yard.”

Restoring the homestead is a passion for Sherrod.

“I think the Lord put this in my spirit to be a part of preserving this property because it has been in the family for so long and it is such a rich history that I could not stand by and let it go,” he said.

From “Hidden History: Family Celebrates Home of Patriarch, a Former Slave,” by Drew C. Wilson, Wilson Times, 16 July 2017.

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Jack Sherard, son of Denis Barnes and Tempy Davis, and Cassy Exum received a marriage license in Wayne County in 1868.

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jack Sherard, 26, wife Cassey, 25, and daughter Fanny, 4.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherod, 37; wife Cassey, 28; and children Fanny, 12, William, 9, Ida, 7, Marcy, 2, John, 5, and Benny, 11 months.

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherard, 56; wife Cassy; and children Ida, 27, Benjamin, 25, Dalas, 20, Exum, 16, Arthur, 15, and Cora, 11.

Ida Sherrod, 32, and Alonzo Wilson, 35, received a marriage license in Wayne County on 18 April 1906.

On 17 April 1907, Cora Sherrod, 18, of Wayne County, daughter of Jack Sherrod, married Columbus Ward, 26, of Greene County, son of Pearson and Cherry Ward. Oscar Hagans applied for the license, and Methodist minister Robert E. Hunt performed the ceremony in Stantonsburg, Wilson County, in the presence of Mrs. R.E. Hunt, B.J. Thompson, and Mrs. B.J. Thompson.

On 13 January 1909, Arthur D. Sherard, 22, son of Jack and Cassie Sherard, married Effie Diggs, 18, daughter of Margaret Diggs at Frances Diggs‘ house in Nahunta township, Wayne County. Jack Sherard applied for the license, and witnesses to the ceremony were W.M. Artis, Henry Pender and Richard Artis, all of Eureka, Nahunta township.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherard, 66; wife Kassey, 55; and grandchildren Thomas, 8, and Zelma Sherard, 5.

Dallas Alonzo Sherrod, 28, son of Jack and Carrie Sherrod, married Mary Ann Taylor, 20, daughter of Nelson and Delia Taylor, on 21 December 1911 in Petersburg, Virginia.

Dallas A. Sherrod

Dallas A. Sherrod.

Jack Sherrod scrawled an X at the bottom of his last will and testament on 30 June 1914. By its terms, his wife Cassie was to receive a life estate in all his property and, after her death, daughters Cora Ward and Fannie Powell (wife of George Powell) would receive dollars each, with the remainder of his property equally divided among his children John Sherard, Exum Sherard, Willie Sherard, Ben Sherard, Arthur Sherard, Ida Wilson and Dallas Sherard.

Jack Sherrod died 18 May 1915 in Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 August 1842 to Dennis Barnes and Tempie Barnes; was married; and worked as a farmer. Arthur Sherrod was informant.

Ida B. Wilson died 21 October 1918 in Nahunta, Wayne County, of influenza. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Alonza Wilson; was born about 1873 in Wayne County to Jack Sherrod and Cassie Exum. Informant was Ben Sherrod of Fremont, North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: on Stantonsburg Road, Cassey Sherard, 69; and grandchildren Zelma, 15, Joseph, 12, and Ralph L., 12.

On 30 November 1926, Cora Sherrod, 35, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Jack and Cassie Sherrod, married Robert C. Powell, 58, of Stantonsburg, son of Lawson and Lanie Powell, in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. A.M.E. Zion minister E.D. Lewis performed the ceremony in the presence of Albert A. Cooke of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Mattie Winstead of Stantonsburg.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Delaware Line (on street), Cassie Sherrod, 75, widow; granddaughters Zelma, 25, Doris, 7, and Jeraldine, 6; and daughter Cora Powell, 30, teacher. Sherrod owned the house, valued at $600.

Dallas Sherrod died 26 December 1934 in Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was 50 years old; was born in Stantonsburg, North Carolina, to Jack and Cassie Sherrod; was married to Mary Sherrod; and resided at 1111 Stainback Street. He was buried in East View cemetery.

Cassie Sherrod died 26 June 1940 at 624 East Green Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Jack Sherrod; was born in Wayne County to Lewis Hall and Cassie Kelley. Informant was Cora S. Powell, 612 East Green.

Cassie Sherod’s will entered probate on 1 July 1940. Dated 25 November 1932(?), per its terms sons Exum, Arthur, Dallas and Ben Sherod were to receive $1 each; wearing clothes to daughter Fannie Sherod Powell; $1 each to John Sherod’s children Bee and Joe; $1 each to John Sherod’s children Velma and Tom; and a house and lot in Stantonsburg, a piano and all other personal property to Raphael Ward.

Arthur Sherrod died 28 March 1955 in Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 March 1886 in Wayne County to Jack Sherrod and Catherine Exum and was married to Effie Sherrod.

Cora Sherrod Barnes died 12 June 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 December 1888 to Jack and Cassie Sherrod; resided at 500 East Green Street; was a retired teacher. Informant was Ralph Sherrod, 327 West 30th Street, New York City.

Photograph of D. Sherrod courtesy of Ancestry user garey45sos1.