Photographs

Snaps, no. 72: Jesse and Delphia Ruffin Harris.

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The 13 September 2018 edition of the Wilson Daily Times featured Jerry Harris‘ contribution of this photograph of his grandparents Jesse “Jack” Harris and Delphia Ruffin Harris, most likely taken in the 1950s or early 1960s.

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In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Ruffin, 24; wife Mariah, 22; and children Hurbert, 3, William, 2, and Delphia, 10 months; plus brother Walter, 19.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Arch Harris, 53; wife Rosa, 45; and children James, 22, Arch, 20, Mary Jane, 18, Nancy, 16, Lucy, 12, Minnie, 11, Maggie, 8, Jessie, 6, and Annie, 3.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Wilson Road, farmer Gray Ruffin, age unknown; wife Maria, 45; and children Hubbard, 13, William, 12, Delphia, 11, Lizzie, 9, Mary, 8, Pattie, 7, Franklin, 6, London, 4, and Bessie, 11 months.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: James Harris, 28, Dora, 22, and Rosa, 1, with grandmother Cherady Harris, 80. Next door: Arch Harris, 56, Rosa, 51, and children Jessie, 15, Annie, 12, and James, 12.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Barnes Crossing Road, farmer H. Gray Ruffin, 38; wife Mariah, 35; and children G. Hurbert Jr., 22, H. William, 21, Delphia, 20, Lizzie, 18, Mary, 16, Pattie, 15, B. Frank, 14, London, 13, Bessie, 11, [illegible], 10, and W. George, 9.

Jesse Harris, 32, of Wilson, married Delphia Ruffin, 27, of Gardners, on 17 January 1927 in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, Jessie Harris, 34, farmer; wife Delphia, 36; children Rosetta, 12, Alberta, 9, James, 2, and Jesse Jr., 1; and mother Rosa, 66, widow.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Wilson Road, Jack Harris, 43, farm laborer; wife Delphia, 40; children Rosetta, 22, Odell, 20, Annie M., 15, James Oscar, 13, Jesse, 12, Thelma, 10, Amos, 8, Archie, 7, and Chaney Mae, 5; and grandsons Ned, 5, and Leroy, 1.

Willie Gray Ruffin died 24 September 1969 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 July 1921 to Delphia Ruffin; lived at 801 Moore Street; was married to Mildred Ruffin; worked as a laborer. Channie M. Horton, 609 Stephenson Street, was informant.

Jesse Harris died 4 June 1975 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 November 1893 to Art Harris Jr. and Rosetta Woodard; was married to Delphia Harris; lived at 919 Poplar Street; and was a farmer.

Delphia Harris died 10 May 1984 in Raleigh, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 May 1899 in Wilson to Gray and Mariah Ruffin; was a widow; and had worked in farm labor.

Kirby’s School.

The thirteenth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Kirby’s School

Also known as Kirby’s Crossing School. This school is listed as a Rosenwald school in Survey File Materials Received from Volunteer Surveyors of Rosenwald Schools Since September 2002.

Location: A 1925 soil map of Wilson County appears to show a school next to Saint Delight Free Will Baptist Church on a tiny lane that runs parallel to the railroad.

However, 1936 state road map of Wilson County shows a school on what appears to be present-day Newsome Mill Road, near the community of Boyette, which was a name by which the Kirby’s Crossing community was once known.

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Kirbys School was a three-room school seated on one acre. This photo appears in the report, but may depict an earlier school in the vicinity, also called Kirby’s, that served white children.

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In 1936, African-American children at Rocky Branch, Williamson, Kirby’s, New Vester and Calvin Level schools — all in the rural southwest quadrant of Wilson County — responded to a survey about education and farm life.

Known faculty: None.

Photos of the Colored Graded and Independent Schools.

Circa 1992, the C.H. Darden High School Alumni Association published a pamphlet featuring a short memoir of the school’s long-time principal Edward M. Barnes (1905-2002). Among other things, Mr. Barnes spoke of the school boycott that led to the opening of Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute. Accompanying the text are these remarkable images.

First, another group photograph of the Colored Graded School’s teachers. Eleven teachers walked off the job to protest the superintendent’s assault on Mary C. Euell. Presumably, these are the eleven.

“The Staff of Wilson Graded School c. 1918. Ms. Uzell, the teacher whom the Superintendent slapped. Back Row: 3rd from right.” [The teacher’s name, in fact, was Euell.]

Second, a group photograph of students standing in front of the familiar bay windows and entry door of the Colored Graded School on Stantonsburg Street. The school’s highest grade level was eighth, and this may have been a group of graduating students.

“Our only public school was emptied of all the students” “The Colored Graded School”

Third, and most astonishingly, a photograph of the two-story building that housed Wilson Normal and Industrial School, also known as the Independent School, its lawn and balconies brimming with students and, it appears, parents.

“The Independent School was housed in one of Mr. Sam Vick’s houses on E. Vance Street.”

I am trying to track down the originals of these photographs to share with you. As I have testified repeatedly, the school boycott and creation of the W.N.I.A. were the most revolutionary collective strikes against white supremacy (and, to use a thoroughly modern term: misogynoir) in the history of Wilson County.

In the meantime, here’s W.N.I.A. on East Vance Street in the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson. The shotgun (endway) house at 602 is clearly visible above.

The school building was still standing in 1964, as shown in this close-up of an aerial image of part of Wilson.

However, by time the city was next photographed in 1971, the Independent School building had been demolished.

This apartment building occupies the site today.

Aerial photos courtesy of Wilson County Technology Services Department; photo of 604-606 East Vance Street by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2020.

Lane Street Project: aerial views, part 2.

In an earlier post, we saw aerial photographs depicting the decline of the Lane Street cemeteries from 1937 to 1948 to 1954 and 1964. An additional image, taken in 1971, completes the arc of ruin of these sacred spaces.

Vick Cemetery was completely forested, as was Rountree Cemetery. Odd Fellows appears marginally better kept, with a path still visible at its eastern edge. Five or so years later, when I discovered these cemeteries as a child riding a bicycle from her home in Bel Air Forrest, the vegetation was even thicker.

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Thanks again to  Will Corbett, GIS Coordinator, Wilson County Technology Services Department, for sharing these images.

Snaps, no. 70: Frances L.J.S. Edmundson.

Frances Jones Smith Edmundson and Katie Hill, undated but probably early 1970s. (Are they standing in front of a school?)
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In the 1870 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: Lewis Speight, 34; wife Kezzie, 36; and son Bill, 1.

In the 1880 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: Lewis Speight, 34; wife Cuzzie, 30; and children Edward, 10, Violet, 8, Annie, 6, and Mirtie, 2.

Jos. J. Jones, 38, and Violet Speight, 22, were married 17 June 1896 in Wilson County. O.L.W. Smith performed the ceremony in the presence of Burt EllisAnnie E. Speight, and Louisa Washington.

In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Joseph Jones, 40, farmer; wife Violet, 27; and children Agnes, 13, and Anna, 12. [The children’s ages appear to be in error and should be 3 and 2.]

On 23 April 1902, Cuzzy Speight filed a widow’s application #765144 for the pension of Lewis Speight, who had served in an unknown unit of the United States Colored Troops.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Joseph Jones, 55, farmer; wife Violet, 36; and children Agnes, 11, Roscoe, 10, Frances, 6, William H., 4, and Benjamin, 2.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Joseph J. Jones, 58, tenant farmer; wife Violet, 45; and children Rosco, 19, Frances, 15, William H., 14, Benjamin, 12, and Lizzie Beth, 8; and mother-in-law Cuzzie Ward, 65.

On 29 January 1924, Rosco Jones, 22, of Stantonsburg, son of Joe and Violet Jones, married Lavinia Hagins, 20, daughter of Dave and Almena Hagans, at the home of “Mr. J.J. Jones” in Stantonsburg. A.J. Rhoades, A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Joe Ward, M.V. Reid and Mena Winstead.

On 3 February 1924, William Jones, 21, of Stantonsburg, son of Joseph and Violet Jones, married Mena Winstead, 18, daughter of Will Hall and Amanda W. Williams, at Mena Winstead’s residence. J.F. Ward, A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Lavenia JonesJoe Ward and Alexander Ellis.

Roscoe Jones died 29 July 1928 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 June 1900 in Wilson County to Joseph J. Jones of Wilson County and Violet Speight of Greene County, and was a farmer.

Frances Jones, 25, married Robert Speight, 40, on 9 December 1928 in Stantonsburg. A.M.E. Zion minister J.F. Wardperformed the ceremony at the Missionary Baptist church.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Robert Speight, 48; wife Frances, 26; and son Albert, 4.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Speight, 20; father Lewis, 73; mother Violet, 55; sister Elizabeth, 18; and grandmother Cuzzie Ward, 80, widow.

Violet Jones died 25 January 1931 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1876; was married to Joseph Jones; was born in Wilson County to Lewis Speights and Cussey Speights; and farmed.

Agnes Beamans died 23 November 1931 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 35 years old; was born in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Violet Speights; and was married to Jasper Beaman.

Causey Ward died 13 July 1932 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 90 years old; was born in Greene County; and was the widow of Lam Ward. [I have not found the marriage license for Cuzzey Speight and Lam Ward.]

On 9 December 1932, Ben Jones, 21, of Saratoga, son of Joseph and Violet Jones, married Irene Speight, 18, of Saratoga, daughter of Marie SpeightC.D. Ward, A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony at his home in the presence of Ernest Barnes, Elizabeth Jones and Mary Speight.

William Henry Jones died 1 September 1934 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 January 1905 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Violet Speight; was married to Minnie Jones; worked as a truck driver; and his informant was Benjamin Jones.

Frances Speight, 50, daughter of Joe Jones and Violet Speight, married Hadie Edmundson, 54, son of Rufus Edmundson and Eva Rice Edmundson, on 15 July 1956 in Wilson.

Frances Louise Speight Edmundson died 14 June 1976 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Her death certificate lists her birth date as 12 October 1905 [but it was likely 1903]. Her parents were Joseph Jones and Violet Speight Jones of Stantonsburg, Wilson County.

Elizabeth Barnes Turner died 1 June 1992. She was born 1 January 1912 to Joseph Jones and Violet Speight.

Katie Hill was likely Katie Brown Hill, who was born in 1908 to Leroy Brown and Fannie Levester in Greene County and died in Wilson County in 1996.

Many thanks to Tiyatti Speight for sharing this family photograph.

Rosa Craddock McCoy, centenarian, loved to give orders.

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Wilson Daily Times, 20 March 2009.

In the 1910 census of Minish township, Jackson township, Georgia: farmer Ed Craddock, 32; wife Elizabeth, 27; and children Fred, 8, Besy, 6, Rosalee, 4, May L., 2, and Patt, 10 months.

In the 1920 census of Harrisburg township, Jackson County, Georgia: farmer Edward Craddock, 42; wife Eltha E., 38; and children Frederick, 18, Bessie, 16, Rosa L., 14, Mary L,, 12, Patrick, 10, Ruby, 8, John A. and Allie, 6, Christine, 3, and Eddie, 1.

John McKoy, 27, of Red Springs, married Rosa Craddock, 18, of Red Springs, on 18 December 1923 in Hoke County, North Carolina.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John McCoy, 29, guano company laborer; wife Rosa, 25, laundress; and children James, 5, Dorris, 3, and Pearl Mae, 1; and sister Sarah, 31. Rosa reported that she was born in Georgia.

In the 1940 census of Faison township, Duplin County: farmer John McKoy, 40; wife Rosie, 36; and children James, 15, Dorothy, 13, Pearlie Mae, 12, Sarah Lee, 11; Horlina, 8; Bettie and Barbara, 6, Geraldine, 2, and B.C., 2 months.

Rosa Craddock McCoy died 29 November 2012 in Middlesex, Nash County.

A Sallie Barbour student remembers.

Cora and Levi Wellington reared seven children on Manchester Street, first in a three-room endway house at 313 and then a four-room house at 402. Cora Wellington, now Dawson, is now 92 years old and has vivid memories of her East Wilson school days: 

From Charles L. Coon, The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24.

Cora Ruth Greene Wellington Dawson attended Sallie Barbour School from 1934 to 1937.  Eleanor P. Reid was principal. Mrs. Dawson recalls that Mrs. Reid rang a big bell when school started (and everyone had to be seated), at lunch time, and at the end of the day. She remembers eating peanut butter with jelly sandwiches and homemade soup at school everyday – at no charge. She remembers huge swings and merry go rounds in the playground and outside toilets. Some of the teachers at the school were Mrs. Georgia Dupree, Mrs. Addie Butterfield (who taught 4th grade), and Mrs. Celie Norwood.  Mrs. Norwood, who taught Mrs. Dawson’s first husband Levi Wellington in third grade, lived in a two-story house on Pender Street. The house, which has been demolished, stood behind Calvary Presbyterian Church, which then faced Green Street.  Many of the teachers, who were always sharply dressed in heels and suits, walked down Wainwright Street to the school.

Sallie Barbour School was located across from Cemetery Street near the present location of cinderblock apartments. Mrs. Dawson recalled that students entered the school on the Stantonsburg Street side, now known as Pender Street. The back of the school faced Manchester Street. This section of Wilson is often referred to as “the school yard” long after Sallie Barbour School is gone. The school building was all wood. The front porch, where everyone entered the building, was very large. The principal’s office, located in the front of the building, faced Stantonsburg Street, and children had to pass Mrs. Reid’s office and walk down a long hall way to their classes. Though she was just six years old, Mrs. Dawson remembers having to take her younger brother to school with her because she was his babysitter. She would go downstairs to the girls’ toilet outside to change his diaper, and the teacher would make a place for him to take a nap behind the big blackboard in the back of the classroom.

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Cora Green Wellington Dawson in 2018.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, public service laborer Henry Green, 47; wife Lottie, 40, cook; and children Cora, 12, Fred, 9, Henry Jr., 7, Edward, 2, and James, no age given.

Cora Green married Levi Wellington on 28 September 1944.

Levi Wellington- student at Sallie Barbour School in 1934

Levi Wellington.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Highway 42, farmer Haywood Willieston, 35; wife Lonie, 30; and children Haywood, 12, Leavay, 10, Sudie, 6, Mary, 8, Magline, 4, Raymond, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, public service laborer Haywood Wellington, 46; wife Lona, 40; and children Levi, 20, grocery store delivery, Sudie, 16, Magerlean, 14, Raymon, 12, Helen, 7, and Gereldean, 4.

In 1940, Levi Wellington registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 16 September 1919 in Greene County, North Carolina; lived at 409 Grace Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Lona Wellington, same address; and he worked for Barnes-Graves Grocery Company.

Levi Wellington died 13 November 1978 in Wilson.

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Cora and Levi Wellington at their house on Manchester Street, 1960s.

Many thanks to Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid for sharing her mother’s memories of the Sallie Barbour School and photographs of her family.

Studio shots, no. 156: Eddie C. Powell.

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Eddie C. Powell (1892-1968).

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer David Powel, 35; wife Sallie, 27; and children Eddie, 8, Rosa, 5, Henry, 4, and Joseph, 1.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Edward C. Powell, 17, and wife Nellie B., 17.

In 1917, Eddie C. Powell registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1892 in Wilson County; lived near Sims; was a self-employed farmer; and had a wife and four children.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Old Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer Eddie C. Powell, 27; wife Nellie, 27; and children Beula M., 9, Sallie M., 7, Willard, 6, Rosa Lee, 4, and Johnie, 8 months.

In the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Williard Powell, 17, farmer; mother Nellie, 37; siblings Beula, 20, Rosie, 14, Johnie, 11, Hattie, 8, Pattie, 8, Betrice, 7, and Earnest T., 3; plus sons(?) E.C. Jr., 5, and James R., 2.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: on K Street NE, Beula M. Powell, 28, maid; siblings Willard, 25, lunchroom bar tender, Rosa L., 24, lunchroom waitress, John, 21, club busboy, and Pattie L., 19, maid; nephew Willie T. Powell, 8; sister Hattie L. Warren, 19, maid, and her children Melton T., 2, and Barbara J., 7 months; father Eddie C. Powel, 50, drugstore porter; and lodgers Beatrice Smith, 17, and Issac Brown, 30, W.P.A. sewer project laborer. Per the census, in 1935, Beula, Rosa, Pattie, Eddie and Beatrice had been living in Washington, D.C.; Willard in Newport News, Virginia; John and Hattie in Wilson; Willie in Philadelphia; and Isaac in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1942, Eddie Conner Powell registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1895 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 1859 California Street, N.W., Washington; his contact was Sally Powell of the same address; and he worked for Peoples Drug Store #128, Bethesda, Maryland.

Eddie C. Powell died in September 1968 in Washington, D.C.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user Eva Renee Powers.

While building Saint Alphonsus.

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“St. Alphonsus Catholic Church met at Reid Street Center in 1938 while the church was being built. The photograph was submitted by James “Casey” Ellis.” Wilson Daily Times, 20 April 1999.

If you can identify any of the parishioners, please let me know.