Photographs

313 Elba Street.

The seventy-fifth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1940; 1 story; shotgun altered and expanded with side wing; aluminum sided; porch replaced.”

313 Elba Street is listed in neither the 1940 census nor the 1941, 1947 or 1950 Wilson city directories. In the 1963 directory, however: Dublin Mozie P Mrs maid h 313 Elba

It is possible that the address of this house was once 315 Elba, as that number appears in records pre-1963, but not after.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, 2017.

Studio shots, no. 88: Jack Armstrong, supercentenarian.

Among the dozens of families who migrated up to Wilson County from North Carolina’s southern Sandhills area were those of Dock Roberson and Margaret Armstrong McDougal Blue. After her husband Levi Blue died in Wilson County in 1919, Maggie Blue and Dock Roberson married, and Maggie’s parents John “Jack” and Annie Murphy Armstrong briefly came to live with their blended family in Taylors township. Likely during this time, Jack Armstrong traveled into Wilson to sit for a portrait in Picture-Taking George W. Barnes‘ studio. Jack’s descendants explained that his curled fingers were the result of an injury inflicted during slavery.

John “Jack” Armstrong (ca. 1820-1932), circa 1920.

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In the 1870 census of Flea Hill township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farm laborer John Armstrong, 40; wife Anna, 38; and children Dublin, 14, Charles, 9, Penny, 8, Margrett, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Barbry, 4, William, 3, and David, 2; plus Amy Armstrong, 52.

In the 1880 census of Flea Hill township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farmer John Armstrong, 54; wife Annie J., 43; and children Charley, 18, Margret, 16, Barbra A., 12, William J., 10, David, 8, Joe, 6, Daniel R., 4, and Rebecca, 3; plus A. Murphy, 60, mother-in-law.

In the 1900 census of Geddies Gin township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farm laborer Jack Armstrong, 75; wife Annie, 68; daughter Janie, 15; and grandson George W. Murphy, 12.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Doc Robinson, 55; wife Maggie, 53; children Mary, 18, James C., 19, Virginia, 17, David, 14, Elijah, 12, and Jessie B., 3; Vangie, 32, Geneva, 17, and Addie McDoogle, 15; and Moses Robinson, 8, and lodgers Jack, 103, and Annie Armstrong, 101.

Annie Armstrong died 5 April 1920 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 103 years old; was born in Johnston County to Annie Murphy and an unknown father; worked as a farmer for George Piage; and was married to Jack Armstrong. William Jas. Armstrong was informant.

Maggie Roberson died 5 April 1928 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 55 years old; was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Jack and Annie Armstrong; was married to George Roberson; and farmed for Will Carr.

Jack Armstrong died 5 January 1932 in Mingo township, Sampson County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 11 February 1815 to John Wood and an unknown mother; was widowed; and was a farmer.

Newspapers across the state reported that Jack Armstrong had been “the oldest North Carolinian” at the time of his death.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 January 1932.

Photo courtesy of F. Cooper Jr., great-great-grandson of Jack Armstrong.

Centre Brick auction.

Per Keith Barnes’ The World’s Greatest Tobacco Market: A Pictorial History of Tobacco in Wilson, North Carolina, this photograph depicts a tobacco auction at Centre Brick Warehouse in the 1920s. Several African-American farmers or warehouse workers can be seen standing behind the tobacconists who owned and operated the warehouse.

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1927 Oaklawn Avenue, Charlotte.

McCrorey Heights is an historic mid-century neighborhood in west Charlotte, North Carolina, that was once home to many of the Queen City’s leading African-American doctors, lawyers, educators and businesspeople. The McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association is constructing a website featuring the histories of many of the homes in the neighborhood. One is 1927 Oaklawn Avenue, a bungalow belonging for fifty years to Abraham H. and Susan Peacock Prince.

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1927 Oaklawn Avenue. Photo courtesy of McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association.

“Rev. Prince ranked among the leading ministers in the southeastern United States, director of evangelical outreach for the Atlantic Synod and later the Catawba Synod of the Presbyterian Church.” … “He married Susan Peacock Prince in 1930 and the pair likely built this house soon after. She came from Wilson, North Carolina, where her father [Levi H. Peacock] had been a political leader during the years before Disfranchisement, appointed Assistant Postmaster in 1891. Susan attended Shaw University in Raleigh and became a lifelong educator in Charlotte’s public schools. In 1940 the U.S. Census indicated that the couple had two daughters: Dorothy, age eight, and Susan, age six.” … “Rev. Prince lived in this house at 1927 Oaklawn Avenue during the 1930s and into the 1940s. His work for the Presbyterian synods evidently spurred him to find a home more central to his travels. By 1951 he was no longer listed at this address, nor even in Charlotte. But he continued to own the house as rental property at least into the 1970s. A note in the 1967 JCSU yearbook indicated he was then living in Columbia, South Carolina, pastor of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church.”

For more on Rev. Prince and the house at 1927 Oaklawn, see here. (Many thanks to M.H.N.A. for citing  Black Wide-Awake as a source.)

 

703 Viola Street.

The seventy-third in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; two-roomed house with shed-roofed porch.”

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola Street, house carpenter Jessie Ward, 36; wife Mary, 34; and children Mabel, 17, Gertrude, 12, Kerfus, 7, Malachi, 5, Dempsey, 3, Virginia, 2, and Sara, 1 month. However, the house above was number 654  until about 1922. The family at 654 Viola: widow Dora Bobbit, 47, and niece Parthina Avery, 17.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rice George, barber The Mayflower h 703 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Palmer Horace (c; Mary) slsmn Eastern Carolina Service Corp h 703 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola, rented at $10/month, widow Marjorie Benjamin, 53, tobacco factory hanger; son Harry, 26, truck driver; son’s wife Lelia, 26, in household service; and daughter Elizabeth, 20, tobacco factory laborer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Benjamin Eliz (c) tob wkr h 703 Viola and Benjamin Margie (c) tob wkr h 703 Viola

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Play with all your might.

On 12 May 1946, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox visited Saint Alphonsus Catholic School to take these priceless photos of young pupils. Can you identify any of the children?

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as  PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool1,  PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool2 and
PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool3.

Jesse Pender, veteran and chef.

In 2011, a Palm Springs, California, news reporter interviewed Wilson native Jesse D. Pender Sr., then 96, about his World War II service, his early work for a brothel keeper, and his years cooking for a president.

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The Desert Sun, 4 December 2011.

In the 1920 census of Goldsboro township, Wayne County: farmer Joseph Pender, 49; wife Ella L., 42; amd children Edward D., 14, Maggie, 9, Ernest, 12, Alonzo, 7, Jesse, 4, Georgiana, 3, and Josephine, 1.

On 29 December 1937, Jesse Pender, 23, of Wilson County, son of Joe and Ella Pender of Wilson County married Erma Dean Hines, 18, daughter of Louis and Martha Hines of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In 1940, Jesse David Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Note his employer.

Betty Powell and Mallie Paul, Depression-era Wilson’s most notorious white madams, ran neighboring brothels on Jones and South Streets. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, Georgia native Bettie Powell, 46, is listed without occupation, and her three lodgers, all white women in their early 20s, were occupied as “companion-private home.”

Betty Powell made out her will in March 1945. After disposing of bonds, bank accounts, real property and jewelry, she bequeathed “all the residue of my estate to Jesse Pender and all of the girls including my maids, that may be residing with me at my death, to share and share alike.” She died just over a year later.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 May 1946.

Pender’s workplace before Betty Powell hired him to drive. Advertisement, Facts About Wilson North Carolina, Wilson Chamber of Commerce (1934).

Pender at age 102. Photo courtesy of “A Flowery Tribute in Palm Springs as Warplanes Fly in Formation in Memorial Day Salute,” The Desert Sun, 29 May 2017.

Thanks to my frequent collaborator S.M. Stevens (and her grandmother Willia Jones Turner) for forwarding this clipping. North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

Studio shots, no. 87: Haywood and Agnes Bullock Armstrong.

Haywood and Agnes Bullock Armstrong.

In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Abraham Armstrong, 52, wife Cherry, 32, and children Nancy, 16, Haywood, 14, Nelson, 12, Joshua, 11, and Burlee, 7.

On 28 February 1878, Haywood Armstrong, 21, married Agnes Bullock, 18, in Township No. 13, Edgecombe County. Frank Bullock, Nelson Armstrong and B.P. Jenkins witnessed. [Agnes Bullock is listed in her (widowed?) mother Rena Bullock’s household in the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County. Serena Bullock was married to Crumel Bullock, and another of their daughters, Mary, married Haywood Armstrong’s brother Nelson Armstrong. If researching this line, please be mindful that several Cromwell/Crummel/Crumel Bullocks, both black and white, lived in northeastern Wilson County/southwestern Edgecombe County durimng the late 19th century.]

In the 1880 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County: laborer Haywood Armstrong, 23; wife Agnes, 18; and daughter Caroline, 1.

In the 1900 census of Richwoods township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: renting a farm, Haywood Armstrong, 48; wife Agness, 38; and children Charlie, 19, Mollie, 16, William, 14, Joshway, 12, Hirman, 11, Cherry, 10, Annie, 8, Frank, 6, Minnie, 4, and Agnes, 2. The last five children were born in Arkansas.

In the 1910 census of Richwoods township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Haywood Armstrong, 54; wife Agness, 48; and children Henry, 23, Joshaway, 22, Himan, 21, Cherry, 19, Anna, 18, Frank, 16, Minnie, 14, Agness, 11, James Haywood, 10, Eddie, 8, and Lottie, 3.

Agnes Bullock Armstrong died 10 September 1915. Haywood Armstrong died in 1917. Both were buried in Hickory Grove cemetery, Lonoke County.

Many thanks to Lydia Hunter for sharing these photographs of her ancestors, who migrated from Wilson County to Lonoke County, Arkansas, about 1889.

Snaps, no. 40: back of house at the Zam-Zam Club.

Raines & Cox shot this photograph of the kitchen staff of the Zam-Zam Club in 1946. Does anyone recognize any of the workers?

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. Though it was not taken there, this photograph is found among those shot at the Zam-Zam Club, a night club just north of Wilson city limits. The Zam-Zam, named for an Egyptian ship torpedoed by the Nazis in 1941, opened just after World War II to entertain eastern North Carolina’s white “movers and shakers.” The photo is catalogued as PhC_196_ZZ_8B_Staff.

Snaps, no. 39: unknown man.

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Over their 60+-year career as Wilson’s preeminent photographers, Charles Raines and Guy Cox recorded nearly every facet of county life, including weddings, schools, street scenes and the tobacco industry. In 1993, a Wilson Daily Times article reported that Raines & Cox had shot more than 39,000 studio portraits.

From 1947 until the early 2000s, Raines & Cox’ studio occupied the upper floor of 315-317 East Nash Street, the Carroll building. The image above, which likely depicts the building’s elevator operator, was probably shot shortly after the studio opened.

[UPDATE, 3 July 2018: Per Guy Cox Jr., Doll Speight was the long-time elevator operator and de facto building superintendent at the Carroll Building. However, this is not Speight and does not appear to be the Carroll Building elevator. Was it at Cherry Hotel? The First Union National Bank Building?]

If you can identify this gentleman by name, please let me know.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 April 1947.

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. Though it was not taken there, this photograph is found among those shot at the Zam-Zam Club, a night club just north of Wilson city limits. The Zam-Zam, named for an Egyptian ship torpedoed by the Nazis in 1941, opened just after World War II to entertain eastern North Carolina’s “movers and shakers.” The photo is catalogued as PhC_196_ZZ_187_Elevator_Operator.