Photographs

Anatomy of a photograph: East Nash Street.

This rare postcard depicts an equally rare image of East Wilson’s early business district in the 500 block of East Nash Street. Close examination of the photograph reveals fascinating details, many of which help date the image. The photographer set up his camera near the curb (a surprising feature!) on the south side of the street. First Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1913, would have been across from and slightly behind him. On the far horizon looms the brick bulk of the Hotel Cherry, built in 1917.

At least ten people — all of whom appear to be male — were captured in the image, including these seven standing or walking along the right side of the street:

These commercial buildings supply clues to the location of the photo. The three-story building, constructed in 1894, is Odd Fellows Hall, home to Hannibal Lodge #1552. Its ground floor contained an ever-changing array of store fronts, and a sign for Maynard’s Market/Fish & Oysters is visible here. As early as 1914, Samuel Vick‘s Globe vaudeville and moving picture theatre was housed on the second floor. The sign hanging from the corner of the building pointed the way to the theatre’s side entrance.

The three-story frame building beside the Odd Fellows Hall was the Hotel Union, managed by Mary Jane Sutzer Taylor Henderson. Here lies a clue to the photograph’s date. In the 1908 and 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps, there is an empty lot between the Union and the hall.

1908.

1913.

However, by 1922, a one-story wooden structure, housing a barber shop and sharing a wall with the hotel/boarding house, appears in the gap. See below. (Note also that the theatre’s exterior staircase is gone, traded for enclosed access.) This building, with its shallow gable-end roof, is visible in the postcard image.

1922.

The Model T Fords (and a single mule and wagon) also help date the photo to the early 1920s.

There is an artificial quality about the neatly trimmed hedges and suspiciously uniform trees ranged along the left side of the street. Though this portion of the image may have been hand-drawn, that side of the 500 block was in fact lined with private homes.

Families living in this block included the Mitchells, (#540), the Sutzers (#536), and the Yanceys (#538).

This stretch of East Nash Street today, courtesy of Google Maps. The commercial buildings on the right side of the street, including the historic Odd Fellows Hall, were demolished in the 1990s.

Postcard image courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III, Historic Wilson in Vintage Postcards (2003).

Detail.

I have written here of 303 Elba Street, a small L-plan cottage a few steps off East Green Street. Built before 1908, it is among the oldest surviving houses in the East Wilson Historic District, though its days are clearly numbered.  Their names are lost to time, but the carpenters that built this house by hand were almost certainly African-American, drawn from Wilson’s tiny pool of talented craftsmen.

A peek into the house, now abandoned, reveals few original details, but the ones that remain speak to the attention paid to the aesthetics of even working-class housing. The fireplace surround — simple trim molding on the mantel shelf and across the header and, on the mantel legs, double brackets atop delicate spindles. The pleasant asymmetry of the door’s five floating panels.

[My family spent three decades in this house, opening and closing this door times innumerable, resting an elbow or laying a piece of mail on this mantel.]

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson.

1114 and 1114 1/2 Carolina Street.

The eighty-ninth 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.

October 2018.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1950; 1 story; Corner Grocery; concrete-block grocery with parapet front.” The building was classified as “non-contributing,” i.e. lacking historic value per the terms of the historic register. However, there is evidence of a grocery at the corner of Carolina and Carroll Streets as early as 1928.

In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, William F. Peacock is listed as the owner of a grocery at 1114 Carolina Street. Peacock, who was white, lived at 706 Academy Street.

Thomas W. Thorne, also white, is listed as owner of the grocery at 1114 Carolina in the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory. The smaller attached building shown above seems to have been added during the previous decade, and Dublin Hargrove is listed as the proprietor of a fish market at 1114 1/2 Carolina.

In the 1947-48 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Winstead Geo (c; Martha) gro 1114 Carolina h 1110. Also, Annie’s Beauty Shop (c; Mrs Annie Aldridge) 1114 1/2 Carolina Street. The store was offered for sale late in 1947.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 November 1947.

Now empty and decaying, this building housed a corner store into the 21st century. This 2015 photograph shows a sign, hand-lettered by Louis S. Thomas, for Gray Boy’s, the last active grocery in the building.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson.

500 East Green Street.

The eighty-eighth 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. 1908; 1 story; John Barnes house; triple-A cottage with intact bracketed porch; Barnes was a brickmason.”

In the 1922, 1925, 1928 and 1930 city directories, John M. and Annie L. Barnes are listed at 500 East Green. Barnes’ occupation was given as plasterer in 1922 and bricklayer in 1925 and 1928.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 500 East Green, bricklayer John M. Barnes, 69, and wife Annie L., 61.

Annie Lee Barnes died 3 May 1943 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 February 1879 in Wilson to Charles Henry Darden of Greene County and Dianna Scarborough of Wilson County; was married to John M. Barnes; resided at 500 East Green; and taught at the Sallie Barbour School. John M. Barnes was informant.

John M. Barnes died 27 April 1958 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1870 in Wayne County to Charles and Rebecca Pope Barnes; lived at 500 East Green; worked as a brickmason; was married to Cora Sherrod Barnes [daughter of Jack and Cassie Sherrod]; and was buried at Rest Haven. Thelma Byers was informant.

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 by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

1112 Carolina Street.

The eighty-seventh 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: “circa 1913; 1 story; two-room, central-hall house; turned porch posts; asphalt siding.”

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., shows 1112 Carolina Street.

In the fall of 1929, Bettie Lofton placed an ad seeking a cooking and general housework position:

Wilson Daily Times, 17 September 1929.

Lofton apparently rented her home out shortly after. (Perhaps because she married Thomas Morning in Wilson on 17 March 1930. The couple is listed together at 518 Hadley Street, Wilson, in the 1930 census)) In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1112 Carolina, renting at $16/month, tobacco factory laborer Jessey Farmer, 34; wife Henerator, 26, laundress; and children Jessey Jr., 8, Irvin, 4, and Trumiller, 3.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lofton Betty cook h 1112 Carolina

Wilson Daily Times, 12 December 1965.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

Mother and daughter.

The family of Ruth Hooker Coppedge and her mother Elna Farmer Hooker paid tribute to them in Calvary Presbyterian Church‘s centennial anniversary booklet.

On 26 December 1900, Frank Hooker, 26, of Wilson County, married Elner T. Farmer, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Gray and Argent Farmer, in Wilson. W.H. Kittrell applied for the license, and Rev. C[larence]. Dillard, Presbyterian, performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick and J.T. Harper of Wilson and Daisy Dillard of Goldsboro.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, Frank Hooker, 57 [sic], wood sawyer; wife Ella, 33; and children Emma R., 8, Grey, 6, Clarence D., 4, and Argent, [age illegible.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 656 Viola Street, Frank Hooker, 47, woodyard sawyer; wife Elinor, 37, sewing woman; and children Ruth, 17, Gray, 14, Henry, 12, Inez, 9, Irmadeen, 7, Sylvester, 4, and Theodore, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Green Street, Ellen Hooker, 47, widowed teacher; children Ruth, 25, Cilvesta, 14, and Theodo, 11; and grandchildren Montez, 8, and Clementine, 6.

On 5 June 1937, Ruth E. Hooker, 29, of Wilson, daughter of Frank and Ella Hooker, married General W. Coppedge, 45, of Wilson, son of James and Sallie Coppedge. Presbyterian minister O.E. Sanders performed the ceremony at 708 East Green Street in the presence of Annie L. Sanders, Lenora Carroll and Eleanor J. Hooker.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 708 Green Street, Eleanor Hooker, 59, widowed teacher; daughter Inez, 27, cook; and roomer Willie Boykin, 35, bricklayer, of Lawrenceville, Virginia.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 South Vick, George Coppedge, 55, bricklayer; wife Ruth, 40, schoolteacher at county school; [his] son George Jr., 23; daughter-in-law Elouise, 20; and grandchildren Julia, 4, Deloris, 2, and Carrol, 1.

Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; resided at 200 South Vick Street, Wilson; was married to George Coppedge; was born in Wilson to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson County; and was a school teacher.

200 North East Street.

The eighty-sixth 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: “circa 1930; 1 story; four-room square cottage with inset porch and bungalow type details.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 East, renting at $12/month, Henriata Woodard, 40, and daughter Mattie, 24, both laundresses.

Henretta Woodard died 4 June 1935 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 47 years old; the widow of John Woodard; resided at 200 North East Street; and was born in Wilson County to Washington Cox of Faison, N.C., and Julia Ann Cane of Wayne County, N.C. Informant was Eddie H. Cox, 625 East Green Street.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 East Street, renting at $6/month, William Fields, 40, laborer at Wilson Veneering, and wife Liza, 40, tobacco factory stemmer; and, also renting for $6/month, tobacco factory stemmer Mattie Woodard, 35, and her children Margaret, 18, and Eugene Ward, 17, retail grocery delivery boy.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Woodard Mattie (c) tob wkr h 200 N East

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Fields Wm H (c) lab Wilson Veneer h 200 N East

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

 

Studio shots, no. 98: Jerry M. Richardson.

Jerry McKinley Richardson.png

Jerry McKinley Richardson (1891-1971).

——

Jerry M. Richardson was born in Warren County, North Carolina, and, with his family, migrated south through Nash County to settle in Johnston County. Along the way, Richardson lived for a time in Wilson County’s Springhill township.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Middlesex-Kenly Road, farmer Jerry M. Richardson, 33; wife Katie B., 37; stepdaughter Eugene, 22; and in-laws Henry Dawson, 50, and Lucy Dawson, 60.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user PeggyRudd39.

 

405 and 415 Maury Street.

Maury Street is outside the East Wilson Historic District. It is one of a cluster of narrow streets squeezed between the railroad and what was once an industrial area crowded with a stemmery, cotton oil and fertilizer mills.

405 Maury Street.

This house does not appear in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson and was likely built in the late 1920s to house tobacco factory and mill laborers.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Murray [Maury], renting for $12/month, tobacco factory laborers Hasty Cooper, 36, widow, and Lena Simmons, 25.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Maury, renting for $10/month, Percy Lucas, 30, laborer on WPA project, and wife Eva, 23, tobacco factory laborer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 405 Maury was vacant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Franklin, John (c) lab h 405 Maury

415 Maury Street. 

This house does not appear in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson and was likely built in the late 1920s to house tobacco factory and mill laborers.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 Murray [Maury], renting for $16/month, cook Annie Cambell, 34; her children Paul, 18, fish market salesman, and Christine, 16, tobacco factory laborer; and grandson Paul, 0. All the adults were born in South Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 Maury, renting for $12/month, laundress Lena Barnes, 49, and children Harvey, 28, well digger; Paulean, 17, housekeeper; and “new workers” Evylene, 14, and James, 19.

In 1940, Harvey Barnes registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 April 1913 in Wilson County; resided at 1505 West Nash, Wilson; his contact was mother Lena Barnes, 415 Maurry; and he worked for Mr. B.T. Smith, 1505 West Nash.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Lena (c) maid h 415 Maury

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wiggins Blanche (c) tob wkr h 415 Maury and Wood Rosa Mrs (c) 415 Maury

Photographs taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018. (Note that 405 Maury, condition notwithstanding, is advertised for sale or rent.)

310 Finch Street.

The eighty-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. 1925; 1 story; Frederick Dickerson house; triple-A cottage with modified bungalow type porch posts; aluminum sided.”

The house was formerly numbered 308 Finch Street.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dickerson Fredk (c; Almeter) lab h 308 Finch

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 308 Finch Street, Fred Dickerson, 38, W.P.A. project laborer; wife Almeter, 39, tobacco factory laborer; and daughters Clyde, 18, Dora, 16, and Inez, 13. The Dickersons owned their home, valued at $700.

Almeter Edmundson Dickerson died 2 August 1975 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 February 1902 to Mack Edmundson and Ferbie(?) Edmundson; was married to Fred Dickerson; and resided at 308 Finch Street.

Fred Dickerson died 20 August 1979 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 February 1892 to Charlie Dickerson and Minerva Green; was widowed; and resided at 308 Finch Street.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.