Leslie Brooks’ occupation surprised me. A shoemaker … in 1918? Though shoe repair, or cobbling, was still a viable trade, shoemaking was almost completely mechanized by the end of the 19th century.
On 23 December 1881, David Brooks, 20, married Henrietta Peacock, 17, at A.G. Brooks’ resident in Black Creek township, Wilson County. They were Leslie Brooks’ parents. I can find little evidence of his life, however.
Leslie Freeman Brooks registered for the World War II draft in 1918 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 16 June 1875; lived in Black Creek; was a self-employed shoemaker; and his nearest relative was sister Minnie Williams.
Leslie Brooks died 12 October 1918 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1881 in Wilson County to David Brooks and Henrietta Peacock; was single; worked as a shoemaker; and was buried in Brooks Cemetery.
Brothers Harry and Haywood Barnes were widely known and lauded for their folk doctoring skills.
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Sherod Barnes, 67, and Rosa A., 22, Shepard, 17, Harry, 15, Warren, 13, Harriet, 10, Haywood, 6, and HecBarnes, 19.
On 2 February 1898, Harry Barnes, 40, of Gerdners township, son of Sherrod and Penny Barnes, married Cora Woodard, 24, of Gardners township, daughter of Mentus and Sarah Woodard at Harry Barnes’ residence. Haywood Barnes applied for the license.
In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Harry Barnes, 46; wife Cora, 28; son Lewis, 2; and sisters [Lewis’ sisters?] Ella, 17, and Penny, 16. Next door: farmer Haywood Barnes, 35; wife Mary, 22; and son Sherrod, 8 months.
In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Harry Barnes, 53; wife Cora, 35; and children Lewis, 13, Paul, 8, Rose, 3, and Estell, 4 months. Next door: farmer Haywood Barnes, 48; wife Mary, 34; and son Frank, 14 months.
Paul Barnes died on an unknown day in September 1920 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 18 years in Wilson to Haywood Barnes and Cora Woodard; was single; worked as a farmer; and was born in Wilson County.
On 15 February 1923, Harry Barnes, 60, of Gardners township, married Salinda Battle, 40, of Gardners township, at Haywood Barnes’ residence. Primitive Baptist preacher John R. Barnes performed the ceremony in the presence of H.S. Stanback, Richard Gest, and George Battle.
Adel Barnes died 7 December 1928 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 14 years old; was born in Wilson County to Harry Barnes and Cora Woodard; was single; and was buried in Wilson. Arlender Barnes was informant.
Harry Barnes died 29 September 1928 in Gardners township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 68 years old; was born in Wilson County to Sherrod Barnes and Pennie Bullock; was married to Adinger Barnes; and worked as a farmer.
Haywood Barnes died 30 July 1935 at Mary Barnes’ farm, Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 June 1860 in Wilson County to Sherod Barnes and Penny [no maiden name]; was married to Mary Barnes; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Taylor cemetery.
Frank Barnes died 26 July 1938 in Mary Barnes’ farm, Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 March 1911 in Wilson County to Haywood Barnes and Mary Taylor; was single; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Taylor Cemetery. Dazel Barnes was informant.
Estella Barnes died 4 February 1942 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 27 years old; was born in Wilson County to Harry Barnes and Cora Woodard; was single; lived at 213 South Vick; and was buried in Barnes Cemetery. Informant was George Battle.
In the spring of 1858, Buckner D. Stith placed an ad in a Wilson newspaper to tout his spacious new livery stable — fifty horses at a time! Stith offered horses for hire — Davy Crocket, Bullock, Fox, Bill, Spitfire and General Walker — as well as hostlers on duty. Tom, Butler, and John, surely enslaved, fed, curried, and otherwise cared for horses left at Stith’s stable.
We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina
1 September-31 October 2023
Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House & African-American Museum 1202 Hines Street SE Wilson, NC 27893
This traveling exhibit, presented by Preservation North Carolina, highlights the stories of those who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites. Spanning more than three centuries, We Built This provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; the founding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black politicians and professionals.
10 A.M.–3 P.M.
Big thanks to Preservation North Carolina and Wilson Arts for helping bring this exhibit to Wilson.
Like other white Primitive Baptist congregations, Saratoga’s White Oak Primitive Baptist admitted African-Americans to segregated membership — probably from the time it was founded in 1830. However, when they were able to form their own congregations after Emancipation, most Black Primitive Baptists left white churches to worship in less discordant settings, and White Oak’s members joined African-American churches in southeast Wilson County, including Bartee and Cornerline.
White Oak P.B. is no longer active. A small cemetery lies adjacent to the church, but its graves are relatively recent. (The oldest marked grave dates to 1927.) It seems likely that prior to that time, church members were buried in family cemeteries in the neighboring community.
White Oak Primitive Baptist Church, Saratoga, Wilson County.
On a recent visit to White Oak, I was surprised to recognize a feature in the graveyard. Up to then, of hundreds I’ve found, I had never seen a Clarence Best-carved marker on a white person’s grave. Here, though, was a little cluster, a single family whose small marble headstones I immediately recognized as Best’s work. They tell a terrible tale of loss, four babies who died before they reached the age of two.
The barbershops listed were those serving white clientele, including African-American-owned William Hines, Service (owned by Clifton L. Hardy), and Walter Hines Barber Shops. These shops formed an employer association of sorts that set mutual prices and terms for days and hours of operation. (Which today would be unlawful.)
My parents’ long-time neighbor passed away last week. Alexander Edwards was a well-known and skillful brickmason, one of the last of a multi-generational family line of brickmasons and other building tradesmen that began when carpenter Julius F. Freeman Sr. sent his sons O.N. and Julius F. Freeman Jr. to famed Tuskegee Institute. The Freeman brothers’ maternal first cousins Benjamin A. Harris Sr. and Harry B. Harris followed them into the masonry trades and, eventually, Ben Harris’ sons and nephew, Alex Edwards, took up the trowel.
Mr. Edwards was a fine neighbor and my father’s great friend, a loving husband and father, a dapper dresser, and a craftsman of the old school. May he rest in peace.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: bricklayer Ed Smith, 49; wife Sallie, 44; and nieces Carrie, 20, nurse, and Channie, 24, cooking.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Ed Smith, 50; wife Sallie, 49; and son Albert, 3.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Pine, owned and valued at $8000, house plasterer Edward Smith, 68, and wife Sallie, 68, both born in Virginia.
In 1942, George Albert Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 January 1903 in Camden, New Jersey; his contact was Sallie Smith, 408 North Pine Street, Wilson; and he worked for E.L. Cobb, Wilson Marble and Granite.
Ed Smith died 31 March 1948 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 October 1860 in Henderson, N.C.; was married to Sallie Smith; worked as a brickmason; lived at 408 Pine Street; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Dave Woodard was informant.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Eli Wright, 38; wife Margret A., 34, tobacco factory laborer; and children Eli Jr., 15, Willie, 13, Annie, 11, Henry, 9, and Geneva, 5.
In 1942, Eli Wright registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 April 1902 in Darlington, South Carolina; lived at 117 N. East Street, Wilson; his contact was Willie Wright, 117 N. East; and he worked for Cash Williams Farm, care of Art Newton, Wilson.
In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Darden’s Alley, Elie Wright, 48, drives truck for county garage; wife Margaret C., 42; daughters Annie, 22, and Margaret, 15; grandchildren Gwendolyn G., 2, Jo-An, 5, and Luther Jr., 6; and father Willie Wright, 91.
Eli Wright died 14 December 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 April 1902 in Darlington, South Carolina, to Willie Wright and Carrie [maiden name unknown]; was a widower; lived at 603 Darden Street; and was a retired laborer. Eli Wright Jr., Plainfield, New Jersey, was informant.