Sports

The newly formed Wilson Dodgers.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 January 1948.

The Wilson Dodgers made their debut in 1948, opening against the Rocky Mount Black Swans.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 March 1948.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 May 1949.

The description “newly formed” more than a year later suggests they did not play a full season in ’48.

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  • Douglas Simms, manager and pitcher — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 308 East Street, Frances Simms, 49, widow; children Geneva, 23, Margaret, 17, Retha, 18, “runs store — retail gro.,” Douglas, 19, “cleans tourist home,” Raymond, 26, and Eva, 20; and grandson Ralph, 2. Douglas Simms registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his draft card, he was born 1 January 1918 in Wilson; lived at 308 North East Street; his contact was mother Frances Simms; and he worked for Imperial Tobacco Company, Barnes Street. Douglas Simms died 30 November 1967 in Wilson.
  • Alfonza Watson, first baseman — possibly, Alfonza Watson born in 1930 in Wilson to Willis Watson and Mamie Atkinson Watson.
  • Robert Ellis, second baseman (“at the keystone sack”)
  • Crevan Moses, shortstop — on 10 June 1948, Lathrop Crevound Moses, 17, of Wilson, son of Eugene Moses and Annie Mae Tate Moses, married Annie Elizabeth Ruffin, 17, of FarmVille, N.C., daughter of Roosevelt Ruffin and Senora Hardy Ruffin, in Wilson.
  • Wimp Morgan, third baseman (“a hot corner man”)
  • Jim Haines, captain and catcher
  • Amos Ellis, outfielder — perhaps: Amos Staley Ellis registered for the draft in 1946. Per his registration card, he was born 7 September 1926 in Edgecombe County; lived at 624 Darden’s Alley; his contact was Rosa Ellis of the same address; and he worked for Jim Blount.
  • Major Hinnant, outfielder — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 908 East Vance, Mary Hinnant, 54, widow; children Robert, 21, Thomas, 19, Jessie, 17, Bennie, 16, Eveline, 14, Major, 11, and Dannie, 33; and grandchildren Festus, 16, Blossie, 12, Martha, 11, James T., 8, Clarence, 7, Samuel, 5, Mary R., 1, and George, 6 months. Major Hinnant registered for draft in 1945. Per his registration card, he was born 6 September 1927 in Wilson County; lived at 908 East Vance; his contact was mother Mary Hinnant; and he was unemployed.
  • Robert King, outfielder
  • Willie Lee Hines, outfielder (“other outer gardeners”) — Willie Lee Hines registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 10 October 1924 in Wilson County; lived at 206 Ashe Street; his contact was mother Daisy Hines; and he worked as “laborer on defense job contract” at Glider Base, Edenton, N.C.
  • William Johnson, batter (“twirler”)
  • Chester Jones, batter
  • Thomas Dickerson, batter

 

Wilson Braves score victories.

The Wilson Braves had a much better May than April 1932.  The nine played the Bull City Aces (of Durham), the Harlem (N.Y.) Black Sox, the Hamlet Airliners, the Camel City Aces (of Winston-Salem), and teams from Leaksville and Greenville and went 9-2.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 May 1932.

Wilson Braves, Negro nine.

I was delighted to find that the Daily Times regularly covered the 1932 season of the city’s semi-pro African-American baseball team, the Wilson Braves.

I’ve been able to discover very little about the team. They played home games in the “Vance Street ballpark,” a forerunner to Fleming Stadium that stood in the vicinity of modern-day Wells Elementary School. The articles highlight players generally by first or last name only, but I am working to identify them further. They included second baseman George Leach, centerfielder Monk Johnson, pitchers Joe Haskins and Jarvis BankJoe Harris, catcher LeroyWynnHoldenTaylor, HargrovesFisher, Tate, Locus, pitcher Henry, and “Dummy.”

Here are the April games, in which the Braves played the Capital City Blue Aces (of Raleigh), the Kinston Royal Giants, the Rocky Mount Aces, the Statesville All-Stars, and a team from Suffolk, Virginia, and went 2-3-1.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 April 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 April 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 April 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 April 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 April 1932.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 April 1932.

Darden boys’ basketball team.

From The Trojan, the yearbook of Charles H. Darden High School, 1948-49.

  • Charles E. Branford, coach
  • Jimmy Holliday, sophomore forward, born 1933 to W.H. Holliday
  • Clarence Reid, junior forward, born 1932 to Johnnie and Vinnie Reid
  • Harold Darden, sophomore forward, born 1933 to John and Estelle Darden
  • Richard Lewis, sophomore guard
  • Herman McNeil, freshman guard, born 1934 to Mathew and Ola Bell Jigett McNeil
  • Elroy Jones, senior guard, born 1930 to Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones
  • Offie Clark, junior center, born 1932 to William and Katie Elliott Clark
  • John Cotton, junior guard, born 1932 to Hilliard Cotton
  • Nelson Farmer, freshman guard
  • Charlie Floyd, sophomore center
  • George Woodard, sophomore guard
  • Raymond Harris, freshman forward, born 1933 to Frank and Mamie Carr Harris

They like football, and they have that old school spirit.

In the fall of 1944, Darden High School’s football team, finding no teachers available to fill the role, coached itself.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 October 1944.

(Note the reference to the team’s playing field. Darden had no formal football field, and the team had to spend its own money to rent Fleming Stadium for home games.)

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The team:

  • Herman Hines — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1001 Vance Street, wagon factory laborer Wesley Hines, 35; wife Lucy, 30, a private nurse; and sons Herman, 13, and Charles, 10. Oddly, three before the article above was published, Herman Wesley Hines registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 7 October 1944 in Wilson; lived at 1001 East Vance; his contact was his father Wesley Edward Hines; had a burn scar on his left ankle; and worked as a section hand for the railroad. Was this in fact his father’s occupation? Hines and others were members of the Class of 1945. [Note: Herman Hines died 30 July 2014 in Reidsville, North Carolina. His obituary mentions his coaching stint at Darden.]
  • Bennie Hill
  • James Jones — In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Stantonsburg Street, Wesley Jones, 51, fertilizer plant laborer; wife Martha, 52, tobacco factory laborer; and children Lucille, 22, teacher at Fremont School, Vernon, 20, Willie, 16, John, 14, James, 12, and Elroy, 10. On 26 December 1945, James Thomas Jones registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 23 December 1927 in Wilson; lived at 901 Stantonsburg Street; his contact was Wesley Jones; and he worked at Contentnea Guano Company, Wilson.
  • John Melton — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow T[illegible] Barnes, 72, washing; daughter Cora Melton, 42, widow and private cook; and grandchildren Lucy, 16, Virginia, 15, John, 14, W.T., 8, and Hilda, 7; and daughter Lillie Barnes, 40, “sick.” On 11 September 1944, John Melton registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 11 September 1926 in Wilson; lived at 1206 Washington Street; his contact was mother Cora Melton; and reworked at Imperial Tobacco Company, Wilson.
  • Lindbergh Wilson  — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Elizabeth Wilson, 55; daughter Marie, 29; lodgers Earnest Mack, 35, and Jessie McMillion, 34; and grandsons Lindberg, 12, and Rodney Wilson, 14. On 10 September 1945, Lindbergh Wilson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 September 1927 in Wilson County; he lived at 1013 Stantonsburg Street; his contact was Marie Wilson; and his “employer” was N.C. State [North Carolina College?], Durham.
  • Lester McNeil — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 107 South Carroll Street, railroad station porter Chester McNeal, 49; wife, Mary, 36, tobacco factory stemmer; daughter Ula, 20, and son Lester, 12; adopted daughter Elane Barnes, 20; and adopted son William McNeal, 1. On 28 September 1945, Lester McNeil registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 27 September 1927 in Wilson; he lived at 107 South Carroll; his contact was Chester McNeil; and his “employer” was Darden High School.
  • Charles Hines — Hines was the younger brother of Herman Hines, above. On 19 December 1957, Charles Edwin Hines married Anna Johnson Goode in Wilson.
  • Thomas Stokes — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1208 Atlanta Street, barber James Stokes, 35; wife Viola, 25; children Frank, 8, Dorthea, 4, Thomas, 2, and Julia, 18 months; and mother Julia, 64. On 24 July 1945, Thomas Watson Stokes registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 24 July 1927 in Wilson; he lived at 1206 Atlantic Street; his contact was Viola Stokes; he had a small scar on his forehead; and he was a self-employed painter.
  • Robert Speight — On 9 August 1944, Robert Elton Speight registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 August 1926 in Wilson County; he lived at 624 Viola Street; his contact was father Theodore Speight; and he was a student at Darden High School.
  • Ernest Halliday — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 612 East Suggs Street, Westley Holiday, 40; wife Rosa, 30; and children Earlise, 13, Edward, 11, Deborah, 9, Lula M., 6, Earnest, 4, and Joseph, 1. On 19 June 1944, Ernest Holliday registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 18 June 1926 in Wilson County; he lived at 512 East Spruce Street; his contact was Rosa Holliday; and he was unemployed.
  • Robert Jenkins — On 22 January 1945, Robert Allen Jenkins registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 21 January 1927 in Wilson; he lived at 611 Viola Street; his contact was mother Geneva Mercer; he had a scar on his right leg below his knee; and he was a student at Darden High School.

The National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament.

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Indianapolis Recorder, 20 April 1940.

Hampton Institute (now University) sponsored the first National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament in 1929. The tournament aimed to “furnish an opportunity for state champions, runners-up, and teams with unusual records to play in a National Tournament, and to decide the National Championship.” Wilson High School (later Charles H. Darden High) of Wilson was among the field of teams at the first tournament.