Sheppard arrested for murder; witnesses held, too.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 June 1926.

Howard and Catherine Hamilton were arrested and jailed as witnesses to John Henry Sheppard‘s alleged murder of his wife.

On 29 August 1926, Raleigh’s News and Observer identified the victim as Lillie Mae Ward in an article detailing the eleven murder cases on Wilson County Superior Court’s docket. On 7 September 1926, the N&O followed up to report that a judge had convicted Sheppard and sentenced him to five years in prison.

His daddy told him: “Take up something and take half his head off.”

Wilson Daily Times, 21 June 1948.

  • Willie Greenfield — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 319 North Hackney Street, Rufus Green [sic], 28, shoe repairer; wife Reva, 26; and children Willie Lee, 6, Ruby L., 5, Evelyn, 4, Charlotte, 3, and Bobby J., 1. [By 1950, the Greenfield family had migrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks, who migrated to Philadelphia later in the 1950s, spoke of Rufus Greenfield, mentioning that he was originally from Wayne County, North Carolina, and was blind by time she arrived in the city.]

Senior Willie L. Greenfield, Flame and Steel, the Dobbins-Randolph Vocational-Technical High School yearbook, 1952. [Greenfield would have been in my father Rederick C. Henderson’s class at Darden High School.]

  • Albert Parker — quite possibly, my cousin Albert Thomas Parker Jr. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 800 Gay Street, oil mill laborer Thomas Parker, 25; wife Minnie, 23; and children Spencer, 5, Louise, 4, and Albert, 1.

Squabble ends in death in Oil Mill Alley.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 November 1948.

In his 2005 memoir Son of the Rough South, civil rights journalist Karl Fleming identified this column as his first front-page story in the Daily Times.

On 18 February 1949, the Daily Times reported that Leroy Hammonds [not Hamilton] had been convicted of Louise Parker‘s murder. 


  • Louise Parker

In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Robert Gray, 34; wife Minerva, 34; and children Lossie, 15, Robert, 14, Willie, 11, Louisa ,7, Etta, 6, and Maggie, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Therman Ruffin, 33, lumber mill laborer, and wife Delzell, 27, cook; plus Curtis Parker, 26, lumber mill laborer, and wife Louise, 19.

Curtis Hersey Parker registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 March 1912 in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina; lived at 814 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; his contact was wife Louise Sis Parker; and worked for Stephenson Lumber Company on Stemmer Street.

Louise Parker died 1 November 1948 at 804 Oil Mill Alley, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 23 August 1925 in Wilson County to Robert Gray and Minnie Knight and was married to Curtis Parker. Lossie Williams, 625 Cemetery Street, was informant.

  • Leroy Hammonds

In the 1920 census of Wishart township, Robeson County, North Carolina: William L. Hammond, 27; wife Lula H., 23; and children Josiah, 7, William E., 5, Luther E., 3, and Grover L., 1. The family was described as Indian.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Luther Hammond, 59 [sic]; wife Lula, 32; and children Joseph, 17, Elwood, 14, Wallace R., 12, Grover, 10, and Hubart, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Luther Hamonds, 41, light plant foreman; wife Lula, 40, tobacco factory laborer; and children Luther Jr., 24, tobacco factory laborer; Leroy, 21, body plant laborer, Hubert, 13, Lillie, 7, and grandson Junior Hamonds, 2.

The death of Joseph Marvin Farmer.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 June 1947.


In the 1930 census of Smithfield, Johnston County, North Carolina: farmer Elija Farmer, 39; wife Nancy, 38, child nurse; and children Georgia, 9, Eli, 7, Frank, 6, Booker T., 4, Marvin, 3, and Lizzie M., 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: town garbage remover Elijah Farmer, 49; wife Nancy, 49, midwife; and children Georgia B., 19, Elijah Jr., 18, Frank, 15, Booker T., 14, Marvin, 13, Lizzie May, 11, Alfred, 10, Marjorie, 6, Doris, 5, and Joe Lewis, 2.

Joseph Marvin Farmer died 6 June 1947 at Central Prison, Raleigh, North Carolina, of asphyxiation by court order of State of North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 May 1927 in Wilson County to Elijah Farmer and Nancy McNeil; was a farmer; was single; resided in Johnston County; and was buried in Wilson.

Statesville Record and Landmark, 6 June 1947.

The obituary of Robert Inman.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 May 1947.


In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Lem Inman, 36; wife Edna, 25; and children Robert, 9, Pearle, 7, Jessie, 4, Lillie, 2, and Edna, 2 months.

In 1941, Robert Inman registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 25 August 1911; lived at 400 Viola Street; his contact was mother Edna Inman, Elm City; and he was unemployed.

Robert Inman died 24 May 1947 in Vanceboro, Craven County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 26 August 1919 in Lumberton, N.C. to Lem Inman and Edna McNeil; was married to Arnetta Inman; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Wilson. Cause of death: “shotgun wound on abdomen region of the navel.” The coroner added:  “at home 12 gauge shotgun #8 shell in the belly.”

Boy accidentally shot by sister.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 May 1943.


On 27 February 1929, Rufus Wallace, 23, of Taylors township, son of C. and Lillie Wallace, married Dorethea Etheridge, 15, daughter of Wiley and Lula Etheridge, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Sterlings township, Roberson County: Rufus Wallace, 36; wife Dorothea, 29; children Wade, 10, Eileen, 8, Lula Mae, 6, Rufus Jr., 5, and Jimmie Carl, 3; and brother-in-law Wiley Etheridge, 19.

In 1942, Rufus W. Wallace registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 7 January 1904 in Robeson County, N.C.; lived on Route 4, Wilson, Gardners township; his contact was Martha Rountree, 913 Mercey [Mercer] Street, Wilson; and he worked for J.C. Corbett, Route 4, Wilson.

“Gun shot wound of head. Shot by sister accidental.”

In the 1950 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: well digger Rufus Wallace, 46; wife Doreatha, 39; and children Lula Mae, 16, Jimmy, 13, Freddie, 7, and Bobby, 4.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Scouts solve a mystery.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 April 1933.

In this strange story, the family of a missing Rocky Mount man elicited the help of a local Boy Scout troop to find him. Having heard of an unidentified injured man lying in a Wilson hospital, the Lion Patrol, photo in hand, traveled to investigate. Physicians and undertakers (C.H. Darden and Sons, as it were) in Wilson confirmed deceased Junious “June” Mangum’s identity.


Junious Mangum died 15 April 1933 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 40 years old; was born in Rocky Mount, N.C., to William Mangum and Ida Parker; was single; lived at 723 South Main [Rocky Mount?]; was a laborer; and was buried in Wilson. HIs cause and place of death: “compound fracture of skull (parietal and occipital h[illegible]” “A.C.L.R.R. tracks near Elm City.” 

He made fight for the chief.

We read here several accounts of the fatal shooting of Phillip Worth by Wilson police chief Wiggs in April 1916. Below, the newspaper report of the coroner’s inquest into the matter.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 April 1916.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.