Vocation

Andrew Cotton, seaman.

Andrew Cotton applied for a Seaman’s Protection Certificate in May 1936. American seamen carried the document as proof of citizenship in foreign ports. Per his application, Cotton was born 19 June 1904 in Sharpsburg, North Carolina; resided at 207 West 137th Street, New York City; and had last worked on the S.S. Evangeline as a waiter. He was 5’8″ with dark brown skin, brown eyes and black hair and had no identifying marks.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Levy Edwards Road, Isaac Cotton, 44; wife Flonnie, 34; and children Coloneous, 18, Lucy, 16, Sidney, 13, Mary, 11, Isaac E., 8, Andrew, 6, Levy, 4, and Clarence, 1.

Passenger lists from 1938 to 1954 show Cotton shipping out of ports on both sides of the Atlantic, including New York, New York; Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Saint Georges and Hamilton, Bermuda; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Hamburg, Germany; Gourock, Scotland; Southampton, England; Cobh, Ireland; and Genoa, Italy.

U.S. Applications for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; original document at Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940, Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1774-1982, Record Group 41, National Archives, Washington, D.C; New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Nurse Allen, faithful and thoughtful, dies.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1937.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James eating house 217 S Goldsboro h 112 Ashe and Allen Rachel cook h 112 Ashe

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James B (c; Rachel) restr 217 Goldsboro h 900 Atlanta

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Atlantic Street, rented for $20/month, cafe proprietor Jim Allen, 45; wife Rachel, 32, private family nurse; children Elouise, 10, and Fred, 8; and lodgers Floyd Baker, 26, laborer; Gertrude Kannary, 27, cook; and Katherine, 10, Dortha, 7, and Elouise Baker, 1.

Per her death certificate, Rachel Allen died 5 June 1937 at Mercy Hospital. She was 40 years old; was married to James Allen; was born in Dunn, North Carolina, to Edward Armstrong and Cornelius [sic] Armstrong; worked as a midwife and practical nurse; and resided at 405 East Green Street. Maggie Armstrong of Durham was informant.

 

 

Foster buys butcher supplies.

In April 1898, Grant T. Foster entered into a contract to purchase on credit $85 worth of equipment from Cincinnati Butchers’ Supply Company. To secure the purchase, he gave the company a mortgage on his business. On 23 June 1898, having been paid in full, Cincinnati Butchers released Foster from the mortgage. Their notice to the Register of Deeds was pasted into the deed volume, so the details of the transaction are obscured, but a reference to a cooler measuring 4 feet by six feet by nine feet is visible.

This note was placed in the deed book as well.

An advertisement touting Foster’s meat market can be found here.

Deed book 46, page 523, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

 

The (heroic) teachers of Principal Reid’s school.

This astounding photograph depicts the teachers on staff at the Colored Graded School around 1918, when school superintendent Charles L. Coon slapped Mary C. Euell after principal J.D. Reid complained that she was insubordinate. Euell, who pressed charges against Coon and led a boycott of the public school, is seated second from left.

Information about the teachers is elusive. Only one, S. Roberta Battle, was a native of Wilson. Georgia native Georgia Burke spent about a decade in Wilson, and Virginia native Mary Jennings at least four years. The remaining women are not found in local census records or directories.

  • G.M. Burks — Georgia Mae Burke. Georgia Burke boarded with Roberta Battle’s family during her time in Wilson. In 1921, she and Mary Euell were nearly involved in a second slapping incident in Wilson. In 1928, she moved to New York City to commence an acting career.
  • L.B. Wayland
  • M.L. Garrett
  • S.R. Battle — Sallie Roberta Battle Johnson.
  • S.D. Wiseman
  • M.A. Davis
  • M.C. Euell
  • M.M. Jennings — Mary M. Jennings. Virginia-born Mary Jennings, 28, private school teacher boarded with the family of Hardy Tate at 208 Pender at the time of the 1920 census. In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C. city directory, she was described as the principal of Wilson Normal School, which was probably the independent school founded by black parents and businessmen in the wake of the boycott. In the 1922 city directory, she is listed as a teacher at the Wilson Normal School and resided at 307 [formerly 208] Pender.
  • J.B. Pride

Photograph courtesy of Congressman G.K. Butterfield Jr., D-NC, a Wilson native. Thank you!

Who was the “new colored doctor”?

Wilson Daily Times, 13 October 1939.

Arkansas native Dr. William H. Atkinson Jr. seems to have practiced in Wilson for less than a year. (Dentist George K. Butterfield has been spoken of here.)

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In the 1920 census of Dallas, Fordyce County, Arkansas: teacher William H. Atkinson, 36; wife Pearl, 28, teacher; son William H., 6; and sister Jeppie Mathews, 25, farm laborer.

In the 1930 census of Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio: post office letter carrier William Atkinson, 44; wife Pearl, 39; son William, 16; and lodger Theodore Jones, 24, a steel mill laborer.

On 22 December 1938,  in Norfolk, Virginia, William Henry Atkinson Jr., 25; physician; of 1007 Harmony Street, Youngstown, Ohio; born in Van Buren, Arkansas, to William H. Atkinson Sr. and Pearl Ella Crosby; married Florence Lee Branch, 23, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; born in Pittsburgh to John Lawrence Branch and Minnie Elise Robinson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Avenue, butler Ola Dupree, 44; wife Georgia, 32; and roomers Florence Atkinson, 24, and her husband William Atkinson, 26, a medical doctor.

In 1940, William Henry Atkinson Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card: he was born 26 April 1913 in Van Buren, Arkansas; resided at 206 North Vick Street, Wilson; was a self-employed medical doctor with an office at 559 1/2 East Nash Street [the Darden commercial building]; and his contact was Florence Lee Atkinson, 1007 Harmony Street, Youngstown, Ohio.

However, also in the 1940 census of Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio: mail carrier William Atkinson Sr., 57, wife Pearl, 42, and son William Jr., 26, a medical doctor.

Further, William and Florence Atkinson’s daughter Florence was born in Los Angeles, California, on 30 December 1940.

William Henry Atkinson Jr. died 15 August 1896 in Inglewood, California.

Butler Jones, prompt and dependable.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 November 1925.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook Susan Jones, 42; her children William E., 23, tobacco stemmer, Levi H., 22, barber, Charles T., 20, tobacco stemmer, Butler E., 19, tobacco stemmer, Mary J., 15, Nancy A., 11, Luther, 8, and Harvey L., 2, plus niece Arnetta Sexton, 8.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Levi Jones, 32, barber, with sister Nancy, 24, brothers Butler, 28, house carpenter, and Harvey, 12, and mother, Susan Jones, 50.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Butler carp h 536 Church

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Butler painter h Robinson nr Manchester

On 20 September 1914, Butler Jones, 34, son of Henry and Sue Jones, married Mirtie Brodie, 28, daughter of Henry and Louise [Kersey] Johnson, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister H.E. Edwards performed the ceremony, and Ed Cox, Chas. T. Jones and Minnie McDaniel witnessed. [Myrtle Johnson‘s first marriage was to James A. Brodie on 25 November 1903 in Wilson. Her sister Gertrude Johnson married Butler Jones’ brother Charles T. Jones.]

In 1918, Butler Jones registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 5 December 1879; resided at 808 East Nash; worked as a carpenter for Boyle Robertson Construction Company, Camp Hill, Newport News, Virginia; and was married to Mertie Jones.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Butler painter h 808 E Nash

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 808 East Nash, Butler Jones, 39, painter; wife Myrtle, 36; and children Gertrude, 12, Louise, 6, Joseph, 5, Ruth M., 3, and Willard, 3 months.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Butler pnter h 1011 E Nash

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Butler (Myrtie) pnter h 1011 E Nash

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jones Butler (c; Myrtie) pnter h 1011 E Nash

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1011 East Nash, owned and valued at $2500, Buller Jones, 49, building painter; wife Myrtle, 46; and children Gertrude, 23, cook, Louise, 16, Joseph, 15, Myrtle, 11, William, 9, and John, 8.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1011 East Nash, Butler Jones, 59, painter; wife Myrtie, 51; sons Joseph, 25, Willard, 20, and John, 19, all painters; and William Tabron, 26, janitor at Carolina Theatre, wife Myrtie Tabron, 21, and daughter Patsy, 3 months.

In the early 1940s, Butler and Myrtle Jones’ sons registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. All listed their address as 1011 East Nash Street; the contact as mother, Myrtle Jones, of the same address; and their employer as father, Butler Jones: in 1940, Joseph Jones, born 27 April 1914, and Willard Jones, born 3 April 1919, and in 1942, John Henry Jones, born 15 December 1921. In 1943, Butler’s brother Harvey Jones, born 23 December 1898, also registered. He resided at 1011 East Nash, but was unemployed.

Butler Jones died 24 December 1961 at his home at 405 North Reid Street. Per his death certificate, he was 83 years old; his parents were Henry Jones and Sue (maiden name unknown); he was a self-employed painter; he was a widower; and he was buried in the Masonic cemetery. John H. Jones of 405 North Reid was informant.

Religious education maker?

This entry appears in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory:


Who was Theodora Percival, and what was a “religious education maker”?

Percival appears her family in the 1900 and 1920 censuses of Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina. She attended Barber Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina, and went to work for the missionary arm of the Presbyterian Church. It apparently was in this capacity that Percival arrived in Wilson in the late 1920s and took a room in the home of William and Ethel Hines, stalwarts of Calvary Presbyterian.

She did not remain in Wilson long.

In the 1930 census of Raleigh, Wake County: Leland S. Cozart, 34; wife Theodora, 29; and roomer Freeman Coley, 21.

In 1932, Leland Cozart accepted a position as the president of Barber Scotia College, a post he held until he retired in 1964.

Theodora Percival Cozart died 19 February 1963 at Barber Scotia College, Concord, Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 February 1897 in South Carolina to Henry Percival and Jennie Thompson; was married to L.S. Covert; resided on West Depot Street at Barber Scotia; and was a housewife. She was buried in Charlotte, N.C.

Pittsburgh Courier, 2 March 1963.

Civil servants.

This massive volume, dense with charts and tables and lists, illuminates the fierce struggle over political appointment/patronage jobs in the late 19th century and the intense sense of envy and entitlement that shaped attitudes toward award of such jobs to African-Americans. Essentially, this book lists all military officers and federal government employees on the payroll in 1891.

Here is Alfred Robinson, railway postal clerk on the Rocky Mount, N.C., to Norfolk, Virginia, line, earning $1000 per year.

And here is Samuel H.Vick, postmaster of Wilson, pulling down a $1500 annual salary.

Measured in 2016 dollars, the relative economic status value of a $1000/year salary is $239,000. A $1500/year salary is valued at $358,000. (Economic status value measures the relative “prestige value” of an amount of income or wealth measured between two periods using the income index of the per capita gross domestic product.) This kind of wealth awarded to African-Americans set blood boiling.

“Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service,” Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census, digitized by Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon; available online at http://www.ancestry.com.

Papered or painted, cheap and quick.

In the earliest years of his ministry, Rev. Fred M. Davis continued to ply his trade as a wallpaper hanger, sign painter and interior decorator.

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Wilson Advance, 8 February 1894.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 33, paper hanger; wife Diannon, 31; children Eva M., 6, Bertha E., 5, and Fred M., 17 months; plus mother Judith Davis, 50, laundress.

Obituary of Jack Williamson, blacksmith.

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Wilson Advance, 26 March 1880.

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Wilson Advance, 16 November 1883.

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Wilson Times, 30 June 1899.

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On 4 February 1868, Jack Williamson, son of Toney Eatmon and Hester Williamson, married Ann Boykin, daughter of John Harper and Alder Ried, at Jack Williamson’s in Wilson.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: domestic servant Robert Vick, 19, and wife Spicy, 18; Anna Williamson, 25, washerwoman, children Jena, 10, Charles, 5, and Ann I.M., 2, and husband Jackson Williamson, 45, blacksmith.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Tarboro Street, Jack Williamson, 55, blacksmith; wife Ann, 30; and children Eugina, 20, cook, Charles 16, blacksmith shop worker, Tete, 14, and Lea, 4.

On 6 January 1887, Charles Williamson, 21, son of Jack and Ann Williamson, married Clara Vick, 18, daughter of Nelson and Viney Vick, in the Town of Wilson. Amanda Vick applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister H.C. Phillips performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick, H.C. Rountree and Daniel Vick.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ann Williamson and Lugenia Williamson, both laundresses, listed at West Walnut Street near Henry Street.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 558 Spruce Street, widow Ann Williamson, 70, laundress, daughter Jane, 38, and grandchildren Bell Williamson, 13, Henry Bell, 14, and Paul Bell, 7.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ann Williamson and Lugenia Williamson, both laundresses, listed at West Walnut Street near Tarboro Street.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Anne and Eugenia Williamson, both laundresses, 123 West Walnut.