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.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 9.14.33 PM.png

Wilson Advance, 8 February 1894.


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.

Jack Williamson, blacksmith.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 8.16.10 PM.png

Wilson Advance, 26 March 1880.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 8.23.47 PM.png

Wilson Advance, 16 November 1883.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 8.01.20 PM.png

Wilson Times, 30 June 1899.


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.

Rev. Obra Jeffrey Hawkins.

Rev. Obra J. Hawkins was pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church from 1942 to 1962.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 May 1947.

Obra Jeffrey Hawkins died 7 May 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 August 1905 in Panola County, Texas to Andrew Hawkins and Lela Simmons; was married; was a minister; and resided at 1310 Marlowe Street, Wilson. Informant was Inez Fisher.

The Bull (1936), yearbook of Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photograph of Rev. Hawkins courtesy of Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, a booklet commemorating the 100th anniversary of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Wilson.

Chief Mincey.

Benjamin Mincey, after Edmund Poole, was the second “chief” of Wilson’s African-American volunteer fire department, the Red Hot Hose Company. This magnificent photograph depicts Mincey in full fireman dress regalia.

Benjamin Mincey (circa 1881-1950).


In the 1900 census of Wilson town, Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Prince Mensey, 60; wife Susan, 52; children Ben, 19, Emma, 19, and Oscar, 12; and niece Rosetta Mensey, 7.

Ben Mincey, 21, of Wilson, son of P. Mincey, and Mattie Barnes, 20, of Wilson, daughter of M. and Mariah Barnes, were married on 12 January 1904. Berry Williams applied for the license, and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in his home in the presence of Harry Mercer, W. Aken, and E.M. Davis.

In 1918, Ben Mincey registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 25 December 1879; resided at 411 Wiggins Street; worked as a laborer for the city of Wilson; and his nearest relative was Mattie Mincey.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 411 Wiggins Street, city pipe fitter Benj. Mency, 38; wife Mattie, 37, tobacco factory worker; and children Benjamin J., 11, Mildred, 7, Maddison, 5, and John, 3 months.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 June 1929.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 656 Wiggins Street, valued at $800, town of Wilson plumber Benjamin Mincy, 48; wife Mattie, 49; and children Benjamin Jr., 23, Briggs hotel cook; Madison B., 16; Mildred, 17; and John H., 11; and roomer Andrew P. Sugg, 59.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: City of Wilson plumber Benjamine Mincy, 60; wife Mattie, 60; and sons Benjamine, 31, hotel cook, and Johnnie, 21, daily paper deliveryman; and granddaughter Deloris Woodard, 5.

Benjamin Mincey died 14 July 1950 at his home at 712 Wiggins Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 67 years old; was married; worked as a plumber for the town of Wilson; was born in Greene County to Prince Mincey and Susan Suggs; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Mattie Mincey.

Photograph of Mincey reprinted from Wilson Daily Times, 29 April 1999. Many thanks to Pamela Mincey Myers, who advises that the original of this portrait of her great-grandfather hung in the living room of her grandparents, Benjamin Madison Mincey and Lala Rook Barnes Mincey at 723 Lincoln Street, Wilson.

Nancy Staton Boykin.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 December 1946.

In the 1870 census of Deep Run township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Jarrett Staton, 34; wife Penina, 32; and children Henry, 18, William, 15, Louisa, 12, Nancy, 10, Hoyt, 7, and Ida, 4.

In the 1880 census of Deep Run township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Jarrett Staton, 42; wife Penina, 32; and children Nancy, 19, Hoyt, 16, Ietta, 14, Jarrett, 9, and Leander, 6. [Ietta R.H. Staton married veterinarian Elijah Reid of Wilson.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 713 Viola Street, midwife Nancy Staten, 52, widow; house carpenter James Jenkins, 24, and wife Annie, 19.

In the 1925 city directory of Wilson, N.C.: Staton Nancy, trained nurse 812 Viola

Nancy Staton, 55, married James Boykin, 56, on 22 December 1927 at the bride’s home in Wilson. Glenn S. McBrayer applied for the license, Christian Church Colored minister B.J. Gregory performed the ceremony, and McBrayer, Lillian McBrayer and Bettie Whitley were witnesses.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Boykin James (c; Nancy) carp h 800 Viola.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Viola, owned and valued at $4000, practical nurse Nancy S. Boykin, 59; husband James Boykin, 44, Christian church clergyman; daughter Lila R. Boykin, 19; and two lodgers, Ines Williams, 23, and Minnie Nelson, 20, who both worked as servants for private families.

On 28 February 1937, Jarrett Z. Staton died in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 905 Viola Street; was 66 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Jarrett Staton and Penina Thomas; was divorced; and had worked as a laborer. Informant was [his sister] Nancy Staton Boykin, 812 East Viola Street.

On 26 October 1943, Nancy S. Boykin drafted a will in which she left ten dollars to her daughter Nina Pitt; a life estate in her house and lot at 812 East Viola Street to her husband James Boykin; and a remainder interest in her real property to Pitt’s children Elisha Lane, Teddy Lane, Ethel Lane and Simon Lane. The grandchildren also received her personal property. Ivery Satcher was named executrix, and witnesses were J.P. David, Clara B. Bryan and Marjorie S. Moore. The will entered probate on 31 January 1947 in Wilson County Superior Court. [Ivory Langley Satchell, daughter of Jarrett and Mary Langley, was a relative of Nancy Boykin.]

Nancy S. Boykins died 12 December 1946. Per her death certificate, she was 88 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Jarrett Staton and Pennina [last name unknown]; resided at 812 East Viola; was a retired midwife; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Nina Pitts of East Vance Street was informant.