Wills & Estates

Camillus L. Darden.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1956.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wheelwright Charles Dardin, 44; wife Dianna, 40, sewing; and children Annie, 21, sewing; Comilous, 15, tobacco stemmer; Arthor, 12; Artelia, 10; Russell, 5; and Walter, 4.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Darden, 55; wife Dianah, 48; and children Cermillus, 24, bicycle shop owner; Arthur, 22, teacher; Artelia, 18, teacher; Russel, 16; and Walter, 14.

Camillus Louis Darden registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 June 1884; resided at 110 Pender Street; was a self-employed undertaker at 615 East Nash Street; and his nearest relative was his father Charles H. Darden.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 110 Pender Street, blacksmith Charles H. Darden, 65; wife Mary E., 55; sons C.L., 35, and Artha W., 27, undertakers; and [step-] daughter Mary H., 19, and Cora B., 11.

Camillus Darden married Norma E. Duncan of Montgomery, Alabama.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Pender Street, Calamus L. Darden, and wife Morma, 30. Their home was valued at $10,000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 108 Pender Street, undertaker C.L. Darden, 45, and wife Norma, 40.

C.L. Darden executed his will on 1955. He devised his business, Darden Memorial Funeral Home, to his wife Norma E. Darden, brother Dr. Walter T. Darden and nephew Charles Darden James in one-half, one-quarter and one-quarter shares respectively. The property on which the funeral home was located, 608 and 610 East Nash Street, as well as an adjacent lot known as the Darden Shop lot, were similarly devised. His wife was to receive his residence at 108 Pender Street, and property at 203 Stantonsburg Street was to be sold and the proceeds divided between his sisters Elizabeth Morgan and Artelia Tennessee; his nieces Artelia Tennessee Bryant, Thelma Byers and Artelia Davis; and a long-time employee Frank Davis (with provisions to guarantee each received at least $1000.) All personal property was devised to wife Norma, and equal shares in all other real property to nieces and nephews Charles Darden James, Randall James, Johnnie K. Reynolds, Artelia Davis, Thelma Byers, Bernard Tennessee, Eugene Tennessee, Artelia Tennessee Bryant, Norma Jean Darden, Carol Darden, and Charles Arthur Darden.

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Camillus L. Darden died 12 January 1956 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he resided at 108 Pender Street; was born 26 June 1884 in Wilson to Charles Henry Darden and Diana Scarborough; was married to Norma Duncan Darden; and worked as a mortician. Charles D. James was informant.

Read more about Camillus Lewis Darden here and here and here and here.

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The Darden house at 108 North Pender Street.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017; U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Tampa, Florida, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787- 2004, digitized at Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The last will and testament of Clarence McCullers.

In late summer of 1945, lying abed at Duke Hospital, Clarence McCullers grew concerned enough about his prognosis that he wrote out a brief will. With his wife and son both dead, he left all his property to his sisters Bert Atkinson and Lucy Darden and appointed John Mack Barnes his administrator. His witnesses were Rev. W.A. Hilliard and Edwin Dortch Fisher.

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In the 1900 census of Selma township, Wilson County: Jerry McCullers, 50; wife Lucinda, 50; and children Lucy, 24, Ma[illegible], 17, Cha[illegible], 15, Clarence, 15, Laura, 14, and Budina, 7; plus roomers Calvin, 24, and Stanchy Richardson, 22.

On 31 October 1905, Clarence McCullers, 21, son of Jerry McCullers, married Bessie Simms, 19, daughter of Lee and Mary Simms, at the bride’s residence in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Mary J. Pender, Rosa Rountree, Boston Griffin and Will Bullock.

On 5 June 1917, Clarence McCullers registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1888 in Johnston County, North Carolina; resided at 425 Nash Street; and worked as a butler for D.S. Boykin.

On 30 March 1918, Clarence McCullers, 30, and Rosa Rountree, 28, were married by A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward in the presence of Walter Faulkland and Georgia C. Aiken.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 42, hardware store laborer; wife Rosa E., 37, who did washing; and son Willie E., 17.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 45, born Johnston County, light plant employee; wife Rosa, 43, born Wilson County, a laundress; and roomer Ethel Alexander, 28, born Scotland Neck, North Carolina, a teacher at Darden High.

Rosa E. McCullers died 18 January 1944 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she resided at 1008 Washington Street; was 50 years old; was born in Wilson to John Hardy and Lucinda Rountree; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Clarence McCullers was informant.

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  • W.A. Hilliard — William Alexander Hillard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; resided at 119 Pender Street, Wilson; had a permanent address and contact in Kansas City, Missouri; and was an A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • Edwin Dortch Fisher — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Connecticut-born Edwin D. Fisher, 46, was a roomer in the household of Letitia Lovett at 301 Viola Street. His occupation was listed as “World War veteran.” (They wed a year letter. Fisher was the son of Edwin W. Fisher.)

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

415 East Green Street.

The twenty-third in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “1922; 2 stories; Ada Winstead house; Colonial Revival house with hip-roofed, cubic form and two-tier porch; heavy brick porch posts; Winstead was a seamstress with business downtown and prominent white clientele.”

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Charles Smith, 26; wife Virginia, 22; children Arminta, 7, John T., 3, and Charles H., 1; and brother-in-law Braswell Winstead, 20, teaching school.

On 29 June 1899, Braswell R. Winstead, 38, of Wilson County, son of Riley Robins and Malicia Winstead, married Ada E. Davis, 24, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Washington and Virginia Davis of Edgecombe. Samuel H. Vick applied for the licence, and A.M.E. minister W.B. Williams performed the ceremony in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County, in the presence, among others of John Barnes and John S. Gaston of Wilson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: assistant postmaster Braswell Winstead, 39, wife Ada, 25, and children Arnold, 13, George, 12, Rolland, 11, and Christine, 8.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Brazell Winstead, 48, street laborer; wife Ada, 32, dressmaker; and Martha, 31, and John Corbin, 34. Winstead reported having been twice married.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Braswell Winstead, 60, wife Ada E., and daughter Ethel L., 13, at 300 Pender Street.

By 1925, Ada Winstead’s dressmaking business, Ada’s Modeste Parlor, was booming at 108 West Nash Street, the heart of downtown. She employed at least five dressmakers to cater to her white clientele, including her sister-in-law Ella Davis, Louise Wilson, Lovella Cotton, Eliza Best, and Lessie Locust. The city directory for that year shows the spacious house at 415 East Green occupied by carpenter James W. Davis (Ada’s father); Ada Winstead and her husband Braswell R. Winstead, a barber at Sanitary Shaving Parlor; Otho Davis, a grocer at 303 Hackney Street; his wife Ella Davis; Louise Wilson; and sisters Lovella and Novella Cotton.

Braswell R. Winstead died 22 August 1926 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1866 in Wilson County to Riley Robins and Malissa Winstead; worked as a barber; resided at 415 East Green Street; and was married to Ada E. Winstead. He was buried in the Masonic cemetery.

On 3 August 1929, Ada A. Winstead, 48, and Nazareth A. Pierce, 53, were married in Wilson by A.M.E. Z. minister J.E. Kennedy. Witnesses were John M. Barnes, Mary Roberson and George Roberson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, insurance agent Nazareth Pierce, 54; wide Ada, seamstress; son Fletcher, 17, and daughter Elmira, 25.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 East Green, widow Virginia Davis, 65; son Otho, 36, a grocery merchant; daughter-in-law Ella, 36; grandson Otho Jr., 15; and two roomers, Robert Hines, 45, Christian church janitor, and David Hinderson, 25, a butler. Virginia owned the house, valued at $3000, and reported that she had been born in Virginia to parents born in England.

Ada Winstead Pierce’s brother, Otho C. Davis, died 21 September 1934. Per his death certificate, he resided at 415 East Green; was married to Ella H. Davis; worked as a storekeeper;  and was born about 1885 in Danville, Virginia to James W. Davis and Virginia Richardson.

Ada Winstead Pierce’s mother, Virginia Davis, died 11 June 1935. Per her death certificate, she resided at 415 East Green; was the widow of James W. Price; and was born about 1865 in Virginia to Randle Jefferson and Francis Terrell.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 June 1935.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 East Green Street, insurance collector N. Andrew Pierce, 61; wife Ada W., 58, a seamstress; nephew Otha R. Davis, 28, a beer parlor owner; his wife Lillie, 23, a nurse; their son Otha R., Jr., 6 months; and mother Ella Davis, 52; plus lodgers Elnora Armstrong, 90; Thomas Williams, 35, and Johnie Sarvis, 33.

In 1940, Willie Johnnie Sarvis Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he resided at 415 East Green Street; his telephone number was Wilson 2193; he was born 7 December 1905 in Norfolk, Virginia; he worked for Ed Bishop, Carolina Laundry, Tarboro Street, Wilson; and his contact was Ada Winstead, 415 East Green, friend.

Nazareth Pierce died 16 February 1941 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1877 in Franklin County, North Carolina, to Adam W. Pierce; lived at 415 East Green Street; was married to Ada A. Pierce; and worked as an insurance agent. He was buried in Rountree cemetery. Joseph L. Pierce was informant.

Ada E.W. Pierce executed a will on 2 June 1949 in Wilson. She left all her property, including the houses at 413 and 415 East Green, to her great-nephews Otha Richardson Davis Jr. and James Rudolph Davis in a trust to be administered by Branch Banking & Trust Company of Wilson.

Ada Winstead Pierce died 10 November 1949 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 February 1881 in Virginia to James Washington Davis and Virginia Richardson; was widowed; was a dressmaker and seamstress; and resided at 415 East Green. She was buried in the Masonic cemetery. B.O. Barnes was the certifying physician, and C.E. Artis handled funeral arrangements.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 November 1949.

Otha R. Davis passed in 2009, age 91. Otha Davis Jr. passed in 2011, age 72. 415 East Green Street remains in the family.

 

Calvin Sidney Edwards.

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Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1947.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Aaron Edwards, 40; wife Lucinda, 39; and children Thomas, 13, Mary J., 10, Louvenia, 8, Sallie A., 5, George A., 2, and Calvin, 4 months.

On 25 April 1912, Calvin Edwards, 25, son of Aaron and Lucinda Edwards, of Wilson, married Beatrice Moore [sic, Morgan] 18, daughter of William and Mary Moore [Morgan] of Cross Roads, in Lucama. Missionary Baptist minister R. Corbett performed the ceremony in the presence of J.L. Newsom, W.R. Kent, and Rev. C.D. Dew.

On 12 September 1918, Calvin Sydney Edwards registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1882; resided at 113 Pender Street; worked as a plumber of J.E. Alphin on Nash Street; and his nearest relative was Beatrice Edwards.

Beatrice Edwards died 15 October 1918 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1895 in Johnston County to William Morgan and Mary Saunders; resided at 113 Pender Street; and was married to Calvin Edwards.

On 24 September 1919, Calvin Edwards, 32, married Lizzie Woodard, 25, in Wilson.

Calvin Edwards executed a will on 31 August 1944. Under its terms, his wife (and executrix) Lizzie was to receive all his personal property and a life interest in his real property; at Lizzie’s death Maggie Holt Rountree, wife of Connie Rountree, was to receive a life interest; thence a life interest to Maggie’s brother Freddie Holt; thence to the nearest blood kin. [Maggie Foster, daughter of Charley and Georgianna Holt, married Connie Rountree in Nash County in 1937.]

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Calvin Sidney Edwards died 10 January 1947 at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1887 in Wayne County to Aaron Edwards of Orange County and Lucinda Davis of Durham; resided at 1105 Carolina Street, Wilson; was a preacher; and was married to Lizzie Woodard. He was buried in the Masonic cemetery, Wilson.

Lizzie Edwards died 21 May 1954 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was born 3 September 1890 in Wilson County to Stephen Woodard and Pheba McGowan. Informant was John M. Barnes, 500 East Green Street.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The last will and testament of Luther Locus.

Luther Locus left gifts of $50 to Saint John A.M.E.Z. Church, his aunt Gertrude Horton and  sister Frances Faison; $25 to aunt Mary Mitchell; a piano and a ’36 Buick to sister Lessie Knight; property to wife Eula Locus; and $1000 to son Robert Locus. Rev. J.A. Everette, Ethel Everette and D.C. Yancey witnessed the execution of the document.

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Perhaps, in the 1900 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John W. Locus, 27, wife Liddie, 26, and children Stillie, 9, Luther, 7, and Rolley, 8 months, and sister Lula, 17.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn and Kenly Road, farmer John A. Pearce, 41; wife Frances, 37; and children Thomas E., 19, Madie, 17, Lenore, 14, Geneva, 12, John H., 9, Odester, 1, and James, 5 months; boarder Luther Locus, 17; and hired hand Rucian Joyner, 30.

On 15 April 1916, Luther Locus was a witness to the marriage of Lonnie Staton, 22, and Lessie Locus, 20, at 514 East Green Street, Wilson. Church of God minister Joseph Lancaster performed the ceremony in the presence of Lessie’s brother Luther, L.A. Moore and Joseph Johnson.

On 5 June 1917, Luther Locus registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 6 November 1892 in Kenly, N.C.; resided on Wainwright Avenue, Wilson; worked as a chauffeur and mechanic for T.W. Tilghman in Wilson; and was married with a child. He signed his name ‘Luther Locust’ in a clear hand.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wainwright, butler Luther Locus, 27, wife Eula, 23, and son Robert, 6.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1108 Wainwright, cook Luther Locus, 37, wife Eula, 37, also a cook, and son Robert, 16.

Luther Locus died 17 September 1944 at his home at 1108 Wainwright Avenue (owned and valued at $1500.) Per his death certificate, he was born 6 November 1892 in Wilson County to Elie Locus and Mary Pierce, both of Wilson County; worked as an auto mechanic at a filling station. Eula Locus was informant.

On 22 January 1949, Lessie Locus, 45, married Jessie B. Knight, 45, in Wilson. Thomas J. Moore and R.R. Batts witnessed.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The last will and testament of Bettie Battle Taylor Hall.

On 10 July 1917, Judge H. Hall, 30, of Wilson, son of Edwin and Avie Ann Hall, married Bettie B. Taylor, 34, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Mary Battle of Nash County, in Wilson. A.L.E. Weeks, a Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, W.H. Burton, and Lee A. Moore.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Atlantic Street, house carpenter Judge Hall, 34, wife Bettie, 37, and roomer Lossie Hooks, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Atlantic Street, carpenter Judge Hall, 42; wife Bettie, 42; son John W., 4; and a lodging family, cook Ellen Battle, 35, and Margrette, 15, Etta, 12, Minnie, 7, Julious, 10, and Norma Battle, 3.

Bettie Hall died 15 September 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Judge Hall; resided at 901 Atlantic Street; worked as a tobacco factory worker; and was born about 1889 in Wilson County to Henry Battle of Nash County and Margarett Lucas of Wilson County. Informant was Ellen Battle.

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Two months before she died, Bettie Hall made out a will. Interestingly, she left nothing to her husband Judge, instead designating as her sole heirs her daughters Ellen Battle and Margaret (no last name listed.)

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North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The estate of Ann Williamson.

Documents in the 1822 estate files of Ann Williamson of Nash (now Wilson) County include several references to the sale or “hier” of enslaved people. Williamson was the widow of Joseph Williamson, and Bartley Deans was her executor.

Williamson had executed a will in 1807, fifteen years before her death. She listed three enslaved people — women named Pat and Rachel and a boy named Arch.

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A partial inventory in Williamson’s estate records also lists Arch, Rachel and Pat. Rachel and Pat are listed together at one place in documents and may have been mother and daughter. (Note that, as she was only ten years old in 1822, the Pat in in Williamson’s estate could not have been the Pat in her will.)

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Here, record of the sale of “Negro gal Pat” to Eatman Flowers for $353.88; the hire of Arch, first to Jesse Sillivant, then to Thomas Williamson; and the hire of Rachel to Ford Taylor. These three were hired out repeatedly.

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A receipt for partial proceeds from the sale of Jack to John Watson, executor of Luke Collins:

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Estate of Ann Williamson (1822), North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

 

Noah Lynch, Civil War veteran.

In the 1850 census of the north side of the Neuse district, Wayne County, North Carolina: C.M. Richardson, 32, brickmason; wife Sarah, 24; and their children Jacob, 7, Joseph and Benjamin, 3, and Cisara, 1; plus, Julia Walton, 21, apprentices Green Bryant, 20, and Noah Linch, 20, and brickmason Thomas Piloot, 23.

Noah Lynch married Piety Rose on 2 March 1853 in Edgecombe County.

In the 1860 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: plasterer Noah Lynch, 30; wife Piety, 33, washerwoman; domestic Julia Higgins, 20; John James, 10; and Martha Taylor, 7; all mulatto. Noah reported owning $700 in real property.

Noah and Piety Lynch apparently divorced or otherwise separated in the early 1860s.

Noah Lynch, 34, colored, waiter, married, born in North Carolina, appears in a consolidated list of men who registered for the Union draft in June 1863 in New York City. Also in the list, Shered Lynch, 32, seaman, married, born in North Carolina. (Sherod Lynch married Harriet Moore at Gatlin Lynch’s in Wayne County on 12 July 1855.) Both resided on East Houston Street.

On 4 May 1868, Noah Lynch, 29, black, son of Lary Lynch and Nancy Wilkins, married Mary Sweeny, 25, white, daughter of Patrick Sweeny and Bridget Bilon, in Manhattan.

In the 1870 census of New York, New York County, New York: mason Noah Lynch, 40, and wife Mary, 30. Noah was a native of North Carolina; Mary, of Ireland. Both were described as white. In a duplicate entry in the 1870 census of New York City: on Houston Street, Noah Lynch, 42, machinist, born in North Carolina; wife Mary, 25, born in Ireland; and John Lynch, 30, waiter, also born in Ireland. All were described as white.

On 8 January 1875, Noah Lynch, 40, son of Larry Lynch and Nancy Wilkins, married Anne Carey, 30, daughter of Luke Carey and Catharine Sweeney, in Manhattan.

In the 1880 census of New York, New York County, New York: plasterer Noah Lynch, 50, and wife Annie, 34, both described as white.

In the New York, New York, city directory of 1883: Noah Lynch, mason, 153 Second.

In the 1905 New York state census: at 153-2nd Street, Noah Linch, 75, painter, white.

In the 1910 census of Manhattan, New York County, New York; at 14 Avenue A, widower Noah W. Lynch, 80, and adopted daughter Matilda M. Roth, 37, a stage actress. Noah was described as white and born in North Carolina to German parents. Matilda was born in New York to German parents.

Noah W. Lynch died 23 November 1913 in Manhattan. Per his death certificate, he was 84 years old; born in North Carolina to Larry and Nancy Lynch; was a pensioned mason; and was olive brown (colored). He was buried in Calvary Cemetery.

On 1 December 1913, Matilda Roth of 14 Avenue A testified in Surrogates’ Court to prove Noah Lynch’s will. She averred that she had known Lynch about 33 years, that she had witnessed him sign his will on 23 November 1913 [the day he died] at his residence at 14 Avenue A and that Johanna Kuhnel and Valentine A. Schulz were also present. Johanna Kuhnel testified similarly, noting that she had known Lynch for about 25 years.

Noah Lynch achieved a significant degree of prosperity in the Lower East Side, though he never bought a house or apartment or spent much on material possessions, as his will reveals:

I, Noah Lynch of the City, County and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this life, do make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament as follows, hereby revoking all other and former Wills by me at any time made.

1st First, after my lawful debts are paid, I give to my beloved half-sister, Mary Tillman (widow) residing at Bergen Street near 3rd Avenue in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York City the sum of Eight Hundred Dollars, the same to be held in trust in the name of my executor, and the same to be deposited in the Bank, during her life. I direct my Executor to pay her from time to time the amount necessary to defray the expenses for her maintenance, that he may see fit after her death, my executor shall see that she has a proper burial and whatever moneys he may have on hand or the balance of the above named sum shall be used in erecting a monument or Tombstone, over her last resting place.

2nd. I give to Mary Sands of 2472 Marion Avenue, Borough of Bronx, New York City, the sums of Five Hundred Dollars, that is to say if there is so much on hand to pay her the same, if there is not so much on hand, she shall receive Two Hundred Dollars.

3rd. I give my (gold watch) to my friend John Sands of 2472 Marion Avenue, Borough of the Bronx, New York City.

4th. I give to Ellen Dwyer, for her good services rendered in my sickness and my last moments and for her kindness, the sum of Five hundred Dollars, that is to say if there is so much on hand to pay her the same, if there is not so much on hand, she shall receive Two Hundred Dollars.

5th. I give to my Executor Val. A. Schulz of 214 East 4th Street New York City, for the faithfull performance of his duty or extra compensation for the amount of Labor he will have in attending to matters of my estate he is to have Two hundred and Fifty Dollars, besides his legal allowance.

6th. I hereby direct my executor to give me a decent funeral and a Requiem High Mass at the Church of the Nativity, 2nd Avenue, bet 2nd and 3rd street, New York City.

7th. I hereby direct my executor to pay one hundred dollars to the Most Reverend Father Reilly, the Rector of the Church of the Nativity, at 2nd Avenue bet 2nd-3rd Street New York City, the same is to be used for reading Masses after my death.

I hereby direct my Executor to use the balance of my estate if there be any balance to erect a suitable Monument over my last Resting place.

8th. I hereby direct that my Executor Valentine A. Schulz of 214 East 4th Street, shall serve as my Executor without filing any bonds as I have confidence in his honesty, faithful performance of his duty and I am sure he will carry out my last wishes.

9th. My entire estate consists of 1 Bank account on Bank Book number 658,003 on the Bowery Savings Bank, and another Bank book number 1,015 832 on the 4th Ave Bank at 200 4th Avenue, New York City, and other small articles of no value.

10th. I give to Matilda Roth of 14 Ave A, New York City, who I have raised and who has done so much for me, and for services rendered to me during my lifetime and during my sickness, I hereby give her eight hundred Dollars and I direct my Executor to pay her the same as soon as the law permits. I also give her a ring of plain type.

11th. I hereby direct my executor to pay any attention to those claiming relationship. I have no relatives living accepting my half sister Mary Tillman of Brooklyn, New York City.

12th. And I further direct my Executor not to pay any one who will cause him any trouble, that is to say of those named in this my last will and testament, by trouble I mean any one contesting this my last will and Testament.

I hereby appoint Valentine A. Schulz, 214 East 4th Street, New York City, to be Executor of this my last Will and Testament.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and affixed my seal, the 23rd day of November in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirteen.    Noah (X) Lynch

Witnesses: Matilda Roth, Valentine A. Schulz, Johanna Kuhnel

I have no record of Mary Tillman in North Carolina. However, in the 1894 Brooklyn, New York, city directory: Tillman, Mary, wid. Thos., h 263 Bergen. In the 1900 census of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York: at 263 Bergen, widowed North Carolina-born laundress Marie Tillman, 74, with boarder Alexander Moore, 27, and his wife Julia, 26, and three other families. In the 1910 census of Brooklyn: at 263 Bergen, Virginia-born Susan Brown, 34, laundress, and her Florida-born boarder Joseph Robertson, 28, a hotel waiter, and North Carolina-born Mary Tillman, 87, and her lodger Benjamin Simmons, 70, a carpenter.

Executor Schulz quickly advanced Mary Tillman money to purchase a burial plot and grave marker, but she complained to the court that she needed $40/month for support. She averred that Schulz had agreed to pay that sum, but had not remitted any money to date. It is not at all clear why this minor demand warranted the attention of two New York City newspapers, but:

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The Sun, 10 March 1914.

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New York Times, 10 March 1914.

Ayers found dead in his yard.

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Wilson Advance, 2 February 1883.

The “old man” was William Ayers, who appeared in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, as a 46 year-old farmer. Though he was marked married, he is listed as the only person in his household.

William’s wife, Rose Ayers, quickly moved to open his estate in probate court, relinquishing her right to administer his estate to Thomas J. Rowe.

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The court duly appointed Rowe, estimated the size of Ayers’ estate at $250, and named Rosa, Jesse and Joseph Ayers as his heirs. The latter two, presumably, were his sons (or descendants of deceased children.)

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By late February, William Ayers’ personal property had been sold at auction, yielding a little more than $200. The account revealed that, in addition to carpenter’s tool, household furnishings and clothing, Ayers owned a fiddle and a single bottle of cologne.

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On 22 November 1883, commissioners laid off Rose Ayers’ dower, granting her twenty acres of her late husband’s 80 acres in Cross Roads township, representing one-third value of the land. In December 1883, commissioner F.A. Woodard placed a series of notices in The Wilson Advance (Josephus Daniels’ first newspaper), presumably advertising the sale of Ayers’ land.

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Estate records show that Edwin Barnes was the highest bidder at $430 for Ayers’ property on 7 January 1884. (The commissioners’ report also lists another heir, Council Ayers.)

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  • Rose Ayers — Rose Ayers, 45, married Nash Horton, 50, on 5 December 1888 at Meeksville post office, Spring Hill township. James G., I., and Guilford Wilder were witnesses.
  • Jesse Ayers — probably,  in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: 28 year-old farmer Jesse Ayers; wife Elizabeth, 28; and children Ida, 8; Harriet, 6; Howard, 5; and Hubbard, 2; all described as mulatto.
  • Joseph G. Ayers
  • Council Ayers — In the 1870 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: Council Ares, 52, wife Mary, 33, and William Smith, 3. However, this man was older than William and could not have been his son. (He died 1 December 1915 in Spring Hill township, and his death certificate lists his father as Sampson Ayers.) Similarly, the Council Ayers, age 21, who appears in the 1910 census of Spring Hill township with wife Beadie, 25, was born after William Ayers’ death.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The Hawleys, the Roses and the color line.

The families of William and Nancy Rose Hawley illustrate the fluidity of identity along the color line and the complexity of Southern race relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their families lived among a cluster of families in the Lucama area — Hawleys, Roses, Ayerses and Taylors — whose members’ racial classifications shifted back and forth over time. Both William and Nancy were regarded as mixed-race for much of their lives, but died white.

In the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: John Sillivant, 53, farmer; Sally Hawley, 60; and Martha Hawley, 35, and her children Nancy, 12, William, 9, Mary, and Elizabeth, 3. All were described as white.

Also in the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: Sarah Rose, 44, and children Piety, 22, William 11, Nancy, 3, and James, 0. All were described as white.

Piety Rose married Noah Lynch on 2 March 1853 in Edgecombe County. [Lynch was probably a brother of Wyatt Lynch.]

In the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County: Sallie Hawley, 75; daughter Patsey [nickname for Martha], 35; and grandchildren William, 17, Mary, 14, Cerenia, 10, Willey, 4, Saffira, 4, and John D., 1. Patsey, Cerenia and John were described as mulatto; the others, white. [Kirby’s district had been the north-most part of Johnston County before Wilson County was created in 1855.]

Also in the 1860 census of Kirbys district, Wilson County: Sarah Rose, 50; Richard Odom, 21, cooper; Willis Taylor, 45, turpentine worker; Nancy Rose, 11, and Alice Rose, 7. Taylor and the Rose girls were described as mulatto. Sarah reported owning $500 real estate and $300 personal.

In the 1860 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: plasterer Noah Lynch, 30; wife Piety, 33, washerwoman; domestic Julia Higgins, 20; John James, 10; and Martha Taylor, 7; all mulatto. Noah reported owning $700 in real property.

On 26 June 1867, William Hawley, son of Joseph Hair and Patsey Hawley, married Nancy Rose, daughter of Sarah Rose, at Sarah Rose’s house in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer William Hawley, 28, wife Nancy, 20, son Joseph, 1, and Aquilla Hawley, 17. William, Joseph and Aquilla were classified as mulatto; Nancy, as white.

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Patsey Hawley, 40; and children Betsey, 18, Rena, 17, Willie, 16, Quilly, 16, and John D., 10; all white. Next door: Sarah Rose, 59, and daughter Alice, 15, both described as white. Next door to them: Willis Taylor, 51, farm laborer, white.

On 26 February 1874, Piety Lynch, 40, and Raiford Edwards, 52, both colored, both of Smithfield, were married in Johnston County. The ceremony was performed at J.B. Alford’s in the presence of Daniel Alford, Bettie Alford, and Daniel Freeman.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer William Hawley, 39, wife Nancy, 32, and children Joseph, 10, Sally An, 7, and John, 3; all described as mulatto.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Patsey Hawley, 60, and grandson Charles Anderson Hawley, 11, both mulatto. Willis Taylor, 70, farmer, mulatto — who had lived with the Roses in 1860 — lived next door. Next door to him: farmer Leonidas Adams, 38, his wife Alice, 25, and children Willis, 8, Junius, 7, Mary Ann, 5, and John, 2; plus Piety Lynch, 54, and John E. Denson, 30, a fruit tree seller. All were mulatto except Denson, who was white. (Alice Adams and Piety Lynch were Nancy Rose Hawley’s sisters.) Also in Cross Roads, widow Sarah Rose, 72, living alone, described as white.

[Also in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, this cluster of families: #162. Sylvia Hawley, 22, with children Paul, 3, and Minnie, 2; #163. Martha Ann Hawley, 25, with children Chalmus, 5, and Maud, 2 months; #164. Quillie Hawley, 25, with children William, 5, and Victoria, 2; #165. Patrick Hawley, 35, wife Polly, 29, and children Mary Jane, 9, and Penelope, 5; and #166. John Dancy Adams, 54, Martha Ann Hawley, 45, Pharo Rowe, 30, and Dudley Hawley, 22. All were classified mulatto except John D. Adams and Pharo Rowe. Quillie appears to be Patsey Hawley’s daughter Aquilla. Dudley was Patsey’s son John Dudley Hawley. John D. Adams was the father of Alice Rose Adams’ husband Oleander Adams. In the 1860 census of Kirby’s, Patrick Hawley and the elder Martha Ann Hawley were listed as Patrick and Martha Taylor in John D. Adams’ household, and Sylvia Hawley and the younger Martha Ann Hawley were Taylors in the household of William Taylor, 22, and Sallie Taylor, 30 (who were probably siblings.) All were mulatto in this census, but race-fluid as demonstrated in other records. Who were these people? Were they related to Sally and Patsey Hawley? To the Roses? To Willis Taylor?]

Sarah Rose executed her will in early 1888:

I Sarah Rose of the County of Wilson and state of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say: —

First – That my executor (hereinafter named) shall provide for my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my relations and friend, and pay all funeral expenses together with my just debts howsoever and to whomsoever owing out of the moneys that may first come in to his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Second I want my land sold to the highest bidder for cash and pay the same to my last will & testament here after mentioned. Also my personal property All that may be found at my death sold as above written and apply the same to all my heirs.

3rd I give to my son John Rose twenty dollars to be paied to him and his personal representative for ever. 4th I give to my Daughter Pity Linch five dollars to be paied to her. My daughter Allice Adams I want to give her twenty five dollars to be paied to her or her personal representative.

After those above mention received what I have given them my will is to equally divide the balance among William Rose, Mary Alford, and Nancy Holley.

And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my trusty son in law William Holley my lawful executor to all intents and purposes, to execute this my last Will and Testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause thereof hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all others wills and testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I the said Sarah Rose do hereunto set my hand and seal. This the 14th day of March A.D. 1888  Sarah (X) Rose

Signed sealed published and declared by the saied Sarah Rose to be her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at her request and in her presence do subscribe our names as witness thereunto  /s/ J.T Renfrow, A.G. Price

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: William R. Hawley Sr., 60, wife Nancy, 52, and children Willie, 15, and Patience, 13. All were described as black.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Leander Adams, 46, and wife Alice, 46, both black.

In the 1900 census of Smithfield, Johnston County: widow Piety Lynch, 72, black, living alone.

In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Lucama Branch Road, William M. Hawley, 69, wife Nancy, 62, and daughter Patience, 22; all described as mulatto.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: railroad laborer Arnold Adams, 67, wife Alice, 57, and widower son John, 35, a brickyard laborer; all mulatto.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Ainley Adams, 711, and wife Alice R. Adams, both white.

William Hawley executed his will in 1913:

In the name of God, Amen, I, William Hawley of the county of Wilson and state of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory do hereby make, publish and declare this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made, and as to my worldly estate and all the property real or personal which I may die seized and possessed I devise, bequeath and dispose thereof in the following manner, that is to say –

First – My will is that all of my just debts and funeral expenses shall be paid out of my estate by my executor hereinafter named as soon after my decease as by him shall be found convenient.

Item 1st. I give devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Nancy Hawley all of my real estate for and during her lifetime or widowhood, the said lands being situated in the county and state aforesaid in two tracts – the first tract being the land whereon I now low bounded on the west by the lands of Luke Tedder, on the north by Arch Atkinson and M.B. Hinnant, on the east by the lands of B.A. Scott and on the south by Jethro Moore containing Eighty Eight acres more or less, also one other tract of land adjoining the lands of J.T. Rentfrow, Seth W. Scott, B.A. Scott and others containing Seventy five acres more of less and known as the Sarah Rose tract – all of which I hereby give to my said wife Nancy Hawley for and during her lifetime or widowhood as aforesaid. I also give devise and bequeath to her all of my person al property not otherwise herein disposed of to-wit – all of my household and kitchen furniture, all of my live stock and all farming tools and all other personal property except such personal property as I may herein dispose of otherwise. 

Item 2. I give, devise, and bequeath to my beloved daughter Sallie Tedder all of the following land by and after the decease of my said wife Nancy Hawley, bounded as follows: Beginning at a stake at the crook of the ditch in Bull Pond Branch and runs north to a corner to be made in Arch Atkinson’s line, thence southwesterly with Atkinson’s line to Luke Tedder and Jethro Moore’s corner, thence easterly with Jethro Moore’s line to the head of the ditch in Bull Pond branch thence north with the ditch about 100 yeards to the beginning, containing thirty acres more or less, to her the said Sallie Tedder and her heirs by and after the decease of the said Nancy Hawley as aforesaid, provided however that one eight of an acre of this land be reserved to my family as a Graveyard for myself and family.

Item 3rd. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son J.G. Hawley one hundred and fifty Dollars in money to be paid to him by my executor hereinafter named out of my estate. I also give to him the said J.G. Hawley one feather bed, bedstead and furniture.

Item 4th. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son John Hawley One Hundred and fifty Dollars in money to be paid to him by my executor hereinafter named out of my estate. I also give to him one feather bed, bedstead and furniture.

Item 5th. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my son Willie Hawley the following described tract of land by and after the decease of his mother the said Nancy Hawley, bounded on the West by the lands of Benajah Scott, and on the north by Isaac W. Lamm and on the East by the lands of Haywood Lamm and on the south by J.T. Rentfrow containing Seventy five acres more or less, the same being known as the Sarah Rose place, to him the said Willie Hawley and his heirs in fee simple forever. I also give to him the said Willie Hawley one feather bed, Bedstead and furniture.

Item 6. I lend to my daughter Patience Taylor for and during her lifetime only the following described tract of land. Beginning at a stake in the Bull Pond Branch in Joseph Tedder and Adolph Taylor’s line and runs thence westerly to Sallie Tedder’s corner, thence northerly with her line to Arch Atkinson line thence a northeasterly course with Atkinson’s line to Mary Ann Hinnant’s deed line thence with said Hinnant’s line easterly to the Road thence south with the Road to creak below the Tobacco Barn thence a south line to the beginning containing twenty-five acres more or less to her the said Patience Taylor for and during her lifetime only and after her decease I hereby give  the same to such children as she may have born of her body if any living and if no children living then to her Brothers and sisters then living. I also give to her the said Patience Taylor, one feather Bed, Bedstead and furniture.

Item 7. All of the property which I may die seized and possessed not herein disposed of or any personal property herein bequeathed to my wife Nancy Hawley, and not disposed of by her during her lifetime, I desire the same to be sold by my executor hereinafter named, and after my said sons J.G. Hawley and John Hawley receive the sums of one hundred and fifty Dollars each as herein provided in the third and fourth Items of this my last will, I desire that the remainder of the proceeds of said sale be equally divided between my daughter Sallie Tedder and my daughter Patience Hawley and my son Willie Hawley share and share alike, and lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my friend John T. Revell to be sole executor to this my last will and testament to all intents and purposes thereof. In testimony whereof I the said William Hawley have hereunto set my hand and seal this 13th day of January 1913.  /s/ Wm. Hawley.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said William Hawley to be his last will and testament in the presence of us as witnesses hereto.  /s/  John T. Revell, Sarah Revell

In the 1920 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Aycocks Crossing Road, William M. Hawley, 77, and wife Nancy, 73, both mulatto.

William Hawley died 22 March 1920 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson County to unnamed parents; was married to Nancy Hawley; was a farmer; was buried at the home place; and was declared white. J.S. Tedder was informant. [Per Findagrave.com, he was buried in the J.D. Hawley cemetery near Rock Ridge, North Carolina. Others buried there are Nancy Rose Hawley, William A. Hawley, Sarah Rose and Sally Hawley Tedder.]

Alice Adams died 1 June 1927 in Cross Roads township. Per her death certificate, she was about 70 years old; was born in Wilson County to Sarah Rose and Willis Taylor; was married to Onley Adams; and worked for Ambrose Loucas. She was colored. Informant was John Adams, Lucama. [Alice Adams’ death record reveals the relationship between Sarah Rose and her close neighbor, Willis Taylor, who presumably was also the father of Rose’s other mixed-race children.]

Nancy Hawley died 14 February 1935 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of the late W.M. Hawley, was born 8 December 1837 in Wilson County to an unknown father and Sarah Rose, and was white. J.S. Tedder was informant.

John Dudley Hawley [brother of William Hawley] died 27 September 1948 at his home at 407 Factory Street in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; was born in Wilson County to unnamed parents; and was white. Informant was Miss Maggie Hawley.

In death, William and Nancy Rose Hawley’s children, like their parents, achieved the permanent crossing of the color line that had eluded them in life:

Sally Ann Hawley Tedder died 11 June 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 November 1872 in Wilson County to William Hawley and Nancy Rose and was a resident of Lucama. Informant Mrs. Berry Lewis certified that Sally Ann was white.

William A. Hawley died 14 March 1948 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was a 64 year-old barber; resided in Lucama; was born in Wilson County to William Hawley and Nancy Rose; and was white. J.S. Tedder was informant, and William was buried in Hawley cemetery.

Pattie Hawley Taylor died 14 May 1972 in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was 85 years old, white, widowed, and the daughter of William Wilson Hawley and Nancy Rose. Informant was Grace Sasser, Monroe.

On the other hand, Alice Rose Adams’ children died classified as “colored,” like their mother:

Junious Adams died 25 September 1926 in Wilson township, Wilson County. His address was a rural route near Lucama. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1871 in Wilson County to Leander Adams and Alice Rose; worked as a tenant farmer for Josiah Hinnant; was married to Susan Adams; and was colored. Informant was Willis Adams, Black Creek.

Willis D. Adams died 4 July 1942 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 68 years old; was born in Wilson County to Leander Adams and Alice Rose; was a farmer; was married to Eva Adams; and was colored. Informant was Eva Adams.

John Q. Adams died 23 September 1964 at Dew’s Rest Home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, his regular residence was Lucama; he was born 20 May 1879 in Wilson County to Onley Adams and Alice Rose; had worked as a farmer; was a widower; and was Negro. Informant was Ollie Adams Sr., Norfolk, Virginia.