Wilson County

Robert M. Cox house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

img_2001

“Dr. Robert Cox was born in 1825 and he married Zillah Horne, an heir to the Horne land where this house was built. In 1844 Cox purchased his wife’s share of the Horne land, amounting to 385 acres. This house was probably built in the 1840s. After the death of Zillah, Cox married her sister, Elizabeth Horne. According to the 1860 census he was identified as a farmer with real property worth $8,000. … The Cox House consists of a two-room dwelling with an engaged porch and rear shed. The sturdy porch posts are chamfered and a shed room with access from the outside was built under one side of the porch. There are two exterior end chimneys; one centrally located on the west elevation which served the parlor and one on the east elevation on the rear shed. On the interior the house is divided into two main rooms with a shed room running the width of the house at the rear.”

——

In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, North Carolina [in an area which became part of Black Creek township, Wilson County, in 1855]: farmer Robert Cox, 25; wife Zillie, 23; and daughter Julia, 10 months. Per the 1850 slave schedule of the same district, Cox enslaved a 37 year-old woman, four girls ranging in age from 4 to 14, a 42 year-old man, and two boys, aged 7 and 14.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Robert M. Cox, 35; wife Elizabeth, 21; Barney B. Cox, 21, clerk; John H. Minshew, 28, clerk; and J.S. Holt, 28, merchant. Cox reported $8000 in real property and $36000 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included five enslaved girls and women ranging from 9 to 30 years old and ten enslaved boys and men ranging from 9 months to 35 years old. Cox provided three dwellings to house them.

The 1870 census of Wilson County lists 20 African-Americans with the surname Cox living in four households in Black Creek, Stantonsburg and Cross Roads townships. Though Robert Cox was the sole Cox slaveholder listed in Wilson County in 1860, several of his Cox kin in neighboring Wayne County owned slaves.

 

Road duty.

State of North Carolina, Wilson County Justice Court

State & Isaac Williamson overseer of public Road vs. Peter Strickland (Col)      }

Warrant for failure to Work public Road Before J.E. Eatman Justice of the Peace

The State of North Carolina

To any lawful officer of said County Greetings. Whereas the said Isaac Williamson overseer of public Road known as section beginning at Horns Bridge and ending at the great swamp Bridge has complained in oath to me a Justice of the peace in and for Wilson County, that the said Peter Strickland (Col) often being lawfully ordered on the 2nd day of March 1883 to work on said secion of Public Road and the kind of tool to carry did wilfully and unlawfully fail to meet and work as ordered against the peace and dignity of the state.

These are therefore to command you forthwith to apprehend the said Peter Strickland and have him before me or some other Justice of the peace of Wilson County.

——

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Sarah Strickland, about 35; with children Peter, 21, Alice, 9, Martha, 5, and Sallie, 1 month.

On 27 December 1883, Peter Strickland, 23, married Nancy Farmer, 19, at Wash Farmer‘s.

Road Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Charlie F. Knight.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 March 1963.

——

On 12 February 1905, Charlie Knight, 30, son of Louis and H. Knight, married Annie Pool, 15, daughter of Dempsy and Gracie Pool. Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarboro performed the ceremony “on the Old Bass Plantation” in the presence of Mack Simms, Jonah Lipscomb, and Willie (or Millie) Ellis.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on County Line Road, farmer Charlie Knight, 31; wife Annie, 27; son William Poole, 7; and sister-in-law Mahala Poole, 15. Charlie had been married twice.

Charley Frank Knight registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 31 October 1872; resided at Route 3, Wilson; worked as a farm laborer on J.C. Eagles’ farm; and his nearest relative was wife Annie Knight. He signed his full name: Charlie Frank Knight.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Charlie Knight, 40; wife Annie, 33; son William, 16; widowed laborers Mattie, 40, and Anna Knight, 60; and nieces and nephews Aulander, 16, Charlie, 13, Cleora, 11, Sarah, 9, Mary, 3, and Mary Knight, 3.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Charlie Knight, 65; wife Annie, 50; and sons Stephen, 12, and David, 11.

Charlie Frank Knight died 3 March 1963. Per his death certificate, he was born October 1885 in Edgecombe County to Louis Knight and Mahalie [last name unknown]; was a laborer; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Informant was Annie Knight.

 

Mortality, no. 3.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating  individuals who had died in the previous year previous. Each entry noted family number in the population schedule, name, age, sex, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.

Here is the 1870 mortality schedule for part of Wilson township, Wilson County (which does not include the town of Wilson and does not specify family numbers):

  • Hines, Charles. Age 1, black, died in June, cholera infant.
  • Locust, Infant. Age 1 day, black, died in February, asphyxia.
  • Mercer, Robert. Age 1 month, black, died in December. Hooping cough.
  • Thomas, Lucy. Age 25, black, domestic servant, died in April, consumption.
  • Blunt, Vilet. Age 70, mulatto; married; domestic servant; died in July; cancer.
  • Jordan, Mary. Age 26, mulatto, domestic servant; died in May; died from child birth.
  • Edwards, Marzillie. Age 3 months, black, died in December, intermittent fever.
  • Lassiter, Jesse. Age 6, mulatto, died in November, typhoid fever.

“Remarks: 366. Lassiter Jesse. Cause of death unknown; supposed to be typhoid fever from best information obtained.” Household #366: farm laborer Silas Lassiter, 47, and children Ophelia, 25, Mary, 20, Elizabeth, 16, Handy, 14, Penninah, 15, Silas W., 12, Milly, 8, and Jerusha, 4.

  • Powell, Nannie. Age 25, mulatto, farm laborer, died in September, bowel disease.
  • Edmundson, Shepard. Age 51, black, married, farm laborer, died in September, paralysis.
  • Due, Amanda. Age 4, black, died in October, “brain inflam. of.”
  • Horn, Mary. Age 30, black, married, died in April, child birth.
  • Due, Stella A. Age 6 months, black, died in July, cutting teeth.
  • Cook, Alex’dr. Age 3, black, died in August, ascites.
  • Cook, Infant. Age 1 month, black, died in April, epilepsy.
  • Cook, Infant. Age 1 month, black, died in April, epilepsy.

 

Elisha Bass farm.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“According to local tradition this house was built for Elisha Bass, Jr., on land deeded to Edward Bass in 1745. The Elisha Bass house is set in a grove of trees and is oriented away from the road. It now forms the rear section of a turn-of-the-century farmhouse built circa 1890 by Shelby Bass. The oldest section probably dates between 1830 and 1940. The three-bay gable-roof house has exterior end chimneys with tumbled weatherings. The kitchen, which was originally part of the early section of the house, still stands on the property.”

——

In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, North Carolina [in an area which became part of Black Creek township, Wilson County, in 1855]: farmer Elisha Bass, 35; wife Sarah, 30; and son Hardy, 1. Per the 1850 slave schedule of the same district, Elisha Bass enslaved a 40 and a 16 year-old man.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Elisha Bass, 47; son Nathan, 9; and farm laborer Redmon Lodge, 17. Bass listed $3500 in real property and $4317 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included a 20 year-old woman, a three year-old girl, and four boys and men, aged three months to 30 years.

Elisha Bass was just one of several white Basses who enslaved people in Wilson County. The 1870 census of Black Creek township lists 134 African-Americans with the surname Bass living in households across eastern Wilson County in Black Creek, Stantonsburg, Gardners, Wilson, Joyners and Cross Roads townships.

He abandoned and left his wife.

On 5 August 1893, Charity Jones swore that her husband Jesse H. Jones had abandoned her and left her without support. Her father Noel Jones testified on her behalf, and Martha Williamson on Jesse Jones’.  A justice of the peace sustained the charge, ordering Jones’ arrest. He was picked up a week later.

——

In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Noel Jones, 26; wife Sarah, 23; and children Josiah, 3, Charity, 1, and Edith, 4 months.

Also in the 1870 census of Old Fields township: Jno. A. Jones, 22; wife Susan, 19; sons Thomas, 2, and Jesse B., 7 months; and Rosett Boykin, 70. [Jesse Jones’ middle initial is given as B., rather than H., in records other than that shown above.]

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Noel Jones, 34; wife Sarah, 32; and children Josiah, 13, Charity, 12, Edieth J., 10, and Noel J., 6.

Also: Demsy Powell, 57; wife Sallie, 46; and daughter Susan A., 27; [Susan Powell Jones’ husband] John A. Jones, 34; and their children Thomas A., 12, Jessie B., 11, James A., 7, Celia C., 5, Sallie C., 4, and John A., 1; and W.D. Lucus, 21.

On 9 November 1890, Jesse Jones, 21, son of John and Susan Jones, married Charity Jones, 23, daughter of Noah and Sarah Jones, in Wilson County. Josiah Jones applied for the license.

Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.

They unlawfully hired their time of their master.

An enslaver could, and often did, rent the services of an enslaved person to others for specific tasks or under long-term leases. Under North Carolina law, however, enslavers were prohibited from allowing their slaves to rent their own time. That is, to come to their own terms and arrangements for working for others for wages that they either kept for themselves or split with their masters. Slaves who hired their own time created their own wealth, a dangerous circumstance. There was a wide gulf between law and reality, however.

Dennis, a man over whom white Wilson County carpenter John Farmer claimed ownership, was indicted on misdemeanor charges of hiring his time at July term, 1859, of the Wilson County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.  Five years later, at July 1864, jurors indicted Farmer himself for allowing the entrepreneurial activities of enslaved women named Mary, Lucy and Silvia.

The jurors for the State on their oath present, that Dennis, a Slave the property of John Farmer (Carpt) at and in the County of Wilson on the first day of January 1859 and on divers other days and times as well before as afterwards up to the taking of this inquisition by the permission of the said John Farmer his master, unlawfully did go at large, the said Salve having then and there unlawfully hired his own time of his said master, contrary to the form of the Stature in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State.

——

John Farmer may have been the John W. Farmer of Wilson township, Wilson County, who is listed in the 1860 slave schedule as the owner of ten enslaved men and women.

Court Cases Involving Slaves, Slave Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Arthur Bass farm.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“This house is said to have been the property of Arthur Bass. According to the Wayne County census of 1850 Arthur Bass was born in 1816. Little is known of Bass’ life. … The Bass House appears to date from the 1830s and it consists of a two-story dwelling with an attached shed porch and three-bay façade. Under the porch the façade is sheathed in flush boards instead of the unusual weatherboards, the main house is linked with the kitchen by an open breezeway on the eastern elevation and this breezeway shelters an unusual enclosed exterior stair. On the first floor of the main house there are two main rooms, while the second floor appears to have been one large room.”

——

In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, North Carolina [in an area which became part of Black Creek township, Wilson County, in 1855]: farmer Arthur Bass, 34; wife Martha, 19; and daughter Zilla, 8 months. Per the 1850 slave schedule of the same district, Arthur Bass enslaved a 25 year-old woman, a three year-old boy and a two year-old girl.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Arthur Bass, 46; wife Pattie, 28; and children Zillah, 11, Louisa, 8, Perry, 6, and William, 2 months. He listed $4000 in real property and $7000 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included five enslaved girls and women ranging from 8 months to 32 years old and two enslaved boys. aged 12 and five.

Arthur Bass was just one of several white Basses who enslaved people in Wilson County. The 1870 census of Wilson County lists 134 African-Americans with the surname Bass living in households across eastern Wilson County in Black Creek, Stantonsburg, Gardners, Wilson, Joyners and Cross Roads townships.

Mortality, no. 2.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating  individuals who had died in the previous year previous. Each entry noted family number in the population schedule, name, age, sex, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.

Here is the 1870 mortality schedule for Spring Hill township, Wilson County:

NCM1805_3-0941

  • Creech, Infant. Age 1 week, died in March, unknown causes.
  • Creech, Infant. Age 3 weeks, died in March, dropsy.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Creech, 40; wife Margaret, 35; and children Lucy, 7, John, 5, and Sarah, 1. Dropsy is an archaic term for a condition characterized by an accumulation of watery fluid in the tissues or in a body cavity, as from heart failure. Dropsy was not a disease in itself. Remarks: “Infants Creech and Barnes cause unknown. It is very difficult to determine the true cause of death of a great many colord infants seldom having a physician. Sometimes it is from want of attention or hereditary disease.”

  • Deens, Simon. Age 19, farm laborer, died in February, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Albert Adams, 50; wife Spicy, 37; and children Arch, 14, Arnold, 13, Frank, 7, Caroline, 5, and James, 2. Consumption is an archaic term for pulmonary tuberculosis.