Wilson County

Pvt. Frank Worthington, alias Wellington.

Frank Worthington, alias Wellington, is the sole African-American veteran buried under a Civil War Memorial headstone in Wilson’s Maplewood cemetery. (For a fact, he is one of a very few African Americans buried in Maplewood, period.)

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Worthington, who ran away from a Pitt County slaveowner to join the Army, seems not to have actually lived in Wilson County. However, at least one of his children did. Charlie Wellington died 16 June 1958 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 September 1887 in Greene County to Frank Wellington and Fabie Atkinson; was married to Lovie Wellington; and was a farmer. He was buried in Red Hill cemetery, Wilson County.

Photograph courtesy of www.findagrave.com.

Elizabeth Wilson Reid.

Bettie Reid 12 4 1947

Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1947. 

Elizabeth “Bettie” Wilson Reid was born about 1864 in near Eureka in northern Wayne County to John and Zilpha Artis Wilson. The Artises, Wilsons and Reids were free families of color. [Zilpha A. Reid was a sister of Adam T. Artis (and Bettie was first cousin of Josephine Artis Sherrod.)] On 27 December 1882, Bettie Wilson married William Reid at her father Jack Wilson’s house in Wayne County. [William Reid was a cousin of Elijah and J.D. Reid.] They had ten children, Pinkney Reid, Hattie Reid Exum, Maggie Reid, Milton Curtis Reid, Iantha Reid Neal Braswell, Council Troy Reid, William Sylvester Reid, Loumiza Reid Cooper, Willie Gorham Reid and Mater Reid Winstead, at least six of whom settled in Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Saratoga Road, tenant farmer William Reid, 63; wife Bettie, 52; and daughter Iantha M., 25; sons Council, 23, and Vester, 21; Vester’s wife Hattie, 19; son Gorum, 17; daughter Mater, 14; daughter(?) Marion, 7; and son(?) Melab(?), 1.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer Willie Gorham [sic], 27; mother Bettie Reid, 65; niece Marion, 17; and nephew Abraham, 11.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: widowed farmer Iantha Braswell, 46; and children Abraham Neal, 21, and Randolph, 15, Nona Bell, 13, Mavis, 12, Bettie R., 10, and widowed mother Bettie Reed, 75.

Bettie Reid died 2 December 1947 at home at 1011 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of William Reid; was born 1 August 1874 in Wayne County to Jack Wilson and Zilphia Artis. Informant was Loumiza Artis Cooper, and C.E. Artis [Bettie’s first cousin] was undertaker.

Iantha Braswell died 9 May 1955 in Wilson. Per her death certificated, she resided at 719 Stantonsburg Street; was a widow; was born 10 September 1892 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson. She was buried 15 May 1955 in Turner Swamp cemetery, Wayne County. Informant was Nonnie Braswell of Wilson.

Vester Reid died 27 October 1956 at Mercy Hospital after being struck by an automobile on the highway near Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he resided at 502 East Green Street; was married to Hattie Reid; was born 7 March 1897 to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; and was buried 30 October 1956 at Reid family cemetery in Eureka, Wayne County.

Pinkney Reid died 30 November 1961 at his residence at 504 North Vick Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 July 1881 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was married to Matilda Reid; was a farmer; and was buried at Turner Swamp cemetery, Wayne County. [Pinkney Reid was the father of Allen T. Reid.]

Willie Ghorum Reid died 28 February 1963 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 1013 East Nash Street; worked as a barber at William Hines‘ Barber Shop; was married to Ada Reid; was born 12 August 1902 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Council Troy Reid died 29 August 1951 in Walstonburg, Greene County.  Per his death certificate, he was a widowed farmer; was born 21 July 1885 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was a World War I veteran; and was buried 2 September 1951 in Bethel cemetery, Stantonsburg. Informant was Knowless Reid Dupree.

Mater Reid Winstead died 5 January 1979 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 31 March 1906 in Wilson County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was widowed; and was buried in Bethel cemetery, Stantonsburg.

Loumiza Reid Cooper died 26 June 1988 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 January 1900 to William Reid and Bettie Wilson in Wayne County and had worked as a laundry operator.

Teachers at Sam Vick.

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Teachers at Samuel H. Vick Elementary School, 1949-50.

Front row

Back row

  • John Maxwell Miller Jr. — J.M. Miller (1910-1995), a native of Chesterfield, South Caroline, was principal of Sam Vick Elementary from 1944 to 1968.
  • Irene Wallace
  • Carrie Herndon — Carrie Lee Herndon (1915-1986) was probably a Nash County native.
  • Classie Jones Jarman — Classie Jones Jarman (1925-1993) was a native of Tarboro, North Carolina.
  • Ann Bostic — Annie Watson Bostic (1915-1959), a native of Johnston County, apparently lived in Wilson only briefly.
  • Etta Givens — Etta Daisy Wynn Givens (1921-2002) was a native of Mount Olive, Wayne County.
  • Hattie Dixon Nemo
  • Alvis Hines — Alvis Ashley Hines (1918-1981) was the son of Ashley and Mattie Barnes Hines. (His mother was a daughter of Ned and Louisa Gay Barnes.)

This photograph, contributed by Jennie P. Kerbo, is reprinted from 23 February 1999 edition of the Wilson Daily Times.

Killed in sawmill.

Fayville Obs 10 26 1921

Fayetteville Observer, 26 October 1921.

Probably, in the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Moyetown Road, tenant farmer Elijah Ward, 34; his wife Florance, 26; farm laborer Hillery Wootten, 26, servant; farm laborer Robert Speight, 35, servant; his brother James Ward, 19, and sister Sarah Ward, 16.

“Standing by your old ni**er, are you?”

b Woodard 1 31 1908

News & Observer (Raleigh), 31 January 1908.

This nasty bit of “news” is a sample of the gratuitous racism that permeated Josephus DanielsNews & Observer in the Jim Crow era. Daniels had grown up in and gotten his journalistic start in Wilson and undoubtedly knew all the involved parties well.

Benjamin Woodard, a notorious folk doctor in Wilson County, had been arrested on unclear charges (probably involving bootlegging liquor) and hauled into federal court in Raleigh. Several notable white Wilsonians showed up to serve as counsel and character witnesses, including brothers and law partners Frederick A. Woodard (a former United States Congressman) and Sidney A. Woodard (a state congressman). The Woodards were described as Ben Woodard’s former owners, though F.A. had been a child and S.A. an infant at war’s end. Ben’s owner, then, had been their father, Dr. Stephen Woodard of Black Creek, Wilson County. F.A. requested a nolle prosequi (“nol. pros.”), which is odd, as this is generally a motion made by a prosecutor who wishes to drop charges. The District Attorney here politely indicated his unwillingness to make such a request, but the judge cheerfully entered it anyway. Thus Dr. Ben benefitted from ties forged in slavery and earned an insulting article in the state’s newspaper of record.

Nettie Elizabeth Horne Barnes.

Nettie E. Barnes

Nettie Elizabeth Horne Barnes.

Nettie Elizabeth Barnes, 104, of Wilson County, died Monday, May 15, 2017. Funeral services will be held noon Saturday at St. James Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. A wake will be held 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, prior to the funeral at St. James Christian Church. A public viewing will be 3-6 p.m. at Stevens Funeral Home. Mrs. Barnes is survived by six sons, Levi Barnes Jr. of East Orange, New Jersey, Willie Earl Barnes of Hillside, New Jersey, David Barnes of Walstonburg, Lawrence Barnes of Hampton, Virginia, William Barnes of Las Vegas, Nevada and Orlando Barnes of Lanham, Maryland; one adopted son, Carson Fields of Wilson; two daughters, Mary Woodard of Bowie, Maryland and Evelyn Shirl Clegg of Raleigh. Arrangements are by Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

Wilson Times, 17 May 2017.

——

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on an improved dirt road, Levi Barnes, 20; wife Elizabeth, 18; and daughter Nora, 1; plus Levi’s brothers Jessie, 22, and Joe H. Barnes, 21, and relative Arnold Barnes, 18.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Levi Barnes, 30; wife Elizabeth, 27; and children Nora Mae, 11, Vernistine, 9, Levi Jr., 7, Eula Sue, 5, James M., 3, and Willie E., 1; plus brother-in-law Wesley Beaman, 32, and sister Ethelene, 28.

Early undertakers.

C.H. Darden & Sons is credited as the first African-American undertaking establishment in Wilson. In the first quarter of the 20th century, however, a few others managed to establish a toehold in the funeral business, which was rapidly professionalizing. During this era, most African-Americans in the county still turned to family members or hardware stores to bury their dead, but in town trained undertakers increasingly vied for business.

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In the 1908 Wilson city directory, C.H. Darden & Son is the sole black funeral business listed. This early start laid a foundation for their dominance of the trade for decades.

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In the 1915 Wilson city directory, Darden was joined by Columbus E. Artis, who was described as an undertaker, though it’s not clear for whom he worked or if he owned his own business at that time.

This 1918 death certificate for Joshua Barnes lists A. Batts as undertaker:

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1000 Nash Street, undertaker Amos Batts, 48; wife Jennie, 38, and children Eddie, 16, Joseph, 9, Olive, 6, and Josephean, 4.

Three years later, the death certificate of Stephen Simms lists Batts Brothers & Artis as undertakers. Presumably, Amos Batts was one of the Batts brothers who joined forces with C.E. Artis for a short stretch. I have not been able to identify the other Batts brother.

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Rivalries between the young businesses sometimes took terrible turns.

The 1925 Wilson city directory carries entries for ARTIS & FLANAGAN (C E Artis, W E Flanagan) funeral directors 563 E Nash — phone 1183 and DARDEN C H & SONS (C H, C L & A N), funeral directors 608-610 E Nash — phone 60. (Walter E. Flanagan lived in Greenville, North Carolina.) Gussie Mae Blackman‘s burial was handled by Artis & Flanagan:

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The Darden sons were Camillus L. Darden and Arthur N. Darden. They and their father dominated the black funeral business in Wilson in this decade, and began making inroads into townships outside the town.

Amos Batts was still in Wilson in 1925, but was listed in the directory without an occupation (other than lodge officer.)  Nonetheless, Batts Brothers continued to handle burials, as shown on Sarah Batts‘ January 1925 death certificate.

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In the 1928 city directory, Batts is again listed as an undertaker.

C.E. Artis was in business by himself by 1928. In addition to his work in Wilson, he performed considerable services in neighboring Wayne County, especially in and around Eureka, where he was born.

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Darden and Artis were the leading black undertaking establishments in Wilson through the middle of the century, when they were joined by Edwards Funeral Home and a branch of the Goldsboro-based Hamilton Funeral Home.

Denied: too old.

Documents from the pension application file of Lizzie Woodard, daughter of Union army veteran London Woodard of Wilson County:

On 22 August 1933, Lizzie Woodard of 119 Ashe Street, Wilson, filed a Declaration for Pension for Children Under Sixteen Years of Age, claiming benefits for herself and her sister Mamie Woodard as children of London Woodard. The declaration noted that London Woodard enlisted 10 July 1861 at Wilson, North Carolina, in the “Col. Army.” London was not wounded in service and was discharged 11 November 1865. He died 10 February 1931. Lizzie Woodard was 37 years old; her sister, 35. Their mother, Grace Woodard, had been London’s second wife when they married 30 November 1886. The first, whom he married in 1874, died without issue. Paul Bunch of Black Creek and Martha Allen of Wilson witnessed Lizzie’s signature.

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Unfortunately, in January 1934, the Pension Authority summarily rejected the Woodards’ application “on the ground that the children of the alleged soldier were over 16 years of age at the date of his death.”

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——

This was not Elder London Woodard, who founded London’s Primitive Baptist Church. Rather, this was his grandson London, son of Howell and Rhoda Woodard.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.

In 22 November 1877, London Woodard, 30, married Margaret Guest, 24, at Richard Haggans’ house. G.T. Daniel, Ned Barnes and Jim Bynum witnessed.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: London Woodard, 34; wife Margaret, 26; and children James G., 9, and Alley, 7. (The children were likely Margaret’s from a previous relationship.)

On 27 November 1895, London Woodard, 47, married Nancy Webb, 23, in Gardners township at the bride’s parents’ home. Adella E. Barnes, Jane R. Farmer and Martha Woodard witnessed.

In the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, age unknown; wife Nancy, 28; children Lizzie, 3, and Mamie, 1; brother-in-law Joseph Webb, 17, and sister-in-law Rhodie Webb, 13.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, 62, divorced.

Nancy, however, did not report their divorce to the enumerator. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Nancy Woodard, 33, widow, and children Lizzie, 14, Mamie, 11, Hubbard, 4, and David, 2. (Apparently, “Hubbard” — in fact, Herbert — and David were not London’s children, as they were not parties to the pension application.)

Though she applied for benefits using her maiden name, Lizzie Woodard, 20, daughter of Lum and Nancy Woodard, married Dock Barnes, 24, son of Rhodes and Frances Barnes, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on 1 November 1913.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, 75, widower.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Lipscomb Road, wagon factory laborer James Barnes, 29; wife Lizzie, 23; children Estelle, 11, and Lenard, 5; sister-in-law Mamie Woodard, 21; and boarders John Hollins, 22, Rose Barnes, 18, Pete Barnes, 19, and Tom Outlaw, 21.

Mamie Woodard, 29, married Thomas Outlaw, 29, on 19 November 1929. Witnesses were W.I. Barnes, John A. Barnes Jr., and Elisha L. Webb.

Lizzie Woodard Barnes died 26 November 1959 in Wilson.

Mamie Woodard Outlaw died 28 December 1988 in Beaufort, Washington County, North Carolina.

File #1,734,955, Application of Lizzie Woodard et al. for Children’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

It shall be known as The First Presbyterian Church of Elm City.

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF ELM CITY ORGANIZED

Elm City, N.C., May 29, 1904

The Committee appointed by the Presbytery in session at Burgaw, North Carolina, April 1904, to visit Elm City, N.C. and to organize a church if the way be clear. We met the petitioners on the 29th day of May, 1904 in the Methodist Church. The sermon was preached by the Reverend Clarence Dillard, PhD of Goldsboro, N.C. from 2 Timothy 2:19. After the sermon, those who desired to walk together in the Presbyterian faith were asked to join hands around the pulpit, and the following came forward:

James G. Mitchel, Ada Gaston, Nina Gaston, Minnie Ellis, G.E. Mebane, Clara M. Nicholson, John C. Ellis, J.J. Howard, William C. Ellis, Isaac Smith, Sara Ellis, James Cobb, Lillian Hall, William T. Armstrong and Georgia Gaston. These were examined and received on confession of faith.

John C. Ellis and Ganzy E. Mebane were elected and ordained elders. James G. Mitchel and W.C. Ellis deacons.

The church having been organized, it was agreed that it be known as The First Presbyterian Church of Elm City, North Carolina.

Committee: Rev. C. Dillard, Ph.D.; T.G. Williamson; C.E. Tucker

Elders: S.H. Vick, J.P. Murfree

Respectfully submitted to the Elm City, N.C. Centennial Committee, July 11, 1973.

— Elm City Centennial Committee,  Elm City North Carolina Centennial 1873-1973.

  • James G. Mitchel — in the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: tenant farmer James G. Mitchell, 38; mother Rosa, 58; and children Kester R., 18, Cynthia, 14, Robert L., 12, Jimmie D., 10, and Lelia B., 8.
  • Ada, Nina and Georgia Gaston — in the 1900 census of Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Pender Street, barber and plasterer George W. Gaston, 44, wife Cilla, 44, a cook; and children Rosco, 18, bricklayer; John, 16, common laborer; Georgia, 15, cook; Addar, 12, nurse; Nina, 11, nurse; Mancy, 6; Lacy, 6; Augustas, 6; Boston, 1; and Dewey, 6 months.
  • John C. and Minnie Ellis — in the 1900 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Main Street, school teacher John C. Ellis, 44; wife Della, 44, cook; and children Walter, 20, Martha, 18, Minnie, 16, John, 14, Haywood, 11, Arthur, 7, and Doretha, 4.
  • G.E. Mebane
  • Clara M. Nicholson — in the 1910 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Wilson Street, Thomas H. Nicholson, 34; wife Clara, 33; and children Alonzo, 7, and Alice M., 4 months.
  • J.J. Howard
  • William C. and Sarah Ellis — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County:  sawmill worker William Ellis, 20; wife Sarah, 21; and mother Leah, 80.
  • Isaac Smith
  • James Cobb — in the 1910 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: at 57 Wilson Street, railroad track repairman James Cobb, 28; wife Lula, 27; and children Wiley, 2, and John A., 8 months.
  • Lillian Hall
  • William T. Armstrong — in the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Proctor Road, farmer William T. Armstrong, 35, and wife Lucy, 28.

“Charles, he has shot your daddie.”

State of North Carolina, Wilson County   }

Be it remembered that on this the 16th day of April 1901 I, John K. Ruffin, Coroner of Wilson County, attended by a jury of good and lawful men, viz Larry Bass, A.P. Moore, Green Finch, Sam Breme, L.A. Lamm, Gray White by me summoned for that purpose, according to law, after being by me duly sworn and impaneled at the residence of Joe Flora in the County aforesaid, did hold an inquest over the dead body of Dempsey Pool (Col); and after inquiring into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased, from a view of the corpse, and all the testimony to be procured, the Jury find as follow, that is to say, that Dempsey Pool came to his death by a gunshot wound inflicted by Stephen Sims, col: and that in our opinion said would was inflicted in self-defense. And that it is a case of justifiable homicide.  /s/ Larry Bass, A.P. Moore, Green Finch, Gray White, L.A. Lamm, Sam Brame, John K. Ruffin, Coroner of Wilson County

North Carolina, Wilson County  }

The examination of Easter Pool, Gracie Pool, Mrs. E.E. Flora, Mrs. Wethly Flora, E.F. Flora, J.S. Flora, Mary Sims, Jane Sims, Will Artis, J.T. Corbett, taken before the undersigned, Coroner of said county this 16th of April 1901, at the house of J.S. Flora upon the body of Dempsey Pool then and there lying dead to wit: —

E.F. Flora being duly sworn says: —

The fussing commenced about 7 oclock, when Stephen Sims came into the yard and got the wagon, and Easter and Annie Pool, daughters of Dempsey Pool objected. Sims went on with the wagon & got a load of guano from an out house. Coming back to the yard, a boy was driving the wagon & Stephen had his gun on his shoulder. The daughters Easter & Annie went home & come back with their father, mother & brother. These were all at the front gate as the wagon come in. Pool’s crowd has cart-rounds, sticks & a pitchfork, this latter held by Pool’s wife. Sims did not come to the gate, but got over the fence before he got to them & went around the field coming into the yard by a back gate. I told him not to come in the ward with his gun. Pool had come into the yard, following Sims along the fence cursing Sims. When Sims got into the yard, he put his gun to his face & Pool kept advancing I never heard Sims say a word. Pool got about 5 or 6 steps from Sims when Sims shot Pool. Pool ran twenty steps or more after Sims, not saying anything, Sims running from Pool around the house. At the corner of the house Pool fell. Sims went around the house & out the same gate & all of Pool’s crowd were after Sims. Charles, a son of Pool & a grown man, was here shot by Sims. The Pool crowd then struck Sims as he jumped the ditch, and broke the gun. This gun (produced) is a single barrel breech loader. As he went out the gate, Sims daughter, said “Pap, don’t put no more shell in that gun,” but Sims loaded it again. After Sims was knocked down he run down the field & fell over the fence. Charles, who was also shot, was 18 years of age. I did not go out of the house at all. After Dempsey Pool was shot, I saw something in his hand as he ran toward Sims, holding it out straight. Could not tell what it was. Don’t know as to their being on friendly terms. When the shooting was going on in the yard Pool’s children & Sims children were fighting along with the wagon.        E.F. (X) Flora

J.S. Flora being duly sworn says: —

Am a son of preceding witness. Pools girls come here this morning & Sims was hitching up to wagon. I heard them talking & went out there & found them quarreling over the wagon. I told the Pool crowd that they could use my wagon today. One wanted to come back & wanted to hitch up. The other went on & collect her sister who followed. This was about half an hour or more before the shooting, When I started to the field I met Pool, his wife, two girls, the boy, Charles. I said Dempsey, go & hitch up to my wagon & don’t have no fuss with Stephen Sims. He said, “no” & went out to the lot. I understood some of them to say that they were going to have that wagon and some one had to die. The wagon belonged to the place, none having a special right to it. I went on out to the field and heard Dempsey Pool cussing at Steven Sims, calling him to some on if he wanted to fight. I saw Stephen come down the road & get over the fence about 30 yards from the Pool crowd, who were at the gate, saw him when he come in the yard with the gun on his shoulder. In 5 minutes heard the gun fire next thing saw Pool run after Sims; did not know that Pool was hurt. Saw Sims go out same gate he come in & the Pool crowd were after him, about twenty yards behind him. The girls had sticks. Saw Charles Pool & Stephen Sims point weapons with Charles holding out hand as if presenting pistol & saw smoke when he fired. Both shot about the same time, pistol a short time before. Charles then came back to the yard & the women pursued Sims & knocked him down. Sims then run home & the Pool crowd come back in the yard.  /s/ J.S. Flora

Mary Simms being duly sworn says: —

Am daughter of Steffen Simms. Came on from home with wagon to the main house. My brothers, James Billie & Willie with me. I will be 21 in August. James is 17 years old. I opened the gate, was walking I come on in behind the wagon. The Pool crowd, Easter, Annie, and Gracie, Ella & May, met me at the gate. Dempsey Pool was with them but walked out to meet Pap Easter was standing in the road & told James not to run over her. She hit me on the arm with  a plough-bench. I did not hit her. Dempsey went out to the fence & asked Pap why did you strike at my daughter for Pap said I did not strike at her. Pool then called Pap a lie & a s__ of a b___. The fence was then between them, Dempsey followed Pap down the fence, had a pistol & shot at him once before they got to the gate. While Pool was shooting at Pap, the Pool crowd was following after us to fight, but we did not fight. When Pap says don’t come on me Pool kept coming & Pap shot him. When Pap shot, the Pool crowd went near their father & all making toward my father. Pool certainly had pistol & shot at Pa across the fence.

Don’t know where he got it. After the shooting, Pap ran around the house & out same gate & put another shell in his gun, with the Pool crowd following, Charles with pistol. Some of the Pool crowd said shoot him Charlie & Charlie shot & then Pa shot. Charles did not fall but followed Pa a little way & then came back into the yard. The rest of the Pool crowd followed Pa. When I went to get over the fence, Easter Pool hit me. When I saw Pap, he was down then got up & went home one followed us nearly home. There were seven in the Pool crowd.   /s/ Mary Simmes

James Simms being duly sworn says: —

Me & my brother Bill went & caught mules. Pa was in the yard, we come together when we were currying Easter Pool was taking our traces off the wagon. Pa says let them traces alone. He started toward the wagon. Easter then run to another wagon  flat & pulled a round out she thought Pa was after her. He told her to wait until he carried the load of guano to the field & then she could have the wagon. She called him a ___ rascal & said that her father had sent her after the wagon & she was going to have it. We hitched the wagon & went after the guano & then went by home for breakfast. Then I saw Easter her mother & sister father & brother Charles coming up to the house. We did not wait for breakfast but come on Heard Dempsey call my father & curse him & tell him he was going to have wagon or be killed or kill some body. Pa come down with gun & got over the fence before he got to Pool, Pool went up to the yard fence, had pistol in hand & shot one fence at Pa. Pa come in gate & Dempsey kept coming on him & Pa shot Dempsey & then run around house & back out of same gate.

Charles was on edge first & had pistol, all the Pools were behind Pa & some one of them told Charles to shoot & he shot & then Pa shot. Then Charles walked on a little way, then turned back & come into yard.

Aunt Grace, Easter & Annie followed Pa to the road & struck him as he went over the fence. Aunt Grace had pitchfork. The other girls had sticks. One little girl, Mary, followed us nearly home, other behind.   James (X) Simms

Grace Pool being duly sworn says: —

I am wife of Dempsey Pool. I came in the yard this morning & I went to the kitchen & asked why they allowed so much fussing here, & asked Mr. Flora whose wagon it was. Mr. Flora did not seem to talk much said Dempsey could have his wagon about this time Dempsey come in & said carry team back & [illegible] going to do nothing. I says “yes lets put up fence.” He says “no, Steve Sims wants to fight let him come on out in the road.” He hollowed to Steve who was at home to come on & he would fight. This was after Steve had carried wagon after guano. About this time the wagon come in, we all met, Steve’s crowd & my crowd met in the yard. Steve got over field fence & Dempsey stayed in yard, Steven coming around fence & into gate & Dempsey following him. Dempsey was going toward Steven, & Steven was stepping back & said Don’t come here. Dempsey kept on & Steve shot him. Steve then went on around house & Dempsey following until he fell. Steven went out same gate & all of us after him. Charles was back of us. I says “Charles, he has shot your daddie.” Charles then went for Steve & Steve shot him. Charles had no pistol and was half turned when Steve shot him. If Charles had a pistol I don’t know it. Dempsey did not have a pistol at home of abroad & did not have a pistol when he was shot.     Grace (X) Pool

Will Artis being duly sworn says: —

Don’t know anything about the fight. Took Charles Pool home. Heard him say that after Stefen Sims shot his father that he, Charles Pool, shot at Steffen.    Will (X) Artis

J.T. Corbett being duly sworn says: —

Know nothing of fight. Saw Charles Pool since fight. I was sent down to get his pistol & he said he did not know where it was unless his mother had it. He did not tell me he used it, but said his crowd had one.    /s/ J.T. Corbett

Easter Pool being duly sworn says: —

Am daughter of Dempsey Pool. Pa sent me & Annie to catch mules to haul rails to swamp. Stephen was up here.  About 5,30 oclock. When I went to take off traces Steve says “don’t do that I am going to use wagon. I said “we want to use wagon.” He says “you are not going to use it. He was coming toward me with lines in his hand. He struck at me with lines & I jumped back. I got me a wagon round & Annie says lets go home we went home & told Pa. Annie told him that Steven had struck at me. Pa told me to come back & “let Steve whip me. Then all of us, mother, sister & brother, came up to the house. Charlie went & caught mule Ma asked Mr Flora what was matter. He said he did not know, then Pa came in the gate & Mr Flora met him & told him to take his wagon. Pa refused to take Mr Floras wagon. He went down to front gate & called me & told me to go & have Steve arrested. I said that [illegible] suit was no use, to get & get wagon & go to field. Pa then got on fence & called Steve & said “You have been messing with my children all the year, now come on to whip them.” Steve took his gun & come on up here. When he got to corner of fence got over on field side & Pa come on up to back gate in yard & met at back gate. Pa was going toward Steve & Steve said “don’t come on me.” Steve then pointed his gun at Pa & Pa said “Don’t shoot here” I then heard the gun fire. Next thing I saw was Steve running around house & then followed fight in field. I have never seen Pa with a pistol.   Easter (X) Pool

—–

On 24 December 1874, Dempsey Pool, 23, married Grace Bynum, 23, in Edgecombe County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson Town, Wilson County: farmer Dempsey Pool, 50; wife Gracey, 45; and children Easter, 22, Elizabeth, 20, Dempsey Jr., 18, Charlie, 17, Annie, 14, Ella, 13, Mary, 11, Alice, 9, Haley, 8, Minnie, 5, and Richard, 2.

In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Stephen Simms, 46; wife Zanie, 40; and children Mary, 19, Lizzie, 16, James, 14, Billie, 12, Willie, 9, and Rommie, 6.

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.