Willie B. Isom died 14 September 1939 in Taylors township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 August 1918 in Wilson County to Arthur Isom and Bertha Farr, both South Carolina natives; was single; and worked as a tenant farmer.
Participants did not need to make up their own mockeries. Titles of negro wedding plays include “Henpeck at the Hitching Post,” “My Wild Days are Over,” and “The Coontown Wedding.” Characters in Mary Bonham’s “The Kink in Kizzie’s Wedding: A Mock Negro Wedding,” published in 1921, include Lizzie Straight, Pinky Black, Sunshine Franklin, Necessary Dolittle, George Washington Goot, and Uncle Remus. The opening lines: “CAPT. COTTON — ‘Bein’ as Ise de Knight ob de Hoss-shoe, an’ while we’s waitin’ fo’ de bridal paih, we will practice de riding’ gaits.’ ALL GROOMSMEN — ‘Thank-u-doo, obleeged-to-you!’ (They salute the Captain.)” Charming.
After reading about Cornelius Barnes, Officer Jose A. Rivera Jr. visited Bethel cemetery to look for his grave. Officer Rivera and the Stantonsburg Police Department have taken an interest in the upkeep of this historic graveyard, and he sent this photo this morning. (The marker was carved by the fine folk artist and stonecutter Clarence B. Best.)
My aunt married into a big family, and my parents, sister, and I were often absorbed into the Barneses’ big holiday gatherings. Especially Thanksgiving. I’m not sure why I remember this one exactly, but I was about 9 or 10, I think, and Aunt Pet was hostess. At the time she was living in this house at 1112 Carolina Street, down the street from our old house. Coats heaped on a bed, folding tables pressed end to end from one room into the next, pots steaming, plates groaning.
2020 has been terrible in so many ways, but though there will be no big family gathering, I am mindful of the grace extended to me even in this year. I am thankful for my life and all in it, and grateful to the ancestors who guide my steps.
In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, 38; wife Aqulla, 33; and children Edward C., 9, Wm. H.M., 8, Lewis H., 6, Maryland, 5, and Corneleous, 4.
In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, 58; wife Gracey, 23; children Peter, 23, Cornelius, 21, Mary S., 18, Geneva, 16, John, 14, and Barnie, 7.
On 27 December 1905, Cornelius Barnes, 29, of Stantonsburg, son of Richard and Quilla Barnes, married Maggie Farmer, 22, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Robert and R. Farmer, near Moyeton, N.C.
In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, tenant farmer Nela Barnes, 43; wife Maggie, 35; children Sallie, 13, and Claranc, 16, and nieces and nephew LouEtta, 17, Walter, 16, Flora, 10, Quillie, 8, and Susan A., 5.
In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Neal Barnes, 55; wife Maggie, 45; and nieces Mary S., 16, and Quillie, 18.
In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Cornelius Barnes, 64; wife Maggie, 55; daughter Sallie, 33; nephew Frank Ellis, 29; and grandchildren Herman Bowden, 12, and Thelma, 9, Corana, 8, William, 5, Josephine, 4, and Dorothy Taylor, 3.
Cornelius Barnes died 27 June 1960 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 March 1875 in Wilson County to Richard Barnes and Quilla Joyner; had been a farmer; and was married to Maggie Barnes. He was buried in Bethel cemetery.
Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user wepurkett.
In 1917, Avery Johnson registered for the World War I draft in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he was born 25 June 1891 in Marietta, N.C.; lived at 636 Green, Wilson; worked as a laborer for Worth Bros., Coatesville, Pennsylvania; and had a wife and one child.
In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Avery Johnson, 27; wife Carrie, 24; and children Evaline, 2, and John L., two months.
The child who died in the oil can explosion was a son, John Elry Johnson, not a daughter. He was two weeks past his second birthday.
Avery Johnson’s wife Carrie Wingate Johnson also succumbed to her injuries, after four days of suffering.
From the chapter concerning Wilson County in the 1890 edition of Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory:
Bass, Joseph — in the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Ruffus Bass, 48; wife Caroline, 35; and children Joseph, 16, Annie W., 14, Rufus, 12, Francis, 10, Simon, 7, Isadora, 5, James H., 3, and John W., 1.
Arkansas was not a Great Migration destination. Rather, it was a state from which thousands of African-Americans streamed North to cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit. However, no doubt, many such families had come to eastern and central Arkansas from Wilson County in the 1880s and ’90s.