Wilson County

Signatures, no. 5.

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

This is the fifth in a series of posts featuring the signatures of men and women born before 1900, men and women who could not take even a basic education for granted.

  • Alexander Barnes Joyner (1896-?), 1917, World War I draft registration card, Wilson; 1942, World War II draft registration card, New York, New York.

  • William M. King, 1912, the marriage license of Banks Blow and Mag Parker, Wilson.

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Studio shots, no. 89: the Mobley family.

I posted the obituary of Jane Rountree Mobley here.

Her great-great-granddaughter, Carolyn Maye, has graciously shared these photographs of Jane Mobley’s descendants, many of whom moved into Edgecombe and Pitt Counties in the early years of the 20th century.

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Rhoda Mobley Barnes

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm worker John Mobley, 35; wife Jane, 28; and children Rhoda, 9, Henrietta, 6, Jane, 5, Isaac, 4, and John H., 1.

On 13 January 1889, Ben Barnes, 42, of Wilson township, married Rhoda Mobley, 21, of Toisnot township, on F.A. Woodard’s plantation in Wilson township. Primitive Baptist minister Samuel Burston performed the ceremony in the presence of Harry Sharp, Dennis Bynum and Mike Barefoot.

Rhoda Barnes died 1 June 1951 in Macclesfield, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 October 1854 [actually, about 20 years later] in Wilson County to John Mobley and Jane [maiden name unknown]; was a widow; and was buried in Harrell cemetery near Crisp, North Carolina. Mattie Howard was informant.

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Benjamin Barnes

Ben Barnes died 19 April 1935 on Amanda Pitts’ farm in Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 December 1835 in Wilson County to Isaac Barnes and Julia [maiden name not given]; was married to Rhoda Barnes; was buried at Harrell cemetery. Informant was Jessie Barnes.

Martha Lee Roberson Maye (1932-2014), daughter of Willie and Annie Barnes Roberson, at age 7 and shortly before her death.

Mattie Barnes Howard (1905-1977), daughter of Rhoda and Ben Barnes.

He supposes it’s a boll weevil.

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1919.

By 1922, there was no longer any question that boll weevils could thrive in North Carolina. The rapacious insect was not eradicated in the state until 1987.

  • Jim Summerlin — in the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Jim Summerlin, 59, farmer, born in Alabama; wife Rosa, 57, born in Alabama; and son Lucius, 14, born in North Carolina; plus, lodger Olvin Horne, 17, farm laborer.

A tobacco thief is caught.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 August 1933.

  • Robert Artis — in the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Artis, 46; wife Malindy, 31; children Adam, 17, James, 28, Edgar L., 13, Luciea, 13, Christirene, 12, Georgia, 10, and Noah, 9; step-sons Hesicar, 8, and Eugenia, 6; children Lizzie, 4, Richard, 2, and Minnie B., 9 months; and mother-in-law Henrietta [Artis?], age illegible.
  • Walter Leach

Richard C. Artis and father Robert E. Artis, circa 1950s. Photo courtesy of Melissa Mack.

The Bear Creek Baptists.

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Baltimore Afro-American, 3 November 1917.

“The Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Association was organized in 1872 by Rev. R.H. Harper, who was in the organization of Educational and Missionary Convention, together with Rev. W.H. Croom, Rev. J.C. Carroll and Rev. I.N. Patterson. Much credit is also given to Rev. A.A. Smith, the secretary who did much to strengthen the cause of the Bear Creek Baptist Association.” Rountree Missionary Baptist is not listed as a current member of the Bear Creek Association.

They gave him a good switching.

Three African-American men were tried and convicted, but given only nominal punishment for whipping a white man whose common-law wife was a black woman.

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Baltimore Afro-American, 28 January 1921.

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  • James Elons
  • Bill Artis
  • Edgar Artis
  • Melissa Wilkins

To lose a faithful servant is to lose a friend.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 July 1935.

J.T. Watson of Elm City eulogized two African-American men in this letter to the newspaper. Per Watson, Jim Green, age about 58, died 16 June 1935 at a hospital in Wilson. He came to Elm City from Wayne County about 1905. He worked first for Dr. E.G. Moore, then took a job with the town. He bought a lot on the south end of Parker Street and built two houses, one for himself and one to rent out.

Jim Williams died 25 June 1935. He came to Wilson County from the Dunbar farm in Edgecombe County in 1884 and bought Susan Cohn’s old house on East Nash Street in Elm City. Williams worked at manual labor as a young man and later as a handyman for J.W. Cox. His only son, Jim, and Jim’s children lived in northern cities.

Father and son killed in auto accident.

 

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Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1934.

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In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Luke Flemmons, 40; wife Emily, 45; and children James Flavius, 20, Willie, 15, Sarah, 12, Judge Thomas, 10, Henry, 6, Eddie, 4, Harriet, 3, and Mary E., 1.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widow Emily Fleming, 60, and children Harriet, 24, Judge, 23, and Sam, 12.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Ellis Road, farmer Judge Fleming, 36; wife Mollie, 27; and children Lissie, 7, Sarah J., 3, Lula, 2 months, and Aaron, 6.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Judge Fleming, 49; wife Molly, 40; and children Lizzie, 18, Arron, 16, Sarah, 12, Lula, 10, Addie, 8, Jordan, 5, and John, 3.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Judge Fleming, 57; wife Mollie, 47; and children Arron, 25, Sarah J., 21, Lula, 20, Judge, 15, Johnie, 14, and Mary L., 6.

Judge Fleming died 29 September 1934 in Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; married to Mollie Fleming; was a farmer; was born in Wayne County to Luther Fleming and an unknown mother. Informant was Mollie Fleming.

Johnnie Fleming died 29 September 1934 in Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 18 years old, single, and born in Wilson County to Judge Fleming of Wayne County and Mollie Sutton of Greene County. Informant was Mollie Fleming.