Maggie Parker slays her infant daughter Maggie.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 April 1928.

Per her death certificate, baby Maggie Marie Parker‘s mother killed her with an auto spring. On 8 September 1928, the Times reported that charges against Maggie Parker had been dropped, and she had been sent to the state “insane asylum” in Goldsboro, North Carolina.  

“Killed with auto spring by the hands of mother”


On 7 November 1920, Anthony Parker, 28, of Wilson, son of Anthony Parker and Bettie P. Barnes, married Maggie Taylor, 24, of Toisnot township, daughter of Callie and Marcellus Taylor, at the residence of William K. Taylor, Wilson. Primitive Baptist minister C.H. Hagans performed the ceremony in the presence of Andrew Rountree, Raiford Rountree, and Albert Farmer.


Where we worked: domestic service.

Through much of the 20th century, the overwhelming majority of African-American women in Wilson who worked outside their homes worked either as domestic servants or tobacco factory laborers. Mittie Clarke‘s death certificate identifies her employment precisely — she performed domestic work for Mrs. W.D. Adams.

Mittie Clark’s parents, Rhoden and Sarah Hill Clark, migrated to Wilson from Scotland Neck, Halifax County, North Carolina, circa the 1890s. Rhoden Clark was a mechanic; Sarah Clark, a laundress. Sarah Clark bought a lot on Green Street from Samuel H. Vick in 1898, and the family built a large house, signaling their ensconcement in East Wilson’s Black middle class. Maintaining their position required the contributions of all, however, and the 1900 census shows five of the seven Clark children, ranging from age 13 to 30, engaged in nursing (as in childcare — this was Mittie), dressmaking, laundry work, and work as waiters.

William D. Adams was president of Barnes-Harrell Company, Wilson’s Coca-Cola bottler. His wife, Bess Hackney Adams, was a granddaughter of Willis N. Hackney, founder of Hackney Brothers Body Company.

[Note that Mittie Clark was buried in Rountree Cemetery. This may indicate Rountree, in fact, but more likely Odd Fellows or Vick Cemeteries. No grave markers for her or her family members have been found to date.]

The obituary of Mamie Battle Ford, teacher.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 November 1946.


Earnestine Ford died 10 November 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was five months old; was born in Wilson to Curtis Ford of Dillon County, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C. Curtis Ford, 605 East Green Street, was informant.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarcy Williams, 50; roomer Curtis Ford, 37, house carpenter; nephew [sic] Mamie Ford, 24; and roomer Lias L., 4, and Quincey B. Ford, 2. [Mamie Battle Ford was the daughter of Clarissa Williams’ half-brother Richard Battle.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 407 Carroll, rented for $12/month, Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19; wife Mayme, 42; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22; daughter Leah, 22; and granddaughter Yvette Sellers, 2.

In 1940, Quincey Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 23 October 1918 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; his contact was mother Mamye Ford; and he was employed by E.B. Pittman, 509 East Nash Street.

In 1942, Harvey Gray Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; his contact was mother Mamie Ford; and he was unemployed. His card is marked: “Dead Cancelled Feb. 19, 1943.”

Harvey Gray Ford died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson, N.C., to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Mamie Ford, 910 East Green Street, was informant.

Mamie Battle Ford died 14 November 1946 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, she was born 29 November 1892 in Wayne County to Richard Battle and Leah [Coley] Battle; was married to Curtis Ford; was engaged in teaching; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Quincy Ford died 2 December 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 October 1918 in North Carolina to Curtis Ford and Mamie Battle Ford; lived at 2037 Master Street, Philadelphia; was a machine operator; and was married to Helen Ford.

Remembering Virginia Celia Robinson Cox, centenarian (or nonagenarian).

Wilson Daily Times, 18 March 2022.


In the 1910 census of Mars Hill township, Cumberland County, North Carolina: farmer  Dock Robinson, 40; wife Mary, 30; and children Joseph, 10, Eva, 8, Clyde, 7, Celia, 6, David, 4, Eliza, 3, and Leana, 17 months.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Doc Robinson, 55; wife Maggie, 53; children Mary, 18, James C., 19, Virginia, 17, David, 14, Elijah, 12, and Jessie B., 3; Vangie, 32, Geneva, 17, and Addie McDoogle, 15; and Moses Robinson, 8, and lodgers Jack, 103, and Annie Armstrong, 101.

On 25 January 1922, Herman Cox, 23, of Wilson County, son of David and Florence Cox, married Virginia Robinson, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Dock and Mary Robinson, at Dock Robinson’s residence in Taylors township. A.M.E. Zion minister J.B. Sutton performed the ceremony in the presence of Dan Blue, W.J. Armstrong, and E.L. Sutton.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Herman Cox, 40; wife Gennie, 35; and children Herman Jr., 17, Ida Odser, 16, Comillus, 14, Raymond, 10, Willie Gray, 8, Rosevelt, 6, Douglas, 4, Joe Lewis, 3, and Henry Lee, 9 months.

Herman Cox died 4 October 1966 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 December 1899 in Wayne County, North Carolina, to Dave Cox; worked as a farmer; and was married to Virginia Cox. Roosvelt Cox was informant.

Smithfield Herald, 8 July 2003.

Snaps, no. 97: Carrie Walker Blackston.

Carrie Walker Blackston (1897-1972), standing in front of the Parker-Kerbo home at 104 Ash Street.

Jerilyn James Lee provided this photo of her maternal grandmother, Carrie Walker Blackston, who worked for decades at Lucille’s Bridal Shop in Wilson. Says Lee, Lucille’s “was the premier bridal shop for eastern North Carolina, and practically every white bride of social standing within a hundred miles bought their debutante and wedding dresses from Lucille’s. My grandmother Carrie was the head seamstress there for decades from the late ’40’s until the early ’70’s, not just for alterations and fittings, but she designed several dresses on her own. She had earned the right as an elder to be called Miss Carrie by young white customers in a time when that was uncommon. Sadly, it was also at a time in history when Black women could work there, but not shop there until the late 1960’s. She was always beautifully dressed herself, and sharp as nails….”
On 18 July 1909, James Blackston, 24, of Johnston County, son of Pleasant A. and Charity Blackston, married Katie [sic] Walker, 21, of Wayne County, daughter of Nelson and Jane Walker, at Nelson Walker’s residence in Brogden township, Wayne County, North Carolina.
In 1918, James William Blackston registered for the World War I draft in Sampson County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 21 March 1885; lived at R.F.D. 1, Duplin County, North Carolina; was farming for himself in Piney Grove township, Sampson County; and his nearest relative was Kattie [sic] Bell Blackston.
In the 1920 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: on Smith Chapel and Faison Road, farmer Jim Blackston, 35; wife Katie [sic], 30; and children Lee, 12, Pleasant N., 10, Wiam, 6, James H., 4, Alfonso, 2, Ila, 1, and Christine, 4 months.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, James Blackston, 50; wife Katie B. [sic], 40; and children Pleasant N., 18, William J., 17, James H., 15, Alfonzer, 13, Ila M., 11, Christine, 9, Hilton [Hilda] R., 8, James Jr., 6, A.C., 4, and L.Z., 3.
In 1943, Albert Charles Blackston registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 20 February 1925 in Wilson; lived at 113 Narroway Street; his nearest relative was mother Carrie Walker Blackston, 113 Narroway; and he was unemployed.
In 1945, Louis Zebelon Blackston registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 1 December 1927 in Wilson; lived at 113 Narroway Street; his nearest relative was Carrie Blackston, 113 Narroway; and he worked for Mansfield Paper Company, Wilson.
Carrie Blackston died 9 October 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 April 1897 to Nelson Walker and Jane Kornegay; was widowed; and lived at 406 South Daniel Street. Hilda B. Forbes was informant.

Thanks you, Jerilyn James Lee!

The last will and testament of Lula Speight.

In a will dated 5 August 1943, Lula Speight left all her personal property and real estate to her son, James T. Speight. Witnesses to the document were Jesse T. McPhail and Dave Graham.

  • Lula Speight

On 13 February 1914, Albert Speight, 35, of Greene County, son of Gray and Julia Speight, married Lula Ruff, 25, of Greene County, daughter of Louis Edwards, in Carrs township, Greene County.

In the 1920 census of Carrs township, Greene County, N.C.: on Snow Hill and Stantonsburg Road, farmer Albert Speight, 40; wife Lula, 29; and son James T., 9.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speight Albert (c; Lula) prop Brown’s Filling Sta 1216 E Nash

Albert Speight died 7 July 1929 at Saint Agnes Hospital, Raleigh, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was 50 years old; was born in Greene County to Gray Speight and Julia Williams; worked for himself as a merchant; and was married to Lula Speight. He was buried in Wilson.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speight Lula (c) gro 209 Finch h do [ditto]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 Finch Street, owned and valued at $1000, widow Lula Speight, 34, drink stand proprietor, and son James T. Speight, 19, bank porter. Renting from Speight for $8/month, William Hodge, 25; wife Sarah, 23; and children Eva R., 6, and William Jr., 1.

On 15 October 1934, Louis Jones, 35, of Wilson, son of Louis Jones and Beatie [last name unknown], married Lula Speight, 36, of Wilson, daughter of Louis Edwards and Emma Edwards. A.F.W.B. minister R.A. Horton performed the ceremony at his home in Wilson in the presence of Mary J. Horton, Flossie Johnson, and Ethel Parker.

Lula Speight died 22 September 1948 at her home at 209 Finch Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 August 1894 in Wayne County, N.C., to Louis Edwards and Lou Thompson; worked as a domestic; and was widow. She was buried in Washington Branch cemetery, Greene County, N.C. James Artis of Greensboro, N.C., was informant.

  • Jesse T. McPhail
  • Dave Graham — David Graham died 31 July 1966 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 September 1890 in South Carolina to Jim Graham and Nora Bradley; worked as a male nurse; was a widower; and lived at 622 New Street, Wilson.

The last will and testament of Millie Bryant.

On 3 August 1936, Millie Bryant made her mark on a will leaving all her property to her niece Cecelia Norwood. Bryant died ten weeks later. Her house was at 608 East Green Street, and Norwood held the property until she died though she lived around the corner on North Pender.

Rachel Lassiter provides for her daughter.

Deed Book 1, page 657. Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

This Indenture made this the 27th day of decr 1860 one thousand eight hundred & sixty between Rachel Lassiter of the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina of the first part & Matthew Lassiter of the county & state aforesaid of second part witnessed: That the said party of the first part for & in consideration of the sum of ten Dollars to her in hand paid by the said Matthew Lassiter for the [illegible] & [illegible] the trust, hereinafter mentioned at & before the sealing & delivery hereof the receipt whereof he does hereby acknowledge have given, granted, bargained & sold & by these presents doth grant, bargain sell & convey unto the said Matthew Lassiter his heirs & assigns forever all my personal property including her whole estate say 3 head of Cattle one bed & furniture household & Kitchen furniture & about eighty dollars in bonds or notes to have & to hold unto the said Matthew Lassiter his heirs & assigns & for the following & none other that is to say for the sole & separate use of my child Zelphia Lassiter & any other heirs I may hereafter have & the issues & profits thereof shall be for their use & benefit. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand & seal this 27th day of Dcr 1860    Rachel X Lassiter  Matthew X Lassiter


In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Hardy Laster, 73, wife Beady, 54, and children Mathew, 26, Silas, 26, Green, 25, Hardy, 21, and Rachel, 20; all described as mulatto. Hardy reported owning $650 of real property.

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Green Lassiter, 36; [his wife] Mary, 24; [and his siblings] Matthew, 37; and Rachel Lassiter, 30. [Where was Zilpha?]

On 29 December 1860, Rachael Lassiter married Daniell [actually, David] Read in Wilson County.

This marriage surely precipitated the transfer of Rachel Lassiter’s assets to her brother Matthew Lassiter three days prior. David Reid was a widower with children. When Rachel Lassiter married, her personal property would in effect become her husband’s property. In order to preserve her assets for her own daughter’s benefit, Rachel Lassiter sold everything she had to Matthew Lassiter in trust for Zelphia Lassiter. 

In the 1870 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County, N.C.: farm laborer David Reid, 58; wife Rachel, 40; and children Gustin E., 18, Nancy A., 16, and Zylpha, 17.

I have not found anything further about Rachel Lassiter Reid or Zelphia Lassiter, alias Reid, but note that David Reid’s 1910 estate papers do not list either of them.

[Update, 16 March 2022: Bernard Patterson, a descendant of Rachel Lassiter’s sister Penelope Lassiter Woodard, immediately went looking for Zilphia Lassiter and found this: on 23 March 1876, Amandiburt Mills, 30, married Sylphy Lassiter, 22, in No. 9 township, Edgecombe County. 

With that information, I found: in the 1880 census of Roxabel township, Bertie County, N.C.: Mandaburt Mills, 35; wife Zilpha A., 25; and son Thadius, 12; plus servant Francis Clark, 18.

in the Death Register of Greensville County, Virginia: Zilphia Mills died 15 March 1892 of dropsy She was reported as 25 years of age; was born in Wilson, N.C., to Rachel Lussiter; and was married to M.B. Mills. In the 1900 census of Belfield township, Greensville County: Mandyburt Mills, 53, widower, farmer.] 

Wilson County, North Carolina County Marriages 1762-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.