The obituary of Channie Hunter Bynum, 102.

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Wilson Daily Times, 16 July 1992.


In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Anderson Hunter, 54; [second] wife Lula, 33; and children Chanie, 18, Sam, 16, Emma, 15, Robert, 11, Annie, 6, and Clyde, 2.

On 21 April 1915, Louis Braswell, 20, of Wilson, son of Arthur and Olive Braswell, married Chanie Hunter, 20, of Black Creek, daughter of Anderson Hunter, at Anderson Hunter’s in Black Creek. Luther Braswell applied for the license, and Sam Hunter, Ennis Sauls and Aget Dew witnessed.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on the Wilson-Rocky Mount Road, Lewis Braswell, 24; wife Chany, 28; and children James, 2, and Carry, 8 months.

Lewis Braswell died 21 December 1921 in Elm City, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 29 years old; was born in Wilson County to Luther Braswell and Oliva Bynum; was married to Chainey Braswell; and worked as a tenant farmer to Mrs. M.A. Bryant. Informant was Frank Braswell.

Addie Pearl Braswell died 22 December 1924 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 2 years old and was born in Wilson County to Lewis Braswell and Chanie Hunter. Frank Hunter was informant.

On 23 December 1925, Chanie Braswell, 32, of Toisnot, married George Bynum, 53, of Black Creek, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Route 2, Wilson, of Highway 301, day laborer Geo. Bynum, 66; wife Chanie, 49; Carrie, 20, Estella, and Junnies Braswell, 16 (described as in-laws, but actually Bynum’s stepchildren]; and Dazell, 12, and Ruth Bynum, 10.

In 1940, Roscoe Boot Braswell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 September 1917 in Wilson County; lived at 607 Spring Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Chaney Bynum, Route 2, Wilson; and he worked for the Country Club, Goldsboro Highway, Wilson.

In 1940, Louis Junior Braswell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 May 1921 in Edgecombe County; lived at 816 South Manchester Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Chenie Bynum, 816 South Manchester; and he worked at Cherry Point.

A visit to Wilson.

On 3 September 1908, the New York Age’s society page announced that Martha Farmer of Portsmouth, Virginia, was spending the week visiting family and friends in Wilson. Martha was the daughter of Benjamin and Mollie Barnes Farmer, who migrated to Portsmouth about 1893.

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New York Age, 3 September 1908.


Robert Barnes, son of Tony  Flowers and Hannah Bass, married Harriett Barnesdaughter of Sampson Farmer and Ann Barnes, on 20 July 1867 in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County, North Carolina: Robert Barnes, 40; wife Harriet, 30; and children Robt., 12, Nathan, 11, Amos, 7, John, 8, William, 6, Mary, 3, and Alfred, 8 months.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: blacksmith Robert Barnes, 70; wife Harrett, 40; and children Robert, 21, Nathan, 13, Amos, 17, John, 14, William, 12, Mary, 9, Alford, 8, and Lillie, 7.

Benjamin Farmer, 26, of Wilson County, married Mollie Barnes, 18, of Wilson County, daughter of Robert and Harriett Barnes, on 1 February 1888 in Saratoga, Saratoga township. Crummell Bullock applied for the license, and minister Thomas J. Moore performed the ceremony in the presence of D.H. Calhoun and A.J. Tyson.

In the 1910 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 308 Chestnut Street, Benjamin Farmer, 44, insurance agent; wife Mollie, 38; and children Martha, 19, Charles, 18, and Lee, 16; plus niece Cora Barnes, 17, and aunt Phebe Pope, 67, widow.

In the 1920 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 308 Chestnut Street, Benjamin Farmer, 48, insurance collector; wife Mollie, 49; and daughter Martha, 27, public school teacher; plus aunt-in-law Phoebe Pope, 81, widow.

Phoebie Pope died 22 October 1922 in Portsmouth. Per her death certificate, she was about 88 years old; lived at 308 Chestnut; was born in Wilson, N.C., to Cherry Rodgers; and was “retired many years” from domestic work. J.W. Barnes was informant.

In the 1930 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 308 Chestnut Street, owned and valued at $1800, Ben T. Farmer, 56, insurance agent; wife Mollie, 55; and daughter Martha Boyd, 38; plus roomer Peter Solomon, 52, navy yard laborer.

On 16 March 1948, Benjamin Farmer died at his home at 308 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 September 1868 in Wilson County to Joshua and Martha Farmer; had lived in Portsmouth 55 years; was married to Mollie Farmer; and worked in insurance. Martha F. Boyd was informant.

Mollie Farmer died 9 January 1962 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was about 92 years old; was born in Wilson, N.C., to Robert Barnes and Harriet (no maiden name); and lived at 436 Chestnut Street. Martha Boyd was informant.

Martha F. Boyd died 8 April 1973 in Portsmouth. Per her death certificate, she was about 82 years old; was born in North Carolina to Benjamin and Mollie Farmer; lived at 436 Chestnut; and was a retired teacher.

State v. William Stephens and Fereby Barnes.

At Fall Term 1868 of Wilson County Superior Court, Frank Barnes, white, and Henry Barnes, colored, were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury to testify in State vs. William Stephens and Fereby Barnes, who had been charged with fornication and adultery.

  • Henry Barnes
  • William Stephens
  • Fereby Barnes — perhaps Farbee Barnes who married Hardy Ellis on 11 August 1870 in Wilson County.

Adultery Records-1868, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Sarah Artist Battle of Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Indianapolis Recorder, 1 October 1938.


In the 1880 census of Greencastle township, Putnam County, Indiana: farmhand Jonathan Artis, 47; wife Margret, 39; and children Evert, 19, Gray, 16, Sarah, 14, Tamer, 12, Minnie, 10, Rose, 8, John, 6, Jonathan, 4, and Willie, 2.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2419 North Oxford, Margaret Artist, 57, and children John, 24, day laborer, Jonathan, 22, grocery deliveryman, Willie, 22, railroad section laborer, and Sarrah, 34.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: Margaret Artist, 67, with family members John, 30, Emma, 34, and Damon Artis, 8; Ralph, 13, and Mona McWilliams, 8; and Rose, 29, and Sarah Artist, 40.

In the 1930 census of Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana: in a house owned and valued at $300, Anthony Battle, 70, farmer, and wife Sarah, 70, both of North Carolina.

Sarah Artist Battle died 27 September 1938 in Evansville, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was about 72 years old; was born in North Carolina to Jonathan Artist and Margaret Woodard; was married; and resided in Greencastle, Indiana.

State v. William Baker and Patsey Mitchell.

At Fall Term 1856 of Wilson County Superior Court, a grand jury charged William Baker and Patsey Mitchell, both of Wilson County, “being lewd and vicious persons not united together in the bonds of marriage” before and after 1 April 1856 “unlawfully lewdly and lasciviously associate bed and cohabit together … to the evil example of all others.”  William Felton and Elisha Owens were subpoenaed as witnesses, and jury foreman William Ellis returned a true bill to the clerk of court.

William Baker was white; Martha “Patsey” Mitchell was African-American.


In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, North Carolina: Willis Hagins, 50, and Patsy Mitchell, 45, and her children Sally, 20, Rufus, 9, Amanda 6, Wm., 2, and Mary, 1. Next door, laborer Wm. Baker, 26, white, in the household of Joseph Peacock.

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Martha Mitchell, 44, and her children William, 13, Franklin, 11, George, 10, Thomas, 9, and Martha, 6. Also in Gardners, William Baker, 30, in the household of John Bynum, 22.

[A note: During my recent visit to North Carolina, I stopped for several hours for a long-overdue visit to the State Archives in Raleigh. I was pressed for time, so I skimmed folders with an eye for names of African-Americans (or indicia like “col.”), then flagged those documents for copies that I could study later. In the Adultery records, I pulled just a few years from 1856-1868 and ultimately copied only six or seven sets of documents. Baker-Mitchell is the fourth of them that involves an interracial relationship. The fact of these relationships does not surprise, but their seeming overrepresentation among prosecutions for adultery does. Perhaps it’s no more than a fluke of my search. I look forward to a return visit to search further.]

Adultery Records-1857, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The ladies of Mitchell Adult Club.

This photo accompanied a 2 July 1976 Wilson Daily Times article on the history of the “home economics movement” in Wilson County. Home economics extension agent Jane Amos Boyd organized the club.

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“Mitchell Adult [Home Demonstration] Club was once selected as the most outstanding club in Wilson County.”

In May 1940, Jane A. Boyd submitted a report to the Daily Times of the activities of the Negro home demonstration clubs. The Mitchell and Yelverton clubs participating in a clean-up campaign reported stacking wood piles; cleaning under their houses (which stood without skirting on brick or stacked stone piers); moving their clotheslines to the backyard; cleaning barn lots; moving wash pots; trimming shrubbery; building new floors and porch steps; whitewashing outhouses; repairing steps and porches; painting houses; making window, screen doors and fly traps; covering garbage pails; and taking health exams.

The Wilson club met at Julia Barnes’ house. Items on the agenda: growing vegetables on a lot donated by Short Barnes and making pillowcases for Mercy Hospital.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 May 1940.

State v. Calvin Barnes.

In December 1866, Eliza Barnes was hauled before two justices of the peace to answer some sharp questions. In response, she admitted that she had delivered a baby boy in about July; that she was not married to his father, who was Calvin Barnes; and that she was poor.

The justices issued a warrant for Calvin Barnes:

Calvin Barnes appeared with John Q. Thigpen, a white farmer, to post a two hundred dollar bond for Barnes’ appearance at January term.


Possibly, in the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: George, 24, Dempsey, 23, Calvin, 22, Esther, 44, Alice, 18, Anna, 19, Robert, 20, and Jane Barnes, 19, all farm laborers.

Also possibly, in the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Frank Barnes, 55; wife Nicy, 51, and children Edwin, 12, Catharine, 7, and Watson Barnes, 12; with Weltha, 13, and Richard Artis, 21, and Eliza Barnes, 26, and her son Benjamin, 5. [Benjamin possibly the child sworn to in the proceeding above.]

Bastardy Bonds-1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The obituary of Esther Brown Goodwin.

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Arizona Daily Star, 31 July 1984.


In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 419 Hines Street, Lewis Townsend, 62; wife Henrietta, 60; daughter Alzie, 22; and daughter Geneva Brown, 24; son-in-law George Brown, 26; and grandchildren Ester, George Jr., and Martha.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 508 South Spring, pressing club operator George Porter, 34, divorced; Jeneva Brown, 30, divorced,  housekeeping servant, and her children Brown, 15, Esther, 13, Martha, 12, and Olive, 9; and George M. Porter, 4.

George Brown died 1 October 1947 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 53 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Sam and Martha Brown; was married; lived at 911 Robeson Street; worked as an auto mechanic; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Mrs. Esther Goodwin, 408 East Hines Street.

In June 1955, the Goodwin family flew from Frankfurt, Germany, to New York after Capt. Felix Goodwin completed a tour of duty.

New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com.