Women

Virginia Woodard’s death ruled an accident.

The Wilson County sheriff initially believed that Virginia Woodard‘s death was suspicious and held Roland May, Jonah May, Willard Woodard, and Gertie Hilliard while it was investigated.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 September 1941.

However, after an inquest that drew a hundred nosy onlookers to the courthouse, a jury returned a verdict of “death by fall from car” and released all.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1941.

——

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: widower Ausbin Horne, 67; children Ausbin Jr., 18, Jessie L., 15, Anna L., 13, Wright, 12, and Virginia, 23; grandchildren J.C., 9, and George, 3;  step-daughter Zet, 24, and step-grandchildren Earnest Lee, 5, Jason, 1, and Albert, 4.  

On 13 July 1940, in Emporia, Virginia, William Woodard, 29, born in Greene County, N.C., to Charlie Woodard and Appie Speight, married Virginia Horne, 22, born in Wilson County to Osborne Horne and Virginia Applewhite.

Virginia Woodard died 28 September 1941 on Highway 222, Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 24 years old; was married to William Woodard; was born in Wilson County to Alsland Horn and Virginia Applewhite; and was buried in Ellis Cemetery. 

State vs. Lee Simms.

In the summer of 1913, justice of the peace Elias G. Barnes issued an arrest warrant for Lee Simms for assault with a deadly weapon against his wife Mary Simms.

Barnes took this testimony in support of the charge:

State vs. Lee Simms  }   Before Elias G. Barnes J.P.

Mary Simms, witness for the State, being sworn says: I am Lee Simms’ wife. On Sunday the 15th day of June 1913, in the morning I asked Lee to cut some stove-wood for me. He got his gun and tried to shoot me, but my daughter and myself got hold of the gun and prevented his shooting me. While we were strugling for the gun, Lee fired it off, but it did not hit any one.

Maggie Simms, being duly sworn says: Mother asked pappa to cut her some stove-wood. He said he would stop her from following him. He went into a room, and got his gun. I took hold of his gun. We went into the yard. Mother helped me, and we kept him from shooting her. While we were scuffling over the gun, father fired it off, but it did not hit any one.

W.M. Michener [Mitchner], being sworn, says: I was passing Lee Simms’ on Sunday morning, and saw him, his wife, and daughter in the yard, they seemed to be scuffling over something. His wife asked me to come and help her. I thought they were playing. While I while I [sic] was noticing a gun fired.

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On 12 August 1887, Lee Simms 23, and Mary Harriss, 16, were married in Wilson County. Disciples minister P.E. Hines performed the ceremony in the presence of Joe Patterson, Martha Winstead, and Addie Blount.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Lee Simes, 35; wife Marry, 29, washing; daughters Bessie, 13, tobacco stemmer, and Maggie, 9.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Lee Sims, 44; wife Mary, 40, laundress; and daughter Maggie, 18.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c) bricklyr h south of Nash nr Carroll

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c) bricklyr h 813 E Nash

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c) bricklyr h 648 Wainwright

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 648 Wainwright Street, Lee Simms, 56; wife Mary, 47; daughter Maggie Williams, 25; and son-in-law Sam Williams, 26.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Lee (c; Mary) brklyr h 410 Hadley

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 410 Hadley Street, owned and valued at $1300, Lee Simms, 66, building bricklayer; wife Mary L., 60, laundress; and adopted son Clarence Williams, 6.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: ay 205 South Vick, widow Mary Simms, 70; daughter Bessie Woodard, 52, tobacco factory laborer; son-in-law Luther Woodard, 53, oil mill laborer; and grandson Clarence Woodard, 16; daughter Maggie Sharpe, 45; and son-in-law Van Sharpe, 45.

Criminal Action Papers, 1913, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The death of Lizzie Bullock.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 February 1936.

“Liz” was 81 year-old Lizzie Pitt Bullock, who may or may not have adored Sallie Egerton Blount, but surely did not love the Blounts as much as she loved her own children.

——

On 15 May 1877, Lizzie Pitt married Frank Bullock in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County:  Frank Bullock, 27; wife Lizzie, 23; and son Ruffin, 1.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brick setter Frank Bullock, 45; wife Lizzie, 41, cook; and children Ernest, 14, house servant, Hugh, 11, nurse, Malvina, 9, and Obed, 5.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lee Street, garden laborer Frank Bullock, 65; wife Lizzie, 60, cook; children Ernest, 25, odd jobs laborer; Hudy, 23, livery stable laborer; Petronia, 20, private nurse; and Obert, 16, drugstore servant. [By the way, the Bullocks were next-door neighbors to my great-grandparents, Michael and Rachel Barnes Taylor.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 410 Pine Street, widow Lizzie Bullock, 65, cook “McLean” [i.e., the family of Sallie Blount’s daughter Sallie Blount McLean]; daughter Gertrude, 25, cook; and son Obert, 24, cook in cafe. 

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 409 Pine Street, rented for $12/month, Lizzie Bullock, 70, widow; children Ernest, 43, house painter, Obert, 33, hotel cook, and Gertrude, 35, laundress; and lodgers Charlie Moye, 29, truck gardener, and Edward Williams, 53, farm laborer. 

Earnest Bullock died 16 May 1931 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 April 1886 in Edgecombe County to Frank Bullock and Lizzie Pitt; was the widower of Flora Bullock; lived at 409 Pine; and worked as a painter. Gertrude Bullock was informant.

Lizzie Bullock died 26 February 1936 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 81 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Jack Pitt and Lucinda Pitt; was a widow; and lived at 409 Pine Street. Informant was Gertrude Bullock.

Gertrude Eddie died 14 November 1953 at her home at 409 North Pine Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 March 1897 in Wilson County to Frank Bullock and Lizzie Petts, and was married to John Eddie.

Remembering Mariah Clark.

When the Daily Times covered Sallie Clark Harrison’s 80th birthday, among other reminiscences it included this snippet:

“Eighty Years Old Today,” Wilson Daily Times, 17 August 1935. 

Records of ownership and sales of enslaved people are relatively rare for Wilson County, and Harrison’s recollection supplies uncommon detail. John Cherry “brought in” (perhaps to the office in which Harrison’s father Edwin Clark worked as postmaster) a 17 year-old girl. Clark paid Cherry $1200 for her and named her Mariah — what had her name been? — an extraordinary sum for that time (likely toward the end of the Civil War) and place.

The 1870 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County, shows 20 year-old Mariah Clark, described as mulatto, living in the Clark household as a domestic servant. Despite Sallie Harrison’s claims of selfless devotion, Mariah Clark is not listed in any further census records with the Clarks or Harrisons, and I have not been able to identify her otherwise.

 

Graduates of Sales Beauty College.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 July 1950.

In 1950, Sales Beauty College graduated 12 new beauticians in a ceremony held at Saint John A.M.E. Zion church.

  • Jennie M. Alston
  • Columbus Hannah — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 725 Lincoln Street, Clara Pritchett, 58, tobacco factory stemmer; son-in-law George Gay, 25, filling station attendant; daughter Mary L. Gay, 26, tobacco factory feeder; and grandchildren Nathaniel, 9, William D., 8, and Columbus Hannah, 5.
  • Lillie M. Sales — beauty school founder Sales lived in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Mary L. Flemming    
  • Mary L. Gay — see above.  
  • Carrie L. Hopkins — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: in the duplex at 511 East Green, (right side) Pauline Knight, 30, widow, saleslady at grocery store; (left side) Luke Hopkins, 32; wife Berline, 22; daughter Pecolie Maxine, born in September; and sister Carrie Lee Hopkins, 19.
  • Rebecca McRae — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1110 Atlantic Street, Julia Green, 68, widow; Rebecca McRae, 35, widow, cook in domestic service; and Mary Harris, 38, teacher in primary grade at city elementary school.
  • Rosa Arrington — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Reid Street, carpenter Levi Arrington, 62; wife Rosa, 67, beauty parlor proprietor; and foster daughter Margaret Kenny, 9.
  • Dorethea Lewis
  • Evelyn H. Moore
  • Lucille Goram — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 320 Finch Street, farmworker Earnest Goram, 53; wife Mary, 46, maid; and daughter Lucille, 30.
  • Katie Sewell — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 813 East Green, James W. Sewell, 49, cook in cafe; wife Katie, 37; and daughter Marian, 14.
  • Hattie Battle 
  • Elsie Hobbs — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1205 Atlantic, carpenter Hadie Hobbs, 47, and wife Elsie, 41. 
  • Inez Holmes — in the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 713 Robeson, Arthur C. Holmes, 32, hauling coal for ice and ice company; wife Inez, 33, maid at local bank; boarder Edward Barber, 67, father-in-law.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Thousands of tobacco factory workers laid off.

For much of the twentieth century, tobacco factories and stemmeries employed more African-American workers than any other industry in Wilson. The work was low-paid, mostly seasonal, and often performed by women.

In September 1939, shortly after the season began, Imperial Tobacco abruptly released hundreds of newly hired workers, sparking mass layoffs by other factories. The state employment office opened a temporary processing location at Reid Street Community Center, but officials warned that most workers had already maxed out their yearly unemployment eligibility. 

Wilson Daily Times, 13 September 1939.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

State vs. Fletcher Austin.

On 21 July 1912, Sarah Vick pressed charges against Fletcher Austin for “intent to have carnal knowledge of her by fraud impersonating her husband West Vick.”

Notes from testimony before the justice of the peace:

“Sarah Vick the prosecuting swore positively that the defendant broke into her room & got in bed with her & began to pull up her clothes & attempted to get on her & she awoke, struck a match & saw it was Fletcher Austin & called to Sallie Rountree who was in an adjoining room & that Sallie Rountree saw him too & that Sallie Rountree told some neighbors of it early next morning 

Sallie Rountree denied that she saw Fletcher Austin, that night, but said she saw a man siting on Sarahs bed when Sarah called to her in an adjoining room. She also denied that she told any one of it next morning.

“Other evidence showed that Fletcher had about 3 hours time that night between 2 & 5 o’clock which he failed to account for

Jonas Allen proved to be a very strong witness for the state & this court believes that Sarah Vick told the truth, also Jonas Allen, but does not believe Sallie Rountree told the truth”

——

  • Wesley and Sarah Locus Vick

On 25 May 1912 [less than two months before the assault] Wesley Vick, 21, of Wilson, son of John and Hannah Vick, married Sarah Locus, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Jesse and Florida Locus, in Wilson township. 

Sarah Vick died 19 March 1916 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1890 in Nash County, N.C., to Jesse and Flora Lucas and was married. She died of tuberculosis of the lungs contracted while “waiting on nursing sister” near Wilson. West Vick was informant.

West Vick died of broncho-pneumonia on 11 March 1919, just two weeks after returning from overseas service in World War I and while still enlisted. 

  • Fletcher Austin

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Vick, 50; wife Liw, 40; sons Paul, 13, and Ollie, 10; and stepson Fletcher Austin, 18.

On 15 September 1915, Fletcher Auston, 22, of Wilson, son of Henry and Lou Auston,  married Alice Pearce, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Lillie Pearce, at W.P. Anderson’s farm. Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarborough performed the ceremony in the presence of James Knight, Paul Vick, and Bill Thorne.

In 1917, Fletcher Austin registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 22 June 1893 in Smithfield township, Johnston County, N.C.; lived in Wilson township; worked as a farmhand for W.P. Anderson; and supported his mother, wife, and child.

  • Sallie Rountree
  • Jonas Allen

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Jonas Allen, 49; wife Victoria, 38; and children James, 16, Lillie, 3, and Willie, 22 months.

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The obituary of Sallie Barbour, revered teacher.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 April 1942.

In the 1880 census of Clayton, Johnston County, North Carolina: Essex Blake, 53; wife Clara, 43; and children Della, 23, Robert, 21, Sallie, 19, Benjamin, 17, James, 15, Halsey, 12, Antney, 10, Timothy, 8, Ardelia, 6, Narsissie, 6, and Jerry, 5.

On 11July 1886, Charles Barber married Sallie Blake in Clayton, Johnston County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charley Barber, 41, described as married; sons Luther, 13, James and John, 7, and Hubert, 5; widowed sister Mary Tomlingson, 42, and her children Ella, 9, and Charley, 4; and boarders Turner Utley, 27, John Purkison, 31, and George Garrett, 25. In a different household: John W. Rodgers, 30; wife Mary E., 22; sister Minnie, 17; and boarder Sallie Barber, 35, described as “widowed.” [In fact, she and her husband had separated.]

In the 1908 version of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, the only Barbers listed are James M., Jno. W., and Luther Barber at 129 Pender Street, and Sallie Barber next door at 131 Pender.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charlie Barber, 47; wife Sallie, 40, teacher; sons Luther, 21, James and John, 17, and Hubert, 15; and roomers Willie Harris, 17, and Carrie Mayswood, 16.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 809 Nash Street, barber John Barber, 27; wife Ethel, 26; widowed mother Sallie, 59, a school teacher; and brother Luther Barber, 32, also a barber.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1100 East Nash Street, Sallie Barber, 67, widowed public school teacher, and her sister Tiny Hill, 69, also a widowed teacher.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sallie Barbour, 85, widow, and lodgers Ordelia Nunn, 66, and James Pettiford, 47, barber at Hines barbershop.

Sallie Minnie Barbour died 22 April 1942 at her home at 1100 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; was born in Wake County to Essex Blake and Clara Hodge; was a widow; and was a schoolteacher. Ardelia Nunn, 1100 East Nash, was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 April 1942.

Clippings courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.