Women

Getting milk from the Vicks.

Excerpt from my interview with my grandmother, Hattie Henderson Ricks, about where her family bought food during her childhood on Elba Street:

“But when I was a little girl, the only place you could get milk was from the Vicks. It was a quarter.  That was the only place we had to get the milk, if you got any. Unless you used canned milk. She had a back porch. Closed-in back porch. Screened in. Anyway, glass in it all around, there on the back porch, and tables out there. One of them things you churn, what I mean, a great, old big urn out there where the milk get too old, and then she’d have buttermilk. And she had a ‘frigerator sitting out there, where she’d taken the shelves out, look like where she’d made a big thing to put it in there. But she would get fresh milk everyday. The cows was somewhere out there, I don’t know where, I didn’t see ‘em in the yard. They wont nowhere up there. But somebody was working for them would go out and get the milk and bring it in these cans where you have, where got the churn in the top of it. And she would put them out there on the porch. Miz Annie seemed to be pretty clean, and the house was clean. Didn’t nobody get sick. Yeah, and they had the two daughters, and I don’t know how many boys it was. Robert was the youngest boy, and I went to school with him, and Doris and I was in the same class in school. And — I didn’t know whether she was a sister to the man, or whether she was sister to the lady, I never did find out which way — but that house, they built that two-story house right next to the Vicks, and they didn’t stay in it, they went to Washington or somewhere. And they rented the house out. And I think somebody else bought it.”

My grandmother, right, and her sister Mamie Henderson Holt, around the time their family was buying milk from the Vicks.

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Lane Street Project: Marjorie Allen.

Marjorie Allen‘s headstone was found at the edge of a trash pile in Odd Fellows cemetery. She died just before her 17th birthday.

Marjorie day of Charlie & Pearl Allen Born Oct 22, 1910 Died Aug 1, 1927

The trash in this heap was likely dumped in the 1970s, when an access road still ran across Odd Fellows into Vick cemetery. It is not clear whether Marjorie Allen’s headstone is located at or near her grave or was moved and dumped here. 

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In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Charlie Allen, 51; wife Pearl, 29; and daughter Marjorie, 9.

Margarie Allen died 1 August 1927 in Wilson township, Wilson County, of “apoplexy-hemiplegia.” (In other words, a stroke and resulting paralysis.) Per her death certificate, she was born 22 October 1910 in Harnett County, N.C., to Charley Allen of Oxford, N.C., and Pearl Blue of Sampson County, N.C.

Historical markers installed.

The pandemic has iced plans for formal unveilings, but Wilson County Historical Association carried through with the installation of four markers commemorating Black people, places, and events who left outsized impressions in Wilson’s history. Please look for the four — Dr. Frank S. HargraveCharles H. Darden, Operation Dixie, and the Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute — in East Wilson as part of your Black History Month activities.

I’m honored to have been asked to collaborate with W.C.H.A. on the selection of subjects for the 2020 markers, and I appreciate the Association’s commitment to telling the stories of all of Wilson.

Lane Street Project: Rachel Barnes Taylor.

The grave marker of my father’s paternal grandmother, found 27 January 2021.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Willis Barnes, 30; wife Cherry, 25; and children Rachel, 7, West, 5, Jesse, 2, and Ned, 5 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Willis Barnes, 42; wife Cherey, 20; stepdaughter[?] Rachel Battle, 17; children Wesley, 15, Jesse, 13, Ned, 11, Eddie, 7, and Mary Barnes, ; niece Ellen Battle, 2; and son Willey Barnes, 1.

On 21 September 1882, Mike Taylor, 20, Wilson, married Rachel Barnes, 19, of Wilson, in Wilson. Baptist minister Louis Croom performed the ceremony in the presence of W.T. Battle and Edmon Pool. [Prominent planter Howell G. Whitehead (Jr. or Sr.?) applied for the marriage license on Mike Taylor’s behalf, suggesting a personal relationship — most likely employment. Whitehead erroneously named Taylor’s father as “John” Taylor and admitted he did not know the names of Taylor’s mother or either of Barnes’ parents.]

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mike Taylor, 36, drayman; wife Rachel, 36; and children Roderick, 17, Maggie, 14, Mattie, 13, Maddie, 12, Bertha E., 8, and Hennie G., 6.  Rachel and daughters Maggie, Mattie and Maddie were occupied at washing.  Roderick and the youngest girls “go to school.”

On 16 May 1906, W.T. Taylor applied for a marriage license for Roddrick Taylor, 23, of Wilson, 23, son of Mike Taylor and Rachel Taylor, and Mary J. Pender of Wilson, 18. Fred M. Davis, Baptist Minister, performed the ceremony the same day at Mike Taylor’s in Wilson, with witnesses W.T. Taylor and Addie Rauls.

On 30 May 1906, W.I. Barnes, 22, married Madie Taylor, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Mike and Rachel Taylor, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of William Mitchell, Alex H. Walker, Roderick Taylor, and Sarah Ward.

On 10 August 1906, Sam Ennis, 22, of Durham, N.C., son of Freeman and Della Ennis of Smithfield, N.C., married Maggie Taylor, 20, of Durham, daughter of Mike and Rachel Taylor of Wilson, in Durham. Presbyterian minister I.H. Russell performed the ceremony.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lee Street, drayman Mike Taylor, 52; wife Rachel, 51, laundress; daughters Mattie, 21, Bertha, 18, and Henny, 16, laundresses; and niece Louise, 12.

Hennie Taylor died 25 December 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1897 in Wilson County to Mike Taylor and Rachel Barnes; worked as a domestic; and was buried in Wilson. Rodderick Taylor was informant. 

On 14 January 1920, Bertha Taylor, 24, of Wilson, married Jimmie Reaves, 26, of Pitt County, in Wilson. Rev. B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Roderick Taylor, John Barber, and Van Smith. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 114 Lee Street, Mike H. Taylor, 50, cook in cafe; wife Rachel, 58; son [actually, nephew] Tom Perry, 12; bricklayer Van Smith, 33, and his wife Mattie, 28.

Rachel Taylor died 2 October 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 54 years old; was born in Wilson County to Willis Barnes and Cherry Barnes; was married to Mike Taylor; lived at 108 West Lee Street; was buried in Wilson; and worked as a laundress. Roddrick Taylor was informant.

Mike Taylor died 8 January 1927 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was about 68 years old; was the widower of Rachel Taylor; worked as a day laborer; was born in Wilson County to Green Taylor and Ferby Taylor; and was buried in Wilson. Roddrick Taylor was informant.

Roderick Taylor Sr. died 4 August 1947 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 March 1882 in Wilson to Henry Taylor and Rachel Barnes and worked as a barber.  Informant was Mary J. Taylor, 607 East Green St., City.

Bertha Reaves died 18 June 1962 in Greenville, Pitt County, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 March 1891 in Wilson County to Henry Taylor and Rachel [no maiden name]; was married to James Reaves; worked as an elevator operator; and lived at 1400 West Fourth Street, Greenville. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Gen. Austin has ties to Wilson.

On 22 January 2021, the United States Senate confirmed Gen. (Ret.) Lloyd Austin as President Joe Biden as Secretary of Defense. The Wilson Times noted that Gen. Austin had ties to Wilson through his wife Charlene D. Austin and quoted Congressman G.K. Butterfield Jr.‘s remarks about his close friendship with her parents. Mrs. Austin’s father was Maryland Lee “M.L.” or “Tank” Banner, and her stepmother was Margaret Reid Banner. M.L. Banner was a Concord, N.C., native who moved to Wilson in the late 1950s to work at Reid Street Community Center. Margaret Reid Banner was a Wilson native, a descendant of the Wayne County Reid family whose Wilson branches included veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, principal and banker J.D. Reid, farmer Henry S. Reid, barber Willie G. Reid, and carpenters John R. Reid and John B. Reid. After many years in Pennsylvania, M.L. and Margaret Banner returned to Wilson in the 1980s, where both were deeply involved in community service for the rest of their lives.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 614 Vick Street, laborer Oscar Reid, 26; wife Nora, 20; and daughter Thelma, 2. 

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1007 Washington Street, dry cleaner Oscar Reid, 41; wife Nora, 39, laundress; and children James O., 20, Cecil, 18, Percell, 16, Leotis, 14, Margarett, 7, Evangeline, 4, Eugene, 3, and Lettie Romaine, 2 months.

Margaret Reid graduated Darden High School in the Class of 1949.

From the The Trojan (1949), the Darden High School yearbook.

The obituary of Sallie Bynum, of the old school.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 January 1920.

Mystifyingly, I have not been able to locate Sallie Bynum‘s death certificate. “Dr. Herring” is probably Dr. Needham B. Herring (1839-1923). Dr. Herring was a native of Duplin County. In 1860, his father, Bryan W. Herring reported owning personal property in Duplin County valued at $29,143, most of which would have been in the form of enslaved people. Dr. Herring’s father-in-law, J.J.B. Vick of northern Nash County, reported $26,133 of personal property in 1860. It is not clear which “relatives of Dr. Herring” are referred to in this death notice.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sallie Bynum, 63, widow; daughters Lula, 21, and Burtha, 18; and boarder Rabeca Edwards, 22.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, Lue Williams, 34; boarder Sallie Bynum, 65, widow; and [Lue’s] daughter Lue B. Williams, 13, all factory laborers.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, Sallie Bynum, 85, widow, and Marie, 6.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Lane Street Project: the “why” of what we do.

This morning, while driving to her home, Dale C. Winstead noticed Lane Street Project volunteers working at Odd Fellows Cemetery. She stopped to ask what was going on, then left and came back. When she returned, she offered this testimony:

Ms. Winstead’s father Elijah Winstead Sr. passed away in 2002. Her grandmother, Annie Jenkins Winstead, passed in 1941. It is almost certain that Annie Winstead was buried in Vick cemetery, and her headstone was among those removed when the city cleared the entire burial ground in 1994-95. Though the markers were to be catalogued and stored, per an unconfirmed report from a former employee, after a few years the city’s Public Works Department decided it needed the space. The department contacted those relatives they could find and asked them to pick the markers within a certain time. Otherwise, they would be destroyed.

Were you or anyone you know contacted circa 1995-2000 and asked about retrieving headstone taken from Rountree cemetery (the name by which most people called all three cemeteries)? If so, please contact Lisa Y. Henderson at blackwideawake@gmail.com. Thank you.

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On 14 March 1925, Marion Winstead, 22, of Edgecombe County, son of Jason and Hattie Winstead, married Annie Jenkins, 22, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Lizzie Jenkins, in Wilson County.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 604 Manchester, fertilizer plant laborer Marion Winstead, 29; wife Annie, 29; and children Elizabeth, 6, Elija, 4, Ollie M., 2, and Jason, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 622 Wiggins, farm laborer Marion Winstead, 40; wife Annie, 40; and children Elizabeth, 16; Elijah, 14, Olie, 13, Jaison, 7, Robert, 5, Grace, 4, and Marion, 2.

Annie Winstead died 22 March 1941 at her home on Wiggins Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 June 1899 in Edgecombe County to Van and Lizzie Jenkins; was married to Marion Winstead; lived at 622 Wiggins Street; and was buried 24 March 1941 in Rountree cemetery. Dr. B.O. Barnes was the attending physician.

Sincere thanks to Dale C. Winstead for sharing your inspiration for volunteering with Lane Street Project and to Brittany N. Daniel for capturing her words. They have been posted with permission.

The obituary of Lizzie H. Dawson, an esteemed woman.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 January 1937.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, printing office pressman; wife Sarah, 33; children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2; and lodgers Manse Wilson, 36, and Johnnie Lewis, 21, both carpenters.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

Elizabeth Thomas, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Charlie and Sallie Thomas, married Clarence Dawson, 21, of Wilson, son of A.D. and Lucy Dawson, on 20 March 1917 in Wilson. Andrew Pierce applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of John Barbour, A.L. Dawson, and Elton Thomas.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 East Green Street, printing office laborer Charlie Thomas, 65; daughter Elizabeth Dawson, 32; son-in-law Clarence Dawson, 31; and grandchildren Eris Dawson, 11, Naomi, 9, Clarence, 7, and Thomas V. Dawson, 3; and daughters Sarah, 19, theatre ticket seller, and Beatrice Thomas, 17.

Lizzie Dawson died 16 January 1937 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 July 1894 in Wilson to Charly Thomas of Nash County and Sarah Best of Wilson, and was married to Clarence Dawson. Informant was Charly Thomas.

Lane Street Project: Lula Dew Wooten.

This lovely little headstone was discovered in Odd Fellows cemetery this very morning by volunteers at Lane Street Project’s Clean-Up Kick-Off!

Lula Dew Wooten’s grandparents and several generations of descendants are buried in the Dew cemetery on Weaver Road, northeast of Wilson. Lula’s grave in Odd Fellows cemetery suggests that she was buried in a plot purchased for her and her husband, Simeon Wooten. Wooten died in 1950, and his death certificate lists his burial location as “Rountree.” As we know, Rountree was the name broadly applied to Rountree, Odd Fellows, and Vick cemetery.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Jeff Dew, 38; wife Jane, 32, farm laborer; children Bessie, 12, Lesse, 9, Lula, 8, Nettie, 6, James E., 3, Lizzie, 2, and Jesse, 1 month.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, Jeff Dew, 46, farmer; wife Jane, 43, farm laborer; children Bessie, 21, Lessie, 19, Lula, 17, Nettie, 16, Eddie, 13, Lizzie, 12, Jessie, 9, Joseph, 8, Margaret, 6, and Jonah, 3. Jane and all but the youngest two children worked as farm laborers.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road via Town Creek, Jefferson Dew, 57, farmer; wife Jane, 55; children Lula, 26, Nettie, 24, Eddie, 22, Jesse, 20, Joe, 17, Margaret, 16, and Jonie, 14.

On 11 July 1920, Sim Wooten, 38, of Wilson, son of John and Claudia Wooten, married Lula Dew, 26, of Wilson, daughter of Jeff and Jane Dew, at Jeff Dew’s residence. Daniel A. Crawford applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister C.H. Hagans performed the ceremony in the presence of Moses Dew, J.C. Lassiter, and John P. Battle

Lulu Jane Wooten died 7 November 1927 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 May 1892 in Wilson County to Jefferson Dew and Jane Weaver; was married to Simeon Wooten; lived at 510 South Lodge, Wilson; and was a dressmaker.

Photo courtesy of Jane Cooke Hawthorne.