Women

Mattie Ward Robinson of Wilson, N.C.; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Danville, Illinois.

In researching Nora Ward Goens, I discovered her sister Mattie Ward Robinson, who spent her adult life as the wife of a coal miner in east-central Illinois.

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Henry Ward, son of D.G.W. Ward and Sarah Darden, married Sarah Forbes, daughter of Henry Forbes, on 16 June 1870 in Wilson. Rev. L. Moye performed the ceremony at a M.E. Zion church.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Ward, 21, and wife Sallie, 19, next door to Henry Forbes, 48, domestic servant, wife Louise, 43, children Charles, 15, Georgiana, 21, and John, 21, and Patsey Forbes, 70. [The Forbes family migrated to Indianapolis before 1900. More about them later.]

I have not found the family in the 1880 census.

In the 1900 census of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee: at 527 High Street, minister Edwin Ward, 44; wife Sallie, 43; and daughters Adelia, 20, seamstress, and Mattie, 16. Edwin and Sallie were described as North Carolina-born; their daughters, Tennessee. [This, presumably, is the family. Nora Goens’ death certificate lists her father as “Rev. Ward.” Mattie’s age is right, though her birthplace is not. Had the family migrated to Nashville directly from Wilson, or did they detour in Indianapolis, where Nora married Eugene Goens in 1894?]

In the 1910 census of Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois: at 216 Clements, coal miner John W. Robinson, 29; wife Mattie, 26; and children Magdelene, 7, Adelia, 4, William, 2, and Eugene, newborn. [I have not found John and Mattie’s marriage license.]

In 1918, John William Robinson registered for the World War I draft in Vermilion County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 April 1886; lived at 216 Clements, Danville; worked as a coal miner at Peabody Coal Company #24, Catlin, Vermilion County; and his nearest relative was wife Mattie Robinson.

Undated photograph of Peabody Coal Mine #24, located between Catlin and Bunsenville, Illinois. Courtesy of Christopher Stratton, “Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Cultural Resource Management Program, Abandoned Mined Lands Reclamation, Cultural Resources Evaluation: U.S. Fuel Company, Bunsenville Mine, Bunsenville, Illinois” (2002).

In the 1920 census of Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois: brickyard laborer John W. Robingson, 38; wife Mattie, 34; and children Magdeline, 14, servant at soldier’s home; Odelia, 12; Eugean, 10, Fay, 5, Dorothy, 3, and Walter, 1.

Mattie L. Robinson died 12 March 1921 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 September 1884 in Wilson, N.C., to Henry Ward and Sallie Forbes; was married to J.W. Robinson; and was buried in Springhill Cemetery, Danville.

William Robinson, 23, son of J.W. Robinson and Mattie Ward, married Vivian Thurston, 19, daughter of William Thurston and Anna Logan, on 17 March 1930 in Danville, Illinois.

In the 1930 census of Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois: coal mine laborer John W. Robinson, 49, widower; children Eugene, 20, hotel porter, Fay, 15, Dorothy, 14, and John W., 22, coal miner; daughter-in-law Vivian, 19, restaurant waitress; and daughter Mae M. Rachold, 26, divorced, office building elevator girl.

The apprenticeship of Cindary Taylor.

On 25 October 1895, a Wilson County Superior Court clerk issued an indenture binding Cindary Taylor, age 10 years and 8 days, described as an orphan, to serve Jackson Hayes until she was 21 years of age.

A year later, however, the same clerk rescinded the indenture after Jackson Hayes came into court asking to be released. His wife had died, leaving him with “seven children of his own” that were apparently all he could handle.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

Sarah Shade visits her brother in Brooklyn.

Thirteen year-old Sarah L. Shade spent some time with her brother John A. Shade and sister-in-law Ruby Purcell Shade before the school year began in 1924.


New York Age, 18 October 1924.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 535 Nash Street, Turner Stokes, 50, carpenter; wife Morah, 39; mother-in-law Martha Pitt, 83; and boarders Isac Shade, 44, drugstore manager; wife Estella, 38; and children Kenneth, 13, and Sarah, 9. [Estella Lane Shade was Isaac A. Shade‘s second wife. His first marriage, to Emma Green Shade, apparently ended in divorce.]

On 9 September 1937, Sarah Luvenia Shade, 27, of Wilson, daughter of I.A. Shade and Estella Shade, married Richard Clyde Minor, 27, of Columbus, Ohio, son of Richard C. Minor and Alice G. Minor, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister Richard A.G. Foster performed the ceremony in the presence of Thelma B. Foster, Norma E. Darden, and C.L. Darden.

In the 1940 census of Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri: at 809 East Dunklin, university professor Richard C. Minor, 40; wife Sara, 28; and boarder Rubye Harris, 20, university music teacher. [Richard Minor and Harris taught at Lincoln University.] Both Minors reported having lived in Salisbury, N.C., five years earlier.

The Lincoln Clarion (Jefferson City, Missouri), 30 October 1942.

Sarah L. Shade died 5 March 1992 in Wilson. [She reverted to her maiden name after divorce.] Per her death certificate, she was born 10 November 1910 in Asheville, N.C., to Isaac Albert Shade and Estelle Lane.

 

Family ties, no. 5: I wish it was so that I could come to you & family.

Wilson’s emergence as a leading tobacco market town drew hundreds of African-American migrants in the decades after the 1890s. Many left family behind in their home counties, perhaps never to be seen again. Others maintained ties the best way they could.

Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver and her husband Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. left Dudley, in southern Wayne County, North Carolina, around 1905. They came to Wilson presumably for better opportunities off the farm. Each remained firmly linked, however, to parents and children and siblings back in Wayne County as well as those who had joined the Great Migration north. This post is the fifth in a series of excerpts from documents and interviews with my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001), Jesse and Sarah’s adoptive daughter (and Sarah’s great-niece), revealing the ways her Wilson family stayed connected to their far-flung kin. (Or didn’t.)

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Sarah Silver died of a massive heart attack on a train platform on 8 January 1938 while on her way from Wilson to Greensboro, North Carolina. After receiving the news via a shocking and confusing telegram, my grandmother sent word of Sarah’s death to other relatives. One went to Sarah’s widowed sister-in-law Carrie L. Henderson Borrero, who replied via letter immediately:

Sunday Jan. 9. 38

My Dear Hattie

I received your telegram to-day. 1 P.M. it was certainly a shock to me you & family certainly have my deepest sympathy & also from my family.

I did not know your mother was sick you must write later and let me know about her illness.

It is so strange I have been dreaming of my husband Caswell so much for the past two weeks he always tells me that has something to tell me & that he feels so well so I guess this is what I was going to hear about your mother.

I wish it was so that I could come to you & family but times are so different now seems as if we cannot be prepared to meet emergencies any more but you must know that my heart & love is with you & family.

I am just writing to you a short note now will write you again. Let me hear from you when you get time to write

From

Your Aunt in law

Carrie L. Borrero

322 E. 100th St.  N. Y City

Letter in personal collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

A visit to Oklahoma.

The Black Dispatch (Oklahoma City), 25 May 1922.

Ada G. Battle and Nicholas R. Battle, both born in Wilson County, were the children of Charles Battle.

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In the 1880 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 35, wife Leah, 30, and children Adelia, 5, Geneva, 2, Virgil, 1 month, and Nicholas, 18.

On 27 February 1901, Nicholas R. Battle, 37, born in North Carolina, residing in Chandler, Oklahoma, married Mrs. Dora J. Bolton, 39, born in Mississippi, residing in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in Logan County, Oklahoma.

In the 1910 census of Chandler township, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: farmer Nicklos Battle, 46; wife Dora, 41; adopted children Charley Suggs, 5, and Henry Caldwell, 3; and hired man Cleveland Smith, 24.

In the 1920 census of Chandler township, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: farmer Nichols Battles, 56; wife Dora J., 58; and son Henery N., 12.

Dora Battle died 10 November 1921 in Chandler, Oklahoma.

In the 1930 census of Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: farmer Henry Battle, 22; wife Vannie, 23; son Henry Jr., 3; and father Nicholas B. Battle, 64, widower, farmer.

In the 1940 census of Chandler township, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: farmer Nichols Battles, 75; wife Ella, 39; and children Ada L., 5, Nicholas R., 3, and Evelene, 1.

Nicholas R. Battle died 24 December 1946 in Chandler, Oklahoma.

Studio shots, no. 187: Ida Brown Locus Ellis.

Ida Brown Locus Ellis (1907-1969).

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In the 1910 census of Currituck township, Hyde County, North Carolina: lumber swamp laborer Columbus Brown, 29; wife Fannie, 22; and children Bertha, 4, Ida, 2, and Leonard, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Currituck township, Hyde County, North Carolina: farmer Columbus Brown, 44; wife Fannie, 34; and children Bertha, 14, Ida, 11, Leonard, 9, Jeff, 7, Lucey, 6, Marvin, 2, and Louissa, 1.

On 10 May 1926, Pete Locust, 21, and Ida Brown, 17, both of Greene County, N.C., married in Wilson County by Free Will Baptist J.E. Brown in the presence of Will Jordan, Frank Ward, and Harry Ellis.

Haywood Ellis died 8 April 1959 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 December 1907 in Greene County to Calvin Ellis and Mary Speight; was married to Ida Ellis; lived at 104 Powell Street; and was a grocer.

Ida Locus Ellis died 17 February 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 August 1907 to Columbus Brown and Fannie Hudson; was a widow; lived at 400 South Pender Street; and was a grocery store operator. Elnora Finch was informant.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com Anthony Williams.

Southern chivalry?

This short bit appears in a Cleveland Gazette column reporting Cincinnati, Ohio, happenings:

Cleveland Gazette, 4 August 1894.

What happened here?

Joe Ward of Indianapolis is Dr. Joseph H. Ward, though he was not yet a doctor in 1894. In fact, he was newly graduated from high school and just about to commence his medical studies. This passage from an 1899 Indianapolis Freeman feature mentions Ward’s return to North Carolina after graduation.

I am surprised that Mittie Ward Vaughn was in Wilson as late as 1894 — I’d assumed she was in Washington, D.C., with her daughter Sarah Ward Moody‘s family. I’m more intrigued, not to say perplexed, by the reference to an incident involving his wife.

First, Joseph Ward had a wife in 1894? His first marriage of which I am aware was to Mamie Brown in Indianapolis in 1897. It ended in divorce. Then, in 1904, he married Zella Locklear.

Let’s assume there was an earlier wife, though, and the incident happened to her. (In other words, the encounter was personal, not a third-party incident to which Ward was reacting.) Mrs. Ward sassed a white woman for whom she was working (in Wilson?), the white woman’s husband “smacked down” Mrs. Ward, and Mrs. Ward was arrested and fined $12.50 for her impertinence???

I have not found any references to Ward’s visit in Wilson newspapers, but will continue to search for further details.

Snaps, no. 91: At home with friends, Los Angeles, 1950s.

Two of Walter S. and Sarah Dortch Hines‘ children migrated to Los Angeles, California, where they joined the city’s emerging mid-century Black high society. Elizabeth “Scottie” Hines Eason and her Texas-born husband Newell Eason were educators. Eason grew up in Los Angeles and attended UCLA and, after several years teaching at Shaw University in Raleigh, took his family back to California just after World War II. Scottie Eason’s brother Walter D. Hines and his wife Cadence Baker Hines, who met in Michigan, arrived in the late 1940s. Their friend, lawyer Walter Gordon, left a trove of photographs that captured the era, including this one:

On couch, left to right: Kenneth Levy, Honore Levy, Newell Eason, Scottie Hines Eason, Dr. Arthur Mitchell, Gloria Mitchell. Seated: Clara Gordon, unidentified girl, Cadence Hines, and Dr. Walter D. Hines.

The Shaw University Bulletin, July-August Edition, 1937.

At home with friends, Los Angeles, 1950s,” Walter L. Gordon Jr./William C. Beverly Jr. Collection, UCLA Special Library Collections.

Studio shots, no. 186: Alice H. Jones.

Sixth-grade teacher Alice H. Jones (1892-1957). The Trojan yearbook, C.H Darden High School, 1949.

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Lucy Frances Jones died 18 February 1930 at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 19 October 1914 in Wilson, N.C., to J. Robert Jones of Virginia and Alice H. Albright of Davidson County, N.C.; was a school girl; and was buried in Raleigh’s Cross Roads, Guilford County.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 808 East Vance, owned and valued at $2000, widow Rosa Foster, 42, public school teacher; her children Carter, 16, Daily Times newsboy, and Naomi, 14; and roomers Alice Jones, 36, and Mamie Key, 20, public school teachers.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Alice H. Jones, 46, public school teacher, and son James R. Jones, Jr., 23, office building janitor. 

In 1940, James Robert Jones Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1917 in Wilson; lived at 808 East Vance Street; his contact was his mother Alice Helena Jones; and he worked for Ernest C. Lucas, Lucama, N.C.

Alice Jones died 29 October 1957 at Duke Hospital, Durham, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was 65 years old; was born in Lexington, N.C., to John Albright and Alice Adams; was the widow of James R. Jones; lived at 122 Pender Street; and was a retired schoolteacher. Robert Jones was informant.