Work Life

Five generations of Barnes women.

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Wilson Daily Times, 20 April 1950.

The caption identifies this as a photograph of five generations of an African-American Barnes family that lived on the Edwin Barnes farm, “one of the fine old plantations of the state.” There is no mention of the age of the photograph (I would guess approximately 1900-1910) or its provenance. The names of the young woman and baby at bottom left were unknown. “Old Aunt Rose” is at bottom right. Standing at top right is “Aunt Sylvia,” who was a cook for Edwin Barnes and then his daughter Mrs. J.T. Graves for forty years and was “famous for her chicken stew.” At top left is Aunt Sylvia’s daughter, Jane Barnes Simms.

To my surprise and disappointment, I have not been able to document Rose Barnes, her daughter Sylvia, and granddaughter Jane Barnes Simms. Can anyone help?

They believed they were merely playing.

On 27 March 1932, Chester Parker shot to death his sister Sarah’s husband, Ed Howard.

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Wilson Daily Times, 28 March 1932. 

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, David Parker, 39; wife Elizabeth, 38; and children William E., 15, Richard, 13, Anna, 12, Sarah, 10, Sylvania, 9, Millie K., 7, Mary L., 5, Chester, 3, and John F., 7 months.

Eddie Howard, 21, of Edgecombe County, son of Tim and Mary Howard, married Sarah Parker, 20, of Gardners township, on 4 February 1920 at Joe Pender‘s house in Gardners township. Primitive Baptist elder Ruffin Hymon performed the ceremony in the presence of Crumel Farmer, John Barnes and another.

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“Murdered by Chester Parker shot through chest with revolver”

 

 

 

 

Anatomy of a photograph: Williams Lumber Company.

Founded in 1912 in Elm City, Williams Lumber Company‘s Wilson sawmill was sandwiched between Banks Street and Hominy Swamp Canal to the north and south, and Douglas (formerly Spring) and South Lodge Streets to the west and east. (There is still a lumber company at that location, but it’s not Williams Lumber.)

In the mid-1940s, Charles Raines and Guy Cox photographed Williams’ workers posing with equipment in the lumber yard.

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A tractor driver.

A forklift driver sits atop a load.

Seven drivers lounge against their trucks.

If you recognize any of these men, please let me know.

This top image is found among the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_299H_WilliamsLumber3. Many thanks to John Teel for sharing. 

At the Acme Candy Company.

This photograph of employees of Acme Candy Company, including a lone unidentified African-American man, appears to have been taken in the 1920s. The candy wholesaler was located at 221 South Goldsboro.

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This image is found among the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives, though it was taken by an earlier photographer. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_8482_copy_AcmeCandy. Many thanks to John Teel for sharing. 

Dressmakers.

Twelve of the fifteen dressmakers listed in the 1922 Wilson city directory were African-American women.

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Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1922).

  • Lucy Alston — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Walnut Street, hospital janitor Zick Artis, 26, and wife Belle, 30; and, renting from them, tobacco factory worker Lucy Alston, 33, and children Luvenia, 9, Eluse, 7, and Lucille, 6.
  • Mabel E. Anderson — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Vick Street, painter William Brown, 29; wife Eva, 28, dressmaker; brother-in-law Walter Anderson, 23, plasterer; sister-in-law Mable, 21, dressmaker; and sister-in-law Alma Purcell, 20, all born in South Carolina.
  • Sarah L. Bowser — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Best [Burt] Bowser, 48, pool room conductor; wife Sarah, 40, seamstress; sons Russell, 19, Astor B., 13, and Thomas F., 11; sister-in-law Rosa Rountree, 21, public school teacher; brother-in-law James Rountree, 14, milliner store servant; and mother Lucinda Bowser, 60, widow.
  • Eva L. Brown — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Vick Street, painter William Brown, 29; wife Eva, 28, dressmaker; brother-in-law Walter Anderson, 23, plasterer; sister-in-law Mable, 21, dressmaker; and sister-in-law Alma Purcell, 20, all born in South Carolina.
  • Stattie Cannon — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charles Cannon, 35, barber in a “white shop”; wife Statie, 34; and children Charles, 11, Ruth, 9, and Statie Benton, 13.
  • Lethia Clark — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Sarah Clark, 40, school teacher, and daughters Catherine, 22, Letha, 19, and Bettie, 17; granddaughter Ruth Jenkins, 8; and servant  Mary James, 26.
  • Sattena Gaston — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 120 Manchester Street, seamstress Sattena Gaston, 41, and sons Johnnie, 16, and Lorenzo, 13.
  • Jane Hooks
  • Letitia Lovitt — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 Stantonsburg Street, Almus Lovett, 42, shop blacksmith, and wife Letitia, 43, seamstress. Both were Georgia natives.
  • Eva Mitchell — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 549 Nash Street, widow Annie Mitchell, 71,  children Sallie, 46, Eddie, 44, Albert, 42, Eva, 36, and Floyd, 34, niece Severana, 18, and nephew Lester, 16.
  • Ruby I. Purcell — on 27 September 1922, John A. Shade, 22, son of I.A. and Estella Shade, married Ruby Percell, 20, daughter of H.H. and Ida M. Percell, in Wilson. W.H. Phillips applied for the license, and Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of Phillips, Henry N. Cherry and Will Farmer.
  • Ada Winstead — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Braswell Winstead, 60, wife Ada E., and daughter Ethel L., 13, at 300 Pender Street.