His daddy told him: “Take up something and take half his head off.”

Wilson Daily Times, 21 June 1948.

  • Willie Greenfield — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 319 North Hackney Street, Rufus Green [sic], 28, shoe repairer; wife Reva, 26; and children Willie Lee, 6, Ruby L., 5, Evelyn, 4, Charlotte, 3, and Bobby J., 1. [By 1950, the Greenfield family had migrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks, who migrated to Philadelphia later in the 1950s, spoke of Rufus Greenfield, mentioning that he was originally from Wayne County, North Carolina, and was blind by time she arrived in the city.]

Senior Willie L. Greenfield, Flame and Steel, the Dobbins-Randolph Vocational-Technical High School yearbook, 1952. [Greenfield would have been in my father Rederick C. Henderson’s class at Darden High School.]

  • Albert Parker — quite possibly, my cousin Albert Thomas Parker Jr. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 800 Gay Street, oil mill laborer Thomas Parker, 25; wife Minnie, 23; and children Spencer, 5, Louise, 4, and Albert, 1.

708 Viola Street.

The one hundred-seventy-second in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; L-plan cottage with cutaway bay; aluminum-sided.”

Charles S. and Lessie Barbrey Alston lived at 708 Viola Street in 1921.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 August 1921.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Mark H (c) lab h 708 Viola

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Mark H (c; Minnie) h 708 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Mark H (c; Minnie) h 708 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: owned and valued at $2000, Mark Cotton, 87; wife Minnie, 37, servant; and stepdaughters Ruline, 19, and Eunice Brooks, 17, farm laborer.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Elizabeth Robinson, cook; Evelyn Robinson, cook; Lucile Robinson, maid; and William Robinson, laborer, at 708 Viola.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Robinson Eliz (c) h 708 Viola

Studio shot, no. 197: the Henderson-Taylor family.

This is not, strictly speaking, a studio shot, but it was taken by a studio photographer, Ray J. Dancy. Dancy made a house call to photograph Roderick Taylor Sr., Hattie Henderson, and their children in the front room of the Hendersons’ home at 1109 Queen Street, ca. 1944.

Birthday benediction.

When an airplane passed over to shoot this 1940 aerial, the landscape of much of the East Wilson into which I was born was undeveloped. My early years were spent mostly east of Carroll Street and once I started school I has essentially free range of the blocks between Carroll, Highway 301, Academy Street to the north, and Atlantic Street to the south. The housing in those blocks, except along the western and southwestern edges and a solid line of shotguns in the 1300 block of Carolina, sprang up post-World War II, when severe housing shortages and pent-up demand pushed East Wilson beyond city limits toward the planned path of a ring road (Ward Boulevard) and a widened and re-routed U.S. 301.

I came home from Mercy Hospital to 706 Ward Boulevard. Before I turned one, we had moved to a little brick rental house at 1401 Carolina Street. There, I gained my grounding in Black Wide-Awake and, on June 26, 1969, celebrated my 5th birthday in the backyard.

My friends then are my friends now. I hugged the neck of the lady at upper right just last month. And my own sweet mother, at upper left, blesses me daily. This birthday hits a little different, but I’m grateful for the journey — and proud that it started here.

Photo from the collection of Beverly A. Henderson.

Three killed in crash in Dunn.

A road trip from Wilson to Fayetteville ended in the deaths of three people when a train hit their car in Dunn, North Carolina. Tom Mingo, Viola Bullard (or Bullock), and Bessie Manning was transported 70 miles to the Atlantic Coast Line hospital in Rocky Mount (standard practice at the time), but succumbed to their injuries.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1926.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 June 1926.

  • Mezinge Jamaica, or Tom Mingo — Thomas Mingo is listed in the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as laborer living at 721 Viola.
  • Viola Bullard or Bulluck
  • Bessie Manning — Bessie Manning is listed in the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as a factory hand living at 510 Pettigrew Street.

Clippings courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Squabble ends in death in Oil Mill Alley.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 November 1948.

In his 2005 memoir Son of the Rough South, civil rights journalist Karl Fleming identified this column as his first front-page story in the Daily Times.

On 18 February 1949, the Daily Times reported that Leroy Hammonds [not Hamilton] had been convicted of Louise Parker‘s murder. 


  • Louise Parker

In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Robert Gray, 34; wife Minerva, 34; and children Lossie, 15, Robert, 14, Willie, 11, Louisa ,7, Etta, 6, and Maggie, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Therman Ruffin, 33, lumber mill laborer, and wife Delzell, 27, cook; plus Curtis Parker, 26, lumber mill laborer, and wife Louise, 19.

Curtis Hersey Parker registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 March 1912 in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina; lived at 814 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; his contact was wife Louise Sis Parker; and worked for Stephenson Lumber Company on Stemmer Street.

Louise Parker died 1 November 1948 at 804 Oil Mill Alley, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 23 August 1925 in Wilson County to Robert Gray and Minnie Knight and was married to Curtis Parker. Lossie Williams, 625 Cemetery Street, was informant.

  • Leroy Hammonds

In the 1920 census of Wishart township, Robeson County, North Carolina: William L. Hammond, 27; wife Lula H., 23; and children Josiah, 7, William E., 5, Luther E., 3, and Grover L., 1. The family was described as Indian.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Luther Hammond, 59 [sic]; wife Lula, 32; and children Joseph, 17, Elwood, 14, Wallace R., 12, Grover, 10, and Hubart, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Luther Hamonds, 41, light plant foreman; wife Lula, 40, tobacco factory laborer; and children Luther Jr., 24, tobacco factory laborer; Leroy, 21, body plant laborer, Hubert, 13, Lillie, 7, and grandson Junior Hamonds, 2.

Gone fishing.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 June 1948.

Two couples and a set of sisters learned the hard way that Wiggins Mill pond was not open to free fishing.


  • Rosetta Tune and Willie James Tune — in the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Willie Tune, 29; wife Rosetta, 29; and son Willie Lee, 10.
  • Bessie Dew — Bessie Dupree Dew. In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: William Dupree, 26; wife Nettar, 17; son Sylvester, 5 months; brother Ernest, 20; and Ernest’s wife Ora Lee, 19; sister Sudie, 16; brother Frank Jr., 19; sister Bessie, 15, Charity, 12, and Ada, 9; and nephew James Petway, 6. On 17 September 1941, Moses Dew, 23, of Wilson, son of Moses and Eliza Dew, married Bessie Dupree, 19, of Wilson, son of Preston and Ada Dupree, in Wilson.   
  • Moses Dew — in the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County [next door to the Tunes]: widow Eliza Dew, 69; daughter-in-law Naomi, 28, widow; son Moses, 21, farmer; niece Elizabeth, 13; and grandchildren Catherine, 7, and Eva, 5 months.
  • Lizzie Vick and Mary Vick — probably, in the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Vick, 55, divorced, boiler tender at auto body company; sister Mary Vick Hooks, 44, widow, farming hired hand; sister Lizzie Vick, 38, widow, farming hired hand; nephew Charlie Hooks, 19, farm laborer; niece Betty May Hooks, 15; and daughter Lumizer Vick, 26, divorced, private family cook.