609 Viola Street.

The 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; L-plan cottage with especially intact bracketed porch; asbestos shingled.”

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Viola Street, Wash Joyner, 35, house painter; wife Sarah, 32, laundress; and son Alexander, 13.

In 1917, Alexander Barnes Joyner registered for the World War I draft in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Per his registration card, he was born 5 June 1896 in Wilson, his address was 616 Viola Street, and worked as a chair pusher for the Shill Company in Atlantic City. [Under the pre-1922 numbering system, 609 Viola was 616.]

In 1918, George Washington Joyner registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1875; resided at 616 Viola Street; was a self-employed barber at 213 Goldsboro Street, Wilson; and his nearest relative was Sarah Jane Joyner, 616 Viola.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: public laborer Sarah Joyner, 45, widow, and son Elex, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 Viola, owned and valued at $2000, maid Sarah Joyner, 40, widow.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Joyner Sarah (c) lndrs h 609 Viola

Sarah Joyner died 5 May 1943 at her home at 609 East Viola Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 66 years old; was born in Wilson County to Alex Barnes and Frances Stephens, both of Wilson County; was the widow of J. Washington Joyner; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Annie Alexander of the home.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C. (The private school was, of course, the Independent School.)

Studio shots, no. 85: John and Margaret Lewis Maryland.

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John Maryland (ca. 1872-1947)

In the 1880 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: farmer John Maryland, 58, born in Maryland; wife M., 40; and children Haywood, 17, who was deaf; Schofield, 16; Walter, 10; Mary, 9; John, 7; Hattie, 6; Primas, 4; and Jonas, 2.

In the 1880 census of Upper Town Creek, Edgecombe County: farmer Handy Lewis, 38; wife Jane, 40; children Wash, 16, Joshua, 12, Margarette, 8, Caroline, 6, Tiney, 4, and Robert, 2; and step-daughter Nicey, 16.

Margaret Lewis Maryland (ca. 1872-1965)

John Maryland, 21, of Nash County, married Margaret Lewis, 19, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Handy Lewis, on 8 April 1894 in Edgecombe County. Haywood Maryland applied for the license.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: John Maryland, 40, farmer; wife Margaret, 30; children Cora, 15, Mandonia, 15, Robert, 13, Della, 10, Charlie, 6, Richard, 4, Percy, 2, and William T., 1 month.

An unnamed baby was stillborn 10 July 1914 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born prematurely in Wilson County to John Maryland and Margaret Lewis, both of Edgecombe County. John Maryland, R.F.D. 1, Elm City, served as both informant and undertaker. The child was buried in “burying ground – Wesley Williams farm.”

William Maryland died 19 September 1919 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 23 years old; a farmer; married; born in Wilson County to John Maryland and Maggie Lewis; and buried in Nash County.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer John Maryland, 50; wife Margritt, 40; children  Robert, 24, Della, 22, Charley, 18, Richard, 16, John P., 14, William, 13, and Primas, 11; nephew Walter, 14, and niece Hellen, 12; daughter-in-law Ether, 19; and grandchildren Maggie, 7, and Cuba, 2 months.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount-Town Creek Road, John Maryland, 58, farm laborer; wife Maggie, 49; son Richard R., 23, farm laborer; daughter-in-law Mamie, 23; and grandchildren Daisy L., 6, and Willie C. Maryland, 4.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer John Maryland, 67; wife Maggie, 65; and grandchildren John, 17, and Martha Maryland, 12.

Per his grave marker, John Maryland died 23 June 1947.

Maggie Margaret Maryland died 27 February 1965 in Sharpsburg, WIlson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 September 1885 in Nash County to Handy Lewis; was a widow; and was buried in Wesley Williams cemetery. Robert Maryland, Sharpsburg, was informant.

Robert Maryland died 14 October 1971 in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 July 1903 to John Maryland; was married to Estella Bunn; lived at 720 Brooks, Rocky Mount; and was a retired janitor at Morgan Motel. Willie Lee Maryland was informant.

Photographs courtesy of Ancestry.com user ElijahDoby.

The obituary of Lauraetta J. Taylor.

Lauraetta J. Taylor (1916-1977), daughter of Russell Buxton and Viola Gaither Taylor, was a legendary women’s basketball coach at Fayetteville State University. A gymnasium on campus is named in her honor.

Pittsburgh Courier, 26 March 1977.

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In the 1920 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: on Johnston Bow, preacher Russell B. Taylor, 35; wife Viola, 31, seamstress; and children Beatrice, 7, Janett, 5, and Sarah, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on East Nash Street, Methodist minister Russell B. Taylor, 48, widower; children Laura, 14, Sarah, 11, Christopher, 7, and William, 4; daughter Beatrice Barnes, 18, public school teacher, and her son Elroy, 1; and lodgers Cora Speight, 49, laundress, and Mamie Williams, 30, ironer, and Roscoe McCoy, 32, farm laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 536 East Nash, preacher and public school teacher Russell B. Taylor, 52; children Loretta, 23, and Sarah, 21, both teachers, Leonard, 16, and William, 14; grandson Elroy Barnes, 11; and lodgers Isiar Jones, 36, Virginia-born construction laborer; Mitchell Frazier, 32, South Carolina-born truck driver; John Baldwin, 29, Lumberton, N.C.-born tobacco redrying factory laborer, and his wife Clyde, 26, a native of Wilmington, N.C.

1939 edition of The Ayantee, the yearbook of North Carolina State A.&T. University in Greensboro. Taylor’s sister Sarah G. Taylor graduated from A.&T. that year.

Reverend Silver comes to Wilson.

Hattie Henderson Ricks remembered:

… Mama’d make us go to Holiness Church and stay down there and run a revival two weeks.  And we’d go down there every night and lay back down there on the bench and go to sleep.  … Mama’d go every night.  And they’d be shouting, holy and sanctified, jumping and shouting.  

Mr. Silver, he had a bunch, he had 11 children, and his son had a whole bunch of ‘em.  Joseph Silver.  …  When Mama got married there on Elba Street, there at the house.  Yeah.  He come up there …  He was a little short brown-skinned man, and he was a elder and the head of the church where was down there in Halifax County.  

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On 31 August 1933, Sarah Henderson Jacobs of Wilson married Rev. Joseph Silver of Halifax County at her home in Wilson [303 Elba Street]. The ceremony was performed by Holiness minister J.H. Scott and witnessed by S.B. Thomas, Eleanor Hooker and W.M. King. Silver helped establish the Holiness church in North Carolina, and Jacobs was a Holiness evangelist.

Sarah Silver died 8 January 1938. Five years later, on 8 September 1943, Rev. Silver married Martha C. Aldridge in Goldsboro, Wayne County. Rev. Silver had performed the marriage ceremony for Martha, nee Hawkins, and her second husband, Joseph Aldridge, in Wilson on 16 December 1925. C.E. Artis applied for the license, and William A. Mitchner, Hattie Tate and Callie Barnes were witnesses.

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REV. JOSEPH SILVER DIES AT HIS HOME AT 100 YEARS OLD

Reverend Joseph Silver, Sr., well known and highly respected Negro minister, died Tuesday at his home in the Delmar community, on Enfield Route 3.  He celebrated his 100th birthday anniversary last July 22 at a large gathering of friends and relatives. Rev. Silver had been in poor health about four years and had been confined to his bed for the past four months.

Funeral services will be held from the Plumbline Holiness Church, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The body will lay in state at the church an hour before the funeral. The Rev. L.G. Young, of Henderson, will preach the funeral and burial will be in the family plot.  Among those expected at the final rites are Bishop M.C. Clemmen of Richmond, Va., and Bishop H.B. Jackson of Ayden.

Rev. Silver began preaching in 1893 when he he organized and built Plumbline Church.  Among other churches built by his ministry are ones at Ayden and Summitt, near Littleton. He was an organizer of the United Holiness Church of America and served on the board of Elders until his death.

Rev. Silver was married three times; first to Felicia Hawkins, who died in 1931, then to Sarah Jacobs of Wilson, who died in 1938; and last to Martha Aldridge of Goldsboro, who survives.  In addition to his wife, Rev. Silver is survived by five sons N.D. and Samuel Silver, of Washington, DC; Gideon, of Pittsburg, Pa.; Joseph, Jr., of Halifax and A.M. Silver of Route 3, Enfield; three daughters, Epsi Copeland and Roberta Hewling, of Enfield, Route 3, and Emma Goines, of Pittsburg, Pa. Eighty grandchildren, 109 great-grandchildren, and 17 great great grandchildren also survive.  [Newspaper clipping from unnamed source, 10 January 1958.]

Shortly after Rev. Silver’s death, his widow Martha wrote Hattie Henderson Ricks a letter, addressing it to her workplace, the Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium:

P.O. Box 193 Nashville

N.C.   c/o Brake

Feb. 2, 1958

Dear Hattie –

You heard of Rev. Silver’s death Jan. 7th although I didn’t notify you as I was sick and still is sick but not confine to bed.  Sarah had some things in the home.  A bed which I am sure you wouldn’t care for and a folding single bed which I am going to get but my main reason for writing you she has an oak dresser and washstand that Rev. Silver told me you wanted and said he told you you could get it if you would send for it so it is still there and it is good material if you want it.  Amos has already seen a second hand furniture man about buying it.  The Silver’s will “skin a flea for his hide and tallow.”  The Aldridges holds a very warm place in my heart and always will.  If you wish to do so you may write to Rev. Amos Silver Route 3 Box 82 Enfield and ask him if your mother Sarah’s furniture is still there.  There is also a carpet on the floor in the living room you need not mention my name.  I am very fond of Johnnie Aldridge of Dudly.  Come to see me whenever you can I think you might get with Reka at Fremont some times, she and Luke come to Enfield to see me occasionally  I am going to write Reka next week.  I married your great uncle Rev Joseph Aldridge write me

Your friend and great aunt by marriage.

M.C. (Aldridge) Silver

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  • J.H. Scott — John H. Scott died 18 November 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 February 1874 in Halifax County to Alex Scott and Cathrin [no last name]; was married to Sarah Ann Scott; resided at 311 Lane Street; and was a Holiness preacher.
  • S.B. Thomas — Sarah Best Thomas.
  • Eleanor J. Hooker — Eleanor J. Farmer Hooker.
  • W.M. King — In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: redrying plant janitor William M. King, 67; wife Annie, 64, washwoman; daughter Mary Lucas, 28, laundress; and son-in-law Herman Lucas, 26, redrying plant day laborer.
  • C.E. Artis — Columbus E. Artis, an undertaker. [Note: Artis’ mother Amanda Aldridge Artis was Joseph Aldridge’s sister.]
  • W.A. Mitchner — William A. Mitchner, a physician.
  • Hattie Tate — Hattie Pearce Tate.
  • Callie Barnes — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Paul (c; Callie) mgr Lenora Dixon h 306 Elba [Dixon operated an East Nash Street billiard hall.]

Oral interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved; newspaper clipping and letter in the possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Tobacco redrying work.

African-American women made up a sizeable percentage of seasonal workers who found employment in Wilson’s tobacco factories. This image, taken in the 1940s, shows women feeding tobacco bundles into a redrying machine at the James I. Miller Tobacco Company plant on Tarboro Street.

Photo courtesy of the archives of the James I. Miller Tobacco Company, reprinted in Keith Barnes’ The World’s Greatest Tobacco Market: A Pictorial History of Tobacco in Wilson, North Carolina (2007).

707 East Green Street.

The seventy-first 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 1 story; intact L-plan cottage with bracketed porch.”

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on East Green Street, Lucious Norfleet, 35, laborer; wife Mary, 30; and children James, 10, Josephine, 7, Ruth E., 5, and Jesse L., 4; and boarder Wiley Jones, 26, railroad laborer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 636 East Green, Will Cuvington, 42, factory fireman; wife Mary, 41; stepchildren Josephine, 18, Ruth, 16, Jessie Lee Northfleet, 13; and adopted son James Northfleet, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 707 East Green, widow Mary Norflet, 40, laundress; daughter Ruth Gillchrist, 20, courthouse maid; and grandchildren Dorthy, 5, Mary L., 3, and Jene Gillchrist, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 707 East Green, Bank Blow, 56, tobacco factory laborer; wife Mary, 50, laundress; and son James H., 7. [Mary Locus Covington Norfleet married Banks Blow in Wilson on 26 November 1933.]

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Blow Banks (c; Mary; 1) tob wkr h707 E Green

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

Studio shots, no. 84: Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs.

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On 27 November 1895, Jesse Jacobs married Sarah Henderson in Wayne County, North Carolina. [The photo probably commemorated their wedding.]

In the 1900 census of Dudley, Brogden township, Wayne County: farmer Jessey Jacobs, 42; wife Sarah D., 28; and children Aner S., 17, Redis J., 15, Carie, 13, Docter, 8, Hatie, 6, and Anie B., 3.

In the 1908 and 1912 Wilson city directories, Jesse Jacobs is listed as a laborer living at 106 Elba Street.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Jesse Jacob,  53, deliveryman for stable; wife Sarah, 35; daughter Annie Belle, 15; and boarders Jesse Henderson, 17, Herbert Jones, 23, both stable laborers, and Nina Fasin, 32, a housemaid.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 606 Elmo [Elba] Street: school janitor Jessie Jacobs, 60, wife Sara, 52, and daughters [great-nieces] Mamie, 12, and Hattie May, 10.

Jessie Adam Jacobs died 6 July 1926 at the “colored hospital” in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1862 in Sampson County, North Carolina, to Jesse A. and Abbie Jacobs; was married to Sarah Jacobs; resided at 303 Elba Street; and worked as a janitor in city schools.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 303 Elba, laundress Sarah Jacobs, 49, and daughter [great-niece] Hattie Jacobs, 19, a servant for a private family.

Sarah Henderson Jacobs died 8 January 1938 in Selma, Johnston County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was 55 years old, married to Joseph Silver, and was born in Wayne County to Lewis Henderson and Margaret Carter, both of Wayne County. Informant was Hattie Jacobs of 303 Elba Street, Wilson.

Original photograph in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

God bless Wilson and her worthy people.

One hundred nineteen years ago today, the Wilson Times ran a letter sent from Monrovia, Liberia, by Rev. Owen L.W. Smith, U.S. consul to that West African country. Largely a sycophantic roll call of Wilson’s elected officials, halfway through Smith suddenly jabs. Praising a hospital director, he commented that all had “the appearance that better things are coming, notwithstanding the ‘Jim Crow Car’ law, the election franchise act, and the constitutional amendment. But I believe you will let me vote.” He then drops a few lines describing Liberia’s system of suffrage. It’s not universal, but. Touché.

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Wilson Times, 9 June 1899.