The clean-up of Happy Hill.

“There were two ice companies near the railroad tracks and one area was called ‘Happy Hills’ where a few blacks lived. ‘Green Hill’ near the other ice company was a white neighborhood.” — Roy Taylor, My City, My Home (1991).

The Happy Hill neighborhood, wedged between the railroad and Lodge Street south of Hines, developed as early as the 1920s. In the 1950s, the city of Wilson began “slum clearance” in the area. Per the article accompanying the photo below, to avoid condemnation, property owners were forced to add two rooms and two baths to 19 four-room Happy Hill dwellings, each housing two families living without running water or toilets. Eventually, with federal funds, the city condemned and demolished the houses anyway and erected W.T. Adams Elementary School (now Saint John Community Development Corporation) and Whitfield Homes housing project (much of which is now shuttered) in the area formerly known as Happy Hill.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 January 1955.

Happy Hill was designated as a street address in the 1940 census of Wilson:

The 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory contained this description of the neighborhood:

 

Cancer cure.

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The Independent (Elizabeth City, N.C.), 24 June 1921.

Harriet Holloway‘s vision failed; she died less than four months later.

——

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Harriet Holloway as owner of a millinery on Nash Street near Vick and living at East Nash near Wainwright. Laborers Jefferson Holloway and Thomas Holloway also lived at East Nash near Wainwright.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Harriet Holoway, 43, laundress, and son Thomas, 23, auto machinist.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, several Holloways were listed on West Nash Street near Young Avenue —  domestics Annie, Harriet and Lelia, and laborer Louis and Wilbur.

Harriet Holaway died 2 October 1921 in Wilson of cancer of the uterus. Per her death certificate, she was 45 years old; was born in Durham, N.C., to Charlie Adams and Mary Trice; was married to Jeff Holaway; and resided at 609 Roberson Street.

On 5 October 1921, Camillus L. Darden appeared in Wilson County Superior Court and was appointed administrator of Harriett Holloway’s estate, her husband Jeff Holloway having renounced the role.  T.F. Sanders provided bond with Darden. The estate was described as a house worth about $2500 and personal property valued at $150. Her heirs were Jeff Holloway, Minnie Exum, Thomas Holloway and Eddie Lee Artis (who was a minor.)

——

Holloway’s desperate measures captured the attention of her neighbors and of newspapers across North Carolina:

Fayetteville Observer, 20 June 1921.

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 21 June 1921.

 

A closer look at the Simon and Penninah Woodard Barnes family.

As previously explored here, on 14 February 1970, the Wilson Daily Times published a full-page article by local historian Hugh B. Johnston, Jr., detailing the life of London Woodard, founder of London’s Primitive Baptist Church. Near the end of the piece, Johnston outlined the family of London and Penny Lassiter Woodard‘s daughter Penninah Woodard, who married Simon Barnes.

In February of this year, I undertook an unsuccessful search for the Barnes-Woodard cemetery with Bernard Patterson, a descendant. Below, please find Johnston’s notes about the family (with a few of my annotations.)

“Pennina Woodard was born on January 30, 1859, and died on February 24, 1919. On January 1, 1877, she married Simon Barnes, son of Silas Barnes and wife Rosetta (Rose) Farmer. He was born September 11, 1848, and died on April 15, 1923. His mother was born in March of 1831 and died on August 1, 1921. The exact date was not given, but her position on the roll of members of old Toisnot Baptist Church indicates that she was received about 1861. “Big Simon” Barnes was an industrious and highly respected citizen of the western section of Gardners township, and he and his good wife reared a large and commendable family on the farm that she had inherited after the death of her three brothers.

  • Rosetta Barnes married 1st Henry Pleasant and 2nd the Rev. John Dillahunt. [John Washington Dillahunt was a native of New Bern, N.C.]
  • James Walter (Bud) Barnes was born in 1878 and died August 18, 1931. He married Adeline Pitt but had no children. In addition to a farming operation, he had quite a widespread reputation as an “herb doctor.” The writer of this article also remembers that as late as 1919 he operated a cane press and vat which he transported from farm to farm at the end of the summer in order to make the molasses that in those days was considered a great delicacy by a great many people in Wilson and Wilson County
  • Hardy Barnes died October 11, 1954. He married 1st Martha Ann Pitt and 2nd Maggie Barnes [Maggie Bullock].
  • Chaney Barnes was born October 28, 1882. She married Frank Barnes, son of Silas Barnes and wife Mary Coleman. She lives with a daughter, Mrs. Jesse T. McPhail [Minnie Barnes McPhail] of 1316 Carolina Street, whose husband is a retired post office employee and friend of the writer.
  • Penny Barnes died on November 27, 1923. She married Turner Hines.
  • Leonard Barnes was born on June 26, 1888, and died on November 19, 1952. He served in World War I. His wife was Adelaide White.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 November 1952.

  • Silas Barnes died on February 2, 1945. He married Gertrude and lived in Richmond, Va.
  • Priscilla Barnes was born in 1891 and died on October 24, 1919. She married the Rev. Ed [Zeb] Hardy.
  • Simon Barnes, Jr., was born on October 15, 1895. On September 14, 1921, he married Roselee McCoy who was born on January 26, 1904. He served in World War I and now owns and occupies part of the farm that his maternal grandmother purchased prior to the Civil War. He is a lifelong and esteemed friend of the writer of this article as he was of my father before me.

Simon Grove Holiness Church was named in honor of Simon Barnes Jr., who donated the land upon which the church, to which his wife belonged, was built. This land, on N.C. Highway 42 East, is part of the acreage Penny Lassiter Woodard accumulated as a free woman of color.

  • Mary Eliza Barnes was born in April of 1896 and died on May 19, 1931. She was the second wife of Turner Hines above.
  • Treacy Barnes was born on June 4, 1900, and died on December 23, 1954. She married Calvin Atkinson.
  • Amy Barnes was born on August 25, 1904. On February 11, 1926, she married Luther Petway, son of Joe Petway. They reside at 1209 Queen Street and her husband is an old friend of the writer.”

Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1971.

Thanks to Bernard Patterson for information regarding the history of Simon Grove; photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2019.

The last will and testament of Long John Webb.

“Long” John Webb, so-called because his height distinguished him from several contemporaries of the same name, lived in a section of southwest Edgecombe County that is now northeast Wilson County. His will, drafted in 1845, entered probate in August 1853 and included these provisions:

“I, John Webb, of the State of North Carolina and County of Edgecombe, being of sound mind and perfect memory blessed be God do this 19th day of October in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Five, make and publish this my last will and testament in the following manner:

“First:  I give and bequeath to my son John Webb one Negro man by the name of Prussian; also one by the name of Jim and a Negro woman by the name of Maci and one by the name of Anaky and a Negro boy the name of Peter.

“Second:  I give and bequeath unto my son David Webb one Negro girl by the name of Bet and one Negro boy by the name of Harry, one Negro boy by the name of Elie.

“Third:  I give an bequeath unto my son Nathan Webb one Negro woman by the name of Nance and her daughter Silvy, and one other by the name of Mary Lettie, her child.

“Fourth:  I give and bequeath to my son Orman Webb one Negro boy by the name of Tom, also one Negro boy by the name of Ephraim.

“Fifth:  I give and bequeath to my son Willis Webb one Negro boy by the name of Dennis, also one Negro girl named Gatsy.

“Sixth:  I also give and bequeath unto my daughter Anna Webb one Negro boy by the name of Miles and one Negro girl by the name of Anna.

Seventeenth:  And lastly I do hereby make and ordain my worthy friend David Williams my executor to this my last will and testament, revoking all other wills by me made or cause to be made.

…”

Will transcribed at ncgenweb.us.

Cemeteries, no. 25: the Dew family cemetery.

The well-maintained Dew cemetery lies behind Repha Church of God on Weaver Road east of the city of Wilson.

The stones mark the graves of Raiford and Jency Short Dew, both born into slavery, and their descendants.

  • Raiford Dew

Raiford Dew Feb 18, 1838 Apr. 12, 1907

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Haywood [Raiford] Due, 35; wife Quincy [Jency], 34; and children Dennis, 14, Joseph, 12, Benj’n, 10, Caroline, 8, Jeffry, 7, Bush, 5, and Mary, 1.

In the 1880 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County: Raford Dew, 45, farmer; wife Ginsey, 45; and children Caroline, 20, Bashrod, 14, Mary, 11, Martha, 9, Sallie, 7, W.H., 5, and Moses, 4.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Rayford Dew, age unknown; wife Jensy, age unknown; son Moses, 23; daughter-in-law Eliza, 40; and grandsons Jonie, 1, and Willie, 11.

  • Jency Short Dew

Jency Dew Nov, 5, 1838 June 19, 1922 Wife of Raiford Dew

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Moses Dew, 45; wife Eliza, 49; children Jonie, 19, Dora, 17, Mary, 15, Naomi, 14, David, 13, Pearl, 12, Lucy, 10, Rosetta, 9, and Moses, 3; grandson Johnnie Barnes, 5; and widow Jensy Dew, 83.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road via Town Creek, farmer Moses Dew, 45; wife Eliza, 49; children Jonie, 19, Dora, 17, Mary, 15, Naomi, 14, David, 13, Pearl, 12, Lucy, 10, Rosetta, 9, and Moses, 3; grandson Johnnie Barnes, 5; and widow Jensy Dew, 83.

Jency Dew died 5 June 1922 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 November 1838 in Wilson County to Reddick Short and Easter Dew; was the widow of Raford Dew; and had worked in farming. Moses Dew was informant.

  • Jefferson Dew

Jefferson Dew

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Haywood [Raiford] Due, 35; wife Quincy [Jency], 34; and children Dennis, 14, Joseph, 12, Benj’n, 10, Caroline, 8, Jeffry, 7, Bush, 5, and Mary, 1.

In the 1880 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County: Raford Dew, 45, farmer; wife Ginsey, 45; and children Caroline, 20, Bashrod, 14, Mary, 11, Martha, 9, Sallie, 7, W.H., 5, and Moses, 4.

On 25 January 1883, Jeffrey Dew, 21, married Jane Harvey, 17, at Toisnot.

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, i 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.

Jefferson Dew died 1 May 1926 in Wilson township. Per his death certificate, he was 63 years old; was born in Wilson County to Rayford Dew and Jensy Dew; was married to Jane Dew; and worked as a farmer.

  • Mary Dew Armstrong Boyette

Mary Boyette Jan. 6, 1869 Jan. 9, 1960

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Haywood [Raiford] Due, 35; wife Quincy [Jency], 34; and children Dennis, 14, Joseph, 12, Benj’n, 10, Caroline, 8, Jeffry, 7, Bush, 5, and Mary, 1.

In the 1880 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County: Raford Dew, 45, farmer; wife Ginsey, 45; and children Caroline, 20, Bashrod, 14, Mary, 11, Martha, 9, Sallie, 7, W.H., 5, and Moses, 4.

On 18 Novcember 1897, Alfred Boyette, 55, of Wilson, son of Hardy Hinnant, married Mrs. Mary Armstrong, 37, daughter of Raford Dew. Missionary Baptist minister M. Strickland performed the ceremony at Raford Dew’s house in the presence of Bush Dew, Moses Dew and Henry Melton.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: “geneator” [janitor] Alfred Boyette, 59; wife Mary, 32; and children Alfred, 1, Etna, 9, and Willie, 13.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 570 Kenan Street, Alfred Boyette, 75, laborer for town; wife Mary, 40; and children Million, 21, and Willie, 18, farm laborers, Edna, 11, and Gency, 9.

Jincy McBride died 3 November 1925 In Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 September 1091 in Wilson to Alford Boyett and Mary Dew; was married to Harrison McBride; and worked as a tobacco factory day laborer. Informant was Mary Dew, 304 Walnut Street.

Mary Magdeline Dew Boyette died 9 January 1960 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 January 1879 in Wilson County to Raeford Dew and Jessie Dew; was widowed; and resided at 504 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson. James Boyette was informant.

  • Wiley Rountree Sr.

Wiley Rountree Sr. Oct. 5,1871 Jan. 1, 1939 He was faithful to every duty

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Andrew Rountree, 50; wife Nellie, 36; and children Elvy, 5, Rehna, 3, and Willie, 8 months; plus Mariah Farmer, 14.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Andrew Rountree, 60; wife Nelly, 48; children Elva, 15, Marina, 12, Willie, 10, Syviann, 7, Vaul, 2, and America, 3 months; plus grandson Auston, 3.

On 5 December 1889, Willey Rountree, 20, of Toisnot, son of Andrew and Nelly Rountree, married Martha Dew, 19, of Toisnot, daughter of Raford and Jenny Dew. Free Will Baptist minister Crocket Best performed the ceremony at “the residence of the bride’s father in Toisnot Township, W.C.” in the presence of Alex Williams, Hardy Ellis and A.J. Farmer.

[Death certificates and other records of some of Wiley and Martha Dew Rountree’s oldest children suggest that the couple left Wilson shortly after their marriage and moved throughout the Southeast United States before returning to Wilson County about 1895. For example, Freeman Rountree was born in 1890 in South Carolina or Georgia; Wiley Rountree Jr. was born in Georgia in 1892; and Raiford Rountree was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1894.]

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Willie Rowntree, 29; wife Martha, 27; and children Freeman, 9, Willie, 8, Rapherd, 6, Captan, 3, Dasie, 2, and Andrew, 1.

On 29 August 1906, Wiley Rountree, 36, of Wilson, son of Andrew Rountree and Nellie Rountree, married Matilda Locust, 31, of Wilson. Primitive Baptist minister Jonah WiIliams performed the ceremony “at Rev Steel’s house” in Wilson in the presence of Moses Dew, F.S. Steele and Jessie Whitehead.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tarboro Road, Wiley Rountree, 42; wife Matilda, 34; daughter Matha, 20, and her son Roscoe, 2; children Freeman, 19, Wiley Jr., 18, Raford, 16, Captain, 14, Daisey, 13, Andrew, 10, Husband, 9, Nellie, 8, and Frank, 6; and grandson Bosy, 3 months.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Wiley Rountree, 53; wife Matilda, 44; children Raiford, 25, Andrew, 20, Herbert, 17, Nellie, 16, Frank, 14, and Roscoe, 12; and grandsons Henry C., 6, and Eula, 4.

On 29 December 1929, Wiley Rountree, 60, of Wilson County, married Louvenia Cotton, 45, of Toisnot township. Presbyterian minister C.H. Hagans performed the ceremony in the presence of James H. Armstrong, John H. Armstrong, and Junius Best.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Wiley Roundtree, 63; wife Louvinia, 47; and children Tennie L., 16, Carrie, 14, Henry C., 17, Paul A., 8, and Frank, 25.

Wiley Rountree died 1 January 1939 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 68 years old; was married to Louvenia Rountree; was a farmer; and was born in Wilson County to Andrew Rountree and Nellie Barnes. Informant was Wiley Rountree Jr.

  • Martha Dew Rountree

Martha Rountree Born Nov. 3, 1870 Died Nov. 4. 1905

In the 1880 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County: Raford Dew, 45, farmer; wife Ginsey, 45; and children Caroline, 20, Bashrod, 14, Mary, 11, Martha, 9, Sallie, 7, W.H., 5, and Moses, 4.

On 5 December 1889, Willey Rountree, 20, of Toisnot, son of Andrew and Nelly Rountree, married Martha Dew, 19, of Toisnot, daughter of Raford and Jenny Dew. Free Will Baptist minister Crocket Best performed the ceremony at “the residence of the bride’s father in Toisnot Township, W.C.” in the presence of Alex Williams, Hardy Ellis and A.J. Farmer.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Willie Rowntree, 29; wife Martha, 27; and children Freeman, 9, Willie, 8, Rapherd, 6, Captan, 3, Dasie, 2, and Andrew, 1.

  • William Henry Dew

Wm. Henry Dew May 1874 Jan. 19, 1936 Gone but not forgotten.

In the 1880 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County: Raford Dew, 45, farmer; wife Ginsey, 45; and children Caroline, 20, Bashrod, 14, Mary, 11, Martha, 9, Sallie, 7, W.H., 5, and Moses, 4.

William Dew, 32, of Wilson, son of Raford and Jensie Dew, married Susana Savage, 17, of Wilson, daughter of Amy Savage, on 10 October 1906 at Susana Savage’s residence. Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Moses Dew, John Crisp and Leavi Arrington.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County — on New Stantonsburg Road, William Dew, 45; wife Susanna, 29; children Pearlie, 12, James W., 10, Lester, 9, Mary, 7, Levi, 5, Mamie, 4, Elnora, 2, and Ernest, 3 months; and mother-in-law Emmie Savage, 55.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County — William Dew, 55; wife Susanna, 40; children Pearlie, 22, James W., 20, Lester, 18, Mary L., 17, Levy, 15, Mamie, 13, Elnora, 11, and Earnest, 9, Gladys, 7, Alice, 5, and Orlanda, 4.

William Dew died 17 January 1936 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in May 1874 in Wilson County to Raford Dew and Jensie Dew; was married to Susana Dew; and was a farmer.

  • Nettie Dew Viverette

Jesus Saves Nettie D. Vivret Born March __ 1895 Died June 16 _____

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, i 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.

Willie Viverett, 30, of Wilson County, son of Ephriam Joyner and Clara Viverett, married Nettie Dew, 26, of Wilson County, daughter of Jefferson Dew and Mary J. Dew, on 30 March 1921. Baptist minister Elias Lucas performed the ceremony at Mary J. Dew’s residence in Wilson in the presence of Andrew Rountree, Moses Dew and Raiford Rountree.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Willie Viverett, 39; wife Nettie, 35; sister Margaret Sauler, 26; and widowed mother Jane Dew, 65.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson township: at 914 Carolina Street, Willie Viverette, 50, state laborer; wife Nettie, 47, laborer; daughter Frances, 4; and roomer Nancy Barnes, 24, cook.

Nettie Vivrett died 16 June 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 March 1895 in Wilson, N.C., to Jefferson Dew and Jane Harvey; was married to Willie Vivrett; and resided at 4208 Bowdens Ferry Road.

  • Bushrod Dew

Bush Dew Born Oct 27 [broken] April 1920

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Haywood [Raiford] Due, 35; wife Quincy [Jency], 34; and children Dennis, 14, Joseph, 12, Benj’n, 10, Caroline, 8, Jeffry, 7, Bush, 5, and Mary, 1.

In the 1880 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County: Raford Dew, 45, farmer; wife Ginsey, 45; and children Caroline, 20, Bashrod, 14, Mary, 11, Martha, 9, Sallie, 7, W.H., 5, and Moses, 4.

On 19 January 1892, Bush Dew, 26, married Susan Melton, 23, at M.C. Melton’s.

In the 1900 census, Bush Dew, 35; wife Susan, 32; and children Effa, 7, Etta, 6, and Losse, 4.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Bush Dew, 45; wife Susan, 42; and children Effie, 15, Edward, 14, Dossie, 13, Nannie, 8, and Van, 8.

Bush Dew died 3 April 1920 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 5[illegible] years old; was married to Susan Dew; was born in Wilson County to R.F. Dew and Jennie Dew.

  • Freeman Rountree

Freman Rountree Oct. 5, 1890 Apr. 10, 1963. Gone but not forgotten.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Willie Rowntree, 29; wife Martha, 27; and children Freeman, 9, Willie, 8, Rapherd, 6, Captan, 3, Dasie, 2, and Andrew, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tarboro Road, Wiley Rountree, 42; wife Matilda, 34; daughter Matha, 20, and her son Roscoe, 2; children Freeman, 19, Wiley Jr., 18, Raford, 16, Captain, 14, Daisey, 13, Andrew, 10, Husband, 9, Nellie, 8, and Frank, 6; and grandson Bosy, 3 months.

On 31 August 1916, Freeman Rountree, 25, of Wilson, son of Wiley Rountree and Martha (last name not listed, married Vinie Wilson, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Tom Wilson and Anna Wilson. Rev. John A. Barnes, A.M.E.Z. minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Jesse C. Lassiter, William Knight and Johnnie A. Barnes Jr.

In 1917, Freeman Rountree registered for the World War I draft. Per his card, he was born 5 October 1890; was born in South Carolina; was a self-employed farmer; and lived in Black Creek township. He was literate.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Rountree, 29, and wife Viana, 20.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Rountree, 37; wife Vinie, 30; and adopted son Eddie Bynum, 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Roundtree, 49, born in Florida; wife Viney, 38; and cousin Paul, 18, farm helper.

In 1940, Eddie Rountree registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 28 January 1916 in Beaufort County, N.C.; lived on Route 3, Wilson; worked on J.C. Speight’s farm, Route 2, Elm City; and his contact was father Freeman Rountree.

Freeman Rountree died 10 April 1963 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 October 1921 in Georgia to Wiley Rountree and Martha Dew; was married to Vinie W. Rountree; and was a farmer.

  • James Edward Dew

James E., son of Jefferson & Jane Dew

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, i 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.

Eddie Dew died 7 February 1924 in Wilson township. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 June 1896 in WIlson County to Jefferson Dew and Mary Jane Harvey; was single; and was a farmer for Jefferson Dew.

  • William Dew

William Dew Died Oct. 14, 1941 Age 52 Yrs.

  • Calvin Rountree Sr., alias Captain Rountree

Calvin Rountree Sr US Army World War I 1895 1984

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Willie Rowntree, 29; wife Martha, 27; and children Freeman, 9, Willie, 8, Rapherd, 6, Captan, 3, Dasie, 2, and Andrew, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tarboro Road, Wiley Rountree, 42; wife Matilda, 34; daughter Matha, 20, and her son Roscoe, 2; children Freeman, 19, Wiley Jr., 18, Raford, 16, Captain, 14, Daisey, 13, Andrew, 10, Husband, 9, Nellie, 8, and Frank, 6; and grandson Bosy, 3 months.

Captain Rountree registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 25 December 1895 in Wilson County; lived on R.F.D. 5, Wilson; and farmed for his father. He signed his card with an X.

On 24 May 1918, Captain Rountree, 22, of Wilson, son of Wiley Rountree and Sarah Rountree, married Lizzie Horne, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Simon Horne and Nancy Horne at Simon Horne’s.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tarboro Road, farm laborer Cavender Rountree, 25; wife Lizzie, 21; and son Jimmie D., 1.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Captain Rountree, 35, farm laborer; wife Lizzie, 28; children Jimmie D., 13, Viola, 10, Lossie, 9, Martha, 5, Surisa, 3, Will Jr., 2, and Annie M., 10 months.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Calvin Roundtree, 40; wife Lizzie, 40; Viola, 19, Mathie, 15, Swaneebell, 13, Willie Jr., 12, Annie Mae, 9, Rosa Lee, 7, Calvin Jr., 6, Mavis, 4, and Doris, 1.

In 1940, Willie Junius Rountree registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 10 September 1928 in Wilson County; worked on the John Watson farm; and his contact was Calvin Rountree.

  • Lizzie Rountree

Lizzie Wife of Calvin Roundtree 1900 1974

Lizzie H. Rountree died 4 September 1974 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 June 1906 to Simon Horne and Nancy Horne; was married to Calvin Rountree; and resided at 904 East Vance Street, Wilson.

  • Rev. Willie Darden

Rev. Willie Darden Son of Windsor and Mattie Born Jan. 24, 1895 Died June 13, 1941

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Winston Darden, 37; wife Mattie, 29; children George, 11, Jesse, 8, Willie, 5, William, 3, and Mattie, 1; and mother Mary Darden, 55.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, Winsor Darden, 42; wife Mattie, 35; and children George, 22, Jesse, 16, Willie, 14, Winsor, 12, Charlie, 10, Olivia, 7, Annie M., 6, Leroy, 3, and Mattie, 8 months.

Willie Darden registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his draft registration card, he was born 23 January 1895 om Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Wilson; was single; and worked as a farm laborer for Frank Langley. He signed his name in full.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Willie Darden, 25; wife Victoria, 19; and son Junius, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Willie Darden, 45; wife Victoria, 41; children Willie Jr., 22, Ettie May, 18, Gladys, 16, Dorthy, 14, James Arthur, 12, John, 11, R.T., 10, Remather, 8, Minnie, 6, Carolyne, 4, Percey, 1, and Mattie, 1; and lodger Willie Miller, 24.

  • Vinnie Wilson Rountree

Vinnie Wilson Roundtree March 8, 1900 July 4, 1972

On 31 August 1916, Freeman Rountree, 25, of Wilson, son of Wiley Rountree and Martha (last name not listed, married Vinie Wilson, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Tom Wilson and Anna Wilson. Rev. John A. Barnes, A.M.E.Z. minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Jesse C. Lassiter, William Knight and Johnnie A. Barnes Jr.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Rountree, 29, and wife Viana, 20.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Rountree, 37; wife Vinie, 30; and adopted son Eddie Bynum, 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Roundtree, 49, born in Florida; wife Viney, 38; and cousin Paul, 18, farm helper.

Vinnie Wilson Roundtree died 4 July 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born in 8 March 1898 to Tom Wilson and Anna Briggs; was a retired farmer; was widowed; and resided at 920 Poplar Street. Georgia Wilson, 706 Stantonsburg Street, was informant.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2019.

Heritage.

While in Wilson recently, I visited Eyes on Main Street Photography Festival‘s pop-up Children’s Gallery to view images shot by local children under the tutelage of EOMS’ fantastic staff. As ever, I was stunned by the beauty and lyricism these novice photographers captured in communities that some might think of as “gritty.” Each image was labeled with the name of its photographer, and I was arrested by this one: LONDYN WOODARD.

Wilson County is a place in which natives can still be readily identified by their surnames. Black or white, except for the ubiquitous Barneses, you can even make a good guess at the part of the county from which a family’s deep roots spring. Farmer, Ellis, Armstrong, Joyner, Bynum, Boykin, Rountree, Dew, all “Wilson names” — as is Woodard.

Most African-American Woodards in Wilson County descend from ancestors formerly enslaved by one of several white Woodard farmers who lived in the eastern half of the county. The most prominent African-American Woodard of the nineteenth century, whose name is memorialized in a 150 year-old church, was Primitive Baptist elder London Woodard. I don’t know if Londyn Woodard the young photographer is a descendant of London Woodard the preacher, but I smiled to see that his name, in variant, lives on in Black Wide-Awake.

 

Josie Blount’s disorderly house.

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News & Observer, 28 August 1908.

In 1908, a Harnett County runaway (known variously as Eliza Smith, Lydia Smith and Alice Williams) testified against Josephine Blount, who operated a house of prostitution out of the Orange Hotel on East Nash Street.

The 1908 city directory lists Josie Blount as proprietor of the Orange Hotel (though it was actually owned by Samuel H. Vick at the time.) Blount lived next door at 517 East Nash Street and may have been Vick’s relative.

Cemeteries, no. 24: the Mercer cemetery.

Armed with a 1937 Leica IIIa 35mm camera, Brian Grawburg has begun a project to document “lost” Wilson County graveyards. Using early 20th topographical maps, WPA cemetery surveys, Google Maps, and tips from the public, Grawburg has battled heat, humidity and nearly impenetrable thickets to create and preserve a record of these forgotten spaces.

This is the first in a series of posts exploring African-American cemeteries that Grawburg has rediscovered.

This cemetery, off Carter Road in Gardners township in eastern Wilson County, contains six marked graves:

  • Willie Reid, 23 September 1920-23 September 1920
  • Sula Reid, 23 September 1920-23 September 1920
  • Jack L. Barnes, 1921-1946
  • Robert Mercer, 1908-1930
  • Charlie Mercer, 1902-1936
  • Gilmore McKoy, 29 August 1873-18 October 1939

Robert and Charlie Mercer were sons of Dempsey and Mattie Knight Mercer. Gilmore McKoy was Mattie Knight Mercer’s second husband. I have not been able to identify the Reids or Jack Barnes.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Dempsy Mercer, 27; wife Mattie, 20; children Charles, 7, William, 6, Robert, 3, and Walter, 2 months; nieces Lula, 2, and Gertrude Hines, 1 month; and sister Margarett Hines, 19.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Dempsy Mercer, 40, widower; children Charley, 17, William, 15, Robert, 10, Walter, 9, and Maggie, 8; sister-in-law Maggie Hines, 24, and her children Lula, 8, Silvey, 7, and James, 4. [Dempsey Mercer was separated/divorced rather than widowed.]

On 15 August 1929 in Wilson, Robert Mercer, 22, of Gardners, son of Dempsey Mercer and Fannie [last name no given], married Retha Barnes, 14, of Gardners, daughter of Blannie and Dora Barnes.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Dempsey Mercer, 50; [second] wife Fannie, 40; children Charlie, 27, Lee, 19, Jonah, 16, Jamar, 13, and C[illegible], 10; and lodger Rachel Melton, 30.

Robert Mercer died 9 December 1930 in Gardners township. Per his death certificate, he was 23; single; was a farmer; was born in Wilson County to Dempsey Mercer and Mattie Knight; and was buried in Wilson County. Informant was Dempsey Mercer.

Charlie Mercer died 9 December 1936 in Gardners township. Per his death certificate, he was born in January 1902 in Edgecombe County to Dempsey Mercer and Mattie Knight; was single; worked as a farmer. Mattie McCoy was informant.

Gilbert McKoy died 18 October 1939 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 29 August 1883 in Whiteville, N.C., to Waddie McKoy and Annie Richardson; worked in a China American tobacco factory; was married to Mattie McCoy; and was buried in Wilson County.

For more information about this cemetery, please contact Brian Grawburg at archive@myglnc.com.