Observations on the estate of Josiah Vick.

Josiah Vick died in Nash County circa 1846. This detail from an “acct. of sale & Hire of Negroes” prepared by Vick’s administrator Benjamin H. Blount shows that Joshua Barnes purchased several enslaved people — Simeon; Lettice, her children Hines and Madison; and Jane — from Vick’s estate.

The connections between large slaveowners in Nash, Edgecombe, and (later) Wilson Counties formed a dense web, with surprising echoes decades later among Wilson’s  African-American elite:

  • Josiah Vick was the owner of Daniel Vick.
  • B.H. Blount, administrator of Vick’s estate, enslaved Daniel’s future wife, Fannie Blount, her mother Violet Blount, her siblings, and children, including Samuel H. Vick, born in 1863.
  • Josiah Vick’s daughter Susan Margaret Vick married John Routh Mercer of  Temperance Hall in Edgecombe County. Mercer likely enslaved a child named Della and her mother Callie; Mercer is believed to have been Della’s biological father. Della Mercer Hines‘ first two sons were William Hines and Walter S. Hines, neighbors and business contemporaries of Samuel H. Vick. In 1894, Della Hines married David Barnes, who had been enslaved in childhood by Joshua Barnes. Dave and Della Barnes’ youngest son Boisey O. Barnes was a prominent physician in Wilson.
  • Daniel, Fannie, and Samuel Vick, and Della and Dave Barnes are buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery, which was established around what was originally the Vick family cemetery. Benjamin Mincey, famed leader of the all-Black Red Hot Hose and Reel volunteer firemen, is also buried in Odd Fellows. Madison Barnes, sold as a boy to Joshua Barnes, was Ben Mincey’s father-in-law and the namesake of Madison Ben Mincey, who worked for decades to keep the cemetery clear.


  • Simeon
  • Lettice and her sons Hines and Madison

On 9 September 1868, Madison Barnes, son of Ephraim Booses and Lettice Parker, married Mariah Strickland, daughter of Henry Strickland and Frances Strickland, at the Wilson County Courthouse.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Hines Barnes, 30, farm laborer.

Ben Mincey, 21, of Wilson, son of P. Mincey, and Mattie Barnes, 20, of Wilson, daughter of M. and Mariah Barnes, were married on 12 January 1904. Berry Williams applied for the license, and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in his home in the presence of Harry Mercer, W. Aken, and E.M. Davis.

On 6 June 1907, Madison Barnes, 50, son of Eaton Booze and Lettice Harper, married Caroline Stewart, 40, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Thomas, Alfred Dew, and Eugene Canady.

On 7 September 1908, Lula Barnes, 17, of Wilson, daughter of Madison Barnes and a deceased mother, married William Donnell, 22, of Stantonsburg, son of Hamp Donnell, at the bride’s residence.

On 24 December 1919, Madison Barnes, 64, applied for a license to marry Dollie Barnes, 54.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farm laborer Madison Barnes, 70; wife Dollie Ann, 53; and granddaughter Annie V. Vick, 8.

Madison Barnes died 18 September 1934 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 90 years old; was born in Nash County to unknown parents; was a widower; and had worked as a laborer. Lillie Mitchell was informant.

Lillie Mitchell died 11 January 1936 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was 42 years old; was born in Wilson to Madison Barnes and Mariah Barnes; was married to Henry Mitchell; and worked as a farmer.

Edward Barnes died 20 February 1945 in Wilson township. Per his death certificate, he was 49 years old; was born in Wilson County to Madison Barnes and Mariah Strickland; was married to Lula Barnes; was engaged in farming; and was buried din Roundtree cemetery.

Mattie Barnes Mincey died 9 February 1960 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 December 1886 in Wilson to Madison Barnes and Mariah [maiden name unknown]; was a widow; lived at 706 Wiggins Street; and was buried at Rountree Cemetery. [If she is buried with her husband and his family, Mattie Barnes Mincey is actually buried in Odd Fellows.]

  • Jane

Josiah Vick Estate File (1846), Nash County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

Where did they go?: Georgia death certificates, no. 4.

The counties in which these Wilson County natives died are all in south Georgia and suggest migration to work in the naval stores industry after North Carolina’s longleaf pines were tapped out.

  • Mary Lively and Laura Cole

Mary E Lively Day of Laura Coley 1880-1919. Photo of her Greenwood Cemetery headstone courtesy of http://www.findagrave.com.

In the 1900 census of Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia: at 718 Stonewall Street, Laura Coley, 42, widow, laundress, born in N.C.; daughter Mary May, 21, laundress, born in N.C.; and boarder Abram Smith, 78, widower, day laborer.

Mary Lively died 28 March 1919 in Glennville, Tatnall County, Georgia. Per her death certificate, she was of unknown age; was born in Wilson, N.C. to Hayward Barnes and “Parker”; and the infomant was Laura Coley.

In the 1920 census of Brunswick, Glynne County, Georgia: at 912 Lee Street, Laura Coley, 48, laundress; nieces Mabel, 4, and Alice Anderson, 2; and lodgers Isah, 24, and Liza Boston, 21.

Laura Coley died 29 December 1930 in Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia. Per her death certificate, she was 62 years old; was a widow; lived in 914 Stonewall Street; was born North Carolina to an unknown father and Riley Winston of North Carolina; worked as a laundress; and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Answer Anderson was informant.

  • Tom Pridgen

Tom Pridgen died 29 December 1935 in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia. Per his death certificate, he was 60 years old; was born in Wilson, N.C., to John Pridgen and Margaret [maiden name not known]; was single; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Laurel Grove cemetery, Savannah.

  • Dennis Carol

In the 1870 census of Turkey township, Sampson County, North Carolina: Annie(?) Carter, 18, farm laborer; Dennis Carroll, 16, works on farm; and Richard Chesnutt, 15, works on farm.

In the 1880 census of Turkey township, Sampson County, North Carolina: farm laborer Dennis Carroll, 25; wife Margeonna, 19; and children Osker, 4, and Walter, 2.

In the 1910 census of Montgomery County, Georgia: turpentine laborer Dennis Carroll, 52; wife Margie, 50; and daughter Lila, 24.

In the 1920 census of Montgomery County, Georgia: laborer Dennis Carroll, 50; wife Margie, 58; son Walter, 45 (sic); and Easter, 19.

Dennis Carrol died 16 November 1935 in Ailey, Montgomery County, Georgia. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1860 in Wilson, N.C.; was married; and was a farmer.

  • Helen Fleming

Helen Flemming died 26 July 1924 in Waycross, Ware County, Georgia. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1898 in Wilson, N.C., to Jim Hines; was married; lived at 1122 Teabur; and was buried in Redhill Cemetery. W.M. Flemming was informant.

  • Paul Taylor

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm worker Dallas Taylor, 30, and wife Louisa, 37.

In the 1910 census of Mullis district, Dodge County, Georgia: odd jobs laborer Paul Taylor, 24; wife Mealie, 18; and daughter Lugene, 1.

In 1918, Paul Taylor registered for the World War I draft in Dodge County, Georgia. Per his registration card, he was born 24 June 1880; worked in drawing for E.A. Mullis; and his nearest kin was Amelia Taylor. He signed his card in a firm, fine hand.

In the 1920 census of Chester, Dodge County, Georgia: railroad section laborer Paul Taylor, 39; wife Melia, 25; and children Enijen(?), 10, Orlando, 8, and Morris, 4.

In the 1930 census of Mullis district, Dodge County, Georgia: farmer Paul Taylor, 49, born in N.C.; wife Amelia, 38; children Lou G., 20, Orlando, 18, Morris, 15, and Odessa, 6; and mother-in-law Sallie Dantley, 90, widow.

Paul Taylor died 14 December 1933 in Chester, Dodge County, Georgia. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 September 1883 in Wilson, N.C., to Dallis Taylor and Louisa Taylor; was married; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Burch Cemetery, Chester. Amelia Taylor was informant.

Handel’s Chorus performs in concert.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 March 1943.

Hartford E. Bess‘ Handel’s Chorus, comprised of teens and young adults, performed to standing-room-only crowds for decades. In 1943, its members included Clara B. Taylor, Pauline Farmer, Ernestine Floyd, Mattie Ford, Eunice McCall, Devera Jackson, Eunice Cooke, Dora Dickerson, Henrietta Hines, Matteele Floyd, Inez Dickerson, Deloris Haskins, Romaine Hagans, Doris Joyner, Herman Hines, Harding Thompson, Ambrose Towe, Thomas Dawson, John W. Jones, Arthur Brodie, and Rudolph Best. Unfortunately, the accompanying photograph is not available.

News of Turner 4-H Club.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 March 1942.

Like all rural Wilson County schools, Turner Colored School had an associated 4-H Club. Turner School closed in 1949 when its pupils were assigned to the newly built Frederick Douglass High School.


  • Maggie Dew — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Joseph Dew, 28; wife Mittie, 27; and daughters Julia, 4, and Maggie, 1.
  • Daisy Armstrong
  • Willie C. Maryland — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Richard Maryland, 36; wife Mary, 30; and children Dasie Lee, 14, and Willie C., 12.
  • Frances Weaver — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Lonnie Weaver, 40; wife Anner, 34; daughter Frances, 9; and widowed mother-in-law Clara Daws, 56.
  • Rose Armstrong
  • James Hall — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Sela Hall, 34, and children Sylvester, 16, Joe and Joseph, 15, James, 13, Ora Lillie, 9, Erma Lee, 7, and Mildred R., 4.
  • Daniel Armstrong — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Armstrong, 52; wife Minnie, 42; and children Mary, 19, Fred, 18, Rosa, 16, Clarence, 14, Nathan, 11, Daniel, 9, Louise, 8, David, 6, and Henry, 6 months.
  • C.W. Foster
  • Vera Armstrong — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Harvey Lee Armstrong, 36; wife Lelah, 30; and children Vera, 11, James, 9, Harvey Lee, 7, Mary, 5, Shirley, 3, and William E., 1.

Legionnaires hold a circus-dance.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 March 1933.

I had some questions about the American Legion’s circus, and I still do. However, this article shows that it was an annual event, and the white Post sponsored one, too. In 1933, the circus featured a basketball game between Wilson and Greenville’s Black high schools and a dance featuring the “reorganized” Carolina Stompers

The death of Tom Bunch Simms.

Industrial work was especially dangerous in the early twentieth century. In November 1936, Tom Bunch Simms caught his hand in a machine at work, tearing off the end of his thumb. Simms underwent surgery, but the wound became seriously infected, and Simms died of septicemia two weeks after his injury.

“Wound of hands & thumb Prurient infection”

I have not found anything further about Simms’ injury.

Adam T. Artis, part 1.

I have blogged many times about siblings Cain Artis, William M. Artis, Walter S. Artis, Alberta Artis Cooper, Columbus E. Artis, Josephine Sherrod Artis, and June S. Artis — but not specifically about their father Adam Toussaint Artis, a free-born farmer who bought and sold hundreds of acres of farm and woodland in Nahunta township, Wayne County, North Carolina. Artis had five wives over his long life, and more than 25 children. Many of his thousands of descendants, including me, have ties to Wilson.

In this first post, a look at Adam T. Artis’ early years, relationships, and wealth-building.


Adam Toussaint Artis was born 19 July 1831, most likely in the Bullhead area of northwestern Greene County, North Carolina, or the Nahunta area of northeastern Wayne County, North Carolina. His mother Vicey Artis was a free woman of color, and his father Solomon Williams was an enslaved man. [Artis’ middle name, pronounced “too-saint,” is both fascinating and mysterious. How had his mother, an unlettered woman who spent her entire life in deep rural eastern North Carolina, heard of Toussaint Louverture, who died a few years before she was born?]

Detail of 1850 census, Greene County, North Carolina.

In the 1850 census of Greene County, North Carolina: at #428, Adam, 18, Jane, 17, and Charity Artess, 13, appear in the household of white farmer Silas Bryant. Though no bonds or other indenture documents survive, it is most likely that the Artis children were involuntarily apprenticed to Bryant until age 21 by the Greene County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Next door, at #429, probably living on Bryant’s land, were their mother and siblings Vicy, 40, Zilpha, 22, Louis, 8, Jonah, 7, Jethro, 5, and Richard Artis, 1.  I have not been able to identify Solomon Williams’ whereabouts during slavery.

In the mid 1850s, Adam Artis began a relationship with an enslaved woman named Winnie. They had two children together, Cain, born about 1854, and Caroline, born about 1856.

On 29 September 1855, Adam Artis bought ten acres in Wayne County, North Carolina, from John Wilson, husband of his sister Zilpha Artis Wilson. Artis mortgaged the property to Wilson in exchange for its $124 purchase price.

Detail, Nash County marriage register.

On 10 October 1855, Adam Artis married Lucinda Jones in Nash County, North Carolina. Jones’ father Jacob Ing was bondsman, William T. Arrington witnessed, and justice of the peace D.A.T. Ricks performed the ceremony. [In the 1850 census of Nash County: Jacob Ing, 64, white, farmer; Easter Jones, 55, John Jones, 20, [his wife] Dolly Jones, 21, Matthew Jones, 18, and Lucy Jones, 16, all mulatto.]

Lucinda Jones Artis died circa 1859.

Detail of 1860 census, Davis district, Wayne County, North Carolina.

The 1860 census of Davis district, Wayne County, tells a nuanced story. This entry contains the sole census reference to Adam Artis’ skills as a carpenter, probably gained during his apprenticeship to Bryant. The $200 in personal property he claimed probably consisted mostly of the tools of his trade, and the $100 value of real property reflects his early land purchases. Artis was a widower in 1860; Kerney, Noah and Mary Jane were his children by Lucinda Jones Artis. (Artis’ elder children, Cain and Caroline, as enslaved people, are not named in any census prior to 1870.) Jane Artis was Artis’ sister; her one month-old infant may have been daughter Cornelia. I’ve included two lines of the next household to highlight a common pitfall — making assumptions about relationships based on shared surnames. Celia Artis was not related to Adam Artis. At least, not in any immediate way. (Ultimately, nearly all Artises trace their lineage to a common ancestor in 17th-century Tidewater Virginia.) Adam’s brother Jesse Artis testified directly to the matter in the trial in Coley v. Artis: “I don’t know that Tom [son of Celia and Simon Pig Artis] and I are any kin. Just by marriage.”)

Adam Artis was 30 years old at the start of the Civil War, a farmer and carpenter who had already begun to build some wealth. Unlike many free men of color, he may have avoided conscription by the Confederacy to build breastworks at Fort Fisher near Wilmington. However, Artis had been forced to pay taxes on his crops to the Confederate government. (The reference to “Wife” on the assessment below suggests that she was acting in his absence, which could hint that he had been conscripted.) Artis likely had to turn over stock and provisions to Union soldiers foraging in Wayne County, but after the war did not file a claim with the Southern Claims Commission to recoup any losses.

Assessment of Adam Artis’ crop of cured fodder,Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-1865 (NARA M346), http://www.fold3.com.

In an 1863 Confederate tax assessment of David district, Wayne County, John Coley, as administrator, reported that H. Woodard Lewis’ estate included Winney, age 29, Cane, age 9, and Caroline, 7. This, of course, was Adam Artis’ first set of children and their mother, who remained enslaved until the end of the Civil War.

On 8 April 1867, Jacob Ing made out a will that provided in part, for bequests to “Mary Reynolds, wife of Benjamin Reynolds, Elizabeth Boon wife of Jesse Boon, Selah White, wife of James White, Sally Reynolds, wife of William H. Reynolds, William C. Jones, Matthew Jones, also old Chaney Freed woman (formally my house servant) also Lucinda Artist (dead) to her Children if any surviving (all colored).” Ing died a few years later, and Augustus K., Noah, and Mary Jane inherited about a hundred dollars each. In 1872, Adam Artis filed a guardianship application in order to manage his children’s estates until they reached the age of majority.


Adam T. Artis’ elder children:

  • Cain Artis adopted his father’s surname in adulthood and farmed his own land in northwest Wayne County.  He married first Annie Thompson, then Margaret Barnes. By 1890, he had bought a house in Wilson, and in 1900, he and his second wife sold land to Mount Hebron Masonic Lodge for its cemetery. (Adjoining land passed through Margaret Barnes Artis to her heirs, who eventually sold it to the city of Wilson to establish Rest Haven Cemetery.) The 1912 city directory shows Cain Artis a small grocery with Wiley Oates just outside city limits on East Nash road. He died of tuberculosis in Wilson in 1917.
  • Caroline Coley married Madison Artis, son of Calvin and Serena Seaberry Artis in Wayne County in 1878. Caroline and Madison Artis appear in the 1880 census of Wayne County, but I have not found them after.
  • Augustus K. Artis,who was known as Gus, Gustus, and Kerney, was born about 1857. Some time between the birth of daughter Lena in 1882 and 1893, Gus and wife Mary Rebecca Morgan migrated to the Little Rock, Arkansas, area. The city’s 1914 directory lists him as a laborer at J.W. Vestal & Son, a nursery. He died of heart disease 2 June 1921 in Brodie township, Pulaski County, Arkansas, and was buried in a “fraternal cemetery” there.
  • Noah Artis, born in 1856, remained in northeastern Wayne County, where he farmed, married Patience Mozingo, and fathered children Nora Artis Reid, Pearl Artis, Pauline Artis Harris, Rena Belle Artis Foster, William N. Artis, and Bessie Artis Taylor. He died in 1952 in Wilson.

Noah Artis (1856-1952).

  • Mary Jane Artis, born about 1858, married Henry Artis, son of Warren and Percey Artis. (Though all of Wayne County Artises are probably ultimately related, the exact kinship between Adam Artis and Warren Artis, whose parents are believed to have been Absalom and Clarkey Artis, is unknown.) Mary Jane remained in the Nahunta area of Wayne County all her life and died 20 June 1914 in Goldsboro, Wayne County. Her and Henry’s children were Armeta Artis, Alonzo Artis, Lucinda Artis, Calonza Artis, John C. Artis, Mattie Artis Davis and May Artis.

Will of Jacob Ing, Wills, Nash County Records, North Carolina State Archives; Estates Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives; Marriage Records, Register of Deeds Office, Wayne County Courthouse, Goldsboro NC; Nash County Marriage Records, North Carolina Marriage Records, 1741-2011, http://www.ancestry.com; photo courtesy of W. Waheed.

Snaps, no. 103: Hattie Barnes Reid.

Hattie Barnes Reid (1900-1990).


In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Wiley Barnes, 20; wife Sarah, 21; and children Etta G., 2, and Hattie M., 3 months.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Wiley Barnes, 30; wife Sarah, 29; and children Etta, 11, Hattie, 10, James Q., 9, Lily, 8, Willie, 7, Thomas, 3, Clara, 2, and Mema, 2 months.

On 29 November 1919, Vester Reid, 21, of Stantonsburg, son of William and Bettie Reid, married Hattie Barnes, 19, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Wiley and Sarah Barnes, in Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Saratoga Road, tenant farmer William Reid, 63; wife Bettie, 52; and daughter Iantha M., 25; sons Council, 23, and Vester, 21; Vester’s wife Hattie, 19; son Gorum, 17; daughter Mater, 14; daughter(?) Marion, 7; and son(?) Melab(?), 1.

In the 1930 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County, N.C.: farmer Sylvester Reid, 33; wife Hattie, 28; children Cary, 8, Mavis, 7, Thelma, 6, Gladys, 5, Gertrude, 4, and Lena, 2; and sister-in-law Lillie Barnes, 25.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Vestus Reid, 43; wife Hattie, 38; and children Mavis P., 19, Thelma, 17, Gladys, 15, Gertie, 13, Lena Mae, 11, W. Vestus Jr., 9, Lettris, 6, and Jesse Lee, 1.

In the 1950 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: brick layer Vester Reed, 52; wife Hattie, 50; children Girdres, 21, William, 19, and Lorena, 17; and grandchildren Mary E., 9, Nathaniel, 8, Clara L., 6, and Ray C., 5.

Vester Reid died 27 October 1956 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 March 1897 in Wayne County, N.C., to Wiley and Bettie Reid; lived in Stantonsburg; worked as a carpenter; and was married to Hattie Reid, Stantonsburg.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user lisaholness1.

Lane Street Project: thank you!

My deep gratitude to Preservation of Wilson, the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Senior Force (and visiting grandson!), and all who came out for today’s workday!

There are only four scheduled clean-ups left in Season 3. We welcome all organizations to join the work of Lane Street Project in reclaiming and restoring historic Odd Fellows Cemetery. Wilson’s history lies here.

Photo courtesy of Anne Sauerborn Joyner.