A.M.E. Zion

Wilson District of the Cape Fear Annual Conference.

The business of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is handled by administrative bodies known as conferences, which are in turn divided in districts. When conferences hold their annual meetings, their districts provide reports of the health of the churches they comprise.

In 1923, the Wilson District of the Cape Fear Annual Conference of the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District represented 10 circuits. Seven congregations — Contentney Mission, South Wilson/Saint Stephens Mission, Sims Mission, Elm City Mission, Wilson Station, Stantonsburg Circuit and Black Creek Circuit — were in Wilson County. (Today, there are only three A.M.E. Zion churches in the county — Saint John and Trinity in Wilson, and Bethel in Stantonsburg.) Here are pages from Wilson District’s report that year.

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  • Rev. W.J. Fox
  • Rev. J.E. McKoy
  • Rev. Steadaway — Wyatt Studaway was born about 1851 in Wake County, North Carolina. His death certificate lists his parents as Isaac and Mary Studaway and notes that he lived on Manchester Street and died of heart disease in Wilson in 1926.
  • Rev. Jesse Ward

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  • Rev. A.J. Rhodes

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  • Jane Sutzer — Mary Jane Bass Taylor Henderson Sutzer.
  • Mattie Moore — possibly Mattie Moore (1878-1927), wife of Johnnie Moore. Per her death certificate, she was born in Wilson County to John and Rachel Sims Lassiter.
  • Fanny Allen — Fannie Preston Allen, wife of Samuel Allen, below. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1885 in Robeson County, North Carolina, to Sandy Ashley. She died in Wilson in 1943.
  • L.J. McPhail — possibly Laura McPhail (1871-1936), wife of Raiford McPhail. Per her death certificate, she was born in Cumberland County, North Carolina, to Washington and Delia Gillmore Wardell.
  • Mary Sims
  • Rev. J.B. Sutton
  • Rev. Sam Allen — Per his death certificate, Oxford, North Carolina native Samuel Allen died in Wilson in 1930. He was married to Fannie Allen and worked as a day laborer at a tobacco warehouse. He lived at 706 Roberson Street.
  • Rev. D.A. Baker

From the Minutes of the Twelfth Annual Session of the Cape Fear Annual Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Church (1923), University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Russell Buxton Taylor.


Greensboro Daily Industrial News, 29 May 1906.

Russell Buxton Taylor, born 1881, one of five children of Jordan Taylor and Mary Jane Bass Taylor Henderson Sutzer. According to an entry in History of Wilson County, North Carolina and Its Families (published in 1985 by the Wilson County 130th Anniversary Committee) written by his daughter B.T. Barnes, Taylor worked as wood hauler and tobacco warehouse laborer before leaving Wilson to attend school at Slater Normal School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, then Livingstone College. While in Salisbury at Livingstone, he met Viola Elaine Gaither. They married in 1911, and their children included Beatrice Taylor Barnes, Lauraetta Janet Taylor, Sarah Gaither Taylor McMillan, Christopher L. Taylor, and William Goler Taylor. Rev. R.B. Taylor registered for the World War I draft in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1918. He reported that he was preaching at an A.M.E. Zion church in the city. The Taylors returned to Wilson in 1927. Rev. Taylor taught for sixteen years at Carver High School in Pinetops, Edgecombe County.


Photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina.


“God’s finger touched him and he slept.” Masonic cemetery, Wilson, November 2015.