Allen

A public library for black citizens.

Wilson County Public Library’s Local History Room holds a copy of “A History of Public Library Service to Blacks in Wilson, N.C.,” the master’s thesis Doretta Davis Anderson submitted to the University of North Carolina’s School of Library Science in 1976. Here are early excerpts :

“The honor of first suggesting a public library for the black citizens of Wilson, North Carolina belonged to a Mrs. Argie Evans Allen. Mrs. Allen suggested the idea of establishing a library for the black community as a project for her club, the Mary McLeod Bethune Civic Club. Accepting the idea, the club then authorized Mrs. Allen to carry our the project as she saw fit.

“The first actual recorded interest in the establishment of the library appeared in a letter, written by Mrs. Allen to Mrs. Mollie Huston Lee on June 7, 1943. Mrs. Lee, at that time was supervisor of North Carolina’s Negro Public Libraries.  …

“Subsequently, Dr. D.C. Yancey donated a room over his drugstore to the club for the establishment of a library. …

“… Volunteers were solicited to man the library. The first official ‘librarian’ was Evangeline Royal, a local high school student employed to operate the library after school.”

“The following persons were appointed to become members of the library’s first board of trustees: Mrs. W.M. Freeman (Chairman); E. Hilliard (Secretary); James Whitfield (Treasurer); E.F. Battle; William Hines; Dr. D.C. Yancey; and C.W. Foster.

“Considering its relative obscurity, the library was to circulate 108 volumes during its first year of operations and collect $539.40 in donations for operating expenses.

“The following year showed a marked improvement. Aside from acquiring a new librarian, the board of trustees was able to solicit appropriations from the local city and county officials for the financing of the library. … Under the direction of Miss Pauleze Coley (Bryant), the college graduate employed by the library, circulation for the year ending June 30, 1945 totaled 3,172 volumes. …”

Proposed floor plan of Wilson County Negro Library’s location on Pender Street.

  • Argie Evans Allen
  • D.C. Yancey — D’arcey C. Yancey.
  • Evangeline Royal — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evauline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.
  • W.M. Freeman — Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.
  • E. Hilliard
  • James Whitfield
  • E.F. Battle
  • William Hines
  • C.W. Foster — Carter W. Foster.
  • Pauleze Coley (Bryant) — Elizabeth Pauleze Coley Bryant.

115 Pender Street East today. The library was housed in the storefront at left until the early 1970s, when it moved to a location on Pender south of Nash Street. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Nurse Allen, faithful and thoughtful, dies.

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Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1937.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James eating house 217 S Goldsboro h 112 Ashe and Allen Rachel cook h 112 Ashe

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Allen James B (c; Rachel) restr 217 Goldsboro h 900 Atlanta

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Atlantic Street, rented for $20/month, cafe proprietor Jim Allen, 45; wife Rachel, 32, private family nurse; children Elouise, 10, and Fred, 8; and lodgers Floyd Baker, 26, laborer; Gertrude Kannary, 27, cook; and Katherine, 10, Dortha, 7, and Elouise Baker, 1.

Per her death certificate, Rachel Allen died 5 June 1937 at Mercy Hospital. She was 40 years old; was married to James Allen; was born in Dunn, North Carolina, to Edward Armstrong and Cornelius [sic] Armstrong; worked as a midwife and practical nurse; and resided at 405 East Green Street. Maggie Armstrong of Durham was informant.

 

 

Trustees of the Colored Methodist Church of Elm City.

WDT 11 15 1910

Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1910.

——

I have not been able to identify W.S. Allen, but in the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: 55 year-old rock quarryman John Jones; Virginia-born laundress wife Mollie, 45; and children Annie B., 15, John, 15, and William, 5.

Pennsylvania veteran’s comp benefits.

Applications for Pennsylvania veteran’s compensation benefits filed by veterans born in Wilson County:

  • Iredell Seward Allen

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In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Allen, 27; wife Clara, 23; and children Howard, 7, Etta, 5, Clara, 4, Iredell, 3, and Dowell, 5 months.

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  • Ben C. Bunn

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  • Augustus Bynum

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  • Jesse James Cox

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  • Paul Farmer

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In the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson township, Wilson County: wagon driver John W. Farmer, 37; wife Edmonia,  33; and children George, 13, Paul, 12, Annie, 9, Mary, 7, and Fannie, 5. Paul registered for the draft while living in Philadelphia,

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but returned permanently to North Carolina after the war. In the 1930 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson township, Wilson County: Paul Farmer, 44, wife Cora, 35, and children Pauline, 4 1/2, Fredrick, 2, John W., 1 1/2, and lodger Harvey Wilson, 17.

  • George Alexander Gaston

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In the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson township, North Carolina: 44 year-old barber John Gaston, [second] wife Sabrina, 22, and children Theodore, 13, Cicero, 10, George, 8, and Caroline, 2 months. Also in the Town of Wilson, 30 year-old divorcee Ella Gaston with sons Ralph, 10, and Albert, 2.

Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; Pennsylvania, Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-2012 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Where did they go?: Pennsylvania death certificates, no. 1.

The first in a series — Pennsylvania death certificates for Wilson County natives:

  • James I. Allen, Philadelphia

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James I. Allen appears in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, with parents West and Harriet Allen; siblings Boston, Susan, Cornelius, John, Lettice and Effie Allen; and grandmother Harriet Allen.

James I Allen

1880 census, Wilson, Wilson County.

In 1894, James Allen and Clara Brown, below, were married by a Missionary Baptist minister in Wilson.

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  • Clara Brown Allen, Philadelphia

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  • William Anderson, Philadelphia

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  • James Artis, Whitesboro, New Jersey

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Per Wikipedia, “Whitesboro [New Jersey] was founded about 1901 by the Equitable Industrial Association, which had prominent black American investors including Paul Laurence Dunbar, the educator Booker T. Washington and George Henry White, the leading investor and namesake. He was an attorney who had moved to Philadelphia after serving as the last black Republican congressman representing North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. White and his fellow entrepreneurs wanted to create a self-reliant community for blacks, without the discrimination faced the southern states. Shares in the planned community were sold to African Americans from North and South Carolina and Virginia.” Samuel H. Vick was an investor in Whitesboro.

  • Warren Barnes, Johnston, Cambria County

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This is possibly the five year-old Warren Barnes listed in the household of Peter, 32, and Lizzie Barnes, 34, in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County.