Artis

The obituary of Ernest Artis.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 November 1950.

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In the 1930 census of Bull Head township, Greene County: Ernest Artis, 50; wife Saddie, 37; and children Robert, 18, Lawyer, 17, Spencer, 15, Ernest, 9, William, 8, Metta, 19, and Sudie, 6.

In the 1940 census of Bull Head township, Greene County: widow Sadie Artis, 45, and children or grandchildren Robert, 25, Lawyer, 24, Spence, 23, Earnest, 19, and William, 1. 

Ernest Artis died 21 November 1950 at the Veterans Administration hospital in Kecoughtan, Virginia; lived at 700 Vance Street, Wilson; was born 20 October 1920 in Wilson to Ernest Artis and Sadie Thompson; was single; and worked as a laborer.

On 4 December 1950, Sadie Artis, 700 East Vance Street, applied for a military grave marker for her son Earnest Artis. Per the application, Artis was born 20 October 1920 in Greene County; was inducted on 28 October 1942 and discharged honorably on 26 October 1943; ranked private; and served in Company B, 134th Engineer Training Battalion, Corps of Engineers. He was buried in Artis cemetery near Stantonsburg, and the marker was to be shipped to the Wilson freight station from Proctor, Vermont. 

For more about Greene County’s Artis Town, see here. (The sign has been replaced, by the way.) For more about the Artis Town cemetery, where Ernest Artis was buried, see here.

The obituary of Georgianna Forte Artis.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 October 1949.

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In the 1910 census of Mary Fort, 38, widow, and children Maggie, 10, Georgiea A., 9, James A., 6, Mamie R., 4, and Minnie B., 1. Mary and Maggie Fort were farm laborers “working out,” i.e. as hired hands.

Nathan Artis, 29, of Pikeville married Georgie Anna Fort, 25, of Goldsboro on 8 January 1929 in Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: laborer Nathan Artis, 39, wife Georgiana, 37, and children Bertha Lee, 17, Virginia, 14, and Minnie Louise, 7.

Georgianna O. Artis died 14 October 1949 in Stantonsburg. Her death certificate reports that she was born 16 June 1903 in Wayne County to James Ford [Forte] and Mary Coley.

Funeral directors argue over girl’s body.

The competition between rival undertakers was ferocious. Martha Lucas died two days after her twelfth birthday. Unbeknownst to the family, a nurse at the “local colored hospital” (later known as Mercy Hospital) called Batts Brothers and Artis undertaking firm to prepare the girl’s body for burial. Later, the Lucas family asked C.H. Darden & Sons to perform the service. When Darden discovered the body missing, they showed up at Batts and Artis demanding possession. Batts and Artis refused to hand her over unless Darden paid transportation expenses. Darden went to court.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 August 1921.

Three days later, Martha’s father Wiley Lucas and Camillus L. Darden also appealed to the court of public opinion. Lucas stated that he, not Darden, had caused the sheriff’s department to file a claim and delivery action on the advice of police when Amos Batts dramatically claimed he would rather die than surrender Martha’s body. (Replevin, or claim and delivery, is a legal remedy that enables a person to recover personal property taken unlawfully and to obtain compensation for resulting losses.) Lucas “emphatically [denied] that any undertakers but C.H. Darden & Sons were instructed to attend to the funeral arrangements, as I knew of no other colored funeral directors in Wilson at the time ….”

C.L. Darden chimed in to direct readers to the magistrate’s record for the facts, noting that Batts had been told he could sue the hospital if he felt aggrieved. “But Batts knows as the public knows — as I can prove if it comes to a showdown — that Artis’ wife, who is head nurse in the institution, solicits in the hospital for the firm of Batts Bros. & Artis, of which her husband is a member of the firm.” “Artis” was Columbus E. Artis, and his wife was registered nurse Ada Artis.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 August 1921.

Batts Brothers and Artis responded three days after that, “that the public may not be misled.”  They denied having refused to give up the girl’s body, contending that they only sought to be paid for services rendered. The firm claimed the trial justice agreed they were entitled to a “small fee,” but, perhaps taking the temperature of public sentiment, they agreed to drop their claim and pay court costs.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 August 1921.

Martha Lucas’ death certificate.

1213 Washington Street.

The one hundred-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; Hattie Sims house; bungalow with gable roof and prominent gable-front porch; asbestos veneer; Sims was a tobacco worker.”

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In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Hattie (c) h 1213 Washington

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1213 Washington, owned and valued at $1500, Hattie Simms, 61, and sister Louvenier Hales, 55. Both worked in “green tobacco & tobacco factory.”

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Hattie (c) tob wkr h 1213 Washington

Hattie Simms died 20 September 1943 at her home at 1213 Washington Street. Per her death certificate, she was 56 years old; was born in Wilson County to Ben Artis and Faribee Barnes; was married to James Simms; worked as a farm laborer; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hales Louvenia (c) dom h 1213 Washington [Louvenia Hales [or Hayes] died in 1947.]

Wilson Daily Times, 17 December 1949.

In the 1950 census of Wilson, North Carolina: at 1213 Washington Street, railroad mail carrier James M. Artis, 40, and wife Sarah F., 38, cook in domestic service.

James McKinley Artis died 7 April 1961 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 August 1909 in Wilson to Wade Artis and Martha Gardner; was married to Sarah Artis; and lived at 1213 Washington Street. [James Artis’ father Wade Artis was a brother to Hattie Artis Simms and Louvenia Artis Hales.]

Sarah M. Artis died 16 January 1948 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 March 1908 in Gaston, North Carolina, to Walter McClure and Ella Lightner; was a widow; and lived at 1213 Washington. Informant was Marie Everette, 1213 Washington Street.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 December 1984.

Marie Everett inherited 1213 Washington Street from her aunt Sarah McClure Artis. The E emblazoned on the house’s storm door is her touch.

Detail from plat prepared for Marie Everett in 2003. Plat Book 32, page 69, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2022.

504 North Vick Street.

The one hundred sixty-sixth 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.

The approximate location of 504 North Vick.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roofed porch.” This house has been demolished.

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Detail from 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harris Milton (c; Florence) lab 504 N Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) lndrs 504 N Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick Street, rented at $12/month, Janie Bright, 26, laundress, and sons James, 7, and Theo, 5; and sister Malisia Murphey, 35, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick, widow Janey Bright, 40, and sons James, 18, CCC camp, and Joshua, 15, new worker.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) cook 504 N Vick; also Bright Jas (c) h 504 N Vick; also Bright Joshua (c) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

In 1942, James Theo Bright registered for the World War II draft in Richmond, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 24 February 1922 in Wilson; lived at 407 East Clay Street, Richmond, Virginia; his contact was mother Jannie Bright, 504 North Vick, Wilson; and he worked for John Sarras, Richmond.

Joshua Royal Bright died 25 October 1943 at “Wilson Co. T.B. Hospital.” Per his death certificate, he was born 12 March 1925 in Wilson to Joshua Bright of Sampson County, N.C., and Jannie Murphy of Duplin County, N.C.; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Magnolia, N.C.

In October 1944, Leslie and Minnie Diggs Artis transferred title to the property at 504 North Vick to their daughter Sallie Mae Artis Bell (later Shackelford).

Wilson Daily Times, 28 October 1944.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c; wid Joshua) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2022.

The last will and testament of James Artis.

James Artis‘ February 1930 will was devoted primarily to paying his debts to those who cared for or helped him during his final illness.

He directed that Dr. Matthew S. Gilliam be paid from insurance proceeds for “rendering me medical service, furnishing me medicine, paying my room rent, boarding me and furnishing me what ever I need as long as I live.”

Artis then directed that Julia Johnson‘s bill for “cooking, washing and looking after me” be paid, but only after his burial expenses were paid and lawyer Glenn S. McBrayer was paid $50 for handling his affairs.

If there was any money left, he directed that his unnamed daughter receive two dollars, and anything after that was to go to his unnamed wife.

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In the 1870 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: Louisa Artis, 21; husband James, 25, works on street; and children Adeline, 5, and James, 1 month.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: James Artice, 39, laborer; wife Louzah, 26; and children Adeline, 13, James, 10, Isadora, 8, Effie, 2, and Minnie, 1.

On 10 October 1902, James Artis, 29, of Wilson County, son of James and Louisa Artis, married Armelia Speight, 30, of Wilson County, daughter of Rufus Speight and Tempsy Speight [she, alive and living in Peterburg, Virginia]. Richard Renfrow applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister F.M. Davis performed the ceremony at Jane Branch’s residence in Wilson in the presence of C.R. Cannon, H.S. Phillips, and Jane Branch.

Blount Artis died 24 April 1916 in Boon Hill township, Johnston County. Per his death certificate, he was about 16 years old; was born in Wilson County to Jim Artis and Amelia Artis; was single; and worked as a clerk in a drugstore. Charles Gay was informant.

Amelia Artis appears in the 1912, 1916, 1928, and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory. James Artis is listed in none. Amelia Artis worked variously as a laundress, cook, factory hand, and domestic, and lived at 121 Ash Street, 512 South Street, 117 North East Street, and 810 East Nash Street. [The couple seems to have separated early in the marriage, though they reunited long enough to appear in the same household in 1920.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 121 Ash Street, barber Jim Ardis, 30; wife Amelia, 28; and daughter Amelia, 14. [Jim and Amelia’s ages are off by twenty years.]

James Artis died 5 March 1930 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 50 years old; was born in Wilson to James Artis of Wilson County and Louise Faison of Duplin County, N.C; was married to Amelia Artis; and lived at 210 Manchester. He was buried in Rountree [Odd Fellows] cemetery. Amelia Artis, 112 East Street, was informant.

Amelia Speight Artis’ broken grave marker in Odd Fellows Cemetery.

I found the headstones of Amelia Artis, Blount Artis (also known as Rufus Artis), and Amelia’s mother Tempsy Speight in a pile with two dozen other headstones in Odd Fellows cemetery. The locations of their graves are unknown. I have not found a marker for James Artis, though he is surely buried there.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2022.

Lane Street Project: an anniversary and a promise.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my discovery in Odd Fellows cemetery of my great-grandmother Rachel Barnes Taylor‘s grave marker. I am again in Wilson unexpectedly, but that meant I was able to stop by to lend encouragement to the Senior Force and to meet two young men who stopped by out of curiosity.

Castonoble Hooks filled them in on the Lane Street Project and encouraged them to bring their friends to the next scheduled clean-up on February 12. I reeled off a few names of families buried in Odd Fellows. When I said “Artis,” the young man in the Rugrats sweatshirt looked up quickly. “I’m an Artis,” he said. I asked if he wanted to see the Artis headstones we’ve discovered, and he turned to his friend: “Cut the car off.”

I led the two back to the pile in which I found Rachel Taylor’s headstone, as well as those of Amelia Artis and her son Rufus Artis, who died in 1916 at age 16. Both agreed that more in the community should know about Lane Street Project’s work and promised to return next month.

Fatal auto crashes.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 December 1929.

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  • Clarence Rogers — Rogers died 15 December 1929 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 24 years old; was born in Wake County, N.C., to James C. Rogers and Martha Perry; was married to Mary Rogers; worked as a common laborer; and was buried in Wake County. Millard Rogers, Wilson, was informant.

“Coronary Embolus auto accident. Not at R.R. crossing occurred at place of death”

  • Eddie Walker — in the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Eddie Walker, 20; wife Pecolia, 24; and daughter Dallas, 9 months; also farm laborer Augustus Mitchel, 29; wife Cora, 24; and children Earnest L., 6, and Farman, 2.
  • Agelene Rountree — per her death certificate, Arger Lee Rountree of 120 Manchester Street died 15 December 1929 in Wilson. She was born 8 April 1921 in Wilson County to Wiley Rountree and Mary Barnes and was a student.

“Run down by Automobile while crossing the street, killed almost instantly. Was dead when Doctor reached there.”

  • James Artis