Smith’s and Brown’s filling stations.

By the late 1920s, automobiles were common on Wilson County roads, and “filling stations” and garages began to cluster on roads leading out of town. The 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory includes these three owned by African-Americans:

Annie Smith was listed as the proprietor of Smith’s Filling Station, located on East Nash beyond the city limits, in the 1925 city directory. (There was no listing for the business in 1922.) It seems, then, that she sold the gas station to Columbus E. Artis (who otherwise ran an undertaking business) and the garage to Alex Obey [Obery] shortly before 1928.

Similarly, in 1925, the owner of Brown’s Filling Station, at the corner of East Nash and Wainwright, was contractor/stonemason Nestus Freeman, who lived across Nash Street. It is not clear who “Brown” was, but Albert Speight elected to retain the name when he purchased the business from Freeman.

Studio shots, no. 25: Amanda Artis Jones.

Amanda Bell Artis

Amanda Bell Artis Jones (1916-2006).

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, farm manager June S. Artis, 30, wife Ethel, 26, and children James, 7, Edgar, 7, Manda Bell, 3, and farm laborer Edgar Exum.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 40, wife Ethel P., 34, and children James B., 17, Edgar J., 15, Amanda B., 14, and Gladys L. Artis, 5.

On 7 January 1937, Jospeh Jones, 22, of Stantonsburg, son of Joseph and Jennie Jones, married Amanda B. Artis, 20, of Stantonsburg, daughter of June and Ethel Artis, in Stantonsburg. Methodist minister S. Chapman performed the ceremony in the presence of Amanda’s father June S. Artis and uncle C.E. Artis and Elizabeth Hardy.


In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Joe Jones Jr. and wife Mandabelle, both 21.

In 1940, Joe Jones listed Amanda Bell Jones as his contact when he registered for the World War II draft.

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Amanda Bell Artis Jones died 29 October 2006.

Photograph copied from funeral program in the possession of Beulah S. Williams, first cousin to Amanda Jones. 


611 and 615 East Green Street.

The forty-ninth 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: re 611 East Green Street, “ca. 1913; 2 stories; Hardy Tate house; Queen Anne house with cubic form and center roof gable; original wraparound porch has been modified; Tate was a brick mason;” and, re 615 East Green Street, “1915; 2 stories; William Hines house; Queen Anne house with hip-roofed central block and evidence of second story porch (now enclosed); Hines, like brother Walter, was a leading barber and property owner; contributing garage.”

Both 611 and 615 East Green Street have been demolished.

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about the houses:

“611 East Green Street. The most outstanding feature of this house, built c. 1900 is its magnificent polychrome slate roof. It also boasts a small central cross gable, typical of this period of construction. The porch was probably altered c. 1925 and the paired columns joined by delicate latticework were probably added at that time.”

“William Hines House. 615 East Green Street. Built c. 1915 this simple two-story house is typical of Wilson residential architecture during the 1910’s and 1920’s. The box-like form of the house is enhanced by an elliptical stained glass window flanking the door and generous porch supported by square columns on rusticated stone plinths.”


In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Teachy James T, h 610 e Green. (The north side of Green was even-numbered until the early 1920s.)

In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Barnes Caroline, laundress h 614 e Green. (Barnes’ house appears to have been an earlier building on this lot upon which William Hines built his house.) Barber Hines, whose shop was at 119 South Tarboro, lived next door at 612 East Green, the home of his mother and stepfather, Della and Dave Barnes.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 610 Green, brickmason Hardey Tate, 50; wife Annie, 40; daughters Inez, 8, and Daisy, 6; and lodgers Rome Bagley, 44, railroad laborer, and John Boykin, 28, plasterer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County:  at 614 Green, barber William Hines, 35, wife Ethel, 25, Delores, 4, and William, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: bricklayer Hardy Tate, 70, daughters Inez, 17, and Daisy, 15. Also, renting for $20/month, were plumber and California native Henry Jones and his wife Jessie, 32. Tate owned the house free of mortgage, and it was valued at $8000.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber William Hines, 46, wife Ethel L., 36, and children Deloris L., 14, and William Jr., 11. The home was owned free of mortgage and valued at $10,000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber shop operator William Hines, 56, wife Ethel L., 46, and children Dolores L., 24, a teacher, and William C., 21.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: embalmer Columbus E. Artis, 55, and Georgia-born wife Ada D. Artis.

  1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, showing 610/611 East Green and an empty lot (with outbuildings) at 614/615.

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, showing 611 and 615.

James and Zilpha Newsome Daniel house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“This handsome plantation house is thought to have been built for James Daniel. Daniel was born in 1802 and died in 1854. He married Zilphia Newsome, and after her death in 1862 the property was sold to Dr. Alexander G. Brooks …. The Daniel House is a smaller version of the type of plantation house built for such prominent planters as William Barnes (Stantonsburg Township), Elias Barnes (Saratoga Township) and Colonel David Williams (Toisnot Township). It is two stories high with a rather shallow hipped roof and interior chimneys. Both front and rear doors are trabeated, and the front elevation is sheltered by a hipped-roof porch supported by slender chamfered posts. A kitchen wing is located on the side elevation. The house has a double-pile central-hall plan with two rooms off the hall. All the original mid-nineteenth century mantels and doors are still in place.”


In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County: farmer James Daniel, 48; wife Zilpah, 47; and her children Elizabeth, 23, Eliza, 21, Lawrence, 19, Joseph, 15, James, 17, Sarah, 12, Mary, 8, and Martha, 8.

In the 1850 slave schedule of the North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County, James Daniel is reported with eight slaves, five girls and women aged 3 to 26, and three boys and men, aged 1 to 35.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Zilpha Daniel, 53, and her children Elizabeth, 33, Eliza, 29, Larry, 28, Sallie, 19, Mary, 18, and Martha, 18. Farm laborer Smithy Artis, 38, a free woman of color, and her son George, 21, described as “idiotic,” also lived in the household. [The term was often applied to deaf people.] Daniel reported $8000 in real estate and $12,000 in personal property, including enslaved people.

In the 1860 slave schedule of Black Creek township, Wilson County, Zilpha Daniel is reported with 14 slaves, eight girls and women aged 1 to 39, and six men and boys, aged 2 to 39.

The 1870 census of Wilson County lists many dozens of African-Americans with the surname Daniel living throughout the eastern half of Wilson County.

The James and Addie Barnes Artis family.

These photographs of James and Addie Barnes Artis and several of their children are drawn from a family history booklet, Our Heritage 1812-1996: Edwards, Evans, Woodard, published in 1996.

James A. Artis (1876-??), in the one-armed wicker chair at Picture-taking Barnes’ studio in Wilson.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Ned Artis, 44; wife Jane, 42; and children Polian, 14, Mary J., 13, Dora, 12, Walter, 9, Joseph, 7, Corinna, 6, James, 4, and Charles, 6 months.

In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Ned Artis, 65; wife Jane, 60; and children Dora, 31, Walter, 28, Joe, 26, Jimmie, 21, Charley, 20, Effie, 18, Fred, 15, and Jim, 15.

On 21 November 1900, James Artis, 22, son of Ned and Jane Artis, married Addie Barnes, 20, daughter of Isaac and Bettie Barnes, at the home of Parish Bynum in Saratoga. Walter Artis applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister E.P. Pearsall performed the ceremony in the presence of Dempsey Bullock, Andrew Sauls, and G.H. Moore.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer James Artis, 30; wife Addie, 28; and children Isaac, 9, Archie, 7, Thelonia, 5, Dorothy, 4, Gladys, 2, and an unnamed newborn daughter.

[Ned Artis died 21 November 1917 in Falkland township, Pitt County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1838 to Arch and Rosa Artis in Wilson and was buried in Wilson County. Informant was Joe Artis, Falkland.]

In the 1920 census of Fountain township, Pitt County: farmer James Artis, 40, widower, and children Isah, 18, Archie, 16, Thelonia, 15, Dortha, 13, Virginia, 9, Saparrisa, 8, and Bettie Lee, 5.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Jim Artis, 52; wife Silva, 49; and children Dorthy, 19, Virgina, 18, Bettie L, 15, and Seph P., 17.


Addie Barnes Artis (1879-1917)

Isaac Barnes, 22, married Bettie Ellis, 21, on 11 January 1877 at Levi Valentine’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Isac Barnes, 26; wife Elizebeth, 24; and children Parish, 5, James, 2, and Addie, 8 months.

Addie Artis died 30 June 1917 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 June 1879 in Wilson County to Isaac Barnes and Bettie Ellis; was a tenant farmer; and was married. Informant was James A. Artis.


Isaac Amos Artis Sr. (1902-1973)

Isaac A. Artis, 32, of Pitt County, married Lillian Lee Daniels, 30, of Pitt County, on 1 April 1937 in Williamston, Martin County, North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Greenville, Pitt County: on Third Street, teachers I.A. Artis, 38, and wife Lillian L., 35; their daughter A.L., 2; and his sister Dorthy, 32.

In 1942, Isaac Amos Artis registered for the World War II draft in Greenville, Pitt County. Per his registration card, he was born 13 December 1902 in Wilson County; resided at 106 Tyson Street, Greenville; his contact was wife Lillian Lee Artis; and he was employed by Pitt County Board of Education.

Isaac A. Artis died 28 November 1973 in Greenville, Pitt County. Per his death certificate, he was born 13 September 1903 to James Artis and Addie (last name unknown); resided in Greenville; was married to Lillian Daniels; and was buried in Brownhill cemetery, Greenville.


Archie Charles Artis (circa 1904-1958)

In the 1930 census of Durham, Durham County, North Carolina: barber Archie Artis, 24, was listed as a boarder in the household of dentist Edward P. Norris.

In the 1940 census of Durham, Durham County, North Carolina: barber Archie C. Artis, 33, was listed as a lodger in the household of dentist Edward P. Norris.

In 1940, Archie Charles Artis registered for the World War II draft in Durham. Per his registration card, he was born 24 August 1906 in Fountain, North Carolina; resided at 607 Thomas Street, Durham; his contact was father James Artis, East Nash Street, Wilson; and he was self-employed at 711 Fayetteville Street, Durham.

On 19 December 1940, Archie Charles Artis, 34, of Durham County, married Evelyn Elma Bryant, 25, of Chatham County, in Oakland township, Chatham County, North Carolina.

Archie Charles Artis died 23 December 1959 in Durham. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 August 1906 in Wilson County to James Artis and Addie Bynum; was married to Evelyn Artis; taught at a barber college; was buried in Beechwood cemetery, Durham. Brother S.P. Artis was informant.


Thelonia “Theodore” Artis (ca 1907-??)



Dorothy Artis Hines (circa 1907-??)



Virginia B. Artis Jones (circa 1910-1959)

Virginia B. Artis Jones died 18 April 1959 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 August 1911 in Pitt County to James Artis and Addie Barnes; was married to Lee Jones; and worked as a beautician. She was buried at Rest Haven cemetery.


Separise “S.P.” Artis (1912-1998)

Grace Whitehead, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Victoria Whitehead, married Separise Artis, 25, of Wilson, son of James and Attie Artis, in Nashville, North Carolina, on 1 August 1938.

In 1940, Separise Artis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 12 December 1912 in Wilson County; resided at 303 North Vick Street; his contact was wife Grace Emery Artis; and he was a self-employed barber.

Separise P. Artis died 13 December 1998 in Rocky Mount, Nash County.


Bettie Lee Artis (1913-1999)

Bettie Lee Artis died 16 February 1999 in Greenville, North Carolina.

Many thanks to B.J. Woodard for sharing this invaluable volume.

Divorce actions, part 1.

The files of nineteenth and early twentieth century divorce cases are housed at the North Carolina State Archives. This is the first in a series abstracting some of the folders of actions filed in Wilson County Superior Court. (The allegations of misdoing summarized are derived from court pleadings and were not necessarily true.)

  • Henry Artis v. Mary Ann Artis

May term, 1901. Married 4 January 1893 in Wilson. After about a year, defendant Mary Ann deserted plaintiff Henry. She also committed adultery with Jim Pool and others and was a “common prostitute.”


On 4 January 1893, Henry Artis, 20, of Wilson township, son of Richard and Eliza Artis, married Mary Ann Lewis, 19, of Gardners, daughter of John and Mary Lewis, in Wilson.

  • Tom Artis v. Ida Artis

November term, 1910.

  • William Artis v. Mollie Artis

May term 1906. Married December 1898 in Wilson County. Mollie abandoned William in December 1903. In 1905, she committed adultery with Noah Foreman.

  • James Artis v. Louvenia Artis

February term, 1914.


On 28 February 1908, James Artis, 29, of Gardners township, son of Jesse and Patsey Artis, married Louvenia Pleasant, 19, of Gardners, daughter of George Pleasant. Blount Best performed the ceremony.

  • George Barnes Jr. v. Milly Barnes

June term, 1896. Married 4 July 1895 in Wilson County by Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best. Witnesses produced at trial: Richard Eatman, Smith Battle, Jerry Scarboro, William Barnes, Reuben White, George Towe, Alfred Thompson and Alfred Woodard. Divorce denied.

Plaintiff George asserted that he was unaware that Milly was pregnant at the time of their marriage. When he discovered her condition three weeks later, he left her as he was not the child’s father. Defendant Milly responded that she was an “innocent young woman and was seduced by the plaintiff under a promise of marriage to yield to his embrace and that she became pregnant by cohabitation with him”; that he was the child’s father; and that she had never had “carnal intercourse” with any other man.

Richard Eatman, who was served his subpoena in Halifax County, testified that he was acquainted with Milly Barnes for a number of years, “having been raised in the same neighborhood” with her; that about four years prior he began to have sex with her from time to time for about a year; that he never promised to marry her; that he did not think she was “innocent” when he first had sex with her; and that she had admitted to him having sex with Daniel Barnes.

H.E. Bell testified that he lived near Milly and had known her a number of years and that she had the general reputation of “a woman of loose morals.” He also knew George: “he is a young colored man, of good habits, sober and reliable in every way, that his reputation for truth is as good as any colored man” that Bell knew. Also, Bell stated, Milly lived with her father, Hilliard Ellis, who “provides for her and is able to continue to do so.”


On 4 July 1895, George Barnes, 24, son of George and Anica Barnes, married Milly Ellis, 20, daughter of Hilliard and Feriby Ellis as Hilliard Ellis’ house. A.J.C. Moore applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of G.W. Ellis, William Roberts and General Barnes.

On 20 December 1900, Millie Ellis, 23, daughter of Hilliard and Phereby Ellis, married James Smith, 22, son of Pink Smith, in Taylors township.

Funeral Service for Amanda Alberta Cooper 1899-1985.

In the 1900 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: farmer Jhon W. Aldredge, 48; wife Vissey, 33; and children Zebedde, 20; Lula, 17; Franses, 16; Jhon, 13; Thomas, 12; Mandy, 9; Bula, 7; Corana, 3; Alberta, 1; and Mary, 1 month. [“Alberta Aldridge” was in fact Amanda Alberta Artis. Alberta’s mother, Amanda Aldridge Artis, who died shortly after Alberta’s birth, was both sister to John W. Aldridge and step-mother to Vicey Artis Aldridge, having married her father Adam T. Artis. John and Vicey Aldridge reared Alberta with their children.]

In the 1910 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: farmer John Aldridge Sr., 55; wife Vicy, 46; and children Lula, 25, seamstress; John Jr. 22, retail merchant; Thomas, 20, partner in retail store; Mandy, 18; Caronine, 12; Lizzie, 10; Nora, 8; and granddaughter [sic] Elberta, 11.

James Cooper married Alberta Artis on 18 July 1918 in Kings County, New York.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Brick House and Moore School Road, James Cooper, 33, farmer; wife Alberta, 20; and son Albert Horton, 1.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: James Cooper, 39, farmer; wife Alberta, 26; and children Elija, 21, Albert, 10, Mollie A., 8, Willard M., 5, Lauzin, 3, Annie M., 7 months; sister Oretter Bailey, 45; and niece Irene Artis, 18.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Cooper, 54, farmer; wife Alberta, 40; and children Marilyn, 18, Willard, 15, Laurzene, 13, Annie, 11, George, 9, Alberta, 5, Chester, 3, and Lillie, 1.

James William Cooper died 12 February 1967 at his home at 110 Fourth Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 July 1887 in Wayne County to George Cooper and Estelle Smith; worked as a foreman for Jas.I. Miller Co.; and was a World War I veteran. Wife Alberta A. Cooper was informant.

Program courtesy of Patricia S. Muhammad.

Pauline Artis Henderson.

Pauline Artis Henderson

Polly Henderson, probably 1920s.

In the 1900 census of Ingrams, Johnston County: widower farmer Archie Artis, 78; daughters Bathanie, 32, and Alice E., 22; and granddaughters Victoria, 13, Effie, 10, and Pollie, 1.

On 3 December 1914, Solomon Ward applied for a marriage license for Jesse Henderson of Wilson, 21, son of Jesse Jacobs and Sarah Jacobs, and Pauline Artis of Wilson, 18, daughter of Alice Artis.  On the same day, Fred M. Davis, Baptist minister, performed the ceremony at his residence before Mary Barnes, Annie Hines, and Willie Cromartie, all of Wilson.  [Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs were, in fact, Jesse’s foster parents.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 217 Pender Street, Jesse Henderson, 25, truck driver for woodyard; wife Pauline, 20; daughter Bessie, 2; and mother-in-law Alice Artis, 37, cook.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 308 Pender Street, Jack Henderson, truck driver, 38; wife Pauline, 31, and children Bessie, 12, Alic, 10, Joice, 8, Mildred, 6, and Archy, 4, listed in the household of mother-in-law Alic Artis, 49, private cook, paying $18/month rent.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 309 Pender Street, Alice Artis, 56; daughter Pauline Henderson, 39, household servant; granddaughters Bessie L., 23, hotel elevator girl; Alice, 20, household servant; Joyce, 18, household servant; Mildred, 16; and Doris, 10; and grandson Robert, 4.

Pauline Artis Henderson died in 1950.

Photograph courtesy of J.A. Edmunds.

Josephine Artis Sherrod.

j sherrod

Josephine Artis Sherrod (1887-1988).

Josephine Artis Sherrod, a sister of Columbus E. Artis and June S. Artis, was matriarch of a tight-knit family centered on two blocks of East Viola Street described within the family as Sherrod Village.


In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County:  Adam Artice, 68, a widowed farmer,  with children Louetta, 18, Robert, 16, Columbus, 14, Josephfene, 13, Jun S., 10, Lillie B., 9, Henry B., 6, Annie, 3, Walter, 26, and William Artis, 24. [Josephine’s mother was Amanda Aldridge Artis, who died in 1899.]

On 16 April 1907, Solomon Sherard, 28, son of Dempsey and Harriett Sherard, married Josephine Artis, 20, daughter of Adam and Amanda Artis at A.T. Artis’ in Nahunta township, Wayne County. J.H.W. Sherard of Pikeville, J.B. Best of Saulston, and Louis Sherard of Pikeville were witnesses.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Solomon Sherard with wife Josephene and children Allena and Jarva, plus cousin Walter Smith.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Elm City Road, farmer Solomon Sherrod, 41; wife Josephine, 32; and children Alena, 11, Jarvis, 10; Doretta, 8; Dock, 6; B. Minnie, 4; and Solomon, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Harpers Road, farmer Soloman Sheard, 50; wife Josephine, 42; and children Javis, 20, Doretta, 18, Linton O., 16, Minnie B., 13, Solomon, 11, Flora, 3, Bulah, 3, and Elmore, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Viola Street, Solomon Shearard, 60; wife Josephine, 52; and children Flora, 15, Beulah, 13, Elmer, 11, and Solomon, 21; plus “son’s wife” Mildred, 18, and grandson Ernest E., 8 months.

Solomon Shearard died 6 February 1948. Per his death certificate, he resided at 802 East Viola Street; was married to Josephine Shearard; and was born 21 October 1878 in Wayne County, to Dempsy Shearard and Harriett Hill, both of Wayne County.  Informant was Josephine Shearard, 802 East Viola.


 Wilson Daily Times, 11 April 1988.