State vs. Percy Jones.

One Saturday evening in August 1911, 14 year-old Henrietta Faison tagged along with her sister Emma Faison to Walter F. Woodard’s house at the corner of North Goldsboro and Lee Streets. Emma Faison and an older woman, Fannie Rountree, were employed in the Woodards’ kitchen. Percy Jones, a farm hand employed by Woodard, was hanging around the back steps. Suddenly, he grabbed the girl and tried to force her to go off with him. She screamed.

Evidence presented to a county grand jury yielded this testimony, transcribed from court records:

“Henrietta Faison — I know Percy Jones; last Saturday night I was at Mr. Walter Woodards; Percy was sitting on back steps and he caught me by hands and said let’s go to the store; I told him to turn me loose; he put his arms around me and said I had to like he would me to, that he would give $5 or $10 to buy me a new dress; told him to turn me loose, that I would call Miss Fannie; I called Miss Fannie but she didn’t hear me; he asked me my age and went to pulling up my dress; he pulled me down to back part of Mr. Walter Woodard’s lot; he was on the out side of back gate, where he began to pull me; he told me if I hollered he would kill me, that he had a pistol in his pocket; he put his hand on my mouth and I tried to get it away when he slapped me in the face; when I began to holler he be tried to choke me; he turned me loose and jumped and run. After he began to run Sister Emma and Miss Fannie came out of the house. I then went to the house we were on the street where this took place. When he left me he went toward Mike Taylor‘s. He put his hand on known but clothes.

“Fannie Rountree — I saw Henrietta at Mr. Woodard’s Saturday night; I was in Mr. Woodard’s dining room and heard a scream; didn’t know who it was; sounded like it was on lawn; when I got out I heard it again saw Henrietta coming up toward steps; saw no one else. Asked her what was the matter; she said Percy snatched her out of gate and ran.She was screaming. Emma came out where we were. This was between 7 and 8 o’clock.

“Emma Faison — I am Henrietta’s sister; I was at Mr. Woodard’s last Saturday; I was washing dishes; heard some one screaming; it was Henrietta; said Percy had pulled her out of the yard, put his hand over her mouth and slapped her; that he had pulled up her clothes and asked her to go with him to the store; saw man running; don’t know who it was; her dress and waist was unfastened and her clothes was wrinkled; Percy had been working at Mr. Woodard’s. When I saw the man running he was half block away. Henrietta was crying when I got up with her.

“W.F. Woodard — I swore out warrant; I heard the screaming; my family was sitting on front porch — heard the screaming twice. Went on back porch, found Henrietta sobbing; asked her what was the matter; she said Percy had caught and dragged her down to back lot and told her if she hollered he would kill her; that he pulled her dress, put his hand on her mouth and she hollered. Phoned for officers, they came and I told them there the trouble. Didn’t notice condition of Henrietta’s clothes. This was a few minutes after 8.”

Jones was quickly caught and charged with assault with attempt to commit rape. He pled guilty to a lesser charge of simple assault and was sentenced to three months “on the roads,” i.e. working road maintenance on a chain gang.

A few weeks later, Jones’ lawyers, Daniels & Swindell, petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. Under recent state law, they claimed, absent aggravating circumstances, 30 days was the maximum sentence for simple assault. Percy Jones was transported to Raleigh for a hearing before the state Supreme Court.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 October 1911.

The wait for a decision was not long. Three days later, Percy Jones was a free man.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 October 1911.


  • Henrietta and Emma Faison

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vance Street, widow Ellar Fason, 49, laundress, and daughters Mary, 18, laundress, Emma, 16, cook, Henretta, 13, and Flory, 10.

On 3 March 1914, John Ellis, 22, of Wilson, married Henretta Faison, 18, at Mrs. Ellar Faison’s place in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Ed Cox and Roscoe Yelverton.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Ella Faison, Henrietta Faison, and Mary Faison are listed at 802 Viola. Ella and Mary Faison worked as laundresses.

  • Percy Jones

On 3 July 1910, Percy Jones, 22, of Wilson, married Fannie Reid, 18, of Wilson, at the residence of Sam Miller in Wilson. Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of B.R. Winstead, Robert Talley, and Arthur Isom.

  • Fannie Rountree

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fannie Rountree, 40, widow, cook, living alone.

Fannie Rountree died 4 June 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 60 years old; was born in Wilson to Benjamin Rountree and Maria Dunston; was separated; lived at 710 East Vance; and worked as a cook for Mrs. Walter Woodard. Sarah Bell was informant.

  • Mike Taylor

Drayman Mike Taylor lived at 108 West Lee Street. Thus, Jones ran west when Faison began screaming.

Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson (1922), page 7.

Criminal Action Papers, 1911, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

State vs. Fletcher Austin.

On 21 July 1912, Sarah Vick pressed charges against Fletcher Austin for “intent to have carnal knowledge of her by fraud impersonating her husband West Vick.”

Notes from testimony before the justice of the peace:

“Sarah Vick the prosecuting swore positively that the defendant broke into her room & got in bed with her & began to pull up her clothes & attempted to get on her & she awoke, struck a match & saw it was Fletcher Austin & called to Sallie Rountree who was in an adjoining room & that Sallie Rountree saw him too & that Sallie Rountree told some neighbors of it early next morning 

Sallie Rountree denied that she saw Fletcher Austin, that night, but said she saw a man siting on Sarahs bed when Sarah called to her in an adjoining room. She also denied that she told any one of it next morning.

“Other evidence showed that Fletcher had about 3 hours time that night between 2 & 5 o’clock which he failed to account for

Jonas Allen proved to be a very strong witness for the state & this court believes that Sarah Vick told the truth, also Jonas Allen, but does not believe Sallie Rountree told the truth”


  • Wesley and Sarah Locus Vick

On 25 May 1912 [less than two months before the assault] Wesley Vick, 21, of Wilson, son of John and Hannah Vick, married Sarah Locus, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Jesse and Florida Locus, in Wilson township. 

Sarah Vick died 19 March 1916 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1890 in Nash County, N.C., to Jesse and Flora Lucas and was married. She died of tuberculosis of the lungs contracted while “waiting on nursing sister” near Wilson. West Vick was informant.

West Vick died of broncho-pneumonia on 11 March 1919, just two weeks after returning from overseas service in World War I and while still enlisted. 

  • Fletcher Austin

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Vick, 50; wife Liw, 40; sons Paul, 13, and Ollie, 10; and stepson Fletcher Austin, 18.

On 15 September 1915, Fletcher Auston, 22, of Wilson, son of Henry and Lou Auston,  married Alice Pearce, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Lillie Pearce, at W.P. Anderson’s farm. Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarborough performed the ceremony in the presence of James Knight, Paul Vick, and Bill Thorne.

In 1917, Fletcher Austin registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 22 June 1893 in Smithfield township, Johnston County, N.C.; lived in Wilson township; worked as a farmhand for W.P. Anderson; and supported his mother, wife, and child.

  • Sallie Rountree
  • Jonas Allen

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Jonas Allen, 49; wife Victoria, 38; and children James, 16, Lillie, 3, and Willie, 22 months.

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Lucas delivers retribution.

The facts are little muddled, but the message is clear. James Lucas was sentenced to 30 days of roadwork after assaulting principal J.D. Reid (not C.L. Reed) for failing to defend Mary Euell from Charles L. Coon’s abuse.

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 3.53.57 PM.png

The Union (Wilmington, N.C.) Labor Record, 25 May 1918.


The 1920 census records two African-Americans named James Lucas in Wilson. One was a 16 year-old boy, the other was, at 610 Lodge Street, lumber company laborer James Lucas, 27, with wife Mattie, 30, and children Jack, 13, and Georgia Belle, 11.

Robbed the watchman.

 92 1921.jpg

Wilson Daily Times, 2 September 1921.

In 1917, Jake Armstrong registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 11 May 1890 in Wilson; lived at 210 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; worked as a laborer for Farmers Cotton Oil Company; and had a dependent mother and sister.

On 8 September 1919, Jake Armstrong, 23, of Wilson, married Della Jones, 22, of Wilson. B.P. Coward performed the ceremony at the A.M.E. Zion church in the presence of Rose McCullers, Berta Faulkland and Lucy A. Richards.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Broad Street, oil mill laborer Jake Armstrong, 23; wife Della, 21; and children Kathryn, 6, and Charlie, 1.

He pointed the gun directly at him.

Wilson N.C., Sept 7, 1867

Lt. J.F. Allison, Goldsboro N.C.,

Sir, Yours 2nd Inst. asking information as to the particulars of the Complaint made against Calvin Barnes Col’d & the circumstances causing his arrest & imprisonment. In Reply the warrant issued for this arrest was granted upon the oath of Edward Gordon a young man of respectability that he was assaulted by Calvin Barnes with a Gun while on his way from school to his place of residence some three miles in the Country, the provocation upon his (Gordon’s) part being that he ordered this man Calvin Barnes off the land of Joshua Barnes, the gentleman with whome he lives, having discovered him in the act of trying to shoot some of the said Joshua Barnes’s hogs, his attention being drawn by the hogs hurdling up & eating some corn that had been thrown to them to attract them & seeing this man Calvin Barnes standing by the field fence near the hogs, he asked him what he was doing there, whereupon the said Calvin leveled his Gun at him as in the act of shooting when Gordon jumped behind a tree. Calvin advanced upon him he ran off towards home & Calvin pursued for some distance threatning & abusing. He (Gordon) testifies that he has known Calvin for 3 or 4 years that he lived upon the farm adjoining the one on which he lived for this length of time & that he is positive as to it being him. Upon the trial of the case before the Magistrate, Calvin denied the fact of its being him, & reported that he was at the shop of one Isaac Strickland Col’d. in this place from 10 or 11 o’clock AM of that day until about two hours in the night which he proved by the oath of the said Isaac Strickland, whose testimony was slightly varied upon cross examination, E. Jennings Piggott Eqr. testified that Calvin Barnes whome he recognized as the person under arrest, worked at his house until 12 o’clock of that day & Edward Gordon upon second Examination testified that he returned to town immediately after this occurrence & called at the shop of Isaac Strickland (above refered to) about twilight & made Enquiry for Calvin Barnes & was informed by some one whome he did not recognize, and in the presence of Isaac Strickland that Calvin Barnes had just come up from the Rail Road & had gone on home some fifteen minutes since, (the assault was made on the Rail Road about 1 ½ miles from this place). The Magistrate committed him to jail for the lack of security on a Bond of One Hundred Dollar for his appearance at the next term of our Court. He gave Bail on yesterday & was was discharged from jail. Any other information that may be desired I shall be pleased to furnish.

I am Very Respectfully Your Obdt Servt., Jos. W. Davis, Shff, Wilson Co


Calvin Barnes 1Calvin Barnes 2

Wilson N.C. Nov 14 1867

Major C.E. Compton, Goldsboro N.C.

Dear sir, Your favor 2nd Inst just read. In reply to a communication from Lieut. J.F. Allison dated Sept’r 2 1867 I gave the particulars of the arrest & the evidence upon the preliminary examination of Calvin Barnes Col’d & of his committal to Jail. He remained in jail only a few days, was discharged on the 4th Sept. upon giving bond for his appearance at the Oct. Term of our County Court. The case was called on Thursday 31st & the only Witness introduced was Edward Gordon the young man upon whome the assault was made & who is a gentleman of unimpeached veracity of the highest respectability. He testified that as he was going to his place of residence about 4 miles distant from this place in the latter part of August (probably the 28th) his attention was attracted by a number of hogs that was hurdled in the field near which he was passing belonging to the gentleman with whome he was living (Genl. J. Barnes) & while his attention was drawn to them he saw corn thrown to them by some one concealed in the briars & bushes about the fence & upon closer examination he saw some body squatted in the bushes with a gun in hand that he spoke to the person and asked what he was doing there, whereupon the boy Calvin Barnes came out and pointed the gun directly at him & in a threatning manner. He (Gordon) thereupon jumped behind some bushes & ran off & was pursued some Two Hundred yards by Calvin Barnes, that soon thereafter he heard the gun discharged & he shortly returned to town & learned that Calvin Barnes had just returned from the direction where this thing occurred.

I will take the liberty of saying that there can be no doubt about the identification of this defendant as young Gordon has lived on the adjoining plantation to where he lived for several years & is familiarly acquainted with him & also that he (Calvin Barnes) does not where he is known to bear a very enviable character.

I have embodied in a report made out this forenoon the particulars of his Escape from the Custody of the Jailer after his conviction & sentence, which will reach you with this.

I am Very Respectfully, Your Obdt. Servant, Jos. W. Davis, Shff, Wilson Co.

[I have not yet located the report of Barnes’ escape.]

North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872,; Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line],

She commenced giving me some slack jaw.

Agent of Freedmans Bureau

Dr Sir

A few days ago a negro Woman refused to obey an order I gave her about cooking some Tomatoes. I ordered her again. She very violently refused to obey. The land lady was absent at the time. After a lapse of two hours She returned I told that I intended to give her a good whipping if she did not Cook them. The negro was standing out a few feet from the door and commenced giving me some “slack jaw” where upon I gave her a good beating by kicks and knocks.

Being a stranger to you and to your mode of proceeding and learning that you had jurisdiction in this County I address you this letter, becoming informer against myself and holding myself amenable to your order whenever called upon or to the civil authorities I care not which. So there is but one to whom I must answer for the offense if I have committed any.

It is my opinion that you had better come up as you can by Enquiry find many who condemn the act, Justify the negro and blame me for the Course I pursued. While I have never been raised to take a taunt from a white man and can certainly never become so loyal as to take it from a negro, while I honest profess to be as loyal as any Extremist in this Country I was an Original Cessession. I have been whipped in a Contest of Arms, after the surrender of Genl Lee I accepted the situation as it was. I took an oath of allegiance to the United States Government by that I have abided. You will please write me if you wish me to appear at Goldsboro and if you wish any reference you can apply to J.J. Baker, C.A.W. Barham, Dr. Wm. H. Thompson, Dr. J.W. Davis of Goldsboro & J.J. Lutts Esqr. of this place.  Let me hear  from you soon.              Very respectfully, R.G. Barham M.D.


Virginia-born physician R.G. [Roscoe G.] Barham was 25 years old when the 1860 census of the town of Wilson. He died about 1880.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line],