auction

M.H. Wilson defaults on five lots.

In February and March 1938, trustee D.M. Hill ran a notice of sale of real estate for five large parcels of land that carpenter-contractor Mansfield H. Wilson owned on Pender, Church, and Smith Streets. Wilson had defaulted on loans taken out in 1926.

The first lot was 116 North Pender Street, which Wilson had purchased from E.F. Nadal and wife in 1906.

The second lot bordered O.L.W. Smith; Wilson had bought it from D.C. Suggs and wife in 1906. The one-third acre lot contained houses numbered 521, 523, and 525 Church Street.

The third lot had been cobbled together from several purchases made between 1907 and 1924 and included 121 and 123 North Pender and 529, 531, 533, and 535 Smith Street.

Wilson had bought the fourth lot, bordering Charles Knight, from William and Ethel Hines in 1920.

O.L.W. Smith and wife sold Wilson the fifth lot, 201 North Pender, in 1920.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1938.

Virginia-born Mansfield Wilson arrived in Wilson before 1908, but was far away before the trustee called in his debt. By 1934, he was well enough established in California to register to vote in Los Angeles.

California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968, http://www.ancestry.com

In April 1935, however, Mansfield H. Wilson died at the Richmond, Virginia, home of his son Samuel H. Wilson. Three years later, during the depths of the Great Depression, Wilson’s creditors called in their loans and forced the sales of his properties.

In this detail from the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, asterisks mark nine of Mansfield H. Wilson’s properties.

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In the 1880 census of Powellton township, Brunswick County, Virginia: farmer Henry Lewis, 33; wife Matilda, 38; and children Edward, 10, Catharine, 6, Louisa, 4, and John H., 6 months; plus step-children Mansfield, 21, and Mary Wilson, 17.

On 10 September 1890, Mansfield H. Wilson, 30, born in Brunswick County, Virginia, to William and Matilda Wilson, married Maggie J. Richards, 24, born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in Richmond, Virginia.

In the 1900 census of Tarboro township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: carpenter Mansfield Wilson, 39; wife Maggie, 32; children Gertrude, 6, Samuel, 3, and Mansfield, 1; and sister-in-law Lucy Richards, 30, dressmaker.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C, city directory: Wilson Mansfield H (c) carp h 126 Pender

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Mansfield H. Wilson, 49; wife Maggie, 43; son Samuel, 15; sister-in-law Lucy Richard, 45; and servants John M. Madderson, 14, and William Dew, 21.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C, city directory: Wilson Mansfield H (c) carp h 126 Pender

Maggie J. Wilson died 30 June 1914 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 February 1865 in Virginia to Henry Richards and Annie R. Crozier; and was buried in Tarboro, N.C. M.H. Wilson was informant.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C, city directory: Wilson Mansfield H (c) carp contr h 126 Pender

In 1918, Samuel H. Wilson registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1897 in Edgecombe County, N.C.; his father was born in Brunswick County, Virginia; he lived at 126 Pender Street; and worked for Mansfield Wilson, who was his nearest relative.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 126 Pender Street, Virginia-born house contractor Mansfield H. Wilson, 60; son Samuel H., 20; and sister-in-law Lucy Richards, 40.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C, city directory: Wilson Mansfield H (c) carp contr h 126 Pender

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C, city directory: Wilson Mansfield H (c) carp h 123 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 123 Pender Street, owned and valued at $2000, Virginia-born carpenter Mansfield Wilson, 50, widower; son Samual, 30, insurance company agent; daughter-in-law Sarah, 24, public school teacher; granddaughter Audrey, 3; and sister-in-law Lucey Richard, 50.

Mansfield Harrison Wilson died 25 April 1935 in Richmond, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was about 70 years old; was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, to Henry Wilson and Harriett [maiden name unknown]; was a carpenter; lived at 1271 East 33rd Street, Los Angeles, California; and was buried in East End Cemetery, Richmond. Samuel H. Wilson was the informant.

Samuel Henry Wilson, 41, born in Wilson, son of Mansfield Wilson and Maggie Richards, married Janie Thomas Williams, 32, born in Richmond, Virginia, daughter of Roland Williams and Eliza Ricks, on 18 November 1938 in Richmond, Virginia.

Mary Matthewson Meachem died 22 February 1948 in Tarboro, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 July 1876 in Brunswick County, Virginia, to Mansfield Wilson and Mildia Dunn; was the widow of A.B. Meachem; and was buried in Community Cemetery, Princeville, North Carolina. William Matthewson, Norfolk, Virginia, was informant.

20 Business and Residence Lots for Colored People.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1918. 

We’ve seen the Emma Gay property here. The ad above announced the sale of the lots of the subdivision laid out in Plat Book 1, page 56, Wilson Register of Deeds Office. The notice targeted two markets — “the colored man” wishing “to purchase a home close in” and “the white man” aiming to “make a safe and very profitable investment.” The latter won out as the later development of the parcel was commercial.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

For sale, the following public schools, pt. 3.

In the fall of 1951, having opened several modern — or modernized — brick buildings across the county, the Wilson County Board of Education moved to auction off its old colored school houses, some of which had been built with Rosenwald funds. For several weeks, the Wilson Daily Times ran lengthy notices identifying the properties by name and metes and bounds. Schools set for sale included Bynums, Saratoga, Yelverton, Stantonsburg, and Evansdale Colored Schools in Gardners, Saratoga, and Stantonsburg townships.

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Wilson Daily Times, 23 October 1951.

For sale, the following public schools, pt. 2.

In the fall of 1951, having opened several modern — or modernized — brick buildings across the county, the Wilson County Board of Education moved to auction off its old colored school houses, some of which had been built with Rosenwald funds. For several weeks, the Wilson Daily Times ran lengthy notices identifying the properties by name and metes and bounds. Schools set for sale included Ruffin, Lofton, Lucama, Calvin Level, Rocky Branch, Williamson and Wilbanks Colored Schools in Black Creek, Cross Roads, Spring Hill, and Gardners townships.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 October 1951.

Green Street lot for sale at auction.

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Wilson Daily Times, 4 January 1922.

  • Jonah Reid and wife — Wayne County native Jonah Reid was a son of Jonah Williams below. Jonah married his first cousin Magnolia Artis, daughter of Thomas and Louisa Artis Artis, on 30 August 1892 in Wayne County, North Carolina.
  • J.D. Reid — principal and banker.
  • Jonah Williams — Jonah Williams established several Primitive Baptist churches in Wayne, Wilson and Edgecombe Counties.
  • B.R. Winstead — Educator Braswell R. Winstead was a close associate of Samuel H. Vick, serving for a while as assistant postmaster. He lived at 415 East Green at the time of his death in 1926.

The land formerly owned by Orrin Best.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 October 1928.

Here’s the plat of Orren and Hancy Best‘s former Grab Neck property mentioned in the notice of sale, with lots 12 and 13 clearly marked:

Here is the current landscape, showing that five houses sit on the 11 platted lots facing Cone between West Nash and West Vance.

Lots 12 and 13 (and a sliver of 11) are now 111 Cone Street North, a four-bedroom Colonial Revival cottage built circa 1928.

Photos courtesy of Google Maps.

For sale, the following public schools, pt. 1.

In the fall of 1951, having opened several modern — or modernized — brick buildings across the county, the Wilson County Board of Education moved to auction off its old colored school houses, some of which had been built with Rosenwald funds. For several weeks, the Wilson Daily Times ran lengthy notices identifying the properties by name and metes and bounds. Schools set for sale included New Vester, Jones Hill, Sims, Farmer’s Mill, Howard’s, Brooks and Minshew’s Colored Schools in Old Fields, Taylors and Black Creek townships.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 October 1951.

94 acres, more or less.

Just two years into freedom, Patrick Williamson paid $163 to purchase his first real property at auction. According to his descendants, some of the land remains in the family’s hands:

This Indenture made the 28th day of January 1868 between Thomas Lamm administrator of Martin R Thorn deceased of the County of Wilson State of North Carolina of the first part & Patrick Williamson of the county & State aforesaid of the second part, Whereas at the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions held for the County of Wilson on the fourth Monday in October 1867 it was ordered by the said court in a said cause then pending in said court wherein Thomas Lamm administrators petitions that the land mentioned in the petition in this case be sold  on a credit of six months &c and Thomas Lamm in pursuance of said order did on the 22nd day of October 1867 sell at public auction the tract of land hereinafter described having first been given lawful notice of the time & place of sale by advertisements at which sale the land was struck off to Patrick Williamson for the sum of one hundred & sixty three dollars that being the high bid for the same & whereas said party of second part having complied with the terms of said sale & whereas the said Williamson hath fully paid off said purchase money together with all Lawful Interest, Now Therefore the Indenture witnesses that the said Thomas Lamb administrator had granted bargained sold & conveyed to the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns The tract of land in the county of Wilson known as the Martin R. Thomas tract adjoining the lands Wilie Lamm Ransom Thorn et al containing ninety four acres more or less to have & to hold the same to him & his heirs forever      Thomas X Lamm

A Barnes

The Execution of the foregoing deed was duly acknowledged before me by Thomas Lamm the subscriber this 29th day of Dec 1868 Let the same be registered.    A Barnes Probate Judge

Deed book 2, page 568, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson, Wilson County.

The demise of Grabneck.

These stories appeared in early and late editions of the Wilson Daily Times on 8 January 1924 and paint an unsurprising picture of the erasure of Wilson’s African-American Grabneck community.

One paragraph unabashedly spells it out, emphasis added: “The history of this Grab Neck property is interesting. Four years ago there were in this locality a number of small houses, that stood in the way of the progress of the city, and Mr. Roscoe Briggs put up the money in order to remove this obstacle.” Obstacle cleared; a “fashionable residence section” emerges.

The lots sold like gangbusters. Atlantic Coast Realty Company handled the auction, which pulled in $21.935. “The property, which was formerly owned by Mr. R.G. Briggs, and others, was divided into 26 lots, all of which faced on Nash Street. This property was purchased by Mrs. Cora M. Dupree, Mrs. Sarah E. Griffin and Messrs. Troy T. Barnes, J.C. Eagles and H.P. Yelverton.”

[Sidenote: Wilson Best held out for almost two more years. Pressure from “the people of Wilson” to remove obstacles to the gentrification of West Nash Street must have reached fearsome intensity by time he sold to Harry Abbitt in October 1925.]

Sale for taxes.

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Wilson Times, 5 May 1899.

This notice of impending sheriff’s sale for non-payment of property taxes included these African-Americans (and a reference to Washington Suggs):

  • Charles Barber — Or, Charles Barbour.  In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charley Barber, 41; sons Luther, 13, James and John, 7, and Hubert, 5; widowed sister Mary Tomlingson, 42, and her children Ella, 9, and Charley, 4; and boarders Turner Utley, 27, John Purkison, 31, and George Garrett, 25.
  • Morrison Barnes
  • Josephine Battle — possibly, Josephine Moore Battle. [Note that African-American women were not afforded honorifics in the Times.] Possibly, in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: laborer Paul Battle, 26; wife Josephine, 27; and children Clestia, 3, and Earnest Battle, 6 months, and Tiney, 8, and Jessee Moore, 6. In the 1900 census of Washington, D.C.: on Q Street, laborer Paul Battle, 46; wife Josephine, 40; and children Israel, 24, Austen, 17, and Indimuel, 11. (All were born In North Carolina except Indimuel, born in D.C.)
  • Dennis Batts — In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, farmer Dennis Batts, 46, widower; and children John H., 22, William A., 20, Mary J., 17, Patience, 15, Haywood, 13, Hattie, 11, Samuel, 9, Gorman, 6, and Rosa, 3.
  • Smith Bennett — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed brickmason Smith Bennett, 47, and daughter Addie, 20, with boarder Robert Wilkerson, 36; and lodgers Archie Williams, 34, and Samuel Wooten, 18.
  • F.K. Bird — Franklin K. Bird. In the 1900 census of Raleigh, Wake County: at 575 Blount Street, preacher Frank Bird, 42, wife Agnes, 36, and children Oscar S., 17, a laborer, Mamie, 15, a student, and Fred, 12.
  • Mark Blount — Marcus W. Blount. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: the widower Mark Blount, 38, a cook, and his children Coneva, 10, Dotsey, 9, and Theodore W., 6, were lodgers in the household of George Faggin, just a few households away from Samuel Vick.
  • John Boykin — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house mover John Boykin, 50; wife Dicy, 44, cooking; and children Sallie, 19, cooking, James, 18, day laborer, Dotia, 14, Susia, 14, Lillie, 10, and Eliza, 7.
  • Julia Bryant — Julia Suggs Bryant. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Harry Bryant, 34; wife Julia, 34; and sons Leonard, 10, and Leroy, 4. [Julia S. Bryant was the daughter of Washington and Esther Suggs.]
  • M.D. Cannon — Mack D. Cannon. Mack D. Cannon died 15 December 1938 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 210 Pender; was married to Bettie Cannon; was employed as a barber; was born in Oxford, North Carolina, to Henry Cannon and Mary Dinger; and was buried in Wilson. Marie Mathews was informant.
  • Clara Dupree
  • Julius Freeman — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 56 year-old carpenter Julius Freeman, wife Eliza, 46, and children Elizabeth, 19, Nestus, 17, Junius, 11, Ernest, 9, Tom, 6, Daniel, 4, and Ruth, 4 months.
  • Nancy Hardy
  • P. Horne — Pompey Horne?
  • Walter Kersey — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith John Kersey, 61; wife Julia, 53; and son Walter, 21; plus boarder William Joyner, who worked in the blacksmith shop. In the 1910 census of Center township, Marion County, Indiana: widower Walter Kersey, 40, a blacksmith, was a boarder in a household at 914 Weikel Street.
  • Sam McGowan — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, hotel porter Saml. McGown, 57; wife Ann, 42; and children Bettie, 18, and Margaret, 16, both nurses, Saml., 12, Minnie, 3, and Lanie, 1.
  • Charlie Parker — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: carpenter Charles Parker, 32; wife Maggie, 23; and children John, 6, Charles, 3, and Henry, 1 month, plus lodger Florence Hooks, 18.
  • Phillis Phillips — On 18 May 1893, Hood S. Phillips, 22, of the town of Wilson, son of H.C. and E.E. Phillips, married Phillis Gay, 24, of the town of Wilson, daughter of Wiley and Catharine Gay. Rev. H.C. Phillips performed the ceremony at the A.M.E. Zion church. Witnesses were Annie Mincy, Annie Thorn and Alex Warren.
  • Ed Pool — Edmund Poole.
  • John W. Rogers — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John W. Rodgers, 30; wife Mary E., 22; sister Minnie, 17; and boarder Sallie Barber, 35, described as “widowed.”
  • George Short — perhaps, in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer George Short, 39; wife Martha, 35; and children Lizzie, 8, Minnie, 5, and Dorah, 2, and boarder Basha Joyner, 47, farm laborer.
  • Dennis Smith
  • S.A. Smith — Simeon A. Smith. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: school teacher Simeon A. Smith, born 1849; his wife Minnie E., born 1865, also a teacher; and their son [sic] Georgie, 3, all natives of North Carolina.
  • George Thomas
  • G.H. Towe — Granville H. Towe. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: schoolteacher Granville Tower, 40, wife Rosa, 40, and children Ophelia, 21, Addie, 18, Stella, 15, Ambrose, 14, Granville, 12, Powhatan, 9, Marry, 7, and Sinclair, 7.