How that fact escaped the person who wrote this article, the person who described a boy as a “negro tenant farmer,” is inconceivable. Per his death certificate, Benjamin Summerlin was born 24 May 1919 in Wilson County to Benjamin Summerlin and Addaliza Rice. He died 5 November 1932.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Benjamin Sumerlin, 24; wife Pearl, 22; and sons Harvey, 4, and Benjamin, 6 months.
In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Analiza Sumerlin, 52, farmer, widow, and children Emma L., 18, Martha J., 15, Harry L., 16, and Bengiman, 10, all farm laborers. [It appears that Ben Summerlin’s death certificate contains a reporting error. Benjamin Summerlin was his father, but his mother was named Pearl. Annaliza Rice Summerlin was his (and Harvey Summerlin’s) grandmother.]
Isaiah Reid, a cousin of Henry S., Elijah L. and J.D. Reid, spent nearly all of his life in northern Wayne County, N.C. However, several of his children, including John R. Reid, Oscar Reid, Ida Reid Sutton, Bessie Reid DIggs, and Wade J. Reid, moved to Wilson County as adults, and he seems to have joined them there in retirement. In 1926, he suffered a broken leg when struck by an automobile near the intersection of Nash and Stantonsburg [now Pender] Streets.
In the 1860 census of Davis district, Wayne County: farmer John Reed, 34; Zany, 27; Jesse, 10, Wm., 8, Isaiah, 7, Pernesa, 4, Nancy, 3, Henry, 1, and infant, 2 months.
In the 1870 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer John Reed, 50; wife Mozang, 40; and children Jessee, 19, William, 17, Pernecy, 16, Isaah, 15, Nancy, 13, Henry, 10, Samuel, 8, Rhoda, 6, Dempsey, 3, and John G., 1.
In the 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer John Reed, 53; wife Mozannie, 52; and children William, 27, Isaiah, 26, Samy, 18, Dempsey, 13, Rhody, 14, Meszanie, 10, John G., 12, and Frank, 4.
On 24 December 1885, Isaiah Reid, 30, of Wayne County, son of John and Zania Reid of Wayne County, married Edy Evans, 20, of Wayne County, daughter of Harry and Lizzie Evans, in Pikeville township, Wayne County.
In the 1900 census of Pikeville township, Wilson County: farmer Isiah Reid, 47; wife Eidie, 34; and children John W., 17, Ida L., 15, Oscar, 8, Bessie J., 5, Waid J., 4, and Parthenie, 2.
On 27 October 1907, Isaiah Reid, 49, married Pernecie Best, in Nahunta township, Wayne County.
In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Isaiah Reid, 54; wife Perneacy, 33; son Oscar, 18; daughter Bessie, 15; “husband son” Waidy, 14; “husband daughter” Pheany, 12; “husband son” Ernnie, 15; and “husband daughter” Mabell, 14. [Actually, the first four children were Isaiah Reid’s, and the last two were probably Pernecie’s.]
In the 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: on Black Creek Road, farmer Isiah Reid, 65; wife Pernecy, 43; and children Mabel, Wade, and Almira, all 23 years old.
Probably, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Tilghman Road, Frank Cooper, 30, farm laborer; wife Jessie M., 23; children Christine, 4, Mary F., 3, and Frank, 1; and lodger Robert Battle, 37, farm laborer.
The cause of death on John Henry Evans‘ death certificate is fairly laconic: “brain injury due to auto accident.”
Newspaper accounts detail a more complicated story. About eight o’clock on the evening of April 11, Evans and J.D. O’Neal, on whose land he lived, were driving wagons to fertilizer to O’Neal’s farm near Lamm’s School [today, near the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 264.] The men stopped on the shoulder of the road to talk to O’Neal’s brother. Both wagons were lit with lanterns. Erwin Stewart of Durham smashed into other wagons in a Graham truck and flipped over in a ditch. According to witnesses, Stewart’s truck had only one headlight working and had drifted partly on the shoulder of the road. The wagons were demolished, one mule was badly injured, and John Henry Evans was first thought dead. He was rushed to the “colored hospital.” As his death certificate notes, Evans lingered for five days before succumbing to injuries to his head.
Wilson Daily Times, 12 April 1929.
For all the carelessness hinted at in the initial report, a month later, Stewart was acquitted of a manslaughter charge in Evans’ death.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: express wagon driver John Farmer, 48; wife Edmonia, 41, a laundress; and children George, 23, factory laborer; Paul, 19, hotel servant; Annie, 18; Mary, 16; Fannie, 14; Arthur, 8; Melton [Nelson], 6; and William, 4.
On 10 January 1924, Nelson Farmer, 21, of Wilson, of John W. and Edmonia Farmer, married Nancy Williams, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Dorsey and Ida Williams. Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of John Brooks, Samuel Bridges, and Gladys O’Kelly.
Nelson Farmer died 16 April 1935 in Petersburg, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born in October 1904 in Wilson to John W. Farmer and Edmonia Barnes; was married to Nancy Farmer; lived at 706 East Green Street; and worked as a laborer. George Farmer, 1207 Carolina Street, was informant.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Alice Gay, 45; daughter Beatrice, 26; grandson Jerome Wood, 11; granddaughter Gereddine, 10; son Albert, 30; daughter-in-law Anabell, 24; grandsons Albert Jr., 4, and Jesse, 2; son-in-law Fredrick Bolling, 35; daughter Lillie, 23; and grandchildren Delma, 4, and Fredrick, 2.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 623 Green, widow Annie B. Gay, 30, a laundress; husband Albert, 40, a bellboy; mother-in-law Alic, 73; and children Albert Jr., 14, Jessie, 11, Hal, 8, Samual, 6, Mirrian, 4, and Ralph, 2. The house was valued at $8000.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 623 Green, Albert Gay, 24, truck driver for retail furniture store; and his siblings Harrell, 19, Samuel, 17, Annie M., 14, and Ralph, 12; plus lodgers Mrs. Julia Russell, 40, and her son, Albert, 22.
After the car she was in collided with a train in Dunn, North Carolina, Bessie Manning of Wilson was rushed to the Atlantic Coast Line hospital in Rocky Mount, but died of her injuries. Tom Mingo died at the scene, and Viola Bullock at the A.C.L. hospital. Both were also Wilson residents.
Manning’s death certificate, filed in Nash County, does not reflect her residency in Wilson. However, her son Paul Kirk filed for letters of administration for her estate in Wilson County, estimating its value at $2500.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. Thank you!
In the 1930 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Rosco Ford, 48; wife Mary J., 37; and children Roxy L., 19, Iola, 17, Beatrice, 16, David, 14, Gestine, 13, John D., 11, Rosetta, 8, Virginia, 7, Horris C., 6, Ester J., 4, Mary L., 3, and Henry C., newborn.
In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Roscoe Ford, 55; wife Mary, 48; children Beatrice, 25, David Lee, 24, J.D., 21, Rose Esther, 19, Virgina, 17, Harries, 15, Esther, 14, Mary, 13, Henry Clay, 10, and Willie Clinton, 9; and grandchildren John Beregs, 4, and and Odain McKennon, 1.
Horace Clee Ford registered for the World War II draft in June 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 28 January 1924 in Wilson County; lived on Route 1, Elm City; his contact was Roscoe G. Ford; and he worked for Walter Pridgen, Elm City.
Horace C. Ford died 24 December 1944 in rural Wilson township, Wilson County “3 mi N of Wilson.” Per his death certificate, he was born 24 January 1924 in Wilson County to Roscoe Ford and Mary Jane Simms; was single; was a soldier in the U.S. Army; and was buried in William Chapel cemetery.
John Dawson died 18 March 1928. Per his death certificate, he was about 70 years old; lived in Wilson; and was a laborer. “Darden undertakers” were the informant and knew nothing else about him. Cause of death: “Run over by automobile by some unknown person killed instantly.”
Mattie Farmer was knocked down and killed as she crossed from one side of the 500 block of Nash Street, where she lived, to the other.
Mattie Farmer died 23 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 28 years old; was married Eli Farmer; lived at 522 East Nash Street; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Laurinburg, N.C., to Henry and Hattie McLaurin. She was buried in Rountree cemetery.