automobile accident

He heard a bump and stopped; second highway death in three days.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 August 1942.


  • Fred Woodard — in the 1940 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Fred Woodard, 36; wife Maggie, 36; and children Roy, 15, John D., 13, Doris N., 11, Fred Jr., 9, and Rosie Lee, 7. Fred Woodard died 30 August 1942 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1904 in Wilson County to William Woodard and Cora [maiden name unknown]; was engaged in farming; and was buried in Newsome cemetery.
  • George Allen — in the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George Allen, 45; his children George Love, 18, Clinton, 16, Ula Pearl, 14, Petronia, 13, and Josephine, 10; niece Jessie, 18; sister Rosa Creech, 35, and niece R. Virginia Creech, 14.
  • Mamie Daniel — in the 1940 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Louis Daniel, 56; wife Mamie, 42; and farm hand Willie R. Bynum, 18. Mamie Daniel died 27 August 1942 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1902 in Johnston County, N.C., to Willie Wilson and Phillis Smith; was married to Louis Daniel; and was buried in Beckie Pate cemetery.

Peoples suffers fatal heart attack while driving.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 March 1950.

Tragedy befell Eugene “Genie” Peoples and his son Earnest Peoples at nearly the same spot south of Elm City two years apart.


In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: odd jobs farm laborer Jennie Peoples, 52; wife Ella, 51; and children Gennie, 19, garage laborer, William, 13, Ernest, 10, Clifton, 8, and Annie, 5.

Earnest Peoples registered twice for the World War II draft, first in 1941 in Wilson County. On that registration card, he was born 5 January 1922 in Wilson County; lived in Elm City; his contact was his brother-in-law McKinley Whitley; and he was unemployed. In 1942, he registered in Union County, New Jersey. Per that registration card, he was born 5 January 1922 in Elm City, N.C.; lived at 276 Carnegie Place, Vaux Hall, Union County; his contact was Pattie Johnson of the same address; and he was employed by Woolworth Company, Irvington, New Jersey.

Ernest Peoples died 30 April 1948. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 January 1922 in Wilson County to Genie Peoples and Ella Parker, both born in Northampton County; lived on Railroad Street, Elm City; and worked as a laborer. His cause of death: “decapitation and dismemberment of body due to Train #91 South Atlantic Coast Line R.R. passing over body.”

Genie Peoples died 15 March 1950 in Elm City, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born November 1886 in Jackson, Nash County, to Henry Peoples and Leair Peoples; resided on Railroad Street, Elm City; was married; and worked as a carpenter. Informant was Cora Robbins, Elm City.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Three killed in crash in Dunn.

A road trip from Wilson to Fayetteville ended in the deaths of three people when a train hit their car in Dunn, North Carolina. Tom Mingo, Viola Bullard (or Bullock), and Bessie Manning was transported 70 miles to the Atlantic Coast Line hospital in Rocky Mount (standard practice at the time), but succumbed to their injuries.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1926.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 June 1926.

  • Mezinge Jamaica, or Tom Mingo — Thomas Mingo is listed in the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as laborer living at 721 Viola.
  • Viola Bullard or Bulluck
  • Bessie Manning — Bessie Manning is listed in the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as a factory hand living at 510 Pettigrew Street.

Clippings courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Groom killed an hour after marriage.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 November 1948.

In the 1930 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Robert Fate, 33, born in South Carolina; wife Mionna, 31, also born in South Carolina; children Alice, 17, Willis H., 17, Persey, 11, Geneva, 7, Robert Jr., 5, and May E., 2; mother-in-law Alice Jurant, 55, and father-in-law Melvin Jurant, 56.

In the 1940 census of Mannings township, Nash County, North Carolina: Robert Fate, 43, farmer on rented farm; wife Miona, 39; and Geneva, 16, Robert Junius, 15, Mary Etta, 12, Curtis Lee, 9, and Eddie Lee, 6.

Miorina Fate died 21 September 1947 in Bailey, Nash County. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 October 1901 in Florence, South Carolina, to Will Carter and Alice Green and was married to Robert Fate. 

Robert Fate, 55, of Wilson, married Anna Riley, 45, of Sims, on 29 November 1948 in Wilson.

At 5:45 P.M. the same day, Robert Fate was declared dead, struck by a car on U.S. Highway 264 near Sims. 

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Coleman knocked off truck and killed.

James Walter Coleman was knocked off a truck running board and into the road, where he was fatally struck by another vehicle. In the darkness, neither Coleman’s family nor occupants of the other vehicle involved immediately understood what had happened. The terrible details came together during a coroner’s inquest. The Colemans’ truck had been badly overloaded, with furniture protruding out over the center line. With his family crammed inside the cab, Coleman was riding on the truck’s running board when an oncoming truck loaded with cabbage slammed into the furniture, pitching Coleman onto the ground and under the wheels of the cabbage truck or the vehicle just behind it.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 April 1930.

In the 1900 census of Bailey township, Nash County, N.C.: John Colman, 28; wife Fanny, 32; and children Adna, 4, Bessie, 4, and James W., 11 months.

In the 1910 census of Dry Wells township, Nash County: farmer John Coleman, 41; wife Fanny, 43; and children Adner, 15, Bessie, 13, James W., 11, Dessie, 9, William, 7, Theodore, 5, Sallie E., 3, and Lincey, 1 month.

In 1918, James Walter Coleman registered for the World War I draft in Nash County. Per his draft registration card, he was born 7 June 1899; lived at Route 1, Middlesex, Nash County; and worked as a farmer for John Coleman, Route 1, Middlesex.

In the 1920 census of Beulah township, Johnston County, N.C., James Coleman, 20, is listed as a fired man/farm laborer.

On 24 August 1921, James W. Coleman, 23, married Johnnie Ann Keys, 19, in Johnston County.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Coleman, James W lab h 1206 Carolina St

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Coleman James W (c; Annie) cook h 1204 Carolina St

James Walter Coleman died 1 April 1928. His death certificate gives little hint of the horrific manner of his death.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.



Fatal auto crashes.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 December 1929.


  • 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 

The average negro will drive a car exactly like he drives a horse.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 December 1916.

Though this whole opinion piece is cast in racialized terms, the writer (the Times editor? so nearly killed? if so, his writing is atrocious) slips and admits that bad driving cut across caste — “some white drivers will do the same thing.” 

Only in the second paragraph does he turn to the matter of correcting the previous day’s factual errors — Pearlie Hodges, not Cliff Williams, was driving the car that struck Mr. Oettinger’s car (only white people received the honorific Mr., Mrs. or Miss by the journalistic standards of the day), and Ernest Brown wasn’t there at all.

Fatal auto accident on the road to Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 November 1918.


While trying to pass a wagon on the road from Black Creek to Wilson (probably today’s Black Creek and Frank Price Church Roads), Johnnie Williams smashed his automobile into a telegraph pole, killing Washington Joyner and injuring Coot Robbins and Hiram Faulkner.

  • Johnnie Williams
  • Washington Joyner — George Washington Joyner.
  • Coot Robbins
  • Hiram Faulkner — probably, Hiram Faulkland.

Underwood brothers struck by a car.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 November 1917.

A drunk driver struck a light pole then careened into two boys standing near the intersection of Nash Street and Stantonsburg Road (now Pender Street) in Wilson. Though seriously injured, both recovered under the care of doctors at Wilson’s Black hospital.

  • Dr. Gilliam — Matthew S. Gilliam.
  • Dr. Hargrave — Frank S. Hargrave.
  • Herman and Eddie Underwood Jr. — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 663 Nash Street, farm operator Edd Underwood, 45; wife Ophelia, 29; and sons Edd Jr., 9, and Herman, 5.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.