The obituary of Louis Barnes.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 September 1935.


In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Farmer, 64; wife Barnie, 52; and children Lewis, 27, Nancy, 17, Caroline, 14, Gray, 13, and Spicey, 11.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Louis Barnes, 50; wife Jane, 40; and children Maggie, 17, Lucy, 16, Reese, 15, Oscar, 13, Hattie, 12, Grey, 10, Jimmy, 6, Wiley, 4, Henry, 3, Navis, 1, Charity, 7, and Mary Jane, 1 month.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Barnes, 57; wife Jane, 48; and children Lucy, 26, Hattie, 21, Gray, 20, Chairity, 18, James L., 16, Henry, 14, Navis, 13, Mary Jane, 11, Joe, 9, Needham, 7, and David, 2.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Lewis Barnes, 70; wife Jane, 58; children Maggie Bullock 35, widow, Lucy, 25, Lossie, 18, G. Mary, 17, Joseph, 16, Needham, 15, and David, 13; and grandchildren Charity, 5, and Oscar Bullock, 3.

Jane Barnes died 28 March 1924 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 65 years old; was married to Lewis Barnes; and was born in Johnston County, N.C., to Charity Cruddup.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: widower Lewis Barnes, 73; children Charity, 27, Needam, 25, and David, 23; grandchildren Roscoe Barnes, 15, and Hannah Bullock, 17; and boarder William Richardson, 25.

Louis Barnes died 16 September 1935 in Gardners township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 82 years old; was born to Grey Barnes and Bannie Barnes; and was a widower and a farmer. Lucile Batts was informant.

The obituary of Frances Woodard Barnes.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 June 1938.


In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: carpenter Morrison Woodard, 47, wife Martha, 32, and children Nancy, 18, Arche, 17, Cherry, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 8, Jane, 7, John, 4, Martha, 1, and Mary, 2 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township (south of the Plank Road), Wilson County: farmer Morrison Woodard, 56, wife Martha, 45, and children Frances, 17, Jane, 15, John, 13, Martha, 11, Fena, 8, and Maggie, 3.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Short W. Barnes, 38; wife Frances, 40; daughters Armena, 13, and Maggie, 6; and cousin Ella, 19.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: carpenter Short Barnes, 50; wife Francis, 50; daughter Maggie, 16; and Mark Ellis, 25.

In 1917, Clarence Allen Crawford registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 23 September 1891 in Durham, North Carolina; resided at 617 East Green Street; worked in brick laying for Wilkins Brothers; and supported a wife and child.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 617 Green, carpenter Short W. Barnes, 60; wife Francis, 62; son-in-law Clarence A. Crawford, 28, brickmason; daughter Maggie L., 26; and grandchildren Verest A., 2, and Clarence A., Jr., 9 months. Barnes owned his house free of mortgage.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: carpenter Short W. Barnes, 70, wife Francis, 71, daughter Maggie Crawford, 36, son-in-law Clarance Crawford, 39, and their children Verda, 13, Clarance, 10, and Annie, 8. The house was valued at $6000.

Frances Barnes died 30 May 1938 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 78 years old; was born in Wilson County, N.C., to Morrison Woodard and Martha Thorn; was married to Short W. Barnes; and lived at 616 East Green Street. Maggie Crawford was informant.

Governor’s Day attendees.

Baltimore Afro-American, 11 June 1938.

William and Ethel Cornwell Hines, “Mrs. M. Darden” (probably Naomi Duncan Darden), and Flossie Howard Barnes traveled to Richmond, Virginia, in 1938 to attend a Governor’s Day program. (I have no information on either the purpose of the program or why North Carolinians would have been interested.)

Studio shots, no. 178: James P. and Mattie Atkinson Barnes.

James Perry Barnes (1895-1960).

Mattie Mae Atkinson Barnes (1895-1951).


In the 1900 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: farmer Perry Barnes, 50; wife Lizzie, 50; and children Clarky, 26, Nettie, 18, Sarah F., 16, Jesse, 13, Rosetta, 9, and James P., 5.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Archabald Atkinson, 48; wife Martha M., 34; and children Mary F., 19, Spicy J., 17, Roxanna, 15, Narcissua, 13, Carline, 11, Minnie L., 8, Adlina, 6, and Mattie M., 3.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Archabold Atkinson, 58; wife Martha, 44; children Roxanna, 25, Ossie, 23, Caroline, 20, Elisabeth, 18, Adaline, 16, Mattie, 13, Addie, 8, and James R., 4; and granddaughter Eldora Cherry, 7.

On 13 February 1919, James Barnes, 24, of Springhill township, son of Perry and Kissie Barnes, married Mattie Atkinson, 21, of Springhill township, daughter of Arch and Martha Atkinson, at “the girls resident” in Springhill. Baptist minister Robert Mack Robinson performed the ceremony in the presence of Purcy Kent, Frank Kent, and Jesse Barnes.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on R.L. Scott Mill Road, farmer James P. Barnes, 24; wife Mattie M., 22; and son James A., 4 months.

In the 1930 census of Oneals township, Johnston County: farmer James P. Barnes, 45; wife Mattie, 43; children James A., 10, General A., 7, Mattie M. and Maggie M., 5, Oralee, 2, and Willard, 6 months, and mother Kizzie, 79.

In the 1940 census of Oneals township, Johnston County: farmer J.P. Barnes, 45; wife Mattie, 43; children James A., 20, Archie, 17, Mattie Mae, 16, Maggie Mae, 15, Ola Lee, 12, John W., 9, William R., 8, Lula Bell, 6, Annie Bell, 4, and Thedo R., 1.

Mattie Mae Barnes died 24 November 1951 in Kenly, Johnston County. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 April 1895 in Wilson County to Archie Atkinson and Martha Atkinson; was married to James P. Barnes; lived in Kenly; and worked in farming.

James Perry Barnes died 5 March 1960 in Kenly, Beulah township, Johnston County. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 February 1895 in Johnston County to Perry Barnes to Kizzie Barnes; was a farmer; and was a widower.

Photos courtesy of user Tynetta Willis-Nayteh.

Studio shot, no. 176: James Edward Barnes.

James Edward Barnes (1926-1955), in his World War II uniform.


In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Frank Barnes, 22, farm laborer; wife Iantha, 17; and children James E., 4, and Oza, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 311 New Bern Street, owned and valued at $700, John Scott, 82; wife Sarah, 42, cook; son-in-law Fate Daill, 38, tobacco factory laborer; Fate’s wife Iantha, 32, tobacco factory laborer; their children Ollie, 15, and Clyde, 10; and grandchildren James, 14, Inza, 13, and Atha Barnes, 12.

James Edward Barnes registered for the World War II draft in 1944. Per his registration card, he was born 26 February 1926 in Wilson County; lived at 410 Lane Street; his mailing address was 1018 1/2 Wainwright Avenue; was unemployed; and his contact was Iantha Dale.

On 26 May 1947, James Edward Barnes, 21, of Wilson, son of Frank Barnes and Iantha Scott Barnes, married Dorothy Lee Watson, 18, daughter of John McNeal and Virginia Pendergrass, at Watson’s grandmother’s house in Toisnot township. Elder William Mercer performed the ceremony in the presence of Joseph Knight, Leland Pendergrass, and Jannie Barron.

James Edward Barnes died 5 December 1955 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 29 February 1926 in Wilson County to Frank Barnes and Iantha Scott; was married; was a World War II veteran; worked as a candy cook for Acme Candy Company; and lived at 307 Lane Street, Wilson. Informant was Dorothy Lee Barnes.

Dorothy Watson Barnes applied for a military headstone for James Edward Barnes on 6 December 1955 via Talmon Hunter of Hunter’s Funeral Home. The application indicated that he served in the U.S. Navy as a Steward’s Mate 2nd Class between June and November 1944

Photo courtesy of user scottywms60.

Ben Mincey’s legacy.

I stumbled upon this history of the East Nash Volunteer Fire Department while searching for information about Frank W. Barnes. First, I’ll highlight the fascinating details of the career of Benjamin Mincey, the early twentieth-century chief of the Red Hot Hose Company. Then, though it happened well after the period of this blog’s focus, I’ll outline the history of inspiring story E.N.V.F.D., which carries on the 130+ year legacy of the Red Hots.

John Mincey, one of the leaders in the [Volunteer Fire Department], gets his firemanship naturally. A teacher at Speight High School, Mincey is the son of the late Ben Mincey, long a champion of the Negro fire organization in Wilson and North Carolina.

“The elder Mincey served several years as captain of the Negro fire company with the Wilson Fire Department.

“His company, considered one of the top Negro fire-fighting companies anywhere, was appropriately dubbed ‘The Red Hot Hose, Reel and Truck Co.’

“During statewide competition, Mincey’s company virtually walked off with first prize in every contest — including reel races, truck races and fire extinguishing.

“An employe of the city fire department for nearly one-half century, Mincey died in August of 1959.

“He was carried to the Rountree Church [actually, Odd Fellows] cemetery aboard a city fire department, and resting above his grave today is a fire hydrant, symbolic of his love for fire-fighting.

“Mincey started to work for the city fire department when there were no trucks and when the reels had to be pulled by the firemen.

“He had a fire alarm hooked up to his house and connected the main station. When it rang, he was off and pedaling his bicycle to the blaze.

“It has been said that Mincey was the fastest bicyclist in the city.

“During his service with the city, Mincey fought nearly every major major fire.

“Mincey was one of the leaders of N.C. Colored Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and worked in every department of the association.

“Before he died, he received an award for saving a family trapped in a home during a serious flood.”

Wilson Daily Times, 7 March 1965.

Now, in a nutshell, the story of E.N.V.F.D.:

In the 1950s, Clarence Hoskins, David Suggs, J.E. Williams, Henry Hagans, and L.H. Coley began meeting in a back room at Frank W. Barnes’ Sanitary Barber Shop to discuss the urgent need for firefighting services east of U.S. Highway 301. As interest grew, the group moved to Brown Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and then Rountree Missionary Baptist Church to accommodate larger gatherings.

The group sold barbecue and chicken dinners to raise money. The fire that destroyed Clarence Hoskins’ home in 1960 and other catastrophic losses spurred them in 1962 to establish a $25 per home assessment to build and equip a fire station.

In 1964, the group received a state charter as a volunteer fire department. They bought two second-hand trucks and sent them to Rocky Mount to be converted into fire engines. The next built their own building with donated labor. By then, they were $7000 in debt.

In 1965, Wilson County approved the department, added it to the county’s rural fire system, and began issuing $100 per month in funds. E.N.V.F.D. continued its weekend plate sales to retire its debt.

East Nash Volunteer Fire Department remains active, with a main facility on N.C. Highway 91 east of Wilson and a sub-station on U.S. 301.

“Mary, Mary, Mary!”

News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7 May 1907. 

The setting: the former plantation of Joshua Barnes, then three miles north of Wilson and now on the outskirts.

Several people gathered at Willie Barnes‘ home to go together to a dance in the neighborhood. Barnes was eating his evening meal, and his wife, children, and neighbors sat before the fire. Mary Talley suddenly rushed in. Moments later, her husband Robert Talley appeared in the doorway, cried “Mary, Mary, Mary!,” and emptied a shotgun barrel into his wife’s hip. Willie Barnes grabbed the gun, which discharged its other barrel into the ceiling. Mary Talley lost considerable blood, but the wound was judged not serious. A sheriff’s posse found Talley holed up in his residence with a loaded gun, but arrested him without incident.

I haven’t found anything further about this incident. However, Robert Talley went to prison, he didn’t stay long. He appears in the 1910 census of Wilson … with Mary Talley.


In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Robert Talley, 23, and wife Mary.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Robert Talley, 31, store janitor; wife Mary, 28, cook; and three boarders Lula Vick, 18, cook, Rachel Miller, 19, cook, and Buster Miller, 15 months.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tally Robert (c) lab 409 N Pine

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Talley Mary (c) dom h Young’s New Line nr Water Works rd

Mary M. Talley died 22 May 1945 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 57 years old; was born in Asheville, N.C., to Eleck Robinson and Dora Miller; was single; and lived at 200 West Lee Street. Rachel Ellis, 200 West Lee, was informant.

Minutes of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Association.

Primitive Baptist churches organized themselves in associations, and African-American congregations in Wilson County were members of several, including Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association and Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Association.

In November 1918, the Eighth Annual Session of the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Association met at Stony Creek Church in Nash County. On the first day, the delegates voted to hold the next year’s session at Corner Line Church in Wilson County. The published minutes noted that Bethlehem P.B.A.’s member churches had been members of Radicue P.B.A. until 1910, when “trouble arose” between an Elder A. Wooten and Elder N. Johnson of Few-In-Number Church in Edgecombe County. The men could not (or would not) agree to resolve the matter via ordinary channels, “[t]herefore, we the church at Few-In-Number, would not give up for our member to be tried in such an disorderly way. This is why they call us in disorder. We hope the Lord will show our brethren their wrong. This done by order of the church, assisted by five other churches joining us.” In other words, six churches broke with Radicue to form their own Association.

The minutes’ Table of Statistics reveals three Wilson County churches in the Association: Conner [Corner] Line, New Hope, and Traveler’s Rest. Elder S. Buston [Samuel Burston] of Sharpsburg helmed Corner Line, and Wiley Barnes and Peter Barnes were delegates to the Session from that church. The church reported having baptized no new members the previous year, but receiving one by profession of faith for a total membership of 16. New Hope had no sitting elder, but was represented by A. Horne and Kelley Johnson. The church had received one new member by profession, another by letter (from his or her home church), and had 14 total members. Traveler’s Rest was led by Elder J.H. Winston of Pinetops (in Edgecombe County) and was represented by B.F. Davis and Nathan Lucas. Though the church had only six members, it had baptized one the previous year and received two by profession. It had also dismissed two members.

From Minutes of the Eighth Annual Session of the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Association Held With the Stony Creek Church, Nash County, N.C. (1918).

Edgecombe County’s Living Hope church hotel the 11th annual session in 1921. Elder Burston was moderator, and Brother Wiley Barnes was one of two men chosen “to stand to preach for the people.” That evening, Brother Barnes sang the hymn on page 490 (of an unnamed hymnal)* and preached from Acts 9:2 — “And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

In October 1923, Bethlehem P.B.A. convened at Wilson County’s little Travelers Rest Primitive Baptist Church.

Cover, Minutes of the Eighth Annual Session of the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Association Held With the Traveller’s Rest Church, Wilson County, N.C. (1923).

Elder Burston was again appointed moderator, and Brother Wiley Barnes was one of two men chosen to preach. On Saturday morning, Brother Barnes sang the hymn on page 530 and preached from Ezekiel 36:3 — “Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people.”

As always, the Association closed its Session with its touching “Circular Letter”:

In 1925, Bethlehem P.B.A. held its annual meeting at Bethlehem Church in Edgecombe County. The Association favorably received a request from Diggs Chapel (in northeast Wayne County, just over the Wilson county line) to join the Association. Wiley Barnes of nearby Stantonsburg had been elevated to Elder and led this congregation.

The Association returned to Corner Line in October 1927. Elder Burston preached the introductory sermon from I Corinthians 1:1. Elder Barnes lined a hymn and preached from Exodus 3:7-8 — “7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” In 1927, Corner Line had 18 members; New Hope, 17; and Traveler’s Rest, 15. The delegates chose New Hope, “nine miles from Elm City and ten miles from Wilson,” for the next meeting.

Elder Burston died in 1930. Elder Wiley Barnes took over leadership of Corner Line and New Hope, in addition to Diggs Chapel. J.H. Winstead of Tarboro headed Traveler’s Rest.


  • Sam Buston — Samuel Burston died 29 April 1930 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 50 years old; was married to Lucy Burston; was a preacher; and was born in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Henry Burston and Rachel Taylor. Lucy Burston, Sharpsburg, was informant.
  • Wiley Barnes
  • Peter Barnes
  • A. Horne
  • Kelley Johnson — in the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Kellie Johnson, 32; wife Bloomer, 26; and children Arthur, 10, Elizabeth, 8, L. Rosa, 6, Kelly Jr., 5, Willie, 3, and Bloomer, 2.
  • B.F. Davis
  • Nathan Lucas — in the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on the south side of Stantonsburg Road, tenant farmer Nathan Lucas, 49; wife Dilsey, 35; children James, 19, Dora, 17, Odell, 11, and Peter M., 4; sister Susan Lucas, 46; and grandson Lacey J. Edwards, 1 month. Nathan Lucus died 30 September 1921 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate he was 52 years old; was married; worked as a farmer for H.E. Thompson; and was born in Johnston County to Amos Lucus. James Lucus, Stantonsburg, was informant.

I have not identified the locations of Traveler’s Rest and New Hope Primitive Baptist Churches.

*[Update: The hymnal may have been Hymn and Tune Book for Use in the Old School or Primitive Baptist Churches, compiled by Silas H. Durand and P.G. Lester and first published in 1886. The scores of the hymns include both shape-note and conventional notation.]

Minutes digitized at Divinity Archive, a project of Duke University Divinity School Library and partner institutions. 

Lane Street Project: the Hines-Barnes family.

Lane Street Project draws its logo from the white marble headstone of Della Hines Barnes, the most prominent marker in the fully cleared front section of Odd Fellows Cemetery. Beside it, leaning somewhat, is the headstone of her husband, Dave Barnes. Their children — Della’s sons Walter and William Hines and their half-brother, Dr. B.O. Barnes — had real estate wealth that came closest to rivaling that of their neighbor across Green Street, Samuel H. Vick

The size of the plot suggests space for two to three additional full-size graves. Walter S. Hines died in 1941 and may be buried there, but his grave marker lies some 50 feet away, askew, and apparently displaced. Della and Dave Barnes’ four youngest children died within just a few years between 1910 and 1930, and Dave’s son Efford Barnes died a few months after his father in 1913. It is likely they are buried in this plot, but it surprising that their graves are unmarked. 

Walter S. Hines’ small marble marker, perhaps a footstone, about 50 feet from his mother and stepfather’s headstones.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.