In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Preston Barnes, 27; wife Rosetta, 20; and children Samson, 5, Aulander, 3, and Sallie, 5 months.
Samptson Barnes died 3 August 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 22 years old; was born in Wilson County to Preston Barnes and Rosetta Williams; and was engaged in farming. Drew Barnes was informant.
Mary Jane Barnes — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widower Sampson Sharp, 57, and children Mary J., 19, Earnes, 17, Frankling, 15, and Eva, 13. Jacob Barnes, 25, of Wilson, son of George and Silvia Barnes, married Mary J. Sharp, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Sampson and Ella Sharp, on 8 April 1903. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of S.E. Dortsch [future wife of Walter S. Hines] of Goldsboro, Annie F. Connor of Charlotte, and Geneva Battle of Wilson. Mary J. Barnes died 27 October 1920 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 April 1881 in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Samptson Sharpe and Lillie (maiden name unknown); was married to Jake Barnes; and lived at 814 Nash Street.
Jake Barnes — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Jake Barnes, 40; wife Mary J., 38; and children Gretchard, 14, Fred O., 11, Walom E., 8, Eva F., 6, and Mattie G., 3; and brother-in-law Frank Sharpe, 34.
A January 31 News & Observer article tells the fuller background story. J.D. Holland of Wake County was out plowing a field near his house when he was robbed at gunpoint of his knife, a gold watch, and one dollar. “Mr. Holland was taken unawares by the negro and at the point of a pistol was first forced to give up his property and then take off all his clothes and plough several furroughs of land. The robbery was not at all welcomed by Mr. Holland, but the work of imitating Adam was very disagreeable to the Wake farmer.” This humiliation was equally disagreeable to Holland’s neighbors, who quickly formed an armed posse to hunt for a Black man “of yellow complexion, weighing about 160 pounds and wearing a slightly dark moustache.” They made one false capture before encountering Tip Barnes walking on railroad tracks near Millbrook and locking him in a store.
When the sheriff arrived, he found a “small crowd of citizens” gathered, who “merely wanted to see that the negro was placed behind bars.” Barnes, however, claimed a hundred armed people milled about all night, hollering “Lynch him!” Barnes further claimed that he could not be the culprit, as he had only arrived in Raleigh the previous morning, having skipped town when he and another man got in some trouble in Wilson. Though the reporter expressed doubt, as reported above, Barnes did in fact have an airtight alibi. He was in Wilson at the time of the robbery, being questioned by Wilson police about a completely different crime.
The news bureau took care to debunk two rumors, perhaps in the interests of lowering public temperature. First, it urged, the robber had not humiliated Holland by forcing him to strip naked and continue plowing. Nor was it true that Barnes “had narrowly escaped lynching” at the time of his arrest.
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Willis Barnes, 30; wife Cherry, 25; and children Rachel, 7, West, 5, Jesse, 2, and Ned, 5 months.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Willis Barnes, 42; wife Cherey, 20; stepdaughter[?] Rachel Battle, 17; children Wesley, 15, Jesse, 13, Ned, 11, Eddie, 7, and Mary Barnes, ; niece Ellen Battle, 2; and son Willey Barnes, 1.
On 21 September 1882, Mike Taylor, 20, Wilson, married Rachel Barnes, 19, of Wilson, in Wilson. Baptist minister Louis Croom performed the ceremony in the presence of W.T. Battle and Edmon Pool. [Prominent planter Howell G. Whitehead (Jr. or Sr.?) applied for the marriage license on Mike Taylor’s behalf, suggesting a personal relationship — most likely employment. Whitehead erroneously named Taylor’s father as “John” Taylor and admitted he did not know the names of Taylor’s mother or either of Barnes’ parents.]
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mike Taylor, 36, drayman; wife Rachel, 36; and childrenRoderick, 17, Maggie, 14, Mattie, 13, Maddie, 12, Bertha E., 8, and Hennie G., 6. Rachel and daughters Maggie, Mattie and Maddie were occupied at washing. Roderick and the youngest girls “go to school.”
On 16 May 1906, W.T. Taylor applied for a marriage license for Roddrick Taylor, 23, of Wilson, 23, son of Mike Taylor and Rachel Taylor, and Mary J. Pender of Wilson, 18. Fred M. Davis, Baptist Minister, performed the ceremony the same day at Mike Taylor’s in Wilson, with witnesses W.T. Taylor and Addie Rauls.
On 30 May 1906, W.I. Barnes, 22, married Madie Taylor, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Mike and Rachel Taylor, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of William Mitchell, Alex H. Walker, Roderick Taylor, and Sarah Ward.
On 10 August 1906, Sam Ennis, 22, of Durham, N.C., son of Freeman and Della Ennis of Smithfield, N.C., married Maggie Taylor, 20, of Durham, daughter of Mike and Rachel Taylor of Wilson, in Durham. Presbyterian minister I.H. Russell performed the ceremony.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lee Street, drayman Mike Taylor, 52; wife Rachel, 51, laundress; daughters Mattie, 21, Bertha, 18, and Henny, 16, laundresses; and niece Louise, 12.
Hennie Taylor died 25 December 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1897 in Wilson County to Mike Taylor and Rachel Barnes; worked as a domestic; and was buried in Wilson. Rodderick Taylor was informant.
On 14 January 1920, Bertha Taylor, 24, of Wilson, married Jimmie Reaves, 26, of Pitt County, in Wilson. Rev. B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Roderick Taylor, John Barber, and Van Smith.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 114 Lee Street, Mike H. Taylor, 50, cook in cafe; wife Rachel, 58; son [actually, nephew] Tom Perry, 12; bricklayer Van Smith, 33, and his wife Mattie, 28.
Rachel Taylor died 2 October 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 54 years old; was born in Wilson County to Willis Barnes and Cherry Barnes; was married to Mike Taylor; lived at 108 West Lee Street; was buried in Wilson; and worked as a laundress. Roddrick Taylor was informant.
Mike Taylor died 8 January 1927 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was about 68 years old; was the widower of Rachel Taylor; worked as a day laborer; was born in Wilson County to Green Taylor and Ferby Taylor; and was buried in Wilson. Roddrick Taylor was informant.
Roderick Taylor Sr. died 4 August 1947 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 March 1882 in Wilson to Henry Taylor and Rachel Barnes and worked as a barber. Informant was Mary J. Taylor, 607 East Green St., City.
Bertha Reaves died 18 June 1962 in Greenville, Pitt County, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 March 1891 in Wilson County to Henry Taylor and Rachel [no maiden name]; was married to James Reaves; worked as an elevator operator; and lived at 1400 West Fourth Street, Greenville. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.
When I found this stack of gravestones at the end of February 2020, I described the assemblage as a “broken granite marker support[ing] two intact concrete headstones, two marble footstones, and a few other chunks of rock.”
Yesterday, when I started prising the mound apart and snapping the wisteria runners that bound it, I quickly realized there was a whole lot more than had initially met my eye. And today — well, let me start where I ended:
Forgive me. Rachel Barnes Taylor was born in 1863 and died in 1925. (Her husband, my great-grandfather Henry Michael Taylor, died in 1927. Does his grave marker survive, too?) Her death certificate states only that she was buried in Wilson, N.C. I had not known if that meant Rountree or Odd Fellows or Vick cemetery. Odd Fellows it turns out. Nearly one hundred years after her death, I uncovered her stone face down, strapped to the earth by wisteria and covered in leaves and loam, in a jumble of more than two dozen other markers, several too broken to decipher. I’d say the ancestors approve of Lane Street Project.
I will speak more of Rachel Taylor later, but right now I want to call the names on the slabs I found with her:
In January 1899, a house owned by Annie Barnes and occupied by Ed Humphrey and George Rogers. The “two fire companies” that responded were, presumably, the all-white city department and all-black volunteer Red Hot Hose Company. Neighbor B.F. Briggs, as indicated by the honorific “Mister,” was white.
In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer George Bynum, 59; wife Tamer, 54; sons Robert, 18, and Jesse, 13; daughter Leesy McCoy, 25; son-in-law Willie McCoy, 22; grandchildren Joseph, 2, and Lossie, 1; and lodger Walter Taborn, 17.
In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Will McCoy, 34; wife Leesie, 32; and children Joe, 11, Lossie, 9, Nancy, 8, Robert, 4, and Mary, 3.
On 11 November 1916, John R. Barnes, 23, of Wilson, married Lossie McCoy, 15, of Wilson, in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister E.S. Hargrove performed the ceremony in the presence of Oscar Williams, Tom Jones, and Ervin Spells.
John Davis Barnes died 2 June 1919 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 1 month, 15 days old and was born in Wilson County to John Barnes and Lossie Coy.
In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer John A. Barnes, 32; wife Lossie, 25; and children Jessie, 12, John Jr., 7, Willie, 6, Robert, 3, and Joe, 1.
In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Barnes, 50; wife Lossie, 40; and children Jess, 18, Buddie, 16, Willie, 12, Robert, 10, and Joe, 8.
John Redmond Barnes died 26 October 1970 in Wilson. Per his death certificate he was born 9 August 1899 to Peter Barnes and an unknown mother; was married to Lossie Barnes; and was engaged in farming.
Lossie McCoy Barnes died in Wilson on 25 June 1988.
Nunnie Barnes‘ headstone is one of the largest standing in the cleared section of Odd Fellows’ cemetery. She died on 26 August 1921 in Wilson. Barnes was unmarried and had no children, but left a sizable estate. W.M. Farmer and R.G. Briggs filed for letters of administration of estate, naming her siblings Sarah Joyner, Annie Alexander, and Sam Barnes as heirs and estimating her estate as a one-quarter interest in a house and lot at 604 Viola Street (worth about $500) and other property totaling about $2400.
Nunnie Barnes’ name is elusive in the record, but we can find glimpses of her family. (Her sister, Sarah Barnes Joyner, was featured in the post about her home at 609 Viola Street.)
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Ellis [Ellic] Barnes, 27, teamster; wife Frances, 25; and children Minnie [possibly Nunnie], 2, Mary, 1, and infant, 1 month.
In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Alexander Barnes, 35, farmer; wife Francis, 33; Mannie [possibly Nunnie], 13, Stanley, 10, Louizah, 7, Sarah, 5, and Roscoe, 1. All were reported as born in Virginia, though Frances’ parents were described as North Carolina-born.
I have not found Barnes in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, but she appears in the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory as Nannie Barnes, a domestic living at 615 [now 609] Viola. Per her death certificate, she worked for Roscoe G. Briggs, the bank and cotton mill president who helped settle her affairs. [Ned Barnes was Briggs’ coachman and lived on premises in 1900, per the census. Ned was the son of Willis and Cherry Battle Barnes, and there is no known relationship to Nunnie Barnes.]
604 Viola Street (formerly numbered 615 and 612) in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson, N.C. Now demolished, the house is described in the 1988 National Historic Register nomination form as “ca. 1908; 1 story; extensively modified triple-A cottage; Masonite-veneered.”