The last will and testament of Rosetta Barnes.

Rosetta Barnes‘ undated will divided her property among her children. Daughter Wadie Barnes Rountree was to receive her mother’s “sewing machine and all … wearing clothes.” Son Henry Barnes received a bedstead and bed, as well as all her real estate, comprised of her “lots and house in ‘Grab Neck‘ a colored suburb of the town of Wilson.” Son Toby Barnes also received a bedstead and bed. Everything else was to be divided equally among her children.


On 18 August 1866, Short Barnes and Rosa Barnes registered their two-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Short Barnes, 35; wife Rosa, 21; and daughter Rena, 5.

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Short Barnes, 50; wife Rose, 45; and children Nancy, 14, Waity, 12, Martha, 10, Toby, 8, and Joseph, 6.

On 13 January 1891, Alexander Rountree, 21, of Taylors township, son of Rose Rountree, married Waity Barnes, 20, of Wilson township, daughter of Short and Rosa Barnes, in Wilson. Nestus Bagley, Warren Ellis, and Jesse S. Barnes were witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Rose Barnes, 59, and children Renner, 29, Toba, 24, Jose, 21, James, 17, Henry, 11, Bill, 9, and Maggie, 7.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widow Rosetta Barnes, 60, and sons Tobe, 27, widower, and Henry, 21, both wagon factory laborers. Rosetta reported that five of her ten children were living.

Roseter Barnes died 29 January 1914 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 70 years old; lived on Nash Street; was single [in fact, was widowed]; worked as a midwife; and was buried in Wilson [most likely, Vick Cemetery.] Henry Barnes was informant.

Wadie Rountree died 7 July 1926 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 February 1873 in Wilson to Short Barnes and Rosa Barnes; was married to Alex Rountree; and was buried in Wilson [probably, Vick Cemetery.]

Joe Barnes died 29 September 1933 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 53 years old; was born in Wilson County to Short Barnes and Rosa Etta Barnes; was a widower; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Wilson [probably Vick Cemetery.] Informant was James Barnes.

Tobe Barnes died 5 January 1955 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 February 1881 in Wilson County to Short Barnes and Rosa Farmer; was married to Hannah Barnes; and worked as a farmer. He was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery, Wilson.

Will of Rozetta Barnes (undated), North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998,

The obituary of Marian E. Barnes, school girl.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 June 1949.


On 12 June 1928, tobacco laborer Sylvester Barnes, 28, of Wilson, N.C., son of West Barnes and Ellar Mercer, married Effie Moore, 25, of Wilson, N.C., daughter of Ive Moore and Jennie Evans, in Danville, Virginia. Both were residents of Burlington, North Carolina.

In the 1930 census of Burlington, Alamance County, N.C.: odd jobs laborer Sylvester Barnes, 33; wife Effie, 30; daughter Eloise, 1; and sons Carl, 15, and Fred Gibson, 14.

Effie Barnes died 3 October 1933 in Burlington, Alamance County, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1896 in Alamance County to Ive Moore and Jennie Evans; was married; and did domestic work. She was buried in Alamance County.

Sylvester Barnes died 12 October 1936 at the Veterans Administration hospital in Oteen, Buncombe County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born June 1891 in Wilson to Wesley Barnes and Ella Mercer; was a widower; resided in Wilson; and was buried in Wilson [most likely, Vick Cemetery].

Elouise Watson Barnes died 10 January 1947 at the Wilson County Sanatorium, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 17 years old; was born in Burlington, N.C., to Sylvester Barnes of Wilson and Effie Moore of Burlington; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery. Lucy Watson was informant. [Like both her parents, Eloise Barnes died of pulmonary tuberculosis.]

Marion Elaine Barnes died 6 June 1949 in Alexandria, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 March 1932 in Alamance County, North Carolina, to Sylvester Barnes and Effie Moore; lived at 1303 Madison, Alexandria; and was a school girl. She was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery, Wilson, N.C. Lulu Jackson was informant.

[Marian Barnes was my distant cousin. She and my father shared great-grandparents in Willis and Cherry Barnes. We have met Marian Barnes’ aunt, Olivia Mercer Batts, her paternal grandmother’s half-sister, here; another aunt, Viola Barnes Bernard, her grandfather’s sister, here; and her half-brother Frank R. Barnes here.]

The last will and testament of William Barnes (1847).

William Barnes owned land on both sides of Black Creek and on Robin Swamp, Juniper Branch and White Oak Swamp in what is now Wilson County, but was Wayne County during his lifetime. His will, drafted in 1847, included these bequests:

  • to wife [Celia Pope Barnes], his land and house and a life estate in two negroes, Dennis and James
  • to the heirs of daughter Mary Newsom, a woman named Cansey
  • to daughter Christian Ferrell, a life estate in a woman named Tempy
  • t0 son Rufus Barnes, Matilda and Zilpha
  • to son Stephen Barnes, Hester and Mary
  • t0 daughter Mellesant Barnes, a life estate in a girl named Lusa
  • to daughter Elizabeth Barnes, Chane and Wille
  • t0 granddaughter Patsey Barnes (daughter of Simon Barnes), Hanner, Mary and Sil
  • to son Enos Barnes, Vice and Henery
  • Dennis and James were to be sold after Celia Pope Barnes’ death or remarriage, and the proceeds from such sale were to be divided among Barnes’ heirs, except Joseph Barnes, Jesse Boswell, and William Pope.

Barnes died in 1851.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek district, Wilson County: Enos Barnes, 23, farmer; wife Elizabeth, 23; son William, 4; and mother Celia, 60. Enos claimed a personal estate valued at $2843; Celia, $1875. In the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, Celia Barnes claimed two men, ages 53 and 28. Enos Barnes claimed an 18 year-old woman and a 15 year-old boy.

Chester Parker gets 30 years for murder of wife.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 May 1944.

Chester Parker‘s first murder victim was Ed Howard.


  • Chester Parker

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer David L. Parker, 39; wife Elizabeth, 38; and children William E., 15, Richard, 13, Anna, 12, Sarah, 10, Sylvanter, 9, Millie J., 7, Mary L., 5, Chester, 3, and John F., 7 months.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Floyd Ellis, 38; mother Cora Ellis, 60, widow; and boarder Chester Parker, 22; all farm laborers.

On 30 September 1937, Chester Parker, 28, of Taylor township, son of David and Liner Parker of Georgia, married Polly Barnes, 19, of Toisnot township, daughter of John and Pennie Barnes, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer Chester Parker, 32, and wife Pollie, 21, cook.

In 1940, Chester Parker registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. per his registration card, he was born 22 October 1905 in Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Box 225, Elm City, Wilson County; his contact was wife Polly Barnes Parker; and he worked for Raleigh Granite Company, Bailey, Nash County, N.C.

In October 1941, Parker, already on bond on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing his wife, was arrested again after threatening to kill her and then himself.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 October 1941.

Chester Parker died 9 July 1966 in Zebulon, Wake County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 January 1908 in Wilson County to David Parker and Elizabeth [maiden name unknown]; worked as a saw mill fireman; and was married to Odell Parker.

  • Pauline Parker

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Penny Edwards, 46, widow, and children Jesse J., 20, Sarah, 16, Mary, 14, Pollyanna, 11, and Arron, 9.

Polly Ann Parker died 24 April 1944 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 October 1918 in Wilson County to John and Pennie Barnes; was married; lived at 608 East Vance Street; and worked as a domestic. Cause of death: “gun shot wound of stomach; due to homicide.”

I will be glad to hear from you all.

Late in 1925, Rev. Thomas G. Clark, an African Methodist Episcopal minister in  Goshen, New York, pulled out a sheet of his official stationery to scrawl a short letter to his brother John H. Clark of Wilson.

Nov 29, 1925

Dear Bro. John,

I Trust you are well this leaves both of us well. I have not heard from you for some time. Nor any of the rest do you know how they are. Write & let me know. I am writing Jesse Barnes to send me some sweet potatoes & corn meal. How are you all getting on. I will be glad to hear from you all at any Time. I am

Yours, Tom


Jesse Barnes was very likely Jesse R. Barnes, whose farm adjoined the Clark family’s farm on what is now Bishop L.N. Forbes Street in Wilson. Jesse and Sarah Barnes Barnes sold their property to the Town of Wilson to establish Rest Haven Cemetery in 1933.

Original in my collection; thank you, J. Robert Boykin III.

The Edwin Barnes house, no. 2.

We read of Dr. Edwin Barnes’ plantation house here, of the church at which many of its formerly enslaved people worshipped here, and of some of those people here.

Virginia Pou Doughton’s papers contain 1981 photograph of the house, which was built about 1840 and staffed by a large complement of enslaved people.

The Edwin Barnes house was destroyed by arson in June 2005.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 June 2005.

Photographs — Edwin Barnes House, Stantonsburg, 1981, P.C. 1981.7; Virginia Pou Doughton Family Papers, Private Collections, State Archives of North Carolina. Thanks to Jennifer Johnson for bringing this collection to my attention. Librarians rock!  

The estate of Edith Joyner Barnes.

Edith Joyner Barnes, widow of Jesse Barnes, was mother of several of Wilson County’s wealthiest men, including county founder, farmer, slave trader and military man Joshua Barnes.

Edith Barnes’ 1848 will included these provisions:

  • a negro boy named Tony to grandson Jesse Barnes, son of Dempsey D. Barnes

  • “old Negro man Isaac” had “the priviledge of choosing for his master either of [her] three sons Elias Barnes William Barnes or Joshua Barnes his wife Violet to go with him” with money from her estate to support them for their lifetimes

  • “two negroes named Judy and Toppy,” valued at $600, to son Joshua Barnes

Edith Barnes died in 1849, and her estate entered probate. At November Term 1849, her sons petitioned the county court for the partition of the enslaved people not named in Edith’s will — Harry Sr., Harry Jr., Elisa, Hannah, Violet, Short, Celicia [Cecilia?], Cherry, Cass, Anarchy, Squire, Bob, Ginny, Mark, and Eny.

The estate file does not contain the order responding to the petition, or a distribution per its terms.


N.B.: Isaac Barnes and Vilet Barnes registered their nine-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace in 1866. In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Isaac Barnes, 35; wife Violet, 25; children Warren, 9, and Joseph, 4; Della Amerson, 21, and child Margaret, 1; and Larrence Barnes, 21. This young couple were children when Edith Barnes made her will in 1848 and could not have been the “old man Isaac” and wife Violet referred to.

Edith Barnes Will, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998,; Edith Barnes Estate File (1849), Edgecombe County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979,

Studio shots, no. 213: James M. Barnes Jr.

James M. Barnes Jr. (1923-1978), probably in Baltimore, Maryland.


In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: laborer James M. Barnes, 29; wife Minnie, 23; and son James, 5.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Pine Street, private family cook Minnie B. Barnes, 24 [sic], and son James, 15.

In the 1950 census of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland: at 1032 Monument Street, 2nd Floor, domestic worker Minnie Barnes, 42, separated, born in Alabama, and son James, 26, born in North Carolina, laborer at bathtub manufacturing company.

Photo courtesy of user Barnes_PA.

Plat map of Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church property.

Corner Line Primitive Baptist Church’s land was surveyed in 1980, and the plat map was drawn and filed in 1981. In August 2008, church trustees, acknowledging that  “Cornerline Primitive Baptist Church no longer uses the … property as its church,” determined that “it is in the best interest of the church that it be sold,” and, for a nominal price, transferred ownership to Elder Samuel Barnes, grandson of Cornerline’s long-time pastor Elder Wiley Barnes.