Lillie Mae Barnes Edmundson, age 99.

Lillie Mae Barnes Edmundson was called home to her eternal rest on Thursday [2 May 2013] at the Wilson Assisted Living. Born to the late Ed and Lula Mae Bullock Barnes in Wilson, North Carolina. She was ninety-nine years old.

Funeral service will be held Monday at 11 am at St. James Disciples of Christ Church, 514 Memorial Church Rd., Fremont, NC. The Rev. Tony Sutton will officiate. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery, Wilson, NC.

A viewing will be held Monday from 9:45 am to 10:45 am at St. James Church. The family will receive friends at 408 Whitehead Ave., Wilson, at all times and will assemble there one hour prior to service in preparation for the funeral procession.


In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Edwin Barnes, 45; wife Lula, 38; and children William, 10, Rosa, 9, Mary, 8, Berley, 7, Frances, 6, Louisa, 1, and James H., 1.

On 6 April 1935, Walter Williams, 22, of Toisnot township, son of Joe and Josephine Williams, married Lillie Frances Barnes, 21, of Toisnot, daughter of Ed and Lula Barnes, in Wilson. Witnesses were Eddie Barnes, Joe Williams and Lula Barnes.


Obituary online.

A sailor returns.

On 1 June 1956, 31 year-old Jesse F. Barnes set sail from Yokohama, Japan, aboard the U.S.S. General William Mitchell bound to arrive at the port of Seattle, Washington, in ten days. A native of Wilson and 1942 graduate of Darden High School, Barnes took passage in cabin class. The William Mitchell was a troopship that served with the United States Navy in World War II and the Korean War, regularly returned service men and women from Asia to Seattle.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 411 Singletary Street, odd jobs laborer Harry Barnes, 49; wife Rena, 46; and children William H., 22, Maggie, 17, Harry Jr., 16, David, 12, and Jesse F., 5; son-in-law Carter Powell, 30, and daughter Anna, 27.

Washington Passenger & Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Seattle, Washington, 1882-1965, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service 1787 – 2004, [database on-line],

Odelle Whitehead Barnes, age 99.

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Funeral service for Mrs. Odelle Whitehead Barnes, age 99, of Detroit, MI, formerly of Wilson, who died Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, at 11 am at Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, 571 East Nash St., Wilson. The Rev. Dr. Freddie I. Barnes will officiate. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Odelle was the fourth child of John Henry and Victoria Whitehead. She spent her formative years in Wilson where she attended and graduated from Wilson Colored High School (Darden High School). After graduating from high school, Odelle attended North Carolina College (NCCU) where she later graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA Degree in English. Later she enrolled in the University of Michigan where she earned an MA Degree in Speech Therapy. She was the first speech therapist for Wilson City School System. It was from this position that she retired.

On July 12, 1937, Odelle married Edward M. Barnes. They were married for sixty-five years.

Odelle was a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church where she served as president of the Nannie Barbour/Nancy Wilkins Missionary Circle; a Sunday School teacher, a Deaconess, as one of the founding members of the Fellowship Club, chair of the Board of Christian Education, a member of the Scholarship Committee and a member of three search committees.

Odelle’s community involvement included being a charter member of Alpha Chi Chapter and Gamma Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Her memory is cherished by her daughter, Carolyn Kent; two grandsons, George Howard (Janet) and Edward Barnes Kent; five great grandchildren; two sisters, Grace W. Artis and Victoria W. McCray; two brothers-in-law, Wilford McCray and Douglas Parks; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A viewing will be held Friday from 4 pm to 5 pm at Carrons Funeral Home. The family will receive friends at Jackson Chapel Church from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. They will receive freinds at other times at 2300 Tranquil Dr., Wilson, and will assemble there one hour prior to service in preparation for the funeral procession.


In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Henry Whitehead, 48, wife Victoria, 32, and children Willie, 27, Della Mae, 13, Catherine, 9, Odell, 7, James, 5, Grace, 2, and Rosalie, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, oil mill contractor Henry Whitehead, 53; wife Victoria, 42; Katherine, 19; Odell, 17; James, 15; Grace, 13; Rosalyn, 11; Herbert, 9; Gertrude, 6; Mabel, 4; and Victoria, 2.

On 12 July 1937, Odell Whitehead, 25, married Edward M. Barnes, 32, in Wake County.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: high school principal Edward M. Barnes, 34, and wife Odell, 28, a teacher.

In 1940, Edward Morrison Barnes registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 June 1905 in Wilson; resided at 913 East Green Street; was married to Odell Whitehead Barnes; and employed by the City Board of Education.

Obituary online.

Snaps, no. 9: Sallie Barnes Creech.

Sallie Barnes Creech (1883-1948).

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Elias Barnes, 60; wife Margarette, 60; and children Alexander, 20, and Sallie A., 17, both farm laborers. Living nearby, Wright Creech, 27; his first wife Lucy, 22; their children Leonora, 3, Richard, 2, and Pennina, 1; and servant Daisy Green, 8.

On 25 May 1907, Wright Creach, 34, of Cross Roads township, son of Fred and Peggie Creach, married Sallie Barnes, 23, of Cross Roads township, daughter of E. and Margaret Barnes, in Cross Roads township.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Wright Creech, 38; wife Sallie A., 26; children Leory, 13, Richard, 12, Penny, 9, Naomie, 7, Luther, 4, Lilly, 2, and Johnnie, 4 months; and Willie, 9, and Odalia Barnes, 7 [who were described as sons-in-law, but were actually Wright’s step-children and Sallie’s children.]

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on New Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer Right Creech, 48; wife Sallie, 37; and children Willie, 19, James O., 17, Maomie, 18, Luther, 14, Lillie May, 11, Alex, 9, Elizabeth, 8, Beulah, 6, Gertrude, 3, and David, 1.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Wright Creech, 56; wife Sallie A., 47; and children Lillie M., 22, Elex, 20, Elizabeth, 18, Gertrude, 13, David, 11, Sallie, 8, Genava, 6, Addie L., 3.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Seth Wilder, 37; wife Lillie May, 32; children Willie May, 2, and Seth Jr., 1; widowed mother Chestiney Wilder, 72; widowed mother-in-law Sally Creech, 57; and her children Sally, 18, Geneava, 16, and Addie Lee, 13; and lodger Walter Monque, 26.

Sallie Barnes Creech died 4 May 1948 at 612 Lodge Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 December 1887 in Wilson County to Larus Barnes and Margaret Barnes; was the widow of Wright Creach; and was buried at Mary Grove Church. Informant was Willie Barnes, Richmond, Virginia.

Many thanks to Edith Garnett Jones for sharing this photograph of her grandmother.

A colored man has him.

In 1909, Edna Newsome Wilder hired a lawyer to help her get custody of her grandson, 12 year-old Purley Newsome. Purley’s mother was dead, and his father absent and uninterested. A colored man named Willie Woodard, who was “of no kin” and lived in Black Creek township, had the boy and was ill-treating him.

Judge Charles M. Cooke heard the application for writ of habeas corpus. In a somewhat enigmatically worded Order, Cooke declared that it was “inadvisable” to make a final decision at the time and that Purley’s best interests were served by remaining with Woodard for a year. Edna Wilder and her sons — the boy’s uncles — were permitted to visit him at Woodard’s, and the boy was permitted to visit his grandmother once every three months. The hearing was postponed until September term of court, 1910, and Wilder ordered to pay costs.

I have not been able to identify Purley Newsome or Willie Woodard.

On 31 January 1900, Edna Newsome, 55, married Ishmael Wilder, 60, son of Ben and Clarissa Wilder, at Edna Newsome’s house in Cross Roads township. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the service in the presence of Grant Farmer, W.T. Barnes and L.H. Newsome.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Ishmael Wilder, 63; wife Edney, 55; and daughter Clora, 26.

The Wilders’ marriage, the second for both, did not last long. Ishmael Wilder is listed in the 1910 census of Springhill township as a divorced farmer, living alone. Edna Wilder is not found.

Writ of Habeas Corpus to End Child Abuse, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Divorce actions, part 1.

The files of nineteenth and early twentieth century divorce cases are housed at the North Carolina State Archives. This is the first in a series abstracting some of the folders of actions filed in Wilson County Superior Court. (The allegations of misdoing summarized are derived from court pleadings and were not necessarily true.)

  • Henry Artis v. Mary Ann Artis

May term, 1901. Married 4 January 1893 in Wilson. After about a year, defendant Mary Ann deserted plaintiff Henry. She also committed adultery with Jim Pool and others and was a “common prostitute.”


On 4 January 1893, Henry Artis, 20, of Wilson township, son of Richard and Eliza Artis, married Mary Ann Lewis, 19, of Gardners, daughter of John and Mary Lewis, in Wilson.

  • Tom Artis v. Ida Artis

November term, 1910.

  • William Artis v. Mollie Artis

May term 1906. Married December 1898 in Wilson County. Mollie abandoned William in December 1903. In 1905, she committed adultery with Noah Foreman.

  • James Artis v. Louvenia Artis

February term, 1914.


On 28 February 1908, James Artis, 29, of Gardners township, son of Jesse and Patsey Artis, married Louvenia Pleasant, 19, of Gardners, daughter of George Pleasant. Blount Best performed the ceremony.

  • George Barnes Jr. v. Milly Barnes

June term, 1896. Married 4 July 1895 in Wilson County by Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best. Witnesses produced at trial: Richard Eatman, Smith Battle, Jerry Scarboro, William Barnes, Reuben White, George Towe, Alfred Thompson and Alfred Woodard. Divorce denied.

Plaintiff George asserted that he was unaware that Milly was pregnant at the time of their marriage. When he discovered her condition three weeks later, he left her as he was not the child’s father. Defendant Milly responded that she was an “innocent young woman and was seduced by the plaintiff under a promise of marriage to yield to his embrace and that she became pregnant by cohabitation with him”; that he was the child’s father; and that she had never had “carnal intercourse” with any other man.

Richard Eatman, who was served his subpoena in Halifax County, testified that he was acquainted with Milly Barnes for a number of years, “having been raised in the same neighborhood” with her; that about four years prior he began to have sex with her from time to time for about a year; that he never promised to marry her; that he did not think she was “innocent” when he first had sex with her; and that she had admitted to him having sex with Daniel Barnes.

H.E. Bell testified that he lived near Milly and had known her a number of years and that she had the general reputation of “a woman of loose morals.” He also knew George: “he is a young colored man, of good habits, sober and reliable in every way, that his reputation for truth is as good as any colored man” that Bell knew. Also, Bell stated, Milly lived with her father, Hilliard Ellis, who “provides for her and is able to continue to do so.”


On 4 July 1895, George Barnes, 24, son of George and Anica Barnes, married Milly Ellis, 20, daughter of Hilliard and Feriby Ellis as Hilliard Ellis’ house. A.J.C. Moore applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of G.W. Ellis, William Roberts and General Barnes.

On 20 December 1900, Millie Ellis, 23, daughter of Hilliard and Phereby Ellis, married James Smith, 22, son of Pink Smith, in Taylors township.

William Barnes plantation.


“[T]he William Barnes house was built in a style which was popular in Wilson County between 1848 and 1860. Barnes was the brother of General Joshua Barnes, one of the most influential men in the area and a founder of Wilson County. Barnes was born in 1811. Like his brother, he was a planter, and by the time of his death he had accumulated over 1,000 acres. …The exterior of the Barnes house has remained basically unaltered except for the constriction of a two-story portico with Doric columns which dates circa 1914. The William Barnes House is very similar stylistically to the house of his brother. General Joshua Barnes, which was built circa 1845. The exterior consists of a plain two-story box with a shallow hipped-roof and a three-bay facade. A wide trabeated entrance, surmounted by a smaller door on the second floor, is located in the central bay. The unusual six-panel door is similar to those found on the Daniel Whitley House (also in Stantonsburg Township). The interior plan is that of a wide center hall with two large rooms located on each side. Major alterations have been made on the interior. A large two-story packhorse and small gable-roof storage building, both contemporary with the house, exist on the grounds.” — Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981).

The six-paneled door.


In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, 48 year-old farmer William Barnes’ listing notes that he owned real property valued at $35,000 and personal property at $89,000. The latter, of course, largely consisted of enslaved men and women, whose crucial role on his plantation went unmentioned in the description above. The 1860 census credits him as the owner of 10 men or boys and 16 women or girls, ranging in age from 1 to 60.

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Aerial shot of the Barnes House and outbuildings at the intersection of Fairfield Dairy Road and Highway 58.

Photograph of Barnes house taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2015; photo of door taken July 2017; aerial photo courtesy of Google Map.

Nadal’s neighbors.


This plat, drawn in September 1905, shows an irregular plot of land near Nash and Pended Streets. Part of the Anthony Nadal estate, the tract measured just under three acres. Wilson’s African-American community had begun to coalesce east of Pender, across from First Baptist Church, Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion and Calvary Presbyterian, and a close look at the plat shows some of Nadal’s neighbors.

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  1. John Mack Barnes, master builder, carpenter and brickmason, who would soon built Saint John, among other fine brick buildings.
  2. John W. Aiken, a horse dealer and liveryman.
  3. Rev. Owen L.W. Smith, just returned from his stint as consul to Liberia.
  4. John S. Spell, carpenter and contractor.
  5. Darden Alley, named for the Charles H. Darden family and called so to this day.

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Plat Book 1, page 17, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Lossie B. Barnes, 99.

Lossie Marie Baker Barnes died peacefully at her residence on Aug. 26, 2011.
The funeral will be held Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, at 11 a.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 106 S. Reid St. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Lossie Baker was born in Wilson County on April 23, 1912. She was the fourth child of James and Mollie Williams Baker. She was a vibrant, active and youthful woman as indicated in the accompanying photograph taken at age 98. In 1929, she married Clarence W. Barnes and was widowed in 2000. They were married for 71 years. Mrs. Barnes was a member of the Book and Garden Club, Starlight Chapter 251 of the Order of Eastern Star and the C.H. Darden High School Alumni Association. She was a loyal supporter of the Frederick Douglass High School (Elm City) Band Mothers; and, in the days when resources were nonexistent, she actually made majorette uniforms for the band. She was an active supporter of the Frederick Douglass High School Alumni Association’s Scholarship program, assisting high school graduates who wished to attend college. At the time of her death she was the oldest known member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Mrs. Barnes and her husband farmed for many years in Wilson County. However she is best known as one of the best, if not the best, seamstresses in Wilson County. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Mrs. Barnes made dresses for women for $2 and suits for men for $4 in order to send her oldest daughter to college. She was also an accomplished dressmaker and upholsterer, but even more exceptional were her skills in all aspects of interior design and commercial and residential drapery making. For many years she was head of the drapery department at J.C. Penney and Company and she also worked for Brewer Interiors in Rocky Mount. Lossie Baker Barnes was not a talker but rather a woman of action.

Surviving are five daughters of whom she was very proud: Marie Barnes Jones, Mollie Grace Barnes Corbin, Verona Barnes True, Jeraldene Barnes Massey and Alice Barnes Freeman (Charles); 11 grandchildren, Edwina Jones Simons (Craig), Raynite Corbin, Phillip Clarence Corbin (Deborah), Winifred Corbin-Ward (David), Aaron True, Rachel True, Noel Lossie True King (Robert), Stephanie Marie Massey, Alice Ray Massey, Charles E. Freeman (Julie), and Lossie Marie Freeman-Ross (Stephen); 10 great-grandchildren, Christopher Simons, Tiffany Simons, Javar Corbin, Justin Corbin, Taylor Marie Corbin, Gurvey Malone, Truman King, Clarence King, Neil Oliver Freeman and Nathan Freeman Ross; five nieces, Christine B. Ritchie, Catherine B. Slade, Ruby B. Spoons, Romain B. Harris and Mavis B. Harris; one nephew, Herbert Baker; and many other family members and friends.

Public viewing will be held Tuesday from 2 to 6 p.m. with the family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 4405 Wilson, NC 27894 or to the Frederick Douglass High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 2562 Wilson, NC 27894. The funeral cortege will depart 703 Blakewood St. at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Professional and personal services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home, 805 E. Nash St. Condolences may be directed to


In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, farmer James Baker, 40, wife Mollie, 33, and children Irena, 14, Moses, 12, Rony, 10, and Lossie, 7.

Clarence Barnes, 18, of Taylors township, son of Lovett and Lucy Barnes, married Lossie Baker, 16, of Wilson, daughter of Jim and Mollie Baker, on 21 January 1929. Rev. G.A. Wood, an A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony at his residence in the presence of Frank Harrison, McKinley Barnes and Victoria Barnes.

In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Clarence Barnes, 29; wife Lossie, 27; and children Marie, 10, Molly Gray, 9, and Virginia, 2; plus mother-in-law Molly Baker, 50.

The last will and testament of Henry Jones, alias Barnes.

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In May 1903, Samuel H. Vick swore in Superior Court that he had witnessed Henry Jones, alias Barnes, make his mark on will. Because Walter Hulin was deceased, his widow Hattie Hulin swore to the validity of his signature on the document.


In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Barnes, 35, and wife Milah, 30.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Barnes, 52; wife Mila, 40; son Amanuel Robins, 22; and boarder John Hardy, 20.

On 2 August 1899, Walter B. Hulin, 21, married Hattie Artis, 18, at the Artis home in Wilson. Rev. W.B. Perry, Episcopal, performed the ceremony in the presence of James Artis, Irine Winstead and Mrs. Barnes.

Mily Barnes died intestate in the late summer of 1909. Dr. F.S. Hargrave applied for letters of administration for her estate, estimated at $100 value.


North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],