Battle

Charlie Battle, “horse shoeing a specialty.”

Wilson Daily Times, 8 May 1896.

Charles Battle was a well-known blacksmith in late 19th century Wilson. 

The 1897 Sanborn fire insurance map shows two blacksmith shops near Frank Daniels’ Cotton Gin. The one at left, most nearly opposite the gin, is likely Battle’s shop.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Happy birthday to a son of East Wilson!

This photograph accompanied the very first Black Wide-Awake post on 5 October 2015. Today is Michael E. Myers‘ birthday. He, as you can see, is my lifelong friend, and has deep roots in East Wilson.

Here, we’re seated on my mother’s lap on the front steps of the East Green Street home of Michael’s great-grandparents, Rev. Fred M. Davis and Dinah Dunston Davis. Rev. Davis was a long-time pastor of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist church. Michael’s maternal great-uncle Fred M. Davis Jr. was active in 1930s and ’40s voter registration efforts in Wilson. His great-aunt Addie Davis Butterfield was a teacher at Samuel H. Vick Elementary School, and her husband was dentist George K. Butterfield Sr. (Which, of course, makes Congressman G.K. Butterfield Jr. his cousin.) On his father’s side, Michael’s great-grandmother Grace Battle Black was a close pal of my great-great-aunt, nurse Henrietta Colvert. Grace Black’s sister Roberta Battle Johnson was one of the teachers who resigned from the Colored Graded School after the Mary Euell incident in April 1918. (My grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks was one of the children who withdrew from the school in the aftermath, and also grew up around the corner from the Davises.) Michael’s great-great-grandfather was Parker P. Battle, a noted blacksmith with Wainwright foundry.

Michael’s lovely mother Diana Davis Myers was my beloved second-grade teacher at B.O. Barnes Elementary. (I rode to school with her, and Michael and I watched cartoons together on early weekday mornings.) His father is William E. “Bill” Myers, respected educator, renowned musician, and the visionary behind the Freeman Round House and Museum. They were treasured members of my childhood village, and I hug them every chance I can.

Happy, happy birthday, Michael Earl. Wishing you love and laughter forever.

The death of Alphonso Battle, age 15.

The Daily Times reported the death of 15 year-old Alphonso Battle as tragic, but straightforward — he had accidentally shot himself in the chest while squirrel hunting.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 October 1937.

Bizarrely, though, Battle’s death certificate tells a completely different story, establishing his legal cause of death as “natural cause no sign of foul play.”

——

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer John H. Battle, 49; wife Loutoria, 40; and children Johnie L., 21, Nettie, 19, Bessie L., 16, Mary L., 15, Roosevelt, 14, Armettie, 11, Alphnza, 8, Estelle, 7, Augustus, 4, and Harvey L., 2.

Snaps, no. 79: Dr. James A. Battle.

We met Dr. James A. Battle, born in Wilson in 1885 to Parker and Ella Battle, here. His granddaughter, Mae Castenell, recently shared several family photographs.

Dr. Battle and wife Della Plummer Battle. Della Battle’s sister was E. Courtney Plummer Fitts, who lived in Wilson.

The Battle house on West 4th Street in Greenville, North Carolina. The Battles and their young daughter Ella are seated in the lawn.

Dr. Battle, seated at left, with an unknown group of young African-American men.

Many thanks to Mae Castenell.

The death of George Battle.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 February 1935.

——

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Allen Battle, 50, farmer; wife Anna, 39; and children Mallan, 22, Anna, 16, Maud, 13, Mary, 11, Edward, 8, James, 6, George, 4, and Maggie, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, farmer Allen Battle, 56; wife Amie M., 50, farm laborer; and children Annie, 26, cook, Maud, 23, cook, Mary, 21, nurse, Eddie, 18, farm laborer, James, 15, farm laborer, George, 13, and Maggie, 1, farm laborer. [Only George was without occupation.]

In 1917, George Battle registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 11 May 1896 in Wilson; lived a R.F.D. #1, Wilson; worked as a teamster for George Carpenter; was single; and was “deformed in limbs.” He was described as tall and of medium build, with black eyes and hair. He signed his name with an X.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Battle George (c) shoe shiner 513 E Nash h 508 E Green

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 508 East Green, renting for $12/month, Mary Taylor, 69, laundress; daughter Ida Barnes, 32, laundress; and grandchildren Jessie M., 6, and Annie B.,2; also renting for $12/month, Marobe Battle, 60, cook; daughters Maude, 35, cook, and Annie, 46, cook; son George, 33, cobbler at shoe shop; and grandson John Miller, 17, delivery boy at drug store.

George Battle died 9 February 1935. Per his death certificate, he was born 13 May 1900 in Wilson to Allen Battle and Marie Earl, both of Edgecombe County; was single; worked as a laborer; and lived at 420 East Green Street. Informant was Maude Battle of the same address. Cause of death: “Exposure. (Police found him in street at which time he was breathing. He was dead when I [Dr. W.C. Hunter] arrived.)”

Snaps, no. 78: Ada Battle Atkinson.

Ada Battle Atkinson (ca.1885-1971) and, perhaps, a grandchild.

——

On 27 January 1909, Mark Atkinson, 30, of Gardners township, son of Henry and Joannah Atkinson, married Ada Battle, 24, of Edgecombe County, in Gardners township, Wilson County. 

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Atkinson, 32; wife Ada, 26; and children Silvester, 6, Masy, 4, Emma, 2, and Henry, 4 months. Mark reported having been married twice.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Atkinson, 40; wife Ada, 35; and children Sylvester, 15, Henry, 10, Mark, 9, Joanna, 7, Bettie, 5, R. George, 3, and Frank, 1.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Atkinson, 52; wife Ada, 45; and children Sylvester, 25, Henry, 20, Mark, 18, Joanna, 16, Bettie, 15, George, 13, Frank, 11, Fannie, 10, Ophelia, 7, and Willie, 4, and nephew John H., 21.

In the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: widow Ada Atkinson, 55; children Betty, 25, George, 23, Frank, 21, Della, 21, Ophelia, 16, Willie, 14, and Geraldene, 9; grandchildren Cleo Atkinson, 9, Curtis Edwards, 8, and Thomas, 4, Minnie, 3, and Grey Atkinson, 2.

In 1940, George Rufus Adkinson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 November 1917 in Wilson; his contact was mother Ada Rebecca Adkinson; he resided on Route 2, Macclesfield, Edgecombe County; and he worked for Grady Skinner, Macclesfield.

In 1940, Frank Atkinson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 18 October 1918 in Wilson; his contact was mother Ada Atkinson; he resided on Route 1, Macclesfield, Wilson County; and he worked for G.R. Skinner, Macclesfield.

In 1944, Willie Mack Roy Atkinson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 March 1926 in Wilson County; his contact was mother Ada Atkinson; he resided on Route 1, Elm City; and he worked for Pattie Thorne, Elm City.

On 31 December 1945, George Atkinson, 29, single, of Wilson, born in Wilson County, son of Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle, married Laura Hines McCray, 24, widowed, of Wilson, born in Edgecombe County, daughter of David Hines and Maggie Station, in Emporia, Virginia.

Henry Atkinson died 21 January 1964 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 December 1910 in Wilson County to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; was married to Minnie Atkinson; lived at 116 Pender Street, Wilson; was a laborer; and was buried in Well Cemetery, Wilson County.

George Rufus Atkinson died 24 November 1968 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 November 1917 to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; was married to Laura Atkinson; and had worked as a laborer.

Ada Battle Atkinson died 17 December 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born24 December 1889 to Joe Ellis and Bettie Battle; was a widow; had been a farmer; lived at 120 Narroway Street; and informant was Willie Atkinson. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Fannie Atkinson Wiggins died 18 July 1973 in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1920 in Edgecombe County to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; lived in Rocky Mount; and was a widow. Her daughter Frances Louise Wiggins was informant.

Sylvester Atkinson died 29 December 1985 in Emporia, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 July 1905 in North Carolina to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; was married to Annie Atkinson; and was a retired millworker.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user samjoyatk.

Application to take oath of allegiance.

Daisy Unas, nee Battle, applied to the United States District Court in Boston to take an oath of allegiance to the United States on 28 March 1942. Per her application, she was born 12 April 1888 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 144 Worcester Street, Roxbury; had a dark complexion, brown eyes, and black/gray hair; was 5’7″, 180 pounds; married Henry Unas on 27 November 1908 in Boston; and believed she had lost her citizenship by marrying a subject of Great Britain. Daisy Unas took the oath of renunciation and allegiance on 6 April 1942.

——

In the 1900 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: Lizzie Battle, 40, laundress, born in Virginia; children Charlie, 18, teamster, Lee J., 13, day laborer, Daisy, 11, and Sylvester, 8; and boarder Ross George, 32, day laborer. Sylvester was born in Virginia; the other children in North Carolina.

On 27 November 1908, Henry Unas, 22, resident of 1 East Lenox Street, seaman, born Barbuda, West Indies, to Thomas Unas and Frances Webber, married Daisy Battle, 23, resident of same, cook, born in Durham, N.C., to William Battle and and Sarah James.

In the 1910 census of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts: widow Elizabeth Battle, 38, born in Virginia, washing; daughter Daisey E. Eunice, 20, born in North Carolina, domestic; son-in-law Henry Eunice, 24, Spanish West Indies, collard laborer; and granddaughter Marion, 3.

In 1918, Henry Alfred Unas registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 24 September 1884 in “Great Britain, West Indies;” lived at 69 Ruggles Street, Roxbury; worked as a longshoreman for United Fruits Company; and his wife was Dasie Unas.

In the 1920 census of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts: at 24 Westminster Avenue, Henry A. Unis, 36, furniture expressman, born in British West Indies; wife Daisy A., 33; and children Marion U., 12, and Alice G., 5.

In the 1930 census of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts: at 24 Westminster Avenue, owned and valued at $3000, Henry Alfred Unas, 43, born in Barbuda, West Indies, employed as “expressing-moving”; wife Daisy U., 43, born in North Carolina; and children Alice S., 14, and Doris P., 3; and nephew Paul C. Galloway, 8. Unas immigrated in 1908.

In the 1940 census of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts: at 31 Eustis, Dasey Unes, 52; nephew Paul Galloway, 18; and daughter Doris Unes, 13.

In the 1942 Boston, Massachusetts, city directory: Unas Daisy A Mrs dom h 31 Eustis Rox[bury]

Henry Alfred Unas petitioned for naturalization on 1 October 1945. Per his petition, he was born 24 September 1889 in Barbuda, British West Indies; lived at 23 Westminster Street, Roxbury; had a dark complexion, brown eyes, and black hair; was 6’1″, 175 pounds; married Daisy on 27 November 1908; had two children, both born in Boston, Alice, 12 May 1916, and Doris, 12 November 1967; and migrated into the United States from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 15 October 1906.

Boston Globe, 24 July 1967.

Dr. C.T. Battle Scholarship.

The Rho Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., based in Anderson, South Carolina, sponsors a scholarship for high school students named in honor of Cr. Charles Tecumseh Battle Jr. Dr. Battle’s father, Charles T. Battle Sr., was a blacksmith and industrial arts teacher born in Wilson in 1888.