Who was Dr. F.O. Williston?


In the 1900 census of Cross Creek township, Cumberland County: on Grove Street, grocer Frank Williston, 65; wife Henrietta, 60; children Henrietta, 23, James, 20, and Oliver, 18; grandchildren Hattie, 13, and Edwin Perry, 15; and boarders Mary, 28, and James Pearce, 44.

The 15 November 1902 issue of the Wilmington Messenger announced that F.O. Williston had been granted a license by the state board of pharmacy.

Dr. Frank Oliver Williston married Doane Battle, daughter of Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle, in Wilson on 17 December 1905.

In the 1910 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 926 Horah Street, Frank O. Williston, 28, drugstore pharmacist; wife Doane B., 23, teacher; and daughter Leah H.E., 3.

On 22 March 1913, the Salisbury Evening Post published a report that a “Salisbury negro, Dr. F.O. Williston, is seeking the appointment as minister of the United States to Liberia ….” “Provided a colored man is to be named,” Williston had the endorsement of Navy Secretary Josephus Daniel, formerly of Wilson, and other leading state North Carolina Democrats, as well as the National Colored Democratic League. The article noted that Williston was recently returned from the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in Washington, D.C., where he had been received in the West Wing by the president himself. Both Williston and David Bryant, another African-American who accompanied him, had been as children servants of Wilson’s father when the family lived in Wilmington, North Carolina. Williston, 32, was a native of Cumberland County; a graduate of “the A.&M. college” in Greensboro and Shaw University in Raleigh; was a chemistry professor at Livingstone; and operated a pharmacy in Salisbury.

Four days later, Williston’s hometown newspaper, the Fayetteville Weekly Observer, ran a piece on Williston’s bid for the Consul General position, noting that “Dr. Williston is born and bred in Fayetteville, and is well known and esteemed here. He is of a prominent family of colored people, being the youngest son of the late Frank P. Williston and the brother of J.T. Williston, druggist and F.D. Williston, grocer and farmer.” Pointedly, the article further noted that the “statement that Dr. Williston was a servant of President Wilson’s father, the Presbyterian minister, when he lived in Wilmington, is incorrect.”

Greensboro Daily News, 29 April 1916.

The following year, Williston offered to raise a regiment of African-American troops to aid the war effort.

Salisbury Evening Post, 22 March 1917.

Frank Oliver Williston registered for the World War I draft in Salisbury in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 22 May 1881; resided at 409 South Caldwell Street, Salisbury; worked as a janitor in the U.S. Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Doane B. Williston. He was described as having dark gray eyes and dark brown hair, of medium height and stout.

In the 1920 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 419 South Caldwell, Frank O. Williston, 38, wife Doane, 33, and daughters Henrietta, 13, Inez, 8, and Dorothy, 6.

In the 1930 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1110 Fairmont Street, owned and valued at $11,000, drugstore pharmacist Frank O. Williston, 49; wife Doane, 41; daughters Inez, 18, and Fan, 16; and roomer Weldon Phillips,, 38, a contractor for a private company.

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1110 Fairmont Street N.E., Washington, D.C.

Baltimore Afro-American, 3 October 1936.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1222 Jackson Street, owned and valued at $4000, Frank O. Williston, 58; wife Doane B., 54, file clerk at F.H.A. [this appears to be an erroneous entry meant for her husband]; and daughter Dorthy F., 26.

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1222 Jackson Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.

In 1942, Frank Oliver Williston registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 22 May 1881 in Fayetteville, North Carolina; resided at 1222 Jackson; worked for the U.S. government in the Federal Housing Administration; and his contact was Mrs. Doane Williston.

Excerpts from African Americans and the New Deal,

Turner Battle, “impudent” or else “quiet,” is shot over words.

On Monday, 16 January 1899, Marion Greely Ward shot Turner Battle inside D.G. Liles’ bar in downtown Wilson. Ward, who was white, ran a little restaurant at the rear of Liles’ saloon, and Battle cooked for him. The News & Observer of Raleigh ran the story first. The angle taken by Josephus Daniels’ paper is not surprising. Battle is “large,” “powerful” and “impudent,” and Ward was a “weak, small man” who had fired him for “bad conduct.”

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 17 January 1899. 

The Wilson Advance ran coverage in its early edition the next day. The recited facts are choppy, but seem to indicate that Ward owed Battle money and, when Battle asked for it, Ward accused him of an overnight theft of whiskey. When Battle denied it, Ward called him a damned lie and, when Battle returned the insult, Ward pulled a pistol and shot three times. Two bullets hit Battle in the chest.

Wilson Advance, 19 January 1899.

By the evening post, Battle, who “seemed to be a quiet kind of negro,” was dead.

Wilson Advance, 19 January 1899.

Contrary to the News & Observer, Ward initially fled, but after a brief turn as a fugitive, he turned himself in. The trial was held quickly, and more facts (or, in any case, testimony) emerged. In summary: on Friday, 13 January, Ward opened his restaurant in Liles’ bar and on Saturday hired Battle to cook. Over the weekend, Ward complained to Liles that Battle had stolen from him, and he intended to discharge him on Monday. When Battle arrived Monday morning, Ward fired him. Kinchen Liles testified that he heard someone say “goddamn” and, before he could hustle out of the refrigerator and around the bar, three shots rang out. John White, “a negro of unsavory reputation,” testified that Ward told Battle that before he could pay him for Saturday’s work, Battle needed to bring back the stolen goods. Battle: “I did not steal your stuff.” Ward: “You’re a damned lie.” Battle: “You’re another.” Ward then ran behind the counter, grabbed his gun and shot three times, with White knocking up the pistol on the last shot. Battle staggered out, sat down and was taken home. He was either a “fussy, disagreeable negro, impudent and mouthy” or a “quiet, good one.” Ward, of course, was described as quiet and possessed of an excellent reputation.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 February 1899.

To date, I have found no record of the verdict in this trial.


Possibly, in the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Hardy Bell, 65, farm laborer, wife Lucinda, 48, and children Wilson, 17, Isabella, 13, and Ellen Bell, 7; plus Turner, 4, Julia, 10, William, 8, Lucinda, 6, Anna, 3, and infant Battle, 10 months.

Also, Turner Battle, 26, of the Town of Wilson, son of Isaac and Lovinia Battle, married Sarah Taylor, 18, of the Town of Wilson, daughter of Nellie Taylor, on 18 February 1894. Missionary Baptist minister W.T.H. Woodard performed the ceremony in the presence of C.C. Gaffney, Henry Moore and George McCown. [Note that if this is the same Turner Battle, his killer’s trial was held the week of his first wedding anniversary.]

Probably, in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: teamster John White, 26, and wife Jane, 20.



The last will and testament of Zebulon M. Johnson.

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On 19 November 1905, Zebulon Johnson, 33, son of Jere and Minnie Johnson, all of Northampton County, married Armittie Powell, 25, daughter of Isaac and Georgia Powell, at Jerusalem Church, Rich Square township, Northampton County, North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Rich Square, Northampton County: Armittie Johnson, 28, and her children Elvalene, 3, and Allene, 1 1/2, are listed in the household of her mother Georgianna Powell, 61. Armittie is described as married, but her husband Zebulon is not found.

In 1918, Zebulon Myer Johnson registered for the World War I draft in Nash County. Per his heart registration card, he resided at R.F.D. 3, Rocky Mount; was born 17 September 1872; was employed as a chiropodist and farmer; and his nearest relative was wife Mittie Johnson. [Where did Johnson receive his medical training? Was he actually a physician?]

On 1 December 1926, Zebulon Johnson, 48, of Wilson, married Roberta Battle, 38, of Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Mamie Lucas, Ella Allen and Henry Lucas.

In 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 East Nash Street, chiropodist Zebulon M. Johnson, 56, and wife Roberta, 37.

On 13 July 1934, Zebulon Myer Johnson died in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 61 years old; born in Bertie County to Jerry and Winnie Johnson; was married to Robetta Johnson; and worked as a chiropodist. He was buried in Rich Square, North Carolina.

As noted in the document above, Johnson’s will entered probate ten days after his death. As required, for several months, his executrix ran an ad in the local newspaper, notifying claimants and debtors of their obligations.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 August 1934.

There was a response — likely, unexpected. Armittie Powell Johnson, who lived in Rocky Mount, stepped forward to file a claim. By the brief notation handwritten in the will book, above, it appears that she asserted that she, and not Roberta, was Zebulon Johnson’s legal widow. I have no further information on the outcome of this challenge, but it is clear that Roberta Johnson remained in the house she had been bequeathed in the will.

Roberta Battle Johnson died 28 July 1958 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 October 1889 in Wilson to Parker Battle and Ella (last name unknown); was widowed; resided at 1108 East Nash; and worked as business manager for Mercy. Informant was Grace Battle Black, 1108 East Nash Street.

[Sidenote: Zebulon Myer Johnson was the grandfather of noted Nash County educator and activist Kanawha Zebulon “K.Z.” Chavis (1930-1986), whose mother was Arlin Johnson Chavis.]

The last will and testament of Bettie Battle Taylor Hall.

On 10 July 1917, Judge H. Hall, 30, of Wilson, son of Edwin and Avie Ann Hall, married Bettie B. Taylor, 34, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Mary Battle of Nash County, in Wilson. A.L.E. Weeks, a Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, W.H. Burton, and Lee A. Moore.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Atlantic Street, house carpenter Judge Hall, 34, wife Bettie, 37, and roomer Lossie Hooks, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Atlantic Street, carpenter Judge Hall, 42; wife Bettie, 42; son John W., 4; and a lodging family, cook Ellen Battle, 35, and Margrette, 15, Etta, 12, Minnie, 7, Julious, 10, and Norma Battle, 3.

Bettie Hall died 15 September 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Judge Hall; resided at 901 Atlantic Street; worked as a tobacco factory worker; and was born about 1889 in Wilson County to Henry Battle of Nash County and Margarett Lucas of Wilson County. Informant was Ellen Battle.


Two months before she died, Bettie Hall made out a will. Interestingly, she left nothing to her husband Judge, instead designating as her sole heirs her daughters Ellen Battle and Margaret (no last name listed.)

bettie hall

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

She loved the Lord.

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Inez Powell Battle Dade Leaves a Legacy of Love

Long-time member of the Annapolis First Baptist Church Inez Powell Battle Dade passed away in March at 103 years old. Dade was a resident of Annapolis and Washington, D.C., and attended services at the Annapolis church for 49 years. Shortly after she joined First Baptist, she became a volunteer and worked in many of its ministries.

Dade was the matriarch of a large family that includes four daughters, 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and seven great, great-grandchildren. One sister, Vanilla Beane, a resident of Washington, D.C., who is 96 years old, survives her.

One of Dade’s daughters, Peggy Holly, resident of D.C. said, “My mother would always say, ‘Have faith in the Lord; stay active and help others.'”

First Baptist Rev. Louis Boston said she would do anything to help others.

“She was compassionate and gave her best because of her love for the Lord,” Boston said. “She loved her church.”

Dade was born in [Wilson,] North Carolina and moved to D.C. when she married John Battle. She later married James Dade. She worked as an elevator operator until she got a job with the Federal government.

After retiring from the government job, Dade opened a daycare center called Tiny Tots Preschool and Nursery in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C. in 1972. She ran the center until taking her leave at the age of 99.

“I vividly remember that Mrs. Dade was someone who did a lot with a little,” said Boston. “She loved the Lord.”

From, 30 March 2016.


Inez Powell was born in 1913 in Wilson County to James and Martha Hagans Powell. Her father, born about 1876, was the son of Ichabod and Mary Ann Lassiter Powell. (Mary Ann’s parents were Silas and Orpha Simpson Lassiter.) Her mother Martha was the daughter of Charles and Charity Thomas Hagans.

One-third acre on Lodge Street to Susan Mitchell.

This deed made this the 14th June 1875 by Charles Battle and wife Leah to Susan Mitchell all of the County of Wilson and State of North Carolina Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged the said Charles Battle and wife Leah have bargained and sold and by these presents do bargain sell alien and convey to Susan Mitchell and her heirs that certain piece parcel or lot of land in Wilson on the continuation of Lodge street beginning at Thomas Johnstons line running thence at right angles with said Lodge street and along said Johnstons line seventy yards to a stake thence a line parallel with Lodge street sixty five feet to a stake then a line at right angles with said Street seventy yds, thence with the Street sixty five feet to the beginning containing one third of one acre more or less to have and to hold the same together with the improvements privileges and appurtenances there unto belonging to the said Susan Mitchell and her heirs and the Charles Battle and wife Leah do for themselves their heirs executors administrators and assigns covenants to and with the said Susan Mitchell her heirs executors administrators and assigns to warrant the title herein made against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever. In testimony whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names and affixd our seals    Charles (X) Battle, Leah (X) Battle


State of North Carolina, Wilson County } In the Probate Court.

On this the 11th day of June in the year 1875 before me H.C. Moss Judge of Probate for said County, personally appeared Charles Battle and Leah Battle persons described in, and who signed the annexed conveyance, and severally acknowledged the due execution thereof for the purpose therein expressed. And thereupon the said Leah Battle being by me privately examined apart from her said husband touching her voluntary consent thereto acknowledged that she executed the same freely and without fear or compulsion of her said husband and do now voluntarily assent thereto and hereby relinquish her right of dower in said land. Thereupon let the said Deed and this certificate be registered.   /s/ H.C. Moss, Probate Judge

Received & Registered June 19, 1875



1880 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County.

Deed Book 11, page 35, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

901 Atlantic Street.

The eighth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “#901. Ca. 1930; 1 1/2 [stories]; Judge Hall house; bungalow with clipped-gable roof and dormer, engaged porch; aluminum sided; Hall was a carpenter.”

On 5 June 1917, Judge Hall of Vick Street, Wilson, registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 29 May 1888 in Wayne County; worked as a carpenter for Cleveland, Glover in Wilson; was single; and was thin and of medium height with brown eyes and black hair.

On 10 July 1917, Judge H. Hall, 30, of Wilson, son of Edwin and Avie Ann Hall, married Bettie B. Taylor, 34, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Mary Battle of Nash County in Wilson. A.L.E. Weeks, a Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, W.H. Burton, and Lee A. Moore.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Atlantic Street, house carpenter Judge Hall, 34, wife Bettie, 37, and roomer Lossie Hooks, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Atlantic Street, carpenter Judge Hall, 42; wife Bettie, 42; son John W., 4; and a lodging family, cook Ellen Battle, 35, and her children Margrette, 15, Etta, 12, Minnie, 7, Julious, 10, and Norma, 3.


Bettie Hall died 15 September 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she resided at 901 Atlantic Street; was married to Judge Hall; was 50 years old; worked as a tobacco factory packer; and was born in Wilson County to Henry Battle and Margarett Lucas. Ellen Battle was the informant.

Judge Hall died 9 March 1954 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 901 Atlantic Street; was married; worked as a carpenter; was born 28 May 1886 in Wayne County to Edward and Arie Hall; and was buried at Turner Swamp cemetery, Wayne County. Bertha Hall was informant.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.



Applications for military headstones, no. 1.

  • John Melton


In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Melton, 42, wife Lucy, 45, sons John, 16, and Samuel A., 13.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Melton, 51, wife Lucy, 55, son Johnnie Jr., 24, boarder James Dudley, 20, and grandson Sam Melton, 12.

On 29 October 1917, John Melton, 26, of Wilson, married Cora Barnes, 25, of Wilson. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Linnie Wilson, M.H. Wilson, and Lorena E. Gregg.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter John Melton, 28, wife Cora, 26, with son Robert O., 1, and cousin Della Griswill, 24.

  • Albert Battle


On 28 December 1917, Albert Battle, 31, of Wayne County, son of Albert and Annie Battle, married Hannah Pate, 30, of Stantonsburg, daughter of John and Vinie Pate, in Wilson County. Rev. S.J. Brown, a Freewill Baptist minister, at P.P. Barnes’ house in Stantonsburg in the presence of Smithie Barnes, P.P. Barnes, and Rosa Battle.

In the 1920 census of Great Swamp, Wayne County: Albert Battle, 33, wife Hannah, 31, and daughter Linday, 12, on Pikeville and Fremont Road.

In the 1930 census of Great Swamp, Wayne County: Albert Battle, 43, wife Hannah, 39, sister-in-law Smythia, 45, nieces and nephews Odie, 18, Flossie M., 17, Hettie B., 10, Beatrice, 7, Viola, 6, and James O. Battle, 3.

Albert Battle died 19 March 1936 in Fremont, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 March 1886 in Edgecombe County to Albert Battle and Dossie Ann Drake; worked as a laborer; was married; and was buried in Wilson. Hannah Battle of Fremont was informant.

  • Larry Hooks


In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Larry Hooks, 20, listed a prisoner in the county stockade on Wiggins Mill Road.

Lary Hooks, 27, registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 May 1890 in Fremont, North Carolina, and worked as a “convict on road” in the Nashville road district. He was married and described as medium height and stout with brown eyes and black hair.

Larry Hooks died 3 August 1936 in Wilson’s Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was married to Sarah Hooks; was born about 1890 in Wayne County to Charlie Hooks and Melvina Reid of Wayne County; and worked as a common laborer. Charlie Hooks of Elm City, North Carolina, was informant.

  • Willie Gay


In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Emma Gay, 35, and children Charlie, 15, steam mill worker, Mary, 11, Etheldred, 8, and Willie, 6, plus boarder Fannie Thompson, 19, cook.

On 8 January 1894, Willie Gay, 18, son of Charles and Emma Gay, married Mary Bunn, 21, daughter of Dick and Mary Bunn, at Willie Gay’s house in Wilson. Presbyterian minister L.J. Melton performed the ceremony in the presence of W.M. Phillips, L.A. Moore, and C.C. Williams.

Probably, in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer William Gay, 26, a widower, living alone.

On 29 October 1902, Willie Gay, 27, married Mary Johnson, 22, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Cain Artis, Chas. S. Thomas, and Robt. E. Artis.

On 23 March 1906, William Gay, 33, son of Charles and Emma Gay, married Augustus McNeil, 30, daughter of Peter and Emily Patterson of Fayetteville, North Carolina, at William Gay’s house in Wilson. Rev. Fred M. Davis performs the ceremony in the presence of J.E. Fanner, Robert Stricklin, and Charlie Fain.

Possibly, in the 1940 census of Kecoughtan, Elizabeth City County, Virginia: Willie Gay, 66, born in North Carolina, patient at Veterans Administration facility.

N.B.: Gay, who served 1898-99, was a veteran of the Spanish American War.

  • Robert Crocker Harris


In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1018 Wainwright Street, farmer Moses Dupree, 50; wife Henrietta, 48, nurse for private family; grandson Robert Harris, 8; and roomer Virginia Humphreys, 54, cosmetics peddler.

In 1942, Robert Crocker Harris registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. His draft card reports that he was born 6 June 1922 in Wilson County; resided at 1018 Wainwright Street; listed Henriette Dupree of that address as his contact person; and worked as a tobacco farm aide.

Robert Croker Harris died 21 June 1952 in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 June 1922 in Wilson County to Willie Harris and Smithie Dupree; was married; worked as an orderly at Duke Hospital; and resided at 613 Fayetteville Street. Detective W.H. Upchurch was informant. Cause of death: “Abdominal hemorrhage; two pistol shot wounds of back; shot while being arrested for disorderly conduct & resisting arrest — officer exonerated by grand jury.”

Oh, Lordy.

Wilson County, State of North Carolina.

Pearsonal appeared before me this the 5 day of Nov 1904 Sheriff W.D.P. Sharp who maketh oath that Geo Williford is dead that he hath reason to believe to doth believe that he came to his death by unlawful means.  /s/ W.D.P. Sharp

Sworn to and subscribed before me a Justice of the Peace of Wilson County on the day and date above mentions.  /s/ T.E. Keel J.P.


Mattie Speight, being sworn says: Well yesterday while it was raining I went home and shortly after I got home Albert Battle came in we all were sitting down by the fire and laufing and talking and I came up town and when I went I went back Geo. Williford came up and knocked at the door and when he knocked at the door the front door was shut but my room door was open and I went out. I heard the pistol fire and I went around the house to see what the matter I found Geo Williford on the ground between the door steps and the walling I run after the police I never heard him Geo Williford say any thing except Oh Lordy.  /s/ Mattie Speight

Chas Richerson being duly sworn says: I came up town when I came back to the corner house I heard some one say they were fighting down there and I run p there and ask what was the matter this Albert Battle run by me I heard Geo Williford say O Lord and he turned over. I suppose I was coming from up town when the shooting took place Elvy was setting by the fire when I got there. I smelt powder. Chas. (X) Richerson

Mattie Speight reexamine says: after I went back from up town Albert Battle, Elvy Sutton & another woman were the only ones in the house when I got back from up town. When I got around the house from the garden Albert Battle was on the poarch.

Dennis Brooks being sworn says: I don’t know any thing about the killing about 2 1/2 years ago Geo Williford was in my bar raising sand one Monday morning I ask him what was the matter Albert Battle was there and Geo said he was going to kill a man that morning if any one bothered him Albert told him to come on an have a drink and George told him he had money enough to buy his drinks Albert took me back in the pool room and said that Geo was mad with him and I ask him what about and he said Elvy. Albert said he better not run on him.   /s/ Dennis Brooks

Minnie Hodges being sworn says: I don’t know any thing about except Albert Battle & Elvy Sutton & I were in the house when Geo Williford came there & knocked and asked for Elvy and I opened the door and let him come in and he run to the bed where Elvy was she was sleep then he runned towards Albert he Albert had gone out in the passage and Albert said get back off of me and George kept coming towards Albert and Albert shot him once then Geo went back towards the bed and I run out the front door and run up the street and when I came back Geo was out dores and had fell between steps and walling.  /s/ Minnie Hodges

Elvy Sutton being sworn says: I was asleep and when I waked up Geo was dead Albert called me to get up. George went after Albert with a knife last summer and tried to kill him I have heard George say he was goin to kill Albert if he ever caught him with me.  Elvy X Sutton


State of N.C. Wilson Co.

Be it remembered that on this the 5th day of Nov. 1904, I, Albert Anderson, Coroner of Wilson County attended by a Jury of good & lawful men viz: Sanford Christman, R.J. Grantham, E.F. Killette, W.W. Tomlinson, Frank Winstead, J.D. Barnes, by me summoned for that purpose according to law after being by me duly swored and empanelled at the Mayor’s office in the county of fore said did hold an inquest over the dead body of George Williford and after examination in the facts & circumstances of the death of the deceased from a view of the corps and all the testomonal to be procured the said Jury find as follow that is to say that George Williford came to his death from a pistol shot wound inflicted by Albert Battle.          /s/ Sanford Christman, E.F. Killette, R.J. Grantham, W.W. Tomlinson, Frank Winstead, J.D. Barnes

Inquest had and signed and sealed in the presence of Albert Anderson, Coroner of Wilson Co. N.C.


  • George Williford
  • Mattie Speight — possibly the Mattie Speight, 24, who married Elbert Sanders, in Toisnot township on 28 February 1906. Their marriage license shows that Primitive Baptist minister William B. Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Pennina Bottoms of Edgecombe County and Jesse L. Williams and Annie Williams of Wilson County.
  • Albert Battle
  • Charles Richardson
  • Elvy Sutton — presumably, on 3 September 1900, Elvy Sutton, 23, daughter of Isham and Exie Sutton, married Robert Allen, 40, at Primitive Baptist minister P.D. Gold’s office in Wilson. [If so, what happened to Allen between 1900 and 1904?]
  • Dennis Brooks — on 10 January 1898, Dennis Brooks, 31, son of Henry Brooks, married Mary Helms, 24, at Brooks’ residence in Wilson. H.H. Bingham, an A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Lizzie B. Helms, Nannie Bennet, and Rosa Bennett. On the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Georgia-born merchant Dennis Brooks, 35, wife Mary, 27, and daughter Aleordine[?], 8.
  • Minnie Hodges

Thursday night drunk.

Coroner’s report of the Inquest held over Dennis Williams (Col.), Dec. 19th, 1899

North Carolina, Wilson County  }

Record of the examination of witnesses at the Inquest over the dead body of Dennis Williams (col)

The examination of W.D. Crocker M.D., Arch’d Robinson, W.M. Mumford, Edmund Williamson, John Henry, Horton Wells, Jason Wells (col), Alfred Moore taken before the undersigned, Coroner of said County, this 18th day of December 1899 at the Court House in Wilson, upon the body of Dennis Williams then lying dead, to-wit Archibald Robinson, being duly sworn says:

I went down to Mr. Moore’s Thursday night a little after dark. Mr. Moore not at home, but stayed there until a little after eight, went out and hurried towards home, just as I got close to the grave yard I heard a noise sound like some one struggling, I thought at first some one was trying to scare me heard noise about 100 years from Mr. Mumfords house. Saw man laying beside road, just a got against him I turned to left but walked by his feet and look down to see if I knew him, but made no stop. I met Edmund WmSon between where man was lying and Mr. Mumfords house. Just as I crossed the bridge I met him he spoke and I spoke and I stop after I passed him to see if he could recognize him and he stop and called to me that here is a man that seemed to be drunk or hurt come back and see if we can see what is to matter with him. I came back to injured man and found that Edmond knew him and found that he was injured. I and Mr. Mumford went to the depot and let some of the [illegible] Dr. W.D. Crocker went to see him. They took him up and carried him over to a vacant house about 350 years away where the doctor dressed his wounds. The man was total unconscience and stayed so, as far as I heard. Don’t know anything more about it.    Archibald (X) Robinson

Edmund Williamson being duly sworn says:

I was acquainted with Dennis Williams. Did not recognize him that night at first, but did afterwards. There was right much blood on ground, where he was found. Do not know why he was there.   Edmund (X) Williamson.

Wash Mumford, being duly sworn says:

Dennis came up to my house drunk, Thursday night drunk, like he always came, have learn him for 20 years, came to my gate, but Dago wouldn’t let him in. I was out in yard cutting out my beef. I forbid him to come in my yard for he was drunk, he walked off to one side, leaning up against walling. About 8 or 10 minutes, talking to him self. Had some words and he walked away cursing. He was not very offensive and went off as soon as I told him to go. Went off in direction to where he was afterwards found. Heard that he was hurt about 15 minutes after he left my house. I heard him meet some one, and heard him curve some one, and heard other party say he would kill him if he cursed him, and almost immediately afterwards heard blows. Mr. Wells and my son was with me. After I found out he was hurt, took my cart, and help them carry him off and dress his would. Found a bar rail and a fence rail where he was hurt, was blood, and hair on rails.  Wash (X) Mumford

Horton Wells, being duly sworn says:

I was at Mr. Mumford, when Dennis same to his house Thursday night. I heard nothing more than Mr. Mumford testified to.  /s/ J.H. Wells

Jason Wells, being duly sworn, says:

I am barber, my business is at Lucama. Went home a little early Thursday night. I saw Dennis at depot Thursday. He was drunk. I saw him between sun set and dark, didn’t see him after I went home. Didn’t see him have any money, but heard him say he had some. I took a drink with him, some time in the day he was not drunk then. Never saw him after he was hurt.   Jason (X) Wells

Alferd Moore, being duly sworn, says:

The man was found dead about a half miles from my house.   /s/ Alfred Moore

Dr. W.D. Crocker, being duly sworn says:

I practice medicine at Lucama I saw Dennis Williams in Lucama Thursday about sun down very drunk and he spoke to me, did not know him at that time. Had him searched next morning, did n’t find any thing except some candy, When I saw him at about half past ten he was unconscience, and had one cut on head near 6 in in length, cut to skull. I couldn’t detect any fracture in skull. He had both arms broken about five in from wrist, one bone in each arm. I think the cause of his death was from the two wounds on the head. I think the wounds were made by a rail.  He was never conscience, and his pulse was very week. His folks took him home Friday and he died the next day. He also had a bruise on back of his head.  /s/ W.D. Crocker

John Henry Battle, being duly sworn, says:

I live in Lucama, work with Mr. J.L. Hays. I saw Dennis Williams, about dark Thursday night, didnt see him during day. He was going out of town, with a man called Black Jack, coming out towards Barnes cross roads. I thought Dennis was drunk. Black Jack didn’t seem to be as drunk as Dennis, but I though he was drinking, Dennis wanted to go out in the country, and Black Jack didn’t want to go. Don’t know whether he went or no, both seemed to be in good humor. Didn’t see Dennis any more until he was found hurt, and haven’t see Black Jack since.  /s/ John Henry Battle

John K. Ruffin, Coroner


  • Dennis Williams
  • Jason Wells — Jason Wells, 47, of Cross Roads, married Rena Reaves, 22, of Cross Roads, on 19 October 1897 in Lucama. Witnesses were Henry Odham, Joseph Newsom, and Linsey Wells. In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: day laborer Jason Wells, 51, wife Arrena, 30, and children Joseph E., 16, Johnie H., 11, Shelly, 2, and Carlton, 9 months. Jason Wells died 18 October 1934 in Cross Roads township. Per his death certificate: he was born in 1851 in Nash County to Dennis and Nellie Wells; was married to Rena Reaves Wells; worked as a farmer until 1931; and was buried in Lamms cemetery. Rena Reaves Wells was informant.
  • Edmund Williamson — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Edmund Williamson, 50, wife Thaney, 44, and children William, 25, Nicie, 23, Eliza, 22, Eddie, 21, Ally, 19, Pollina, 17, Dolly Ann, 15, Isaac, 12, and Raiford, 7.
  • John Henry Battle — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: day laborer Columbus Battle, 24, wife Minnie, 20, and brother, John H., 23, also a day laborer.

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.