Best

Zion Hall buys a lot.

Deed book 68, page 311, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. 

On 2 January 1905, Orren and Hancy Best sold Caesar Moses and James Watson, trustees of Zion Hall No. 5952, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a 48 by 48-foot lot at the rear of their property “near the corporate limits of the Town of Wilson.” Orren and Hancy Best lived at the heart of Grabneck, and Zion Hall was one of at least eight African-American Odd Fellows lodges active in Wilson County in the early 20th century.

The obituary of Eliza Ellis Best.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 September 1929.

——

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 48; wife Zana, 38; and children (grandchildren?) Eliza, 14, James, 5 months, Cora, 13, Macord, 10, Oscar, 6, and Anna, 1.

Benjamin Best, 22, married Liza Ellis, 18, on 22 October 1874 at the residence of James Ellis in Wilson County. James Ellis, Gilford Ellis, and Aaron Ward were witnesses.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer Benjamin Best, 26; wife Eliza, 23; and children Virginia, 4, Priscilla, 3, and Columbus, 1.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Best, wife Eliza, and children Virgin N., Mildred, Junius, Sopremia, Benjamin, Corinthia, Remantha, Olian, and Clarence. Benjamin and Eliza reported having been married 25 years, and Eliza reported that 10 of the 12 children she had borne were living.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: widow Eliza Best, 53, with children Junius, 29, Rematha, 20, Allen, 18, and Clarence, 16, plus grandchildren Suprema, 5, and Martha A., 3.

On 24 January 1917, Clarence Best, 22, of Wilson township, son of Benjamin and Eliza Best, and Geneva Smith, 22, of Gardners township, daughter of Henry and Mahala Smith, were married in Gardners township by C.H. Hagans, a Primitive Baptist minister. Fred Woodard, John Barnes and Len Woodard witnessed.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, marble cutter Clarence Best, 26, wife Geneva, 26, and son Clarence H., 1, plus Eliza Best, 68, Martha Ann Best, 11, and Suprema Hooks, 11. Next door, Junius Best, 38, wagon factory assembly man, wife Mary A., 27, and children Mary Olivia, 2, and Colonius, 4 months.

Eliza Best died 1 September 1929 in Wilson of “injury of rt. leg; cut her leg on a piece of tin.” She resided at 1310 East Nash Street, Wilson, and was the widow of Benjamin Best. She was about 64 years old and had been born in Wilson County to Jim Ellis and Zannie Applewhite. She was buried in Rountree cemetery; Clarence Best was informant.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Studio shots, no. 175: Oscar and Viola Brown Best.

Viola Brown Best (1900-1963).

Oscar Best (1890-1976).

——

In the 1900 census of Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, N.C.: farmer John W. Best, 33; wife Nancey, 29; and children Florence, 10, Oscar, 9, and Lithey, 7.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: lumber mill laborer John W. Best, 43; wife Nannie, 43, laundress; and children Oscar, 19, lumber mill laborer, and Litha, 17, servant.

On 14 August 1910, Oscar Best, 21, of Cross Roads township, son of John W. and Nan Best, married Daisy Barnes, 20, of Cross Roads, daughter of Joe Barnes. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony in the present of Will Bullock, James Coleman and [Rosa] Hinnant.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Best, 29; wife Daisy, 25; and children Seretha, 9, Mildred, 8, Hattie, 6, James, 4, Virginia, 2, and Nannie, 2 months.

Daisy Best died 9 May 1922 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 32 years old; was born in Wilson County to Joseph Barnes and Lillie Strickland; was married to Oscar Best; and was a tenant farmer for Fred Washington. Informant was Nan Best.

On 29 December 1925, Oscar Best, 33, son of John W. and Nan Best, married Viola Brown, 23, daughter of Neal and Patsy Brown, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister Wyatt Studiway performed the service in the presence of Samuel Austin, Lucius Studaway, and Nellie Thompson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Harpers Road, farmer Oscar Best, 40; wife Viola, 28; and children Mildred, 17, Hattie, 14, Virginia, 12, James, 13, Andrew, 13, Mamie, 11, Jessie, 11, Oscar, 4, Corine, 3, and Joe Lizzie, 2.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Best, 50; wife Viola, 40; and children Buddie, 20, Oscar, 14, Corina, 12, Joe E., 12, Dollie Mae, 11, John, 10, J.D., 9, Herbert Lee, 4, Horace, 6, and William, 1.

In 1940, Buddy Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born October 1919 in Laurinburg, N.C.; lived at Route 3, Wilson; his contact was father Oscar Best; and he worked for W. Herbert Ellis.

In 1943, Oscar Junior Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1925 in Wilson County; lived at Route 3, Saratoga, Wilson County; and his contact and employer was Oscar Best.

Corine B. Woodard died 30 January 1953 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1928 in Wilson County to Oscar Best; was a laborer; was married; and lived at 1211 Wainwright Avenue. Informant was Walter Woodard.

James Best died 7 September 1958 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 December 1919 in Wilson County to Oscar and Daisy Best; was married to Rosa Best; lived in Portsmouth, Virginia; and worked as a metalsmith helper.

Viola Best died 27 June 1963 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1900 in Laurinburg, N.C. to Neal Brown and Patsy Pickett, was married to Oscar Best, and was a laborer.

Mildred Best Williams died 27 October 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 February 1912 on Wilson County to Oscar Best and Nannie Best; lived at 206 South Reid Street; and was married to Alvester Williams.

Oscar Best died 25 July 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1887 to John Best and Nannie Sutton; was married; and worked as a farmer. J.D. Best was informant.

Hattie Best Jones died 19 May 1980 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 January 1915 in Nash County to Oscar Best and Dazie Best; was a widower; and loved at 1110 Queen Street.

Oscar Best Jr. died 6 August 1886 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 August 1925 to Oscar Best Sr. and Viola Brown; was married to Mildred Jones Best; and worked as a carpenter for a container corporation.

Buddy Best died 6 April 1991 in Goldsboro, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 October 1917 in Wilson to Oscar Best and Viola Brown.

Roland Best died 8 February 1993 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 March 1921 to Oscar Best and Viola Brown; was a widower; and worked as a heavy equipment operator.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com user Portia Black.

Lane Street Project: Sarah Best Thomas.

Summer 2020, Odd Fellows Cemetery.

December 2020 with leaves fallen and bit of the wisteria cut back.

——

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, hireling Lewis Best, 53; wife Harriette, 50; and children Daniel, 23, Sarah, 12, John, 8, and Willie, 10.

On 25 January 1888, Charles Thomas, 23, son of Sarah Thomas, married Sarah Best, 21, daughter of Lewis and Harriet Best. Missionary Baptist minister J.T. Clark performed the ceremony at Lewis Best’s in the presence of Charles Barbry, Wyatt Studaway and Charles Williamson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, printing office pressman; wife Sarah, 33; children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2; and lodgers Manse Wilson, 36, and Johnnie Lewis, 21, both carpenters.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

Sarah Thomas died 16 August 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 46 years old; was born in Greene County, N.C., to Lewis Bess; and was married. Charles Thomas was informant. Her burial location was listed only as “Wilson County.”

The obituary of Noah Best, well-known brick layer.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 January 1929.

Noah Best was a member of the extended family who owned most of the land in the community known as Grabneck.

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Daniel Best, 62; wife Jane, 50; children Laura, 19, Nicy, 17, Noah, 16, and Orange, 21, and [Orren’s wife] Hancy, 21.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: hireling Daniel Best, 72, and wife Jane, 55, living amid a cluster of household that included farmer Orren Best, 31, wife Hansey, 31, and children James, 9, Oscar, 6, George, 4, Fannie, 2, and Hattie, 3 months; hireling Lewis Best, 53, wife Harriette, 50, and children Daniel, 23, Sarah, 12, John, 8, and Willie, 10; and brickmason Noah Best, 27, wife Sarah, 25, and sons William, 2, and Thomas, 4 months.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Noah Bess, 45, brickmason; wife Sarah, 45; and children Henry, 22, brickmason, Morris, 20, day laborer, Wilson, 17, Clinton, 15, Frank, 11, Thad, 8, Noah, 6, Alis, 5, Lorra, 3, and Hillard, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Road, bricklayer Noah Best, 52, widower; son Clinton, 24, bricklayer; daughter-in-law Minnie, 21, seamstress; son William, 19, bricklayer; and daughters Alice, 15, and Laura, 13.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, laborer Frank Mitchell, 27; wife Alice, 23; daughter Nora A., 1; and boarder Noah Bess, 63, widower.

Noah Best died 29 January 1929 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 62 years old; was born in Greene County to Daniel Best; and lived near Grabneck. Informant was Clinton Best.

Noah Best drafted a will on 9 January 1924, leaving bequests to his children Laura Best [Boddie], Morris Best, Clinton Best, Alice Best Mitchell, William Best, Wilson Best, and Henry Best. (On 8 July 1927, Best signed a codicil modifying the second provision slightly, leaving his house on Griffin Street to both daughters.)

Noah Best Will, North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The obituary of Frances “Frankie” Best, devoted A.M.E. Zion church member.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 June 1941.

——

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cook Nannie Best, 34, widow, and daughters Francis, 20, and Eliza, 16, and boarder Lula Garrett, 25. The latter three were house servants.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Nannie Best, 48, cook; her children Francis, 28, cook, Eliza, 24, public school teacher, and son Aaron, 9; and lodgers, Lula, 24, cook, and Nannie Best, 16, private nurse.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 330 South Spring Street: widowed Nannie Best, 61, her daughter Frank, 30, son Aaron, 21, daughter-in-law Estelle, 19, widowed brother Harper Best, 65, and a lodger, nurse Henrietta Colvert, 24.

In the 1922 and 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories, Frankie Best is listed as a domestic living at 320 South Spring.

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, cook Nannie Best, laundress Frankie Best and seamstress Eliza Best are listed as residents of 1009 East Nash Street.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Best Frankie (c) lndrs 1009 E Nash

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nan Best, 75, widow; daughter Frankie, 55; and grandsons William, 19, and Audrey, 15.

Frankye Best died 23 June 1941 at her home at 1009 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 58 years old; was born in Lenoir County, N.C., to Aaron Best and Nannie Best; was single; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Eliza Best was informant.

Dear Santa Claus.

201909062045423898.png

Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1940.

——

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: in New Grabneck, Joe Jones, 44, tobacco factory laborer; wife Mary L., 33, county home nurse; and children Marie, 12, and Joseph Jr., 9.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: in New Grabneck, Oliver W. Best, 32, [occupation illegible],and wife Sadie L., 24, public school teacher.

Model 1938 Red Ryder BB gun, today.