The catalogue for the 1914-15 school year at Biddle University in Charlotte, North Carolina (later Johnson C. Smith University) listed several students and graduates from Wilson, including two of Samuel H. Vick‘s sons.
Freshman Year, School of Arts and Science
Fernie B. Speight
Ferne Burnett Speight’s World War I draft registration card, dated 1918.
Second Year, High School
John H. Isler
John H. Isler’s World War I draft registration card, dated 1918.
Dr. John Hazely Isler died 31 January 1960 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, Isler was born 27 February 1900 in Griffin, N.C., to Ferniet Isler and Cynthia King; resided at 1531 Beatties Ford Road; was a pharmacist at Rex Drug Store; and was married to Joreatha Rudisill
“Russell Darden — front row, second from left, in his class at Biddle, now Johnson C. Smith.”
“… [O]ne of the first funerals under [Camillus and Arthur Darden‘s] direction was that of their younger brother, Russell, who was in his last year at Howard University Law School. Russell had gone to New York City to look for adventure during the Christmas vacation. While there, he caught pneumonia and died at Harlem Hospital before any of the family could reach him. Russell had been a daring, fun-loving, robust, athletic young man known for his prowess on the football field. [His brother Walter T. Darden remembered] that the last time he saw Russell play football was at Livingston[e] College. The score was Livingston[e] 3, Biddle 3. The ball was snapped and thrown to Russell. He was running hard. The opposition tried for the tackle but missed and tore off the seat of his pants instead. Oblivious to the cheers and laughter of the crowd, Russell kept running and won the game 9-3 with his rear end showing. He had an aggressive spirit and was the pride and joy of his family. His death left an aching gap in the family circle.”
N.J. and C. Darden, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine (1978).
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wheelwright Charles Dardin, 44; wife Dianna, 40, sewing; and children Annie, 21, sewing; Comilous, 15, tobacco stemmer; Arthor, 12; Artelia, 10; Russell, 5; and Walter, 4.
In the 1908 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Darden, Russell, carpenter, h 110 Pender. [At age 15?]
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Darden, 55; wife Dianah, 48; and children Cermillus, 24, bicycle shop owner; Arthur, 22, teacher; Artelia, 18, teacher; Russel, 16; and Walter, 14.
In the 1912 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Darden, Russell, porter, h 110 Pender.
In the 1913 Charlotte, N.C., city directory: Darden, Russell, bds [boards] Seversville.
In 1917, Russell Lenoir Darden registered for the World War I draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 9 June 1893 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 940 Westminster Street, Washington, D.C.; was a student; was single; and was stout and of medium height.
Russell Darden died 26 January 1918 in Manhattan, New York, New York.
A brief mention in the New York Age suggests that C.L. and Arthur could not, after all, bring themselves to bury their brother and called in Calvin E. Lightner of Raleigh to assist.
In March 1913, the Indianapolis Recorder, a nationally focused African-American newspaper, ran a front-page feature on William Hines, a “native of [Wilson] and a forceful character for the intellectual, moral, spiritual, social and economic development of young North Carolinians.”
Citing Samuel H. Vick and Biddle University as Hines’ influences, the article detailed his entry into the real estate business after establishing a successful barber shop. In just five years, Hines had accumulated 11 houses and “a number of very desirable lots.”