birthday

Happy birthday, Karla!

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Today is my sister’s birthday. Here she is, aged about two and a half.

I love everything about this photo. The subject, the composition, the lighting. The pensive face, the little chin in the little hand. My entreaty to my mother. My unraveling braids. I don’t know who the photographer was, only that it was taken at a basketball game at C.H. Darden during what must have been its last season as a high school. And then the dam of segregation broke.

Lona Edwards Alston Dunston, centenarian.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 2001.

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Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 2002.

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In the 1910 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farm laborer Stephen Edwards, 31; wife Charity, 29; and children Lonnie, 9, John H., 7, Charity, 4, William, 2, and Mary, 7 months.

On 14 January 1917, Thomas Alston, 22, of Greene County, son of Thomas and Peggy Alston, married Lonie Edwards, 18, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Steve and Charity Edwards, in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Rev. W.J. Fox of “A.M.E. Zion connection,” performed the ceremony.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: widow Lonie Alston, 40, farmer, and children Napoleon, 23, Willie Marie, 20, Thomas Lee, 17, J.C., 15, Stephen, 12, Jesse, 9, Mattie, 7, Lonnie, 5, and Lillian, 3.

In 1940, Napoleon Alston registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 August 1918 in Greene County; he lived in Stantonsburg; his contact was his mother Lonie Alston; and he was self-employed.

In 1944, J.C. Alston registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 October 1926 in Wilson County; his contact was his mother Lonie Alston; and he worked for John Lane, Stantonsburg, as a farmer.

Lona Edwards Alston Dunston died 1 October 2003, just weeks before her 103rd birthday.

The Dunston twins turn 90.

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Wilson Daily Times, 15 April 2006.

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Harry Dunston married Mary Stancil on 28 December 1897 on Oneal township, Johnston County.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Harry Dunston, 58, his wife of 6 years Livia A., 46, and children James, 10, Pearly, 7, Percy, 7, Alparada, 3, and Ollie, 1 1/2.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Harry Duncan [sic], 59; wife Livian, 39; and children Alparato, 11, Oliver W. 9, Bettie, 8, Clara, 7, Joseph, 6, Sidney, 5, Ruby and Ruth, 3, and Pearl and Percy, 15.

Livan Dunston died 29 April 1947 in Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1885 in Wilson County to Best Taborn and Clara Locus; was married to Harry Dunston; and is buried at New Vester.

Harry Dunston died 10 August 1950 in Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born December 1859 in Wake County to Ben Dunston and Harriett Hester; was a widower; was a farmer; and was buried at New Vester. Eliza Dunstan Hayes was informant.

Ruby Dunston Jones passed away 6 March 2016, just before her 100th birthday.

 

Florence Williams Maryland’s 103rd birthday.

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Wilson Daily Times, 30 August 1995.

Mrs. Maryland passed away on 4 September 1995, less than a week after this news photo was published.

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Jonas Maryland, 23, of Toisnot, married Florence Williams, 19, of Toisnot, on 4 October 1911 at Town Creek School house. Missionary Baptist minister J.J. Thompson performed the ceremony.

In 1918, Jonas Maryland registered for the World War I draft in Edgecombe County. Per his registration card, he was born 4 April 1878; resided at R.F.D. 1, Sharpsburg; was a farm laborer for Jessie Williams; and his nearest relative was Florence Maryland.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on the Wilson and Rocky Mount Road, farmer Jonah Maryland, 40; wife Vinie, 22; and children Clarence, 8, Willis, 5, Allie, 4, Fannie, 3, and Annie, 7 months.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on the Rocky Mount and Town Creek Road, Janos Maryland, 53, widower, house carpenter; and children Clarence, 19, Ernest, 17, Fannie, 15, Addie B., 13, Ruth, 11, and Essie, 8.

In the 1940 census of Bronx, New York: Elizabeth Hayes, 33, domestic for private family; daughter Ethel Hayes, 6; and partner Florence Maryland, 44, domestic for private family. The women were born in North Carolina; Ethel, in New York.

“I’m the oldest? There’s got to be others.”

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Wilson Daily Times, 6 October 1992.

Stantonsburg honors town’s oldest resident

STANTONSBURG — Stantonsburg’s oldest resident celebrated her 100th birthday Friday.

Travis Street resident Ethyl Artis made her way to the town hall Friday to meet Mayor Seth P. Hunt Jr., who proclaimed Oct. 3 Ethyl Beckton Artis Day in Stantonsburg.

Residents held a large party at the town’s community building Saturday for Ms. Artis, who has been a resident of Stantonsburg for the last 70 years. She is a member of the Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Church.

She worked in farming and raised three children.

Ms. Artis said she was surprised to be the town’s oldest resident. “I’m the oldest? There’s got to be others,” she told Hunt.

Her grandaughter-in-law, Annie Artis, drove her to the town hall and helped her inside. Although she depended on the aid of a walker, Ethyl Artis said she still got along pretty well.

“I feel pretty good sometimes, other times I don’t,” she said. “I thank the Lord” for my health.

Ms. Artis was one of nine children born to Phebe and William Beckton. She was born in Wayne County Oct. 2, 1892.  — B.D. Pedigo

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Ethel Pearl Becton Artis was married to June Scott Artis; their children were Edgar Joel, James Broady, and Amanda Bell Artis. She passed away in 1994, just before her 102nd birthday.

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Funeral program in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Vanilla Beane celebrates 100!

Jeni Hansen has graciously allowed me to share plans for the observation of the 100th birthday of her grandmother, celebrated milliner Vanilla Powell Beane, who was born in Wilson County on 13 September 1919.

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Find more on Vanilla Beane here:

  • Articles

The Washington Post, Celebrating 3 sisters’ lives and longevity, Avis Thomas-Lester, 5 November  2011

The Washington Post, C​elebrated D.C. Milliner Marks 90th Birthday With Friends, Hats, Hamil R. Harris, 20 September 2009

Afro-American Newspapers, ​D.C. Woman Celebrates 100th Birthday with Sisters, 97, and 93, Avis Thomas-Lester and Teria Rogers, 14 November 2012

Associated Press,​Dr. Height’s Hat Immortalized in Metal, Sarah Karush and Teneille Gibson, 15 June 2010

  • Videos

Hat Academy: “​Bene Millinery​
Museum of Fine Arts: ​Dorothy Height’s Hats 360

Press contact:

Jeni Hansen
jeni@jenihansen.com​