Black Creek township

Shadrach and Keziah Simms Dickinson house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“This Georgian cottage is said to have been the dwelling of Keziah and Shadrack Dickenson. Dickenson was the daughter of Robert Simms, a major landowner in Black Creek Township. The land upon which this house was built is said to have come from the Simms family. This late eighteenth-century cottage is a rare survival in Wilson County. It was probably constructed much as it stands today. It is a small rectangular building with a gable roof. The gable ends suggest the presence of exterior end chimneys, now removed. The door is board and batten. Although some alterations have been made on the interior, the present appearance suggests that it was once a hall-and-parlor plan dwelling. The interior is sheathed with flush boards and some original woodwork remains intact. The interior and exterior details of this house suggest that it may be of the oldest, as well as one of the best-preserved houses in the county.”

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As shown in the last column on this partial image, Shadrach Dickinson reported to the enumerator recording the 1790 census of Wayne County, North Carolina, that he owned 14 enslaved people. (Black Creek township was part of Wayne County prior to 1855.)

Dickinson died in 1818 at the age of about 68. His will entered probate in Wayne County:

In the Name of God Amen — I Shadrack Dickinson of the County of Wayne & State of No Carolina do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament Revoking all others being in Sound mind & memory. It is my wish and desire that all my children To wit Martha Simms Elizabeth Stanton Polly Thomas Sally Jernigan Patience Turner James Dickinson Penelope Barnes Wm Dickinson & Susannah Edmundson  shall have an equal part of all my whole estate that is consisting Lands negroes and money &tc with the Exception of my Daughter Polley Thoma’s part of the negroes which I have now in possession it is my wish and desire after the Valuation of sd negroes that her part be made up to her in money or good notes of hands and the said negroes Eqully Divided between the above name Eight Heirs with the exception of my negro man Jacob & his wife Jenny shall be valued at one Hundred dollars and my negro man Harry shall be valued at three Hundred dollars, and without any compulshon shall have their choice of said Eight Heirs for their Master or Mistress, and the said Four Hundred dollars to be paid in good Notes as the other part of said Estate, it is my wish & desire that all the negroes & perishable property which already has been given to said nine Heirs be valued at the time when said property was [illegible] and also three Hundred Acres of Land deeded to my son James also three Hundred Acres of Land deeded to my daughter Patience valued at this time, it is also my wish and desire after all my Just debts are paid that all the residue of my Estate be Equally divided between the above named nine Heirs by Joel Newsom Junr & Arthur Bardin which I ordain and appoint also my Executors to this my last will and Testament. Oct. 28th 1818. Shadrack Dickinson  Signed Seald & acknowledged in the presents of William Dickinson, Henry T. Stanton

1790 United States Federal Census; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

James and Zilpha Newsome Daniel house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“This handsome plantation house is thought to have been built for James Daniel. Daniel was born in 1802 and died in 1854. He married Zilphia Newsome, and after her death in 1862 the property was sold to Dr. Alexander G. Brooks …. The Daniel House is a smaller version of the type of plantation house built for such prominent planters as William Barnes (Stantonsburg Township), Elias Barnes (Saratoga Township) and Colonel David Williams (Toisnot Township). It is two stories high with a rather shallow hipped roof and interior chimneys. Both front and rear doors are trabeated, and the front elevation is sheltered by a hipped-roof porch supported by slender chamfered posts. A kitchen wing is located on the side elevation. The house has a double-pile central-hall plan with two rooms off the hall. All the original mid-nineteenth century mantels and doors are still in place.”

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In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County: farmer James Daniel, 48; wife Zilpah, 47; and her children Elizabeth, 23, Eliza, 21, Lawrence, 19, Joseph, 15, James, 17, Sarah, 12, Mary, 8, and Martha, 8.

In the 1850 slave schedule of the North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County, James Daniel is reported with eight slaves, five girls and women aged 3 to 26, and three boys and men, aged 1 to 35.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Zilpha Daniel, 53, and her children Elizabeth, 33, Eliza, 29, Larry, 28, Sallie, 19, Mary, 18, and Martha, 18. Farm laborer Smithy Artis, 38, a free woman of color, and her son George, 21, described as “idiotic,” also lived in the household. [The term was often applied to deaf people.] Daniel reported $8000 in real estate and $12,000 in personal property, including enslaved people.

In the 1860 slave schedule of Black Creek township, Wilson County, Zilpha Daniel is reported with 14 slaves, eight girls and women aged 1 to 39, and six men and boys, aged 2 to 39.

The 1870 census of Wilson County lists many dozens of African-Americans with the surname Daniel living throughout the eastern half of Wilson County.

Robert M. and Zillah Horne Cox house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

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“Dr. Robert Cox was born in 1825 and he married Zillah Horne, an heir to the Horne land where this house was built. In 1844 Cox purchased his wife’s share of the Horne land, amounting to 385 acres. This house was probably built in the 1840s. After the death of Zillah, Cox married her sister, Elizabeth Horne. According to the 1860 census he was identified as a farmer with real property worth $8,000. … The Cox House consists of a two-room dwelling with an engaged porch and rear shed. The sturdy porch posts are chamfered and a shed room with access from the outside was built under one side of the porch. There are two exterior end chimneys; one centrally located on the west elevation which served the parlor and one on the east elevation on the rear shed. On the interior the house is divided into two main rooms with a shed room running the width of the house at the rear.”

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In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, North Carolina [in an area which became part of Black Creek township, Wilson County, in 1855]: farmer Robert Cox, 25; wife Zillie, 23; and daughter Julia, 10 months. Per the 1850 slave schedule of the same district, Cox enslaved a 37 year-old woman, four girls ranging in age from 4 to 14, a 42 year-old man, and two boys, aged 7 and 14.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Robert M. Cox, 35; wife Elizabeth, 21; Barney B. Cox, 21, clerk; John H. Minshew, 28, clerk; and J.S. Holt, 28, merchant. Cox reported $8000 in real property and $36000 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included five enslaved girls and women ranging from 9 to 30 years old and ten enslaved boys and men ranging from 9 months to 35 years old. Cox provided three dwellings to house them.

The 1870 census of Wilson County lists 20 African-Americans with the surname Cox living in four households in Black Creek, Stantonsburg and Cross Roads townships. Though Robert Cox was the sole Cox slaveholder listed in Wilson County in 1860, several of his Cox kin in neighboring Wayne County owned slaves.

 

Elisha Bass farm.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“According to local tradition this house was built for Elisha Bass, Jr., on land deeded to Edward Bass in 1745. The Elisha Bass house is set in a grove of trees and is oriented away from the road. It now forms the rear section of a turn-of-the-century farmhouse built circa 1890 by Shelby Bass. The oldest section probably dates between 1830 and 1940. The three-bay gable-roof house has exterior end chimneys with tumbled weatherings. The kitchen, which was originally part of the early section of the house, still stands on the property.”

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In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, North Carolina [in an area which became part of Black Creek township, Wilson County, in 1855]: farmer Elisha Bass, 35; wife Sarah, 30; and son Hardy, 1. Per the 1850 slave schedule of the same district, Elisha Bass enslaved a 40 and a 16 year-old man.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Elisha Bass, 47; son Nathan, 9; and farm laborer Redmon Lodge, 17. Bass listed $3500 in real property and $4317 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included a 20 year-old woman, a three year-old girl, and four boys and men, aged three months to 30 years.

Elisha Bass was just one of several white Basses who enslaved people in Wilson County. The 1870 census of Black Creek township lists 134 African-Americans with the surname Bass living in households across eastern Wilson County in Black Creek, Stantonsburg, Gardners, Wilson, Joyners and Cross Roads townships.

Arthur Bass house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“This house is said to have been the property of Arthur Bass. According to the Wayne County census of 1850 Arthur Bass was born in 1816. Little is known of Bass’ life. … The Bass House appears to date from the 1830s and it consists of a two-story dwelling with an attached shed porch and three-bay façade. Under the porch the façade is sheathed in flush boards instead of the unusual weatherboards, the main house is linked with the kitchen by an open breezeway on the eastern elevation and this breezeway shelters an unusual enclosed exterior stair. On the first floor of the main house there are two main rooms, while the second floor appears to have been one large room.”

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In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse River, Wayne County, North Carolina [in an area which became part of Black Creek township, Wilson County, in 1855]: farmer Arthur Bass, 34; wife Martha, 19; and daughter Zilla, 8 months. Per the 1850 slave schedule of the same district, Arthur Bass enslaved a 25 year-old woman, a three year-old boy and a two year-old girl.

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Arthur Bass, 46; wife Pattie, 28; and children Zillah, 11, Louisa, 8, Perry, 6, and William, 2 months. He listed $4000 in real property and $7000 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included five enslaved girls and women ranging from 8 months to 32 years old and two enslaved boys. aged 12 and five.

Arthur Bass was just one of several white Basses who enslaved people in Wilson County. The 1870 census of Wilson County lists 134 African-Americans with the surname Bass living in households across eastern Wilson County in Black Creek, Stantonsburg, Gardners, Wilson, Joyners and Cross Roads townships.

Alexander G. Brooks plantation.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“Dr. Alexander G[oodrich]. Brooks was a leading citizen of Black Creek Township. He was born in 1826 [in Caswell County, North Carolina] and he married Patience Simms before 1856. His wife was the daughter of Garry Simms, and the couple built this house on land once owned by the Simms family. Brooks was a physician and a planter. He was one of the commissioners appointed to lay out the county seat when the county was formed in 1855, and he served for many years as a justice of the peace. … The house was probably built in the late 1840s. It is situated in a grove of mature trees and faces south. It stands two stories high and is T-shaped. The front section of the house consists of a two-story block with double gallery porches on either side. Exterior end chimneys are located on the front section on the east and west elevations, and one chimney is on the rear two-story section. A one-story early twentieth century wing was attached to the read of of the two-story section. An open breezeway leads from the kitchen wing to a well located under the breezeway roof. A mid-nineteenth century one-story porch sheltered the entrance bay until it was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1950s. The front section of the house consists of a central hall with one room to either side of the hall.”

The National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Black Creek Rural Historic District, drafted in 1982, contains a lengthy discussion of A.G. Brooks’ house and farm, with some minor difference in detail from the passage above.

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In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County, A.G. Brooks, 32, farmer, listed $12500 in real property and $31240 in personal property. His personal property, per the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, included 14 enslaved girls and women ranging from 4 to 55 years old and 15 enslaved boys and men ranging from 1 to 47 years old.

The 1870 census of Black Creek township lists about 20 African-Americans with the surname Brooks living in four households.

White man arrested for shooting negro.

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Wilson Daily Times, 19 August 1921.

[Ruffin Woodard is listed in the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County, as a 38 year-old white farmer, but I have not found a listing for Hardy Johnson. Paul Lee Woodard, whose small house still stands in downtown Black Creek, was a farmer whose seed and feed store in Wilson is the city’s longest continually operating business in town. This brief article raises so many questions: Both Woodard and Johnson were tenant farmers on P.L. Woodard’s land. What was their conflict? Woodard was arrested and jailed for shooting Johnson, but Woodard’s countercharges against Johnson failed to stick. Was this a matter of Justice of the Peace Jule Hardy’s scrupulous fairness? Ruffin Woodard’s lack of standing and concomitant loss of privilege? (And, if so, why?) Hardy’s stature?]

The thief was on to the game.

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Wilson Advance, 25 February 1897.

A “tom thumb” is a sausage made with pork shoulder, sage, and red pepper, heavily salted and stuffed into a hog’s stomach.  The resulting large lump is either smoked or dry-cured and is a delicacy found — with decreasing frequency — in Virginia and the Carolinas.

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On 7 January 1886, John Melton, 28, married Lucey Farmer, 29, at Tobey Farmer‘s in the presence of Thos. Ruffin, J.H. Lassiter and Robert 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.

I cannot get any information from the negroes.

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Ada Sauls – Mary Sauls my daughter. Died Sat. June 22; died in kitchen. I and grandchildren present. No one else present. Died about 1 o’clock; was in the kitchen when they – deceased – and Mary were there; Mary told one of the children to get her water; when I looked around she fell under the table; Sarah was in another room when Mary fell; they had no trouble during the day, had no trouble that could be seen from the road; After asking for water little girl began cry; ran to her and tried to get her up – hardly know what I did; say Gray Spell when he come; never told him that Mary and Sarah had been fighting; Mary and Sarah was continually scrapping about the children; Mary was continually complaining her heart; she was bloated ever since birth of her last child.

Gray Spell – I learned of this trouble June 22 12 o’clock; heard she was dead. I saw Mary laying on floor in dining room; Miss Farmer and the children was there; never saw Ada Sauls; Ada said they were eating, Mary and Sarah got to full, Ada wouldn’t let them fuss; Mary reached around to get something to hit Sarah with but she never arose; no licks passed; helped pick Mary up; put her on the bed; she was dead; never saw any blood or bruise.

Grace Farmer – I visited this house yesterday; heard her squalling; heard children say My poor mother is dead; when I got to the house she was on the floor dead; Estelle Sauls and her Mother was there; Sarah was on the outside; Evan Farmer Estelle & Ada Sauls helped to put her on the bed; heard Sarah say she didn’t believe Mary was dead; said God damn her she didn’t believe she was dead. She was obeying her mother by remaining on outside; I remained until late; assisted in shrouding; Sarah didn’t help; Never saw wounds except on her face; her hands were drawn.

Ada Sauls – 12 years old; was in room when mother died. She asked for water. I waited on her. Mother and Sarah was not mad; Aunt Sarah was not in room when Mother died; Mother fell backward; fell between bench & table; struck bench on one side. Sarah came in after death; no one told me what to say; I was looking at her when she fell; said nothing before falling.

Sarah Sauls – had no trouble with sister Saturday; Grace Farmer misunderstood me; I never cursed her; saw Grace when she got over fence; Never eat a mouthful for dinner; wasn’t in the room when she fell; wasn’t in room when mother was talking to Grace Spell; went in room after he fell; never saw any wounds on body; never held ill feeling against my sister. Only about children; Mary said Saturday morning, I feel like my heart will kill me.

Estell Sauls – Wasn’t in room when she died; Mary & Sarah to my knowing had not been fussing.

R.B. Etherid[g]e – Don’t know but little about affair; Gracie told me to send Dr. that Mary was foaming at mouth; didn’t know whether she was dead or not; asked her if there had been any trouble; nothing but few words fast. Went to depot and delivered message.

Jas. Bass – First I knew Spell came by me and said Mary Sauls was past speaking. Some one was fighting Mary & Jane.

John Hinnant – First heard of trouble between 12 & 1; heard she was dead; Spell told me she was dead; found Mary lying on the floor dead.

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Black Creek NC, 6/23/07

Dear Doctor: —

Two negro women fighting yesterday at Jos. Horne’s place near the Branch farm blow struck one fell dead – sisters & I can’t get any information parties who saw body yesterday pm said blow on left eye little pierced hole above upper eyelid – Many People desire post mortem before burial at 4 pm I would suggest you come & bring such assistance as you deem sufficient.

Yours truly, H.M. Rowe

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Black Creek NC, 6/23/07

D Sir:

I could not get any information from the negroes all of one family sisters at that I have written Coroner to come hold post mortem & that’s why I wired you.

Yours truly, H.M. Rowe

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Sunday Afternoon, June 23, 1907,

We, the following jurors, summoned and duly sworn to enquire into the cause of death of Mary Sauls, find from the evidence adduced that the deceased came to her death from natural causes.  R.B. Evans, R.B. Ethridge, W.D. Ruffin, L.D. Tomlinson, Wiley Barnes, Jonathan Tomlinson, W.H. Anderson Coroner

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  • Ada, Mary Ann, Sarah Jane, Estelle, and Ada Sauls — On 20 December 1869, Patrick Sauls married Ada Thompson in Wayne County, North Carolina. In the 1880 census of Saulston, Wayne County: Patrick Sauls, 28, wife Ada, 23, and children Walter, 9, Mary Ann, 7, Sarah J., 5, Hattie, 3, and Lee, 3 months. [Note: Lee Sauls swore, with an X, to an affidavit asserting his belief that his sister had died by criminal act. See above.] In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Patric Saul, 57, wife Ada, 47, and children and grandchildren Mary A., 22, Susan, 5, Ester, 3, Sarrah, 28, Dewey, 3, Lee, 16, Clyde, 13, Enniss, 11, and Estelle, 9. Ada Sauls died 16 October 1925 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Parritt Sauls, born about 1853 in Green County, worked as a tenant farmer for Fred Carr. Dewey Sauls was informant. Sarah Sauls died 3 October 1961 in Wilson at her home at 102 N. East Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1888 in Greene County to Patric Sauls and Ada Thomas and was buried in the femily cemetery in Black Creek. Bessie Sauls of 102 N. East Street was informant.
  • Gray Spell — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widowed farmer Chaney Spells, 55, sons James S., 19, Gray, 17, Walter, 16, and Charley, 13, grandchildren Unity, 14, Fannie, 10, Irvin, 7, and Chaney Farmer, 2, and boarder Harriet Killibrew, 45.
  • Grace Farmer

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News & Observer (Raleigh), 25 June 1907.

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