Wilson Daily Times, 16 August 1922.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Wilson Daily Times, 8 May 1896.
Charles Battle was a well-known blacksmith in late 19th century Wilson.
The 1897 Sanborn fire insurance map shows two blacksmith shops near Frank Daniels’ Cotton Gin. The one at left, most nearly opposite the gin, is likely Battle’s shop.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Wilson Daily Times, 6 August 1897.
In the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County: Jerry Hargrove, 29; wife Sarah, 29; and children Anna, 9, Gordon, 6, William, 4, and Marcus, 1.
In the 1880 census of Cocoa township, Edgecombe County: Gerry Hargrove, 39; wife Sarah, 38; and children Gordon, 15, William, 13, Marcus, 11, Farrar, 8, Matthew, 6, Frank, 6, and Henry, 10 months.
On 30 December 1890, William Hargrove, 23, of Wilson, son of Jerry and Sarah Hargrove, and Louvenia Hines, 21, of Edgecombe, daughter of Joshua Bulluck and Harriet Hines, were married at Joshua Bulluck’s in Township #14, Edgecombe County. Hilliard Reid and Bush Dew of Wilson were witnesses.
Wilson Mirror, 23 September 1891.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith William Hargrove, 32; wife Leuvenia, 30, washing; daughters Bessie, 6, and Lillie, 3; widowed sister Mary Boddie, 25, cooking; and cousin Julious Heat, 20, farm hand.
In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hargrove Wm blksmith 206 E Goldsboro h 606 E Green
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 606 Green, blacksmith William Hargrove, 43; wife Louvenia, 40; daughters Bessie, 17, and Willie L., 13; and boarder John Howard, 18. But also, in the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Joyner, 51; wife Annie, 51; and boarder William Hargrove, 40, horse shoer in own shop.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hargrove Wm blksmith h 606 E Green
Per his headstone, William Hargrove died 4 January 1914. Per Findagrave.com, Hargrove is buried in the Hines/Bullock cemetery near Pinetops, Edgecombe County.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 606 East Green, Luvenia Hargrove, 40, widow, and daughter Willie, 20, public school teacher.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 605 East Green, Luvenia Hargrove, 60, widow, and daughter Willie, 29, public school teacher.
Luevenia Hargrove died 22 February 1958 in Wilson at her home at 605 East Green. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 February 1869 in Edgecombe County to Joshua Bulluck and Harriet Hines and was buried in Bulluck cemetery, Edgecombe County. Informant was Mrs. Willie Smith, 605 East Green.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Detail, Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1908.
Cross-referencing the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Above, the intersection of the 100 block of East Barnes Street and the 200 block of South Goldsboro Street.
Aerial view courtesy of Google Maps.
Smith Bennett’s grave marker in Odd Fellows cemetery.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Smith Bennett, 47, widower; daughter Addie, 20; boarder Robert Wilkerson, 36, cooper, born in Virginia; and lodgers Archie Williams, 34, carpenter, and Samuel Wooten, 18, farm laborer.
Smith Bennett, 48, of Wilson, son of Hardy and Riny Bennett, married Mariah Ray, 36, of Wilson, on 7 March 1901. Hilliard Ellis Jr. applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister David Crockett Best performed the ceremony at Smith Bennett’s in the town of Wilson in the presence of Robert W. Wilkerson, Hilliard Ellis Jr., and Dawson Williams.
In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bennett Smith lab h 310 S Spring
Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1910.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bennett Smith fireman h 314 S Spring
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Mercer Street, Smith Bennett, 68, and wife Mary, 47, laundress.
Smith Bennett died 29 April 1920 at Saint Agnes Hospital, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was 68 years old; was married; was born to Hardy Bennett and Marina Robbins, both of Edgecombe County; was a resident of Wilson; was a farmer; and was buried in Wilson. He died of “shock following operation for removal of hypertrophied prostate.”
Smith Bennett in 1894. Detail from a photo of employees of Wainwright Foundry.
On 18 May 1985, the Wilson Daily Times printed this remarkable photograph with the caption: “The employees of Wainwright Foundry, located on the north side of Pine Street between Broad and Kenan streets, posed for this photograph in 1894. From left are Jack Williamson, Frank Perry, George Rowland, Ad Holland, proprietor George H. Wainwright, William D. Thomas, Parker Battle and Smith Bennett. (Photo contributed by Hugh B. Johnston, restoration by Claude Anthony).”
Hat tip to Jim Skinner.
In 1867, blacksmith Harry Simpson asked two white neighbors to write a letter on his behalf to the Goldsboro field office of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The letter is fascinating in many ways: (1) the glimpse at the independence afforded a skilled enslaved man; (2) his willingness to confront his former master’s father over a matter of equity; (3) the willingness of his neighbors vouch for his integrity and to assist him against a well-known white man.
Wilson County N.C.
To the Freedmen’s Bureau in Goldsboro N.C.
Harry Simpson (colerd) the bearer formerly a slave of J.T. Simpson’s, was a black-smith & worked through the county from shop to shop. Said Harry lived off to himself & for some reason his owner put a portion of his stock in the care of Harry who provided for them & used them as his own & in the early part of the late war said J.T. Simpson died, having no family his property then was his fathers who let it remain with said Harry untill about the first of February 1867. Then Benjamin Simpson the father of the said J.T. Simpson took possession of it, and his pourk. We have known Harry for several years & have no just reason to doubt his character. We state the above to you by his request which are facts.
April 18th 1867 S.D. Boykin, S.J. Winborn
For Capt. Hannibal D. Norton’s response to Simpson, which seems to miss the mark somewhat, see here.
North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 15, Letters received, Jan 1867-1868, http://www.familysearch.org
Wilson Advance, 26 March 1880.
Wilson Advance, 16 November 1883.
Wilson Times, 30 June 1899.
On 4 February 1868, Jack Williamson, son of Toney Eatmon and Hester Williamson, married Ann Boykin, daughter of John Harper and Alder Ried, at Jack Williamson’s in Wilson.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: domestic servant Robert Vick, 19, and wife Spicy, 18; Anna Williamson, 25, washerwoman, children Jena, 10, Charles, 5, and Ann I.M., 2, and husband Jackson Williamson, 45, blacksmith.
In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Tarboro Street, Jack Williamson, 55, blacksmith; wife Ann, 30; and children Eugina, 20, cook, Charles 16, blacksmith shop worker, Tete, 14, and Lea, 4.
On 6 January 1887, Charles Williamson, 21, son of Jack and Ann Williamson, married Clara Vick, 18, daughter of Nelson and Viney Vick, in the Town of Wilson. Amanda Vick applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister H.C. Phillips performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick, H.C. Rountree and Daniel Vick.
This entry appears in undertakers Wooten & Stephens’ funeral log: Jack Williamson. Colored. Died 23 June 1899. Length 5’9″. Cost $15, billed to Jean Williamson. Buried in Garry Williamson cemetery. (Page 493)
In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ann Williamson and Lugenia Williamson, both laundresses, listed at West Walnut Street near Henry Street.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 558 Spruce Street, widow Ann Williamson, 70, laundress, daughter Jane, 38, and grandchildren Bell Williamson, 13, Henry Bell, 14, and Paul Bell, 7.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ann Williamson and Lugenia Williamson, both laundresses, listed at West Walnut Street near Tarboro Street.
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Anne and Eugenia Williamson, both laundresses, 123 West Walnut.
Wilson Daily Times, 5 November 1938.
In the 1880 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: at 518 West Broad, laborer Green Lovett, 28; wife Julia, 30; and children Almus, 5, Mary, 3, and Floyd, 1.
In the 1900 census of Chesapeake District, Elizabeth County, Virginia: at Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute, Almus A. Lovett, 25, student, born in Georgia.
Third-Year Trade School Students, Catalogue of Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute, Hampton, Virginia 1902-1903.
Lovette appears in Savannah city directories between 1904 and 1913 at various addresses and working as blacksmith, post office carrier, and driver. [Which begs the question of which years he taught in Greensboro.]
On 6 July 1908, Almus A. Lovett and Letitia H. Jones, both 33, were married in Savannah, Georgia.
Almus Ashton Lovette registered for the World War I draft in Wilson on 12 September 1918. Per his registration card, he resided at 415 Stantonsburg Street; was born 8 April 1876; worked as a horseshoer for G.T. Purvis, 212 Tarboro Street; and his nearest relative was Letitia H. Lovette.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Almus Lovett, 42, blacksmith in shop, and wife Letitia, 43, seamstress.
In the 1930 Wilson city directory: Lovett Almus A (c) (Letitia H) horseshoer Stallings & Riley h 301 N. Vick.
Almus Ashton Lovett died 5 November 1938 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 April 1877 in Sylvania, Georgia to Green Lovett; resided at 301 North Vick Street; was married to Letitia Lovett; and worked as a blacksmith at a repair ship. Letitia Lovett was informant.
On 2 February 1941, Letitia H. Lovett, 57, daughter of Frank and Sarah Jones, married Edwin D. Fisher, 47, son of Edwin W. and Nannie D. Fisher, at Lovett’s home. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the service in the presence of Milton W. Fisher, Mrs. Almina Fisher, Mrs. Rosa E. McCullers, and Mrs. Eva L. Brown.
Letitia Lovette Fisher died 1 November 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 January 1876 in Georgia to Franklin Jones and an unknown mother; had worked as a teacher and seamstress; resided at 301 North Vick; and was married to Edwin D. Fisher, who served as informant.
Wilson Daily Times, 16 September 1910.
Charles Battle, son of Benja Sorsby and Edith Battle, married Lear Hargrove, daughter of Alfred Parker and Venice Hargrove, on 20 June 1869 in Wilson County.
In the 1870 census, Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 27, wife Leah, 29, and daughter Susan, 9 months.
In the 1880 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 35, wife Leah, 30, and children Adelia, 5, Geneva, 2, Virgil, 1 month, and Nicholas, 18.
In 1900 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charley Battle, 50, a widower; son Charley, 10; and Menerver Edwards, 58, a hired washwoman.
In the 1910 census, Stantonsburg, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Battle, 60, and son Charlie Jr., 21, also a blacksmith, were lodgers in the household of widowed farmer Sarah Artis, 48, and her children Willie, 22, Lillie G., 16, and Nora, 10, grandsons Marcellous, 14, and Alexander Artis, 10, and son-in-law Paul Harris, 22.
As detailed here, Charles Battle’s son Charles Tecumseh Battle became a prominent teacher of manual trades in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama. However, his presence in Stantonsburg in the 1910 census and his biography suggest that his father was visiting a different son in Alabama when he passed away. Was it the Nicholas R. Battle, 56, farmer, born in North Carolina, listed in the 1920 census of Chandler township, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, with Mississippi-born wife Dora J., 58, and Oklahoma-born son Henry N. Battle, 12?
Charles Battle was buried in the Masonic cemetery on Lane Street, Wilson, beside his wife Leah and mother Edith.
Charles Battle, 30 August 1841-12 September 1910.
Leah Battle, 1 March 1851-8 March 1898.
Grandmother Edith Battle, 4 April 1818-3 March 1899.