Studio shots, no. 195: Thelma Braswell Forbes.

Thelma Braswell Forbes, age about 12, as a student at Lucama School, circa 1949.

Thelma Braswell Forbes, who passed away in Wilson last week, graciously shared with Black Wide-Awake her recollections of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. May she rest in peace. 

Many thanks to Dawn Forbes Murphy for sharing this wonderful photograph. 

Cpl. John J. Braswell is stationed in the Pacific.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 May 1945.


In the 1930 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, North Carolina: Arthur Braswell, 38; wife Julia, 31; and children John, 10, Mary J., 11, and Charles L., 7.

In 1940, John Junior Braswell registered for the World War II draft in Wayne County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 6 November 1917 in Wayne County; lived in Fremont, N.C.; his contact was father Arthur Braswell; and he worked for his father.

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 21 April 1988.

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

I happened unexpectedly upon Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church a few miles east of Lucama. 

The style of the building suggests that it was built circa the turn of the 20th century. The original block of the church consisted of a rectangular, gable-front section with a square tower on the gable end facing the road. Five peaked windows grace each side. The cinder-block wings on each side of the double front door are relatively recent modifications, built to house restrooms. There are also newer additions at rear.

The church is decorated with a large cross fitted with lightbulbs and a cast-iron bell in the yard. Thelma B. Forbes states the bell was rung to announce church services.

When I sought information about this church, my childhood friend Dawn Forbes Murphy informed me her maternal grandfather Kennell Braswell and family had belonged to Macedonia. (Her grandmother Marie Cannady Braswell was a member of Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Church.) Dawn has wonderful memories of attending Macedonia as a child, sitting on wooden benches in summer heat, singing hymns without piano or organ accompaniment, delicious food served at church functions, and lots of love. Dawn’s mother Thelma Braswell Forbes recalls there was once two-room school on the grounds of the church. The school was moved down the road from the church, but may still be standing. Though Mrs. Forbes is not sure when the church was founded, she knows her father Kennell Braswell joined as a child, and eventually his mother Minnie Cox Braswell was mother of the church. The church met only twice a month, so the Braswells attended Mary Grove on alternate Sundays.

Kennell and Marie Cannady Braswell.

In the 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Braswell, 30; wife Minnie, 26; and children Sadie, 10, Missie, 9, Aira, 7, Sallie, 1, Mary, newborn, Ira, 6, Kennon, 5, and Roland, 3.

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Braswell, 39; wife Minne, 37; and children Ira, 16, Kennen, 15, Roland, 14, Sallie, 12, Pennie, 10, Irene, 9, Hessie C., 7, Allen, 6, Hazel, 5, Bessie, 3, Leslie, 2, and William T., 10 months.

On 28 November 1936, Kennell Braswell, 22, of Lucama, son of Thomas and Minnie Braswell, married Marie Cannaday, 20, of Lucama, daughter of Charlie and Mary Cannaday, in Smithfield, Johnston County. Ossie M. Cannady and Curtis L. Cannady of Lucama were witnesses.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: South Carolina-born farmer Charlie Cannady, 60; wife Mary, 50; daughter Marie Braswell, 23; son-in-law Kennel Braswell, 24; and grandchildren Minnie M., 2, and Charlie T., 1. Mary and Marie were also born in South Carolina.

In 1940, Kennel Braswell registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1916 in Wayne County; his contact was mother Minnie Braswell; and he worked for Ceney Boyex, R.F.D. #2, Wilson.

Kennell Braswell (1914-1992) as a World War II soldier.

Photo of church by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2019; family photos courtesy of Dawn F. Murphy.

Cemeteries, no. 28: the Bynum-Williamson cemetery.

I searched unsuccessfully for this cemetery a couple of years ago — it was the wrong time of year. In summer it’s hidden from the street by tobacco or corn or whatever tall crop is growing, but it’s readily visible in December. (The thick growth just behind the graves shelters Cedar Creek, a tributary of Black Creek.)

The oldest marked grave is that of

  • Moses Bynum

Moses Bynum 1825-1885 Gone but not forgotten

  • James Grice

James Grice Born 1850 Died Sep 23 1925 Gone but not forgotten

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: James Grice, 17, farm apprentice in the household of Thomas Woodard, 38.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: James Grice, 30; wife Leatha J., 34; and children Mary, 11, Loney W., 8, and Joseph, 4.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: James Grice, 50, farm laborer; wife Jane L., 49; and children Mary, 35, Lonney, 28, Sarah A., 17, and James L., 12.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on West Railroad Street, James Grice, 59, farmer; wife Eliza, 52; daughter Mary,; and granddaughter Hattie,

In the 1920 census of lack Creek township, Wilson County: Eroy A. Grice, 40; wife Clyde, 33; James, 69; Hattie Wood, 40, and Walter Wood, 12.

James Grice died 23 September 1925 in Black Creek township. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1850 in Wilson County to James Grice and Thanney Keen; was a tenant farmer for Johnson Daniel; and was the widower of Litha Grice. Eroy Grice of Black Creek was informant.

  • Turner Williamson

Father Tunner Williamson Born Jan. 18. 1860 Died Oct. 22, 1937 Gone but not forgotten.

See here.

  • Turner Williamson, Jr.

Turner Jr., husband of Bessie Mae Williamson May 13, 1902 June 14, 1945 A light from our household is gone

Turner Williamson died 14 June 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 13 May 1902 in Wilson to Turner Williamson and Margaret Barnes; was married to Bessie Williamson, age 37; worked as an auto mechanic; lived at 601 North 53rd Street, Philadelphia; and was buried in Wilson.

  • James White

James White  Feb 8, 1877 Apr 4, 1950 At rest

Jim White died 4 April 1950 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 73 years old; was born in Craven County, N.C., to Rennie White; was married; worked as a carpenter; and was buried in Bynum cemetery. Effie White was informant.

  • Chaney Brooks

Chaney Brooks died Nov, 12, 1941 Age 66 Yrs. Gone But Not Forgotten

Chanie Brooks died 12 December 1940 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 78 years old; was born in Wilson County to Bryant Barden and Annis Barden; was married to Walter Brooks; and was buried in Bynum’s cemetery near Lucama. Informant was Tom Dawson.

  • Olive Bynum Braswell

Mother Ollie Braswell Dec. 2, 1870 Mar. 7, 1950 Gone But Not Forgotten

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Calvin Bynum, 31; wife Pherabe, 28; and children Olive, 9, Fannie, 7, Martha Ann, 5, Joseph, 2, and Benjamin, 3 months.

Luther Braswell, 20, of Wilson County, son of George and Adline Braswell, married Olive Bynum, 21, of Wilson County, daughter of Calvin and Ferebe Bynum, on 10 April 1894 at Calvin Bynum’s in Cross Road township. Witnesses were Gray Newsome, Henry Dudley and [illegible] Newsome.

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Luther Braswell, 27, farmer; wife Oliff, 28; Lewis, 5, Frank, 3, and Luther, 10 months.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Luther Braswell, 37; wife Olif, 38; and children Lewis, 15, Frank, 12, Luther, 10, Oscar, 8, Gertrude, 6, Victoria, 2, and Calvin, 11 months.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Luther Braswell, 47; wife Ollie, 48; and children Oscar, 18, Gertrude, 15, and Victoria, 12. Next door: Luther Braswell Jr., 20, and wife Estella, 20. Also, Lewis Braswell, 24, wife Chany, 28, and children James, 2, and Carry, 8 months. Also, Frank Braswell, 22, and wife Etta, 19.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Luther Braswell, 30; wife Estell, 26; mother Olif, 57; and sister Victoria, 22.

Olie Braswell died 7 March 1950 at 604 Spring Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 December 1870 in Wilson County to Calvin Bynum; was widowed; and was buried in Newsome cemetery, WIlson County. Victoria Messick of Wilson was informant.

  • Willie Newsome

Father Willie Newsome May 17, 1959 Gone But Not Forgotten

On [illegible] October 1926, Willie Newsom, of Cross Roads, son of Amos and Martha Newsom, married Mittie Taylor, 20, daughter of Frank Taylor and Hattie Joyner. Elder Robert Edwards performed the ceremony in the presence of Jethro Dickerson, Benjamin Bynum and Geo. Sutton.

In the 1940 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Willie Newsome, 48; wife Mittie, 32; and children Lessie, 11, Hattie, 9, Mattie, 7, and Yvone, 2.

Willie Newsome died 17 May 1959 at 1312 Washington Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 April 1895 in Wilson County to Amos Newsome; was married to Mittie Newsome; was a farmer; and was buried in a family cemetery in Lucama.

  • William L. Barnes

William L. Barnes June 16, 1889 Feb. 17, 1941