Briggs Hotel

Interracial cooperation in the bootlegging business.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 March 1944.

Briggs Hotel, like the Cherry, catered primarily to salesmen or other businessmen arriving to Wilson at the Atlantic Coast Line or Norfolk & Southern passenger rail stations. These men sometimes liked a good time, and taxi drivers and bellhops were a ready-made supply chain for after-hours liquor (and prostitutes.) Here, two white cabbies and three bellmen teamed up to resell at a sizeable mark-up liquor purchased at a local Alcoholic Beverage Commission store. (Probably the one in the 300 block of East Nash Street, recognized as North Carolina’s first ABC store.) 


  • Theodore Burroughs
  • Prince Cunningham — Cunningham owned a sweet shop in the 500 block of East Nash in the 1930s.
  • Caesar Williams — in 1940, Caesar Julius Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 12 February 1912 in Wilson; lived at 209 North Ashe Street; his nearest relative was mother Daisy Williams, same address; and he worked at Briggs Hotel, Nash Street. 

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

The accommodating and faithful transfer man.

WDT 3 14 1919 Henry Tart

Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1919.


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter S. Mitchel, 42, mason; wife Elizabeth, 36, laundress; and children Ada, 14, and Esther, 18; plus, wagon factory laborer Oleone Brooks, 18, and laborer Henry Tart, 18.

Henry Tart registered for the World War I draft on 18 September 1918. He recorded his address as the corner of Green and Reid Streets, his birth date as 11 April 1884, and his occupation as self-employed in the transfer business. His wife Julia C[lark] Tart was his next-of-kin, and he signed his card in a neat, well-spaced hand.

Upon Henry’s death, Tart’s wife applied for Letters of Administration for her husband’s estate. She listed four surviving daughters, all minors — indeed, young children — Olivia, Julia, Josephine, and Miriam Tart.


North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database online],

Dave Barnes, porter, gives “prompt attention to all.”


Wilson Advance, 14 September 1893.


Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1896.


Wilson Daily Times, 1 November 1910.


Charlotte Observer, 26 January 1913.


On 31 January 1884, David Barnes, no age reported, married Pattie Battle, 17, at Efford Battle‘s in Wilson County. Minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony in the presence of Sarah Artice, Mary Linsey, and James Barnes.

On 15 April 1894, David Barnes, 35, married Della Hines, 32, in Wilson. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at the bride’s home in the presence of J.T. Deans, Mrs. Hardy Tate, and Hardy Tate.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: hotel porter Dave Barnes, 40; wife Della; and children Walter, 20, William, 15, Lucy, 13, Dave, 5, and Viola, 11. [The older children were, in fact, Walter Hines, William Hines, and Lucy Hines, Della Hines Barnes’ children and Dave’s stepchildren.]

On 10 December 1904, Mack Jones, 21, of Halifax County, son of Mack and Lucy Jones, married Viola Barnes, 17, of Edgecombe County, daughter of David Barnes of Wilson County, at the “home house” in Township No. 12, Edgecombe County.

Viola Jones died 8 September 1909 in Scotland Neck, Halifax County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 February 1887 in Wilson to Dave Barnes of Wilson and Pattie Battle of Edgecombe County; was married; and was buried in Marys Chapel. Mack Jones was informant.

David Barnes died 23 January 1913 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 52 years old; worked in “hoteling”; was married; and was born in Wilson to unknown parents. Informant was William Hines.

Efford Barnes died 31 May 1913 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 30 years old; was born in Wilson to Davit Barnes of Wilson and Pattie Battle of Halifax; and was a common laborer. William Hines was informant.

Boisey Otha Barnes died 24 April 1956 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 April 1902 in Wilson to Dave and Della Barnes; was married to Flossie Barnes; lived at 1312 Fikewood Street; and was a physician.