Brown

Studio shots, no. 175: Oscar and Viola Brown Best.

Viola Brown Best (1900-1963).

Oscar Best (1890-1976).

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In the 1900 census of Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, N.C.: farmer John W. Best, 33; wife Nancey, 29; and children Florence, 10, Oscar, 9, and Lithey, 7.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: lumber mill laborer John W. Best, 43; wife Nannie, 43, laundress; and children Oscar, 19, lumber mill laborer, and Litha, 17, servant.

On 14 August 1910, Oscar Best, 21, of Cross Roads township, son of John W. and Nan Best, married Daisy Barnes, 20, of Cross Roads, daughter of Joe Barnes. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony in the present of Will Bullock, James Coleman and [Rosa] Hinnant.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Best, 29; wife Daisy, 25; and children Seretha, 9, Mildred, 8, Hattie, 6, James, 4, Virginia, 2, and Nannie, 2 months.

Daisy Best died 9 May 1922 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 32 years old; was born in Wilson County to Joseph Barnes and Lillie Strickland; was married to Oscar Best; and was a tenant farmer for Fred Washington. Informant was Nan Best.

On 29 December 1925, Oscar Best, 33, son of John W. and Nan Best, married Viola Brown, 23, daughter of Neal and Patsy Brown, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister Wyatt Studiway performed the service in the presence of Samuel Austin, Lucius Studaway, and Nellie Thompson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Harpers Road, farmer Oscar Best, 40; wife Viola, 28; and children Mildred, 17, Hattie, 14, Virginia, 12, James, 13, Andrew, 13, Mamie, 11, Jessie, 11, Oscar, 4, Corine, 3, and Joe Lizzie, 2.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Best, 50; wife Viola, 40; and children Buddie, 20, Oscar, 14, Corina, 12, Joe E., 12, Dollie Mae, 11, John, 10, J.D., 9, Herbert Lee, 4, Horace, 6, and William, 1.

In 1940, Buddy Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born October 1919 in Laurinburg, N.C.; lived at Route 3, Wilson; his contact was father Oscar Best; and he worked for W. Herbert Ellis.

In 1943, Oscar Junior Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1925 in Wilson County; lived at Route 3, Saratoga, Wilson County; and his contact and employer was Oscar Best.

Corine B. Woodard died 30 January 1953 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1928 in Wilson County to Oscar Best; was a laborer; was married; and lived at 1211 Wainwright Avenue. Informant was Walter Woodard.

James Best died 7 September 1958 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 December 1919 in Wilson County to Oscar and Daisy Best; was married to Rosa Best; lived in Portsmouth, Virginia; and worked as a metalsmith helper.

Viola Best died 27 June 1963 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1900 in Laurinburg, N.C. to Neal Brown and Patsy Pickett, was married to Oscar Best, and was a laborer.

Mildred Best Williams died 27 October 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 February 1912 on Wilson County to Oscar Best and Nannie Best; lived at 206 South Reid Street; and was married to Alvester Williams.

Oscar Best died 25 July 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1887 to John Best and Nannie Sutton; was married; and worked as a farmer. J.D. Best was informant.

Hattie Best Jones died 19 May 1980 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 January 1915 in Nash County to Oscar Best and Dazie Best; was a widower; and loved at 1110 Queen Street.

Oscar Best Jr. died 6 August 1886 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 August 1925 to Oscar Best Sr. and Viola Brown; was married to Mildred Jones Best; and worked as a carpenter for a container corporation.

Buddy Best died 6 April 1991 in Goldsboro, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 October 1917 in Wilson to Oscar Best and Viola Brown.

Roland Best died 8 February 1993 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 March 1921 to Oscar Best and Viola Brown; was a widower; and worked as a heavy equipment operator.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com user Portia Black.

The obituary of Esther Brown Goodwin.

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Arizona Daily Star, 31 July 1984.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 419 Hines Street, Lewis Townsend, 62; wife Henrietta, 60; daughter Alzie, 22; and daughter Geneva Brown, 24; son-in-law George Brown, 26; and grandchildren Ester, George Jr., and Martha.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 508 South Spring, pressing club operator George Porter, 34, divorced; Jeneva Brown, 30, divorced,  housekeeping servant, and her children Brown, 15, Esther, 13, Martha, 12, and Olive, 9; and George M. Porter, 4.

George Brown died 1 October 1947 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 53 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Sam and Martha Brown; was married; lived at 911 Robeson Street; worked as an auto mechanic; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Mrs. Esther Goodwin, 408 East Hines Street.

In June 1955, the Goodwin family flew from Frankfurt, Germany, to New York after Capt. Felix Goodwin completed a tour of duty.

New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com.

Snaps, no. 54: Robert Brown.

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Robert Brown (1893-1975).

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On 16 November 1917, Robert Brown, 22, married Mahalia Pool, 19, in Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Brown, 37; wife Hallie, 31; and children Arthur, 15, Charlie, 4, and Lucille, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Brown, 34; wife Hallie, 23; and children Arthur, 5, Frank, 14, Lucille, 11, Robert Jr., 9, Joseph, 8, Valentine, 5, Paul, 2, and Phillip A., 9 months.

In the 1940 census of Jackson township, Nash County: farmer Robert Brown, 50; wife Mahalie, 41; and children Robert Jr., 20, Joseph, 18, Valentine, 15, Paul, 13, Phillip, 11, and George Deal, 8.

Robert Brown died 11 September 1975 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 January 1893 in Georgia to Mae Ella Williams; was married to Mahalia Poole Brown; lived at 1901 Lipscomb Road; and had been a farmer.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user wms960.

307 Elba Street.

The fifty-ninth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 1 story; Jesse Holden house; L-plan cottage with turned porch posts and traces of decorative millwork along porch; Holden was a brick mason.”

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Robert Conner, 63, odd jobs laborer; wife Lillie, 40; and sons Joseph, 2, Sam, common laborer, and Jack, 22, odd jobs laborer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 608 Elmo [sic] Street, a rented house, factory laborer Orier Harrison, 28; Vasti Robins, 19, and Net Robins, 21, barber, both lodgers; and Carron Harrison, 44, oil mill laborer, and his children Margaret, 8, and Clarence Harrison, 4.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hawkins Otha bricklyr h 307 Elba

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Jesse bricklyr h 307 Elba

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Jesse (Beatrice) lab h 307 Elba

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory 307 Elba was listed as vacant, and the 1930 census does not enumerate anyone at that address.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 307 Elba Street, brickmason Jesse Holden, 46; wife Beatrice, 46, household servant; and daughter Geraldine, 30, tobacco floor girl.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Brown Ellis (c; Margt) driver R E Quinn & Co h 307 Elba; Brown Ellis Jr (c) tob wkr h 307 Elba.

In 1942, Ellis Brown registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 May 1902 in Wilson County; resided at 307 North Elba Street; his contact was Jessie M. Cox, Viola Street; and he worked for R.E. Quinn Furniture Company, South Goldsboro Street.

 

807 Viola Street.

The thirty-ninth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “circa 1960; 1 story; concrete block double shotgun.” This description of 807 Viola is obviously incorrect. What happened?

The nomination form lists five houses on the north side of the 800 block of Viola Street: (1) #801, an I-house built about 1913; (2) #803, a house built about 1970; (3) #805, a Queen Anne built about 1913; (4) #807; and (5) another Queen Anne built about 1913.

A current aerial view of the street shows that, nearly 30 years after the neighborhood was surveyed, 801 and 811 are vacant lots. #803 is easily recognized as the modern house described in the nomination form. However, there is no 805 Viola. Rather, the house next to 803 is 807 — the Queen Anne depicted above. The concrete block double shotgun is, in fact, #809.

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, below, sheds some light on the street’s curious numbering. #801, the two-story I-house, is shown at the corner of Viola and Vick. At #803 is the predecessor to the 1970s-era ranch house now there. Hard against the street in #803’s front yard was #805, marked “S” for “store.” #807 is the same house currently at the location.

In the 1916 Wilson city directory: Brown Caroline h 807 Viola.

In the 1920 Wilson city directory: Brown Caroline dom h 807 Viola.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 Viola, Caroline Brown, 50, and daughter Marjory, 22, both tobacco factory laborers, and grandchildren Lister, 12, and Marie, 1.

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, 807 Viola is described as vacant, and there is no listing for the house in the 1930 census of Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 Viola Street, widowed laundress Blanche Farmer, 67; sons Henry, 34, truck driver for wholesale grocery company, and Samuel, 25, janitor for retail department store; and grandchildren Windsor, 24, tobacco factory laborer, Turner G., 19, cafe cook, and Gloria Hagans, 13, and James H. Farmer, 6.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson City Directory: Farmer Blanche (c) h 807 Viola.

Blanch Farmer died 27 March 1959 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 July 1889 in Wilson County to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; resided at 807 East Viola Street; and was a widow. Goldie Ricks was informant.

Photograph of house by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017; aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps.

I need all that belongs to me.

Wilson County N.C. Aug 9th/67

Maj. C.E. Compton

Commanding Post

Goldsboro N.C.

Respected Sir I take the privilige of writing you a few lines concerning a little matter of importace to me last Spring Richard Brown a freedman my cousin come to me to Board him a short time until he could dip out some Turpentine, which he was making. I did so & as soon as he diped his Turpentine he sold it and went off and never paid me any thing at all, he has no familey to feed I have a large family to take care of & my Father also, & he is Richards grand father Richard has not any property that can be reached by Execution but he can pay me if he would, he is owing me $19 dollars for Board, andc. I hope that you will take some action in the premises So that I can get my rites as I so much nead all that belongs to me

Richard lives in the Town of Wilson

By doing so you will much oblige & help me

Respectfuly

Sampson Bailly

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Neither Sampson Bailey nor Richard Brown is found in the 1870 census of Wilson County. However, Bailey may have been the Samson Bayley who enlisted in Company H, 14th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery on 8 March 1865 in New Bern, North Carolina. He was 33 years old, a farmer, and born in Johnston County.

Records of Assistant Commissioner of the State of North Carolina; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands; Record Group 105, National Archives; Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.  U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line], Ancestry.com

Where did they go?: Pennsylvania death certificates, no. 1.

The first in a series — Pennsylvania death certificates for Wilson County natives:

  • James I. Allen, Philadelphia

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James I. Allen appears in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, with parents West and Harriet Allen; siblings Boston, Susan, Cornelius, John, Lettice and Effie Allen; and grandmother Harriet Allen.

James I Allen

1880 census, Wilson, Wilson County.

In 1894, James Allen and Clara Brown, below, were married by a Missionary Baptist minister in Wilson.

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  • Clara Brown Allen, Philadelphia

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  • William Anderson, Philadelphia

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  • James Artis, Whitesboro, New Jersey

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Per Wikipedia, “Whitesboro [New Jersey] was founded about 1901 by the Equitable Industrial Association, which had prominent black American investors including Paul Laurence Dunbar, the educator Booker T. Washington and George Henry White, the leading investor and namesake. He was an attorney who had moved to Philadelphia after serving as the last black Republican congressman representing North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. White and his fellow entrepreneurs wanted to create a self-reliant community for blacks, without the discrimination faced the southern states. Shares in the planned community were sold to African Americans from North and South Carolina and Virginia.” Samuel H. Vick was an investor in Whitesboro.

  • Warren Barnes, Johnston, Cambria County

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This is possibly the five year-old Warren Barnes listed in the household of Peter, 32, and Lizzie Barnes, 34, in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County.