Tate’s Cafe, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.
Central Cafe — per the 1922 city directory, this eatery was located at 415 East Nash Street and had a Greek (or Greek-American) proprietor, Mike Vekrakos.
Central Cafe, as drawn in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.
Gilliams Cafe — per the 1922 city directory, this cafe was located at 509 East Nash Street, and Rachel Gilliam was proprietor. Gilliam lived at 228 Smith Street, the narrow lane running parallel to Nash.
In the 1910 census of Wilsons Mill, Johnston County: farmer William Nunn, 39; wife Lucy, 28; and children Percie, 13, Rosa, 7, Paul, 5, Nora, 3, and Elsie, 9 months.
On 21 August 1920, Eugene Rhine, 26, of Wilson married Rosa B. Nunn, 18, of Wilson in Wilson. Minister H.E. Clank performed the ceremony in the presence of David Richardson, Hubert Vinson, and T.S. Holt.
On 29 November 1939, Peter Lupes married Rosa Rhyne in Emporia, Greenesville County, Virginia. He was a merchant, a resident of Wilson, North Carolina, divorced, and listed his age as 45. He was born in Portugal to Joe and Mary Lupes. Rosa was widow born in Johnston County who also lived in Wilson.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Viola Street, Peter Lucas [sic], 50, and wife Rosa, 35. Peter’s birthplace was listed as Massachusetts. He worked as the operator of a beer parlor and Rosa as the operator of a cafe.
Peter Lupe died 21 May 1958 in Wilson. He death certificate notes that he was a resident of the city for 50 years and that he was a United States citizen. He was born 21 March 1891 in “Cape of Verdia Island, Portugal” to Teorga Montel Lupe and Mary Montel Lupe; lived at 717 East Viola Street; and worked as a merchant. His wife Rosa Lupe was his informant.
On 2 July 1960, James Monroe Weathers, 41, of Granada, Mississippi, married Rosa R. Lupe, 53, of Wilson, in Wilson. Catholic priest John R. Ferris performed the ceremony in the presence of Bessie Richardson, Clarence Crawford, and Inez Watson.
Rosa Weathers died 25 October 1999 in Garner, Wake County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1902 in Johnston County; her maiden name was Nunn; and was a manager in an eating and drinking place.
Walter Ward — The 6 February 1939 edition of the Wilson Daily Times reported that Ward pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a 15 to 18-year sentence.
H.B. Swenson — H.B. Swinson died 28 January 1939. Per his death certificate, he was “murdered, knife wound of breast”; was born 18 April 1913 in Greene County to Allen Swinson and Henrietta Applewhite of Greene County; lived i Stantonsburg; and worked in farming.
Wrote Roy Taylor in My City, My Home: “And Negroes congregated en masse on Barnes Street in the block in which P.L. Woodard is located. It wasn’t that they had to gather there, for they had the privilege of meeting at any place in town, just as did the whites. They liked that area, and too, it was in close proximity to several hot dog joints and other eating places. Few white people were seen in that block on Saturday, and few Negroes were seen on Nash Street. It was a matter of the two races choosing to be with their own kind.”
Taylor’s take on the privileges and choices of legally sanctioned and enforced segregation is ridiculous, but this passage does offer context for the location of Gus Gliarmis’ cafe on the southern edge of downtown, far from Wilson’s African-American neighborhoods in the 1940s.
Nan Best — Nannie Best. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 330 South Spring Street: widow Nannie Best, 61, her daughter Frank, 30, son Aaron, 21, and daughter-in-law Estelle, 19, and a lodger, nurse Henrietta Colvert, 24.
Charles Hines — possibly, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Wiggins Street, grocery man Charlie Hines, 31; wife Eva, 29; children Anna, 3, and Charlie Jr., 7 months; and cousin Maria King, 10.
Goodsy H. Holden — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 59; wife Laura, 52; and roomer Carrie Strickland, 29, tobacco factory worker.
Willie A. Johnson
Hill’s 1925 Wilson, N.C., city directory.
William I. Barnes — William Ichabod Barnes. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 401 Pine Street, tobacco laborer Samuel Ennis, 26, wife Maggie, 29, and sons Freeman, 12, and Earl, 2; boarder John Smith, 21, a wagon factory worker; cafe owner William I. Barnes, 30, wife Madie, 27, and children Weldon, 12, Dorothy, 11, Rachel, 9, Ethel G., 6, Vera, 2, and Virginia R., 6 months.
Ezekiel B. Braswell — Braswell Sanitary Cafe. in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1120 East Nash, rented for $18/month, cafe proprietor Ezekiel Braswell, 38; wife Mary, 29, public school teacher; daughters Mary E., 5, and Parthenia, 3; and roomer Matilda Cherry, 26, public school teacher.
Central Cafe, Starr Cafe and Wilson Cafe served an African-American clientele, but were owned and operated by Mike Vekrakos, Gus Gliarmis and Major M. Gartrell. Vekrakos and Gliarmis were Greek immigrants, a group that dominated the cafe business in Wilson.