Calvary Presbyterian

Rev. Obra Jeffrey Hawkins.

Rev. Obra J. Hawkins was pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church from 1942 to 1962.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 May 1947.

Obra Jeffrey Hawkins died 7 May 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 August 1905 in Panola County, Texas to Andrew Hawkins and Lela Simmons; was married; was a minister; and resided at 1310 Marlowe Street, Wilson. Informant was Inez Fisher.

The Bull (1936), yearbook of Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photograph of Rev. Hawkins courtesy of Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, a booklet commemorating the 100th anniversary of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Wilson.

In loving memory.

I have remarked at length about the artistry of Clarence B. Best‘s hand-carved gravestones here and here. In Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, a booklet commemorating the 100th anniversary of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Best’s son Clarence H. Best and daughter-in-law published an ad honoring Best and wife Geneva “Eva” Smith Best.

Best made special mention of his father’s nickname, The Tombstone Man, and memorialized the elder Bests’ gift of a hand-crafted baptismal font, which is still in use. The carving on the edge of the basin block is classic Bestian.

This inscription may have been added later. Though apparently hand-carved, it does not appear to be Best’s work.

Many thanks to Tracey Ellis Leon, a life-long member of Calvary, for lending me a copy of Adventures in Faith and for taking the photos above.

Elders.

Lay leaders with Rev. O.E. Sanders, late 1930s.

First row:

  • Martha Spells — Martha A. Gordon Spell (1874-1966).
  • Sabrina Cobb — Sobrina Robinson Cobb (1874-1954).
  • Lucy Thompson — Lucy A. Thompson died 24 July 1946 at her home at 310 Singletary Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; single; a school teacher; was born in Wilson County to Ennis Thompson of Greene County and Hellen A. Ruffin of Louisburg, North Carolina. Virginia D. Humphrey was informant.
  • Rev. Otto Eugene Sanders was pastor of Calvary from 1935-1939.
  • Betty Cannon — Bettie E. Cannon (1879-1963).
  • Sally Phillips — probably, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sallie A. Phillips, 71, widow, renter in the household of renters at 608 East Green Street.
  • Pauline Coley — Pauline McQueen Coley (1896-1990).

Second row:

  • Rosa F. McCollum — Rosa Lee McCollum died 25 April 1947 at her home at 418 North Vick Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 September 1884 in Wilson County to Gray and Argent Farmer. Elva McCollum was informant.
  • Elna F. Hooker — Eleanor Juania Hooker died 17 October 1944 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 November 1877 in Wilson to Gray and Argent Blount Farmer; was a school teacher; resided at 708 East Green Street; and was a widow [of Frank Hooker]. Gray Hooker was informant.
  • Flossie Barnes — Flossie Howard Barnes (1905-1993).
  • Ethel C. Hines — Ethel Cornwell Hines (1894-1983).
  • Olivia P. Norman
  • Beulah Mack — In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: cobbler James Mack, 36, and wife Beulah, 35, at 206 Reid. Beulah Mack died 28 December 1953 in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 September 1895 in Rowan County to Napoleon Brian and Laura Watson; resided at 206 North Reid Street; and was married. Informant was Henry Mack, Salisbury.
  • Ruth H. Coppedge — Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born about 1904 in Wilson County to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson; resided at 200 South Vick: was a schoolteacher; and was married to George Coppedge.
  • Eliza F. Norwood — perhaps, in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Egar Ricks, 49; wife Lydia, 62; and daughter Eliza Norwood, 39.

Third row:

  • Christine M. Armstrong — Christine McDaniel Armstrong (1912-1999).
  • Inez Hooker — Inez Argent Hooker (1913-) was the daughter of Frank and Eleanor Farmer Hooker.
  • Maggie Crawford — Magelene Barnes Crawford died 20 March 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 August 1893 in Wilson to Short and Frances Woodard Barnes; was a retired music teacher; was a widow [of Clarence A. Crawford]; and resided at 616 East Green Street. Vertist C. Edwards of Tacoma, Washington, was informant.
  • Sophia Dawson — is this Sophia Dawson Artis (1889-??), daughter of Alexander D. and Lucy Hill Dawson and wife of Jesse Artis?
  • Ximena P. Martinez — Ximena Pitt Martinez died 21 December 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 August 1896 to Violet Pitt; was a widow [of Ramon Martinez]; was a retired teacher; and resided at 903 East Vance Street. Informant was Evelyn P. Stoney, Brooklyn, New York.

This singular photograph comes courtesy of Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, the 100th anniversary commemorative booklet of Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Early Calvary.

Calvary Presbyterian Church celebrated its centennial in 1989 and, to honor the occasion, published Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, a commemorative booklet packed with details of the church’s history, including these photos of the church’s two earliest edifices.

Heartfelt thanks to my aunt, Hattie H. Ellis, and cousin, Tracey Ellis Leon, for sharing this invaluable document.

Send-off at Calvary.

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The Africo-American Presbyterian, 15 September 1938.

Wilson news.

PC 2 17 1940

Pittsburgh Courier, 17 February 1940.

  • Johnnie Mincy — John Henry Mincey. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 650 Wiggins Street, plumber Benjamin Mincey, wife Mattie, 60, sons Benjamin Jr., 31, a hotel cook, and Johnnie, 21, a daily paper deliveryman, and granddaughter Deloris Woodard, 5. In 1940, John Henry Mincey registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 8 April 1919 in Wilson, resided at 650 Wiggis Street, had telephone number 3909, was employed by National Youth Administration, and his closest relative was Mrs. Mattie Mincey. John H. Mincey died in Wilson 14 December 1982.
  • Hartford E. Bess — Hartford Eugene Bess. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, widow Minnie Best, 48; and children Hartford, 30, delivery boy for retail dry goods business; Ruth, 27, teacher at Williamston School; James, 23, janitor at Oettinger’s store; and Glenwood, 10, grocery delivery boy. Hartford Bess died in Wilson on 2 December 1988.
  • S.J. Satchell — Spencer Jordan Satchell. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Viola Street, retail grocer Jarrette J. Langley, 60; wife Mary, 60; daughter Orris, 21; Virginia-born son-in-law Spencer Satchell, 29, teacher; and daughter Ivory, 30, teacher. Spencer J. Satchell died 20 February 1982.
  • Robert Haskin — Robert Douglas Haskins. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: drug company salesman Robert Haskins, 55; wife Gertrude, 48; children Mandy, 36, cook Elizabeth, 33, beauty shop cleaner Estelle, 29, hotel kitchen worker Robert D., Jr., 27, N.Y.A. stenographer Lossie, 24, and barbershop shoeblack Thomas, 20; and granddaughter Delores, 15; plus lodger Henry Whitehead, 21, tobacco factory shaker. Robert D. Haskins died 11 December 1966 in Wilson.
  • Ossie M. Royall — Ossie Mae Jenkins Royall. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evauline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County. By the late 1950s, Ossie Royall had moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and was working as the dining hall supervisor at Elizabeth City State Teachers College. She died in Amherst, Massachusetts, 16 March 2000.

ojr

  • Susie Moore
  • Robert L. Jeans — Robert Lee Jeans registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1942. Per his registration card, he resided at 510 East Green Street; was born 17 April 1903 in Tate County, Mississippi; and was minister of Calvary Presbyterian Church. His contact person was Mrs. A.G. Douglas, 416 North Meyers Street, Charlotte. The same year, Jeans was appointed head of Tabor Presbyterian in Des Moines, Iowa. Rev. Jeans died in Washington, D.C., on 17 November 1994.
  • Margaret K. Bridgers — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1209 East Nash Street, furniture company truck driver Jessie Bridgers, 32; wife Margret, 27; and children Elizabeth, 6, Jessie Jr., 5, and twins Saul and Carl, 2.
  • William A. Swinston
  • Mrs. R.L. Williams
  • Mrs. Brodie — possibly Anna Kearney Brodie.
  • Calvary Presbyterian Church
  • Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church
  • Darden High School
  • WGTM

Image courtesy of The Pirate (1960), Elizabeth City State Teachers College, digitized at U.S. School Yearbooks 1880-2012, http://www.ancestry.com.

Too low and too near the streets.

In June 1889, Rev. J.H. Mattocks, hat in hand, submitted a letter for publication in one of Wilson’s newspapers. The Colored Methodist Church, i.e. Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion, was about to pitch into the street, and could the white citizens help? Remittances could be made to Charles Darden, Gray Farmer or Samuel Vick, all up-and-coming black businessmen who enjoyed the trust of folks across the tracks.

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Wilson Mirror, 19 June 1889.

Charles Darden remained a lifelong member of Saint John’s but, authorization to solicit subscriptions notwithstanding, Gray Farmer and Samuel Vick were on their way out. Just two months after this appeal appeared, the Mirror announced that both  were charter members of a colored Presbyterian church.

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Wilson Mirror, 21 August 1889.

Per a publication issued for the Cape Fear Presbytery Centennial, 1886-1986, Calvary Presbyterian was organized 4 August 1889. The full list of organizers comprised Mahalie Artis, Hattie Barnes, F.O. Blount, William B. Conner, A.D. Dawson, Lucy Dawson, G.A. Farmer, John Gaston, Susie Harris, Abbie Holloway, Patrick Leach, A.J.C. Moore, L.H. Peacock, Edmund Poole, Mary Stephens, Hardy Tate, Daniel Vick, S.H. Vick, J.J. White [Wilson?] and B.R. Winstead.

  • William B. Conner — perhaps, in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter WIlliam A. Connor, 50, wife Ada, 27, and children William, 5, and Rosetta, 1. [If so, he was a Greene County native and a veteran of the United States Colored Troops. More later.]
  • Lucy Dawson — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: dealer in fish Edd [Alexander D.] Dawson, 40; wife Lucy, 40, dressmaking; and children Mattie, 14, Virginia, 9, Lucy, 8, Edd, 5, Clarence, 3, and Augusta, 1. Lucy Annie Dawson died 20 May 1917 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 October 1860 to Joseph Hill of Virginia and Sally Slaughter of Virginia, was married and was engaged in dressmaking. Sophia Dawson was informant.
  • Abbie Holloway — on 10 February 1892, John A. McLeod, 24, of Boston, married Abbie G. Holloway, 24, of New York City, in Boston, Massachusetts. John, a waiter, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to John and Ruth McLeod. Abbie, a domestic, was born in Wilson to James and Amanda Holloway. United Methodist minister John Hughes performed the ceremony.
  • Patrick Leach — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: shoemaker Patrick Henry Leach, 61, and wife Lavinea, 56. Leach reported that he was born in Mississippi to North Carolina-born parents. [Had he returned to his parents’ home after Emancipation?]
  • Mary Stephens — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Lorenzo Stephens, 27, and wife Mary, 24.

 

Samuel H. Vick.

Educator, politician, businessman, real estate developer, church leader — Samuel H. Vick was the most accomplished resident of East Wilson in his lifetime. (And many years after.)

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A.B. Caldwell, ed., History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (1921).