Calvary Presbyterian

Pioneer Boys run from Goldsboro to Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 June 1928.

  • James T. Parker — James Thomas Parker. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1003 Washington Street, chauffeur George Connie, 41; wife Nona, 36, laundress; and laborers Cora Parker, 38, widowed cook, and her son James T., 15.
  • Jim L. Parker — probably, in the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Parker James L (c) student h 305 Pender
  • Joe Haskins — Joseph Franklin Haskins. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1200 Wainwright, valued at $1700, Coca-Cola Plant laborer Damp Haskins, 24; wife Sudie B., 21; children Damp Jr., 2, and Hellen, 6 months; mother Hester, 72; brother Jospeh , 18; sister Martha Pitt, 52, servant; and nephew Jim R. Haskins, 10.
  • Fletcher Pierce — Fletcher Forest Pierce. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, insurance agent Nazareth Pierce, 54; wife Ada, seamstress; son Fletcher, 17, and daughter Elmira, 25. 
  • Esmond Langley — Esmond Connell Langley. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Viola Street, grocery store merchant Jarrette J. Langley; wife Mary, 49; and children Ivary, 21 public school teacher, Esmond, 19, grocery store delivery boy, Ruttena, 16, Alcesta, 14, and Eunice, 8.
  • Chas. W. Gilliam — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 805 East Nash Street, valued at $8000, physician Matthew S. Gilliam, 45; wife Annie L., 42; and children Charles W., 17, Matthew, 15, Emily, 13, George T., 12, and Herman, 10.
  • Chas. Edwards — probably: Charles Edwards registered for the World War II draft in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born in Wilson, N.C., on 20 July 1912; he lived at 1342 Fulton Street, Brooklyn (updated to 1165 Fulton Street); his contact was sister Scottie Carter, 150 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn; and he was employed by Etta Webb, 1144-A Fulton Street, Brooklyn.
  • James E. Farmer — James Edward Farmer. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Green, plasterer John A. Farmer, 60; wife Nona, 61; sons James E., 17, and Woodie, 22, barber; and daughter-in-law Savana, 22, lodge bookkeeper. [His parents, in fact, were John W. and Edmonia Barnes Farmer.]

Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing this clipping.

Anatomy of a photograph: Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Here in its glory is the church O.N. Freeman, Benjamin Harris Sr., and others built for Calvary Presbyterian Church in 1924.

Below, at the far edge of the frame, are the four white columns of Mercy Hospital (then Wilson Colored Hospital). The houses between the church, demolished in the 1990s, were 508 and 510 East Green Street. 

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson showing the old Calvary, Mercy Hospital, and the two houses between. The house at 510, closest to the church, was later replaced by a two-story dwelling. It served as Calvary’s parsonage.

The automobile below is a Ford coupe. I estimate its model year as circa 1940. Can anyone give a better identification?

This streetlight dangled above the intersection on crossed wires.

The highway signs below designate U.S. 301, U.S. 264-A, and N.C. 58. Highways 301 and 264 date to 1932, but the “A” indicates that the photograph was taken no earlier than 1950, when 264 was re-routed

The resolution of the photograph is too poor to render the church’s message board  or cornerstone readable. (Was the cornerstone saved during demolition?)

The small white obelisk at the corner was a street sign of a type seen in Wilson well into the 1970s. PENDER ST was stamped into one side, and GREEN ST into the other, and the letters painted black.

Photo courtesy of Wilson City Archives. Hat tip to L. Monson.

Nestus Freeman’s crew at work. (But where?)

This copy of a photograph is said to show O. Nestus Freeman‘s workmen building Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on West Vance Street, Wilson. Does it though?

Freeman came out of retirement to direct the stonework at Our Redeemer, which was completed after World War II. The photo above is undated, but appears to date from earlier in the twentieth century. Moreover, this crew is clearly building an addition to a pre-existing church.

Here’s a photo of Our Redeemer published at the church’s 25th anniversary at the Vance and Rountree Streets site. (The building itself was not completed until after 1941.) This does not appear to be the same church as the one above. The men above are laying brick, not stone. The buttresses between the windows below do not appear in the image above. And the windows themselves are much taller in the image above. The church’s raised stone rake is also missing from the gable end above.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 May 1966.

On 1 September 2001, the Daily Times featured a long piece contributed by Robert B. Lineberger, whose father was pastor at Our Redeemer in the early 1940s. In pertinent part, here is Lineberger’s recollection: 

“Oliver Nestus Freeman was the stone mason for the church. The stone was delivered to the lot in 1942. It was supposed to be 4 inches thick, and the supplier brought half to it from the quarry at Roleville [Rolesville, in Wake County, N.C.] and dumped it on the lot when no one was there. It was 8 inches thick. When the quarry realized its mistake, they said Dad could have it at half price if he would accept it where it was.

“He asked what he could do with it that thick. They indicated it could be split just like a cake of ice … except you would use a sledge hammer with a pointed side to it instead of an ice pick. Tap it on one side, roll it, tap it on the second side, roll it, tap it on the third side, roll it … and when you tap it on the fourth side, it would split in half. That meant the church got the stone for 25 percent of the original price!

“[My father] acted as general contractor for the church. During the early war years contractors and builders were doing all the work they could at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Camp Lejeune. He hired Mr. Freeman, who came out of retirement to build the church.

“Mr. Freeman then lived in a stone house off of East Nash …. I mixed mortar for him and placed the stones at his directions on the scaffold on which he worked. He chose each stone for a particular place as he worked. I worked with him for a long time during the summer and after school of the year the church was built.

“Mr. Freeman was a fine man, and I learned a lot about stone masonry, mixing mortar and life from him. …”

Lineberger provided some photographs of construction, including these:

Wilson Daily Times, 1 September 2001.

These images further strengthen my belief that the first photograph depicts Freeman’s crew working on some church other than Our Redeemer.

Any thoughts?

Our Redeemer Lutheran today.

Top photo courtesy of Freeman Round House and Museum, Wilson, N.C., digitized at Images of North Carolina, digitalnc.org; bottom photo by Lisa Y. Henderson.

The teachers of Calvary’s church school.

CHURCH SCHOOL

Mr. S.H. Vick‘s zeal for Sabbath School work continued into his being superintendent of Calvary’s Church School for twenty-five years. Other superintendents following him were Mr. B.R. Winstead, Mr. William Hines, and Mrs. Henrietta Colvert, a registered nurse with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Some of the early teachers were Mrs. Lucy Thompson, Mrs. Della Barnes, Mrs. Mamie Faithful, Mr. B.R. Winstead, Mr. and Mrs. Mack Cannon, Mrs. Martha Spells, Mrs. Eleanor P. Reid, Mrs. Ethel Hines, Mrs. Sarah Hines, Mrs. Cortney Fitts, and Mrs. Mary Diggs.

The Sunday School pianists included Mrs. Susan Peacock Prince, Miss Rose L. Kittrell, Miss Naomi Freeman, Mrs. Doris Vick Walker, Miss Dolores Hines, and Mrs. Mary Ellis.

From “Historical Highlights of Calvary Presbyterian Church (USA), Wilson, North Carolina,” Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service (1989).

Studio shots, no. 62: 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.