Carter

Leaving Carter’s Cafe.

In the spring of 1921, barber Walter S. Hines served notice that he was getting out of the restaurant business.

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Wilson Daily Times, 11 May 1921.

  • Clarence Carter — Clarence Lenwood Carter. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Clarence Carter, 36; wife Meena, 25; and children Omega, 9, Clarence H., 7, and Mina G., 5.

The Greatest Generation: M. Elmer Carter Jr.

Milford Elmer Carter Jr. recently celebrated his 95th birthday. Born in Wilson in 1923 to Wayne County natives Milford E. and Beulah Aldridge Carter, he and his family boarded briefly in Cora Miller Washington‘s home at 701 East Green Street, around the corner from the Elba Street home of Milford Carter Sr’s uncle, Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. and, per the 1922 city directory, lived at 905 East Vance Street. The family soon migrated to Pennsylvania, then New York City. M. Elmer Carter Jr. is a veteran of World War II.

Photos courtesy of Carla Carter Jacobs.

Studio shots, no. 38: the family of Tarrell and Minerva Locus Parker.

Courtesy of my collaborator Edith Jones Garnett comes this priceless set of photographs of several generations of a southern Wilson County family founded by Tarrell and Minerva Locus Parker. Several are accompanied by text drawn from a family history booklet, A Recorded History of the Descendants of Tarrell Parker, published, it appears, in the 1970s or ’80s.

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Tarrell Parker (ca. 1835-1922).

In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Terrell Parker, 23, living in the household of white farmer Elias Farrell, 40.

In the 1880 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Tarrell Parker, 45; wife Minerva, 18; and children Trecy, 5, Jesse, 3, and Mancy Ann, 1.

In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Tarrel Parker, 65; daughter Nancy, 20; and her children William H., 6, Leonora, 3, Georg L., 1, and Jesse, 0.

In the 1910 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Tarrell Parker, 74, and grandson William H. Parker, 16, farm laborer.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George Carter, 49; wife Nancy A., 40; and children Leonard, 19; Jessie, 18; Lillie, 18; Ada, 14; Ida, 12; Robie, 7; Trecie, 5; and Rosetta, 4; plus father-in-law Thomas [sic, Tarrell] W. Parker, 88.

Tarrell Parker died 23 April 1922 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; born 30 May 1832 in Wilson County to Treasy Parker; and worked as a tenant farmer for Wiley Williamson. William Henry Parker was informant.

——

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Nancy Parker Carter (1884-1959).

“Nancy Ann Parker was born May 16, 1884 to Tarrell and Manerver Parker. She was the baby girl, with an older brother named Jessie and a older sister named Trecia. She met and married George Carter at an early age. They had ten living children who are our parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents etc… Most of us remember her as Mama Nancy. Mama Nancy was employed at a sewing plant in Lucama and was the only black seamstress who worked there at that time. She loved and enjoyed children and helped to raise many of her grandchildren. She was a very religious person and a dedicated member of Mary Grove Baptist Church. She enjoyed reading her Bible daily, Bible study, Prayer meetings and traveling to visit her children and grandchildren. She was a beautiful woman.”

George W. Carter (1877-1943).

“George Washington Carter was born in the year 1877 to Peter and Julia Carter. He was born in Rockingham, North Carolina, and had one sister named Lenora and two brothers named Andrew and Henry. His father was part Indian. Grandpa George was a member of Mary Grove Baptist Church and served on the Deacon Board until his illness. He worked as a sharecropper and did well on the farm. Grandpa George was a hard worker and a good provider for his family. However, he had a stroke and family obligations were assumed by his wife Nancy.”

George and Nancy Parker Carter.

George Carter, 25, married Nancy Ann Parker, 22, daughter of T.W. and Manervia Parker, on 10 March 1902 in Black Creek township. Willie B. Barnes, Frank Barnes and Haywood W. Sessums were witnesses.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: George Carter, 39; wife Nancy A., 27; and children Lenora, 12, George L., 10, Jesse W., 8, Lilly M., 6, Ada L., 4, and Ida, 2. [Next door, on one side, Nancy’s father Tarrell Parker, and on the other the household of Wright and Sallie Barnes Creech.]

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George Carter, 49; wife Nancy A., 40; and children Leonard, 19; Jessie, 18; Lillie, 18; Ada, 14; Ida, 12; Robie, 7; Trecie, 5; and Rosetta, 4; plus father-in-law Thomas [sic, Tarrell] W. Parker, 88.

In the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer George Carter, 60; wife Nancy A., 52; and children Robie, 18, and Rosetta Carter, 14, and Mary Ida Brockington, 22.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Jessie Carter, 39; his wife Pauline, 31; and children Robert, 11, Flossie May, 9, Leloe, 7, and Rematha, 2; plus father George, 70; mother Nancy, 60; and brother Roby, 28.

George Carter died 31 January 1943 in Lucama, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1877 in Rockingham County, North Carolina, to Peter and Julia Carter; was a farmer; and was buried in Williamson cemetery.

Nancy Ann Carter died 5 October 1959 at her home on Route 1, Lucama. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 March 1884 in Wilson County to Terrel Williams; was widowed; and was buried in Renfrow cemetery. Lillie Jones was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 October 1959.

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William Henry Parker (1894-1972), Pullman porter.

“William Henry was born on December 26, 1894 in Wilson County, North Carolina. Henry attended gramma school and later attended Dobe School of Mechanical Drafting. He married Ora Renfrow on January 6, 1918 in Wilson, North Carolina. To this union were born five children. Clovis, Margaret (deceased), Tarrell, Dorothy and Henry (deceased). He farmed in North Carolina and worked with the school district of Wilson. He later moved his family to Philadelphia and there he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Henry then went to work for the Government (Frankford Arsenal) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He had many interests and hobbies. He enjoyed reading, repairing things, traveling, shopping for antiques and inventing different things. He invented a new metal clip, and obtained a patent for it on March 24, 1964. (See below) In his later years, he operated a clock repair/antique shop. He was very well known for his workmanship. William Henry died on October 28, 1972 of a heart attack.”

William H. Parker’s patented metal clip.

W.H. Parker, 24, of Springhill township, son of Nancy Parker, married Ora Renfrow, 19, of Old Fields township, daughter of John and Margarette Renfrow, on 6 January 1918 in Old Fields. G.W. Carter applied for the license.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer William H. Parker, 26; wife Ora, 21; and son Clovis, 10 months.

In the 1930 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: at 3905 Folsom Street, railroad porter Henry Parker, 36; wife Ora, 31; and children Clovis, 11, Tarrel, 9, Dorothy, 7, and Henry, 5.

In the 1940 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: at 3905 Folsom Street, Pullman Company porter Henry Parker, 45; wife Ora, 40; and children Clovis, 21, retail store porter, Henry, 18, truck driver, and Dorthy, 17.

In 1942, William Henry Parker registered for the World War II draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he resided at 3905 Folsom Street; was born 26 December 1894 in Wilson County, North Carolina; worked for the Pullman Company, P.R.R. 30th Street Station, Philadelphia; and his contact person was Mrs. Ora Parker.

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Lenora Carter Barnes (1897-1988) and children Willie, Lenetta and Clinton, circa 1920.

On 10 December 1916, Elijah Barnes, 22, son of Joe and Cherry Barnes, of Springhill, married Lena Carter, 20, of Springhill, daughter of George and Nancy Carter. Missionary Baptist minister Robert Crockett performed the ceremony at Mary Grove Baptist Church in the presence of Guilford Ellis, Lannie Sutton and J.H. Battle.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Elijah Barnes, 26; wife Lenora C., 22; and children Wilie, 5, Lenetta, 2, and Clenon, 1.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Middlesex Kenly Road, farmer Elija Barnes, 36; wife Lenora, 32; and children Willie G., 15, Lenetta, 12, Joseph C., 11, Eliza, 10, Nancy V., 7, James F., 5, Andrew, 3, and Mary E., 1.

In the 1940 census of O’Neals, Johnston County: farm renter Elijah Barnes, 46; wife Lenora, 43; and children Willie, 23, Clinton, 21, Elijah Jr., 17, Varnell, 18, George, 17, Floyd, 15, Andrew, 14, S.L., 12, Genetta, 9, Odessia, 8, Blonnie, 5, and Sarah, 2.

Lenora Carter Barnes died 17 September 1988 in Johnston County, North Carolina.

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George Leonard Carter (1899-1971).

George Leonard Carter registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 February 1900; resided at Route 3, Lucama; and was a farmer for George Carter, Springhill township near Rock Ridge.

On 14 October 1920, George L. Carter, 21, of Springhill, son of George and Nancy Carter, married Elvira Boykin, 19, of Springhill, daughter of Troy Boykin, in Oldfields township. G.W. Carter applied for the license.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer George L. Carter, 31; wife Roxia A., 24; and children Mittie M., 8, George W., 4, Thelma, 3, and Josephine, 2.

Leonard Carter registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 3 February 1899 in Wilson County; resided at 709-6th Street, N.E.; worked for Charles H. Tompkins of Charles H. Tompkins & Co., contractors, at 907-16th Street, N.W. His contact was Roxie Carter.

Rev. Leonard Carter died 17 May 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 February 1899 to George and Nancy A. Carter; was a minister; was married to Lydia Freeman; and resided at 627 Suggs Street. He was buried at Mary Grove church cemetery.

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Jesse Warren Carter (1900-1962).

On 27 December 1920, Jesse Carter, 21, of Springhill township, son of George and Nancy Carter, married Mary Jones, 18, of Oldfields township, daughter of Jesse and Sally Jones, in Cross Roads township. Baptist minister Emerson Hooks performed the ceremony.

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Jesse Carter, 29; wife Mary, 26; and children Williard, 8, and Robert L., 1.

On 16 May 1936, Jesse Carter, 36, of Lucama, son of George and Nancy Carter, married Pauline Coley, 27, daughter of Thomas and Alice Coley, in Smithfield, Johnston, County.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Jessie Carter, 39; his wife Pauline, 31; and children Robert, 11, Flossie May, 9, Leloe, 7, and Rematha, 2; plus father George, 70; mother Nancy, 60; and brother Roby, 28.

In 1942, Jessie Warren Carter resgistered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 June 1900 in Wilson County; resided at Box 252, Route 1, Lucama, Wilson County; and was employed by Mrs. Sallie Williamson, Lucama.

Jesse W. Carter died 19 September 1962 in Middlesex, Drywells township, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 June 1900 in Wilson County to George Carter and Nancy Parker; was a farmer; was married to Pauline Carter; and was buried at Mary Grove cemetery.

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Lillie Mae Carter Knight Jones (1903-??).

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Lillie Knight, 26; and children Carter L., 7, Lissie M., 5, Ratha E., 4, and Daisy M., 1. [Husband Jim Knight, 27, appears in the enumeration of the Wilson County stockade.]

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Ada Lee Carter Lucas (1905-1986) and Mary Ida Carter Brockington (1908-??).

On 22 December 1921, Ada Lee Carter, 18, daughter of George and Nancy Carter, married Carl Locus, 20, son of Sanford and Ada Locus, in Wilson.  Jesse Carter applied for the license, and he, S.B. Locus and Jim Knight witnessed.

On 31 January 1929, James Brockington, 26, of Black Creek township, married Ida Carter, 20, of Springhill township, in Wilson. Their parents Nancy Carter, John Brockington and Mary Brockington witnessed.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Carl Locas, 28; wife Ada, 24; and children Nancy M., 8, Paul D., 6, Alice V., 4, Helen O., 2, Neom C., 1, and Carl R., 0.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Carl Locus, 38; wife Ada, 33; and children Nancy, 16, Paul D., 15, Allice, 14, Helen, 12, Florence, 11, Carl Rowland, 10, Leona, 8, Cristine, 6, and Grady, 4.

In 1942, Robert James Brockington registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 13 June 1903 in Florence, South Carolina; was married to Ida Brockington; resided at 1013-3rd Street, N.E.; and worked for Charles H. Thompkins (see Leonard Carter, above).

James Brockington died 13 May 1947 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 13 June 1909 in Florence, South Carolina, to John Brockington and Mary Skeeter; was married to Ida Brockington; and was buried at Mary Grove.

Per the Social Security Death Index, Ada Lucas died December 1986 in Washington, D.C.

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Robie Carter (1911-1942).

“Robie was born January 1, 1911 in Wilson County, North Carolina. He too attended Williamson Elementary School. He never married, but had one son, James Willis Graham, who is also deceased. At an early age, Robie moved from Wilson, North Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and later to Washington, D.C. Prior to his death he was employed at the Sheraton Hotel. He died in 1942 when he was thirty-one years old from a heart attack.”

Roby Carter registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 1 January 1912 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided in Washington, D.C.; and his next-of-kin was sister Lillia Jones.

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Trecia Carter Renfrow (1913-1939) and Rosetta Carter Jones (1914-).

James and Trecia Carter Renfrow.

“Trecia Carter Renfrow was born May 18, 1913 in Wilson, North Carolina. She grew up and attended school there. Trecia met and married James Plummer Renfrow in 1928. They later moved to Hampton, Virginia for a short while. Between the year 1934/35 Trecia and Plummer ventured to Washington, D.C. making that their new home with their three children, James born December 1, 1929, Rudolph born May 10, 1931, and Mabel born November 3, 1933. Trecia had a short but wonderful life, always smiling, caring, being the lovable person she is well remembered by; and although she never got to see her three children become adults, Trecia was blessed with an offspring of thirteen (13) grand children and twenty (20) great-grandchildren. Our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother Trecia Carter Renfrow left us on May 31, 1939 at 2:10 A.M. at the age of 26 years.”

On 25 June 1927, James Plumer Renfrow of Kenly, 21, son of John and Mary Renfrow, married Tracie Carter, 18, of Kenly, daughter of George and Nancy Carter, in Smithfield, Johnston County.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer James P. Renfrow, 19, wife Trecy E., 17, and son Levie J., 3 months.

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Levi and Rosetta Carter Jones on their wedding day.

On 22 November 1935, Levi Jones, 21, of Wilson County, son of Ernest and Lillie Jones, married Rosetta Carter, 19, daughter of George and Nancy Carter, of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 513 G Street. N.E., construction laborer Alfred Jones, 27, wife Lily, 33, and children Carter L., 15, Melissa, 13, Relphel, 12, and Daisy, 11; plus cafe busser Levi Jones, 24, wife Ruth, 22, a maid, and [brother?] Sylvester Jones, 22, a restaurant dishwasher; plus James Renfro, 29, and children David J., 10, Rudolph, 8, and Mable, 7; plus Lenard Hinnant, 23. All except Hinnant indicated that they had been living in Wilson in 1935. [This household, of course, comprised Lillie Carter, her children and her second husband; Lillie’s sister Rosetta (erroneously called Ruth) and her husband; and their sister Trecia’s widowed husband James and their children.]

In 1942, Levi Jones registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 3 June 1915 in Wilson; resided at 513 G Street, N.E.; was married to Rosetta Jones; and worked for Mrs. Fordson at the Government Printing Office.

They are entitled to attend the white schools.

In November 1909, James Lamm sued Wilson’s Black Creek school district, claiming his children had been barred from admission “without just cause.” They were listed on pupil censuses as white children, said Lamm, and were entitled to attend white schools as they always had.

LAMM -- Lamm v Bd of Educ 1909_Page_1

LAMM -- Lamm v Bd of Educ 1909_Page_2

The suit prompted a detailed examination of the ancestry of Lamm’s wife, Jane Carter (also known as Jane Locus.) In due course, Wilson County Superior Court issued a short decision finding that Lamm was a “pure blooded white man” with six children; that the children’s maternal great-grandmother was 5/8 white and had a white father; that the great-grandmother had a daughter (the children’s grandmother) who had a white father; and that the children’s mother also had a white father. The children being white enough, judgment for the plaintiff. The children must be enrolled.

LAMM -- Lamm v Bd of Educ 1909_Page_5

The case file in the matter still includes notes from the testimony of two witnesses concerning the children’s lineage. Their grandmother was Equit Locus, whose father was believed to be white. (Her surname places her as a member of one of the largest free families of color in antebellum eastern North Carolina, the Locus/Locusts.) With Dallas Taylor, a white man, Ezrit had Wealthy Locus, who was described as “practically white.” Wealthy, in turn, gave birth to Jane — James Lamm’s wife — whose father was “said to be Van B. Carter,” a white man.LAMM -- Lamm v Bd of Educ 1909_Page_3

LAMM -- Lamm v Bd of Educ 1909_Page_4

Records related to “bastardy” actions in Wilson County support Joe Horne’s identification of Jane’s father. In September 1870, Wealthy Locus was summoned to court to answer charges that she “is with child whitch child when Bornd will Be a Basterd.” Wealthy named Van Carter as the father of the child, but he could not be found within county limits. It is not clear whether he ever posted a bond or otherwise supported the child. (Van Buren Carter, born about 1850, was a Nash County native. He died in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1933.)

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In the 1860 census of Bailey township, Nash County: John Locus, 60, wife Nancy, 51, and children and grandchildren Thomas, 30, Equitta, 28, Jno., 21, Neverson, 19, Cytha, 15, Sparling, 13, Nancy E., 12, Wealtha, 9, James S., 4, Polly, 2, and Eliza Locus, 2 months. All were classified as mulatto. (If John and Nancy Locus were Equitta’s parents, witnesses were incorrect in their testimony that Wealthy’s mother, too, had a white father.)

In the 1870 census of Springfield township, Nash County: John Locus, 65, with Sparling, 20 and  James Locus, 17, plus Equit, 35, Murnivia, 10, Elizia, 12, Wethia, 20, Malinda, 2 months, and Dotsey, 14; all mulatto.

Wealthy Locust, 23 [she was actually closer to 30], appeared in the 1880 census of Black Creek, Wilson County, in the household of farmer J.C. Rice. She had five children — Jane, 9, Mary, 5, James G., 3, and Bryant, 7 months — and her mother Equit lived with them. All are described as mulatto. Wealthy worked as a cook, and the relationship to her of each of her family members is oddly phrased in this context — “daughter of cook,” “mother of cook,” etc. (As we will see below, this is not an entirely accurate description of the familial ties within this household.)

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The 1880 census was the last time Wealthy’s family as a whole is classified as  mulatto. (And the last time but one that her older children bear the name Locus.) Though they remained in the community in which everyone knew them and their mother, all of Wealthy’s children transitioned to white identities as they entered adulthood.

On 15 December 1889, James Lamm, 27, married Jane Carter, 20, at Amos Hays’ in Black Creek township. Both were described as white.

Daughter Mary Locus, 18, married Robert Barnes, 23, in Black Creek on 27 July 1893. Robert is described as white; the space for Mary’s race was left blank.

Wealthy’s daughter Bettie married James Bass in 1897, and her marriage license sheds new light on that census entry. Bettie’s last name was Rice and, at 16, she was a minor. “J.C. Rice & Weltha Locas the Father & Mother” of Bettie Rice had to give written permission for her to marry. Bettie was described as white, and her sister Jane Lamm was an official witness to the ceremony.

The 1900 census of Black Creek, however, shows that the family’s social identity remained fluid, at least in the eyes of the community. At household #106, [Wealthy’s son] James G. Rice, 23, wife Lou, 21, and son Lee, 1, all white. At #108, Wealthy Locus, 50, son Zacariah, 13, and daughter Fannie, 10, all black. At #109, Pennsylvania-born James C. Rice, 55, white [father of Wealthy’s younger children.] At #113, James Lamm, 42, wife Jane, 30, and children Robert L., 9, James C., 7, Mamie, 4, and Leona, 2, all white.

In December 1909, just after he filed suit against the school board, James Lamm filed for a marriage license on behalf of Lester Lucas, 21, and his sister-in-law Fannie Rice, 19. Fannie, now white, gave her parents as J.C. Rice and Wealthy Joyner.

James C. Rice died about 1917. Under the terms of his will, executed 23 October 1915, James left (1) Welthy Joyner six five-hundred dollar promissory notes in trust, with her to have use of the interest at her discretion and to be distributed after her death to J.G. Rice, Zack Rice, Mary Barnes, Bettie Bass and Fannie Lucas, and (2) a $1000 note to be divided among the same five. (The will does not refer to them as his children.)

In the 1920 census of Black Creek: James G. Rice, 43, wife Louetta, 42, sons Lee, 21, Henry, 19, and Frank, 11, widowed mother Welthy Joyner, 70, and his in-laws. All were white.

Wealthy Locus died 18 June 1922. Her surname was recorded as “Joyner,” and her son James provided information about her life. She was again described as a widow (no marriage license has been found), William Joyner was listed as her father (James Rice supposedly had no information about his grandmother, Ezrit Locus), and she was white. (That Thomas Yelverton & Company handled her burial signals community acceptance of that identity. Undertakers were segregated in that era.)

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Zack Rice, Wealthy’s youngest son, died 8 March 1934 in Black Creek. His death certificate lists his parents as Jim Rice and Wilthy Rice. James Gaston Rice died 25 February 1940. His death certificate lists his parents as James C. Rice, born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Welthy Joyner. Jane Carter Lamm died 21 February 1945 in Wilson, Wilson County.  Her death certificate lists her parents as Van Carter and Wealthy Joyner, and she is classified as white.

School Records (1909), Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives; Bastardy Bonds, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.