A visit from Rebecca Pate Daniel.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 October 1932.

Rebecca Daniel Pate‘s name is memorialized in family graveyard near Lucama known as “Becky Pate Cemetery.”


Richard Pate and Rebecca Daniel were married in Wayne County, N.C., on or about 12 June 1866.


In the 1870 census of Goldsboro township, Wilson County: farm laborer Richard Pate, 37; wife Beckey, 32; and Polly, 12.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Pate, 36; wife Rebecca, 36; and daughter Trecinda, 3.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Richard Pate, 59, and wife Rebecca, 57.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Pate, 74; wife Rebecca, 72; and grandchildren Louis Daniel, 30, and Roscoe, 12, and Leanna Barnes, 10.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Rebecca Pate, 81, widow, living alone.

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Rossie Barnes, 30, farmer; wife Mamie, 27; children William H., 9, Elbert, 7, Leena M., 2, and Johnnie L., 8 months; grandmother Rebecca Pate, 95, widow; sister Leeanna Barnes, 28; and niece Beatrice Barnes, 15.

Rebecca Pate died 31 March 1935 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 108 years old; was the widow of Richard Pate; lived on Pate Farm; was born in Wayne County to Arch Daniel and Leher Daniel; and was buried in Pate cemetery. Informant was William Daniel.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Irene Frances Hinnant Exum, age 102.

Irene Hinnant Exum (21 July 1918-25 June 2021). Rest in peace.


In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Ezekiel Hinnant, 31; wife Annie L., 24; and daughters Bessie M., 3, and Irene, 18 months.

On 19 December 1938, Irene Hinton [sic], 20, married James Exum, 22, in Johnston County, North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Walter Exum, 23; wife Irene, 21; and daughter Velma R., 5 months.

In 1940, Walter Exum registered for the World War II in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 July 1916 in Johnston County, N.C.; his contact was wife Irene Exum; he lived at R.F.D. #3, Kenly, Wilson, N.C.; and worked for Guy Bullock.

James Walter Exum died 19 November 1941 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 September 1941 in Wilson County to Walter Exum of Johnston County and Irene Hinnant of Wilson County.

The death of Ann Jack, (probably not a) centenarian.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 August 1922.

“Ann Jack” was Annie Jackson Williamson. Her death certificate is perplexing, as it lists a death date of August 12 — two days after the newspaper notice above. A closer look reveals this notation by the certifying physician: “I HEREBY CERTIFY that I attended deceased from about Aug 1st, 1922, to one visit only, that I last saw her alive on or about Aug 1st 1922 and that death occurred, on the date above, at 735 am. The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: ‘I did not visit her but once, extreme old age and heart dropsy.'” So did she die August 1 or sometime between then and August 12? It’s not clear.

Annie Williamson lived on Daniel Street, was a widow, was born in Wilson County to Allace Rice, and was about 100 years old. Ujennia Williamson was informant. 

Annie Williamson was likely closer to 80 years old.


On 4 February 1868, Jack Williamson, son of Toney Eatmon and Hester Williamson, married Ann Boykin, daughter of John Harper and Alder Ried, at Jack Williamson’s in Wilson.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: domestic servant Robert Vick, 19, and wife Spicy, 18; Anna Williamson, 25, washerwoman, children Jena, 10, Charles, 5, and Ann I.M., 2, and husband Jackson Williamson, 45, blacksmith.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Tarboro Street, Jack Williamson, 55, blacksmith; wife Ann, 30; and children Eugina, 20, cook, Charles 16, blacksmith shop worker, Tete, 14, and Lea, 4.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Annie Williamson, 51, and daughters Lugenia, 35, and Susan A., 23, all laundry women.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Ann and Lugenia Williamson were listed as laundresses living at West Walnut near Tarboro Street.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 604 Daniel Street, Annie Williamson, 85; daughter Lugenia Williamson, 40, laundress; and grandchildren Sylvester, 18, bottling works laborer, and Mittie Williamson, 3. 

Rest in peace, Grace Whitehead Artis.

I grew up in a forest of teachers — my parents, their friends, my aunts and uncles, our neighbors. Every Black teacher I had during my elementary years was a woman I already knew away from school, which was both comforting and a little uncomfortable. They cared, and they didn’t need to wait for parent-teacher conferences to voice their concerns.

Grace Whitehead Artis was my sixth-grade math teacher. She had a slightly gruff voice and a reputation for sternness, but her eyes twinkled beneath her crown of swept-back curls. I saw her wheeling her Cadillac through the neighborhood regularly and knew she and her husband S.P. Artis thought the world of my parents. Fairly soon after school began, she called my mother directly. “Get Lisa’s eyes checked,” she counseled. “She’s solving problems correctly, but they’re not the equations I’m writing on the blackboard.” Weeks later, I was peering at the world in trendy aviator frames, marveling at details like pine needles high up in the trees.

Mrs. Artis passed away early this month at age 104. She had moved to Detroit a few years ago to be near a niece, so it had been a while since my father had stopped by to deliver the ice-cold cans of Pepsi-Cola she loved. My mother had been embraced by Mrs. Artis when she arrived in Wilson as a young bride, and she helped celebrate Mrs. Artis’ last birthday via Zoom.

I’ve blogged about Mrs. Artis and her family here and here and here and here and here and here. May she rest in peace, legacy assured.


Blount Knight’s birthday.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 April 1946.


In the 1880 census of Walnut Creek, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farm laborer Martha Knight, 47, and children Ellen, 22, Blunt, 18, George, 16, Moses, 14, and Haywood, 10, plus granddaughters Emma, 3, and Delia Harrison, 4.

On 16 December 1880, Blount Knight, 23, married Lucy Bullock, 20, on 29 December 1880 in Edgecombe County.

On 21 March 1884, Blount Knight, 22, married Ginnie Carroll, 16, at Martha Knight‘s home in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Blount Knight, 42; wife Jennie, 31; and children Eddie, 17, Martha, 13, Minnie, 11, Carrie, 6, Jemmie, 4, and Mary, 9 months; plus mother-in-law Mary Coal, 68.

On 30 July 1908, Blount Knight, 50, son of Isaac and Martha Knight, of Gardners township, married Mary Ellis, 39, daughter of Frank and Sara Edmundson, of Gardners, in Saratoga township.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: ditcher Blount Knight, 52; wife Mary, 41; children Minnie, 19, Jimmie, 13, Mollie, 10, and Louisa, 6; son-in-law Willie Anderson, 30, daughter Martha, 22, and grandchildren Robert, 2, and “no name” Anderson, 0, and Jennie Knight, 1.

In the 1916 Wilson city directory: Knight Blount, laborer, Harper’s Ln near Herring Av

In the 1920 Wilson city directory: Knight Blount, farmer, 1 Carolina

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Carolina Street (suburbs Wilson), farmer Blount Knight, 59, wife Mary, 42, and daughters Mary 17, and Louisa, 15, with James Blount, 38, and wife Lulu, 19.

Blount Knight died 5 July 1957 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 April 1868 in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Isiah Knight; lived at 920 Carolina Street; was a widower of Mary Knight; and had worked as a laborer. Mary Currie was informant.

Knight’s headstone in Rest Haven cemetery lists his birth year as 1851, which would have made him 106 at his death. The records above yield birth years between 1857 and 1862, which would have made him somewhere between 95 and 100 years old.

“I didn’t want red. … Well, you know why.”

The pandemic has shuttered Vanilla Powell Beane‘s millinery shop, but could not stop her from creating a hat especially for Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri. Now This Politics delivers the take:

Jennie Ransome Shaffer, centenarian.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 May 1979.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: carpenter John M. Ransome, 41; wife Clanie, 23; and daughters Jennie, 6, and Lizzie, 2; plus brother-in-law Bat Mason, 30, carpenter.

On 15 December 1909, Quince Shavings, 36, of Toisnot, son of Tom and Mary Shavings, married Jennie Ransom, 36, of Toisnot, daughter of George and Fannie Ransom, in Elm City.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: laborer Joe Q. Shawfer, 35; wife  Jennie, 43, cook; son Howard, 12; and daughter-in-law(?) Jennie, 8.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: house carpenter Quincey Shaffer,  45; wife Jennie, 43; and widowed mother Emma, 78.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: town laborer Quincy Shaffer, 55; wife Genney, 54; daughter Lena, 29; and boarder Mable Dison, 7.

John [Quincey] Shaffer died 19 May 1940 in Elm City. Per his death certificate, he was 67 years old; married to Jennie Shaffer; worked as laborer; and was born in Elm City to Emma Moore. He was buried in Elm City cemetery.

Jennie Ransome Shaffer died 9 January 1981 in Wilson, aged 107.

Rosa Craddock McCoy, centenarian, loved to give orders.

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Wilson Daily Times, 20 March 2009.

In the 1910 census of Minish township, Jackson township, Georgia: farmer Ed Craddock, 32; wife Elizabeth, 27; and children Fred, 8, Besy, 6, Rosalee, 4, May L., 2, and Patt, 10 months.

In the 1920 census of Harrisburg township, Jackson County, Georgia: farmer Edward Craddock, 42; wife Eltha E., 38; and children Frederick, 18, Bessie, 16, Rosa L., 14, Mary L,, 12, Patrick, 10, Ruby, 8, John A. and Allie, 6, Christine, 3, and Eddie, 1.

John McKoy, 27, of Red Springs, married Rosa Craddock, 18, of Red Springs, on 18 December 1923 in Hoke County, North Carolina.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John McCoy, 29, guano company laborer; wife Rosa, 25, laundress; and children James, 5, Dorris, 3, and Pearl Mae, 1; and sister Sarah, 31. Rosa reported that she was born in Georgia.

In the 1940 census of Faison township, Duplin County: farmer John McKoy, 40; wife Rosie, 36; and children James, 15, Dorothy, 13, Pearlie Mae, 12, Sarah Lee, 11; Horlina, 8; Bettie and Barbara, 6, Geraldine, 2, and B.C., 2 months.

Rosa Craddock McCoy died 29 November 2012 in Middlesex, Nash County.