church

Strickland Chapel buys a lot.

Deed book 81, page 259, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

On 18 May 1908, for $125.00, Dianah Rountree sold E.S. Koonce, Washington Cox, and Wash Little, the trustees of the “ole original Freewill Baptist church of Wilson” (also known as Strickland Chapel) a parcel of land on the southwest side of Manchester Street at Suggs Street extension adjacent to Rountree and Daniel Vick‘s property. 

Strickland Chapel? A church at the corner of Manchester and Suggs? I have never heard of the church, and the location is now occupied by a concrete-block duplex built in the 1950s. 

The intersection is beyond the bounds of the 1908 and 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map, but on the 1922 map the building appears and is marked as an A.M.E. Zion church. 

I found a reference in 1929 to a Presbyterian church known as Strickland Chapel, but it was a white congregation and does not appear to be related to the church above. 

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  • E.S. Koonce — in the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cox Washington lab h 545 Stantonsburg
  • Washington Cox — in the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Little Washington lab h 600 Stemmery
  • Wash Little — in the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Koontz Ellis farmer b 506 Grace

The Locuses sell a lot to Taylor’s Chapel.

Deed book 86, page 97, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

On 14 December 1909, John and Delphia Taylor Locus(t) conveyed an 1800 square foot parcel to Willis Ellis, Joe Eatman, and Phoebe Rountree, trustees of Taylor’s Chapel Christ’s Disciples Church. The land was on “the north side of the path leading from the Nash Road to the old home place of Ira Howard, deceased” and was adjacent to land owned by John Locus and Ruffin Watson (“the James Howard tract”).

The land was to “be used for a church in the name of the Christ’s Disciples Church,” and to return to John Locust and his heirs after such use ended. 

[There is a Taylor’s Chapel Pentecostal Holiness in Nashville, N.C., today. I do not believe it is a related church.]

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  • Willis Ellis — in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary Ellis, 34, and children Willis, 12, Walter, 9, William, 8, Henry, 5, and Lou, 4.
  • Joe Eatman
  • Phoebe Rountree — in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: widow Phebee Rountree, 59, farmer, and children Richard, 19, Warren, 17, Ardenia, 15, and Martha, 12. 
  • Ira Howard — in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Ira Howard, 45; wife Harett, 44, and son William, 18.
  • James Howard– in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: next door to Ira Howard, farmer James Howard, 20, and wife Cisco, 20.

Wilson Chapel burns.

Wilson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church‘s building burned to the ground in an early morning fire in November 1922.

In 1915, the church had bought a wooden structure first used by Jackson Chapel Missionary Baptist and vacated after its merger with First Missionary Baptist and the erection of the large brick building still standing at the corner of Pender and East Nash. This wooden building is apparently the one destroyed by fire in 1922. The church rebuilt, and the new building is shown here. In 1958, Wilson Chapel built the brick building in use today.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 November 1922.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1922.

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map shows the close proximity of Wilson Chapel and the cotton seed house of Wilson County Gin Company.

Clippings courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

To have and to hold said land, no. 5.

Abstracts of deeds recording the purchase of real property by African-American churches and lodges in Wilson County:

  • On 25 June 1919, Samuel H. Vick and Mabel Harriss, trustees of Black Creek Council No. 130 of the Lincoln Benefit Society, and Walter Barnes, John Artis, and J.F. Ellis, trustees of Black Creek Lodge No. 8754, Odd Fellows, paid $350 for a lot in Black Creek on the corner of West Railroad and Church Streets.

Deed book 121, page 381, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

  • On 20 February 1920, Gary Armstrong and wife Henrietta borrowed $3282.60 from the Endowment Department of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. In exchange, the Armstrongs gave a mortgage on four parcels measuring 34, 112, 55, and 42 acres. If the Armstrongs defaulted on the loan, the Endowment Department would sell the land to satisfy the debt. This mortgage deed was cancelled 3 January 1924, after the debt was paid in full. Deed book 141, page 59.
  • On 29 October 1923, James Rountree, William Thorne, James Bass, Warren Rountree, Phebe Rountree, and Emma Daniel, trustees of Saint Pauls Disciples Church (Colored), sold to Barnes Chapel Lodge #78, Knights of King Solomon, a one-eighth acre parcel on the north side of the old County Line Road and east side of the public road from Wilson to Nashville, N.C., to be used for lodge purposes only and never for “a place of public amusement or in any manner that will be in derogation of the peace and dignity of the church” next door. [Saint Paul’s is an active church on Lake Wilson Road, just east of N.C. Highway 58, the “public road” referred to. I am not clear if the church not to be disturbed is Saint Paul or some other church.] Deed book 146, page 271.
  • On 1 December 1923, J.L. Newsom, Nathan Bass, and James H. Newsom sold W.K. Knight, Willie Newton, Elias Barnes, C.L. Battle, Charlie Newton, L.W. Williams, and Walter Thompson, trustees of First Baptist Church (Colored) of Lucama, for $125 a one-quarter acre parcel adjacent to the Wilson County Public School (Colored)’s lot on the extension of Main Street near the town of Lucama. Deed book 146, page 397.

As this Google Maps image shows, First Baptist Church still stands just outside Lucama. Its parcel is considerably larger than a quarter-acre and may include the land on which Lucama Colored School formerly sat.

607 Viola Street plat map.

N.C. Mutual Life Insurance affiliate Home Development Company was a major player in East Wilson real estate in the mid-twentieth, buying and selling distressed properties by the dozens. Below, a plat map the company recorded in 1944 for two lots on Viola Street between C.E. Artis at 308 North Pender and Sadie Joyner at 609 Viola. 

The house at 607 Viola Street was demolished in the early 1980s. There has never been a house on the second lot.

Plat book 4, page 13.

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Church Alton (c; Hattie) lab h 607 Viola; Church Helen (c) maid Cherry Hotel H 607 Viola.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Clark Saml (c; Cath) h 607 Viola; Clark Martha (c) dom h 607 Viola.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Viola, at $16/month rent, Catherine Clark, 42, born in S.C., hospital cook; husband Sam, 52, born in Georgia; granddaughter Martha Clark, 15, born in S.C.; grandson Willie McGill, 6, born in N.C.; and two roomers, Talmage Smith, 21, and Roy Maze, 26, both orchestra musicians. [Orchestra musicians?]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Viola, at $6/month, Nora Farmer, 28, tobacco factory hanger, and lodgers Maggie Smith, 23, also a hanger, and Lester Parker, 28, highway laborer. Also, at $8/month, Charlie Williams, 42, service station attendant; wife Ellen, 38, laundress; son David, 23, tobacco factory laborer; and niece Eloise Tarboro, 18, servant.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city director: Williams Chas (c; Ellen) porter G Duke Ricks h 607 Viola

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.

Col. church.

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Surrounded by “the Farmer place owned by the hairs of Mrs. Jerusha Woodard” was a small square of land upon which a “colored church” was built. Woodard, born 1838 to Moses and Elizabeth Barnes Farmer and married to Warren Woodard, died in 1910. This plat map was drawn in 1914.

I have not been able to identify the church.

Plat book 1, page 111, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.