church membership

African-American members of Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church.

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, founded in 1783, was the second church organized in what is now Wilson County. The church’s nineteenth-century records includes names of enslaved and freed African-American members, who worshipped with the congregation as second-class Christians even after Emancipation.

Below are African-Americans included in a circa 1877 “List of Names Now Alive” with dates they were baptized and notes about church discipline. (The Primitive Baptists were hardcore about infractions of church rules, and it seems most members were “cut off” sooner or later.)

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  • Channey Pacock, col August 1871

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Chany Peacock, 46; son Geoge, 23; and grandson Preston Barne, 7.

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Benj’n Hardy, 25; wife Mary A., 30, farm laborer; and Litha, 14, farm laborer.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Hardy, 38; wife Mary Ann, 40; daughter Tillitha, 22; and mother-in-law Hester Hinnant, 65 [next door to Woodard Hooks, below.]

  • Isirah Lane, col Aug 14 1871, cut off

Perhaps, in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Isiah Lane, 40, keeping eating saloon, and wife Harriet, 38.

  • Milbry Hinnant col  Dec 10 1871

Perhaps, in the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Hinnant, 26; wife Milbary, 24; and children Sally, 4, John, 3, and Everet, 1.

  • Rhoda Hollan col, Mar 9 1872, “cut off Aug the 12th 1876”
  • Fany Woodard col, Mar 9 1872, cut off
  • Sarah Brook col, June 9 1872
  • Woodard Hooks col, date of baptism unknown, excluded

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Woodard Hooks, 52; wife Venus, 53; and children Mahaly, 20, Mariah, 18, Gabriel, 16, Isaac, 14,  Bardin, 11, and Grant, 10. [Cross Roads township is adjacent to Black Creek township, and the boundary is within a very few miles from the town of Black Creek.]

  • Elizath Horn col, date of baptism unknown, deceased
  • James Barnes col, date of baptism unknown, deceased
  • Nathon Barnes col, date of baptism unknown, excluded
  • Mardel(?) Thompson, date of baptism unknown, cut off
  • Wister Barnes, date of baptism unknown
  • Petter Woodard col, June 8th 1873

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Peter Woodard, 60; wife Renda, 60; farm laborer Adline Privett, 25, and her daughter Margaret, 6 months; and granddaughter Hetiway Ward, 3.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Peter Woodard, 70; wife Rendy, 52; and Jane, 13.

  • Trecy Woodard, June 8th 1873
  • F[illegible] Simms col, June 8th 1873, cut off
  • Mary Hardy col, Augst 11th 1873

See Benjamin Hardy, above.

  • Tilitha Hardy col, Augst 11th 1873

See Benjamin Hardy, above.

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Blaney Barnes, 20, farm laborer.

Blany Barnes married Rachel Cooper on 10 August 1873 at J. Barden’s in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Blany Barnes, 27; wife Rachel, 25; and children Larry, 6, Mary Ann, 4, and William Anderson, 2.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: R.R. [railroad] laborer Blaney Barnes, 47; wife Rachell, 44; and children Anderson W., 21, Louettie, 16, and Charlie, 11; and boarder Dorch Wade, 23.

On 22 September 1903, Blaney Barnes, 50, married Diana Ricks, 45, in Spring Hill township.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County:  Blaney Barnes, 55, sawmill log hauler; wife Dianna, 44, farm laborer; daughter-in-law Louvenia Furgerson, 21, divorced; daughter-in-law Jane Barnes, 19; grandsons Hiliard, 7, and Joseph N. Barnes, 5; grandson Willie Furgerson, 4; and grandchildren Martha J. Barnes, 12, and boarder Troy Barnes, 23.

Blaney Barnes died 26 April 1915 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1844 in Wilson County to Sip Barnes of Wayne County, N.C.; was married; was a farmer; and was buried in Barnes graveyard. Wiley H. Johnson, Lucama, was informant.

  • Levi Bass col, July 12 1874, fined

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Levi Bass, 23; wife Heggar, 22; and children Burket, 3, and Lydia, 2.

  • Caroline Dawson col, Aug 8th 1874
  • Rufus Bass col

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Rufus Bass, 30; wife Caroline, 25; and Josiah, 6, Willie A., Rufus H., 4, and Rebecca F., 1 month; plus

  • Smithie Cooper col, Sept 12th 1874

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Watson Cooper, 26; wife Smithy, 25; and children Martha, 9, Margaret, 4, George, 3, and Sidney, 9 months.

  • Nellie Williams col, June 15th 1875

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer W. Williams, 50; wife Nellie, 43; servants Laura Williams, 15, and Nancy Winstead, 22, farm laborers; and Winnie Monday, 10, “no relation.”

  • Harriet Bass col, Oct 14 1875
  • Sarah Hagans col, Oct 14 1875

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Hegans, 31; wife Sarah, 20; children John, 3, Nancy A., 2, and Amos, 10; and Susan Hagans, 40, farm worker.

  • Julia Fealds col, Jan 8th 1876

George W. Fields married Julia Moore on 26 March 1869 in Pitt County, North Carolina.

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: farmer Wash Fields, 35; wife Julia, 35; and children Haywood, 10, Mary, 4, and Jane, 1.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Washington Fields, 30; wife Julia, 35; and children Renda, 12, Penninah, 11, Jane, 9, Christany, 8, London, 6, William, 5, and twins Isaac and Jacob, 3.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Washington Fields, 60; wife Julia, 53; daughters Chrischanie, 25, Amanda, 15, and Lutory, 10; grandson Peter, 10; and granddaughters Julia, 5, and Lillie, 7 months.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Washington Fields, 68; wife Julia, 70; grandson Peter J., 18; and granddaughters Julia A., 14, and Mary Lilly, 9.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer George W. Fields, 65; wife Julia M., 70; daughter Christina, 48; and grandson Willie, 10.

Julia Fields died 20 June 1924 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 102 years old; was married to Wash Fields; was born in Greene County, N.C., to Peter Woodard and Renda Woodard; and was buried in a family cemetery. William Fields was informant. [See Peter Woodard, above.]

  • Jane Barnes col, March 4th 1876, “Jane Hooks by Marridge”

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Stewart Hooks, 31, and wife Jane, 23.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: basket mechanic Stewart Hooks, 51, and wife Jane, 43, dressmaker.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek town, Black Creek township, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, Stewart Hooks, 60, basketmaker with own shop, and wife Jane, 50, dressmaker.

Jane Hooks died 6 April 1929 at the Wilson County Home. Per her death certificate, she was 64 years old; a widow; and was born in Wilson County to Ben Barnes and Hester Horn. Lovett Barnes was informant.

  • Phillis Daniel col, July 8th 1876, “fort by a Marridge Philis fort”
  • Nicie(?) Barden col, July 9th 1876
  • Fanie Newsom col, June 11th 1876, “Restored Sept 8th 1876”
  • Ester Barnes col, April 12 1877
  • Liddy Jordon col, June [illegible] 1877, [illegible]

Copy of documents courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III. Originals now housed at North Carolina State Archives.

Received at Toisnot Primitive Baptist.

Hugh Buckner Johnston was way ahead of his time when it came to preserving documentation of the genealogies of Wilson’s African-American community. What follows is first in a series of abstracts, with my annotations, from his Black Members of Tosneot Baptist Church (The Wilson Primitive Baptist Church), 1824-1874, compiled in 1984.

John Thomas founded Toisnot Primitive Baptist Church in 1756 and built its first edifice on his farm. A historic marker memorializes the site near present-day Tartt’s Mill Road and Highway 42, east of Wilson. In 1802, the church moved about 3 miles west to a more central location among its membership. The community that sprang up around it — in the area of present-day Tarboro and Kenan Streets in Wilson — was known as Hickory Grove. From 1859 to 1902, the period covering most of the memberships listed here, the church, now called Wilson Primitive Baptist, met in this edifice:

5761594181_20d5a20419_b

Noted Mr. Johnston: “My present alphabetical listing of black members of Tosneot (now Wilson) Primitive Baptist Church as preserved in its earliest surviving Minute Book 1820-1874 will provide the reader with a clear idea of the potentiality of another source of information about many of the religiously oriented adults. The aforesaid church had several black members as early as the 1920’s, but a great many of them in 1866 and afterward had moved their memberships to London’s Primitive Baptist Church which functions as this day in accordance with their traditional rules of faith and practice.”

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A

  • Zaley Adams died 3 April 1871. She was probably the Zaley Daniel received into membership on 27 August 1870.

On 24 July 1866, Zallah Adams and Abraham Thorn registered their 8-year cohabitation before a Wilson County justice of the peace.

  • Alfred was baptized 28 August 1852.
  • Avret was baptized 23 September 1855.

B

  • Warren Barefoot was received on 25 May 1867 and “liberated” to preach on 10 August 1872.

In 1869, Warren Barefoot, son of Jacob and Milly Dawson, and Sarah Lassiter, daughter of Silas and Orpha Lassiter, applied for a marriage license in Wilson County, but did not register their marriage. [Jack Dawson and Millie Barefoot registered their 18-year cohabitation on 16 August 1866.] In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Warren, 21, and Sarah Barefoot, 20. Warren Barefoot died in 1874 as revealed in Wilson County estate records. In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Silas Lassiter, 56, wife Orpah, 50, and children Penina, 24, Pharaoh, 20, Milly Ann, 19, and Gerusha Ann, 14, plus Sally Barefoot, 32, and children Mandy, 9, George, 6, and Warren, 5.

  • Amey Barnes was received on 23 October 1869.

On 11 August 1866, Andrew Barnes and Amy Willaford registered their 30-year cohabitation before a Wilson County justice of the peace. In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Drew Barnes, 58, wife Amey, 55, and son Drew Barnes Jr., 18. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson: Drew Barnes Snr., 71, and wife “Anne,” 69, who suffered from dysentery.

  • Charles Barnes, enslaved by Gen. Joshua Barnes, was baptized 22 June 1851 and was presumably the same Charles Barnes liberated to preach on 28 June 1873.

Three Charles Barneses appear in the 1870 census of Wilson County. One, age 78, married to Chaney Barnes, lived in Black Creek township. The next, age 39, lived in Gardners township. The last, age 26, born in Maryland and married to Jackian Barnes, lived in Wilson township.

  • Eady Barnes, enslaved by James Dew Barnes, was received on 22 August 1863 and expelled before 1870.
  • Cloah Barnes, enslaved by Jacob Barnes, was baptized 26 September 1830.
  • Gilbert Barnes, enslaved by Davis Barnes, was excluded from membership on 25 September 1824 for “fighting a white man,” but restored on 21 August 1829.
  • Isaac Barnes, enslaved by Jesse Barnes, was a member before 1820.
  • Judah Barnes, enslaved by James Barnes, was dismissed by letter on 22 November 1835.
  • Judith Barnes was received on 22 July 1871.

Possibly, in the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson: Judy Barnes, 65, with son Mack Barnes, 19, and granddaughter Martha Rountree, 25.

  • Margaret Barnes was baptized 24 May 1874.
  • Myney Barnes was a member before 1870.
  • Reddic Barnes was baptized 23 October 1853 and excluded 26 November 1865 “for Runing away from his Master before he was freed by the Proclamation.”

Redic Barnes and Spicy Barnes registered their 12-year cohabitation on 4 June 1866 before a Wilson County justice. In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Redick Barnes, 51, wife Spicey, 50, and children Jolly, 16, Ida, 15 and Harry, 11.

  • Robert “Bob” Barnes, enslaved by Joseph Barnes, was restored to fellowship on 23 February 1822.
  • Tom Barnes, enslaved by James Barnes, was received on 28 October 1832 and dismissed by letter in November 1835.
  • Luezer Battle was received on 20 August 1860.
  • Rose Battle was a member before 1870.
  • Martha Blackwell was a member before 1870.

On 25 August 1866, Martha Blackwell and James Rowe registered their 4-year cohabitation in Wilson County.

  • Mary Blount was received on 21 May 1870.

Probably, in the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson: Reuben Battle, 30, Edna Battle, 25, Mary Blount, 23, and Elizabeth Blount, 17.

  • Charity Blow was received on 20 August 1869.

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Charity Blow, 32, with children Joseph, 18, Senday, 9, Thomas, 3, and Lucind, 1.

  • Harry Brooks was received on 23 July 1870 and excluded 23 September 1871 “for Drunkness & fiting.”

On 20 August 1866, Harry Brooks and Selah Daniel registered their 3-year cohabitation in Wilson Cunty.

  • Anna Bynum was received on 25 May 1872.
  • Calvin Bynum was received on 24 May 1873.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson: Thomas Hardy, 30, and wife Mary, 30, plus Calvin Bynum, 22.

  • Eliza Bynum was received on 8 June 1872.
  • Gatsey Bynum was a member before 1870.

On 25 August 1866, Allen Bynum and Gatsey Bynum registered their 16-year cohabitation in Wilson County. In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Allen Bynum, 30, wife Gatsey

  • Harry Bynum was received on 22 April 1871.

In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Osborn Buck, 23, Harry Bynum, 31, Mary Bynum, 28, and John Bynum, 26.

  • Oliff Bynum was received on 27 April 1872.
  • Thomas Bynum was received on 21 October 1871 and liberated to preach on 14 June 1873.

In the 1870 census of Gardners, Wilson: Thomas Bynum, 30, wife Bethana, 28, and children James, 11, Oliver, 9, Mary, 6, and Levinia, 4.

Copy of Johnston’s compilation courtesy of Wilson County Public Library; photo courtesy of www.digitalnc.org.