city directory

Eating houses.


Hill’s 1916-17 Wilson, N.C., city directory.

  • Smithy Atkinson
  • Nan Best — Nannie Best. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 330 South Spring Street: widow Nannie Best, 61, her daughter Frank, 30, son Aaron, 21, and daughter-in-law Estelle, 19, and a lodger, nurse Henrietta Colvert, 24.
  • Burt L. Bowser
  • Dennis Brooks — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County, 35 year-old Georgia-born merchant Dennis Brooks, wife Mary, 27, and daughter Aleo[illegible], 8, shared a household with Jordan Taylor, 50, and wife Matilda, 40. That same year, Brooks testified concerning a letter in the coroner’s inquest into the death of James A. Hunt. In 1904, Brooks testified at the coroner’s inquest into the death of George Williford concerning a conversation that took place in his bar.
  • Charles Hines — possibly, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Wiggins Street, grocery man Charlie Hines, 31; wife Eva, 29; children Anna, 3, and Charlie Jr., 7 months; and cousin Maria King, 10.
  • Goodsy H. Holden — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 603 Spring Street, brickmason Goodsey Holden, 59; wife Laura, 52; and roomer Carrie Strickland, 29, tobacco factory worker.
  • Willie A. Johnson
  • Frank Scarborough
  • Annie Smith

1925 eating houses

Hill’s 1925 Wilson, N.C., city directory.

  • James Allen
  • John Barnes
  • William I. Barnes — William Ichabod Barnes. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 401 Pine Street, tobacco laborer Samuel Ennis, 26, wife Maggie, 29, and sons Freeman, 12, and Earl, 2; boarder John Smith, 21, a wagon factory worker; cafe owner William I. Barnes, 30, wife Madie, 27, and children Weldon, 12, Dorothy, 11, Rachel, 9, Ethel G., 6, Vera, 2, and Virginia R., 6 months.
  • Laura Benger
  • Ezekiel B. Braswell — Braswell Sanitary Cafe. in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1120 East Nash, rented for $18/month, cafe proprietor Ezekiel Braswell, 38; wife Mary, 29, public school teacher; daughters Mary E., 5, and Parthenia, 3; and roomer Matilda Cherry, 26, public school teacher.
  • George Cooper — Cooper & Barnes.
  • Peter Lupe
  • Rachel Gilliam

Central Cafe, Starr Cafe and Wilson Cafe served an African-American clientele, but were owned and operated by Mike Vekrakos, Gus Gliarmis and Major M. Gartrell. Vekrakos and Gliarmis were Greek immigrants, a group that dominated the cafe business in Wilson.

Contributions to Mercy, part 5.

On 30 January 1947, the Wilson Daily Times published a lengthy list of contributors to the fundraising drive of the Mercy Hospital Women’s Auxiliary. The list, reproduced here in five parts, included many of black Wilson’s leading individuals, businesses and institutions.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 January 1947.

All annotations, some edited for clarity, are entries in Hill’s Wilson City Directory 1947-48.


Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1947).

  • William W. Askew, Baptist — William Wesley Askew. Per his death certificate, William Askew died 2 March 1956 in Wilson; was born 13 March 1890 in Bertie County, North Carolina, to Isaac and Mance Askew; was married to Elizabeth Askew; worked as a minister; and resided at 1104 Rountree Avenue.
  • W. Samuel Barnes, Baptist — pastor of a Missionary Baptist church.
  • Frank F. Battle, Baptist — pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist church.
  • Chester B. Beamon, Methodist — A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • Walter Bobbitt, Baptist– Walter Lee Bobbitt, pastor of Saint John Free Will Baptist. Per his death certificate, Bobbitt died 26 February 1952 at his home at 109 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was born 19 November 1896 in Pitt County to Sidney Bobbitt and Millie Payton; was a minister; and was married to Annie Bobbitt.
  • Edward H. Cox, Baptist — Eddie Harrison Cox, pastor of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Eddie H Cox, 49, and wife Carrie H., 32.
  • Hattie Daniels, Holiness — Hattie Owens Daniels. Per her death certificate, Hattie Daniels died 25 April 1979 in Wilson; was born 4 July 1900 in Chester County, Georgia, to Mack Owens and Mary Gardner; was widowed; resided at 908 Wainwright Street; and was a minister and kindergarten teacher. Informant was daughter Deborah Daniels of the home.
  • Fred M. Davis, Baptist — Fred Marshon Davis Sr., pastor of Jackson Chapel First Baptist and others.
  • Jacob Edwards, Holiness
  • John A. Everette, Methodist — pastor of Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church.
  • John L. Hart, Apostolic — John L. Hart died 6 February 1963 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 January 1901 in Wilson County to Benjamin Hart and Temie Ann Jones; was married; was a minister. Elouise Hart, 1200 Washington Street, was informant.
  • Obra J. Hawkins, Presbyterian — Obra Jeffrey Hawkins, pastor of Calvary Presbyterian.
  • William A. Hilliard, Methodist — William Alexander Hilliard was pastor at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion Church. In 1942, he registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card: he resided at 119 Pender; his mailing address was 2449 Woodland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri; he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; his contact was Mrs. Veta Watson of 2449 Woodland; he was employed as a minister in the A.M.E. Zion connection serving in Wilson.
  • Jefferson Holloway, Methodist — pastor of an A.M.E. Zion church. Jefferson Davis Holloway died 7 November 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 November 1885 in Wilson County; was married to Ella Holloway; and resided at 323 Griffin Street.
  • Edward Ingram, Holiness — pastor of Nazarene Holiness Church.
  • Robert Johnson, Episcopal — Robert Josiah Johnson, Saint Mark’s Episcopal.
  • Charles T. Jones, Baptist — Charles Thomas Jones, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
  • George Little, Baptist — pastor of Mount Zion Free Will Baptist Church. George Washington Little died 1 April 1957 on the A.C.L. railroad tracks near Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 July 1910 in Wilson County to Wash Little and Louise Barnes; worked as a minister and laborer; resided at 606 North Carroll Street. Louise Little was informant.
  • William McLondon, Holiness — pastor of Mount Zion Holiness Church.
  • Otto E. Sanders, Presbyterian — Otto Edward Sanders, former pastor of Calvary Presbyterian.
  • R. Buxton Taylor, Methodist — Russell Buxton Taylor, A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • William Thomas, Baptist — pastor of a Missionary Baptist church.
  • Cleveland Thompson, Holiness
  • Roosevelt Wheeler, Holiness — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 812 East Vance, minister Roosevelt Wheeler, 26; wife Minnie, 24; and lodger Jessie Edwards, 17.
  • William E. Willoughby, Holiness

New Grabneck.

By the mid-1920s, Grabneck was gone. A mile and a half away, however, New Grabneck emerged in a clutch of unpaved streets on the far side of Hominy Swamp, a tributary of Contentnea Creek that wends its way, generally unobtrusively, across south Wilson. Per the 1930 Wilson city directory, all of the residents of this new settlement were African-American.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1930).

Several of New Grabneck’s residents, including Bertha Best Freeman, Ida Jordan, Jeremiah Scarborough and Frank Mitchell, had lived in Grabneck. Was this coincidence, or were Grabneck’s people deliberately resettled on vacant property on another edge of town?

New Grabneck was short-lived. As noted in this recollection by Marjorie Fulcher Stewart (a Best descendant), the area was cleared about 1960 in an urban renewal project that created moderate-income and public housing for whites.

This undated World War II-era air raid warden district map shows New Grabneck as an unpaved L off unpaved Connor Street, which branches from South Tarboro Street. Connor Street is now Forrest Road, and the New Grabneck lane is Jefferson Street. (See Paul Sherrod’s recollection here.)

Locations of former Grabneck and New Grabneck communities today. Map courtesy of

Air raid district map in private collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Contributions to Mercy, part 4.

On 30 January 1947, the Wilson Daily Times published a lengthy list of contributors to the fundraising drive of the Mercy Hospital Women’s Auxiliary. The list, reproduced here in five parts, included many of black Wilson’s leading individuals, businesses and institutions.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 January 1947.

  • J.J. LangleyLangley Jarrette J (c; Mary H) grocery h 901 Viola
  • Jesse Knight — Knight Jessie (c; Eliz) grocery 1105 Washington h 300 N Reid
  • J.F. Downing — Downing James F Jr clk Virginia Downing [grocery]
  • B. Murray
  • C.B. Stewart — Stewart Columbus B (c; Pearl M; 3) grocery 602 W Spruce h 604 ditto
  • E.H. Knight — Knight Elbert emp Williams Lumber r Elm City
  • Rev. R.A. Murphy — Murphy Raymond A (c; Ethel) grocery 210 E Banks h 411 Warren
  • Best Stewart — Stewart Best (c; Marjorie) grocery 411 W Spruce h 409 ditto
  • Jesse Stewart
  • L.E. Smith
  • Wheeler Filling Station– Wheeler D Elmo (Viola H; 2; Wheelers Esso Station) filling station 711 S Goldsboro h 910 Jordon (Five Points)
  • Rev. D.W. Winstead
  • S.M. Steevrus Grocery
  • Dora Gaston — Gaston Dora (c; widow Henry) grocery 706 U S Hwy 301 h 710 ditto
  • Junius Mitchell
  • J.F. Williams Cash Grocery
  • Hochnotts Grocery — Hocutts Grocery (Wm S & Roland B Hocutt) 203 1/2 Stantonsburg
  • Yellow Front Market — (Wm L Dickerson) grocery 501 E Nash
  • J.B. Barnes — perhaps Barnes John B (c; Rachel) Quick Serv Cleaners h 526 E Nash
  • Peter LupeLupe Peter (c; Rosa R) beer 511 E Nash h 717 Viola
  • Thomas Ford — Ford Thomas (c; Dora) confectioner 515 E Nash h 1008 Mercer
  • Baxter Grocer Co. — 703 Crowell
  • Nash Street Cafe — Nash Cafe (John R Saleeby) rest 552 E Nash
  • Mercers Market — Mercers Gro (Jas Mercer) 550 E Nash
  • Haywood Ellis — Ellis Haywood W (c; Ida) beer 506 E Nash h 108 Powell
  • Mr. and Mrs. G.J. Faison
  • S.P. ArtisArtis Separise P (c; Gracie W; Artis Barber Shop) h 537 1/2 E Nash
  • Libby’s Cafe — (c) (Libby McPhatter) rest 539 E Nash
  • Wade Moore — Moore Wade M (c; Eliz O; Wade’s Shoe Shop) h 1001 Faison
  • J.H. Moore — Moore J H floor mgr Big Star Whse h Bowdens
  • Lewis Barber Shop
  • Mack’s Shoe Shop — Mack James (c; Beulah; Baltimore Show Shop) h 206 N Reid
  • C.B. Bynum — Bynum Curley B (c; Pearl) shoe shiner 522 E Nash h 102 Pender
  • Levi Godwin — Godwin Levi (c; Esther) checker Wardrobe Cleaners h 900 Washington
  • J.M. Moore
  • Clarence BestBest Clarence B (c; Eva; East Nash Monument Co) h 1302 E Nash
  • James Whittaker — Whitaker Jas (c; Effie; 2) porter Rick’s Gulf Service h 416 N Vick
  • Gills Gro. — Gills Grocery (John Gill) 915 E Nash
  • W.L. Whitley — Whitley Walter L (Marie; 2; Forbes Grocery) h 1506 S Goldsboro
  • Kirby Sutton — Sutton Kirby (c) grocery 1122 E Nash h 1200 ditto
  • Eula Locus — Locus Eula (c; widow Luther) grocery 1201 E Nash h 1108 S Wainwright Av
  • Sylvester Sauls — Sauls Sylvester (c; Mattie; 2) laborer Williford Bros h 311 Stantonsburg
  • Lillian Williams — Williams Lillian (c; 2) tob wkr h 604 Manchester
  • Leslie Best — Best Lester [sic] (c; Pennie) farmer h 1331 E Nash
  • Mrs. F. McLean — probably Flowers McLean, see below.
  • Alester McLean — McLean Alex (c; Flowers) filling station 1421 E Nash h ditto
  • Cockrells — Cockrells Grocery (John Cockrell) 404 E Green
  • Geo. Wong — Wong George (Canton Restr) h 122 N Tarboro
  • O.K. Cockrell — Cockrell Onnie R. (Lucy I) grocery 513 Stantonsburg h 400 N Goldsboro
  • Dr. B.O. Barnes — Barnes Boisey O (c; Flossie H) physician 525 1.2 E Nash h 613 E Green
  • William Hines — Hines Wm M (c; Ethel L) barber h 615 E Green

All annotations, some edited for clarity, are entries in Hill’s Wilson City Directory 1947-48.

Hamilton, for colored.

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 6.23.45 PM

These ads appeared in the 1947-48 edition of Hill’s Wilson City Directory. Based 25 miles away in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Hamilton Funeral Home was a late arrival to the somewhat crowded black undertaker scene in Wilson, jostling stalwarts Darden Memorial  and C.E. Artis.


On 13 August 1935, Talmon Hunter, of Wilson County, son of Will and Callie Hunter of Wilson County, married Naomi Swinney, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Samuel and Georgia Swinney of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 530 East Nash Street, Salmon Hunter, 29, born in Georgia, funeral director for a burial concern.

Talmon Hunter died 5 May 1986 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 November 1913 in Dodge County, Georgia, to Will Hunter and Callie Wilcher; resided at 707 East Nash; worked as a funeral director; and was married to Naomi Swinney Hunter.

Naomi S. Hunter died seven months later, on 31 December 1986. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 November 1913 in Roberson County, North Carolina, to Samuel Swinney and Georgia Rickett; was a widow; and resided at 707 East Nash. Informant was son Joseph S. Hunter, Greensboro, North Carolina.


Black business, 1908.

African-American Business Owners Listed in



Austin James, 503 e Nash

Barnes S W, 123 s Goldsboro

Blount Jno, 422 Pender

Hines Wm, 119 s Tarboro

Holden Henry C, Branch Banking Co’s Bldg

Jones Levi, 105 n Goldsboro

Neal A N, 109 e Nash

Renfrow Richard, 126 s Goldsboro

Tate & Hines, New Briggs Hotel

Wheeler Sidney, 113 e Barnes

Bicycle Dealers and Repairers

Darden C H & Son, 611 e Nash

Billiard and Pool Rooms

Matthews Pool Room, 510 e Nash

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights

Hargrove Wm, 206 s Goldsboro

Smith James E, 214 e Tarboro

Wells Chas M, 231 s Tarboro

Young I J, 213 s Goldsboro


Coppedge James G (Baptist), 113 Manchester

Davis Frederick M (Baptist), 618 e Green

King Nicholas D (Methodist), 122 Pender

Neil H H (Baptist), h Suggs nr Manchester

Perry Robert N (Episcopal), Lodge nr Bank

Sturdiway Wyatt (Methodist), 114 Manchester

Taylor Halley J (Presbyterian), 613 Viola

Clothing Dealers

Gunn Anna (second hand), 514 s Lodge

Contractors, Carpenters and Builders

Teachy James T, 610 e Green


Batts Amos, 203 s Railroad

Best William, 114 Manchester

Hilliard William, 700 s Tarboro

Johnson Thos, 320 s Lodge

Washington Aaron, Walnut nr Lodge

Watson James, w Nash extd

Williams Dorsey, 147 East


Brinkley Nannie, 135 Ashe

Clarke Catharine, 607 e Green

Jordan Gertrude, 139 Ashe

Moore Gladys, 313 Mercer


Ideal Pharmacy, 109 s Goldsboro

Eating Houses

Best Annie, 121 s Goldsboro

Brandon Moses, 127 s Goldsboro

Teachey J Thomas, 214 s Goldsboro

Wheeler Sidney, 113 e Barnes

Whittaker Isaac, 101 Smith

Fish and Oysters

Dawson A D, City Market

Funeral Directors

Darden C H & Son, 611 e Nash

Grocers — Retail

Allen Wm, 412 s Goldsboro

Batts Amos, 203 s Railroad

Best Oscar, Nash nr Bynum

Brown James, Stantonsburg rd nr city limits

Bullock Jno, 330 s Lodge

Gunn Daniel, 512 ½ s Lodge

Home Supply Co (Inc), 540 e Nash

Miller Lou, Elba nr Green

Miller & Lewis, 649 e Green

Moore Lee A, 522 e Nash

Palmer Ella, Lodge cor Bank

Tucker Jacob, 416 s Spring

Wells Jack, Jones cor Lodge


Masonic, Pender cor Smith


Orange, 517 e Nash

Tate Hotel, 526 e Nash

Insurance Companies — Accident

North Carolina Mutual & Provident Association of Durham, 526 e Nash

Insurance Companies — Beneficial

Lincoln Benefit Society, 526 e Nash

Livery, Boarding and Sale Stables

Akins Jno, 125 e Goldsboro

Bullock Wm, 304 e Barnes

Hardy & Holland, 112 e Goldsboro

Winstead B R, 129 s Goldsboro

Mineral Waters

Darden Chas H & Son, 613 e Nash

Hargrove E S, 411 e Nash


Brinkley Charlotte, 135 Ashe

Farmer Argent, 118 Manchester


Hargrave Wm H, Carolina Office Bldg

Schools and Colleges

Whitted Charlotte A E, Green cor Pender


Burnette Wm E, 420 e Nash

Moore Starton, 526 e Nash

Words Fleming, 407 e Nash

Veterinary Surgeons

Reid Elijah L, 650 Viola

Well Drillers

Joyner Kenton, h 408 n Pine


Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory, 1908-1909.