City of Wilson

Rev. Clarence Dillard.

Though he is best known for his religious and educational work in Wayne County — Goldsboro’s African-American high school was named in his honor — Rev. Clarence Dillard pastored black Presbyterian congregations in Elm City and Wilson in Wilson County.

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A.B. Caldwell, ed., History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (1921).

Marriage to maids is like war to men.

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Wilson Blade, 20 November 1897.

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  • Alice Darden — Alice Darden, born 1879, was the daughter of George and Ava Darden. In the 1880 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: laborer George Darden, 22, wife Ava, 18, daughter Alice, 1, and niece Rose, 10. The couple had married 14 February 1878 in Greene County, and their marriage license lists George’s mother as  Mariah Darden and Avey Thompson’s father as Bryant Thompson.
  • Allen Morgan
  • L.A. Moore — Lee A. Moore.
  • Rev. N.D. King — Nicholas D. King, born about 1873, was a native of Princess Ann County, Maryland. He was apparently newly arrived in Wilson, as an 11 December 1897 report in the Raleigh Gazette named him as head of a Lumberton, North Carolina, church. The following spring, he married Mamie Gay. In keeping with the dictates of Methodist itineracy, the family moved often, and census records and city directories over the next  few years place them in Edenton, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rev. King died in 1943 in Buffalo, New York.

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Buffalo Courier-Express, 1 October 1943.

  • S.A. Smith — Simeon A. Smith.
  • Mamie L. Gay — Mamie Lee Gay, born 1880, was the daughter of Samuel and Alice Bryant Gay, and appears with her family in the 1880 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County. On 16 March 1898, she married Rev. N.D. King at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion. Rev. O.L.W. Smith performed the ceremony, and S.A. Smith, H.H. Bryant and W.J. Moore were official witnesses. Mamie King died 28 July 1927 in Chattanooga and was buried in Wilson.
  • Annie L. Darden — Annie Lee Darden, born 1878, was the daughter of Charles H. and Dinah Scarborough Darden. She married John M. Barnes, son of Charles and Rebecca Barnes, on 22 December 1903. [Was Annie the bride’s cousin? Because the identity of Charles Darden’s parents is now unknown, their relationship remains speculative.]

Snaps, no. 2: Nina F. Hardy.

Nina Aldridge Hardy

Nina Hardy, circa early 1960s.

Nina Frances Faison Kornegay Hardy was born March 15, 1882, probably in northern Duplin County to John Henry Aldridge and Addie Faison, who did not marry until 1885. She seems to have been married briefly to Joe Kornegay in 1899 in Wayne County, but is not in the 1900 census. By 1910, she had made her way 40 or so miles north to Wilson and was listed as “Nina Facin,” boarding  on Elba Street in the household of Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs. The census also shows a “Nina Facon” living and working as a servant in the household of Jefferson D. Farrior in Wilson. Though described as white, this is almost surely Nina Faison, who cooked and cleaned for the Farriors most of her working life.

In an interview I conducted, my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001) said:

Aint Nina lived up over the Farrior house on Herring Avenue.  Herring’s Crossroads, whatever you call it.  And that’s where she come up there to live.  Well, the maid, as far as the help, or whoever, they stayed on the lot, where they’d have somewhere to sleep. So Aint Nina was living on Nash Road, way down there, and when we went to see her, me and Mamie would run down there five miles. She was working for Old Man Farrior then.  When she was living out in the country, she was working for white people, and so she went up to their house and cooked for them.  And when we’d go down to her house, she’d have to come from up there and cook when she get home.  So we would go and spend a day, but it would be more than likely be on her day off.  But when we had the horse and buggy, Mama drove out there once, and we went, I went with Papa with the wagon to where you grind corn to make meal, down to Silver Lake or whatever that place was down there.  Lord, them were the good old days.  

The Farriors, their back porch was closed in.  It had windows.  And had a marble floor in the back, and that stairway was on, where it was closed in on the back porch, you could go upstairs, and there was a room up there.  You couldn’t go from out of that room into the other part of the house.  You had to come back down them steps then go in the house.  And that’s where Aint Nina stayed.  I said, Lord, I wouldn’t want to have stayed up there.  And then something happen … She had to come down and go down the steps, go upstairs, I mean, and come out of the kitchen, and then go up them steps out on this porch in her room.  So she stayed up there.  Lord, I wouldn’t want to stay up there.  She get sick out there, she couldn’t get nobody.  I didn’t see no – I was up in there one time, and I went up there just to look around.  Well, she had a nice room, nice bed and chair and dresser and everything.  There was a whole set in the room where she was.  That was the only time I was up there. But I wouldn’t want to stay up there.

In 1917, Nina married Julius Hardy in Wilson township.

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It is likely their house that my grandmother and great-aunt visited out on Nash Road:

They had guinea chickens.  A car run over a chicken and killed it, and it kept going.  And we, me and Mamie, was going out there, and we picked up the chicken and carried it ‘round there.  And Aint Nina poured water and scald the chicken and picked it and cooked it, and we had the best time eating it.   Wont thinking ‘bout we was going out there to eat.  And so we come walking in there with that chicken, and she wanted to know, “Well, where’d you get that?”  “A car run over it, and we picked it up and brought it on over so you could cook it.”  And she said, “Yeah, it’s good.  A car just killed it?”  And it wasn’t too far from the house.  And I reckon it was one of her chickens anyhow.  Honey, she cooked that old stewed chicken, had to put pastry and vegetables in it.  Lord, we stayed out all that time, then had to come home from way out there.  But we was full. 

And her brother, his name was James Faison, lived across the street from her, and his wife, and I think the lady had been married before because they wasn’t his children.  It was two girls.  And he worked at the express, at the station.  The place was on that side, Nash Street station was over on this side.  Baggage used to come over there.  The baggage place where’d you take off the train.  That’s where you put it over on that side at that time.  And he was working over there.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, Nina Hardy is listed as a maid in the household of lawyer William D.P. Sharpe Jr., next door to Annie V. Farrior and her brother Marvin Applewhite. Did the families share her services?

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In 2004, a Farrior descendant sent me copies of several photos of Nina Hardy. They were likely taken in the early 1950s, a few years before Annie V. Farrior’s death. The Farriors’ grand home, with its immense columned portico, was demolished in the 1960s.

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Undated photograph of the J.D. Farrior house found at Images of North Carolina, http://www.ncdigital.org. Color photo in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson. Many thanks to J.M. Brock for sharing his family photos.

Charles Battle.

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Wilson Daily Times, 16 September 1910.

Charles Battle, son of Benja Sorsby and Edith Battle, married Lear Hargrove, daughter of Alfred Parker and Venice Hargrove, on 20 June 1869 in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census, Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 27, wife Leah, 29, and daughter Susan, 9 months.

In the 1880 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 35, wife Leah, 30, and children Adelia, 5, Geneva, 2, Virgil, 1 month, and Nicholas, 18.

In 1900 census, Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charley Battle, 50, a widower; son Charley, 10; and Menerver Edwards, 58, a hired washwoman.

In the 1910 census, Stantonsburg, Wilson County: blacksmith Charlie Battle, 60, and son Charlie Jr., 21, also a blacksmith, were lodgers in the household of widowed farmer Sarah Artis, 48, and her children Willie, 22, Lillie G., 16, and Nora, 10, grandsons Marcellous, 14, and Alexander Artis, 10, and son-in-law Paul Harris, 22.

As detailed here, Charles Battle’s son Charles Tecumseh Battle became a prominent teacher of manual trades in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama. However, his presence in Stantonsburg in the 1910 census and his biography suggest that his father was visiting a different son in Alabama when he passed away. Was it the Nicholas R. Battle, 56, farmer, born in North Carolina, listed in the 1920 census of Chandler township, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, with Mississippi-born wife Dora J., 58, and Oklahoma-born son Henry N. Battle, 12?

Charles Battle was buried in the Masonic cemetery on Lane Street, Wilson, beside his wife Leah and mother Edith.

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Charles Battle, 30 August 1841-12 September 1910.

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Leah Battle, 1 March 1851-8 March 1898.

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Grandmother Edith Battle, 4 April 1818-3 March 1899.

Be convinced by the first colored merchant uptown.

GSS_4_15_1898 Wilson AfAm Merchant

The Great Sunny South (Snow Hill NC), 15 April 1898.

[I am greatly intrigued by the ground-breaking Mrs. A.V.C. Hunt, but have found little beyond some titillating, but enigmatic, coverage of an arson event involving her and/or her husband, the unnamed Mr. Hunt.

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Wilmington Messenger, 29 March 1899.

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Wilson Daily Times, 31 March 1899.

Justice apparently was available in Wilson criminal court as Hunt was acquitted of arson (though found guilty and fined for the assault on Rowe.

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Wilson Times, 30 June 1899.

A.V.C. Hunt died in 1903, and Henry C. Rountree was appointed administrator to her estate. There was not much to settle, and the value of her few possessions did not cover the expenses Rountree laid out for her board, care during illness, and burial. [Rountree himself died in 1916, and his death certificate notes that he was a “dealer in groceries.” He was born in 1848 in Wilson County to Jessie Artis and Becker Artis.]

AVC Hunt

Image from file of A.V.C. Hunt, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998, ancestry.com.

Victims of a slick game.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1922.

One of the Batts brothers was Amos Batts, who appears in the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, as the 48 year-old owner of an undertaking shop. Columbus “C.E.” Artis is not listed in that census, but he is the Artis above and operated a funeral business on East Nash Street until the 1950s.