Good Fishing Ground, Contentnea Creek, Wilson, N.C.
This undated postcard depicts several men (and perhaps one woman) on the banks of Contentnea Creek in Wilson County. One, at far left, appears to kneel in a pirogue. A closer look reveals that several, including the woman, are African-American.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John Ellis, 48, day laborer; wife Marry, 50, washing; and children Antney, 21, and Alex, 18, draymen, James, 16, Marry, 14, and Delphia, 8.
James Ellis, 45, daughter of John and Mary Ellis, married Viola Keath, 35, daughter of James and Edmonia Perrington, on 6 January 1934 in Wilson.
James Ellis died 16 April 1938. Per his death certificate, he was born 22 March 1884 in Wilson to John Ellis and Mary Daniel; lived at 621 Suggs; was married to Viola Ellis; and worked as a laborer. His cause of death: “suicide by drowning in creek/body found 4-26-38.”
Rev. Jonah Williams (1845-1915) was a Primitive Baptist elder who led several African-American congregations in Wayne, Wilson and Edgecombe Counties, including London Church and Barnes Chapel in Wilson and Little Union near Town Creek, east of Elm City. Born free near Eureka in Wayne County to Vicey Artis, a free woman, and Solomon Williams, her enslaved husband, Rev. Williams spent his final years living in Wilson.