Mohair barber chairs, pool tables, and a mule named Puss: miscellaneous commercial transactions, no. 1.

Most “deed” books stacked in the search room of the Wilson County Register of Deeds Office contain just deeds, but others, like Volume 72, contain miscellaneous records of sales agreements, leases, contracts, chattel mortgages, and other transactions. These documents offer rare glimpses of the commercial and farming lives of Black Wilsonians.

  • On 7 October 1904, Richard Renfrow agreed to pay Wootten, Stevens & Company $33.75 in thirty installments for “one Barber chair & covered in Mohair plush, color Red, Oak frame, Nickel plated irons” and “one Mirror 18X40 in Gilt Frame (Bevel Mirror).” Deed Book 72, page 8.
  • On 22 March 1905, to secure a $50 debt, Arch Atkinson mortgaged to James H. Williamson “one bay mare mule named Puss, also all the crops made on my home place of every description.” Deed Book 72, page 37.
  • On 24 June 1905, to secure a $209.45 debt, J.W. Rogers mortgaged to The B.A. Stevens Company “one 4-1/2 x 9 No. 4537 Buckeye Pool Table with bed and cushion cloth; 1 set of pool balls; one cue rack; 1 ball rack; 1 dozen cues; 1 brush; 1 bridge; 1 basket; 1 shake bottle; 1 set shake balls; 1 triangle; 1 rail fork bit; one 4-1/2 x 9 No. 4539 Elmwood Pool Table with bed and cushion cloth; 1 set of pool balls; one cue rack; 1 ball rack; 1 dozen cues; 1 brush; 1 bridge; 1 basket; 1 shake bottle; 1 set shake balls; 1 triangle; 1 rail fork bit. Located in his place of business ….” Deed book 72, page 55.

Shake bottles advertised in B.A. Stevens Company’s 1894 catalog.

  • On 5 October 1905, to secure a $50 debt, C.H. Knight mortgaged to The Eugene Berninghaus Company “2 Climax Barber Chairs, oak wood now located on the premises known as C.H. Knight’s Barber Shop in Wilson.” Deed book 72, page 69. [Charles Knight’s barbershop was on East Nash Street just across the railroad tracks from the Atlantic Coast Line passenger station and likely catered  to white travelers and drummers.]

Beringhaus “Climax” chair, circa 1890. Auctioned in 2018 by Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa.

  • On 27 November 1905, Samuel H. Vick agreed to sell R.J. Grantham for $1725 a lot on the south side of Barnes Street known as the former home place of Wiley Corbett, it being the lot Vick bought from J.D. Lee and wife. Deed book 72, page 76. [Wiley Corbett was a grocer, hotelier, whiskey distiller, and barroom. I’m not sure exactly where his house was on Barnes Street, but it was likely one of several two-story dwellings depicted on East Barnes between Spring [Douglas] and Lodge Streets in the 1903 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.]
  • On 24 November 1905, to secure a $99.45 debt, Richard Renfrow mortgaged to Koken Barber’s Supply Company of Saint Louis, Missouri, the following items from Koken’s 1905 catalog, which were to be placed in Renfrow’s “one story metal covered building, known as Wiggins Building on Nash Street”: “two 142 One Lever barber chairs … upholstered in maroon plush,” “four #333 mirroes 24 x 30 bevel” and four “327 mirroes bevel,” all of oak. Deed book 72, page 83.
  • On 14 September 1906, F.S. Hargrave sold to F.O. Williston “all of the Drugs, Medicines, Sundries, and fixtures of the Ideal Pharmacy,” as well as accounts payable and receivable, but not the soda fountain, tanks, and other apparatus in the shop. Deed book 72, page 171.

  • On 1 January 1907, to secure a debt of $150, Raeford Dew mortgaged to Patience Lamm, on whose land in Cross Roads township Dew was engaged in the cultivation of various crops, “one bay mare mule bought of John T. Moore, one iron axle cart, two plows, one turning plow the other cotton plow and all other farming implements,” plus all crops cultivated in 1907. Deed book 72, page 176-177. [Six months later, Dew shot and killed his wife Mittie Dew and her lover, his brother Amos Dew.]

Julius Freeman buys land.

On 21 March 1898, Louisa M. Daniel sold Julius F. Freeman a 125-acre tract called the Arky Gardner land in Gardners township. Freeman paid her $500.

Freeman married Eliza Daniel (or Daniels), daughter of Amos and Olive Daniel, in 1873. Was Louisa her kin?

Deed book 46, pages 421-422, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Foster buys butcher supplies.

In April 1898, Grant T. Foster entered into a contract to purchase on credit $85 worth of equipment from Cincinnati Butchers’ Supply Company. To secure the purchase, he gave the company a mortgage on his business. On 23 June 1898, having been paid in full, Cincinnati Butchers released Foster from the mortgage. Their notice to the Register of Deeds was pasted into the deed volume, so the details of the transaction are obscured, but a reference to a cooler measuring 4 feet by six feet by nine feet is visible.

This note was placed in the deed book as well.

An advertisement touting Foster’s meat market can be found here.

Deed book 46, page 523, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.