convict labor

Simms shot in escape attempt.

Wilson Times, 10 March 1911.

But on the next page of the newspaper ….

Wilson Times, 10 March 1911.

And what was the crime that had sent Simms to the county stockade?

Wilson Times, 13 September 1910.

Simms not only lived, he lived to re-offend.

Wilson Times, 20 October 1911.

Working on the railroad, drowned on the river.

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Wilson Advance, 16 February 1883.

When construction resumed after the Civil War, the state of North Carolina leased thousands of African-American convicts — many sentenced for trivial crimes — to the¬†Western North Carolina Rail Road Company to perform¬†the dirty, dangerous work of grading, laying rail and excavating tunnels. Hundreds died, including Jerry Smith.

The W.N.C.R.R. crosses the Tuckaseegee River, which flows entirely in North Carolina, several times between Bushnell and Almond, North Carolina.

The Wilson Collegiate Institute, a private school for boys, opened in 1872 and operated for about 20 years.