Cooper

Newlywed robbed and abandoned.

The mayor of Wilson offered a fifty-dollar reward for the recovery of Carrie Cooper Pettiford’s money.

Wilson Advance, 26 January 1893.

  • J.E. Pettiford — John E. Pettiford, a Wilson resident and Granville County native, son of John and Louisa Pettiford, married Carrie Cooper of Wilson on 20 December 1892.
  • Carrie Cooper Pettiford —

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Carrie Cooper, 20, school teacher, living alone.

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The marriage license of John E. Pettiford and Carrie Cooper.

In 1893, Hampton Normal School Press published Twenty-Two Years’ Work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Hampton, Virginia (Records of Negro and Indian Graduates and Ex-Students with historical and personal sketches and testimony on important race questions from within and without, to which are added, by courtesy Messrs Putnam’s Sons, N.Y., some of the Songs of the Races gathered in the School), which featured an interview of Carrie Cooper.

Carrie Cooper is listed as a teacher in the 1896 edition of Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Owens Smith, 49, minister; wife Adora, 30; son Jesse, 19; daughter Flossie, 4; widowed mother Maria Hicks, 78, a midwife; and boarder Carry Pettiford, a widowed teacher.

In 1901, Carrie Pettiford was arrested with Millie Sutton for threatening the life of Adora Smith, wife of Rev. Owen L.W. Smith.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, Carrie Pettiford, 46, widow, cook, living alone.

 

405 and 415 Maury Street.

Maury Street is outside the East Wilson Historic District. It is one of a cluster of narrow streets squeezed between the railroad and what was once an industrial area crowded with a stemmery, cotton oil and fertilizer mills.

405 Maury Street.

This house does not appear in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson and was likely built in the late 1920s to house tobacco factory and mill laborers.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Murray [Maury], renting for $12/month, tobacco factory laborers Hasty Cooper, 36, widow, and Lena Simmons, 25.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Maury, renting for $10/month, Percy Lucas, 30, laborer on WPA project, and wife Eva, 23, tobacco factory laborer.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 405 Maury was vacant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Franklin, John (c) lab h 405 Maury

415 Maury Street. 

This house does not appear in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson and was likely built in the late 1920s to house tobacco factory and mill laborers.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 Murray [Maury], renting for $16/month, cook Annie Cambell, 34; her children Paul, 18, fish market salesman, and Christine, 16, tobacco factory laborer; and grandson Paul, 0. All the adults were born in South Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 Maury, renting for $12/month, laundress Lena Barnes, 49, and children Harvey, 28, well digger; Paulean, 17, housekeeper; and “new workers” Evylene, 14, and James, 19.

In 1940, Harvey Barnes registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 April 1913 in Wilson County; resided at 1505 West Nash, Wilson; his contact was mother Lena Barnes, 415 Maurry; and he worked for Mr. B.T. Smith, 1505 West Nash.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Barnes Lena (c) maid h 415 Maury

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wiggins Blanche (c) tob wkr h 415 Maury and Wood Rosa Mrs (c) 415 Maury

Photographs taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018. (Note that 405 Maury, condition notwithstanding, is advertised for sale or rent.)

Surprise verdicts?

Just after Christmas 1948, an all-white jury acquitted Woodrow Taylor, a white service station operator, in the murder of Hugh Bynum, a black man.

In a nutshell: Bynum and Taylor had a “conversation” about a pack of cigarettes. Bynum stepped out of the store. Taylor followed and asked, “You don’t think I’ll kill you?” Bynum said no. Taylor went back in and returned with a shotgun. Again: “You don’t think I’ll kill you?” And shot Bynum in the chest. Or, “the gun went off” — Taylor said it fired accidentally when he tried to set it down on a “cold drink crate.” And he denied aggressively questioning Bynum. The jury believed him.

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Wilson Daily Times, 29 December 1948.

Bynum was not the only black man whose manner of death went before a jury that day. On 7 October 1947, William Cooper was thrown into the street at Nash and Pender Streets when M.O. Tripp, driving drunk, struck his wagon. Cooper died two weeks of later of injuries sustained, and Tripp was charged with manslaughter. The Daily Times reported the verdict in this case the next day. Surprise.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1948.

——

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Lynn Bynum, 70; wife Lena, 50; and children Patience, 18, Lynn, 8, Harvey, 6, Hubert, 5, and Bunny, 3.

In 1940, Hubert Bynum registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in 1915 in Edgecombe County; resided at Route 1, Stantonsburg, Wilson County; and his contact and employer was his first cousin Jack Bynum. He was described as “feeble-minded” with a “displaced eye.”

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——

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: William F. Cooper, 43, delivery man for ice and coal company; wife Lillie, 30, cook; and step-daughter Anna Bobbitt, 16.

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The obituary of Maggie Lena F. Cooper, 99.

Maggie Lena Farmer Cooper, 99, of Wilson Pines Nursing Care Facility and formerly of 704 Maury Street, Wilson, NC died August 31, 2014. The funeral will be held Saturday at 1:00pm at St. Rose Church of Christ, 605 S. Douglas Street, Wilson, NC with Elder Ernest Melton officiating. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery. Public viewing will be Friday from 2-7 pm at the funeral home. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 12 noon to 1pm at the church and will assemble on Saturday at the residence of her son Thomas E. Williams, 501 W. Daniel Street Wilson, NC at 11:00am. Professional and personal services are entrusted to EDWARDS FUNERAL HOME, 805 E. Nash Street, Wilson NC. Condolences may be directed to edwardscares.com.

Obituary online.

Funeral Service for Amanda Alberta Cooper 1899-1985.

In the 1900 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: farmer Jhon W. Aldredge, 48; wife Vissey, 33; and children Zebedde, 20; Lula, 17; Franses, 16; Jhon, 13; Thomas, 12; Mandy, 9; Bula, 7; Corana, 3; Alberta, 1; and Mary, 1 month. [“Alberta Aldridge” was in fact Amanda Alberta Artis. Alberta’s mother, Amanda Aldridge Artis, who died shortly after Alberta’s birth, was both sister to John W. Aldridge and step-mother to Vicey Artis Aldridge, having married her father Adam T. Artis. John and Vicey Aldridge reared Alberta with their children.]

In the 1910 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: farmer John Aldridge Sr., 55; wife Vicy, 46; and children Lula, 25, seamstress; John Jr. 22, retail merchant; Thomas, 20, partner in retail store; Mandy, 18; Caronine, 12; Lizzie, 10; Nora, 8; and granddaughter [sic] Elberta, 11.

James Cooper married Alberta Artis on 18 July 1918 in Kings County, New York.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Brick House and Moore School Road, James Cooper, 33, farmer; wife Alberta, 20; and son Albert Horton, 1.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: James Cooper, 39, farmer; wife Alberta, 26; and children Elija, 21, Albert, 10, Mollie A., 8, Willard M., 5, Lauzin, 3, Annie M., 7 months; sister Oretter Bailey, 45; and niece Irene Artis, 18.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Cooper, 54, farmer; wife Alberta, 40; and children Marilyn, 18, Willard, 15, Laurzene, 13, Annie, 11, George, 9, Alberta, 5, Chester, 3, and Lillie, 1.

James William Cooper died 12 February 1967 at his home at 110 Fourth Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 July 1887 in Wayne County to George Cooper and Estelle Smith; worked as a foreman for Jas.I. Miller Co.; and was a World War I veteran. Wife Alberta A. Cooper was informant.

Program courtesy of Patricia S. Muhammad.

Artist, lawyer, preacher.

On 15 September 1939, Cora L. Bennett, a writer employed by the Works Project Administration interviewed William Arthur Cooper for the Folklore Project. The transcript of the interview is housed at the Library of Congress. Here is an excerpt:

William A. Cooper, artist and preacher gives the story of his life as follows:

“My work has been my life. Whatever degree of success I have had has come about, I believe, as a result of my dogged determination to do something tangible for my race.

“I was born in the country near Hillsboro, N.C. As a small boy I worked on the farm. I worked in the tobacco fields, worming and stemming tobacco as well as in the cotton fields. For about four months in the winter I attended a Mission school in Hillsboro for negros. In summer time I worked as a janitor and some times as a cook or house boy.

“When I was about fourteen I began to support myself, and soon there after went to the Industrial Institute at High Point, N.C. as a work student. I worked on the school farm,
got up at five o’clock in the morning to milk the cows, plow and hoe cotton and corn, and anything else that needed to be done. While I was at this school I also took up brick laying along with my other studies.

“From High Point I went to the National Religious Training School at Durham, N.C. There I took the four year Theological Course. Still working my way through school, I received the Bachelor of Theology Degree from that institution.

“As soon as I had finished I went to Wilson, N.C. where I started out as an insurance man, and at the same time preaching at a small church on Sunday.

“I went from there to Burlington, N.C. where I was elected Principal of a high school. I also served as Principal of the high school at Graham, N.C. and taught at various other places. All this time I was studying law at night and passed the State Bar examination in 1922.

“I became interested in art for the first time a few years before this. I was in bed with a severe cold and while lying idle I thought I would try to do two pictures illustrating the Biblical quotation: ‘Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, but straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be who
find it.’ The members of my church were quite pleased with the pictures. Their pleasure encouraged me a great deal, and from that time on I began to paint other things. It was then I started painting the members of my race, anybody I could get 3 to sit— field hands, teachers, children, cooks or washerwomen. I had taken no formal lessons at the time but I kept right on trying to see what I might do.

“I have attempted to show the real negro through art. I believe that unless we have some record of the negro that is neither burlesqued with black face nor idealized with senmentality, the younger generation of negroes will be deprived of inspiration from their own race. …”

——

William Arthur Cooper (1895-1974), preacher, lawyer, and artist, painted the portraits of Negro field hands, domestic servants, children, religious and civic leaders and business executives. As a member of the North Carolina Interracial Commission, Cooper made a “good will” tour to colleges and universities in North Carolina where he exhibited his portraits and lectures on art and black culture.

Cooper’s papers, housed at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, include: “Biographical materials; correspondence, concerning portrait commisions, lectures on art, and exhibitions of his work; two account books containing expenditures; receipts; a journal, 1935, containing expenditures and notes concerning his “good will” tour; a report on the tour; Cooper’s publication Educating Through Fine Arts; his book A Portrayal of Negro Life, 1936, which contains reproductions of his portraits acompanied by his explanatory text, and documents related to the book including proposed plans, sales records, and a typescript of the book which contains portraits not included in the published version; price lists for Cooper’s paintings; exhibition catalogs, clippings, miscellany, and a book by Charles C. Dawson, ABCs of Great Negroes; and 36 photographs of Cooper, of his friends and church members, and his portrait paintings.”

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The Bathing Girl (1932).

Tornado kills schoolteacher.

Ninety-five years ago today, a powerful tornado struck southeastern Wilson County, killing an African-American teacher walking to her school and injuring others.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1922.

  • Arzula Falke —Arzulia Mitchell Faulk. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 210 Pender Street, barber Hiram Faulk, 44, dressmaker Arzulia, 40, and daughter Marie, 14. Arzulia Faulk was killed 7 March 1922. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 April 1879 in Perquimans County, North Carolina, to John Mitchell of Pasquotank County and Rossie Kirk of Gates County; was a teacher; and was married to Hiram Faulk. She was buried in Hertford County.

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Wilson Daily Times, 17 March 1922.

  • Daisy H. Cooper
  • Sallie Swinson

Evansdale community today, which lies between NC-58 and Old Stantonsburg Road just past the halfway point between Wilson and Stantonsburg. Evansdale United Methodist Church stands left of the yellow circle at the intersection of Evansdale Road and Graves Road. The Norfolk & Southern Railroad is marked by the diagonal line. The long abandoned brick shell of a country store stands on the north side of Evansdale Road, nearly opposite Graves. I imagine that Faulk and the other teachers got off the train from Wilson here. I do not know the location of the school at which they taught, but there was a Rosenwald school called Evansdale School.

Cemeteries, no. 8: Rocky Branch church.

Established in 1870, Rocky Branch United Church of Christ is one of the oldest African-American congregations in Wilson County. The older section of its cemetery sits literally in its front yard. The newer section is on a plain just above the church, reached by crossing a footbridge over a tannin-stained branch. A small placard mounted at the bridge reveals that it was built by church members and dedicated to Seth Thomas Shaw Jr. (1895-1981) and Eugene Spells (1924-1988).

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In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Celia Thompson, 40, and children Courtney, 17, Chany, 14, and Columbus, 7.

On 16 December 1880, Aaron Barnes, 23, and Chany Thompson, 23, both residents of Wilson County, were married at the residence of Ruffin Rose. Witnesses were Simon Barnes, Willis Hooks, and Grey Newsome.

In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Aaron Barnes, 42, wife Chanie, 37, and sister-in-law[?] Tempie Peacock, 15.

In the 1910 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Aaron Barnes, 54, wife Chainie, 45, and mother-in-law Celia Thompson, 86.

In the 1920 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Aaron Barnes, 63, and wife Chanie, 62.

In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Aron Barnes, 72, and wife Chanie, 72.

Arron Barnes died 6 October 1930 in Lucama. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1852 in  Wilson County to Arron Barnes Sr. and Elvie Barnes of Wilson County, was married to Kannie Barnes, and worked as a farmer. He was buried in Pollie Watson graveyard. Chanie Barnes died 26 March 1936 in Lucama. Per her death certificate, she was born 1856 in Nash County to George Thompson and Celia Thompson of Nash County, was the widow of Aaron Barnes, and had resided on Main Street, Lucama.

  • George Cooper and Estella Smith Cooper

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On 24 February 1877, George Cooper, 21, married Estella Smith, 19, in Wayne County.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: George Cooper, 23, wife Estella, 21, sister Mary, 17, brother Mose, 13, and children Philipp, 4, Ritta, 3, and Marchal, 2.

In the 1900 census of Fremont township, Wayne County: George Cooper, 46, wife Stellar, 40, and children Aretter, 22, George B., 16, Juley, 14, James, 12, Mary, 10, Maggie, 7, Bessie, 4, and Royal, 3. Next door, Philipp Cooper, 23, wife Florence, 26, and Earl, 3 months.

In the 1920 census of Springhill district, Wilson County: Tack House and Moores School Road, George Cooper, 65, Stella, 55, and children [or grandchildren] Maggie, 25, Stella, 13, and Irene, 9.

Estella Cooper died 17 July 1931 in Springhill township. Per her death certificate, she was 74 years old and born in Wayne County to Jacob Smith and Littie Whitley, both of Wayne County. She was married to George Cooper Sr. and worked in farming. James Cooper was the informant.

George Cooper died 25 October 1940 at his home at 910 Mercer Street in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 90 years old and born in Duplin County to Warch and Warshell Cooper. He was buried at Rocky Branch. Informant was James W. Cooper, Wilson.

James William Cooper died 12 February 1967 at his home at 110 Fourth Street in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 July 1887 in Wayne County to George Cooper and Estelle Smith; worked as a fireman for James I. Miller Company; was a World War I veteran; and was married to Alberta A. Cooper.

  • Thomas Rice and Julia Watson Rice

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In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Alfred Rice, 40, wife Amy, 30, and son Thomas, 13, and Gray Bailey, 24, all farm laborers.

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Rice, about 52, wife Amy, about 35, and son Thomas, 22, a laborer, plus Thomas Pettiford, 2.

Thomas Rice and Julia Watson were married on 24 November 1881 in Johnston County.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Rice, 43, wife Julia, 43, children Siddie, 19, Annanias, 16, Savanah, 14, John, 12, and mother Amy, 60.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: hired man Thomas Rice, 53, in the household of white farmer Charles O. Hinnant. He reported having been married 27 years, but his wife is not listed with him.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Springfield and Red Hill Road, Tom Rice, 56, and wife Julia, 50.

Julia Rice died 25 July 1925 near Kenly in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 July 1859 in Johnston County, was married to Tom Rice, and was buried in Rocky Branch graveyard. Tom Rice died 3 February 1927.

  • Louvenia Williamson Devine Bizzle

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In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Elic Williamson, 44, wife Gracy, 29, and children John, 14, Lugen, 11, Joseph, 9, Jennie, 7, Mary, 6, Clem, 4, Sarah J., 2, and Poll, 1, all of whom had whooping cough.

On 22 November 1893, Alex Devine, 49, of Springhill township, married Louvenia Williamson, 24, of Springhill township.

Gracy Williamson died 14 September 1916 in Springhill township of pulmonary tuberculosis. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 May 1903 to Louvenia Williamson and Alex Vines.

On 23 October 1923, Washington Bizzle, 40, of Wrightsville, Georgia, married Louvenia Williamson, 42, of Crossroads township, at the courthouse in Wilson.

Louvenia Williamson Bizzle applied for a social security number in January 1938. Her application listed her birthdate as 5 May 1869 and her parents as Alec Williamson and Gracie Shaw.

  • Katie Freeman

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On the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Lewis Freeman, about 55, wife Katy, about 25, and Violet Eatman, about 70.

On 16 December 1891, William R. Robinson, 20, of Old Fields, son of Katie Freeman, married Sallie W. Earp, 19, of Old Fields, daughter of Sidney and Nancy Earp at Sidney Earp’s residence.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson and Raleigh Road, widow Rachael Robinson, 71, and her daughter Katie Freeman, 52.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Raleigh Road, widow Rachael Robertson, 80, and her daughter Katie Freeman, 61, also a widow.

Katie Freeman died 29 November 1931 in Springhill township. Per her death certificate, she  was a 78 year-old widow born in Wilson County to Virgen Deans and Rachel Robinson. Informant was Wm. Ruffin Robinson, Rock Ridge, North Carolina.

  • Sylvia Boykin

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On 12 February 1893, Harriett Boykin, 20, daughter of Henry and Sylva Boykin, married Samuel Taylor, 26, son of Peter and Zilla Taylor, at Henry Boykin’s residence.

On 17 December 1897, James Boykin, 21, son of Henry and Silvy Boykin, married Mary Jane Kent, daughter of Ned and Liddie Kent.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Foster Boykin, 22, wife Ella, 18, and children James R., 2, and Alma, 1; sister-in-law Lily Whitley, 22; mother Silva Boykin, 81; and niece Eula M. Whitley, 3.

Sylvia Boykin died 12 January 1939 at her home at 507 Warren Street in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 90 years old, born in Wilson County, and her father [sic, probably meant to indicate husband] was Henry Boykin. She was a widow who had worked as a tenant farmer.

  • Spencer “Fox” Shaw and Tabitha Shaw

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In the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Thomas Shaw, 36, wife Katy, 37, and children Frances, 16, Eliza, 14, Fox, 12, David, 11, Martha, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Fox Shaw, 21, wife Bithal, 18, and daughter Mary, 2 months.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Spencer Shaw, 40, wife Tabitha, 41, and children George A., 17, James R., 11, Hattie, 9, Joeseph G., 6, Seth T., 5, and Albert S., 2.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson and Raleigh Branch Road, Spencer Shaw, 51, wife Bitha, 49, and children James R., 21, Joseph T., 16, Seth T.,14, Albert S., 11, Merlin S., 9, Willie H., 7, and Alice M., 5.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Shaw Avenue on Springhill Road, farmer Spencer S. Shaw, 60, wife Bitha, 60, and children Albert, 22, Marlie, 19, Willie, 16, and Alice, 14. Next door: Grocil Shaw, 26, wife Nettie, 16, and children Rosa, 2, and Grover C., 1

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn [illegible] Road, Spencer S. Shaw, 70, wife Bytha J., 70, sons William H., 24, and Seth T., 34, daughter-in-law Georgeanna, 24, and grandchildren Alice M., 4, Seth T., 2, and Franklin S., 6 months.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Seth T. Shaw, 44, wife Georgiana, 34, mother Bitha, 79, and children Alice M., 14, Seth T., 12, Franklin G., 10, George C., 7, Daisy May, 5, and James C., 3.

Bitha Shaw died 25 August 1957 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 30 June 1877 [actually, circa 1860] in Wake County, North Carolina. She was buried at Rocky Branch. Informant was Hattie Boykins.

I groan and endure it.

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Carrie Cooper, 20, school teacher, was living alone in Wilson township, south of the Plank Road, when the 1880 census taker arrived.

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Mahala Williamson was born in Old Fields township, Wilson County, to Patrick and Spicey Williamson. On 11 June 1892, she married Henry S. Reid, of Nahunta, Wayne County, son of Washington and Penninah Reid, in Wilson in the presence of Samuel H. Vick, Elijah L. Reid, and M.H. Cotton. (Henry was a brother of veterinarian Elijah Reid and principal/banker/hospital officer J.D. Reid. His first wife, Emma E. Hicks, daughter of Mariah Hicks, was a sister of Owen L.W. Smith.) Mariah apparently died soon after the wedding, as Henry again married in 1896.

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Lucy Leary Robinson‘s father — who “fell in the John Brown raid” — was Lewis Sheridan Leary (1835-1859).

From Twenty-Two Years’ Work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Hampton, Virginia (Records of Negro and Indian Graduates and Ex-Students with historical and personal sketches and testimony on important race questions from within and without, to which are added, by courtesy Messrs Putnam’s Sons, N.Y., some of the Songs of the Races gathered in the School (Hampton Normal School Press, 1893).