Coppedge

Who was G.G.W. Coppedge?

Wilson Daily Times, 1 April 1955.

Though his success was singular, G.K. Butterfield Sr. was not the only African-American seeking elected office in Wilson in the mid-1950s. Brickmason General George Washington Coppedge also threw his hat in the ring for a First Ward seat.

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In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Coppedge General (c) bricklyr h 133 E Nash; also Coppedge James G Rev (c) pastor Second Baptist Church h 113 Manchester

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, brickmason George Copage, 25, and wife Mary A., 23, restaurant cook.

James G. Coppedge died 16 July 1913 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1861 in North Carolina to Washington Coppedge and an unknown mother; lived on Manchester Street; was married; and worked as a butler. G.W. Coppedge was informant.

On 26 September 1915, Geo. W. Coppedge, 30, of Wilson, son of J.G. Coppedge and Sarah D. [last name not given], married Mittie Bynum, 27, of Wilson, daughter of Berry Bynum, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister J.S. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of Dudley Bynum, C.L. Coppedge and Allen Brown.

General Washington Coppedge registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 1 February 1885; lived at 200 Vick Street; worked as a bricklayer for John Barnes, Green Street; and his nearest relative was Mittie Coppedge.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 Vick Street, brickmason George Coppedge, 34; wife Mittie, 34; and children George Jr., 4, and Elenora, 2.

Mittie Coppedge died 13 December 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 December 1887 in Wilson to Berry Bynum and Lottie Willoughby; was married to G.W. Coppedge; lived at 200 North Vick; and was a housewife.

On 18 November 1936, George Coppedge Jr., 21, of Nash County, son of George and Mittie Coppedge, married Eloise Allen, 19, of Nash County, daughter of James and Rachel Allen, in Nashville, Nash County, North Carolina.

On 5 June 1937, Ruth E. Hooker, 29, of Wilson, daughter of Frank and Ella Hooker, married General W. Coppedge, 45, of Wilson, son of James and Sallie Coppedge. Presbyterian minister O.E. Sanders performed the ceremony at 708 East Green Street in the presence of Annie L. SandersLenora Carroll and Eleanor J. Hooker.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 South Vick, George Coppedge, 55, bricklayer; wife Ruth, 40, schoolteacher at county school; [his] son George Jr., 23; daughter-in-law Elouise, 20; and grandchildren Julia, 4, Deloris, 2, and Carrol, 1.

In 1940, George W. Coppedge Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 14 November 1915 in Lynchburg, Virginia; lived at 1823 H Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.; his nearest relative was father George W. Coppedge Sr., 200 South Vick, Wilson; and he worked for “Fed. Wk. Ag.”

Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; resided at 200 South Vick Street, Wilson; was married to George Coppedge; was born in Wilson to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson County; and was a school teacher.

On 10 July 1963, the Wilson Daily Times reported that George W. Coppedge was awarded a plaque in recognition of fifty years of service to Wilson as a firefighter. Wilson Fire Chief Tyrus Bissette and George K. Butterfield Sr. “praised Coppedge’s work and participation in religious organizations, politics and fraternal groups.”

George W. Coppedge died 15 May 1973 in Washington, D.C. His obituary noted that he ran for public office twice.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 May 1973.

Mother and daughter.

The family of Ruth Hooker Coppedge and her mother Elna Farmer Hooker paid tribute to them in Calvary Presbyterian Church‘s centennial anniversary booklet.

On 26 December 1900, Frank Hooker, 26, of Wilson County, married Elner T. Farmer, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Gray and Argent Farmer, in Wilson. W.H. Kittrell applied for the license, and Rev. C[larence]. Dillard, Presbyterian, performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick and J.T. Harper of Wilson and Daisy Dillard of Goldsboro.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, Frank Hooker, 57 [sic], wood sawyer; wife Ella, 33; and children Emma R., 8, Grey, 6, Clarence D., 4, and Argent, [age illegible.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 656 Viola Street, Frank Hooker, 47, woodyard sawyer; wife Elinor, 37, sewing woman; and children Ruth, 17, Gray, 14, Henry, 12, Inez, 9, Irmadeen, 7, Sylvester, 4, and Theodore, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Green Street, Ellen Hooker, 47, widowed teacher; children Ruth, 25, Cilvesta, 14, and Theodo, 11; and grandchildren Montez, 8, and Clementine, 6.

On 5 June 1937, Ruth E. Hooker, 29, of Wilson, daughter of Frank and Ella Hooker, married General W. Coppedge, 45, of Wilson, son of James and Sallie Coppedge. Presbyterian minister O.E. Sanders performed the ceremony at 708 East Green Street in the presence of Annie L. Sanders, Lenora Carroll and Eleanor J. Hooker.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 708 Green Street, Eleanor Hooker, 59, widowed teacher; daughter Inez, 27, cook; and roomer Willie Boykin, 35, bricklayer, of Lawrenceville, Virginia.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 South Vick, George Coppedge, 55, bricklayer; wife Ruth, 40, schoolteacher at county school; [his] son George Jr., 23; daughter-in-law Elouise, 20; and grandchildren Julia, 4, Deloris, 2, and Carrol, 1.

Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; resided at 200 South Vick Street, Wilson; was married to George Coppedge; was born in Wilson to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson County; and was a school teacher.

The end of the Red Hots?

In 1938, the city of Wilson professionalized its firefighting operations, converting the white volunteer department to semi-paid status. The Daily Times originally reported that the black volunteer organization, the Red Hots, would be abolished, but here clarified that, while they were being retired from active service, they would continue to send representatives to competitions and state conventions and would be called upon in emergencies.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 July 1938.

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  • Ben Mincey
  • George Coppedge — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason George Coppedge, 34; wife Mittie, 34; and children George Jr., 4, and Elenora, 2.
  • Aaron Best — William Aaron Best died 21 August 1949 at his home at 1009 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 September 1900 in Wilson County to Aaron Best and Nannie Best; was a widower; and had been a laborer at Export Tobacco Company. Audrey Best was informant.
  • Ambrose Floyd — in 1942, Ambrose Floyd registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 4 February 1901 in Lumberton, North Carolina; resided at 1214 East Nash Street; his contact was Clara Smith; and he was employed by Gary Fulghum, 901 Branch Street, United States Post Office.
  • W.J. Howell
  • Henry Sauls — in 1942, Henry Sauls registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1898 in Black Creek; resided at 21 Carolina Street (mailing address 1114 Carolina Street); his contact was Hattie Davis, 19 Carolina Street; and he worked for W.T. Clark Jr., 1415 West Nash Street, Barnes Street tobacco factory.
  • Louis Thomas — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 715 East Green Street, carpenter Louis Thomas, 53; wife Lillie, 33; and children Louis Jr., 16, Charlie H., 14, and Van Jewel, 12.