cotton gin

Wilson County Gin Company.

A cotton gin in operation is a deafeningly noisy, dusty, and dangerous spectacle. And yet, for two decades, Wilson County Gin Company’s gin roared into action every fall within feet of two Baptist churches, Darden and Sons funeral home, a row of stores, and duplex housing near the corner of East Barnes and Stantonsburg (now Pender) Streets. 

Detail from 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map.

The gin was built in 1919 and competed with another across Barnes Street in the enormous Farmers Cotton Oil Mill complex. (That gin was older and, in successive buildings, operated into the 1960s.) Wilson County Gin operated into the 1930s;  Faulkner Neon took over the site in 1945. At the right angle, a “ghost sign” can be seen above Faulkner Neon’s lettering: WILSON COUNTY GIN.

Nomination form, Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse Historic District; Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2023.

Charged with stealing cotton.

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Wilson Advance, 19 January 1888.


  • Jordan Taylor — possibly, the Jordan Taylor Sr. here or father of J.G. Taylor here or here.
  • Henry Williams — possibly, in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: day laborer Henry Williams, 28; wife Alis, 28; and children Edwin, 8, and Mattie, 6.
  • Charlie Gay — perhaps, in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Emma Gay, 35; children Charlie, 15, a steam-mill worker, Mary, 11, Etheldred, 8, and Willie, 6; plus a boarder Fannie Thompson, 19, cook.
  • Daniel Barron

Sudden death.

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Wilson Advance, 21 April 1882.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: blacksmith Isaac Thorne, 58; Edith Thorne, 55; and David Thorne, 11.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Henry Forbes, 48, domestic servant; wife Louisa, 43; and children Charles, 15, farm laborer, and Georgiana, 9; plus John Forbes, 21, selling tobacco, and Patsey Forbes, 70.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: blacksmith Isaac Thorn, 72; wife Luzana, 70; and roomers Tony Barnes, 52, laborer, and Hannah Barnes, 80, pauper.