cotton

He supposes it’s a boll weevil.

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1919.

By 1922, there was no longer any question that boll weevils could thrive in North Carolina. The rapacious insect was not eradicated in the state until 1987.

  • Jim Summerlin — in the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Jim Summerlin, 59, farmer, born in Alabama; wife Rosa, 57, born in Alabama; and son Lucius, 14, born in North Carolina; plus, lodger Olvin Horne, 17, farm laborer.

Andrew Cotton, seaman.

Andrew Cotton applied for a Seaman’s Protection Certificate in May 1936. American seamen carried the document as proof of citizenship in foreign ports. Per his application, Cotton was born 19 June 1904 in Sharpsburg, North Carolina; resided at 207 West 137th Street, New York City; and had last worked on the S.S. Evangeline as a waiter. He was 5’8″ with dark brown skin, brown eyes and black hair and had no identifying marks.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Levy Edwards Road, Isaac Cotton, 44; wife Flonnie, 34; and children Coloneous, 18, Lucy, 16, Sidney, 13, Mary, 11, Isaac E., 8, Andrew, 6, Levy, 4, and Clarence, 1.

Passenger lists from 1938 to 1954 show Cotton shipping out of ports on both sides of the Atlantic, including New York, New York; Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; Saint Georges and Hamilton, Bermuda; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Hamburg, Germany; Gourock, Scotland; Southampton, England; Cobh, Ireland; and Genoa, Italy.

U.S. Applications for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; original document at Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940, Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1774-1982, Record Group 41, National Archives, Washington, D.C; New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Littleton Ellis Jr.’s crop lien.

As adapted from Wikipedia and NCPedia: the crop-lien system was a credit system widely used by cotton and tobacco farmers in the South from the 1860s to the 1930s. Sharecroppers and tenant farmers, who did not own the land they worked, and even cash-strapped landowners, obtained supplies and food on credit from local merchants. The merchants held a lien on the farmer’s crop, and the merchants and landowners were the first ones paid from its sale. What was left over went to the farmer. Merchants routinely, and lawfully, marked up prices, and country stores rapidly proliferated across North Carolina and the South. Abuses in the crop lien system reduced many tenant farmers to a state of debt peonage, as their debts to landlords and merchants carried over from one year to the next.

On 1 January 1910, Littleton Ellis Jr. gave F.S. Davis a $140 lien on his crop in order to purchase fertilizer from Farmers Guano Company. Ellis promised to raise cotton and corn on the land on which he lived (and likely owned as his share of his father’s property) and also pledged a black mule, Rhodie, and a yellow mule, Katie, as security.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 73; wife Judy, 55; and children Lucy, 21, Littleton, 18, Sarah, 16, Maggie, 14, Nettie, 12, and Minnie, 10.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Wiggins Mill Road, farmer Littleton Ellis, 27; his mother Judie, 62; and sisters Lucy, 30, Sarah, 24, Maggie, 23, and Lettie, 21.

Littleton Ellis registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his draft registration card, he was born 30 August 1882; lived at Box 75, R.F.D. #2, Wilson; was a farmer “on his own land next to R.P. Watsons”; and his nearest relative was mother Juddy Ellis.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Judie Ellis, 80, widow; children Lucy, 32, Litt, 30, and Maggie, 25; and granddaughter Manerva Barnes, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis Jr., 47; widowed mother Juddie, 82; and divorced sister Lucy Cooker, 49.

Littleton Ellis died 24 March 1934 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 August 1882 in Wilson to Littleton Ellis and Judia Barnes; Bryant Ellis was informant.

Deed book 72, page 562, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Bringing in cotton.

Orren V. Foust photographed street scenes in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Wilson. The images below, which were reproduced as postcards, depict cotton market scenes.

The first two cards show Barnes Street from two points along the street. (The tea kettle shop sign can be used for perspective. Comparisons to the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map seem to pinpoint the site as a spot just above Goldsboro Street looking toward Tarboro Street.) In the top image, two African-American men can be seen near the middle of the shot, standing behind a loaded wagon.

In this photograph, taken a little closer to the activity, another African-American man perches atop a bale of cotton, his face turned slightly toward the camera.

This shot, labeled “Sunny South Bringing In Cotton, Wilson N.C.,” shows an African-American drayman (or perhaps a farmer or farmhand) leading a team of oxen hitched to a wagon.

Images courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III’s Historic Wilson in Vintage Postcards (2003).

The unmistakable way to conviction.

In November 1888, Charles Bynum was tried and convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Henry Privett, his girlfriend’s brother.

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Wilson Mirror, 7 November 1888.

  • Charles Bynum, accused — possibly, the Charles Bynum, 15, listed with his parents Mack, 39, and Mary Bynum, 30, in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County.
  • Henry Privette, victim; Bettie Privette, his sister, allegedly Bynum’s lover; Alice Privette, his wife; Sallie Privette, his sister; Mahala Privette, his mother — In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Joseph Privett, 30; wife Mahala, 27; and children Lucretia, 9, Mary, 4, Henry, 2, and Bettie J., 2 weeks; plus Penninah Locust, 2. In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Joe Privett, about 44; wife Mahalah, about 35; and children Polly Ann, 16, Henry, 14, Bettie, 11, Hattie, 7, and Sallie, 3; plus Penninah Jones, 14. Henry Privett, 18, son of Joe and Mahalia Privett, married Alice Howell, 20, daughter of Ransom and Burbary Howell, on 8 February 1887 at the courthouse in Wilson.
  • James Bynum, juror.
  • Henry Birney, juror.
  • Celia Cotton, witness.

Leonard Medical School students.

James Arthur Cotton appears in Leonard Medical School‘s 1888-’89 catalog with a notation that he done his collegiate studies at Saint Augustine’s College. (Perhaps he did not finish, as the Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 lists him as a 1897 graduate of Chicago’s Harvey Medical College.

Lincoln University graduate Charles Hudson Bynum appears in the 1892-’93 Leonard Medical School catalog.

Obituary of Elnora C. Dawson, 101.

Elnora Dawson, 101, a resident of Hunter Hill Nursing Home and formerly of 313 Freeman Street, Wilson, NC died March 2, 2015. The funeral will be held Saturday at 12 noon at Olive Chapel Baptist Church, Hwy 301 South, 3406 Hathaway Blvd., Sharpsburg, NC with Rev. Jimmy Williams officiating. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery Wilson, NC. Public viewing will be Friday from 2 to 7pm at the funeral home with the family receiving friends from 6 to 7pm. Family and friends are requested to assemble on Saturday at the residence, 313 Freeman St., Wilson, NC, at 11:00am for the funeral procession to the church. 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.

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Elnora Cotton Dawson (1914-2015).

In the 1930 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer James Cotton, 52; wife Mattie, 42; and children Leroy, 17, Elnora, 16, Essie M., 13, Sabra A., 11, and Addie M., 9.

In the 1940 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Jim Cotton, 62; wife Mattie, 58; and children Lee Roy, 28, Elnora, 26, Essie Mae, 24, Sabrer Ann, 22, and Alta Mae, 20; and sister Bettie Cotton, 67.

On 28 October 1946, Elnora Cotton, 32 , of Sharpsburg, North Carolina, daughter of Jim and Mattie Cotton, married Frank Lee Dawson, 28, of Norfolk, Virginia, son of Vanderbilt and Carrie Dawson, in Tarboro, Edgecombe County. [Frank Lee Dawson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 19 August 1919 in Wilson; resided at R.F.D. 3, Box 275, Wilson; his contact was his mother, Harrit Dawson of Wilson; and he worked for R.P. Watson Tobacco Company, Wilson.]

On 31 July 1987, Frank Lee Dawson died in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 October 1918 in Wilson to Vanderbilt Dawson and Harriet Woodard; resided at 313 Freeman Street; was married; and had worked as a ship mechanic.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user diann_dawson.

The last wills and testaments of Henry and Temperance Cotton.

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  1. A decent burial and all burial expenses paid.
  2. To her sister Frances Armstrong, one-half of household and kitchen furniture.
  3. To her sister Hannah Jane Moore, one-half of household and kitchen furniture, plus all money.
  4. All other property to be sold and from the proceeds $100 to sister Frances Armstrong, $25 to brother Robert Moore, $100 to niece Siney Speight, $25 to cousin William Windslow, and the remainder to sister Hannah J. Moore.
  5. Hannah J. Moore appointed administratrix.
  6. Signed 5 September 1924.

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In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: drayman Henry Cotton, 35, and wife Temperance, 28, with boarder Turner Battle, 23, a painter.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Henry Cotton, 52, and wife Tempie, 50.

John H. Clark and Samuel Vick caused Henry Cotton’s will to be recorded and filed on 30 August 1905 in Wilson County Superior Court.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 305 Stantonsburg Street, widow Tempie Cotton, 51, with two roomers, James, 22, and Elsie Clark, 18.

Tempie Cotton died 4 April 1925 in Long Creek, Rocky Point township, Pender County, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was 70 years old, born in Wilson County to Dennis Moore, and the widow of David [sic] Cotton. She was buried in Wilson, and Hannah Moore was informant.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.