crop lien

Crop liens and mortgage deeds, no. 2.

Founded in 1899, P.L. Woodard & Company was the leading farm supply outfit in Wilson for much of the 20th century. The company did much of its early business via loans and lines of credit, accepting mortgages on land and livestock to secure debts.

Luther Wilder and wife Katy Wilder already had a ledger account balance of $163.22, but on 6 March 1937, P.L. Woodard & Co. agreed to advance them $148.06 in money, merchandise and supplies for the cultivation of crops on 9 1/2 and four-acre tracts of land in Spring Hill township, “the identical land inherited by Luther Wilder from the estate of Josiah Wilder.” The Wilders gave P.L. Woodard & Co. a lien on their crop as well as on the two tracts of land and a black mare mule. Per the red stamp at left, the Wilders did not pay off the loan until July 1944. 

Deed book 220, page 296.

On 22 May 1937, P.L. Woodard & Co. agreed to advance Seth Wilder and wife Lillie May Wilder $200.00 in money, merchandise and supplies for the cultivation of crops on a 14 and one-half acre parcel in Spring Hill township, “the identical land inherited by Seth Wilder from the estate of Josiah Wilder.” The Wilders gave P.L. Woodard & Co. a lien on their crop as well as on the tract of land, a black mare mule, and all farming implements. Per the red stamp at left, the Wilders did not pay off the loan until November 1947. 

Deed book 220, page 309.

——

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Raleigh Road, Joseph [sic] Wilder, 44; wife Chestina, 40; and children Almita O., 15, Elizabeth, 11, Seth B., 8, Sidney, 6, and Luther, 4.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Raleigh Road, widow Chestiney Wilder, 51, and children Elizabeth, 21, Seth, 17, Sidney, 15, and Luther, 13.

On 28 December 1924, Seth Wilder, 22, married Aldonia Ruffin, 20, in Johnston County.

Aldonia Wilder died 24 July 1929 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 24 years old, born in Wilson County to Charlie Ruffin of Johnston County and Sarah Jane O’Neil of Wilson County; was married to Seth Wilder; and was buried in Barnes cemetery.

On 14 January 1931, Seth Wilder, 31, son of Josiah and Chestinie Wilder, married Lillie Mae Creech, 24, daughter of Wright and Sallie Creech, in Smithfield, Johnson County.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Seth Wilder, 37; wife Lillie Mae, 32; and children Willie May, 2, and Seth, 1; Chestiney Wilder, 72; Sally Creech, 57, and her children Sally, 18, Geneava, 16, and Addie Lee Creech, 13; and Waltie Monque, 26.

Seth Wilder registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 6 May 1902 in Wilson County; resided at Route 1, Box 261, Lucama; was self-employed; and his contact was R.H. Neal.

Seth Wilder died 2 May 1990 in Washington, D.C.

Crop liens and mortgage deeds, no. 1.

On 6 April 1936, General Supply Store Inc. agreed to advance brothers Will Artis and Roselle Artis a fifty dollar merchandise account for the cultivation of crops on the lands of W.J. Davis in Stantonsburg township. In consideration, the Artises agreed to convey to General Supply “a light brown Guernsey cow about 3 yrs old & increase 1 Poland China sow & 14 pigs 4 Poland China shoats about six weeks old” as well as a lien on all the crops grown on the land, in the event of default.

Deed book 220, page 160.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Willie Artis, 43; wife Francis, 43; children Alexander, 21, Harvie, 20, Willie Jr., 16, Nora E., 14, Marion, 11, Rosel, 9, Jessie, 8, Elcy, 5, and Johnie, 18; laborer Miles Warren, 40; and boarder Albert Thompson, 19.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Will Artis, 53; wife Francis, 52; children Roselle, 19, Jesse, 18, and Elsie M., 15, and Johnie, 18; lodger Myrs Warren, 50; and sister Beatrice Sauls, 19.

On 1 December 1934, Rozell Artis, 23, of Wilson County, son of Will and Frances Artis, married Rencie Bynum, 16, of Wilson County, daughter of William and Rosa Bynum, in Nashville, Nash County, North Carolina. Will Artis, William Bynum, and Frank Williams were witnesses.

——

On 22 May 1936, P.L. Woodard & Co. agreed to advance Captain Rountree and Freeman Rountree $27.50 in money, merchandise and supplies for the cultivation of crops on an eight and one-fifth acre lot in Wilson township, “the identical land deeded to Freeman Rountree by Margaret Dew and having been a part of the Jeff Dew estate.” The Rountrees gave P.L. Woodard & Co. a lien on their crop as well as on the land they had purchased from Jeff Dew’s daughter. The Rountrees paid off the loan in October of the same year.

Deed Book 220, page 180.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Willie Rowntree, 29; wife Martha, 27; and children Freeman, 9, Willie, 8, Rapherd, 6, Captan, 3, Dasie, 2, and Andrew, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Tarboro Road, Wiley Rountree, 42; wife Matilda, 34; daughter Matha, 20, and her son Roscoe, 2; children Freeman, 19, Wiley Jr., 18, Raford, 16, Captain, 14, Daisey, 13, Andrew, 10, Husband, 9, Nellie, 8, and Frank, 6; and grandson Bosy, 3 months.

On 31 August 1916, Freeman Rountree, 25, of Wilson, son of Wiley Rountree and Martha (last name not listed, married Vinie Wilson, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Tom Wilson and Anna Wilson. Rev. John A. Barnes, A.M.E.Z. minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Jesse C. Lassiter, William Knight and Johnnie A. Barnes Jr.

In 1917, Freeman Rountree registered for the World War I draft. Per his card, he was born 5 October 1890; was born in South Carolina; was a self-employed farmer; and lived in Black Creek township. He was literate.

In 1917, Captain Rountree registered for the World War I draft. Per his card, he was born 25 December 1895; was born in Wilson County; farmed for his father; and lived at R.F.D. #5, Wilson. He signed his name with an X.

On 24 May 1918, Captain Rountree, 22, of Wilson, son of Wiley and Sarah Rountree, married Lizzie Horne, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Simon and Nancy Horne, at the residence of Simon Horne. Fred Weaver, Jonah Dew, and Andrew Rountree were witnesses.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Rountree, 29, and wife Viana, 20.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Rountree, 37; wife Vinie, 30; and adopted son Eddie Bynum, 14.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount to Wilson Road, farmer Captain Rountree, 35; wife Lizzie, 28; and children Viola, 10, Lossie, 9, Martha, 5, Surisa, 3, Will Jr., 2, and Annie M., newborn.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Freeman Roundtree, 49, born in Florida; wife Viney, 38; and cousin Paul, 18, farm helper.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Calvin [sic] Rountree, 40; wife Lizzie, 40; and children Viola, 19, Mathie, 15, Swanee Belle, 13, Willie Jr., 12, Annie Mae, 9, Rosa Lee, 7, Calvin Jr., 6, Mavis, 4, and Doris, 1.

Deed books, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

John Artis’ crop lien.

On 2 February 1907, A.P. Branch agreed to advance John Artis, colored, forty to fifty dollars in supplies “to enable me to make a crop” on the land on which he lived in Black Creek township rented from and owned by Nathan Bass. Artis agreed to raise twelve acres in cotton, nine acre in corn and four acres in tobacco and gave Branch a lien on his crop as well as a seven year-old black mare mule named Rody, a buggy and harness, an iron axle cart, and all his farming implements.

——

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Artis; wife Lucy, 40; children Nora, 10, John E., 15, Eliza, 13, Katie, 11, and Robert, 7; and nephew Luther, 23.

Deed book 72, page 191, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

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.

——

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.