Cross Roads township

Two balls in the dead man’s forehead.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 September 1921.

On 30 December 1921, the Wilson Daily Times reported the cases the Superior Court recently heard, including:

It was a curious crime. Jack Anna Ricks Rich had inherited a farm from her husband ten years earlier, and as noted above, Charlie Martin was a long-time tenant. In fact, when Martin registered for the World War I draft in 1918, he listed Jack Ann Rich as both his employer and his nearest relative.

Charlie Martin was listed in the 1900 and 1910 censuses of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, as a single farm laborer boarding in the households of white farmers. He seems to have had no close family. When he died at Rich’s hands, a neighbor struggled to provide adequate information about him. Martin’s birthdate was unknown, and his age was “look to be 45 or 50 years.” His parents were unknown, but his birthplace was thought to be Ohio (though census records listed North Carolina.)

“No Doctor Kill By Pistol Shot”

County schools, no. 8: Calvin Level School.

The eighth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Calvin Level School

Calvin Level School was not a Rosenwald school; it was originally a school for white students called Cabin Level. When small white schools consolidated after the construction of Black Creek School, the school building was turned over to educate black children. In 1951, students in Calvin Level’s district began attending the newly built Springfield School.

Location: A 1936 state road map of Wilson County shows a school (labeled “Scotts”) located on present-day Scott Church Road, south of Wiggins Mill Road, the approximate location of Calvin Level School as described by former student Thelma Braswell Forbes.

However, per sale advertised in the Wilson Daily Times for several weeks in the fall of 1951: “CALVIN LEVEL COLORED SCHOOL, in Cross Roads Township, containing one acre more or less, and more particularly described follows: BEGINNING at a lightwood stake in the edge of the Quaker Road, running with said road 70 yards to a pine stump, corner of Jessie Aycock’s land, thence in an Easterly direction with said Aycock line to a lightwood stake in Thomas Woodard’s line, thence with said Woodard’s line 70 yards to a church lot called Cabbin Level, thence nearly West with said church lot to the beginning. Being the identical land described in a deed recorded in Book 17, at page 519, Wilson County Registry.”

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, “Calvins” School was a one-room school seated on one acre.

Known faculty: Teachers Anna D. Reid Hall, Lula E. BarfieldMazie Wells, Mamie B. Ford, Dorothy Grissom Parker, Josephine Edwards.

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Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1946.

Four killed at foggy crossing.

Pittsburgh Courier, 9 January 1943.

  • Minnie Horton — Minnie Taylor Horton was the daughter of Berry and Mamie Newsome Taylor and wife of Clinton Horton.

  • Zollie Brockton — Zollie Brockington was the son of John and Mary Sketters Brockington.

  • Johnny Barnes — Johnie Barnes was the son of James and Mozilla Barnes and husband of Ollie Barnes.

  • Lucille Clay — Lucille Clay was the daughter of Robert and Mary Artis Clay. She celebrated her 21st birthday less than two days before she was killed.

  • Clinton Horton — Clinton Horton, the sole survivor, recovered and apparently eventually left Wilson County. No death certificate is found for him there. Here, however, is his World War II draft registration card, filed in 1940, when he and Minnie Taylor Horton were likely newly married.

The estate of Elijah Cox.

Less than a decade after gaining freedom, Elijah Cox passed away in southern Wilson County. He had assembled a small farm in Cross Roads township, but it would not pass intact to the next generation.

Receipt for reimbursement to Ben Cox, alias Horne, for clothing purchased “for burying father.”

Dr. R.E. Cox filed a claim against the estate for medical care provided in Elijah Cox’s final illness.

In 1874, Patience Cox applied for letters of administration in Wilson County Superior Court for her husband’s estate. His heirs were named as Haywood Sauls and wife Fannie; Sherrod Cox and wife Diana; Simon Dew and wife Telitha; Jerry Everett and wife Jane; Ben Barnes and wife Hester; Ben Cox; William Horne; and Warren Barnes. His estate file reveals that Cox owned about 56 acres at his death and that his debts were estimated at $175. For her support, Patience Cox was allotted barrels of corn, shucks, fodder, cotton seed, cattle, hogs, peas, potatoes, garden tools, plows, and household and kitchen furniture, which essentially wiped out Elijah’s personal property. As a result the court ordered Cox’s land sold to create assets to pay off his debts.

Inventory of Elijah Cox’s estate.

In a final accounting after the sale, heirs received payments of about $16 in February 1876.

Request from Cox’ daughter Fannie Sauls of Fremont, Wayne County, to have her share delivered via her husband Haywood Sauls.

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In 1866, these formerly enslaved couples registered their cohabitations in Wayne County (Haywood Sauls and Fannie Newsome, 4 years) and Wilson County (Simon Dew and Litha King, 18 years, and Benjamin Barnes and Hester Barnes, 20 years.) I have not found cohabitation records for Elijah and Patience or their other children. (Sidenote: the multiple surnames used by Elijah’s children — Cox, Horne, Barnes, King, Newsome — suggests that they had different mothers or were held in slavery by several different owners.)

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: shoemaker Elijah Cox, 66; wife Patience, 65; and children (or grandchildren) Jerry, 11, Clara, 5, and Patience Cox, 3. Cox claimed $150 real estate.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Ben Jamin Horne, 33; wife Mandy, 26; and children William Henderson, 14, Alvester, 10, Hilliard, 8, Amos, 6, and Louetta Cox, 3; and mother Patience Cox, 70.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: wagon driver Haywood Sauls, 46, and wife Fannie, 56.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Simon Dew, 55; wife Lithy, 48; children Lany, 27, Peter, 25, Lucy, 23, Diannah, 21, Isaih, 20, Hilliard, 18, Hester, 16, Aarch, 14, Liscy, 12, Patience, 10, Sarah, 8, and Simon, 6; and grandchildren Zilpha, 13, Roxie A., 2, and William, 1.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Benjaim Barnes, 52; wife Hester, 52; and children Ervin, 17, Rebecca, 16, Bettie, 13, Larry, 10, Thomas, 8, and Benjaim, 6.

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

Ayers found dead in his yard.

WA 2 2 1883

Wilson Advance, 2 February 1883.

The “old man” was William Ayers, who appeared in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, as a 46 year-old farmer. Though he was marked married, he is listed as the only person in his household.

William’s wife, Rose Ayers, quickly moved to open his estate in probate court, relinquishing her right to administer his estate to Thomas J. Rowe.

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The court duly appointed Rowe, estimated the size of Ayers’ estate at $250, and named Rosa, Jesse and Joseph Ayers as his heirs. The latter two, presumably, were his sons (or descendants of deceased children.)

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By late February, William Ayers’ personal property had been sold at auction, yielding a little more than $200. The account revealed that, in addition to carpenter’s tool, household furnishings and clothing, Ayers owned a fiddle and a single bottle of cologne.

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On 22 November 1883, commissioners laid off Rose Ayers’ dower, granting her twenty acres of her late husband’s 80 acres in Cross Roads township, representing one-third value of the land. In December 1883, commissioner F.A. Woodard placed a series of notices in The Wilson Advance (Josephus Daniels’ first newspaper), presumably advertising the sale of Ayers’ land.

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Estate records show that Edwin Barnes was the highest bidder at $430 for Ayers’ property on 7 January 1884. (The commissioners’ report also lists another heir, Council Ayers.)

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  • Rose Ayers — Rose Ayers, 45, married Nash Horton, 50, on 5 December 1888 at Meeksville post office, Spring Hill township. James G., I., and Guilford Wilder were witnesses.
  • Jesse Ayers — probably,  in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: 28 year-old farmer Jesse Ayers; wife Elizabeth, 28; and children Ida, 8; Harriet, 6; Howard, 5; and Hubbard, 2; all described as mulatto.
  • Joseph G. Ayers
  • Council Ayers — In the 1870 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: Council Ares, 52, wife Mary, 33, and William Smith, 3. However, this man was older than William and could not have been his son. (He died 1 December 1915 in Spring Hill township, and his death certificate lists his father as Sampson Ayers.) Similarly, the Council Ayers, age 21, who appears in the 1910 census of Spring Hill township with wife Beadie, 25, was born after William Ayers’ death.

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