This remarkable framed portrait depicts Rev. Daniels as a young preacher, circa late 1920s or early 1930s. [In my years of searching for and collecting early 20th-century African-American photographic portraits, I have never seen one like this. I fervently hope that this one is safe somewhere with the Daniels family.]
Below, Rev. Daniels’ house at 908 Wainwright Avenue. Just visible behind it, at left, is the building that housed her Golden Rule kindergarten. It has been demolished. Rev. Daniels’ house is now empty and boarded up, and the boxwood hedge, ornamental tree, and small front garden have been ripped out.
The view from Rev. Daniels’ porch toward a line of endways (“shotgun”) houses on the south end of Vick Street. The houses were originally on South East Street. In the early 1970s, when Wiggins Street was eliminated for the extension of Hines Street across newly built Renfro Bridge, East was cut off from Hines by a barricade, and the continuation of Vick across Hines was slightly rerouted. Only three of the endways remain — on the Hines end of the block. All have been renovated within the last twenty or so years.
The one hundred twenty-eighth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
908, 906 and 904 Wainwright St.
As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1930; 2 stories; Miracle Tabernacle Church; traditional gable-end form and pointed-arch vent in gables rare example in district that retains weatherboarded facade.” [The building since has been clad in vinyl siding. It does not appear to be in current use.]
In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, at 904 Wainwright: The Church of God (c).
Wilson Daily Times, 29 November 1941.
As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1930; Hattie Daniels rental house: shotgun with engaged porch and late turned porch posts; built for tenants by Daniels family, who lived at #908.”
No house is found at this address in the 1930 or 1940 censuses or in the city directories issued in the 1940s.
As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; Hattie Daniels house; bungalow with three-pile plan and gable-end form with hip-roofed porch; asphalt veneer; Daniels preached at the Miracle Tabernacle Church and began a day-care center behind her home in 1949; husband, Cleveland, was a [railroad] fireman.”
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hardy Cornelius (c; Carrie) hlpr h 908 Wainwright Av.
In the 1930 city directory: Hardy Cornelious (c; Carrie) mill hd h 908 Wainwright Av
Wilson Daily Times, 12 January 1931.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 908 Wainwright, owned and valued at $1500, Cleveland Daniel, 40, fireman at city plant; wife Hattie, 38, saleswoman; and father-in-law Mack Owens, 60, farm laborer. All were born in Georgia.
In 1942, Cleveland Daniels registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1897 in Warrengton, Georgia; lived at 908 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson; his contact was Mrs. Dora Godwin, 910 Wainwright; and he worked for the City Light Plant.
George Cleveland Daniels died at his home at 908 Wainwright on 19 August 1949. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 April 1897 in Warren County, Georgia, to Peter and Jane Daniels; was a fireman; was married to Hattie Daniels; was a veteran of World War I; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery.
Hattie Owens Daniels died 25 April 1979 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 July 1900 in Chester, Georgia, to Mack Owens and Mary Gardner; was a widow; resided at 908 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson; and was a minister and kindergarten teacher. Daughter Deborah Daniels was informant.
Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid shares this excerpt, adapted for Black Wide-Awake, from her My Neighborhood Legacy Series: A Salute to the Educational Leadership of Rev. Hattie Louvenia Owens Daniels, Founder and Director of the Golden Rule Kindergarten 1944-1972 Wilson, NC.” Though it recalls a period after BWA’s focus, it offers a close look at the warm, rich experience that would have been familiar to children who attended Golden Rule earlier.
Dr. Rashid’s parents, Levi and Cora Greene Wellington, lived on Manchester Street from 1946 to 1978. Between 1957 and 1966, she and two of her siblings attended Rev. Hattie Daniels‘ Golden Rule Kindergarten at 908 Wainwright Street, just a block from their home.
Each morning, a family member dropped the children off at the front door of the house. As they entered the living room, Rev. Daniels and her daughter Deborah Ruth Daniels, greeted each child by name with a warm and welcoming “Good morning!” Once all the children had arrived, they stood together and responded in song — “Good morning to you!, Good morning to you!, We’re all in our places, with bright shiny faces, and how do you do? How do you do?” The Danielses asked each child how they were doing and if they had eaten breakfast. If they had not eaten at home, they were fed at no charge. The children then lined up as a group and marched out the back door to the school, a long building located to the left rear of the backyard. The remaining yard was the playground. Everything they learned was recited in song and rhyme — the alphabet, numbers, sight words, etc. Rev. Daniels rang a big hand bell to begin their daily recitations of the lessons they learned, to get their attention, or to signal a change in activity.
Throughout the school day, children formed a neat line for everything, including forays into the public. They marched everywhere, always staying in a neat line and looking straight ahead. Golden Rule’s children took field trips to sing on a local radio program, to the county fair, and the Wilson Christmas parade. Each year, they walked from the school to downtown Wilson to sing Christmas carols on the county courthouse steps. Rev. Daniels led the line of students while her daughter walked behind. Rev. Daniels’ students were known to have manners.
Judy Wellington Rashid graduated from Wilson’s R.L. Fike High School in 1970, completed college, and became a teacher. During her first few years teaching, she began to reflect on the invaluable academic lessons, respect for education, and order and discipline she received at the Golden Rule kindergarten. Shortly becoming a principal in 1977, she visited Rev. Daniels in her home. The old school building was still standing but not usable. Dr. Rashid went to thank Rev. Daniels for the great foundation that she had provided her in kindergarten. She also wanted to know if Rev. Daniels still had a book that she had used to teach her students, and indeed she did.
Rev. Hattie Daniels with a copy of Lillian Moore’s A Child’s First Picture Dictionary, first published in 1948.
On a 2004 visit to Wilson, Dr. Rashid noticed Deborah Daniels and another woman sitting on the porch of 908 Wainwright. Daniels recognized her, and they shared laughter over seeing each other again after so many years. Lillian Francis Lucas introduced herself and said she moved from Wiggins Street to the house next door to 908 Wainwright “when the highway came through.” She said she had come over to clean house and “wait on” Rev. Daniels. She remembered that “there were 60 students at the school at one time or the other,” aged three to five years. She also remembered that the school day would start around 5 or 6 A.M. and last until 5 or 6 P.M.
Rev. Daniels’ Wainwright Street home at left, a rental property she owned at middle, and the church she pastored at right.
Deborah Daniels’ chimed in: “my mother housed, clothed, fed, and took care of me from Elvie School, Catholic School, Sallie Barbour School, to Darden High School”. Dr. Rashid closes: “May God forever bless the educational legacy of Rev. Hattie Daniels and her daughter Deborah Ruth Daniels.”
Golden Rule kindergarten in 1964. The Wilson Daily Times printed the photo, submitted by James Boyette, in its 9 July 2002 edition.
Just before Christmas 1949, Rev. Hattie Owens Daniels‘ father and daughter went missing, spurring a county-wide search. They were located in separate locations near the Nash County line the following day.
Mack Owens — Mack Owens died 14 April 1954 at his home at 908 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 11 June 1877 in Lawrence [Laurens] County, Georgia, to William Owens and Rebecca Baker; was a widower; and worked as a laborer. Hattie Daniels was informant.
Deborah Daniels — Deborah Ruth Ann Daniels was born in 1944 to Cleveland Daniels and Hattie Owens Daniels.
When Annie Parker Daniels celebrated her 100th birthday in 1994, no one could have predicted that she would be blessed with eleven more!
Wilson Daily Times, 22 February 1994.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 February 1997.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 February 1999.
Wilson Daily Times, 8 March 2000.
Wilson Daily Times, 20 February 2002.
Shortly after her 109th birthday, the Daily Times ran a more in-depth feature on the remarkable Annie Daniels. Among the details: her parents worked a farm near the present location of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church on N.C. Highway 58 North; she joined Ellis Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in 1904 and remained a lifelong member; she attended Battle School; she did housework, cooking and childcare for Eunice Williams; she was the oldest of twelve children; she married Herman Daniels in 1912 [actually, 1913] and had four children [who survived infancy] before he died in 1933.
Wilson Daily Times, 17 March 2003.
Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 2005.
On 17 August 1913, Herman Daniel, 21, of Wilson, married Annie Parker, 19, of Wilson, at J.B. Vick’s residence.
Moses Daniel died 26 July 1915 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 11 March 1914 in Wilson County to Herman Daniel and Annie Parker.
In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Herman Daniel, 25; wife Annie, 22; and daughter Irene, 3.
The unnamed infant of Herman Daniel died 10 June 1920 in Wilson Township. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 June 1920 in Wilson County to Herman Daniel of Wilson County and Annie Parker of Nashville, Tennessee [sic]. Herman Daniel was informant.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Silver Lake Road, farmer Herman Daniel, 36, farmer; Annie, 30; and children Arene, 13, Lucy, 3, and David, 1.
Herman Daniel died 19 October 1934 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 35 years old; was born in Wilson County to George Daniel and Lucy Daniel; was a farmer; was married; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Annie Daniel was informant.
In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: widowed farmer Annie Daniel, 40, with children Lucy, 12, David, 10, and James, 9.
On 7 September 1955, James R[ogers] Daniel, 25, son of Herman and Annie Parker Daniel, married Myrtle Grace Winstead, 26, daughter of Charlie and Lillie Smith Winstead, in Wilson.
Lucy Daniels Fulghum Farr died 18 October 1966 in Durham, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 February 1927 in Wilson to Herman Daniels and Annie Parker; resided in Nashville, Nash County; and was married to Ernest Farr.
Rev. Hattie Daniels‘ legacy continues. She began teaching neighborhood children “the Golden Rule” in the mid-1940s. Nearly 75 years later, the Daycare Center bearing her name yet educates East Wilson’s children.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 207 Reid Street, owned and valued at $1600, Cleverland Daniels, 33, light plant fireman, and wife Hattie, 29, both born in Georgia; niece Christine Owens, 8, and nephew Filman Owens, 4.
in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Cleveland Daniel, 40, fireman at city plant; wife Hattie, 38, saleswoman; and father-in-law Mack Owens, 60, farm laborer. All were born in Georgia.
Per her death certificate, Hattie Owens Daniels died 25 April 1979; was born 4 July 1900 in Chester, Georgia, to Mack Owens and Mary Gardner; was a widow; resided at 908 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson; and was a minister and kindergarten teacher. Daughter Deborah Daniels was informant.
Hattie Daniels’ Golden Rule Kindergarten, 1970. Photo courtesy of Ernie Haskins (first row in chairs, far right.)
In 1986, Mary Freeman Ellis publishedThe Way It Was, a memoir of life with her father, noted stonemason Oliver Nestus Freeman.
Freeman Ellis describes her grandparents, Julius Franklin Freeman and Eliza Daniel Freeman, in the first pages:
I remember my paternal grandfather, Julius Freeman, as being a very eccentric and private individual. Grand Dad always looked old to me since he wore a long, gray beard and his hair was also graying. He was born in Johnson [sic] County in 1844 and died in 1927 at the age of 83. His first wife, Eliza Daniels, was born in 1844 in Wilson County She was the oldest of three siblings, two sisters, Millie, Zannie, and one brother, Warren. I never saw my paternal grandmother Eliza Daniels Freeman. She was very pretty from a portrait. You could see her Indian heritage and she wore her hair in two long braids. She had a light, olive complexion.
Julius F. Freeman Sr.
Eliza Daniel Freeman.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Alfred Boyit, 26, and wife Eliza, 29, and carpenter Julius Freeman, 21, in the household of white farmer John R. Farmer, 56.
On 6 February 1873, Julius Freeman, 26, of Wilson, married Eliza Daniel, 19, of Wilson County, at Amos Daniel‘s house. London Johnson, a Methodist Episcopal minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Washington Sugg, Charles Harper, and Sarah Jones.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 56 year-old carpenter Julius Freeman, wife Eliza, 46, and children Elizabeth, 19, Nestus, 17, Junius, 11, Ernest, 9, Tom, 6, Daniel, 4, and Ruth, 4 months.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter Julius Freeman, 65; wife Eliza, 54; and children Nestus, 28, bricklayer; Ollie, 18, Daniel, 14, John, 7, Junius, 22, Ernest, 20, and Thomas, 17.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, grocery store merchant Julius Freeman, 72, and son Henry A., 43, brick work laborer.
Julius Franklin Freeman died 18 September 1927 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 April 1844 in Johnston County, North Carolina, and was married to Nancy Freeman.