Davis

Papered or painted, cheap and quick.

In the earliest years of his ministry, Rev. Fred M. Davis continued to ply his trade as a wallpaper hanger, sign painter and interior decorator.

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Wilson Advance, 8 February 1894.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 33, paper hanger; wife Diannon, 31; children Eva M., 6, Bertha E., 5, and Fred M., 17 months; plus mother Judith Davis, 50, laundress.

Applications for military headstones, no. 2.

  • Admire Zimmerman

In the 1900 census of Philadelphia, Darlington County, South Carolina: farmer Ceasar Zimmerman, 28; wife Irene, 23; and children Leila, 7, Admire, 3, Lillie A., 1, and George, 2 months.

In the 1910 census of Lamar, Darlington County, South Carolina: farmer Cesare Zimmerman, 38; wife Rena, 33; and children Leila, 17, Admire, 12, Lily, 11, Shepherd, 9, Eulis, 7, Charlie, 6, Caesar, 4, Grant, 2, and N. Efether, 11 months.

On 1 July 1920, Sheppard Zimmerman, 22, of Wilson, son of Caesar and Irene Zimmerman, married Florence Howard, 18, of Taylor township, daughter of Deal and Nancy Howard. Admire Zimmerman applied for the license, and a justice of the peace performed the ceremony at Wilson County Court House in the presence of David Woodard, B.E. Howard and Admire Zimmerman.

On 10 July 1920, Admire Zimmerman, 23, of Elm City, son of Caesar and Irene Zimmerman, married Viola Wilson [Williams], 24, of Wilson, daughter of Richard and Martha Jane Williams, in Elm City. Witnesses were David Woodard, J.A. Anderson, and Sid Laws.

On 28 July 1927, Admire Zimmerman, 27, married Alma Dock, 18, in Wilson. Jim Dock, Lillie Dock and G.W. Kinlaw witnessed.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: pubic service laborer Admire Zimmerman, 47; wife Kattie, 37; and children Junior, 14, Mary, 12, and Shirley, 3. The family had lived in Richmond, Virginia, in 1935. Next door: Baptist preacher Ceasar Zimmerman, 68, and wife Irene, 65.

On 5 April 1956, Admire Zimmerman, 63, son of Cecil and Irene Zimmerman, married Ava Gardner, 66, daughter of Stephen and Hattie Roberson Owens, in Wilson.

Admire Zimmerman died 23 February 1962 at 616 Manchester Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 May 1896 in Darlington, S.C., to Ceasar Zimmerman and Irene Jarrell; was a widower; and was a laborer. Informant was Caesar Zimmerman, 900 Woodard Avenue, Washington, D.C.

  • Jack Washington

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Jack Washington died 23 November 1962 at his 1109 Woodard Street Extension residence. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 August 1884 in Tampa, Florida, to George Washington and Cecil (last name unknown); was married to Daisy Washington; and was a laborer.

Cutt Davis died 9 August 1952 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 28 September 1888 in South Carolina to Berry Davis; worked as a shoemaker; resided at 803 East Nash Street; and was buried at Rest Haven. Informant was Thomas F. Davis of Washington, D.C.

  • Ned Barnes

Ned Barnes died 14 November 1960 at 1608 Washington Street Extension, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 February 1896 in Wilson County to Jessie R. and Sary Barnes; resided at Route 4, Wilson; was a plasterer; and was a widower. Frank Barnes, 308 Ward Boulevard, was informant.

  • John T. Barnes

Prominent Sigma transfers to Howard.

New York Age, 20 January 1923.

Fred M. Davis Jr. (1899-1949), like his younger brother William B. Davis, was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 33, paper hanger; wife Diannon, 31; children Eva M., 6, Bertha E., 5, and Fred M., 17 months; plus mother Judith Davis, 50, laundress.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 42, Baptist church minister; wife Dianah, 42; children Eva M., 16, Bertha, 15, Fred, 11, Ruth, 13, Addie L., 8, and William B., 5; and mother Jud., 60.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 50, church preacher; [second] wife Minnie, 39; children Fred Jr., 20, Berthia, 22, school teacher; Addie, 18, and William B., 16; and mother Judie, 76.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 621 East Green Street, Rev. Fred M. Davis, 73, minister; wife Minnie J., 59; [son-in-law] Dr. G.K. Butterfield, 35, dentist; [daughter] Addie L. Butterfield, 34; son William B. Davis, 32, high school teacher; daughter-in-law Hazel M. Davis, 30, teacher; grandson William B. Davis, 4 months; and son Fred M. Davis, 40, home interior decorator.

In 1942, Fred Marshon Davis Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 27 October 1899 in Wilson; resided at 621 East Green; his contact was Rev. Fred M. Davis; and he was self-employed.

Fred M. Davis died 7 February 1949 at Mercy Hospital after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 October 1900 in Wilson to Fred M. Davis Sr. and Diana Dunston; resided at 621 East Green; was single; and was employed as an interior decorator/wallpaper hanger. Addie Butterfield was informant.

122 North Pender Street.

The thirty-third 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.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 2 stories; Alice Jones house; locally rare two-thirds I house, with rear ell and added side wing; aluminum sided; Jones was a schoolteacher.”

This house does not appear on the 1908 or 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps. The house shown as 122 Pender on those maps was across the street, next to Saint John A.M.E. Zion. On the 1922 map, it is labeled under a new number, 119 Pender. That number is now the address of Saint John, and lot once designated #122 is now the site of the Saint John parsonage, 121 North Pender.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1908.

This house, then, was built after 1922, and Alice Helena Albright Jones did not occupy it until after World War II.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: building carpenter David Davis, 47; wife Hepsie, 47; and sons Frank D., 22, tire shop laborer, and Willie T., 19, tobacco factory factory. The family rented the house for $6/month.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Edward Pender, 33; wife Minnie, 26; cook Annie B. Holmes, 39; Walter Johnson, 49, and his wife Winnie, 27. Edward Pender’s occupation was driving a car for Walter Johnson.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C. city directory lists tobacco worker Elijah Ellis at 122 Pender.

Alice Jones died 29 October 1957. Per her death certificate, she was 65 years old; born in Lexington, North Carolina, to John Albridght and Alice Adams; died in a car accident in Durham, North Carolina; was a retired school teacher; and resided at 122 Pender Street. Robert L. Jones, 122 Pender, was informant.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

Margaret Davis Taylor, 105.

Margaret [Davis] Taylor, 105, of 4430 Rosebud Church Rd., Wilson, NC died December 19, 2013 at her residence. The funeral will be held Sunday at 1:30pm at Wilson Chapel FWB Church, 513 E. Barnes Street, Wilson, NC with Bishop R.L. Gorham officiating. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery. Public viewing will be held Saturday from 2 to 7 pm at the funeral home. The family will receive friends at all times at the residence where they will assemble on Sunday at 12:30pm 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.

——

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on County Line Road, Ellen [sic] Evans, 39; wife Eliza, 25; son Thomas, 18; mother Harriet, 69; sister Dora Davis, 28, a widow; and her children Levi, 14, Ivy, 12, Lillie, 10, Mamie, 5, and Margaret, 2.

In the 1930 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Isaac Strickland, 40; wife Dora, 50; mother-in-law [actually, step-daughter] Margret Davis, 23, and her son Elgin, 2; and [step-] daughters Henrietta, 18, and Mamie Davis, 24.

Leroy Taylor, 33, of Wilson County, son of Herbert and Bertha Taylor, married Margaret Davis, 26, of Wilson County, daughter of John and Dora Davis, on 26 May 1934 in Nashville, Nash County.

Obituary online.

William B. Davis, Livingstone ’29.

From the 1928 Maple Leaf, the yearbook of Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, junior William Bayard Davis, Sigma man and N.A.A.C.P. member:

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 42, Baptist church minister; wife Dianah, 42; children Eva M., 16, Bertha, 15, Fred, 11, Ruth, 13, Addie L., 8, and William B., 5; and mother Jud., 60.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 50, church preacher; [second] wife Minnie, 39; children Fred Jr., 20, Berthia, 22, school teacher; Addie, 18, and William B., 16; and mother Judie, 76.

On 12 May 1934, in Danville, Virginia, William Bayard Davis of Greensboro, North Carolina, son of F.M. Davis and Dinah Dunson, married Hazel Marie Ingram of Greensboro, North Carolina, daughter of H.M. Ingram and Cynthia Rainy.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 621 East Green Street, Rev. Fred M. Davis, 73, minister; wife Minnie J., 59; [son-in-law] Dr. G.K. Butterfield, 35, dentist; [daughter] Addie L. Butterfield, 34; son William B. Davis, 32, high school teacher; daughter-in-law Hazel M. Davis, 30, teacher; grandson William B. Davis, 4 months; and son Fred M. Davis, 40, home interior decorator.

In 1940, William Bayard Davis registered for the World War II draft in Halifax County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 15 November 1904 in Wilson; resided in Weldon, Halifax County; worked as a principal for the Weldon Graded School District; and his contact was his father, Rev. Fred Mashion Davis, 621 East Green Street, Wilson.

William B. Davis died 30 October 1955.

 

415 East Green Street.

The twenty-third 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “1922; 2 stories; Ada Winstead house; Colonial Revival house with hip-roofed, cubic form and two-tier porch; heavy brick porch posts; Winstead was a seamstress with business downtown and prominent white clientele.”

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Charles Smith, 26; wife Virginia, 22; children Arminta, 7, John T., 3, and Charles H., 1; and brother-in-law Braswell Winstead, 20, teaching school.

On 29 June 1899, Braswell R. Winstead, 38, of Wilson County, son of Riley Robins and Malicia Winstead, married Ada E. Davis, 24, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Washington and Virginia Davis of Edgecombe. Samuel H. Vick applied for the licence, and A.M.E. minister W.B. Williams performed the ceremony in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County, in the presence, among others of John Barnes and John S. Gaston of Wilson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: assistant postmaster Braswell Winstead, 39, wife Ada, 25, and children Arnold, 13, George, 12, Rolland, 11, and Christine, 8.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Brazell Winstead, 48, street laborer; wife Ada, 32, dressmaker; and Martha, 31, and John Corbin, 34. Winstead reported having been twice married.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Braswell Winstead, 60, wife Ada E., and daughter Ethel L., 13, at 300 Pender Street.

By 1925, Ada Winstead’s dressmaking business, Ada’s Modeste Parlor, was booming at 108 West Nash Street, the heart of downtown. She employed at least five dressmakers to cater to her white clientele, including her sister-in-law Ella Davis, Louise Wilson, Lovella Cotton, Eliza Best, and Lessie Locust. The city directory for that year shows the spacious house at 415 East Green occupied by carpenter James W. Davis (Ada’s father); Ada Winstead and her husband Braswell R. Winstead, a barber at Sanitary Shaving Parlor; Otho Davis, a grocer at 303 Hackney Street; his wife Ella Davis; Louise Wilson; and sisters Lovella and Novella Cotton.

Braswell R. Winstead died 22 August 1926 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1866 in Wilson County to Riley Robins and Malissa Winstead; worked as a barber; resided at 415 East Green Street; and was married to Ada E. Winstead. He was buried in the Masonic cemetery.

On 3 August 1929, Ada A. Winstead, 48, and Nazareth A. Pierce, 53, were married in Wilson by A.M.E. Z. minister J.E. Kennedy. Witnesses were John M. Barnes, Mary Roberson and George Roberson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, insurance agent Nazareth Pierce, 54; wide Ada, seamstress; son Fletcher, 17, and daughter Elmira, 25.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 East Green, widow Virginia Davis, 65; son Otho, 36, a grocery merchant; daughter-in-law Ella, 36; grandson Otho Jr., 15; and two roomers, Robert Hines, 45, Christian church janitor, and David Hinderson, 25, a butler. Virginia owned the house, valued at $3000, and reported that she had been born in Virginia to parents born in England.

Ada Winstead Pierce’s brother, Otho C. Davis, died 21 September 1934. Per his death certificate, he resided at 415 East Green; was married to Ella H. Davis; worked as a storekeeper;  and was born about 1885 in Danville, Virginia to James W. Davis and Virginia Richardson.

Ada Winstead Pierce’s mother, Virginia Davis, died 11 June 1935. Per her death certificate, she resided at 415 East Green; was the widow of James W. Price; and was born about 1865 in Virginia to Randle Jefferson and Francis Terrell.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 June 1935.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 East Green Street, insurance collector N. Andrew Pierce, 61; wife Ada W., 58, a seamstress; nephew Otha R. Davis, 28, a beer parlor owner; his wife Lillie, 23, a nurse; their son Otha R., Jr., 6 months; and mother Ella Davis, 52; plus lodgers Elnora Armstrong, 90; Thomas Williams, 35, and Johnie Sarvis, 33.

In 1940, Willie Johnnie Sarvis Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he resided at 415 East Green Street; his telephone number was Wilson 2193; he was born 7 December 1905 in Norfolk, Virginia; he worked for Ed Bishop, Carolina Laundry, Tarboro Street, Wilson; and his contact was Ada Winstead, 415 East Green, friend.

Nazareth Pierce died 16 February 1941 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1877 in Franklin County, North Carolina, to Adam W. Pierce; lived at 415 East Green Street; was married to Ada A. Pierce; and worked as an insurance agent. He was buried in Rountree cemetery. Joseph L. Pierce was informant.

Ada E.W. Pierce executed a will on 2 June 1949 in Wilson. She left all her property, including the houses at 413 and 415 East Green, to her great-nephews Otha Richardson Davis Jr. and James Rudolph Davis in a trust to be administered by Branch Banking & Trust Company of Wilson.

Ada Winstead Pierce died 10 November 1949 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 February 1881 in Virginia to James Washington Davis and Virginia Richardson; was widowed; was a dressmaker and seamstress; and resided at 415 East Green. She was buried in the Masonic cemetery. B.O. Barnes was the certifying physician, and C.E. Artis handled funeral arrangements.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 November 1949.

Otha R. Davis passed in 2009, age 91. Otha Davis Jr. passed in 2011, age 72. 415 East Green Street remains in the family.

 

Married too much.

Rev. Spurgeon David Davis, appointed in 1918 to head one of two planned alternative schools in the wake of the Charles Coon incident, was a newcomer to Wilson. A native of Maryland, he arrived in town in 1917 to head First Baptist Church (now known as Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.) So who was he?

In the 1900 census of Baltimore, Maryland: day laborer Jarriet Davis, 50; wife Mary A., 41; children Mary V., 21, Louis B., 20, and Jarriet W., both hotel waiters, Spurgeon D., 10, and Alice D., 7; niece Ella A. Bell, 2; daughter Augusta Addison, 17, and son-in-law Roy A. Addison, 22, a schoolteacher.

In the 1910 census of Baltimore, Maryland: farm laborer Jarrett Davis, 58, wife Alice, 50; children Alice, 17, and Spurgeon, 21, “church preacher”; grandson Jarrett, 3; niece Ella Bell, 12; and sister Annie Wall, 56.

Spurgeon Davis apparently was ordained as an A.M.E. minister prior to 1910. He headed west to a post in Kansas City, Missouri:

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Kansas City Sun, 31 January 1914.

But did not stay long:

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Kansas City Sun, 4 April 1914.

Davis fetched up in Rome, Georgia, but his stay there was even shorter and considerably less welcome:

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Atlanta Constitution, 26 September 1914.

This escapade called for some reinvention. Davis cut his ties with the A.M.E.’s and reemerged as a Baptist preacher …

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New York Age, 11 January 1917.

… and headed back South.

On 5 June 1917, Davis registered for the World War I draft in Wilson, and listed his address as 648 West Mulberry Street, Baltimore; his date of birth as 26 July 1887; and his occupation as minister employed by “So. Baptist Convention; white; travelling in South.” He also noted that he was married with two children. Wilson County’s Clerk of Superior Court transmitted the registration to Baltimore.

Shady past notwithstanding, Davis — by now, somehow, a Doctor of Divinity — was a sought-after speaker in North Carolina, as these glowing briefs demonstrate:

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Wilmington Morning Star, 15 April 1917.

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The Robesonian (Lumberton), 22 August 1918.

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Richmond Planet, 2 August 1919.

On 23 April 1919, Davis married Nancy Jones, 27, of Wilson. Though the two obtained their marriage license in Wilson County, the ceremony, oddly, was conducted one county over by Baptist minister J.S. Brown in Rocky Mount. Wilson leading lights F.S. Hargrave and C.L. Darden were two of the official witnesses.

However, this “prince among preachers” was soon on the lam again, having hastily resigned his post in October 1919 as a bigamy scandal erupted.

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News & Observer, 30 October 1919.

A more succinct narrative appeared on 7 November in Elizabeth City, North Carolina’s Independent:

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Davis apparently never returned to Wilson — at least, in any long-term capacity. It is not clear who the Oklahoma wife was. Davis obtained a license to marry Ruth Olivia Jones in Lynchburg, Virginia, on 26 May 1911. The couple, however, are also listed in a District of Columbia Compiled Marriage Index with an 29 April 1912 marriage date.

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Washington Times, 29 April 1912. [Note: the Davises, though white-looking, were not “white.”]

Rev. Spurgeon Davis of 139 Pender Street appears in the 1920 Wilson city directory — a volume compiled no doubt before he left town — with no spouse noted. He is not found in the 1920 federal census. However, it seems that Nancy prevailed in the skirmish, for, in the 1923 Montgomery, Alabama, city directory: Davis Spurgeon D Rev (c[olored]; Nancy E) pastor First Baptist Church h[ome] 714 High. And in the 1930 census of Montgomery, Alabama: at 714 South Ripley (an $8000 home he owned), Maryland-born Spurgeon Davis, clergyman; North Carolina-born wife Nancy, 38; and Maryland-born daughter Mary A., 10. Tragedy befell during the Depression decade, however, and in the 1940 census of Baltimore, Maryland: at 111 Railroad Street, public school principal Carrington Davis, 52; brother-in-law Douglas Smith, 45, a baseball team manager; sister Alice Smith, 45, a laundress; brother Spurgeon Davis, 49, a house man working for a private family; and nephew Jarrett Davis, 34, a gardener. (Davis was described as married, though no wife was listed in the household. In a rented house across the street at 112 Railroad, however, was North Carolina-born Nancy Davis, 44, described as divorced.) In 1942, Davis registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card: he resided in Chattolanee, Baltimore, Maryland; he was born 28 July 1887 in Chattolanee; his contact person was Mrs. Alice Smith of Owings, Maryland; and his employer was Mrs. Horace White of Garrison, Maryland. I have not found record of his death.

From a history of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, a photograph of Rev. Davis. From the text: “The Reverend A.L. Weeks and the Reverend Spurgeon Davis were those to follow the Reverend [M.A.] Talley. In 1919, the mortgage on the new edifice was burned as a result of a great financial effort engineered by Reverend Davis, supported by the officers and members.” There was that, at least.

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