Dawson

In memoriam: Dora Ellis Dawson.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 May 1992.

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In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Jonah Ellis, 42; wife Precilla, 38; and children Mattie, 11, Benjamin, 9, Dora, 8, Jonah Jr., 6, James, 5, and Caroline, 3.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Jonnie Ellis, 56, farmer; wife Prisilla, 46; and children Mattie, 21, Benjamin, 20, Jannie Jr., 17, Dora, 18, James, 14, Coralin, 13, and Mary, 5.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jonnie Ellis, age unknown, farmer; wife Pricilla, 56; daughter Mary, 17; daughter Dora Williamson, 28; grandchildren Fannie, 8, and Oscar, 7; and boarder Marion Edward, 28.

On 2 October 1933, Tom Dawson, 39, of Black Creek, son of James Dawson and Chanie Brooks, married Dora Ellis, 32, of Cross Roads, daughter of Jonie and Priscilla Ellis, in Wilson County.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Dawson, 46; wife Dora, 47; children Annie, 4, Dora Lee, 3, Thomas Jr., 1; mother Chanie B., 73, widow; lodger Willie Melton, 30; and stepdaughter Fannie B. Williams, 17, and her child Annie D., 5 months.

Thomas Dawson Sr. died 4 October 1967 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 March 1896 in Wilson County to Pat Faison and Chanie Dawson; was married to Dora Dawson; and was a farm laborer.

Black businesses, 1913, no. 6: the 200 block of South Goldsboro Street.

Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Here’s a closer look at the 200 block of South Goldsboro Street, which was dominated by wholesale groceries and small restaurants.

In 1913, before he founded a funeral home, Columbus E. Artis operated a small eatery in a narrow brick building on South Goldsboro Street. Alexander D. Dawson, having closed his fish and oyster stall in the city market, ran a rival eating house across the street. 

Black businesses, 1908, no. 5: 100 block of North Goldsboro Street.

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

Cross-referencing the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Above, the section of the 100 block of North Goldsboro Street opposite the county courthouse. 

Levi H. Jones‘ barbershop stood at the rear of today’s Planter’s Bank building, which was erected in 1920 and now houses county government offices. Within a couple of years, Jones changed locations, opening the Mayflower at 108 East Nash Street, a narrow two-story brick building near First National Bank. First National is now the Wilson County-Nash Street Office Building, and the Mayflower’s site is a parking lot.

Wilson Times, 30 June 1911.

Alexander D. Dawson, a former local Republican Party stalwart, operated a fish and oyster stall in the city market building, which burned down in 1929. 

Wilson city hall, market and fire department, circa 1900.

Postcard courtesy of North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s digitalnc.org.

Lane Street Project: the Dawson family.

This large marble headstone, with its delicate crossed fern fronds, stands near the front edge of Odd Fellows Cemetery adjacent to plot of the Noah Tate family. It marks the family plot of the Alexander and Lucy Hill Dawson family. 

Alexander, known as A.D., Dawson was born about 1860, likely in Lenoir County, N.C., and arrived in Wilson by the 1880s. He was active in county Republican Party politics and was a teacher before going into business as a restaurant and fish market owner. Lucy Annie Hill Dawson (1860-1917) was born in Edgecombe County and worked as a dressmaker. The couple married in Wilson in 1882.

The only identifiable individual headstones in the plot are those of Lucy Dawson and daughter Virginia S. Dawson (1890-1933).

The obituary of Lizzie H. Dawson, an esteemed woman.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 January 1937.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, printing office pressman; wife Sarah, 33; children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2; and lodgers Manse Wilson, 36, and Johnnie Lewis, 21, both carpenters.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

Elizabeth Thomas, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Charlie and Sallie Thomas, married Clarence Dawson, 21, of Wilson, son of A.D. and Lucy Dawson, on 20 March 1917 in Wilson. Andrew Pierce applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of John Barbour, A.L. Dawson, and Elton Thomas.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 East Green Street, printing office laborer Charlie Thomas, 65; daughter Elizabeth Dawson, 32; son-in-law Clarence Dawson, 31; and grandchildren Eris Dawson, 11, Naomi, 9, Clarence, 7, and Thomas V. Dawson, 3; and daughters Sarah, 19, theatre ticket seller, and Beatrice Thomas, 17.

Lizzie Dawson died 16 January 1937 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 July 1894 in Wilson to Charly Thomas of Nash County and Sarah Best of Wilson, and was married to Clarence Dawson. Informant was Charly Thomas.

Dawson is victim of hit-and-run.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 March 1928.

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John Dawson died 18 March 1928. Per his death certificate, he was about 70 years old; lived in Wilson; and was a laborer. “Darden undertakers” were the informant and knew nothing else about him. Cause of death: “Run over by automobile by some unknown person killed instantly.”

An out-of-town guest.

As reported in the African-American Cleveland Gazette, in 1911, Martha Dawson of Wilson attended a Y.M.C.A. reception in Springfield, Ohio. 

Cleveland Gazette, 19 August 1911.

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Possibly, in the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Isaac Dawson, 56; wife Sallie, 38; and daughters Clean, 21, Martha A., 18, and Loucrecie, 22.

Or, more likely, Mattie Dawson, daughter of Alexander D. and Lucy Hill Dawson; see here. [“Mattie” was a common nickname for  “Martha.”]

The death of Lucy Dawson, erudite and affable.

Death of Mrs. A.D. Dawson.

“A star has gone down

To rise upon some fairer shore;

An ardent toiler has fallen asleep,

A faithful pilgrim has reached home.”

Mrs. Lucy A. Dawson, wife of Mr. A.D. Dawson of Wilson, N.C., went to sleep Sunday evening, May 20, just after the sun had gone down behind the western hills and all was quiet and still. So peaceful was her death that those watching by her bedside scarcely knew the end had come.

Mrs. Dawson was a true Christian, a loving wife and a devoted mother. Mrs. Dawson had lived in Wilson more then 40 years and the friendships she formed are too numerous to mention. Mrs. Dawson was erudite, affable and kind and her removal from our midst “to join the innumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm” has made a wound in our community which only the lapse of time can heal. Mrs. Dawson was a lady of the highest type, having in her life indelible stamp of the Christ-life and during her life she placed before us a standard of Christian living worthy of our emulation; and now that her life’s work is ended we rejoice in the thought that “having fought the good fight and kept the faith” she has received the “crown of life that fadeth not away.”

Mrs. Dawson leaves to mourn her loss nine children, a father, husband, two sisters, three brothers and a host of friends. All the children were present at her bedside. Miss Mattie Dawson, a teacher in Selden institute, Brunswick, Ga., and Miss Lucile Dawson, of Emerson institute, Blackville, S.C., reached home just before the end came. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. H.B. Taylor and Rev. C. Dillard of Goldsboro, N.C., at Calvary Presbyterian church, Tuesday afternoon, May 22. The Household of Ruth ceremony was conducted by Mrs. Mattie Dortch of Goldsboro, N.C., district most noble governor. In expression of high respect many floral offerings were received, among them a wheel with a broken spoke by the family, a crescent by Calvary Presbyterian church, a pillow by Household of Ruth, a cross by A.M.E. Zion church and a wreath of carnations from Prof. and Mrs. S.H. Vick and other beautiful designed from her many friends.

“There are no dead.

The stars go down

To rise upon some fairer shore;

And bright in Heavn’s jeweled crown

They shine forevermore.” 

Joseph H. Foy, Wilson Daily Times, 13 June 1917.

  • Lucy A. Dawson —

In the 1870 census of Swift Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Joseph Hill, 31; wife Sallie, 30; [mother?] Lucie, 76; and children Lucie, 17, Josephine, 14, Mason, 9, Sarah, 7, Sherman, 4, and Jacob, 3.

On 8 April 1875, Lucy A. Hill, 17, married James Gatlin, 26, in Edgecombe County.

On 1 November 1882, A.D. Dawson, 25, of Wilson, son of Robert and Rachel Dawson, married Lucy Gatlin, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Joseph and Sally Hill, at Gatlin’s residence in Wilson County. Methodist minister P.M. Hilliard performed the ceremony in the presence of Sam Collins, Lewis Battle and Martha Tyson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: dealer in fish Edd [Alexander D.] Dawson, 40; wife Lucy, 40, dressmaking; and children Mattie, 14, Virginia, 9, Lucy, 8, Edd, 5, Clarence, 3, and Augusta, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: restaurant cook Alexander Dawson, 50; wife Lucy, 49; and children Sophie,  25, school teacher, Mattie, 23, stenographer, Virginia, 19, school teacher, Lucile, 17, Alexander, 15, Clarence, 13, Augusta, 11, and Arlander, 1. 

Lucy Annie Dawson died 20 May 1917 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 October 1860 to Joseph Hill of Virginia and Sally Slaughter of Virginia [but residents of Edgecombe County, N.C.], was married, and was engaged in dressmaking. Sophia Dawson was informant.

  • A.D. Dawson —

Possibly, in the 1870 census of Snow Hill township, Greene County: Robert Dawson, 30; wife Cherry, 25, and son Elice, 5.

In the 1908 Dawson Alex D (c) fish City Market h 505 E Vance. In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson city directory, these Dawsons were listed as residents of 505 E Vance: Alex D. (eating house 215 S Goldsboro); Alex D., Jr. (barber); Clarence C. (clerk); Lucille P. (music teacher); Mattie H. (stenographer), Sophie L. (teacher); and Virginia S. (teacher.)

  • Mattie Dawson
  • Selden Institute — An historical marker in Brunswick, Georgia’s Selden Park reads: “Selden Normal & Industrial Institute. Established 1903. Operated by Negro citizens of Brunswick and Miss Carrie E. Bemus, high school courses in teacher training, practical and industrial arts. Site purchased by industrialist E. P. Selden and Dr. Charles Selden, a Christian missionary to China, named Selden in honor of Dr. Charles Selden. Later taken over by board of general missions, Presbyterian Church North, and became a Presbyterian school. Three principals served: Miss Carrie E. Bemus, Rev. H.A. Bleach, and Rev. S.Q. Mitchell. Consolidated with Gillespie Institute, Cordele, Ga., 1933. Presented by Selden Alumni and Former Students. Original Board of Directors Rev. S.G. Dent, Sr., Chas. A. Shaw, Alex Atkinson, Rev. John Williams, Mrs. Ellen Buggs. Glynn County Commissioners R.L. Holtzendorf, Chairman, John E. Taylor, R.E. Owens, Gerald Edwards, Roy J. Boyd.”
  • Lucile Dawson — On 10 December 1919, Simon Frazier, 24, of Georgia, married Lucille P. Dawson, 24, of Wilson, in Wilson. In the 1920 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: medical doctor Simon F. Frazier, 30; wife Lucile, 24; and lodger Martha Daniels, 39, public school teacher. In the 1930 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: at 222 East Park Avenue, physician Simon F. Frazier, 40; wife Lucille P., 33; and children Muriel E., 9, Ouida, 6, and Wahwee A., 3 months.
  • Emerson Institute
  • Rev. C. Dillard — Clarence Dillard.
  • Rev. H.B. Taylor — Halley B. Taylor.
  • Mrs. Mattie Dortch
  • Prof. and Mrs. S.H. Vick — Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick.
  • Joseph H. Foy 

Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III and Sue Powell for details of the clipping.

A Sallie Barbour student remembers.

Cora and Levi Wellington reared seven children on Manchester Street, first in a three-room endway house at 313 and then a four-room house at 402. Cora Wellington, now Dawson, is now 92 years old and has vivid memories of her East Wilson school days: 

From Charles L. Coon, The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24.

Cora Ruth Greene Wellington Dawson attended Sallie Barbour School from 1934 to 1937.  Eleanor P. Reid was principal. Mrs. Dawson recalls that Mrs. Reid rang a big bell when school started (and everyone had to be seated), at lunch time, and at the end of the day. She remembers eating peanut butter with jelly sandwiches and homemade soup at school everyday – at no charge. She remembers huge swings and merry go rounds in the playground and outside toilets. Some of the teachers at the school were Mrs. Georgia Dupree, Mrs. Addie Butterfield (who taught 4th grade), and Mrs. Celie Norwood.  Mrs. Norwood, who taught Mrs. Dawson’s first husband Levi Wellington in third grade, lived in a two-story house on Pender Street. The house, which has been demolished, stood behind Calvary Presbyterian Church, which then faced Green Street.  Many of the teachers, who were always sharply dressed in heels and suits, walked down Wainwright Street to the school.

Sallie Barbour School was located across from Cemetery Street near the present location of cinderblock apartments. Mrs. Dawson recalled that students entered the school on the Stantonsburg Street side, now known as Pender Street. The back of the school faced Manchester Street. This section of Wilson is often referred to as “the school yard” long after Sallie Barbour School is gone. The school building was all wood. The front porch, where everyone entered the building, was very large. The principal’s office, located in the front of the building, faced Stantonsburg Street, and children had to pass Mrs. Reid’s office and walk down a long hall way to their classes. Though she was just six years old, Mrs. Dawson remembers having to take her younger brother to school with her because she was his babysitter. She would go downstairs to the girls’ toilet outside to change his diaper, and the teacher would make a place for him to take a nap behind the big blackboard in the back of the classroom.

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Cora Green Wellington Dawson in 2018.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, public service laborer Henry Green, 47; wife Lottie, 40, cook; and children Cora, 12, Fred, 9, Henry Jr., 7, Edward, 2, and James, no age given.

Cora Green married Levi Wellington on 28 September 1944.

Levi Wellington- student at Sallie Barbour School in 1934

Levi Wellington.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Highway 42, farmer Haywood Willieston, 35; wife Lonie, 30; and children Haywood, 12, Leavay, 10, Sudie, 6, Mary, 8, Magline, 4, Raymond, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, public service laborer Haywood Wellington, 46; wife Lona, 40; and children Levi, 20, grocery store delivery, Sudie, 16, Magerlean, 14, Raymon, 12, Helen, 7, and Gereldean, 4.

In 1940, Levi Wellington registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 16 September 1919 in Greene County, North Carolina; lived at 409 Grace Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Lona Wellington, same address; and he worked for Barnes-Graves Grocery Company.

Levi Wellington died 13 November 1978 in Wilson.

Levi and Cora Wellington in the 1960s at 402 Manchester St..jpg

Cora and Levi Wellington at their house on Manchester Street, 1960s.

Many thanks to Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid for sharing her mother’s memories of the Sallie Barbour School and photographs of her family.

703 East Green Street.

The fifty-seventh 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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 1 story; Lewis Pitt house; hip-roofed, double-pile cottage with bracketed porch posts; Pitt was a laborer.” [In fact, Lewis Pitt lived at 633/704 East Green, across the street.]

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about the house: “Typical of turn of the century architecture in Wilson, this cottage boasts handsome banded chimneys and a porch with interestingly scrolled sawnwork brackets and turned columns.”

703 East Green Street was formerly numbered 632.

The corner of Green and Elba Streets as shown in the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson. 701 East Green, not then built, has since been demolished. 303 Elba, 700 East Green, 702 East Green and 703 East Green remain, though only one is currently inhabited.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Vick Caroline, h 623 Green; Vick Elva, h 623 Green. [Was this Samuel and Annie Vick’s daughter Elba, who was about 15 in 1912? If so, why was living with Carolina Vick across the street from her parents? Was Carolina’s deceased husband Robert Vick a relative of Sam Vick?]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed laundress Caroline Vick, 60, and grandson Madison Perry, 17.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Vick Caroline, midwife h 623 Green; Vick Elba, music tchr h 623 Green; Cooper Becky h 623 Green.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 623 Green, widowed midwife Caroline Vick, 90; Nancy Dawson, 45, widowed cook; Becky Cooper, 85, widow; daughter Alice Heath, 35, widowed factory laborer; and son-in-law Isom Perry, 45, farm laborer.

Allace Heath died 16 April 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 43 years old; was born in Franklin [County], North Carolina, to Norflick Dunson and Carolina Williamson; was a widow; was a laborer; and resided at 703 East Green. Carolina Vick was informant.

Isham Perry died 10 July 1921 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 55 years old; was born in Halifax County to Isham Perry and Mollie Alston; was a tenant farmer; was a widower; and resided at 703 East Green. Nancy Dawson was informant.

Carolina Vick died 16 July 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 78 years old; widowed; a midwife; and born in Newton County, Georgia, to Marner and Cheney Williamston. Nancy Dawson, 703 East Green was informant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 East Green, rented for $21/month, Nancy Dawson, 60, widowed laundress, with two roomers, Oscar Ratliff, 36, and wife Nellie, 27; also renting for $21/month, Charlie Davis, 61, butler, wife Mattie, 50, laundress, and son Willie, 24, farm laborer.

Nancy Dawson died 17 January 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1869 in Edgecombe County to Millie Adkisson; resided at 703 Greene; and was widowed. John Bynum was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Green Street, renting for $8/month, service station attendant Paul Dunison, 27, and wife Dossie M., 27; also, renting for $8/month, Mary Farmer, 57, laundress, and daughter Vivian, 32, a household servant.

In the 1941 Wilson city directory: Williams Malcolm D (c; Rosa, 1) librarian Sam Vick Sch h 703 E Green; Williams Rosa (c) tchr Chas H Darden High Smh h 703 E Green

In 1942, Malcolm Demothenese Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 September 1909 in Warsaw, N.C.; he resided at 703 East Green; his phone number was 2330; his contact was wife Rosa Lee Williams; and he was employed by superintendent S.J. Chappel, Wilson City Board of Education, at Vick School, North Reid Street, Wilson.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.