Dawson

The apprenticeship of Cora Joyner.

On 10 September 1902, a Wilson County Superior Court judge ordered 15 month-old Cora Joyner bound as an apprentice to Van Dawson until she reached 21 years of age. A note written at the top of the indenture stated the arrangement was “By consent and presence of Louiza Ann Joyner mother of the child Cora Joyner.”

  • Cora Joyner
  • Louisa Ann Joyner
  • Van Dawson

On 18 February 1897, Van Dawson, 21, married Annie Braswell, 27, at the bride’s residence in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: day laborer Van Dawson, 23; wife Anne, 37; and niece Sally Armstrong, 17.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City Lane, lumber wagon teamster Van Dawson, 36; wife Annie, 42, laundress; and daughter Estell, 9.

In 1918, Van Dawson registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 March 1873; lived in Elm City, Wilson County; was a self-employed farmer; and his nearest relative was wife Annie Dawson. He signed his card with an X.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Joe Hagans, 29, mechanic at automobile shop; wife Estelle, 28; sons Joseph, 2, and William I., 1; and father-in-law Van Dawson, 55, farmer, widower.

On 2 September 1932, Van Dawson, 56, of Toisnot township, son of Sarah Dawson, married Jennie Batts, 30, of Toisnot township, daughter of Dennis and William Ann Batts, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Cobb Avenue, Van Dawson, 67; wife Gennie, 34, cook; son Lee Roy, 8; daughter Sarrah, 7; and stepdaughter Anna Batts, 15.

Van Dawson died 24 December 1947 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 June 1874 in Wayne County, N.C., to Tank Ivory and Sarah Dawson; was married to Jennie Dawson; lived in Elm City, Wilson County; and worked as a farmer.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

The funeral of A.D. Dawson.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 June 1930.

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Alexander D. Dawson was a man of many pursuits, including teacher, poll holder (a person who was in charge of and supervised voting, secured ballots, and tallied and certified election results), census enumerator, grocer, and fish dealer. He was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

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.