deed of sale

209 South Vick Street.

The one hundred-seventy-ninth 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, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; hip-roofed, double-pile cottage with turned porch posts.”

This house was demolished, along with nearly all others in the triangle bounded by Nash, Pender and Hines Streets, to make way for Wilson’s Freeman Place redevelopment project, which has constructed more than one hundred affordable houses in the area.

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On 14 April 1914, Kenyon Howard paid Boykin-Townsend Realty Company $200 for a parcel on Second [South Vick] Street [between Robeson and Wiggins Streets] adjoining another of Howard’s lots, another of Boykin-Townsend’s lots, and a lot belonging to Jonah Wilson. This property appears to be 209 South Vick. Howard was a prosperous farmer in western Wilson County, and it does not appear that he ever lived at the address.

Deed book 26, page 329, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hines Windsor (c; Fannie) lab h 209 S Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hines Windsor (c; Fannie) hlpr h 209 S Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 South Vick, rented for $20/month, Winsor Hines, 53, junkyard laborer; wife Fannie, 47; daughter Margaret, 20; daughter Ada Hemery, 22; son-in-law John Hemery, 27, junkyard laborer; grandchildren Winsor, 4, and Jim L. Hemery, 3; and mother-in-law Jennette Corbett, 96, widow.

Winger Hines died 22 August 1930 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 51 years old; was married to Fannie Hines; was born in Pitt County, N.C., to Wiley Hines and Nancy Barnes; lived at 209 South Vick Street; and worked as a common laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 South Vick, Connie Batts, 59, oil mill laborer; wife Mattie, 51; children Beatrix, 27, Ruth, 25, both tobacco factory laborers, and Lula, 23, private housekeeper; grandchildren Susan, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Carl, 4, and Rudolph, 9 months; and son James, 21, grocery store deliveryman, and his wife Louise, 19.

Geather Connie Batts died 10 May 1941 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 60 years old; was born in Wilson County to Redman Batts and Celester Battle; was married Mattie Batts; lived at 209 South Vick; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Batts Mattie (c; 4) tob wkr h 209 S Vick

Mattie Batts died 17 June 1944 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 July 1890 in Nash County, N.C., to John Ford and Lettie Jones; was the widow of Gorther C. Batts; and lived at 209 South Vick. Lettie Ruth Batts was informant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bell Jerry (c; Eileeza) farmer h 209 S Vick

Wilson Daily Times, 2 March 1948.

The Blounts sell a lot.

On 28 March 1905, for $200, Calvin and Effie Blount sold Daniel Blount a one-quarter acre lot and house “on the south side of the Alley running from Cemetery Street towards the Colored Cemetery ….” The deed mentions several features of the landscape — several ditches, a bridge at the intersection of the alley with Cemetery Street, a house occupied by Walter Jones. (The ditches and bridge remind us that this was low-lying, flood-prone land, which was likely a factor in the abandonment of Oakdale Cemetery in favor of Vick Cemetery after 1913.)

Calvin Blount and Daniel Blount were likely either relatives or shared a history of enslavement by Richard H. Blount of Pitt, then Wilson, County. 

Deed book 68, page 363, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Computing scales, a massage machine, and a release: miscellaneous transactions, no. 3.

Most “deed” books stacked in the search room of the Wilson County Register of Deeds Office contain just deeds, but others, like Volume 72, contain miscellaneous records of sales agreements, leases, contracts, chattel mortgages, and other transactions. These documents offer rare glimpses of the commercial and farming lives of Black Wilsonians.

  • On 19 December 1908, Charity Robbins rented a heater pipe and fire board for $11.65 from Dildy & Agnew. Deed Book 72, page 414.
  • On 1 October 1907, George W. Suggs rented a range and fixtures for $23 from Dildy & Agnew. Though the full price was to be paid by 1 January 1908, the contract was not recorded until 11 March 1909, when Beatrice Suggs signed instead of G.W. Suggs. Deed Book 72, page 416. [This would seem to be Washington Suggs, but if so, who is Beatrice Suggs? She was not one of his daughters.]
  • On 9 April 1909, Oscar Best, “owner of store,” agreed to pay Strubler Computing Scale Company, Elkhart, Indiana, $85.00 for a Number Two “computing scales green finish.” Deed Book 72, page 443.
  • On 23 July 1909, Levi Jones gave a mortgage to The Eugene Berninghaus Company for a Birkman massage machine to secure a $28 debt. Deed Book, page 472.
  • On 19 August 1909, D.C. Suggs granted Sidney A. Woodard an option to purchase for $3600 a nine-acre parcel of land bounded in part by the intersection of the Norfolk & Southern and Wilmington & Weldon railroads. The option included this provision: “I also agree to allow a Rail Road siding beginning at the 2 or 3 third telegraph pole from Floyd Bynum’s house to enter said plot of land passing through my land and to sign such papers as are necessary for a right of way.” Deed Book 72, page 475.
  • On 16 November 1909, for $300, O.L.W. Smith released Norfolk & Southern Railway Company from any damage to him or his property at Goldsboro and Banks Streets resulting from the building and construction of a railroad, railbed, roadways, bankments, and excavations adjacent to Smith’s property. Deed Book 72, page 505.

Mohair barber chairs, pool tables, and a mule named Puss: miscellaneous commercial transactions, no. 1.

Most “deed” books stacked in the search room of the Wilson County Register of Deeds Office contain just deeds, but others, like Volume 72, contain miscellaneous records of sales agreements, leases, contracts, chattel mortgages, and other transactions. These documents offer rare glimpses of the commercial and farming lives of Black Wilsonians.

  • On 7 October 1904, Richard Renfrow agreed to pay Wootten, Stevens & Company $33.75 in thirty installments for “one Barber chair & covered in Mohair plush, color Red, Oak frame, Nickel plated irons” and “one Mirror 18X40 in Gilt Frame (Bevel Mirror).” Deed Book 72, page 8.
  • On 22 March 1905, to secure a $50 debt, Arch Atkinson mortgaged to James H. Williamson “one bay mare mule named Puss, also all the crops made on my home place of every description.” Deed Book 72, page 37.
  • On 24 June 1905, to secure a $209.45 debt, J.W. Rogers mortgaged to The B.A. Stevens Company “one 4-1/2 x 9 No. 4537 Buckeye Pool Table with bed and cushion cloth; 1 set of pool balls; one cue rack; 1 ball rack; 1 dozen cues; 1 brush; 1 bridge; 1 basket; 1 shake bottle; 1 set shake balls; 1 triangle; 1 rail fork bit; one 4-1/2 x 9 No. 4539 Elmwood Pool Table with bed and cushion cloth; 1 set of pool balls; one cue rack; 1 ball rack; 1 dozen cues; 1 brush; 1 bridge; 1 basket; 1 shake bottle; 1 set shake balls; 1 triangle; 1 rail fork bit. Located in his place of business ….” Deed book 72, page 55.

Shake bottles advertised in B.A. Stevens Company’s 1894 catalog.

  • On 5 October 1905, to secure a $50 debt, C.H. Knight mortgaged to The Eugene Berninghaus Company “2 Climax Barber Chairs, oak wood now located on the premises known as C.H. Knight’s Barber Shop in Wilson.” Deed book 72, page 69. [Charles Knight’s barbershop was on East Nash Street just across the railroad tracks from the Atlantic Coast Line passenger station and likely catered  to white travelers and drummers.]

Beringhaus “Climax” chair, circa 1890. Auctioned in 2018 by Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa.

  • On 27 November 1905, Samuel H. Vick agreed to sell R.J. Grantham for $1725 a lot on the south side of Barnes Street known as the former home place of Wiley Corbett, it being the lot Vick bought from J.D. Lee and wife. Deed book 72, page 76. [Wiley Corbett was a grocer, hotelier, whiskey distiller, and barroom. I’m not sure exactly where his house was on Barnes Street, but it was likely one of several two-story dwellings depicted on East Barnes between Spring [Douglas] and Lodge Streets in the 1903 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.]
  • On 24 November 1905, to secure a $99.45 debt, Richard Renfrow mortgaged to Koken Barber’s Supply Company of Saint Louis, Missouri, the following items from Koken’s 1905 catalog, which were to be placed in Renfrow’s “one story metal covered building, known as Wiggins Building on Nash Street”: “two 142 One Lever barber chairs … upholstered in maroon plush,” “four #333 mirroes 24 x 30 bevel” and four “327 mirroes bevel,” all of oak. Deed book 72, page 83.
  • On 14 September 1906, F.S. Hargrave sold to F.O. Williston “all of the Drugs, Medicines, Sundries, and fixtures of the Ideal Pharmacy,” as well as accounts payable and receivable, but not the soda fountain, tanks, and other apparatus in the shop. Deed book 72, page 171.

  • On 1 January 1907, to secure a debt of $150, Raeford Dew mortgaged to Patience Lamm, on whose land in Cross Roads township Dew was engaged in the cultivation of various crops, “one bay mare mule bought of John T. Moore, one iron axle cart, two plows, one turning plow the other cotton plow and all other farming implements,” plus all crops cultivated in 1907. Deed book 72, page 176-177. [Six months later, Dew shot and killed his wife Mittie Dew and her lover, his brother Amos Dew.]

The sales of Peggy, Henry, Mourning, Harry, Elvy, Essex, Aaron, and Julia.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 10 May 1860, for love and affection, John P. Clark sold Pomeroy P. Clark, in trust for Nancy B. Clark, a woman named Peggy, aged about 25, her children Henry, 7, and Mourning, 3, and a man named Harry, 19. Deed Book 1, page 570, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [John P. Clark is listed in the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County as the owner of five enslaved people — a 25 year-old woman (Peggy), a 19 year-old man (Harry), a 7 year-old boy (Henry), a 5 year-old girl, and a 3 year-old girl (Mourning). For more about Peggy Flowers Farmer and Harry Clark, see here and here and here.]
  • On 29 December 1860, for $1, Jennet Holland of Wilson County transferred Needham G. Holland of Wilson County, in trust, property to sell as he thought most advantageous to the benefit of numerous creditors assorted property, including 415 acres on Great Swamp in Wayne and Wilson Counties, farm animals, and enslaved people Elvy, Essex, Aaron, and Julia. Deed Book 1, page 658, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [Forty-six year-old Jennet Holland is a head of household in the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County.]

The sales of George, Harry, Anica, Frances, Lorenzo, Easter, Edith, and Albert.

I have undertaken a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the mortgage, sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 3 February 1859, for $925, J.T. Rountree, acting on behalf of J.T. Bynum of Wilson County, sold Eli Robbins of Wilson County “one negro a boy by the name of George about twelve years & ten months old.” Deed Book 1, page 408, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • Also on 3 February 1859, for $1040, David Webb of Wilson County sold Eli Robbins of Wilson County a man named Harry, aged about 28 years. Deed Book 1, page 409, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Eli Robbins died in 1864. On 23 October of that year, an inventory of his estate recorded “five negroes Keziah, Amos, Harry, George, Jinny.”

  • On 1 April 1859, Sarah A.E. Stephens of Wilson County pledged to James J. Taylor as security for several notes totaling about $1700 a parcel of land on Barnes Street and Anica, Frances, and Lorenzo. Deed Book 1, page 422, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 26 June 1857, for $600, J. William Barnes sold Jesse Haynes a 9 year-old girl named Easter. The sale was not recorded until 26 April 1859. Deed Book 1, page 457, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [In the 1860 slave schedule of Oldfields township, Wilson County, Jesse Haynes reported owning two enslaved people — a 36 year-old woman and an 11 year-old girl, who was almost surely Easter.]
  • Also on 26 June 1857, for $600, J. William Barnes sold Jonas Lamb a girl named Edith, aged about 11. Deed Book 1, page 510, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [Whether or not they were sisters, Easter and Edith had lived in the same small community, and the pain of their separation from their families and each other is unfathomable.]
  • On 1 January 1859, for $575, Bennett Barnes sold Benjamin Parker an 8 year-old boy named Albert. Deed Book 1, page 518, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. [In the 1860 slave schedule of Oldfields township, Wilson County, Benjamin Parker reported owning three enslaved people — a 25 year-old woman and two boys, aged 10 (almost surely Albert) and 1.]

Eli Robbins Estate Records, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998, ancestry.com.

The sales of Jason, Lettice, Martha, Lovet, Ben, Britt, Miranda, Elijah, Amy, and Jane (or James Henry).

I finally undertook a page-by-page examination of Wilson County’s earliest deed books to look for evidence of the sale, trade, or transfer of enslaved people. I found plenty.

  • On 12 May 1855, John Harper of Wilson County conveyed to Joshua Barnes in trust for the sole use and benefit of Harper’s wife Mary Harper “three slaves Jason, Lettice & Martha.” After her death or remarriage, ownership of the three would be divided among Harper’s heirs. Deed Book 1, Page 24, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 9 July 1855, William Liles of Wilson County for $479.85 sold Levi Baily household and kitchen furniture, a cow, a yearling, seventeen hogs, and (this is ambiguous, but what seems to be the hire of) “one Negro boy named Lovet” until 29 December 1855. Deed Book 1, Page 34, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 18 July 1855, Stephen C. Barnes of Wilson County conveyed to William M. Barnes and Jesse Sauls a “certain negro slave named Ben — aged about Ten years.” Ben was in effect security for a debt Stephen Barnes owed to the estate of Bunyan Barnes in the amount of $725. If Stephen Barnes timely paid off the debt, the conveyance of Ben was void. Deed Book 1, Page 37, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 4 July 1855, Grooms H. Barnes of Wilson County conveyed to Etheldred Sauls and John Coley of Wayne County the 370-acre tract of land on which Bunyan Barnes had lived, “one negro boy named Britt,” five horses, all his stock and hogs, and various furniture to secure a debt Barnes owed to Jonathan Barnes and James Barnes, trustees of Bunyan Barnes. If Groom Barnes timely paid off the debt, the conveyance was void. Deed Book 1, Page 37, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.
  • On 11 October 1855, for $300, Thomas Allen of Wilson County sold Henrietta Sikes of Wilson County “four slaves Miranda, Elijah, Amy, Jane or James Henry,” a horse and buggy, the cattle on the place on which Allen lived, a roan mare, and “my share & interest in the crop of 1855 on the plantation or farm where I now live which was formerly the property of my Wifes mother.” Deed Book 1, Page 75, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The sale of Westley, who is sound and healthy.

Received of John P. Bardin & Wm. H. Bardin six hundred & twenty Dollars in full payment of a negro boy named Westley The title of said negro I will forever warrant & defend I also warrant him to be sound & healthy, January 25th 1858  Amos Barnes

The execution of the foregoing Deed is proven before me by the acknowledgement of Jas. H. Barnes. Let it be registered Jan 29th 1858  J.C. Davis Clk

Deed Book 1, Page 328, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

The auction of Harry, Violet, Eliza and child, Ben, Dan, and Edy.

Per court order, on 25 December 1856, Gatsey T. Stanton, administratrix of the estate of her husbandWashington M. Stanton, registered the outcome of her auction of seven enslaved people — Harry, Violet, Eliza and child, Ben, Dan, and Edy. The Stantons’ son George W. Stanton was the highest bidder, offering $800 for Harry; $350 for Violet; $875 for Eliza and her child; and $182 for Ben (who was either very young, or very old, or disabled.) G.W. Stanton received a credit of $112 for taking Dan and Edy, who were likely past their working years. This transaction was recorded in Deed Book 1, page 174, Wilson County Register of Deeds office.

The same day, G.W. Stanton sold the same lot of enslaved people back to his mother for what he had paid — $2095.

Deed Book 1, page 259, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. 

Know all men by these presents that I, G.W. Stanton for & in consideration of the sum of two thousand & ninety five Dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have given granted bargained & sold & doth by these presents give grant bargain & sell unto Gatsey Stantonsburg Negroes Harry, Violet, Eliza & child, Ben, Dan & Edy to have & to hold unto the said Gatsey Stanton her executors administrators & assigns in fee simple forever.

In testament whereof the said G.W. Stanton doth set his hand & seal this the 25th day of December 1856.    G.W. Stanton {seal}

Notwithstanding his status as a slaveowner, George W. Stanton was a staunch Unionist and in 1868 delivered an incendiary address to the state legislature that some claimed incited freedmen murder and burn the property of white people. (More of this later.)  In 1871, Stanton filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission for reimbursement for property seized by the Union Army. One of the witnesses on his behalf was 48 year-old Harry Stanton of Greene County, N.C. — surely the Harry noted above. To read Harry Stanton’s detailed testimony, see here. (George W. Stanton’s claim was disallowed. The Commission acknowledged his Union sympathies, but determined that his service as a justice of the peace and in the Home Guard — even if done to avoid active military duty — disqualified him as a loyalist.)

The sale of Sarah, age six.

Deed book 1, page 129, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

On 28 January 1856, William T. Bradberry and wife Nancy M. Bradberry of Putnam County, Indiana, appointed William K. Lane of Wayne County, North Carolina, their agent to sell “a certain negro slave now in the possession of Amos Horne of the County of Wilson.” For $450, Lane sold Mrs. Edith Horne that “certain negro slave,” a little girl named Sarah, aged six.

William Bradberry was a Wayne County, North Carolina, native, who migrated to Indiana in the early 1850s. His wife Nancy Horn Bradberry was likely a relative of Edith Horn’s husband’s family. Edith Horn was the widow of Hardy Horn; Amos Horn was their son. (Hardy Horn died circa 1841. His death wrenched apart the 15 people he had held in slavery. More about his estate later.) The Horns lived in the Black Creek area on land that was in Wayne County until Wilson County was established in 1855. The 1860 Wilson County slave schedule shows Edith Horn of Black Creek township with 13 enslaved people living in three houses — women and girls aged 50, 33, 30, 14, 8, and 2, and men and boys aged 55, 24, 21, 13, 13, 7, and 4.