Wilson Daily Times, 4 October 1939.
- Dr. William H. Phillips
- Saratoga Colored School — an elementary school for African-American children in the Saratoga area.
Wilson Daily Times, 4 October 1939.
Again, for a town whose population did not hit 10,000 until 1920 (of which only half were black), Wilson produced an astounding number of African-American physicians in the last decades of the nineteenth century and first few of the twentieth century. To the ranks of Drs. Joseph Henry Ward, Charles Hudson Bynum, William Henry Bryant, John Wesley Darden, James Thomas Suggs, Walter Theodore Darden, James Alexander Battle, James Arthur Cotton, John Clemon Williamson and Rolland Tyson Winstead, add four grandsons of Della Hines Barnes — Drs. Boisey O. Barnes, William C. Hines, Walter D. Hines and Clifton R. Hines.
African-American physicians who practiced in Wilson prior to World War II, but were born elsewhere, included: George W. Williams, Frank Settle Hargrave, William Arthur Mitchner, Michael Edmund Dubissette, William H. Atkinson Jr., Thomas Clinton Tinsley, Matthew Stanley Gilliam Sr., and Joseph Franklin Cowan.
Native-born dentists from this period, none of whom practiced in Wilson, included Paul L. Jackson, Christopher L. Taylor and James D. Reid, while William H. Phillips, Lee C. Jones and George K. Butterfield Sr. settled in the community from elsewhere.
Simms’ Blue Book and National Negro Business & Professional Directory (1923).
In late fall of 1948, Dr. Julian Brown Rosemond, a South Carolina native, announced the opening of dental office at 527 1/2 East Nash Street, above Isaac and Kenneth Shade‘s pharmacy. He later built a small office building at 548 East Nash.
Wilson Daily Times, 3 November 1948.
Dr. Rosemond during his World War II service, a few years before arriving in Wilson.
Photo courtesy of Maria Rosemond Logan.
Dentist and civil rights leader Christopher L. Taylor was born in Wilson, North Carolina, to Russell Buxton Taylor and Viola Gaither on December 21, 1923. Taylor served in the United States Army in World War II. In 1945, he received a bachelor of arts degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Five years later, he earned a D.D.S. degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Taylor opened his dental practice in the then-predominately African American Watts district of Los Angeles, California, in 1951. During the 1950s and 1960s, he provided bus service to his clinic and sponsored the annual Children’s Christmas Parade and Party. He also gave baskets of food to needy families at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Christopher Taylor played a major role in the then-evolving civil rights movement in the largest city in the West and the third largest city in the nation. In the early 1960s, he headed the Los Angeles branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In May of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a civil rights rally of thirty-five thousand people at Wrigley Field Baseball Stadium in Los Angeles.
Shortly after King’s visit, Taylor established the United Civil Rights Committee (UCRC) and directed it as the committee became the most vocal organization for black equality in the history of the city. UCRC included members of the NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Congress of Racial Equality. Several individual black leaders also belonged to UCRC. Among them were Los Angeles councilman Tom Bradley, leading civil rights attorney Loren Miller, and Marnesba Tackett, head of the NAACP’s education committee.
On June 24, 1963, Taylor and Tackett organized a mass protest against school segregation. Led by UCRC, over a thousand citizens marched from the First African Episcopal Church through the downtown business district to the offices of the Los Angeles Board of Education. It was, to that time, the largest demonstration for African American civil rights in the city’s history. Taylor led nine other marches for school integration. He also marched throughout Los Angeles County in 1963 and 1964 for housing integration and employment opportunities for African American residents.
Taylor also engaged in important political work which he saw as parallel to and supportive of his civil rights efforts. He served as eastside Los Angeles chairman for the successful re-election of California Governor Edmund G. ”Pat” Brown in 1962 and the election of Tom Bradley to the Los Angeles mayoralty in 1973. Bradley’s election marked the first time since the Spanish-Mexican era that someone of African ancestry had served as mayor of the city, and Taylor was publicly proud of the role he had played in the campaign.
During the 1960s, Taylor received numerous awards for his civil rights leadership. Among them were the NAACP Life Membership Award, Los Angeles City Council Award for Civil Rights, and the Presidential Commendation for Human Rights.
Christopher L. Taylor died in Wilson, North Carolina, on August 16, 1995, at the age of seventy-one. He was survived by two sons.
“Dr. Christopher L. Taylor, Noted Civil Rights Leader,” Los Angeles Sentinel, November 8, 1995; N.C. Department of Health, North Carolina Deaths, 1993-1996; Josh Sides, L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
— “Christopher L. Taylor (1923-1995),” African-American History in the West, blackpast.org
Pittsburgh Courier, 8 January 1949.
New York Age, 28 September 1916.
In the 1900 census of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina: cook Frank Phillips, 47; wife Margarett, 45; and children Mary, 25, Jeanett, 21, Dealian, [illegible], Frank, [illegible], Willie, 8, Bessie, 15, and Susie, 6.
In 1917, William Haywood Phillips registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 23 December 1891 in Raleigh, North Carolina; lived at 530 1/2 Nash Street, Wilson; was single; and worked as a dentist.
On 30 November 1917, William H. Phillips, 25, married Jewell Jennifer, 18, in Washington, D.C.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 332 South Spring, widow Ella Battle, 52, and her children Grace [Glace], 27, teacher Roberta, 29, tobacco worker John, 25, and Olga Battle, 11, shared their home with boarders Georgia Burks, 25, a Georgia-born teacher, and chauffeur Theodore Speight, 17; and roomers William Phillips, 35, a dentist, and his wife Jewel, 23.
On 6 May 1930, William Haywood Phillips, 36, divorced, son of Frank and Margarett Haywood Phillips, married Rena Manor Carter, 34, widow, daughter of Robert and Mary D. Carter, in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the 1930 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: renting at 115 Andrew Street, dentist William H. Phillips, 37, and wife Rena C., 33.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Green Street, dentist William H. Phillips, 47, and wife Rena C., 45.
William Haywood Phillips died 26 October 1957 at his home at 405 Green Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 December 1892 in Raleigh; was married to Rena J. Phillips; and worked as a dentist.
Caldwell, A.B., History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (1921).
For a brief period in the 1920s, a second African-American dentist plied his trade on East Nash Street in competition with Dr. William H. Phillips. He appears in the 1925 and 1928 Wilson city directories and, as far as known, nowhere else:
In the 1900 census of Raleigh, Wake County: on Cabarrus Street, lineman Richard Jones, 36; wife Alice, 34; and children Charlie, 15, Walter, 10, Palmer, 8, Leclair, 4, and Lewis V. Jones, 4; Sonnie Mitchell, 5 months; and mother-in-law Laura Gray, 55.
In the 1910 census of Raleigh, Wake County: on NWest Cabarrus Street, tobacco factory laborer Richard Jones, 42; wife Alice, 43; and children Charley, 24, Walter, 20, Lee C. and Louis V., 14, and Nathaniel, 10, plus mother-in-law Laura Gray, 59.
Lee Clarence Jones registered for the World War I draft in 1917 in Wake County, North Carolina. Per his draft card, he was born 2 September 1895; resided at 124 West Cabarrus; was unemployed; and was single.
Mess Attendant Lee C. Jones, left, on the deck of the USS Susquehanna during World War I, February 1918.
In the 1920 census of Raleigh, Wake County: at 124 West Cabarrus, Alice Jones, 56; sons Walter, 27, L.C. and Louis V., 22, and N.R., 19; and mother Laura Gray, 64.
On 8 November 1921, Lee Clarence Jones and Sadie Lee Coley were married in Washington, D.C.
In the 1925 Wilson city directory: Jones Lee C, dentist 553 E Nash h 111 N Pender
On 30 June 1926, Lee and Sadie Coley Jones’ twins Clinton Merrill Jones and Clarence Conte Jones were born in Wilson.
In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Jones Lee C (c; Sadie L), dentist 559 1/2 E Nash h 1010 Atlanta
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1010 Atlantic Street, seamstress Sadie Jones, 32, and sons Emery L., 7, Clarance and Clinton, 3; and lodgers Catherine Joyner, 14, James Coley, 9, and Elaine Coley, 15. [Sadie Jones was described as “single” and presumably was divorced.]
In the 1940 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 116 North Lee, dentist Lee C. Jones, 35, and sons Emory L., 17, Clarence, 13, and Clinton M., 13. [The boys were also listed in their mother Sadie Jones’ household in the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.] Per the Salisbury Historic District (Boundary Amendment and Additional Documentation) form submitted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, Dr. Jones opened an office on North Lee as early as 1939, and he and his son Clinton practiced there in the 1950s.
Lee Clarence Jones died 27 October 1961 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 September 1895 to Richard Jones and Alice Stewart in Raleigh; resided in Salisbury; was married to Alice M. Jones; and worked as a dentist. He was a World War I veteran and was buried in Oakdale cemetery, Salisbury.
Photograph reprinted in the 26 January 2015 edition of the Salisbury Post, on-line here.
Tom Peacock, mid-1940s.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Vick Street, hotel bellboy Levi Peacock, 30; wife Elouise, 28, a public school teacher; children Jewel D., 4, and Thomas L., 14; and mother-in-law Etta Reaves, 50, post office maid. [This entry contains serious errors. Jual D. Peacock was a daughter, rather than son, of Levi and Eloise Peacock, and Thomas was in fact just over a year old in 1930.]
Thomas Levi Peacock registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1946. Per his registration card, he was born 6 December 1928 in Wilson County; resided at 414 North Reid Street; his contact was Levi Harry Peacock; and he was a student at Darden High School.
Thomas Levi Peacock graduated from Darden in 1947 and entered Howard University in Washington, D.C. He pledged Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity in 1948 and graduated in 1951.
The Bison (1951).
Peacock enlisted in the Air Force after graduation and in 1952 graduated from Officer Candidate School.
Wilson Daily Times, 12 July 1952.
Peacock went on to Meharry Medical College’s Dental School and in 1958 was licensed to practice dentistry in North Carolina:
Within a few years, Dr. Peacock opened a practice in Jamaica, Queens, New York, where he immediately rose to prominence in social, as well as professional circles …
Baltimore Afro-American, 17 December 1963.
… and was named one of the “Bachelors for 1964” in the August 1964 issue of Ebony magazine.
Dr. Peacock is retired and, after returning to live in Wilson for several years, now resides in Florida.
Photograph in the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks, now in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.
Astor Burt Bowser, born 1896, was one of three sons of Burt L. and Sarah Rountree Bowser. He appears with his parents (and grandparents) in the 1900 and 1910 censuses of Wilson, but in 1916 is listed at 17 Mott Street in the city directory of White Plains, New York. When he registered for World War I draft in September 1918, however, he was in Wilson, working in his father Burt’s cafe.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County, the Bowser family’s surname was erroneously recorded as “Brown.”
Occupations of the household’s inhabitants were recorded in the right-most columns. Astor’s? Doctor/dentist.
Dentist? When and where did Astor Bowser attend dental school?
Astor married Deloris Harvey of Alamance County on 17 August 1921 in Wilson. Throughout the 1920s, he appears to have continued to move between Wilson and greater New York City. In the 1922 and 1925 city directories of Wilson, he is listed as an insurance agent residing at 520 East Nash. However, in the 1924 White Plains city directory: Astor B Bowser, clerk, at 17 Mott. And in the 1925 New York state census of White Plains, Westchester County: bank messenger Astor Bowser, 28, wife Deloris, 24, daughter Sarah, 2, and Lettia Bowser, 49, a widow. In the 1926 and 1928 city directories of White Plains, Astor is listed as a porter living at 7 Mott Street. But Astor B. Bowser Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, in May 1928.
In the 1930 census, Astor B. Bowser, 32, Delores, 29, and their children, Astor B., Jr., 1, and Sarah, 6, are listed in Chicago, Illinois, at 4905 Vincennes, where they were lodgers. Astor worked as an artist in his own studio and Deloris as a saleslady in a millinery.
In 1942, Astor registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 29 September 1896 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided at 4905 Vincennes, Chicago; was married to Delores Bowser; and worked for the Fannie May Candy Company.
Astor died in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, in 1981.
Was Astor really then a dentist?
A brief entry in an industry journal may clear up the matter:
The Dental Cosmos: a Monthly Record of Dental Science, Edward C. Kirk, ed. (1917).
In fact, it was Astor’s elder brother Russell L. Bowser who attended dental school, graduating from Howard in June 1917. The same month, he registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card: Russell Linwood Bowser was born 5 March 1891 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 416 Oakdale Place, Washington, D.C.; was single; worked as a dental surgeon in Washington; was tall, medium build, with brown eyes and black hair; and had “defective eyesight and a weak heart.”
In the 1920 census of Chicago, Illinois: North Carolina-born Dr. Linwood Bowser, 28, dentist, was a lodger on Evans Avenue.
In 1942, Russell Linwood Bowser registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card: he was born 5 March 1891 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 5634 South Parkway, Chicago (telephone number Went 2910); listed as a close contact Mr. A.B. Bowser, 4905 Vincennes Avenue, Chicago; and worked in the Central Investigating Unit, Federal Security Agency, Public Health Service, 54 West Hubbard Street, Chicago.
Per the Cook County, Illinois, Death Index, Russell L. Bowser died 2 December 1951.