In the era before robust municipal services, Wilson’s County Commissioners contracted with private citizens to perform certain public work. Occasionally, African Americans benefited from such contracts, but most obtaining public money received them in the form of witness fees for court appearances.
“A statement according to the law of the amount claimed and allowed by the Board of County Commissioners and to whom allowed beginning 1st Monday in September 1879 and ending 1st Monday in September 1880, and the county revenue for same period, to wit:”
Richard Lindsey — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, mechanic Richard Lindsey, 51; wife Olive, 42, “keeping house & midwife;” and sons Richard, 14, Henry, 11, and Austin, 23, drayman.
Charles Darden — Charles H. Darden was a blacksmith whose sideline building coffins turned into one of the first African American undertaking businesses in North Carolina.