domestic abuse

Barber v. Barber.

Attorney John E. Woodard filed this divorce petition on behalf of his client, Sallie M. Barbour, in Wilson County Superior Court in early 1901.

  • Charles and Sallie M. Barber were married 11 July 1896 in Clayton, Johnston County. [Note: as shown in her signature, Sallie, at least, spelled her last name “Barbour.”]
  • Their sons — Luther, 13, twins James and John, 9, and Hubert, 7 — live with their father, “who is not a proper person to have the care and custody” of the children.
  • On 27 February 1900, Charles assaulted Sallie with a pistol, forcing her to flee their home to a neighbor’s house.
  • Charles, “who is a strong man,” also struck Sallie, “a frail delicate woman,” with his fist.
  • Charles is a “habitual drunkard” who, when under the influence, has repeatedly threatened Sallie’s life.
  • Since she was forced to leave their house, Charles has refused to support Sallie. Sallie has tried to support herself as a school teacher, but Charles, “to annoy and embarrass” her, notified the school superintendent and trustees to pay her salary to him.
  • Charles has committed adultery with Dora Sills, Hannah Cooke and others.
  • Sallie, a life-long North Carolina resident, is seeking divorce, child custody, and costs.

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In the 1880 census of Clayton, Johnston County: Essex Blake, 53; wife Clara, 43; and children Della, 23, Robert, 21, Sallie, 19, Benjamin, 17, James, 15, Halsey, 12, Antney, 10, Timothy, 8, Ardelia, 6, Narsissie, 6, and Jerry, 5.

The 1900 census reflects the Barbours’ separation. In Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charley Barber, 41, described as married; sons Luther, 13, James and John, 7, and Hubert, 5; widowed sister Mary Tomlingson, 42, and her children Ella, 9, and Charley, 4; and boarders Turner Utley, 27, John Purkison, 31, and George Garrett, 25. In a different household: John W. Rodgers, 30; wife Mary E., 22; sister Minnie, 17; and boarder Sallie Barber, 35, described as “widowed.”

In the 1908 version of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, the only Barbers listed are James M., Jno. W., and Luther Barber at 129 Pender Street, and Sallie Barber next door at 131 Pender.

However, over the next decade, the couple reconciled. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charlie Barber, 47; wife Sallie, 40, teacher; sons Luther, 21, James and John, 17, and Hubert, 15; and roomers Willie Harris, 17, and Carrie Mayswood, 16.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 809 Nash Street, barber John Barber, 27; wife Ethel, 26; widowed mother Sallie, 59, a school teacher; and brother Luther Barber, 32, also a barber.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1100 East Nash Street, Sallie Barber, 67, widowed public school teacher, and her sister Tiny Hill, 69, also a widowed teacher.

Sallie Minnie Barbour died 22 April 1942 at her home at 1100 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; was born in Wake County to Essex Blake and Clara Hodge; was a widow; and was a schoolteacher. Ardelia Nunn, 1100 East Nash, was informant.