Follow-up: Where was the Silver Boot Grill?

In a recent post, I asked if anyone knew the location of Ola and Georgia Dupree‘s Silver Boot Grill, and reader D.C. came through.

Ads described the restaurant’s address only as Highway 301-A South, which once cut through East Wilson following the path of what is now Pender Street. D.C. forwarded me this detail from a 1945 plat with two lots highlighted. 301-A Highway shows a center median that I suspect was aspirational. At top center is a proposed new highway — today’s four lane U.S. 301/Ward Boulevard. The street cutting downward at top right is Black Creek Road and, off it at an angle, is what was then Stantonsburg Road. 

Detail from Subdivision of the Farrior-Fleming Farm Near Wilson, N.C., Plat Book 4, Page 19, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

A little searching on the Wilson County Register of Deeds website revealed that Ola and Georgia Anna Dupree bought lots 40 and 43 from Annie V. Farrior on 26 January 1945. Five years later, to secure a $3500 loan, the Duprees mortgaged both lots, as well as two electric refrigerators (a Jordan Drink Box Model 40-6 and a Hussman Reach-In Refrigerator); a gas cooking stove; a Marston Steam Table Model #90; all tables, chairs, and counters; and all other stock and equipment “used in the operation of their restaurant business now known as Silver Boot Grill.”

Lots 40 and 43 of the Farrior-Fleming tract are now 915 Pender Street South and are the site of a defunct used tire dealership. I am pretty sure that this side building at Rolling Tires started life as the Silver Boot. Painted brick appears to have been applied over the original cladding, and the stepped side walls were leveled off to support a fairly recent gabled roof.

June 2022.

Thanks, D.C.!

1105 Atlantic Street.

The one hundred-forty-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. 1922; 1 story; bungalow with gable-end form and subsidiary gable-end porch.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Joyner Lee J (c; Sarah) plstr h 1105 Atlanta

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McCall Oscar (c; Flora) truck driver h 1105 Atlantic

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Street, taxi chauffeur Oscar McCall, 27; wife Flora, 22; and children Louise, 6, Louis, 5, Willie F., 3, and H.B., 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Avenue, butler Ola Dupree, 44; wife Georgia, 32; and roomers Florence Atkinson, 24, and her husband William Atkinson, 26, a medical doctor.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dupree Otis (c; Georgia) cook h 1105 Atlantic

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dupree Ola (c; Georgia A; Silver Boot Grill) h 1105 Atlantic

Wilson Daily Times, 12 April 1980.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 November 1985.

Snaps, no. 49: Clara Dupree Atkins.

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In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Moses Dupree, 45; wife Henrietta S., 41; daughters Clara, 19, and Smithy, 17; and grandson William, 8 months.

On 7 October 1921, Fred Atkinson, of Cross Roads township, son of Mary Adams, married Clara Dupree, 20, of Cross Roads township, daughter of Moses and Henrietta Dupree. Missionary Baptist minister R. Crockett performed the ceremony in the presence of Mark McCoy and Charlie Davis of Wilson and Willie Harris of Lucama.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred Adkins, 49; wife Clara, 39; and children Gladys, 18, Sally, 16, Rubby, 14, Earlean, 12, Thomas, 10, Willie, 9, Allie, 7, Thelma, 5, and Paul, 2.

Clara Atkins died 9 October 1957 at Lincoln Hospital, Durham, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 January 1903 in Greene County to Moses Dupree and Henrietta Speight and was married to Fred Atkins. Informant was Ethel Atkins, Durham.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user shoys2000.

Old Ed.

Ed Dupree lived a colorful life.

On a Saturday night in February 1936, three white men — Offie Page, Floyd Page and Gwin Pullman — pulled up outside Dupree’s Railroad Street house, called him to the car and forced him in at gunpoint. Fighting off blows, Dupree dived through the rear window as the vehicle neared Stantonsburg Street. When the police caught up with the trio, they found a toy pistol and a pointing finger — Dupree, the men said, was the responsible for Pullman’s arrest for possession of five gallons of unlawful liquor.

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Wilson Daily Times, 4 February 1936.

Almost three years later, Dupree was in court facing his fifth bootlegging charge in the last twelve months. Nettie Williams testified that Dupree had offered to pay her to take responsibility for the half-gallon of liquor police had found at his house. Police testified that they discovered alcohol poured into a bucket and stashed in “trap doors” in the outhouse and about the house. Ed Dupree’s daughter Mary testified that Nettie had brought the liquor in and dumped it when the cops arrived. The recorder — essentially, a magistrate — was not persuaded. He sentenced Dupree to six months “on the roads,” i.e. on a chain gang, and resurrected a six-month suspended sentence on top of that.

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Wilson Daily Times, 17 January 1939.


In the 1930 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson township, Wilson County: at 420 South Lodge Street, rented for $20/month, bottling plant laborer Egar [sic] Dupree, 55; wife Bettie, 31; children Wilder, 11, Esther, 9, Mary E., 7, and Edgar Jr., 5; and roomer Cornelia Hicks, 22.

Per the 1930 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Edw. Dupree was employed by Barnes-Harrell Company, bottlers of Coca-Cola. W. Offie Page was a clerk at P.L. Woodard & Company, an agricultural supply company. The directory also lists Floyd S. Page, a salesman with Wilson Auto Sales, and Floyd T. Page, a switchman. (At least twice — in 1939 and 1943 — the Daily Times printed notices that recent references to arrests of “Floyd Page” did not refer to car salesman Floyd. I suspect that switchman Floyd was the party involved in the kidnapping of Ed Dupree.)

The Silver Boot Grill.

Ola and Georgia Anna Williams Dupree opened the Silver Boot Grill in 1947, serving an all-black clientele.


Wilson Daily Times, 26 March 1948.

Two years later, the restaurant closed for enlargement and remodeling. When it reopened, it announced that curb service was available for their “white friends.”


Wilson Daily Times, 30 June 1949.


Wilson Daily Times, 30 June 1949.


On 29 January 1927, Ola Dupree, 30, married Georgia Williams, 20, in Wilson. Methodist minister J.T. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of Mrs. Mamie Pender, G.W. White, and Suprema Croom.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Avenue, butler Ola Dupree, 44; wife Georgia, 32; and roomers Florence Atkinson, 24, and her husband William Atkinson, 26, a medical doctor.


The obituary of Wiley Dupree.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 February 1944.


On 5 March 1903, Wiley Dupree, 23, son of Ben and Bettie Dupree, married Victoria Woodard, 22, daughter of Dennis and A. Woodard, in Wilson township. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony in the presence of Rachel Steptoe, Charley Dawson and Nancy Dawson.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, farm laborer Wiley Dupree, 29; wife Victora, 28; and daughters Nancy, 7, and Hester, 9 months.

Wiley Dupree registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 16 May 1879; was a laborer at Imperial Tobacco Company Limited; and his nearest relative was Victoria Dupree.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vick Street, wagon factory laborer Wylie Dupree, 42; wife Victoria, 33, and daughter Nancy, 16, both tobacco factory laborers.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Vick Street, bricklayer Wiley Dupree,  50, and wife Victoria, 42.

Wiley Dupree died 3 February 1944 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1898 [actually, about 1880] to Benjamin Dupree and Bette Barnes; resided at 106 South Vick Street; was married to Victoria Dupree; and worked as a plumber.