East Green Street

916 East Green Street.

The twenty-sixth 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 2 stories; Thomas Cook house; cubic form with low hip roof and bungalow elements; asphalt shingles; Cook was a house painter.”

Actually, Thomas Cook lived at 900 Stantonsburg Street, across from the Wesley Jones family. This home, instead, belonged to Jerry L. and Clara Godette Cook, who arrived in Wilson from New Bern, North Carolina, in the 1920s.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hadley Street, railroad mail clerk Jerry L. Cook, 43; wife Clara, 39, teacher; children Henderson, 20, Edwin D., 18, Clara G., 14, Georgia E., 12, Annie, 8, Jerry L., 6, and Eunice D., 4; sister Georgia E. Wyche, 48, teacher; and nieces Kathaline Wyche, 7, and Reba Whittington, 19.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 916 East Green Street, railway clerk J.L. Cook, 54, born Wake County; wife Clara, 48, born Craven County; children Henderson J., 30, Clara, 24, Annie, 18, Jerry, 16, and Eunice, 14; and cousin Ella Godette, 18. Henderson and young Clara were born in New Bern; the remaining children in Wilson.

Clara Godette Cook died 31 January 1952 at her home at 916 East Green Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 18 April 1891 in Craven County, North Carolina, to Jesse P. Godette and Eliza Ann Fenner; was married; and worked as a teacher. Clara Cook Bailey, 916 East Green Street, was informant.

Jerry Lee Cooke died 9 September 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 November 1886 to Henderson Cooke and Mariah D. Matchlor; resided at 916 East Green Street; was widowed; and was a retired postal clerk.

415 East Green Street.

The twenty-third 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “1922; 2 stories; Ada Winstead house; Colonial Revival house with hip-roofed, cubic form and two-tier porch; heavy brick porch posts; Winstead was a seamstress with business downtown and prominent white clientele.”

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Charles Smith, 26; wife Virginia, 22; children Arminta, 7, John T., 3, and Charles H., 1; and brother-in-law Braswell Winstead, 20, teaching school.

On 29 June 1899, Braswell R. Winstead, 38, of Wilson County, son of Riley Robins and Malicia Winstead, married Ada E. Davis, 24, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Washington and Virginia Davis of Edgecombe. Samuel H. Vick applied for the licence, and A.M.E. minister W.B. Williams performed the ceremony in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County, in the presence, among others of John Barnes and John S. Gaston of Wilson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: assistant postmaster Braswell Winstead, 39, wife Ada, 25, and children Arnold, 13, George, 12, Rolland, 11, and Christine, 8.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Brazell Winstead, 48, street laborer; wife Ada, 32, dressmaker; and Martha, 31, and John Corbin, 34. Winstead reported having been twice married.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Braswell Winstead, 60, wife Ada E., and daughter Ethel L., 13, at 300 Pender Street.

By 1925, Ada Winstead’s dressmaking business, Ada’s Modeste Parlor, was booming at 108 West Nash Street, the heart of downtown. She employed at least five dressmakers to cater to her white clientele, including her sister-in-law Ella Davis, Louise Wilson, Lovella Cotton, Eliza Best, and Lessie Locust. The city directory for that year shows the spacious house at 415 East Green occupied by carpenter James W. Davis (Ada’s father); Ada Winstead and her husband Braswell R. Winstead, a barber at Sanitary Shaving Parlor; Otho Davis, a grocer at 303 Hackney Street; his wife Ella Davis; Louise Wilson; and sisters Lovella and Novella Cotton.

Braswell R. Winstead died 22 August 1926 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1866 in Wilson County to Riley Robins and Malissa Winstead; worked as a barber; resided at 415 East Green Street; and was married to Ada E. Winstead. He was buried in the Masonic cemetery.

On 3 August 1929, Ada A. Winstead, 48, and Nazareth A. Pierce, 53, were married in Wilson by A.M.E. Z. minister J.E. Kennedy. Witnesses were John M. Barnes, Mary Roberson and George Roberson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, insurance agent Nazareth Pierce, 54; wide Ada, seamstress; son Fletcher, 17, and daughter Elmira, 25.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 East Green, widow Virginia Davis, 65; son Otho, 36, a grocery merchant; daughter-in-law Ella, 36; grandson Otho Jr., 15; and two roomers, Robert Hines, 45, Christian church janitor, and David Hinderson, 25, a butler. Virginia owned the house, valued at $3000, and reported that she had been born in Virginia to parents born in England.

Ada Winstead Pierce’s brother, Otho C. Davis, died 21 September 1934. Per his death certificate, he resided at 415 East Green; was married to Ella H. Davis; worked as a storekeeper;  and was born about 1885 in Danville, Virginia to James W. Davis and Virginia Richardson.

Ada Winstead Pierce’s mother, Virginia Davis, died 11 June 1935. Per her death certificate, she resided at 415 East Green; was the widow of James W. Price; and was born about 1865 in Virginia to Randle Jefferson and Francis Terrell.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 June 1935.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 415 East Green Street, insurance collector N. Andrew Pierce, 61; wife Ada W., 58, a seamstress; nephew Otha R. Davis, 28, a beer parlor owner; his wife Lillie, 23, a nurse; their son Otha R., Jr., 6 months; and mother Ella Davis, 52; plus lodgers Elnora Armstrong, 90; Thomas Williams, 35, and Johnie Sarvis, 33.

In 1940, Willie Johnnie Sarvis Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he resided at 415 East Green Street; his telephone number was Wilson 2193; he was born 7 December 1905 in Norfolk, Virginia; he worked for Ed Bishop, Carolina Laundry, Tarboro Street, Wilson; and his contact was Ada Winstead, 415 East Green, friend.

Nazareth Pierce died 16 February 1941 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1877 in Franklin County, North Carolina, to Adam W. Pierce; lived at 415 East Green Street; was married to Ada A. Pierce; and worked as an insurance agent. He was buried in Rountree cemetery. Joseph L. Pierce was informant.

Ada E.W. Pierce executed a will on 2 June 1949 in Wilson. She left all her property, including the houses at 413 and 415 East Green, to her great-nephews Otha Richardson Davis Jr. and James Rudolph Davis in a trust to be administered by Branch Banking & Trust Company of Wilson.

Ada Winstead Pierce died 10 November 1949 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 February 1881 in Virginia to James Washington Davis and Virginia Richardson; was widowed; was a dressmaker and seamstress; and resided at 415 East Green. She was buried in the Masonic cemetery. B.O. Barnes was the certifying physician, and C.E. Artis handled funeral arrangements.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 November 1949.

Otha R. Davis passed in 2009, age 91. Otha Davis Jr. passed in 2011, age 72. 415 East Green Street remains in the family.

 

602 East Green Street.

The twentieth 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 house is: “ca. 1935; 1 story; Isaac Shade house; brick-veneered Tudor Revival cottage; Shade, a druggist, contracted black builders Louis Thomas and John Barnes.”

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On 29 November 1898, Isaac A. Shade, 23, of Buncombe County married Emma Green, 21, of Buncombe County in Buncombe County.

In the 1900 census of Asheville, Buncombe County: at 174 Haywood Street, Isacc Shade, 24, laborer; wife Emma, 29; and children John, 7 months; and mother Alice Shade, 40.

In the 1910 census of Asheville, Buncombe County: on Jordan Street, Isacc Shade, 34, physician at drugstore; wife Emma, 22; son John, 10, Alice, 8, and Kenneth, 3; and widowed roomer Ollie Burgin, 41.

New York Age, 31 July 1913.

Isaac Albert Shade registered for the World War I draft in Wilson on 12 September 1918. Per his draft card, he lived at 110 Pender Street, Wilson; was born 17 May 1876; was a self-employed druggist at 530 East Nash Street, Wilson; and wife Estella Shade was his nearest relative.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 535 Nash Street, Turner Stokes, 50, carpenter; wife Morah, 39; mother-in-law Martha Pitt, 83; and boarders Isac Shade, 44, drugstore manager; wife Estella, 38; and children Kenneth, 13, and Sarah, 9.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Green Street, drugstore owner Dr. I.A. Shade, 63; wife Estelle, 54, city school teacher; niece Myrtle Lane, 23, county school teacher, and nephew George Lane, 21, drugstore clerk; and roomers Louisa [illegible], county school teacher, Vera Green, 18, housekeeper, and Catherine Ward, 20, county school teacher.

Isaac Albert Shade died 24 April 1953 at his home at 602 East Green. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 May 1875 in Morington [Morganton], North Carolina, to London Shade and Alice (last name unknown); was married; and was a pharmacist at a drugstore. Sarah Shade was informant.

Seventy-Second Annual Report of the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy (1953).

Photo of house by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017; undated photo of store courtesy of Delores Thomas, reprinted from Wilson Daily Times, 22 February 2008.

706 East Green Street.

The nineteenth 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; extensively remodeled two-room house with stuccoed facade and added wings.” Because of its extensive remodeling, the house was considered “non-contributing” to the historic character of the district.

The photograph below accompanies a fine article published in the January 2011 volume of North Carolina Historical Review, Richard L. Mattson’s “The Cultural Landscape of a Southern Black Community: East Wilson, North Carolina, 1890-1930.” The image dates from about 1910, and 706 East Green — though now heavily modified — is easily recognized in the twin gables fronting the house. The family depicted is that of John W. and Edmonia Barnes Farmer, whose grandson James E. Farmer provided the photograph.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Washington Farmer, 43; wife Wady, 44; and children Edith, 14; Fordin, 13; Gimsey, 11; John W., 8; Nancy, 6; and Orgius, 6; and Nelson Farmer, 21.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Barnes, 30; wife Anner, 24; and children Hardy, 8, Rena, 7, Edna, 1, and Jesse, 3.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Washington Farmer, 52; wife Waity, age about 50; and children Edieth, 25; Gincy, 21; John W., 18; Nancy, 16, Ojus, 13; Mariah, 2; and Margaret, 2.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: George Barnes, 41; wife Anna, 34; and children Hardy, 19; Reny, 17 (“toothache”); Jessee, 12; Edmonia, 11; George, 9; Minnie Adeline, 6; twins Joshua and General, 3; and William, 1 month.

On 25 December 1884, John W. Farmer, 22, married Edmonia Barnes, 18, at George Barnes’. G.T. Williamson and B.B. Barnett were witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon driver John W. Farmer, 37; wife Edmonia, 33; and children George, 13, Paul, 12, Annie, 9, Mary, 7, and Fannie, 5.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: express wagon driver John Farmer, 48; wife Edmonia, 41, a laundress; and children George, 23, factory laborer; Paul, 19, hotel servant; Annie, 18; Mary, 16; Fannie, 14; Arthur, 8; Melton, 6; and William, 4.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Green, plasterer John A. Farmer, 60; wife Nona, 61; sons James E., 17, and Woodie, 22, barber; and daughter-in-law Savana, 22, lodge bookkeeper.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: washer Edmonia Farmer, 71; husband John, 73; son James E., 27, a plasterer; daughter-in-law Doretha, 27, a beauty operator; and their son James E., 6; and grandchildren Marvin, 10, and Vera Farmer, 14.

Edmonia Farmer died 18 January 1947 at home. Per her death certificate, she was 77 years old, married to John Wash Farmer, and born in Wilson County to George Barnes of Wilson County and Annie Parker of Edgecombe County. George W. Farmer was informant, and Dr. William Hines certified the death.

John Wash Farmer died 20 January 1947 at home. Per his death certificate, he was 79 years old; was born in Wilson County to Wash Farmer of Wilson County and an unknown mother; and worked as an expressman. The informant was George W. Farmer, 1207 Carolina Street, Wilson.

624 East Green Street.

The sixteenth 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1922; 2 stories; Dr. Frank S. Hargrave House; district’s most distinguished Colonial Revival house when completed in the early 1920s; retains cubic form with cross gables and columned porte-cochere; aluminum; Hargrave was influential physician who helped organize local hospital for blacks.”

The house has been heavily modified, and its original charm is not easily detected. It remains, however, an imposing structure that, with Samuel H. Vick‘s house next door, dominates East Green Street.

Hargrave’s accomplishments have been chronicled here, here, and elsewhere at Black Wide-Awake. He did not live in the house long, migrating to New Jersey in the mid-1920s.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2016.

913 East Green Street.

The fourteenth 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: “ca. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; Darcey Yancey House; bungalow with engaged porch; Yancey was a druggist.”

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Dr. Darcey C. Yancy, proprietor of Ideal Pharmacy, was listed as a boarder at Union Hotel.

Darcey C. Yancey, 28, of Danville, Virginia, son of W.A. and F.S. Yancey, married Lelia Beatrice Ireland, 25, of Guilford County, North Carolina, on 14 September 1910 in Sedalia, North Carolina. One of the witnesses to the ceremony was Charlotte E. Hawkins, later Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who founded what would become Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia in 1902. Lelia Ireland, a graduate of Scotia Seminary, was the first teacher Hawkins Brown hired.

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Wilson Times, 24 August 1917.

Darcy Cecil Yancey registered for the World War I draft in Wilson on 12 September 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1883; resided at 547 East Nash Street; worked for himself as a druggist at 546 East Nash; and his nearest relative was Lelia B. Yancey.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: residing at 547 Nash Street, Darcy C. Yancey, 37, manager at drug store, and wife Lelia B., 32.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 538 East Nash Street, druggist Darcy C. Yancey, 46, wife Lelia B., 40, and daughter Maude, 9.

Also in 1930 census of Wilson, the enumerator found four young single women at 913 East Green Street: Minnesota-born Ruth A. Brown, 23, North Carolina-born Annie Wilson, 25, and Lucile Wynn, 22, and Washington, D.C.-born Bessie Davis, 28, all teachers, paying a total of $25/month in rent. The house, in effect, was a teacherage for Wilson Colored High School, which sat right across Carroll Street.

Intersection of Green and Carroll, Sanborn insurance map, 1930.

At some point in the 1930s, the Yanceys purchased 913 East Green and left their rented digs on Nash Street across from the pharmacy. The 1941 Hill’s city directory lists Darcey C. and Lelia B. Yancey’s residence as 913 East Green, and Yancey’s Drug Store at 563 East Nash.

D’arcey Yancey died 12 April 1957 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 February 18983 in Danville, Virginia, to William Alexander Yancey and Florence E. Stewart; resided at 913 East Green Street; and worked as a druggist. Wife Lelia B. Yancey was informant.

Lelia Beatrice Yancey died 4 June 1983 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1889 to unknown parents; was the widow of D’arsey C. Yancey; and was a retired superintendent of elementary schools. She was buried with her husband at Rest Haven cemetery in Wilson.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

503 East Green Street.

The tenth 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1893; 1 story; two-room house with flush eaves and chimney in east gable end; among oldest in district.”

Information about this tiny house is hard to come by. In 1925, however, it was occupied by a cook named Narcissus Boylan.

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Hill’s Directory of Wilson, N.C., 1925. 

Unlike many of the grander homes on East Green Street, 503 has withstood time and decline and remains inhabited today.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Cora Miller Washington Artis and family.

The time, did I tell you about that time me and Cora Miller got drunk off tobacco? We were under the buggy shelter chewing it — Papa’s tobacco. We got drunk, we got sick. Mama said we were sick, but we were drunk from that stuff. She thought we had been eating sour apples.  — Hattie Henderson Ricks

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Cora Miller Washington Artis, circa 1930s.

On 15 August 1901, George Henry Washington, 38, of Wilson, son of Jerry and Jane Washington, married Cora Miller, 25, of Wilson , daughter of Cynthia Miller, at the bride’s residence on Green Street. A.M.E. Zion minister C.L. Alexander performed the service in the presence of Sallie M. Barbour and Alice F. Moore. [George Washington was the sister of Samuel H. Vick‘s wife, Annie Washington Vick.]

Per a delayed birth certificate filed in Wilson County, Irene Washington was born in 1903 to George Henry Washington and Cora Miller.

Per a delayed birth certificate filed in Wilson County, Janie Louise Washington was born in 1906 to G.H. Washington and Cora Miller.

Per a delayed birth certificate filed in Wilson County, Cora M[iller]. Washington was born in 1909 to George Henry Washington and Cora Miller.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed cook Lou Miller; her daughter Cora Washington, 34, a widowed school teacher; her grandchildren Irene, 7, James, 4, and Cora Washington 1; and two boarders, Mary Hadley, 20, cook, and Mary Pender, 60, widowed servant. [“Lou” apparently is the Cynthia Miller named on Cora Washington’s marriage license. Also, Cora’s second child was in fact a girl named Janie, not a boy James. Though no street is identified on the enumeration sheet, it is clear from the names of the Miller-Washingtons’ neighbors that they lived on or just off East Green Street.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 630 Elmo [Elba] Street, teacher Cora Washington, 39; daughters Irene, 16, Janie, 13, and Cora, 10; mother Lou Miller, 70; and boarders Isic Hicks, 28, carpenter, Manuel Wooten, 22, hotel laborer, Dalis Cutter, 20, barbershop laborer, and Eliza Henderson, 42, teacher.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory, Cora, Irene and Janie Washington are listed at 701 East Green, and their occupations are given as student, teacher and cook. That year, Janie gave birth to a son, James Robert Farmer (later known as Washington). [Per a United States Social Security Applications and Claims Index, James Robert, who died 23 November 2002, listed his parents as Roger Washington and Janie Farmer on his Social Security application.]

On 28 June 1926, Irene Washington, 21, daughter of George Washington and Cora Washington Farmer, married Macon Lucas, 23, son of Sammie and Mary L. Lucas, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister H.W. Farrior performed the ceremony at the homes of John Hines Hinton in the presence of Hinton, Elizabeth Hinnant and Janie Washington.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory, Cora and Janie Washington are listed at 701 East Green, and their occupations are given as teacher and elevator operator at Efirds department store.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 East Green Street, George Farmer, 55, porter for A.C.L.R.R.; wife Cora, 51, school teacher; daughters Lena, 20, teacher, and Janie L., 23, department store elevator girl; stepdaughter Cora M. Washington, 21 (marked as “absent”); mother-in-law Lou Miller, 75; and boarders Mildred Norfleet, 23, courthouse elevator girl; and Amos Moor, 35, hotel porter. [Janie, in fact, was Cora’s daughter and George’s step-daughter. Five year-old James Robert was not listed in the household.]

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An invitation to James Robert Farmer’s 8th birthday party in 1933.

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The invitation was addressed to brothers Lucian and Jesse Henderson, who lived at 303 Elba Street.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 701 East Green Street, public school teacher Cora M. Washington, 30, and nephew James R. Washington, 15.

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James Robert Farmer, alias James Robert Washington.

The day after his 18th birthday, James Robert Washington registered for the World War II draft. His registration card reports that he resided at 701 East Green; was born 3 January 1925 in Wilson; was going to school; and his aunt Cora Washington was his closest relative.

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Janie Washington alias Farmer.

In February 1959, Hattie Henderson Ricks, formerly of Wilson, received this letter from her childhood friend Cora Miller Washington Artis. Artis was then living in Kinston, North Carolina, and teaching at the State Training School for Negro Girls, a “reformatory” for African-American girls in the juvenile justice system.

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  • Jesse A. Jacobs, Jr. and Sarah Henderson Jacobs, “Papa” and “Mama” — adoptive parents (and great-uncle and great-aunt) of Hattie Henderson Ricks; resided at 303 Elba Street, around the corner from 701 East Green.
  • Julia Harrell — Julia Burnette Harrell died 30 January 1959. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 January 1894 in Florence, South Carolina, to Dozier W. Davis and Jeanette Edwards; was widowed; worked as a teacher for Wilson City School System; and resided at 1116 East Nash Street. Louise C. Sherrod, same address, was the informant.
  • Blanche Gay Farmer — daughter of Samuel and Ella Tate Gay, grew up at 623 East Green Street, a half-block west of Cora’s family home. She died 27 March 1959.
  • “Callie” —
  • Beatrice Gay Holden, “Bea” — daughter of Samuel and Ella Tate Gay, resided at 623 East Green Street.
  • Lula Sutton Hayes
  • “James” — presumably, Cora Washington Artis’ husband.
  • “Pet” Reid
  • Beatrice Odessa Reid, “Odessa” — daughter of Elijah and Ietta R.M. Reid.

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1922 Sanborn insurance map, Wilson.

U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com; photographs and ephemera in the possession of Lisa Y. Henderson; interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.

623 and 625 East Green Street.

The fifth 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.

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623 and 625 East Green Street.

In Green Street’s heyday, brothers Albert and Charles Gay inhabited these adjacent houses near the intersection of Elba Street.

In the application for inclusion of East Wilson in the National Historic Register, 623 Green Street is described: “ca. 1922. 2 story. Albert Gay house; Colonial Revival house with hip-roofed, cubic form; side lights frame entry; Gay was a porter.” 625 was described: “ca. 1913. 1 story. Charles Gay house; L-plan cottage with decorative millwork in front-facing cutaway bay; contributing auto garage; Gay was a laborer.”

Albert and Charles Gay were sons of Samuel and Alice Bryant Gay. Sam Gay, son of Amos Thigpen and Harriet Gay, married Alice Bryant, daughter of Louisa Bryant, on 10 February 1870 in Wilson. P.E. Hines performed the ceremony.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Samuel Gay, 24, wife Alice, 20, and brother Albert, 21.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm worker Samuel Gay, 27, wife Allice, 25, and children Blanch, 8, Louizah, 7, Edgar, 4, Charlie, 3, and Mamie, 1 month.

On 6 November 1886, Blanch Gay, 16, married Jeff Farmer, 23, at Sam Gay’s residence. J.N. Rasberry, an A.M.E. Church South minister performed the ceremony in the presence of Sam Gay, Dallas Taylor and George Farmer.

On 29 October 1891, Louisa Gay, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Samuel and Allice Gay, married Edward Barnes, 22, of Wilson, son of Willis and Cherry Barnes of Wilson township at Sam Gay’s house. J.W. Levy, an A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick, Spencer Barnes, and Thomas Deans.

On 16 March 1898, Mamie Gay married Rev. N.D. King at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion in Wilson. Rev. O.L.W. Smith performed the ceremony, and S.A. SmithH.H. Bryant and W.J. Moore were official witnesses. [Simeon A. Smith was Mamie’s first cousin. His father Samuel Smith was married to Alice Bryant Gay’s sister Ann Bryant Smith Blount.]

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Sam Gay, 54; wife Alice, 50; and children Charlie C., 23, Edgar B., 25, Lucy, 17, Samuel, 14, Albert and Beatrice, 10, and Lily, 4.

On 6 March 1902, C.B. Gay, 24, of Wilson, son of Sam and Alice Gay, married Ella Tate, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Hardy and Mary Tate, in Wilson. Rev. N.D. King performed the ceremony at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion church in the presence of Rev. E.A. Mitchell, J.D. Reid and S.H. Vick.

On 25 June 1902, John H. Lewis, 22, of Wilson, son of Henry and Matilda Lewis of Tarboro, married Lucy A. Gay, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Sam and Alice Gay, at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion Church. Rev. N.D. King performed the ceremony. John Reid applied for the license, and S.C. Ligom, C.R. Cannon and Mary Taylor witnessed.

In the 1908 Wilson city directory, Samuel Gay is listed at 620 East Green Street, which was the same lot (if perhaps an earlier house) as 623. (The numbering system changed in the early 1920s, and even numbers switched to the south side of the street.)

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Gay, 28, wife Ella, 28, and Charlie, 18 months. Next door: Samuel Gay, 65, wife Alice, 55, and children Albert, 20, and Lilly, 15. Though no street name or number is listed, it is clear that Sam and Charlie and their families were living at 623 and 625 East Green.

On 20 February 1913, Albert S. Gay, 23, of Wilson, son of Samuel and Alice Gay, married Annie B. Jacobs, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Jesse and Sarah Jacobs, in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. Rev. N.D. King performed the ceremony at his residence at 38 Bunnell Avenue, Elizabeth City. Witnesses included Albert’s sister, Mrs. Mamie R. King.

On 29 December 1913, Fred Bolling Jr., 30, of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Lillie Gay, 21, of Wilson were married by Rev. B.P. Coward at the A.M.E. Zion Church in Wilson. Camillus Darden applied for the license, and witnesses included Dr. W.A. Mitchner and Elizabeth Hinnant.

Patriarch Samuel Gay died 1 February 1919 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per his death certificate: he was 73 years old, married to Allace Gay, resided at 620 Green Street, worked as tenant farmer for W.E. Warren, and was born in Wilson County. Charley Gay was informant.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Alice Gay, 45; daughter Beatrice, 26; grandson Jerome Wood, 11; granddaughter Gereddine, 10; son Albert, 30; daughter-in-law Anabell, 24; grandsons Albert Jr., 4, and Jesse, 2; son-in-law Fredrick Bolling, 35; daughter Lillie, 23; and grandchildren Delma, 4, and Fredrick, 2. Next door: Charley Gay, 39, ice house laborer; wife Ella, 30; and sons Charlie Jr., 11, and Edgar, 7. [Thus, it is clear that after Sam’s death, Alice remained at 623 with three of her children and their families.]

Mamie Gay King died in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on 28 July 1927. She was buried in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 623 Green, widow Annie B. Gay, 30, a laundress; husband Albert, 40, a bellboy; mother-in-law Alic, 73; and children Albert Jr., 14, Jessie, 11, Hal, 8, Samual, 6, Mirrian, 4, and Ralph, 2. The house was valued at $8000. Next door at 625: Chas. B. Gay, 52, hotel janitor, wife Ella J., 48, laundress, and children Chas. Jr., 21, bellboy, and Ednor R., 17. The house was valued at $3000.

Albert Gay died 4 October 1932 at Moore-Herring Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 29 August 1889 in Wilson to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; was married to Annie Bell Gay; and was a bellman at Cherry Hotel for 25 years. Beatric Holden was informant. [In that segregated era, Moore-Herring was a whites-only hospital. Perhaps Albert gained admission — or, at least, treatment — because of relationships he built during his long tenure as a bellman.]

Ella Gay died 19 November 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certificate: she was 50 years old; was married to Charlie Gay; resided at 402 Reid Street, Wilson; and was born in Greenville, North Carolina, to Noah and Mary Jane Brown. Informant was Charlie Gay. [It would appear that Charles and Ella Gay lost their home at 625 East Green in the early 1930s, perhaps as a consequence of the Depression. Also, Ella’s parents were, in fact, Hardy and Mary Jane Tate.]

Alice Bryant Gay died 24 October 1938 in Wilson. Per her death certificate: she was born 1 January 1854 in Wilson County to Lousie Bryant of Goldsboro, North Carolina; was a widow; and resided at 402 North Reid Street, Wilson. Lucy Lewis of Newark, New Jersey, was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 623 Green, Albert Gay, 24, truck driver for retail furniture store; and his siblings Harrell, 19, Samuel, 17, Annie M., 14, and Ralph, 12; plus lodgers Mrs. Julia Russell, 40, and her son, Albert, 22. Next door, at 625: Rev. Eddie H. Cox, 49, and wife Carrie H., 32.

Charlie Gay died 2 January 1953 at his home at 220 Pender Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 3 April 1881 in Wilson County to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; he was a widower; and he had worked as a laborer. Beatrice Gay Holden, 623 Green Street, was the informant.

Samuel Gay died 13 February 1954 in Richmond, Virginia, as his residence at 2412 East Main Street. Per his death certificate: he was born 2 February 1886 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Samuel Gay and Alice (last name unknown); was married to Elizabeth Gay; and was a tobacco worker at P. Lorillard Company.

Blanch Farmer died 27 March 1959 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate: she was born 29 July 1889 in Wilson to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; resided at 897 East Viola Street, Wilson; and was widowed. Goldie Ricks, 1413 East Nash Street, Wilson, was informant.

Louisa Gay Barnes died 12 June 1960 in Wilson at her home at 563 Suggs Street. Per her death certificate: she was born 10 April 1871 in Wilson County to Sam Gay and Alice Bryant and was a widow. Alice Bryant [her daughter, not mother], 653 Suggs Street, was informant.

Beatrice Gay Holden died 28 July 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate: she was born 29 February 1903 in Wilson County to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; resided at 623 East Green Street; and was the widow of Jesse Holden. Informant was Albert Gay, 623 East Green. [In fact, Beatrice was born about 1890.]

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Hattie Henderson Ricks was related to Albert Gay by marriage. Her adoptive mother and great-aunt Sarah Henderson Jacobs was the second wife of Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., Annie Bell Jacobs Gay’s father. In interview given in 1998, she told Lisa Y. Henderson this:

That was the home house — where Albert Sr. lived. And his daddy would be in the back where there was a space running back to Viola Street. Albert’s daddy – he didn’t have but one leg. I think they called him Charlie, too. [In fact, he was named Sam Gay.]

He would sit in a chair, a low chair, and take a hoe and chop all the way around him. Chop, make a wedge [inaudible] and then get up and move that chair around, get back in there. And I could see him from our house [on Elba Street] in the back over the fence, ‘cause it wasn’t a wooden fence, it was just a wire fence. See him out there working. It was right around the corner from us. Annie Bell’d hang clothes out there all the way back down in the garden where he was chopping. It was a nice garden back out there. And he got around on that peg leg. And I never knowed what happened to the leg. I didn’t never think to ask nobody. I wasn’t nosy enough to ask nobody. But ever since I can remember, didn’t have nothing but that one leg. And when you see him sitting in that chair, with a hoe, chopping as far as he could reach. And make them rows, plant seeds, dig a hole, put seeds in there. And he’d call some of ‘em to bring him this thing or that thing and all.

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This annotated portion of the 1922 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson clearly shows 623 and 625 East Green Street, as well as Annie Bell’s father’s house around the corner. On this map, 623 is marked (by a small “1” in the upper left corner of the house’s plan) as a one-story house, which supports another of Hattie H. Ricks’ recollections:

And the house, well, it hadn’t always been a two-story house. They put the top on it.

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Annie Marian Gay Hawkins, daughter of Albert S. and Annie Bell Jacobs Gay. She grew up at 623 East Green Street, and descendants of her brother Albert Jr. lived there into the 1990s.

Photograph of houses by Lisa Y. Henderson; edited excerpt of interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, copyright 1998, all rights reserved; original photo of Annie G. Hawkins in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.