East Nash Street

Anatomy of a photograph: East Nash Street.

This rare postcard depicts an equally rare image of East Wilson’s early business district in the 500 block of East Nash Street. Close examination of the photograph reveals fascinating details, many of which help date the image. The photographer set up his camera near the curb (a surprising feature!) on the south side of the street. First Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1913, would have been across from and slightly behind him. On the far horizon looms the brick bulk of the Hotel Cherry, built in 1917.

At least ten people — all of whom appear to be male — were captured in the image, including these seven standing or walking along the right side of the street:

These commercial buildings supply clues to the location of the photo. The three-story building, constructed in 1894, is Odd Fellows Hall, home to Hannibal Lodge #1552. Its ground floor contained an ever-changing array of store fronts, and a sign for Maynard’s Market/Fish & Oysters is visible here. As early as 1914, Samuel Vick‘s Globe vaudeville and moving picture theatre was housed on the second floor. The sign hanging from the corner of the building pointed the way to the theatre’s side entrance.

The three-story frame building beside the Odd Fellows Hall was the Hotel Union, managed by Mary Jane Sutzer Taylor Henderson. Here lies a clue to the photograph’s date. In the 1908 and 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps, there is an empty lot between the Union and the hall.

1908.

1913.

However, by 1922, a one-story wooden structure, housing a barber shop and sharing a wall with the hotel/boarding house, appears in the gap. See below. (Note also that the theatre’s exterior staircase is gone, traded for enclosed access.) This building, with its shallow gable-end roof, is visible in the postcard image.

1922.

The Model T Fords (and a single mule and wagon) also help date the photo to the early 1920s.

There is an artificial quality about the neatly trimmed hedges and suspiciously uniform trees ranged along the left side of the street. Though this portion of the image may have been hand-drawn, that side of the 500 block was in fact lined with private homes.

Families living in this block included the Mitchells, (#540), the Sutzers (#536), and the Yanceys (#538).

This stretch of East Nash Street today, courtesy of Google Maps. The commercial buildings on the right side of the street, including the historic Odd Fellows Hall, were demolished in the 1990s.

Postcard image courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III, Historic Wilson in Vintage Postcards (2003).

903 East Nash Street.

The eighty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “circa 1930; 1 story; Rufus Hilliard house; bungalow with gable roof and small gabled entry porch; form appears to have been extended to accommodate tenants; Hilliard operated store at #901 [The People’s Palace] and speculated in local real estate.”

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Murray Wm (c) h 903 E Nash

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: [at 903 East Nash], owned and valued at $2000, Lelia Hillard, 36, teacher at Lucama Graded School, living in Florence, S.C., in 1935, and husband Rufus, 43, fireman for City of Wilson power plant.

In 1940, John Smith Hammett registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 19 February 1912 in Clarendon, South Carolina; resided at 903 East Nash Street; his contact was Rufus W. Hilliard, uncle, 903 East Nash; and he worked for the Town of Wilson.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hilliard Rufus W (c; Lelia) firemn Town of Wilson h 903 E Nash

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hilliard Rufus W (c; Lelia) firemn City Light Water & Gas Dept h 903 E Nash

Rufus Wimberly Hilliard died 5 December 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 July 1896 to Albert H. Hilliard and Penina Wimberly; was married to Lela Washington Hilliard; lived at 903 East Nash; and was a retired fireman with the Wilson Power Plant.

 

Intersection of Nash and Pender.

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, North Carolina.

  1. Colored Baptist Church — Formerly home to First Missionary Baptist Church, by 1922 this wood-framed building housed Wilson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church.
  2. Wilson County Gin Company — A cotton gin. The main building later housed Faulkner Neon Company.
  3. 546 East Nash Street — In the 1922-23 Wilson city directory, this house is listed as the residence of several apparently unrelated people, including tobacco workers James Baker and James Green, helper Robert Hines, and laundress Easter Ruffin.
  4. 548 East Nash Street — J. Wesley Rogers, a porter at Oettinger’s department store, lived at this address. By the 1930s, this house had been demolished, and a fish market stood in its place.
  5. Law office at 550 East Nash Street — The 1922-23 Wilson city directory shows African-American attorney Glenn S. McBrayer‘s business address as 525 East Nash. Oddly, the advertising novelties concern of white businessman Troy T. Liverman and the office of African-American physician Michael E. DuBissette are listed at 550.
  6. Watch shop at 552 East Nash Street — Robert T. Alston ran a jewelry and watch repair shop at this location.
  7. Grocery at 556 East Nash Street — The 1922-23 city directory carries no listing for 556 East Nash, but at 558 there is the white-owned grocer Baxter & Company.
  8. Pender Street — In 1922, Pender Street ended (or began) at Nash Street. The dog-legged continuation across Nash was then called Stantonsburg Street. Much later, the course of Pender was shifted via an angle to meet Stantonsburg Street, and Stantonsburg was renamed Pender.

Fish market at night.

On the evening of 2 July 1945, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox aimed a camera at Hill’s Fish Market, deep in East Wilson’s commercial block. Hill’s and its next-door neighbor, Mercer’s Grocery, were white-owned, but catered to African-American shoppers.

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Hill’s and Mercer’s were at 448 and 450 East Nash Street, across from Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church. (The traffic light faced what was then the south end of Pender Street, which stopped at East Nash. On the other side of Nash, at a dog-leg, was then Stantonsburg Street.) Both buildings are long gone. Dr. Julian B. Rosemond built a dentist’s office at 548 in the late 1960s; it now houses a hair salon. 550 is a vacant lot.

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Interior of Hill’s Fish Market, owned by J. Meade Hill.

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as PhC_196_CW_94-15_HillsFishMarket1 and PhC_196_CW_94-15_HillsFishMarket2

Towe buys a house and lot for $900.

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North Carolina, Wilson County  }

This Deed made this the 30th day of March 1898 by Silas Lucas and wife, Charity Lucas, parties of the first part and G.H. Towe party of the Second part, all of the State and County aforesaid, Witnesseth:- That for and in consideration of the Sum of Nine Hundred Dollars in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, the Said parties of the first part have bargained and Sold and do by this deed bargain, Sell and convey unto the Said party of the Second part, his heirs and assigns, the following described land: One lot or parcel of land lying and being Situate in the town of Wilson, State and County aforesaid on Nash Street on the South Side of the Colored Odd Fellows Lodge, beginning at the corner of Said Odd Fellows lot, thence about eighty feet Eastward to Charles Dardin‘s line, thence South with Said Dardin’s line about Eighty feet to a light wood Stake, thence west parallel with the first named line to Nash Street, thence with Nash Street to the beginning, being part of the lot purchased by the said Silas Lucas from A.D. Farmer and also being the lot on which the Said G.H. Towe now resides To Have and To Hold To Him the Said G.H. Towe, his heirs and assigns, forever. And the Said Lucas does for himself, his heirs, administrators and executors, covenants and agrees to and with the Said Towe that he will forever warrant and defend the title to the above described real estate against the lawful Claims of all persons whatsoever.

In Testimony whereof the Said parties of the first part have hereunto Set their hands and Seals the day and year first above written.    /s/ Silas Lucas, Charity Lucas

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A year after he bought this property, Granville H. Towe‘s lot on Nash Street was listed on a delinquent property tax list.

Deed book 46, page 455, Register of Deeds, Wilson County Court House.

Negro curb market.

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Wilson Daily Times, 17 June 1942.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 August 1942.

Trustees purchase land for the Baptist Church.

In 1906, Samuel H. Vick and Elijah L. Reid sold a lot at the corner of Nash and Pender Streets to trustees of the Missionary Baptist Church. The document below is a mortgage securing the purchase price.

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This agreement made and entered into this the 19th day of July, 1906, by and between S.H. Vick and E.L. Reid of the first part, and Parker Battle, George Woodard, S.D. Henderson and Walter Foster, Trustees of the Missionary Baptist Church, of the second part.

WITNESSETH: — The said parties mutually agree the one with the other, that in consideration of the mutual stipulations herein contained, as follows, to wit

That the said S.H. Vick and E.L. Reid shall have the rights to the rents to Jan. 1st, 1907, and to remove from the lot on the corner of Nash and Pender Streets, in the town of Wilson, and heretofore conveyed unto the said Trustees by them, all the buildings now located thereon, at any time prior to the 1st day of January, 1907, and that such removal shall not in wise effect the purchase price for the said lot heretofore agreed upon as set forth in the deed for the said lot.

It is further agreed, that if the said trustees shall not be able to pay such an amount on the note held by Silas Lucas and secured by a mortgage to him on the said real estate, as shall satisfy the said Lucas so that he shall give his consent to the removal of the said buildings then and in that event the said S.H. Vick and E.L. Reid hereby agree that they will extend the time of the payment of the note due unto them as a portion of the purchase price and secured by the mortgage on said lot, by allowing the sum of Three Hundred dollars to be paid at any time within six months after the 1st, day of January 1907.           /s/ S.H. Vick, E.L. Reid, W.M. Foster, Parker Battle, George W. Woodard, S.D. (X) Henderson

[Handwritten] It is also further, agreed that the buggy house and stable situated on the premises herein described shall remain on said premises, and be used by the trustees until the church contemplated to be built on said lot shall have been completed. E.L. Reid & S.H. Vick via E.L. Reid.

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  • S.H. Vick — Samuel H. Vick.
  • E.L. Reid — Veterinarian Elijah L. Reid seems never to be credited as half the partnership that sold the lot at the corner of Nash and Pender to First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Parker Battle — Battle died in 1914, just a year after the new church was completed.
  • George W. Woodard
  • S.D. Henderson — Sandy D. Henderson.
  • Walter Foster — Walter M. Foster.
  • Missionary Baptist Church — This church later merged with Jackson Chapel to become today’s Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Silas Lucas — A wealthy brick maker, builder and real estate developer.

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The corner of Nash and Pender as shown in the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, two years before ground-breaking for church’s construction.

Deed book 72, page 141, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

1007 East Nash Street.

The seventieth 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 story; double shotgun with bungalow-type porch posts.”

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McBrayer Glenn S (c; Lillian) lawyer h 1007 E Nash. [The house is not listed in the 1930 census.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1007 East Nash Street, (1) paying $/11 month rent, Elizabeth Hardy, 29, husband Herman, 33, a “P.W.A.” laborer, and son Leroy, 5; and (2) also paying $11/month rent, Carter Powell, 42, stationary fireman for apartment building, and wife Anna, 35.

In 1940, Herman Hardy registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 8 December 1907 in Greene County; his contact was wife Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash; and he worked for Watson Tobacco Company, Wilson.

In 1940, Carter James Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 4 January 1899 in Nash County; his contact was Sylvester Powell, “no number” East Nash “near Gills Store”; and he worked for Dr. M.A. Pittman, Raleigh Highway, Wilson, who was a second contact.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hardy Mrs Eliz (c; nurse) 1007 E Nash

Virginia A. Jones died 3 July 1966 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1879 in Wilson County to Enos and Cherry Applewhite; had been a farmer; was the widow of Joseph Jones; and resided at 1007 East Nash. Informant was [daughter] Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Walter Jones died 31 November 1973 at home at 1007 East Nash, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 August 1921 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Virginia Applewhite; had been a cook; and was married to Nora Allen. Informant was sister Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Elmer Jones died 21 March 1975 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 January 1920 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Virginia Applewhite; had been a porter-electrician; had never married; and resided at 1007 East Nash. Informant was sister Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Elizabeth Jones Hardy lived in her home at 1007 East Nash until she passed away in 2001.

 Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

Where we shopped: Hill’s Fish Market.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 August 1944.

Brothers William and Joseph Meade Hill owned and operated a fish market on East Nash Street near Pender (the site later of Dr. Julian B. Rosemond‘s dental office.) The market’s location assured that it served a mostly African-American clientele.

What curious text: “For Your Protection … Always let the little fishes that swim around our adv. dive down into your Telephone Directory or Radio Station WGTM and bring up your Seafood Telephone Number 3291. It’s a number that guarantees fresh seafood.”