Wilson Times, 29 May 1923.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1918.
We’ve seen the Emma Gay property here. The ad above announced the sale of the lots of the subdivision laid out in Plat Book 1, page 56, Wilson Register of Deeds Office. The notice targeted two markets — “the colored man” wishing “to purchase a home close in” and “the white man” aiming to “make a safe and very profitable investment.” The latter won out as the later development of the parcel was commercial.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Cross-referencing the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century. Above, the west side of the first block of South Goldsboro Street.
Richard Renfrow purchased the furnishings for his barbershop from Noah J. Tate, Walter S. Hines, and Joshua L. Tabron, partners in another barbering business, in 1906. Renfrow was a barber in Wilson as early as 1887, but around 1900 began to move back and forth between Wilson and Norfolk, Virginia.
Hardy & Holland’s livery stable was wedged, improbably, between a wholesale grocery and a garage with a second floor print shop. Per the Wilson, North Carolina, Industrial & Commercial Directory, published in 1912, “This business is located on South Goldsboro street between Nash and Barnes streets and the business has been established for the last four years. The proprietor [James Hardy] has succeeded in building up a good patronage. He is very prompt in answering calls and his prices for Livery are very reasonable. Telephone Number 9. Hack and Dray work solicited. The proprietor wants your patronage and guarantees the right sort of treatment. He is a colored man and has the good wishes of all.” Hardy’s business partner was Thomas Holland, a Wake County native.
Henry C. Holden‘s barbershop occupied the basement level of the Branch Bank building at the corner of East Nash and South Goldsboro Streets.
This screenshot from Google Streetview shows the wrought-iron rail around the former exterior entrance to the barbershop below the Branch Bank building.
Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century.
This block of East Nash Street fronts the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad’s passenger station. In 1913, it contained four storefronts, all housing Black-owned businesses, and a large house. Just a few years later, all were demolished to make way for the Terminal Inn, the two-story, multi-bay building that for decades was anchored by Terminal Drug Store and Star Credit Department Store and still stands today.
Moses Brandon operated an eating house next to the Atlantic Coast Line tracks. His death is reported here.
The business at 407 was labeled “cobbler.” The city directory listed Bud Wiley, bootblack, as proprietor.
John G. Corbin‘s pool room rounded out the storefronts. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: street laborer Brazell Winstead, 48; dressmaker Ada, 22; sister-in-law Martha Corben, 31, laborer; and brother-in-law John, 34, farmer. [Braswell Winstead was, in fact, a college-educated teacher turned barber who had been an assistant to postmaster Samuel Vick. It seems unlikely that Martha Corbin was a laborer or John a farmer.]
The house at 401 East Nash was occupied by white millhand J. Frank Johnson.
Wilson Daily Times, 23 September 1929.
In the Jim Crow era, even buildings were racialized. Houses were not merely in “negro” neighborhoods; they were somehow, at their essence, “negro houses.” This brief article reports the destruction by fire of three houses on East Nash Road, in the vicinity of present-day B.O. Barnes Elementary School. Though the houses were owned by Ben Eagles, a wealthy white tobacconist, and one was being used as storage, they were “negro dwelling houses.”
Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1930.
As a supplement to this post, here is an excerpt of the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson detailing town’s Black business district. Though the northeast side of the 500 block of East Nash Street was almost completely commercial, the southwest side was largely residential. Segregation was in full effect at the time, but several white merchants operated businesses catering to African-American clientele, and one, Jesse Verser, lived on the block (around the corner from his Stantonsburg Street grocery.)
Detail of the Sanborn map showing several tenant houses on the west end of Smith Street, the tightly packed commercial buildings on Nash, Verser’s home at 504, and the sole freestanding two-story house on the north side of Nash at 529. Notice, behind 509, a garage (marked A) and toilets (marked WC). There were also garages behind 511 (with nearby gasoline tank) and 513-515. Several of the businesses were owned by native whites or Lebanese immigrants, and there was even a Chinese laundry.
- 500 — Gatlin Amos J & Co (Amos J Gatlin, Jas P Gatlin) gros 500 E Nash
- 501 — Maynard’s Market (Geo W Maynard) gros 501 E Nash and 401 Stantonsburg
- 502 — vacant
- 503 — Barnes Rachel G (c) restr 503 E Nash r 1118 E Nash
- 504 — Verser Jesse W (Frances) gro 100 Stantonsburg h 504 E Nash; Verser Bettie (wid Jesse W) h 504 E Nash
- 505 — Barnes John (c; Rachel) barber 505 E Nash h 1118 do [ditto]
- 506 — Wah Jung Laundry (Yee G Wah) 506 E Nash
- 507 — Ziady Jos gro 507 E Nash h 107 E Pettigrew
- 508 — Service Barber Shop (c) (Ernest A Artis) 508 E Nash
- 509 — vacant
- 509 1/2 — Stokes Thos (c; Babe) fish 509 1/2 E Nash h 615 W Wiggins
- 510 — vacant
- 511 — Lupe Peter (c) shoe shiner 511 E Nash h do
- 512 — Braswell Ezekiel (c; Mary E) restr 512 E Nash h 1118 1/2 do
- 513 — vacant
- 514 — Lesley Samuel G (c; Lillian) tailor 514 E Nash h 802 Robeson
- 515 — vacant
- 517 — Moore John H (c; Armincie) shoe repr 517 E Nash h 1113 Atlantic
- 519 — Phillips Chas (Minnie A) bicycle repr 519 E Nash h 410 Herring
- 521 — Smith Preston (c; Minnie) clothes presser and clnr 521 E Nash h 314 Stantonsburg
- 523 — Wooten W L Co, H Paul Yelverton pres, Jesse W Thomas v-pres, Wm L Wooten sec-treas, furn 523 E Nash
- 525 — Thomas Chas S (c; S Blanche) barber 525 E Nash h 719 E Nash
- 527 — Phillips Wm H (c; Rena) dentist 527 E Nash h do; Shade’s Pharmacy (c) (Isaac A Shade) 527 E Nash
- 529 — Coppedge Sarah (c) factory hd h 529 E Nash
- 506 — Johnson Wm (c; Lula) lab h 506 Smith; Johnson Wm J (c) lab 506 Smith
- 508 — vacant
- 510 — Reaves Robert (c; Daisie) lab 510 Smith
- 514 — Lee Addie (c) factory hd h 514 Smith
The transition from commercial to residential on the south side of the street. 526 is the Hotel Orange, a boarding house run by Mattie B. Coleman.
- 516 — vacant
- 518 — no listing
- 520 — Dixon Lenora G (c) billiards 520 E Nash h 611 do
- 522 — Atkinson Henry (c) shoe repr
- 524 — Gilliam Matthew S (c; Annie L) phys 524 E Nash h 805 do
- 524 — Howard Mary (c) lndrs h 524 E Nash
- 526 — Coleman Mattie B (c) h 526 E Nash
- 528 — Bowser Sarah L (c) smstrs h 528 E Nash
- 530 — Stokes Turner (c) carp h 530 E Nash
Mid-block, two multi-story buildings dominated — the Whitley Hotel and the Odd Fellows lodge hall. The Odd Fellows building featured commercial space at street-level and the Globe Theatre above.
- 531 — Swindell Deborah (c) hair drsr 531 E Nash h 630 Suggs
- 533 — Taylor Bertha (c) dom h 533 E Nash
- 535 — Najim Geo candy mfr 535 E Nash h 107 S Pettigrew
- 537 — Lucas William T (Sallie) gro 537 E Nash h 216 N Railroad
- 539 — no listing
- 541 — Whitley Hotel (c) (Maggie A Whitley) 541 E Nash; Marshall Lodge IBPOE
- 543 — Jones Luther J (c; Lula) restr 543 E Nash h 712 Hadley
- 545 — Ford Cleaners (Herbert H and Alf J Ford jr) 545 E Nash
- 547 — Am Legion, Henry Ellis Post (c); IOOF, Hannibal Lodge, No 552 (c)
- 549 — Fahad Kattar billiards 549 E Nash h 313 N Pine
- 551 — Rutherford Geo (c; Maggie B) restr 551 E Nash h 1200 Queen
- 516 — Britt Mamie (c) factory hd h 516 Smith
- 518 — Ray Neil (c; Annie) junk 518 Smith h do
- 526 — Gay Wm (c) lab h 526 Smith
In the eastern third of the block, the south side of the street was almost entirely residential. Ideal Pharmacy and First Baptist Church dominated the north side.
- 532 — Uzzell Henry (c; Almira) furn repr 532 E Nash h 503 Viola
- 534 — Bynum Mack (c; Victoria) tobwkr h 534 E Nash
- 536 — Taylor R Buxton Rev (c) h 536 E Nash
- 538 — Yancey Darcey C (c; Lelia B) (Ideal Pharmacy) and notary 563 E Nash h 538 [E Nash]
- 540 — Mitchell Albert (c) hlpr h 540 E Nash
- 542 — Brewington Edw C (c; Mary) driver h 542 E Nash
- 544 — Baker Easter (c) dom h 544 E Nash
- 546 — Rogers John W (c; Mary E) porter Oettinger’s The Dependable Store h 546 E Nash
- 548 — Barbour Nannie (c) clothes presser 548 E Nash h 1005 Atlantic av
- 553 — Peacock & Locus (c) (Levi H Peacock jr, Luther Locus) undtkrs 553 E Nash
- 555 — vacant
- 557 — North Carolina Mutual Life Ins Co (c) Edwin W Fisher dist mgr, 557 E Nash
- 559 — Allen Jas B (c; Rachel) restr 559 E Nash h 900 Atlantic
- 559 1/2 — Butterfield Geo K (c; Addie L) dentist 559 1/2 E Nash h 621 E Green
- 561 — Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co The, gros 112 S Goldsboro, 561 E Nash and 116 S Tarboro
- 561 1/2 — vacant
- 563 — Ideal Pharmacy (c)(Darcey C Yancey) 563 E Nash
- 565 — Mitchner Wm A (c) phys 565 E Nash h 604 E Green
- 567 — Battle Harry (c) restr 567 E Nash h 902 [ditto]
- 569 — Reaves Mack (c) shoe shiner h 569 E Nash
- 571 — Artis Columbus E (c; Ada D) undtkr 571 E Nash h 308 Pender
- 573 — First Baptist Church (c) Rev Benj F Jordan, 101 Pender [The church fronted onto Pender]
The final stretch of the south side of the 500 block, all commercial.
- 550 — vacant
- 552 — Alston Robt T (c) watch repr 552 E Nash h [ditto]
- 554 — Baxter & Co (Herman C Baxter, Jas F Downing) gros 554 E Nash
Stantonsburg Street [now Pender]
- 100 — Verser Jesse W (Frances) gro 100 Stantonsburg h 504 E Nash
I confess surprise that, as late as 1930, the entire 100 block of South Pettigrew was an all-white residential street.
South Pettigrew Street
- 107 — Ziady Jos gro 507 E Nash h 107 S Pettigrew
- 109 — Hawley Geneva Mrs h 109 S Pettigrew
- 111 — vacant
- 113 — Nordan J Herman (Kath) lab h 113 Pettigrew
- 115 — vacant
- 117 — Hinnant Geo W (Mary A) projectionist Lincoln Theatre h 117 S Pettigrew; Robinson Sarah E (wid John R) h 117 S Pettigrew
- 119 — Brown Edgar (Mamie) woodwkr Hackney Bros Body Co h 119 S Pettigrew
- 121 — Bradberry Cora O hlpr 121 S Pettigrew; Bradberry Geo F pntr Hackney Bros Body Co h 121 S Pettigrew; Bradberry Luther farmer h 121 S Pettigrew
Wilson Daily Times, 23 May 1928.
Mattie Farmer was knocked down and killed as she crossed from one side of the 500 block of Nash Street, where she lived, to the other.
Mattie Farmer died 23 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 28 years old; was married Eli Farmer; lived at 522 East Nash Street; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Laurinburg, N.C., to Henry and Hattie McLaurin. She was buried in Rountree cemetery.
The one hundred twenty-seventh 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 encompassed 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: “909-911 [Nash]; ca. 1930; 1; Cain’s Grocery; district’s largest grocery; brick-veneered structure with parapet front.” The correct address for this building is in fact 915 East Nash Street. 909 and 911 are empty lots.
The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of the block shows three contiguous wood-framed commercial buildings, two marked as groceries, in the 900 block of Nash Street. The middle building, at 913, appears to be the precursor of the building above.
In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., directories, 915 East Nash Street is listed as vacant.
As early as July 1936, Gill’s Grocery advertised in the local newspaper:
Wilson Daily Times, 17 July 1936.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Gill’s Grocery (John D Gill) 915-917 E Nash. (On either side, two more groceries, Jesse Verser’s at 913 and Smith’s, owned by Leander and Maggie Smith, at 919-921.)
Gill’s Grocery remained in business at 915 East Nash Street into the 1970s. Cain’s Grocery and other supermarkets succeeded Gill’s into the early 21st century. Most recently, the building has housed a church.
Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2018.
The one-hundred-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 encompassed 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.
1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, showing a grocery store at 1000 East Nash
As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; Progressive Primitive Baptist Church; brick-veneered former grocery and bottling plant; parapet front with spire added.”
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Higson Bros (B H and V H) gros 1000 E Nash [The Higsons — owners Booth H. and Velborn H., clerk William B, and his wife Sidney S. — lived at their shop. Like all who operated businesses at 1000 East Nash, the Higsons were white.]
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pridgen Babe D (Mattie) gro 1000 E Nash and 513 Stantonsburg h 506 Pender
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pilot Beverage Co (Roger J Crawley Andrew C Byrd) 1000 E Nash
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wilson Bottling Co Moffett L Carson Mgr, Bottlers of Nesbitt’s California Orange 1000 E Nash tel 2408
Ad, 1947 city directory.
In the 1950 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Wilson Bottling Co Moffett L Carson Mgr, Bottlers of Nesbitt’s California Orange 1000 E Nash tel 2408
In its 30 July 1953 edition, the Wilson Daily Times announced the opening of a new grocery business, Super Duper, at 1000 East Nash. Thus, the building returned to its original use.
Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1956.
In the 1963 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Super Duper Market No 1 (Lerby Bryant Odell C Tant) gros 1000 E Nash
These food stamp credit tokens for Super Duper No. 1 date from the 1970s. For an interesting history of this currency, see this 2015 CoinWeek digital article.
In 1978, the owners of the building advertised it for rent in the Daily Times.
Per mentions in the Wilson Daily Times, from 1982 to 1988 and possibly longer, Goodwill Progressive Primitive Baptist Church operated from 1000 East Nash Street.
Per mentions in the Wilson Daily Times, from 1995 to 1999 and possibly longer, Brotherhood of Deliverance Pentecostal Church operated from 1000 East Nash Street.
The building has been demolished.
1000 East Nash Street now, per Google Street View.