East Vance Street

The Colored Free Will Baptist Church buys a lot on Vance Street.

This deed made this 29th day of May 1900 by S.H. Vick and wife to Louis Bess, Daniel Blount and Windsor Darden Trustees of the Colored Free Will Baptist Church of Wilson and their Successors in office all of the County of Wilson and State of North Carolina,

WITNESSETH: — THAT FOR and in consideration of the sum of thirty five dollars to them in paid, the receipt whereof of is hereby acknowledged the said S.H. Vick and wife have bargained and sold and do by these presents bargain sell and convey to the said Louis Bess Daniel Blount Windsor Darden and their successors in office one lot or parcel of land lying and being situate in Wilson Township County of Wilson, and State of North Carolina, and bounded and described as follows:

BEGINNING at a stake in the corner of Elba and Vance Streets and running with Vance Street North West 30 feet, thence South West forty five feet, thence south east thirty feet, thence North East forty five feet to the beginning, containing thirteen hundred and forty square feet.

TO HAVE OR TO HOLD the above described lot or parcel of land to the said Louis Bess, Daniel Blount, Windsor Daniel and their successors in office in fee simple and the said S.H. Vick binds himself and heirs to warrant and defend the premises hereby conveyed against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF WITNESS our hands and seals the date above written. /s/ S.H. Vick, Annie M. Vick

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In 1900, the trustees of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist Church bought a small lot at the corner of Vance and Elba Streets from Samuel H. and Annie M. Vick. The church they built is shown in this detail from the 1913 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn map, below. The one-story wooden building was heated with stoves and lit with oil and featured a two-story tower on its front elevation. Though this building is long gone, Piney Grove remains an active congregation. Per the current church’s cornerstone, the church was founded in 1882 by Reverends A. and D. Blunt.

  • Louis Bess — in the 1900 census of Wilson, WIlson County: Louis Best, 70, wood sawer; wife Harrit, 60, washing; and son William, 31, driver.
  • Daniel Blount — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Daniel Blunt, 35; wife Susan, 26; and children Ellen, 5, Eva, 3, Demsey, 1, Daniel, 12, and Charley, 10. Daniel Blunt died 28 July 1924 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 87 years old; was born in Pitt County, N.C., to Dempsey Blunt and Julia Carr; was married to Susanna Blunt; and worked as a laborer. [Dempsey Blunt was the son of Amos Blunt. Were they the A. and D. Blunt who founded Piney Grove?]
  • Windsor Darden — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Winsor Darden, 37; wife Mattie, 29; and children George, 11, Jesse, 8, Willie, 5, William, 3, and Mathis, 1; plus mother Mary Darden, 55. Windsor Darden died 8 February 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 85 years old; was the widower of Mattie Darden; lived at 1017 Mercer Street; had been a common laborer; and was born in Wilson County to Benjamin Darden and Diliah [maiden name unknown]. Sarah Darden Harris was informant.

Deed book 65, page 297, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

A rare opportunity to rent.

In 1881, Rufus Wright Edmundson ran an ad in the Wilson Advance for the lease of a house on a seven-acre lot on the east corner of Vance and Pender Streets. Wilson’s segregated residential patterns had not yet set, and Edmundson was able to extol the virtues of the parcel to white potential renters. East Wilson’s rapid development is hinted at in the notice — “all nearly new as premises were in original forest seven years ago.” Soon, Vance Street would become the southern edge of white settlement in East Wilson, and Edmundson’s property would be developed for the town’s newly emerging African-American middle class.

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Wilson Advance, 16 December 1881.

903 East Vance Street.

The seventy-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 the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 1 1/2 stories; Ximena Pitt house; Queen Anne cottage with double-pile, hip-roofed form and wraparound porch with classical posts and balustrade; similar to #905; Pitt was a store clerk.”

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Hattie laundress h 903 E Vance; Pitt Violet laundress laundress h 903 E Vance

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Elsie cook h 903 E Vance; Pitt Violet dom h 903 E Vance; Pitt Ximena clk h 903 E Vance

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Mena (c) sch tchr h 903 E Vance.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 903 East Vance, owned and valued at $2000, Elsie Pitt, 54, cook; sister Hattie Pitt, 52; sister Louisa McNeil, 49, cook; niece Evelyn Pitt, 9, born in Ohio; sister Mina Pitt, 36, public school teacher; and sister Elizabeth Pitt, 26, public school teacher.

Elsie Pitt died 19 June 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1875 in Wilson County to William Pitt of Nash County and Violet Emerson of Wilson County and was single. Informant was Ximena Martinez.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Ramon Martinez, 38, is listed as a roomer in the household of Mena Pitts, 39, at 903 Vance Street. He reported that he was born in Argentina, had been living in Pennsylvania five years previously, and worked as a sign painter.

On 16 February 1942, Ramon Jose Martinez registered for the draft in Wilson. He listed his birth date and place as 7 September 1898 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He worked as a commercial artist, resided at 903 Vance Street, and Ximena Pitts Martinez was his contact person. He was 5’6″, 184 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark brown skin. The registrar noted: “he limps (right leg).”

Ramon Jose Martinez died 15 September 1973 in Wilson. His death certificate reports that he was born 7 September 1900 in Argentina; lived at 903 East Vance; and worked as a self-employed commercial artist. His parents were unknown. Wife Ximena Pitt Martinez was informant.

Ximena Pitt Martinez died 21 December 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate she was born 12 August 1896 to Violet Pitt; was widow; was a retired teacher. Evelyn P. Stoney of Brooklyn, New York, was informant.

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980) provides additional details about this house, including the photo below.

“This turn of the century cottage is stylistically related to entry 286 [705 East Green Street], the same modified L-plan is followed, and the house is enhanced by the use of metal ridge pole ornaments and a wrap around porch with doric columns and a pedimented porch entry.”

Though the metal roof and balustrade have been replaced, 903 East Vance Street retains much of its original exterior detail and is one of the best-preserved houses in the district.

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Wilson Daily Times, 5 December 1981.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

915 East Vance Street.

The sixtieth 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.

This house is misnumbered 913 East Vance in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District:  “ca. 1930; 1 story; shotgun with shed-roofed porch.”  It is identical to 909 and 913. (Apparently, there was never a house at 911.)

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 915 East Vance was vacant.

Green Taylor is listed as the inhabitant of 915 East Vance Street in the 1941 city directory.

1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory.

Green Taylor died 2 April 1942 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was 57 years old; was born in Greene County to Green Shackleford and Mary Taylor; was married to Rebecca Taylor; worked as a common laborer; resided at 915 East Vance; and was buried in Bethel cemetery, Wilson County.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

604-606 East Vance Street.

Though located within the East Wilson Historic District, this 1970s-era apartment building is not counted as a contributing structure. Its site, however, is significant. Here, in a former tenement building owned by Samuel H. Vick, was located the Wilson Independent School, founded to educate the children who withdrew from the Colored Graded School after superintendent Charles L. Coon slapped teacher Mary Euell.

Vance Street at Pender Street, 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

 

721 East Vance Street.

The twenty-eighth 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. 1945. 1 1/2 stories. Cape Cod cottage.”

The form characterizes this house as a “non-contributing” structure because it was not 50 years old at the time the district was surveyed and nominated.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

804 East Vance Street.

The twenty-second 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. 1930; 2 stories; gable front house of concrete-block construction, with patterned tin shingles in front-facing gable;  bungalow type porch; unique in district.”

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In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Virginia-born farm laborer Jacob Roberts, 35; wife Matilda, 25; and children Willie, 8, Rebecca, 5, Lettis, 3, and Isam, 11 months.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Virginia-born carpenter Jake Roberts, 54; wife Matilda, 44, washing; and children Rebecca, 23, cooking, Lettie, 21, cooking, Luginia, 18, cooking, Mattie, 16, nurse, Westly, 14, tobacco stemmer, Marrie, 13, Eddie, 8, Laura, 5, and Addie, 2.

On 29 April 1902, Solomon Kittrell, 27, of Wilson County, son of Henry and Millie Kittrell of Oxford, North Carolina, married Lettie Roberts, 23, daughter of Jacob and Tildy Roberts, all of Wilson County. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at Jacob Roberts’ home in the presence of Albert Hilliard, Floyd Cox and W.C. Christmas.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vance Street, Solomon Kittrel, no age listed, laborer in buggy factory; wife Lettie, 26; and children Rebecca, 7, Sol K., 5, Bernis, 3, and Lillie, 1.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 704 Viola Street, laborer Saul Kittrell, 41; wife Lettie, 35; and children Rebecca, 16, Saul, 15, Bernice, 10, Lillie, 8, Margaret, 7, Charles, 2, and William, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 804 East Vance, painter Saul Kittrell, 52; wife Lettie, 48, practical nurse; and children Bernice, 19, Lilly, 18, Margaret, 17, Charles, 10, and Henry, 9. Sol valued their house at $10,000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 804 East Vance, building painter Solomon Kittrell, 65; wife Lettie, 63; children Berenice, 32, a tobacco factory hanger, and Charles, 22, assistant county agent’s office; and lodgers Charles Beatty, 40, a blacksmith in a repair shop, and his wife Emma, 28, who reported living in Clinton, North Carolina, in 1935.

In 1940, Charles Elva Kittrell registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he resided at 804 East Vance Street, Wilson; was born 12 March 1918 in Wilson; his nearest relative was his mother Lettie Kittrell of 804 East Vance; and he was employed by the National Youth Administration in Kanawha, West Virginia.

Solomon Kittrell died 10 May 1944 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was married to Lettie Kittrell; resided at 804 East Vance Street; was born 8 February 1880 in Oxford, North Carolina, to Henry Kittrell and an unnamed mother; and he worked as a carpenter. Informant was Saul Kittrell, 804 East Vance.

Lettie R. Kittrell died 14 December 1957 after being struck by a freight train at the Green Street Atlantic Coastline railroad crossing. Per her death certificate, she was born 18 January 1876 in Edgecombe County to Jacob Roberts and Matilda Hilliard; worked as a practical nurse; and was widowed. Informant was Rebecca Thomas of 914 East Green Street.

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.