Edgecombe County

Nancy Staton Boykin.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 December 1946.

In the 1870 census of Deep Run township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Jarrett Staton, 34; wife Penina, 32; and children Henry, 18, William, 15, Louisa, 12, Nancy, 10, Hoyt, 7, and Ida, 4.

In the 1880 census of Deep Run township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Jarrett Staton, 42; wife Penina, 32; and children Nancy, 19, Hoyt, 16, Ietta, 14, Jarrett, 9, and Leander, 6. [Ietta R.H. Staton married veterinarian Elijah Reid of Wilson.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 713 Viola Street, midwife Nancy Staten, 52, widow; house carpenter James Jenkins, 24, and wife Annie, 19.

In the 1925 city directory of Wilson, N.C.: Staton Nancy, trained nurse 812 Viola

Nancy Staton, 55, married James Boykin, 56, on 22 December 1927 at the bride’s home in Wilson. Glenn S. McBrayer applied for the license, Christian Church Colored minister B.J. Gregory performed the ceremony, and McBrayer, Lillian McBrayer and Bettie Whitley were witnesses.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Boykin James (c; Nancy) carp h 800 Viola.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 900 Viola, owned and valued at $4000, practical nurse Nancy S. Boykin, 59; husband James Boykin, 44, Christian church clergyman; daughter Lila R. Boykin, 19; and two lodgers, Ines Williams, 23, and Minnie Nelson, 20, who both worked as servants for private families.

On 28 February 1937, Jarrett Z. Staton died in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 905 Viola Street; was 66 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Jarrett Staton and Penina Thomas; was divorced; and had worked as a laborer. Informant was [his sister] Nancy Staton Boykin, 812 East Viola Street.

On 26 October 1943, Nancy S. Boykin drafted a will in which she left ten dollars to her daughter Nina Pitt; a life estate in her house and lot at 812 East Viola Street to her husband James Boykin; and a remainder interest in her real property to Pitt’s children Elisha Lane, Teddy Lane, Ethel Lane and Simon Lane. The grandchildren also received her personal property. Ivery Satcher was named executrix, and witnesses were J.P. David, Clara B. Bryan and Marjorie S. Moore. The will entered probate on 31 January 1947 in Wilson County Superior Court. [Ivory Langley Satchell, daughter of Jarrett and Mary Langley, was a relative of Nancy Boykin.]

Nancy S. Boykins died 12 December 1946. Per her death certificate, she was 88 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Jarrett Staton and Pennina [last name unknown]; resided at 812 East Viola; was a retired midwife; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Nina Pitts of East Vance Street was informant.

Charlie F. Knight.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 March 1963.


On 12 February 1905, Charlie Knight, 30, son of Louis and H. Knight, married Annie Pool, 15, daughter of Dempsy and Gracie Pool. Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarboro performed the ceremony “on the Old Bass Plantation” in the presence of Mack Simms, Jonah Lipscomb, and Willie (or Millie) Ellis.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on County Line Road, farmer Charlie Knight, 31; wife Annie, 27; son William Poole, 7; and sister-in-law Mahala Poole, 15. Charlie had been married twice.

Charley Frank Knight registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 31 October 1872; resided at Route 3, Wilson; worked as a farm laborer on J.C. Eagles’ farm; and his nearest relative was wife Annie Knight. He signed his full name: Charlie Frank Knight.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Charlie Knight, 40; wife Annie, 33; son William, 16; widowed laborers Mattie, 40, and Anna Knight, 60; and nieces and nephews Aulander, 16, Charlie, 13, Cleora, 11, Sarah, 9, Mary, 3, and Mary Knight, 3.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Charlie Knight, 65; wife Annie, 50; and sons Stephen, 12, and David, 11.

Charlie Frank Knight died 3 March 1963. Per his death certificate, he was born October 1885 in Edgecombe County to Louis Knight and Mahalie [last name unknown]; was a laborer; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Informant was Annie Knight.


Pioneer for Zion.

PC 2 12 1944

Pittsburgh Courier, 12 February 1944.

This second obituary of Susan Pyatt, mother of Hannah Pyatt Peacock, made special mention of her role in organizing Pyatt’s Chapel A.M.E. Zion, just inside Edgecombe County. The congregation still meets in a tiny edifice on Temperance Hall Road, a few miles east of Elm City.

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Photograph courtesy of Google Map.

Elnora C. Dawson, 101.

Elnora Dawson, 101, a resident of Hunter Hill Nursing Home and formerly of 313 Freeman Street, Wilson, NC died March 2, 2015. The funeral will be held Saturday at 12 noon at Olive Chapel Baptist Church, Hwy 301 South, 3406 Hathaway Blvd., Sharpsburg, NC with Rev. Jimmy Williams officiating. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery Wilson, NC. Public viewing will be Friday from 2 to 7pm at the funeral home with the family receiving friends from 6 to 7pm. Family and friends are requested to assemble on Saturday at the residence, 313 Freeman St., Wilson, NC, at 11:00am for the funeral procession to the church. Professional and personal services are entrusted to EDWARDS FUNERAL HOME, 805 E. Nash Street, Wilson, NC. Condolences may be directed to edwardscares.com.

Obituary online.


Elnora Cotton Dawson (1914-2015).

In the 1930 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer James Cotton, 52; wife Mattie, 42; and children Leroy, 17, Elnora, 16, Essie M., 13, Sabra A., 11, and Addie M., 9.

In the 1940 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: farmer Jim Cotton, 62; wife Mattie, 58; and children Lee Roy, 28, Elnora, 26, Essie Mae, 24, Sabrer Ann, 22, and Alta Mae, 20; and sister Bettie Cotton, 67.

On 28 October 1946, Elnora Cotton, 32 , of Sharpsburg, North Carolina, daughter of Jim and Mattie Cotton, married Frank Lee Dawson, 28, of Norfolk, Virginia, son of Vanderbilt and Carrie Dawson, in Tarboro, Edgecombe County. [Frank Lee Dawson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 19 August 1919 in Wilson; resided at R.F.D. 3, Box 275, Wilson; his contact was his mother, Harrit Dawson of Wilson; and he worked for R.P. Watson Tobacco Company, Wilson.]

On 31 July 1987, Frank Lee Dawson died in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 October 1918 in Wilson to Vanderbilt Dawson and Harriet Woodard; resided at 313 Freeman Street; was married; and had worked as a ship mechanic.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user diann_dawson.

Samuel Farmer Sr.’s negroes.

In the name of God Amen, I Samuel Farmer of the County of Edgecomb & State of North Carolina, being low and weak in body, but of perfect sound mind and disposing memory, do make and ordain this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following —

First of all I give and recommend my soul into the Hands of Almighty God who gave it, hoping to receive the same again at the great day of resurrection, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executor, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give and dispose of the same in the following manner to witt.

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my son Samuel one negroe boy named John, and four Hundred dollars to him and his Heirs forever

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my daughter Rhoda Sharp one negroe girl named Chany to her and her Heirs forever

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my son Moses one negroe girl named Nan to him and him Heirs forever. Also I give him one tract of land on the Miry Swamp, known by the name of the Parish place to him and his heirs forever

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my Daughter Anna Sharp one negroe girl named Elva to her and her Heirs forever

Item. I Give and bequeath unto my son Isaac one negroe boy named Brittain to her and her Heirs forever. Also I give him the land and plantation whereon I now live after his Mothers Death

Item.I lend to my beloved wife Jerusa, during her natural life, the Land and plantation whereon I now live, also all my negroes not heretofore bequeathed.

Item. The rest of my property I leave to be divided between my wife and all my children after my paying all my Just debts and the negroes lent to my wife I leave to be equally divided between all my children after her death

I do hereby nominate and appoint my sons Samuel and Moses Executors to this my last will and testament, ratifying this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament; in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 21st day of March 1814.   /s/ Samuel Farmer

Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presence of J. Farmer, Isaac Farmer


Samuel Farmer’s home plantation was on Hominy Swamp in what is now Wilson County. (In fact, the waterway runs through the city from northwest to southwest.) His will entered probate in August Term 1817 of Edgecombe County’s probate court.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Strung from a tree and shot to death.

The story broke 86 years ago today. Twenty-nine year-old Oliver Moore, accused of raping two small white girls, had been dragged from a Tarboro jail by a mob of 250. After hauling him across the line into Wilson County, the crowd strung Moore from a tree with plow lines and shot him to pieces. (He may have been “maltreated” — castrated — beforehand, but that was just a rumor.) Officially, it was the first lynching in North Carolina since 1921, and the first ever in Wilson County. The sheriff was chagrined. “… I shall not hesitate to bring the leaders to justice,” he declared. “If I find them.”

North Carolina’s relatively progressive governor, O. Max Gardner, professing outrage from his vacation spot, called Moore’s lynching a disgrace, but dawdled over a decision to have the state lead an investigation into the murder. The first coroner’s jury threw up its hands.

SRL 8 21 1930

Statesville Record & Landmark, 21 August 1930.

Governor Gardner offered a $400 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the lynchers, and Wilson County’s solicitor uttered strong protestations of his intentions to see this thing through.


“Not a clue,” said the Edgecombe County sheriff. The mob had been quiet and swift and manned with utter strangers who’d been shrewd enough to remove their license plates.

SRL 8 21 1930 2

Statesville Record & Landmark, 21 August 1930.

And four days later, the matter wrapped.

Officials were “unable to place the blame.” There was not a clue. On the other side of the state, Statesville’s newspaper of record expressed disappointment in the outcome and wagged a disapproving finger at Down East folks who apparently strongly supported “mob murder.” (Memory of the notorious 1906 Gillespie-Dillingham triple lynching just down the road in Salisbury had apparently faded into the ignominious past.)

SRL 8 25 1930

Statesville Record & Landmark, 25 August 1930.


Though newspaper reports emphasized that the crowd had taken Oliver Moore into Wilson County — presumably to shake the jurisdiction of Edgecombe’s hapless deputy sheriff — his death certificate was filed in Edgecombe and described his place of death as “near Macclesfield.” The coroner duly noted Moore’s sex, race and marital status, then skipped the rest of the personal preliminaries to bluntly record a cause of death: “riddled with bullets and shot from hands of unknown mob (lynched).”


I have not identified Oliver Moore in any census. The Morgan family, however, lived in Township 9 (also known as Otter Creek township), which shares several miles of border with Wilson County approximately 12-15 miles east of Wilson. Oliver’s brother, who refused (did not dare?) to claim his body, may have been the Andrew Moore, 23, listed with his young family in the 1920 census of Otter Creek.

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We do not know who, in fact, attacked the Morgan sisters. We never will. We do know, however, that justice was not served.

For a minute analysis of the lynching of Oliver Moore, offering details of the alleged rape, the kidnapping of Moore, the response of local citizens and media, and a social and historical outline of Edgecombe County, see the Chapter “North Carolina Slips Back” in Arthur F. Raper’s The Tragedy of Lynching, published in 1933 by the University of North Carolina Press.

Last will and testament of Richard Hocutt.

In the name of God Amen, I Richard Hocott of the County of Edgecomb and State of North Carolina being of Sound mind and memory do make ordain declare and publish the following to be and contain my last will & testament in manner and form following to wit

Item first I will and desire my Executors herein after named to provide for my body a decent buryal and to pay all my just debts out of the first moneys coming into there hands as a part and parsel of my Estate

Item second I will desire and devise unto my beloved wife Elizabeth the dwelling house where I now live and one hundred and fifty acres of land around it to be laid off as She may want it to have and to hold to her the Said Elizabeth during her natural life and no longer

Item third I give and bequeath unto my wife Elizabeth the following Slaves with all their issue born after the date of this will to wit one man named Ben and one woman named Sinia and one girl named Hester to have and to hold during her natural life and no longer

Item forth I give and bequeath unto my Said Wife Elizabeth two cows & calves one horse two yews & lambs two Sows & pigs all of which to be her choice all the poultry one loom & all of my house hold and Kitchen furnature except what is here after named one buggy and harness and one bed and furnature (her choice) for an during her life and no longer

Item fifth I give and bequeath unto my Said Wife Elizabeth one other bed her choice with all the bed cloths she had before we were married which She may dispose of as She may like

Item sith I give and bequeath unto my Said Wife Elizabeth one thousand pounds of pork & twenty barrels of corn one thousand pounds of fodder twelve pounds of Sugar & twelve pounds of Coffee & ten gallons of Molasses & three bushels of Salt & one barrel of flour for her years support

Item the seventh I give and bequeath unto my Son Daniel Hocott the following Slaves to wit one negro man named Amos one negro woman named Alif one girl named Mary one girl named Sarah and one boy named John all of which I give to the Said daniel Hocutt in fee simple provided he the said Daniel leaves a child or children surviving him and if he leaves no child or children nor the issue of child or children I want the said slaves equally divided among all my children

Item the eight I give and bequeath unto my Son Benjamin Hocott all my lands not before mentioned and also one negro man named Ben and one woman named Sinia & one girl named Hester before mentioned after the death of my Said Wife Elizabeth also the lands given to my said wife I give to the said Benjamin Hocott after her death

Item the ninth my will and desire is that all my property not herein mentioned be sold after my death and the money be equally divided among all my children except Daniel Hoc0tt and Benjamin Hocott

Item the tenth I nominate and appoint my Sons Daniel Hocott and Benjamin Hocott Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills and testaments by me hereto fore made

In testimony of which I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the Sixteenth day of September A.D. 1853 Signed, published and declared to be and contain the last will and testament of Richard Hocott in the presence who witness the same at his request the year and date above written   Richard (X) Hocutt   /s/ Benjamin Bynum, Newit Owens


“One negro man named Ben” may be, in the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Benjamin Hoketts, 70, wife Clapsly, 60, and Haywood, 27, Daniel, 18, Cain, 16, and Sarah Hoketts, 16, plus Willie Nicholls, 8.

North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], ancestry.com.

Loving and only daughter passed away.


Wilson Daily Times, 18 February 1919.

In the 1900 census of Deep Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Jarrett Z. Staton, 28, his wife Mary, 26, and their daughter Eula, 10 months.

In the 1916 Wilson NC city directory, Eula Staton is listed as a grocer, though she was only 16 years old. Her father Jarrett was described as a porter in the directory.

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On 13 February 1919, “school girl” Eulelia Staton died of pulmonary tuberculosis.


He has forged free papers.

Fifty Dollars Reward.

Made his escape from me, on Friday evening the 4th of the present month, near Stantonsburg, a negro man, named ALLEN, (calls himself Allen Woodard) he is about 30 years of age, of a tolerable size, yellow complexion, a pretty good House Carpenter and a very ingenious negro. He formerly belonged to Wm. Dickinson, decd. – and has lately been confined in the Newbern gaol, was removed thence to Snow Hill, had his trial and was whipped – his back is pretty much scared [sic]. It is said he has forged free papers, with which he has passed as a free man. It is probable he will lurking about Newbern as he carried a white woman there, with whom he was intimate, as it was said.

The above reward will be given to any person who will deliver him to me, or lodge him in Tarborough gaol.  DANIEL DICKINSON.  Edgcomb County, 2 miles above Stantonsburg, May 8th, 1822.

Newbern Sentinel, 18 May 1822.

But sell Gatsey: the last will and testament of James A. Barnes.

The will by which James A. Barnes determined the fates of 24 enslaved people, including Howell Darden and Easter Bass:

In the name of God Amen I James A Barnes of the State of North Carolina, and County of Edgecombe being in a low State of health but of sound disposing mind and memory blessed be God for the same, being desirous of disposing of my worldly Estate do make & constitute this my last will and Testament revoking all other wills by me heretofore made

Item 1st. I lend unto my beloved wife Sarah Barnes during the time of her natural life the following tract of land Beginning on Big Contentnea Creek at the mouth of a ditch wherein it Enters into said Creek at the flax hold, thence running Eastwardly with the ditch to the line of the land of John Barnes dec’d thence north said deceased line nearly North to a fence thence north said fence to my crop fence, thence west said cross fence to the next cross fence, thence west that fence to the gum swamp where formerly stood a bridge, thence down the various of said swamp to the creek and down the various courses of the creek to the Beginning containing one hundred acres more of less with the express and direct priviledge of getting of timber off any of my land to keep up her farm Excepting out of the land bound to her the small piece of land whereon Eliza Bass now lives which includes three acres more or less, her houses and improvements also excepting one half acre of land at or near a posimon tree standing on the North Side of the lane running Eastwardly from wherein I live at the place wherein Theophilus Bass lives I also lend unto my beloved wife all of my Kitchen furniture & dairy utensils one Mahoggany side Board, one little do., all my chairs, all my earthen ware and glass ware of every description, all of my knives and forks, all of my spoons flat Irons and my and irons all of my wooden ware of every description one half of my brandy Still all of my Cider barrels, also the following negroes during the term of her natural life, negro man Tom, Mary, Esther & Charles except the time of Charles, which I may in an after clause in this will direct him to be bound out. Also I lend unto her my wheat fan[?] boiler & gun

Item 2nd. Item. I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Sarah, the following negro Slaves Amos, Bob, Silvia, Ransom & Rose, two beds, bedsteds & furniture her choice, one chest her choice one sorrel mare & her colt Bob, one Bay Mare mule, two cows and calves her choice, one white heifer from four to five years old, fifteen dollars in money, three sows & piggs her choice, all of my plows [illegible] & plow gear, lines plow bits Stems Keys [illegible] Irons & all of my axes grubbin hoes, weeding hoes, chisels, saws, drawing knives, all the poultry & geese, six stacks of fodder her choice, twelve bushels of seed [illegible] all of the flax on hand, all the wheels and cards, the loom and all the gear, fifty pounds of pick cotton all the [illegible] all the oats twenty five bushels of wheat one barrel of brandy her choice one candle mould one lantern, one wash basin one large cupboard two candlesticks all the sifters and trays fifty barrels of good Corn & twenty five fat hoggs her choice my apple mills & cider presses to her and her heirs forever.

Item 3rd. I give and bequeath unto my nephew Theophilus Bass the priviledge of using one half acre of Land whereon he now lives also the whole of the Jacob S. Barnes tract of land containing one hundred and fifty acres of land more or less excepting and reserving to my wife apart of this land loaned to her in this Will during the Term of her life. Also I give unto him the said Theophilus Bass his heirs and assigns forever one certain part of the Lott of land I drew in the division of the real estate of John Barnes and adjoining Willis Simms near the gum pond or Swamp Jacob S. Barnes to co[illegible] all the land north of a dam near the Broken leg for the purpose of straitening our his fence to come along the Cross fence that Comes through to the pond to Sarah Barnes line of the land loaned to her in this will. Also one half of my brandy still also the negroes to my wife which is loaned to her trust, Negroe Mary, Esther, & Charles which gift to him is to Command at the death of my wife, one bay horse called Lany, one cow & carlin[?] which is called his, my blacksmiths tools, one horses cart & wheels and all the other property to him & his heirs which is loaned to my wife in this ill which gift to him is to command. It is however my will and desire that Theophilus Bass is to pay one hundred dollars in money before he receives any thing under this will

Item 4th. It is my will and desire the negro fellow Charles is to be hired out as long as my wife lives and the money arising from said hire to be applied enough of it to pay my debt if it is required for that purpose, and if not one half of his hire to pay to Theophilus Bass and the other half to my wife Sarah Barnes.

Item 5th. I give and bequeath to Martha Tomberlin wife of Daniel [David?] Tomberlin Dinah to her & her nears and assigns for ever but is to pay Patience Darden 54 dollars in two years from this date

Item 6. I give and bequeath to Tresy Darden daughter of McKinly Darden boy Jack to her, her heirs and assigns forever but this Legatee is bound to pay Patience Darden Ten dollars in two years

Item 7th. It is my will and desire that my negro man Tom choose his Master and to be valued by two disinterested men at the death of my wife

Item 8 – I give and bequeath unto McKinley Darden his heirs and assigns forever negro man Howell about twenty two or three years of age but he is hereby to pay back to my Executor fifty dollars before he is to have him

Item 9th Item – I give and bequeath unto my Sister Beedy Woodard of the State of Georgia boy Irvin which boy she has in her possession which I have given her a bill of sale for to her and her heirs and assigns forever.

Item 10th. I give and bequeath unto Eliza Bass widow of James Bass one negro fellow Jordan, all the household and Kitchen furniture in her possession, wheels, cards, cart & gear to her & her heirs and assigns forever.

Item 11th. I give and bequeath the following negro slaves (to wit) Rindy, Abraham, Rody, Alexander & Bob to the three children of Theophilus Bass dec’d. George Washington Bass, Thomas Warren Bass & Jessee Jackson Bass, with this express condition that the above bound five negroes shall be bound to pay notes out of hand for fifty or sixty dollars I gave to Jacob G. Barnes Administrator of James Bass dec. to them, their heirs and assigns forever.

Item 12th. It is my will and desire that the widow of James Bass, Eliza Bass have use and occupy all the Lands I own on the East side of Big Contentnea & south side of my land, not heretofore mentioned to my wife and Theophilus Bass, during the time she may live single or life to her death and at such time as she may marry or die, it is my will and desire that the three lotts of land I drew of the John Barnes dec’d tract the one I drew and two I purchased of Julius Bass & Beedy Woodard to belong to Thomas Warren Bass and the balance loaned to her in this Item to belong to George Washington Bass & Jesse Jackson Bass, Share and Share alike to them their heirs and assigns forever.

Item 13th. It is my will and desire that the tract of land of mine in Wane County near where I live containing seventy two acres or thereabouts to belong to Eliza Bass and Theophilus Share and Share alike and so to remain until one or the other of them dies & then the tract is to be sold in Six months and the money arising from said sale to be equally divided between them or their heirs and assigns

Item 14th. It is my will and desire that my sister Julian Bass to have two hundred dollars in money

Item 15th. It is my will and desire that my sister child, Margarett Evans of the State of Georgia have three hundred & fifty Dollars to her & her heirs and assigns forever.

Item 16th. It is my will and desire & I so direct my negro girl Gatsy all the balance of my estate of every description not given away in this will be sold on a credit of six months & the money arising therefrom to pay all my debts and legacies

Item 17th. It is my will and desire that my Friend Wyatt Moye Executor to this my last will and Testament this 14th October 1848. Signed, Sealed and declared in presence of Woodard Cook, Edwin Barnes.   James A. Barnes {seal}

North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.