Edgecombe County

Studio shots, no. 85: John and Margaret Lewis Maryland.

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John Maryland (ca. 1872-1947)

In the 1880 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: farmer John Maryland, 58, born in Maryland; wife M., 40; and children Haywood, 17, who was deaf; Schofield, 16; Walter, 10; Mary, 9; John, 7; Hattie, 6; Primas, 4; and Jonas, 2.

In the 1880 census of Upper Town Creek, Edgecombe County: farmer Handy Lewis, 38; wife Jane, 40; children Wash, 16, Joshua, 12, Margarette, 8, Caroline, 6, Tiney, 4, and Robert, 2; and step-daughter Nicey, 16.

Margaret Lewis Maryland (ca. 1872-1965)

John Maryland, 21, of Nash County, married Margaret Lewis, 19, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Handy Lewis, on 8 April 1894 in Edgecombe County. Haywood Maryland applied for the license.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: John Maryland, 40, farmer; wife Margaret, 30; children Cora, 15, Mandonia, 15, Robert, 13, Della, 10, Charlie, 6, Richard, 4, Percy, 2, and William T., 1 month.

An unnamed baby was stillborn 10 July 1914 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born prematurely in Wilson County to John Maryland and Margaret Lewis, both of Edgecombe County. John Maryland, R.F.D. 1, Elm City, served as both informant and undertaker. The child was buried in “burying ground – Wesley Williams farm.”

William Maryland died 19 September 1919 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 23 years old; a farmer; married; born in Wilson County to John Maryland and Maggie Lewis; and buried in Nash County.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer John Maryland, 50; wife Margritt, 40; children  Robert, 24, Della, 22, Charley, 18, Richard, 16, John P., 14, William, 13, and Primas, 11; nephew Walter, 14, and niece Hellen, 12; daughter-in-law Ether, 19; and grandchildren Maggie, 7, and Cuba, 2 months.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount-Town Creek Road, John Maryland, 58, farm laborer; wife Maggie, 49; son Richard R., 23, farm laborer; daughter-in-law Mamie, 23; and grandchildren Daisy L., 6, and Willie C. Maryland, 4.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer John Maryland, 67; wife Maggie, 65; and grandchildren John, 17, and Martha Maryland, 12.

Per his grave marker, John Maryland died 23 June 1947.

Maggie Margaret Maryland died 27 February 1965 in Sharpsburg, WIlson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 September 1885 in Nash County to Handy Lewis; was a widow; and was buried in Wesley Williams cemetery. Robert Maryland, Sharpsburg, was informant.

Robert Maryland died 14 October 1971 in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 July 1903 to John Maryland; was married to Estella Bunn; lived at 720 Brooks, Rocky Mount; and was a retired janitor at Morgan Motel. Willie Lee Maryland was informant.

Photographs courtesy of Ancestry.com user ElijahDoby.

Snaps, no. 37: George H. Powell.

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George Henry Powell (1908-1992).

In the 1910 census of Town of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: laborer George Powell, 26; wife Mary, 25; and children Annie, 13, Viola, 6, Russel, 3, Johnny, 5, George H., 2, and Mattie, 2 months.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Bryant, 30; wife Annie, 30; children William, 16, farm laborer, and Elizabeth, 11; and nephew George Powell, 19, farm laborer.

On 24 November 1937, in Wilson, George Powell, 24, of Gardners, son of George Powell and Mary Jones, married Beatrice Hines, 23, of Gardners, daughter of Turner Hines and Rosa Hines.

George Henry Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 20 October 1912 in Edgecombe County; he resided at R.F.D. 4, Wilson; his contact was wife Beatrice Powell; and he was employed by William Mack Brown, R.F.D. 4, Wilson.

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George Henry Powell died 22 May 1992 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1910 in Edgecombe County to George Powell and Mary Cotton; resided at 1505 Queen Street Extension, Wilson; was married to Beatrice Hines Powell; and had worked as a carpenter.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user RogerBarron52.

Reid reunion.

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Wilson Daily Times, 26 July 1971.

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In the 1900 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Gray Read, 47; wife Lucy, 37; and children Joseph R., 18, Nancy L., 7, Elija, 5, Mart Eva, 4, Jona, 3, and Lucy, 5 months.

In the 1910 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Amos Read, 64; lodger Gray Read, 57, and children Gray, 18, Eligh, 15, Margrett, 13, and John, 13.

Elijah Reid, 21, of Gardners township, son of Gray Reid, married Ida Hagans, 18, of Gardners, daughter of James and Hannah Hagans, on 13 January 1915 on the Old Whitehead farm. Witnesses were Robert Hilliard, Lawrence Hagans and J.B. Owens.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Hagans, 53; wife Nora, 50; sons John, 18, Joe, 18, and Laurence, 16; daughter Etta, 21; grandchildren Elizabeth, 15, Sudie M., 13, Leeoma, 10, David, 5, Bessie M., 3, Lillie M., 1, and Charlie Reid, 4; and daughter Ida Reid, 32.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Elijah Reid, 49; wife Ida, 44; and children Willie, 12, Troy, 8, Sudie, 20, Naomie, 17, David, 15, Bessie, 14, Eula, 9, and Ester, 6.

Naomi Reid, 21, born in Wilson to Elijah Reid and Ida Hagans, married Oliver Lee Howard, born in Wilson to Will Lucas and Lena Howard, were married 28 January 1943 in Norfolk, Virginia, where both resided.

Lillie Mae Reid, 20, daughter of Eligha and Ida Reid, married William Atkinson, 26, son of Lester and Martha Moore Atkinson, on 25 February 1951 at 300 South East Street, Wilson. Witnesses were Mildred Reid, 911 Washington Street; Howard Hopkins, 703 Manchester Street; and David Reid, 300 South East STreet.

Ida Hagans Reid died 29 June 1967 at her home at 300 South East Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 21 August 1896 in WIlson County to James Hagans and Hannah Bynum; was married to Elijah Reid; and worked as a tobacco factoryhand. Elizabeth Reid was informant.

Elijah R. Reid Jr. died 26 March 1977 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 October 1917 in Wilson to Elijah Reid Sr. and Ida Hagans; was married to Mildred Coel; worked as a minister; and resided at 911 Washington Street.

Elijah Reid Sr. died 24 August 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 August 1894 in Edgecombe County to Gray Reid and an unknown mother; resided at 804 Hines Street, Wilson; was a widower; and worked as a self-employed repairman. Eula Wilkins of Washington, D.C., was informant.

Jordan Thomas.

Hugh B. Johnston Jr., “Looking Backward,” Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1954.

This piece on Jordan Thomas is not entirely accurate. Franklin County native Jordan Thomas’ first wife was Charity Locus, a free woman of color. His second, Eliza, also seems to have been free. His third was Rosa Woodard, the enslaved daughter of London Woodard, who bore him a son, Peter.

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In the 1810 census of Franklin County, North Carolina, were free colored heads of household Lettice Thomas and Eliza Thomas. One, perhaps Eliza, may have been Jordan Thomas’s mother.

Jordan Thomas married Charity Locus in 9 February 1837 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

In the 1840 census of District 17, Edgecombe County: Jerdan Thomas headed a household that comprised one male aged 24-35 and two females under 10. Nearby, Hearty Thomas, head of a household that included one male under 10; three females aged 10-24; one female 24-26; and one female 36-45. [Who was Hearty Thomas? Jordan Thomas named a daughter Harty.]

In the 1850 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: in the household of white farmer J.B. Woodard, farmer Jordon Thomas, 35, “free.” [Where were his wife and children?]

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: turpentine laborer Jordon Thomas, 50; daughters Henrietta, 21, Eliza, 20, and Harty, 18; and grandson John, 1.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County; farmer Jordan Thomas, 52, who reported owning $175 in real property and $100 in personal. Next door: Eliza Thomas, 52, Henriet, 35, Hariet, 30, Alfred, 9, Jordan, 7, John, 11, Charity, 10, and Henry, 6.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Jordan Thomas, 68; daughters Henyeter, 42, and Harty, 40; and grandchildren John, 21, Charity, 18, Henry, 15, Jordan, 17, and Alfread, 18.

On 5 January 1881, Charity Thomas, 18, daughter of Warren Rountree and Henrietta Thomas, married Charley Hagans, 20, son of Richd. and Alley Hagans, at Jordan Thomas’ in Gardners township. London Woodard, Ed Hoskins and John Thomas were witnesses.  [Charity Thomas’ father Warren Rountree was enslaved at the time of her birth.]

On 5 July 1899, Jordan Thomas made his mark on his last will and testament. Under its terms, “beloved daughters” Harty and Henretta Thomas received a life interest in the 11 acres upon which he lived in Gardners township adjoining the lands of Benjamin Finch, Benjamin Artis and T.W Barnes. After their deaths, the property was to go to grandchildren Jordan Thomas, Alfred Thomas and Charity Hagans. The will entered probate on 21 March 1901 in Wilson, presumably shortly after Thomas’ death.

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Jordan Thomas, 88, widower, and daughters Henrietta, 60, and Adline, 57.

Adline Thomas died 20 May 1926 in Gardners township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 91 years old; unmarried; was born in Edgecombe County to Jerdon Thomas of Franklin County and Chattie Thomas; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Anderson Thomas. [“Adeline” was Harty Thomas.]

Peter Thomas died 7 July 1929 in Wilson township. Per his death certificate, he was 78 years old; married to Maggie Thomas; was a farmer; was born in Wilson County to Jordan Thomas and Rosa Thomas; and was buried in Penders family cemetery, Wilson County. Sudie Barnes was informant.

On 19 December 1932, Jordon Thomas died in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 70 years old; was born in Wilson County to Henrietta Thomas; and was a farmer. Informant was J.T. Barnes.

Obituary of 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.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 812 Viola, owned and valued at $1500, James Boykin, 60, and wife Nancy, 79; and, renting at $12/month, Lucias Smith, 28, skilled sewer contractor laborer, wife Jacqueline, 18, daughter Louise, 2, and Sidney Ramsouear, 89; and, renting at $4/month, Ray Brockman, 33, skilled sewer contractor laborer, and wife Hattie, 22. The Smiths and Brockmans were from South Carolina.

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.

Obituary of Charlie F. Knight.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 March 1963.

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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.

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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.

Obituary of 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

However.

“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.

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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.)

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Statesville Record & Landmark, 25 August 1930.

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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).”

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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.