Edwards

Three drown; three thousand attend funeral.

The day after graduation, Darden High School’s Class of 1942 road-tripped south to Kinston for a picnic at a lake. The day ended in tragedy when three young men drowned trying to save the life of a classmate.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 June 1942.

The Daily Times estimated that three thousand mourners jammed the “Wilson Community Center” [Reid Street Community Center] for joint services for Harvey Ford, Raymond Edwards, and Russell Clay

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Wilson Daily Times, 8 June 1942.

  • Harvey Ford — Per his death certificate, Harvey Gray Ford died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson, N.C., to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Mamie Ford, 910 East Green Street, was informant.
  • Raymond Edwards — Per his death certificate, Raymond Edwards died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 15 November 1924 in Wilson, N.C., to McKenly Edwards of Greene County and Maggie Thomas of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Maggie Edwards, 609 South Railroad Street, was informant.
  • Russell Clay — Per his death certificate, Russell Clay died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 April 1921 in Jarrett, Virginia, to Larry Clay of Wilson, and Hattie Grice of Wilson; was a student; and was single. He was buried in Newsome cemetery near Lucama. Hattie Clay, 902 Viola Street, was informant.
  • Parthenia Robinson — Anne Parthenia Robinson. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Vick Street, barber Golden Robinson, 30; wife Bertie, 23; and children Parthenia, 5, Gold M., 3, and Glean, 1.
  • E.M. Barnes — Edward M. Barnes was principal of C.H. Darden High School.
  • Rev. F.M. Davis — Fred M. Davis was pastor of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Rev. A.D. Dunstan
  • Charles D. James
  • Eunice Cooke — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hadley Street, railroad mail clerk Jerry L. Cook, 43; wife Clara, 39, teacher; children Henderson, 20, Edwin D., 18, Clara G., 14, Georgia E., 12, Annie, 8, Jerry L., 6, and Eunice D., 4; sister Georgia E. Wyche, 48, teacher; and nieces Kathaline Wyche, 7, and Reba Whittington, 19.
  • James Mincey — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: fertilizer plant laborer James Mincey, 39; wife Lucinda, 35; grandfather William Ran, 87, widower; and James Mincey Jr., 15.
  • Eleanor Reid — Eleanor P. Reid was principal of Sallie Barbour Elementary School.
  • Annie Cooke
  • M.D. Williams — Malcolm D. Williams was principal of Samuel Vick Elementary School.
  • Rev. W.A. Hillard — in 1942, William Alexander Hilliard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; was a minister in the A.M.E. Zion Church serving in Wilson; resided at 119 Pender Street; and his contact was Mrs. Veta Watson, 2449 Woodland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Quincey Ford — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 409 Carroll Street, carpenter Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19, tobacco factory laborers; wife Mayme, 48, teacher; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22, tobacco factory laborer; daughter Leah, 22, and granddaughter Yvette, 2.
  • Leah Ford — Leah Ford Sellers‘ daughter Yevette Sellers died just three and a half years after her uncle Harvey.
  • Kennie and Maggie Edwards — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 South Railroad Street, William Edwards, 52, farm laborer; wife Lillie, 49; son McKinley, 28, wife Maggie, 25; and son Ramond, 6.
  • Hattie Clay — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 902 Viola, hospital cook Hattie Clay, 42, widow, and children Russell, 19, Buelah M., 15, and Arthur, 7; plus mother Mary Grice, 76, widow.
  • Beulah Clay
  • Arthur Clay

A Winstead gathering.

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Lisa R. W. Sloan kindly shared this amazing photograph taken in Wilson County around the turn of the 20th century. Her great-great-grandfather Edward “Ned” Winstead is standing in the top row, third from right, with a book tucked under his arm. Her great-great-grandmother Annie Edwards Winstead is believed to be in the photo as well, but has not been identified. Nor have the others depicted, who may members of the extended Winstead family, who lived in the Elm City area. If you recognize anyone here, please let us know.

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In the 1870 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Anna Oats, 28, domestic servant; Milly, 16, domestic servant, Ned, 13, farm laborer, and Clara, 12, domestic servant; and John Batts, 22, retail liquor dealer.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Fannie Parker, 51; daughter Martha, 28; grandsons Julius S., 10, and Joseph W., 4; nephew Ned Winstead, 22.

On 29 December 1886, Ned Winstead, 28, son of George Hodge, married Annie Edwards, 23, daughter of Orren and Sarah Edwards, at James Chisel’s house in Toisnot township.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Ned Winstead, 42, wife Annie, 38, and children Hubbard, 12, James H., 10, Maggie, 8, Lizzie V., 4, William N.D., 2.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on State Highway, farmer Ned Winstead, 52, wife Annie, 47, and children Maggie, 18, Lizzie, 14, Daniel, 12, John, 9, Lee, 6, and Bryant, 4.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on State Highway, farmer Ned Winstead, 58, wife Annie, 50, and children Maggie, 23, John, 18, and Bryant, 13, plus granddaughter Annie Bell, 9.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Ned Winstead, 60, widower; son-in-law Tom Wilcher, 48; daughter Maggie, 37; Carl Farmer, 23, son-in-law; daughter Lizzie, 33; and granddaughter Annie B., 19.

On 7 November 1931, in Smithfield, North Carolina, Bryant Winstead, 26, son of Ned and Annie Winstead, resident of Elm City, married Eva Green, 24, daughter of Neverson and Isabella Green, resident of Wilson.

Ned Winstead died 24 May 1934 in Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; was born 14 February 1858 in Nash County to George Hardy and Iseley Winstead; was a farmer; and was buried in Elm City. Maggie Wilcher was informant.

Were they illegally bound?

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Bureau R.F.&A.L. Goldsboro May 18 /67

Edwards Marcellus J., Wilson N.C.

Sir

Complaint has been made at this office that the boy Freeman and the girls Amanda & Bethany now living with you were illegally bound to you You will please forward a statement of the case to this office on or before the 23rd inst and show cause if any exist why the indentures should not be cancelled.

I am Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servt

A. Compton, Major 40th U.S.I., Sub Asst Com

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In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Marcellus Edwards, 42; his children Emma, 16, Sallie, 14, Mary, 13, William, 10, Julia, 9, Marcellus, 6, Joseph, 2, and James, 1; Virginia Edwards, 25; plus Freeman, 18, Amand, 16, and Bethena Edwards, 12, all farmer’s apprentices.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 15, Letters sent, vols. 1-2, February 1867-February 1868, http://www.familysearch.org.

The Edwards family reunion.

On the Fourth of July 1954, the Edwards family — 200 strong — held its 20th annual reunion in Nashville, Nash County, North Carolina. Rev. Buck H. Edwards of Wilson County, the oldest living family member, gave the invocation prior to a dinner of barbecue, fried chicken and slaw.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 July 1954. 

The tradition continues! On 4 July 2019, Edwards family members gathered in Wilson to celebrate their 85th annual reunion.

Special thanks to Carla Edwards Williams, granddaughter of B.H. Edwards, for the photo!

Snaps, no. 47: Lillie Edwards Spells Pender.

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Lillie Edwards Spells Pender (1894-1991).

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Mingo Edwards, 53; wife Martha, 45; and children Charley, 17, Leandis, 16, Bunk, 13, Callie, 12, Jacob, 10, Lula [Lillie], 8, Learer, 7, Mingo, 5, Emma, 3, Clara, 2, and Vandore, 1.

On 15 November 1916, Irvin Spell, 21, son of Hurl and Patsy Spell, married Lillie Edwards, 20, daughter of Mingo and Martha Edwards, in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister J.E. Brown performed the ceremony in the presence of Whit Lewis, Charlie Newkirk and Carrie Parker.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Irving Spell, 23, farm laborer, and wife Lilly Spell, 22.

On 16 June 1928, James Pender, 37, married Lillie Edwards, 28, in Wilson. Disciple minister W.W. Webb performed the ceremony in the presence of Bessie Harris, Ella Adams and Victoria Webb.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 Lincoln Street, fertilizer plant laborer James Pender, 45; wife Lillie, 29; and children Artesia, 12, Mosses, 10, Ometa, 8, Farro M., 4, and Isaac, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 Lincoln Street, tobacco factory laborer James Pender, 55; wife Lillie, 39; tobacco factory laborer; children Isaac, 12, James, 9, Lillie M., 7; stepchildren Omeda, 18, and Vara Spells, 14; and nephews Albert, 10, and James McCoy, 15.

Lillie Edwards Pender died 7 September 1991 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1894 and was a widow.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user kmiles65.

Studio shots, no. 95: Rosa Lee Ross.

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Rosa Lee Edwards McNeil Ross (1913-1989).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 225 Stantonsburg Street, Billy Edwards, 35, lumber company laborer; wife Clara, 29, tobacco factory worker; and children Rosalie, 7, Booker T., 4, and Shelley, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 804 Lincoln, owned and valued at $1700, fertilizer plant laborer Bill Edwards, 35; wife Clara, 31; and children Rosa L., 14, Booker T., 12, and Shelley G., 9. (Clara reported that she was born in Indiana to North Carolina-born parents.)

On 6 December 1931, Curtis McNeil, 21, of Wilson, son of Hector and Carrie McNeil, married Rosa Lee Edwards, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Billie and Clara Edwards. Methodist minister R.J. Young performed the ceremony in the presence of Nellie H. Carr, Emma King and Lawrence J. Baylor.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer William Edwards, 52; wife Clara, 48, laundress; daughter Rose McNeal, 26, divorced, tobacco factory laborer; nieces Ester, 19, laundress, and Rachel Cromartie, 13; and mother-in-law Della Cromartie, 84.

John Henry Ross died 28 April 1973 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 August 1907 to Will Ross and Ida Barnes; resided at 904 Lincoln Street, Wilson; was married to Rosa Lee Edwards; and had worked as a mechanic for Paul Berry Chevrolet. Rosa Lee Ross was informant.

Rosa Lee Ross died 20 November 1989 in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user kmiles65.

Golden wedding … and more.

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Wilson Daily Times, 1 December 1953.

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Wilson Daily Times, 23 November 1963.

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B.H. Edwards, 23, of Nash County, married Lucy Kearney, 17, of Wilson, on 9 November 1903 in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of J.J. Murfree, J.H. Pulley and W.L. Hardy.

Lucy K. Edwards died 26 March 1966 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 November 1886 in Franklin County, North Carolina, to Anna Williams; resided in Elm City, Wilson County; was married to Buck H. Edwards; and was buried in William Chapel cemetery.

Buck H. Edwards died 12 December 1967 in Elm City, Taylors township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 February 1891 in Nash County to Robert Edwards and Sallie Parker; was married to Bettie M. Edwards; was a minister; and was buried in William Chapel cemetery. Informant was Mrs. Mae Guzman, 1214 Queen Street, Wilson.

Newest and finest.

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Wilson Daily Times, 26 March 1948.

Seventy years later, Edwards Funeral Home — still operated by the Edwards family — remains a cornerstone of East Wilson business. Its website sets out the company’s history:

“On a calm, sunny day in March 1948, two brothers, Oliver H. and James Weldon Edwards, opened the doors of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. at 805 E. Nash Street in Wilson, North Carolina. The story does not begin there. Rather it begins with the conception and dream that two brothers had of being entrepreneurs and opening their own business, a funeral home. Oliver, the older of the two, lived in Raleigh and worked at a funeral home as a licensed funeral director. He encouraged James, who had just completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in World War II, to attend school in funeral service and mortuary science rather than pursue another career and major. James was in New York City by this time, and he began and completed American Academy of Mortuary Science in New York City (now American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service) as a licensed funeral director and mortician. The dream moves toward reality. Having met two of the requirements (experience and knowledge) for starting an enterprise of this type, both men had to decide where to locate the business. The decision was a fairly easy one – to go home. “Home” was the tri-county area of Wilson, Nash, and Edgecombe Counties where the Edwards family had deep roots, dating back several generations to at least the 18th Century and where the brothers, as well as the extended family, grew up, went to school, and attended church. Their father, the Reverend B.H. Edwards, was a highly respected Baptist minister who pastured Sandy Fork Missionary Baptist, Red Oak Grove Missionary Baptist, Rising Sun Missionary Baptist, and Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Churches over a span of 42 years. In their youth, Reverend Edwards carried his boys (and all his children) throughout the various church communities and neighborhoods in these counties. Thus, Oliver and James knew the people, and the people knew them. The decision was made – Wilson. The brothers, encouraged by their parents and wives, bought a two story white frame house in East Wilson. Located on the main thoroughfare, this “home” was a classic representative of the Colonial Revival type of architecture. It still has the original interior paneling, crown molding, woodworking, winding stairway and a marble hearth fireplace. The site was chosen as much for its location and the charm of this house far for the warmth and friendliness of the neighbors and the neighborhood (some of whom reside there today). The funeral home (with interior and exterior renovations and expansions) remains in the same location today due mostly out of a desire to remain in the area where the family still lives and because of the history and symbolism of the structure. Oliver and James worked hard and opened the doors to Edwards Funeral Home and established it as a thriving business. Both brothers ran the business until Oliver’s death in July 1963. James assumed leadership, ownership and management of the business until May 1982 when he died. James’ widow, the former Josephine Farmer from Nash County, assumed leadership, after her husband’s death. She wanted to keep the dream and legacy alive for their children, Angela and Carla. Having worked as a classroom teacher in the public schools of Nash and Wilson Counties for 36 years, Josephine joined the ranks of the funeral home staff upon her retirement in 1987. Under her watchful nurturance, the funeral home continued to operate and prosper in a profession that has been traditionally dominated by men. Despite “being a woman in a man’s world,” Josephine expanded the funeral home to include, among other changes, a chapel with an organ. The chapel has a seating capacity of 200 people. Her commitment to the business, the people, the community and to serving Wilson and surrounding counties is evidenced by her ever presence at the funeral home and at funerals. Josephine’s community orientation and dedication to Wilson County is also evidenced by her service as a county commissioner, per participation in the various local, civic, and service organizations/clubs and her service through appointment on state committees by Governor Hunt. The future of Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. is certain. It is moving into the second millennium under the family oriented leadership of Mrs. Edwards with the support of her children: Angela R. Edwards Jones, Carla D. Edwards Williams, Tyrone P. Jones, III, and Darryl A. Williams. Hopefully the third generations will keep the legacy alive with the grandchildren, Darian and Carlin Williams. The legacy lives. Mrs. Edwards remembers and is appreciative for the kind support of her patrons throughout the years. She hopes to continue serving you in the difficult times during and after the loss of a loved one. She gives the best in dignified, personalized, professional care and service at the time of death and afterwards. Edwards Funeral Home, Inc. hopes to continue this tradition of meeting people’s needs with friendliness, kindness, understanding, warmth, innovation, and confidentiality. Over these sixty years, many employees have helped to insure quality service and care to patrons. Mrs. Edwards is thankful to all persons who have assisted the family since 1948. The fine tradition of service with dignity continues to be the aim of the Edwards Funeral Home staff. ‘Let Gentle Hands and Kind Hearts Care For You When Loved Ones Depart.'”

  • Rev. B.H. Edwards — Buchanan Hilliard Edwards (1891-1967)
  • O.H. Edwards — Oliver Hazel Edwards (1907-1963)
  • James W.  Edwards — James Weldon Edwards (1921-1982)
  • Josephine Farmer Edwards (1922-2013)

 

Snaps, no. 32: Charity Bullock Edwards.

Charity Bullock Edwards (1881-1950).

Charity Edwards lived most her life in Greene County, but she married and died in Wilson County, and many of her descendants reside there now. Edwards’ parents, John Bullock and Bettie Moore, married in Wilson County in 1875 and are listed there in Saratoga township in the 1880 census.

On 21 December 1899, Charity Bullock, 18, of Greene County, daughter of John and Bettie Bullock, married Stephen Edwards, 21, of Wilson County, son of Charles and Ella Edwards, in Moyeton, Stantonsburg township. Witnesses were Hattie Edwards, Con Bullock and Johny Fort of Moyeton.

In the 1900 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: in the household of Peter Joyner, step-daughter Charity Edwards, 25, and her husband Stephen, 21, a farm laborer.

In the 1910 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farm laborer Stephen Edwards, 31; wife Charity, 29; and children Lonnie, 9, John H., 7, Charity, 4, William, 2, and Mary, 7 months.

In the 1920 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farmer Stephen Edwards, 45; wife Shady, 35; and children Louzie, 13, Willie, 11, Marie, 9, Bettie, 6, Charlie, 4, Roscoe and Oscar, 3, Ida Belle, 2, and Lucy May, 4 months, plus sister Ettie Edwards, 23.

In the 1930 census of Carrs township, Greene County: farm laborer Charity Edwards, 43, widow; children Mary, 19, Bettie, 15, Charlie, 14, Lee and Sam, 13, Ida Bell, 11, Minnie, 7, Annie, 6, and Earnest, 5, and grandchildren Willie, 4, and Elmer Pender, 1.

In the 1940 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: Agustus Speight, 27; wife Lucy Mae, 20; and children Margaret Lee, 6, Agustus Jr., 4, and Willie, 1; widowed mother-in-law Charity Edwards, 50; and siblings-in-law Minnie Gray, 19, and Annie Ruth Edwards, 16; and nieces and nephews Odell and Adell, 3, and Johnnie Edwards, 1.

Charity Edwards died 20 December 1950 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1888 in Edgecombe County to John Bullock and Betty Moore and was widowed. Lena Dunston, Stantonsburg, was informant.

Photograph courtesy of the family history booklet, Our Heritage 1812-1996: Edwards, Evans, Woodard, published in 1996 and graciously shared by B.J. Woodard.

1105 Carolina Street.

The thirty-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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1940; 1 story; double-pile, hip-roof house with original brick veneer and bungalow type porch posts.”

The 1930 Wilson, N.C., city directory lists plumber Calvin S. Edwards and wife Lizzie at 1105 Carolina Street, suggesting that the house is at least ten years older than indicated above.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Carolina Street, owned an valued at $2500, Calvin Edwards, 59, born in Goldsboro, and wife Lizzie, 58, born in Tarboro. Calvin was engaged in construction plumbing and Lizzie in washing.

The 1941 Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Calvin S. Edwards at 1105 Carolina Street.

Calvin Sidney Edwards died 10 January 1947 at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1887 in Wayne County to Aaron Edwards of Orange County and Lucinda Davis of Durham; resided at 1105 Carolina Street, Wilson; was a preacher; and was married to Lizzie Woodard. He was buried in the Masonic cemetery, Wilson.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.