Elba Street

Detail.

I have written here of 303 Elba Street, a small L-plan cottage a few steps off East Green Street. Built before 1908, it is among the oldest surviving houses in the East Wilson Historic District, though its days are clearly numbered.  Their names are lost to time, but the carpenters that built this house by hand were almost certainly African-American, drawn from Wilson’s tiny pool of talented craftsmen.

A peek into the house, now abandoned, reveals few original details, but the ones that remain speak to the attention paid to the aesthetics of even working-class housing. The fireplace surround — simple trim molding on the mantel shelf and across the header and, on the mantel legs, double brackets atop delicate spindles. The pleasant asymmetry of the door’s five floating panels.

My family spent three decades in this house, laying hands all over it. My grandmother told me:

And I had pneumonia.  And they was sitting up with me.  Said I hadn’t spoken in three days.  And so that old clock where Annie Bell took, it was up there on the mantel, it struck two o’clock.  Mama was sitting on one side of the stove, and Papa on the other.  So I said, when the clock struck, I said, “It’s two o’clock, ain’t it, Mama?” And they thought I was dying, so they had been sitting up with me.  But I didn’t think nothing ‘bout it, and I went on back to sleep.

This mantel.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson; quotation adapted from interview of Hattie Henderson Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.

313 Elba Street.

The seventy-fifth 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. 1940; 1 story; shotgun altered and expanded with side wing; aluminum sided; porch replaced.”

313 Elba Street is listed in neither the 1940 census nor the 1941, 1947 or 1950 Wilson city directories. In the 1963 directory, however: Dublin Mozie P Mrs maid h 313 Elba

It is possible that the address of this house was once 315 Elba, as that number appears in records pre-1963, but not after.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, 2017.

Snaps, no. 36: Ernest and Myrtle Clifton Haskins.

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This magnificent photo depicts Ernest and Myrtle Clifton Haskins on the Viola Street-side porch of their home at 309 Elba Street on a Sunday morning circa 1965.

Ernest Haskins (1898-1975) was the son of Damp and Hester Haskins. Myrtle Clifton Haskins (1900-1970) was the daughter of James C. and Susan Clifton Clifton.

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The Haskins’ 1920 marriage license.

Many thanks to their grandson Ernie Haskins for sharing this snapshot.

 

307 Elba Street.

The fifty-ninth 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. 1908; 1 story; Jesse Holden house; L-plan cottage with turned porch posts and traces of decorative millwork along porch; Holden was a brick mason.”

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Robert Conner, 63, odd jobs laborer; wife Lillie, 40; and sons Joseph, 2, Sam, common laborer, and Jack, 22, odd jobs laborer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 608 Elmo [sic] Street, a rented house, factory laborer Orier Harrison, 28; Vasti Robins, 19, and Net Robins, 21, barber, both lodgers; and Carron Harrison, 44, oil mill laborer, and his children Margaret, 8, and Clarence Harrison, 4.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hawkins Otha bricklyr h 307 Elba

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C.

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Jesse bricklyr h 307 Elba

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holden Jesse (Beatrice) lab h 307 Elba

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory 307 Elba was listed as vacant, and the 1930 census does not enumerate anyone at that address.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 307 Elba Street, brickmason Jesse Holden, 46; wife Beatrice, 46, household servant; and daughter Geraldine, 30, tobacco floor girl.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Brown Ellis (c; Margt) driver R E Quinn & Co h 307 Elba; Brown Ellis Jr (c) tob wkr h 307 Elba.

In 1942, Ellis Brown registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 May 1902 in Wilson County; resided at 307 North Elba Street; his contact was Jessie M. Cox, Viola Street; and he worked for R.E. Quinn Furniture Company, South Goldsboro Street.

 

309 Elba Street (633 Viola Street).

The eleventh 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 2 stories; gable front house; two bay, side-hall plan; bungalow type porch and detail.”

Though the address is listed in the nomination as 633 Viola Street, that seems to be incorrect. In the 1930 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson, the house is numbered 629 Viola. (There is no 633 on the map.) Neither the 1930 nor 1940 censuses show any household numbered 633 (or even 629) Viola. Modern searches attach the address 309 Viola to this house.

In the 1930 Hill’s city directory, veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, his wife Ietta and daughter Odessa are listed at 309 Elba, located on the north side of the intersection of Elba and Viola. In the 1930 census: at 309 Elba, doctor of veterinary surgery Eliria L. Reed, 67; daughter Odessa B. Spicer, 28, a beauty parlor operator; and wife Ietta Reid, 57. The house was valued at $5000.

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From 1930 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson, N.C.

After Louisa Kersey Johnson died 15 January 1934, her daughter Gertrude Jones of 309 Elba Street provided information for her death certificate.

In the 1945 yearbook of Winston-Salem State Teachers College, senior Charles Branford‘s address is listed as 309 Elba Street.

In the 1950s and ’60s, the house was inhabited by the family of Ernest and Myrtie Clifton Haskins, as shown in this excerpt from the 1959 edition of Hills’ Wilson, N.C., city directory.

Though the house has entrances on both Viola and Elba Streets, the larger porch faces Elba. (See photo below.) With this orientation, the description changes considerably from that in the nomination form, as the house is gable-end, rather than gable-front, and three, rather than two, bays wide.

Photographs taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Studio shots, no. 20: Dock Jacobs.

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Dock Davis Jacobs was born about 1890 in northern Sampson County to Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. and his first wife Sallie Bridges. In 1895, soon after Sallie’s death, Jesse married Sarah Henderson Jacobs, who reared Jesse’s children. The Jacobses moved from Dudley in southern Wayne County to Wilson circa 1905.

The 1908-09 Wilson city directory lists:

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[106 is now numbered 303 Elba. The *, by the way, denoted a “colored” person.]

On 16 Nov 1923, Jesse A. Jacobs and wife Sara filed a deed filed for the sale of 303 Elba to Jesse’s children Carrie Blackwell, Jean Daniel Jacobs, Doc Jacobs, and Annie Bell Gay in consideration of $1. The Jacobses had purchased the property in 1908.

Jesse Jacobs died in July 1926, and Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver in January 1938. On 15 April 1938, Dock Jacobs filed a deed with Wilson County Register of Deeds office recording the sale for $20 of his undivided interest in the house to his informally adopted sister, known then as Hattie Jacobs (and later as Hattie Henderson Ricks.)

Dock Jacobs died 9 December 1944 at his home at 126 West 143rd Street, New York City.

Original photograph in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.