election

Congratulations, Mayor Stevens!

Black Wide-Awake is focused on historical people, places and events, but:

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The whole of my politically conscious life, Wilson has had two mayors. Ralph El Ramey from 1979-1992, and Bruce Rose from 1992 to date. Last night, Carlton Stevens Jr., 44, having campaigned under the slogan “One Wilson,” defeated Rose to be elected the city’s first African American mayor.

The support of East Wilson’s residents, many of whom feel forgotten amidst efforts to rebrand and revitalize other parts of town, was critical to his victory. The work begins.

Poll holders and registrars, 1884.

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Wilson Advance, 26 September 1884.

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  • Tom Johnson — in the 1880 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: teamster Thomas Johnson, 30; wife Milly, 25; and children Willie, 9, Ella, 8, and Daisey, 5.
  • Jolly Taylor — in the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Jolly Taylor, 60; wife Cherry, 38; son Richard, 18, farm laborer; and David Cotton, 18, farm laborer.
  • Jack Woodard — Jackson Woodard. In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Jack Woodard, 35; wife Fanny, 32; and children John, 12, Julia, 7, Cynthia, 6, Albert, 5, and Aaron, 2.
  • Woodard Williams
  • Randall Hinnant — in the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Randall Hinnant, 33, farmer; wife Angeline, 26; and children J. Thomas, 10, James H., 8, Lilly Ann, 6, Roscoe F., 4, and Hugh M., 7 months.
  • Ruffin Woodard — in the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Ruffin Woodard, 56; wife Lucy, 38; and children Zilpha, 19, John, 13, Polly, 12, Sallie, 2, and Oscar, 1.
  • Joe Cox — perhaps, in the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Joseph Cox, 33; wife Litha, 27; children Augustin, 6, Bunyan, 11, Iredell, 4, and Zella, 3; and farm laborer Esther Hinard, 54.
  • Ned Scarboro — in the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Ned Scarboro, 35; wife Bedie, 27; and children Rufus, 14, Leda, 11, Jennie, 8, Polly, 6, Martha, 3, and Penny, 1.
  • Preston Jenkins — probably, in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Preston Jenkins, 49; wife Patsy, 43; daughters Nancy, 22, and Lizzie, 18; and adopted son King Tom, 20.
  • Alfred Woodard — in the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Woodard, 50; wife Sarah, 45; children Florence, 28, Mary, 22, Howell, 18, Sarah E., 16, Zilly A., 17, Lundon, 13, Minnie, 12, Willie, 10, Josephine, 7, and Evvy, 4; and grandchildren Elizabeth, 7, Robt. B., 5, and John H. Bynum, 4.
  • J.I. Parker

Registrars and judges of election.

In August and September 1896, the Chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee submitted lists of  Registrars and Judges of Election for elections to be held in November 1896.

Wilson County was divided into 14 precincts — four in Wilson, two in Toisnot township, and one each in Taylors, Old Fields, Springhill, Cross Roads, Black Creek, Stantonsburg, Saratoga and Gardners townships. Braswell R. Winstead was appointed Judge of Election for Wilson Precinct No. 1 and Toisnot Precinct No. 1 and Elijah L. Reid was appointed Judge of Election for Stantonsburg Precinct. William H. Vick was appointed Registrar for Wilson No. 2; Alexander D. Dawson for Wilson No. 3; and Jeremiah Scarboro for Wilson No. 4. Jessie Howard was appointed Taylors registrar and Gray Newsome, Cross Roads.

Election Records 1896, Officials’ Bonds and Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

Poll holders for the coming election.

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Wilson Advance, 6 October 1892.

  • A.D. Dawson — Alexander D. Dawson (circa 1860-??) worked as a teacher, and then a fishmonger and merchant.
  • Samuel Gay — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Sam Gay, 54, wife Alice, 50, and children Charlie, 23, Edgar B., 25, Lucy, 17, Samuel, 14, Albert, 10, Beatrice, 10, and Lily, 4. Samuel Gay died 2 July 1919 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 73 years old; born in Wilson County; married to Allace Gay; and worked as a tenant farmer at W.E. Warren’s.
  • Jack Woodard — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jackson Woodard, 56, wife Fannie, 53, and children Daisy, 30, Aaron, 22, Harry, 19, Augustus, 18, Steven, 16, Mary, 11, and Harriet, 8, plus grandchildren Eddie, 5, Bessie, 3, and Nank, 10 months. Jack Woodard died 15 March 1920 in Black Creek township. Per his death certificate, Jack, 78, was born in Wilson County to Aaron Farmer and an unknown mother, was married to Carlin [Caroline] Woodard, and was a tenant farmer for Graham Woodard.
  • Smith Mercer — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Smith Mercer, 60, wife Chaney, 46, children Lily V., 12, LeRoy, 8, and Linda, 24, and grandchildren Annie Bell, 6, and Charlie, 1.
  • Isaac Rich — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: widower farmer Isaac Rich, 50, daughters Martha A., 28, and Wibby, 16, niece Littie Langston, 8, and nephew Rommie O’Neil, 8.
  • Joseph Hinnant — in the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer James T. Hinnant, 35, his mother Rhoda, 59, father Joseph, 70, sisters Louisa, 25,  Martha, 21, and Mary, 18.
  • Richard Jones — in the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Jones, 65, wife Lucy, 52, sister Cherry, 50, granddaughter Annie, 9, brother Joseph Huston, 50, and nephew Weston Huston, 25.
  • Noel Jones — in the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: laborer Noel Jones, 34, wife Sarah, 32, and children Josiah, 13, Charity, 12, Edieth J., 10, and Noel J., 6.
  • Hilliard Ellis — see here and here and here and here.
  • Alfred Woodard — in the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Woodard, 69, wife Sarah, 59, daughters Nora, 21, and Francis, 7, and servant Bessa Foard, 19.
  • John Ellis — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: day laborer John Ellis, 50, wife Marry, 50, and children Antney, 21, Alex, 18, James, 16, Marry, 14, and Delphia, 8.
  • Mark Barron — in the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Barron, 54, wife Mason, 50, children Frank, 18, Peter, 21, John, 20, and Mary, 16, granddaughter Mary M., 6 months, and sister Gatsie, 51. Mark Barron died 26 April 1928 in Gardners township. Per his death certificate, he was 83 years old; lived on Route 3, Elm City; was born in Wilson County to Benjamin and Marion Barron, both of Wilson County; and worked as a tenant farmer.
  • William Taylor
  • Amos Ellis — in the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Amos Ellis, 39, wife Cherry, 37, and children Samuel, 15, Lizzie C., 14, James, 7, Lena, 4, Mack B., 3, and Walter L., 9 months.
  • Louis Barnes — in the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Lewis Barnes, 57, wife Allie, 53, and children Adline, 24, James, 19, Sallie, 15, and Lucinda, 13.

The Re-pop-li-can sheriff and deputy.

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“Prisoners escaping from Wilson Jail. The Re-pop-li-can sheriff and deputy of Wilson eat peanuts while the prisoners escape.”

News & Observer (Raleigh), 21 October 1898.

In the months leading up to the cataclysmic election of 1898, the News & Observer almost daily published political cartoons drawn by Wayne County native Norman Jennett. Former Wilson resident Josephus Daniels had purchased the paper in 1894 and immediately converted it into the organ of the white supremacist Democratic party. In collaboration with Daniels, whom history records as “progressive,” Jennett created a series of panels ridiculing Republican and Populist political figures and featuring stereotypical caricatures of their African-American allies. Riding in the wake of terrorist Red Shirts, the Democrats swept elections, sparking a wave of fury that would ignite the Wilmington Riots and effectively disenfranchise most African-Americans for decades to come.

W.J. “Jack” Cherry, a Populist, was the incumbent sheriff of Wilson County; W.D.P. Sharpe was running against him on the Democratic ticket. (I have not been able to identify the deputy.) Days before the election, the Wilson Advance ran this doggerel:

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Wilson Advance, 2 November 1898.

And the jail break?

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Wilson Advance, 11 August 1898.

Judges of elections.

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Wilson Advance, 15 October 1880.

  • Wash Sugg — George Washington Suggs was a Greene County native. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Washington Sugg, 51, wife Esther, 38, and children Nicy, 21, Sarena, 17, Cator, 16, Molly, 12, Edmonia, 10, Juda, 5, and James, 3. Wash Suggs died 19 February 1914 in Wilson. His death certificate lists his parents as Lu Suggs and Gulia Best.
  • Howell Durden — See Howell Darden here.
  • Raiford Daniel — In the 1880 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer Raiford Daniel, 58, wife Emma, 56, sons Raiford, 16, and Jacob, 14, and granddaughter Lessie Heggan, 8.
  • Pat Williamson — See Patrick Williamson here.
  • Hilliard Ellis — See Hilliard Ellis here and here.
  • M. Adams — Probably farmer Moses Adams, 49, listed in the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County, with wife Rebeca, 46, Aggy, 21, Billy, 14, Nathan, 7, and John, 2.
  • Stewart Williams — Stewart Williams, son of John Halie and Eliza Williams, married Margaret Farmer, daughter of William and Mary Farmer on 23 December 1869 in Wilson County.
  • Hilliard Woodard — Hilliard Woodard, son of Mose Barnes and Winney Woodard, married Rose Ellis, daughter of Benjamin and Nelly Bynum on 11 January 1868 in Wilson County. In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Hilliard Woodard, 30, wife Rosetta, 25, and children Winnie, 9, Aaron, 8, Mary E., 6, Cora, 3, and James, 1.
  • Frank Woodard — Probably the Frank Woodard, 37, who is listed with wife Appie, 32, and sons Frank, 11, and Romilus, 9, in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County.

The colored people prefer him.

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5. Israel Barden (col’d). Election district: Wilson. Age: 29. Occupation: Laborer. Where born: North Carolina. Resided in the County: Several months. Ever in U.S. Army or Navy: Never. Remarks: Is quite intelligent. Can read and write a little. Appears to be the most respected col’d man in that section. The colored people prefer him to anyone of their number.

6. Harry Jones (col’d). Election district: Wilson. Age: 52. Occupation: Shoemaker. Where born: Orange Co., N.C. Resided in the County: 2 yrs., 5 mos. Ever in U.S. Army or Navy: Never. Remarks: Cannot read or write. Quite intelligent but colored people seem to lack confidence in him.

7. John Darden (col’d). Election district: Wilson. Age: 35. Occupation: Laborer. Where born: Green Co, N.C. Resided in the County: 5 months. Ever in U.S. Army or Navy: 2 Yrs. in U.S.A. Remarks: Cannot read or write. Not very bright naturally. Won’t do.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870, http://www.familysearch.org.