Ellis

Railroad section crew in Stantonsburg.

A Norfolk-Southern railway section crew resting on a handcar, circa 1914-15, Stantonsburg. Foreman Ernest N. Richards (1885-1934) is at right and Hardy Ellis is at left with a pipe. The other men are unidentified.

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In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Riubin Ellis, 70; wife Clarky U., 57; children Kansas, 22, Allen, 16, Henrietta, 15, Gemima, 13, Cherry, 12, Hardy, 10, and Benjamin N., 9; and grandchildren Plumer, 16, and Henrietta, 5 months; and Jane Bynum, 66, widow.

In 1917, John Hardy Ellis registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 10 December 1895 in Wilson County; lived in Stantonsburg; was single; and worked  as a section hand for Norfolk & Southern Railroad Company.

J. Hardy Ellis’ signature on his draft registration card.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: washerwoman Louvenia Applewhite, 49, widow, and lodger Hardy Ellis, 30, railway laborer.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, railroad laborer Hardy Ellis, 54.

John Hardy Ellis died 18 March 1952 at his home at 911 Viola Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 December 1886 in Wilson County to Rubin Ellis and Clark Ann Atkinson; was single; worked as a laborer; and was a World War I veteran. Mamie Sutton, 911 Viola, was informant.

Cherry Ann Ellis applied for a military headstone for her brother John H. Ellis on 7 April 1952. His application noted that he had served in the 304th Service Battalion.

Photo courtesy of Stantonsburg Historical Society’s A History of Stantonsburg Circa 1780 to 1980 (1981).

State vs. Benjamin Ellis.

To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.

On 26 January 1867, Zily Lucas admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace Solomon Lamm that her four-month-old son Bryan had been born out of wedlock and  his father was Benjamin Ellis. Lamm ordered that Ellis be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Lucas’ charge.

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In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, N.C.: Delila Lucus, 32; Rachel, 25; Zillie, 16; Louisa, 13; and Bryant, 2. [Note that Zillie was about 14 when her son was born.]

In the 1880 census of Jackson township, Nash County: farmer Dilla Locus, 40; niece Louiza, 29; cousin Mary E., 16; nephew Bryant, 13; cousin Dora, 5; and mother Delila, 72.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: mill laborer Bryan Locus, 31; wife Susan, 28; and children Pat, 12, Lou, 9, G[illegible], 6, Martha, 3, and Arthur, 10 months.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Bryant Lucas, 45; wife Susan, 38; daughters Pattie Winstead, 22, and Lula Joyner, 20; children Mary L., 17, Matha A., 15, James A., 12, Susan, 9, Laura C., 7, and John H.B., 4; and grandchildren Arta Lee, 5, and Eva May Winstead, 2, and May Lizzie Lucas, 10 months.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Bryant Locus, 64; wife Susie, 69; daughter Charity, 10, and son James R., 6; son-in-law Willie Barnes, 32, farm laborer; daughter Martha, 26; and granddaughters Catherine, 16, and Pauline Barnes, 13.

Susie F. Lucas died 10 June 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certification, she was 55 years old; was born in Nash County, N.C., to Dock and Charity Wilkins; was married to Bryant Lucas; and lived at 507 Carroll Street.

Martha Barnes died 7 December 1961 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 September 1897 in Nash County to Bryant Lucas and Susie Wilkins;  and was widowed. Catherine Nicholson, 103 North Vick, was informant.

Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Nurse Mabel Weaver Ellis.

My father told me:

“She was — they called her ‘the shot lady.’ [Laughs.] They used to come to school, and you had to line up. And you talking ‘bout hollering and screaming. [Laughs.] And then you’d line up to take your shot. And she’d come in there, had on her — I remember she had on a blue cape, with a whatchacallem … cap. One of them nurse’s caps. I think it was red and blue. And had on heeled shoes. A little heel. Clunky-heeled shoes and all. And she had a black bag that she brought all her stuff in. And you’d line up to get shots. I mean it was a mess. They’d be holding folk, and they’d be hollering and screaming and ….  And she’d be coming. Mable Ellis. Nurse Ellis, the Shot Lady.” 

Wilson Daily Times, 12 September 1964.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1964.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: oil mill laborer Nathan Weaver, 35; wife Sallie, 30; and children Doretha, 9, Mable, 7, Louis, 2, and Sallie, 4 months.

On 28 September 1927, George W. Ellis, 52, of Wilson, married Mable Weaver, 26, of Wilson in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister B.F. Jordan preformed the ceremony in the presence of James Whitfield, Robert Haskins and Rosa Arrington.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1101 Atlantic Street, owned and valued at $2500, Geo. W. Ellis, 56, public school janitor; wife Mabel, 28, grocery store proprietor; and children Elizabeth, 13, and Montie, 16.

Per this history of the organization, in 1934 Mabel W. Ellis joined North Carolina’s chapter of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. I have not been able to determine where she received her nursing training, but Raleigh’s Saint Agnes Hospital or Durham’s Lincoln Hospital.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1101 Atlantic Street, owned and valued at $1400, George Ellis, 65, school carpenter; wife Mabel, 38, health department nurse; and daughter Elizabeth, 23.

George Washington Ellis died 7 September 1943 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 29 February 1875 in Wilson County to Jacob Ellis and Millie Forbs; lived at 1101 Atlantic Street; was a carpenter; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery.

Mable Weaver Ellis died in Wilson on 8 February 1995.

Interview with R.C. Henderson by Lisa Y. Henderson, January 1995, all rights reserved.

Studio shots, no. 187: Ida Brown Locus Ellis.

Ida Brown Locus Ellis (1907-1969).

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In the 1910 census of Currituck township, Hyde County, North Carolina: lumber swamp laborer Columbus Brown, 29; wife Fannie, 22; and children Bertha, 4, Ida, 2, and Leonard, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Currituck township, Hyde County, North Carolina: farmer Columbus Brown, 44; wife Fannie, 34; and children Bertha, 14, Ida, 11, Leonard, 9, Jeff, 7, Lucey, 6, Marvin, 2, and Louissa, 1.

On 10 May 1926, Pete Locust, 21, and Ida Brown, 17, both of Greene County, N.C., married in Wilson County by Free Will Baptist J.E. Brown in the presence of Will Jordan, Frank Ward, and Harry Ellis.

Haywood Ellis died 8 April 1959 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 December 1907 in Greene County to Calvin Ellis and Mary Speight; was married to Ida Ellis; lived at 104 Powell Street; and was a grocer.

Ida Locus Ellis died 17 February 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 August 1907 to Columbus Brown and Fannie Hudson; was a widow; lived at 400 South Pender Street; and was a grocery store operator. Elnora Finch was informant.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com Anthony Williams.

The obituary of Eliza Ellis Best.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 September 1929.

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In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 48; wife Zana, 38; and children (grandchildren?) Eliza, 14, James, 5 months, Cora, 13, Macord, 10, Oscar, 6, and Anna, 1.

Benjamin Best, 22, married Liza Ellis, 18, on 22 October 1874 at the residence of James Ellis in Wilson County. James Ellis, Gilford Ellis, and Aaron Ward were witnesses.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, farmer Benjamin Best, 26; wife Eliza, 23; and children Virginia, 4, Priscilla, 3, and Columbus, 1.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Best, wife Eliza, and children Virgin N., Mildred, Junius, Sopremia, Benjamin, Corinthia, Remantha, Olian, and Clarence. Benjamin and Eliza reported having been married 25 years, and Eliza reported that 10 of the 12 children she had borne were living.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: widow Eliza Best, 53, with children Junius, 29, Rematha, 20, Allen, 18, and Clarence, 16, plus grandchildren Suprema, 5, and Martha A., 3.

On 24 January 1917, Clarence Best, 22, of Wilson township, son of Benjamin and Eliza Best, and Geneva Smith, 22, of Gardners township, daughter of Henry and Mahala Smith, were married in Gardners township by C.H. Hagans, a Primitive Baptist minister. Fred Woodard, John Barnes and Len Woodard witnessed.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, marble cutter Clarence Best, 26, wife Geneva, 26, and son Clarence H., 1, plus Eliza Best, 68, Martha Ann Best, 11, and Suprema Hooks, 11. Next door, Junius Best, 38, wagon factory assembly man, wife Mary A., 27, and children Mary Olivia, 2, and Colonius, 4 months.

Eliza Best died 1 September 1929 in Wilson of “injury of rt. leg; cut her leg on a piece of tin.” She resided at 1310 East Nash Street, Wilson, and was the widow of Benjamin Best. She was about 64 years old and had been born in Wilson County to Jim Ellis and Zannie Applewhite. She was buried in Rountree cemetery; Clarence Best was informant.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

This Memorial Day: who was Henry T. Ellis?

On 3 June 1919, the Daily Times published a list of Wilson County soldiers who died during World War I. The list is segregated. First in the Colored List is Henry Ellis, who was killed 6 October 1918 and in whose honor Wilson County’s African-American post of the American Legion was named.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 1919.

The Daily Times had commemorated Ellis’ death when it received word in December 1918:

“Private Henry Ellis Son of Mrs. Mary J. Howard, Route 1, Wilson, N.C. Died of wounds received in action while fighting for his country and oppressed humanity.” Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1918.

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In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, N.C.: farmer Martin Lucus, 52; wife Eliza, 42; and children Irvin, 19, Neverson, 16, Sidney, 13, Eliza, 7, Westray, 6, Anne, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 66, wife Eliza Eatmon, 50, daughters Amanda Locus, 18, and Mary J. Locus, 14, “son-in-law” Asa Locus, 10, and “daughter-in-law” Lougene Locus, 4, Margaret Howard, 21, and Harriet Howard, 2. [Nelson Eatmon married Eliza Locust on 28 January 1880 in Wilson County. The Locuses’ relationship designations are obviously erroneous; they were Nelson Eatmon’s stepchildren.]

On 6 February 1887, Warren Ellis, 19, of Wilson County, married Mary Jane Locust, 19, of Wilson County, in Wilson County. Phillis Ellis was one of the witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary J. Ellis, 34, widow, and children Willis, 12, Walter, 9, William, 8, Henry, 5, and Lou, 4.

In the 1910 census of Jackson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mary Jane Ellis, 44, and children Henry, 16, Louise, 13, and Charles, 6; and brother Neverson Lucas, 56.

Henry Ellis registered for the World War I draft in Nash County, N.C, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 November 1895 in Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Bailey; was a tenant farmer for Elijah Griffin; and was single. He signed his card in a neat, well-practiced hand: “Henry T. Ellis.”

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary Howard, 52, widow; son Charlie Ellis, 17; and sister Luginer Colman, 45, widow.

Mary J. Howard died 20 June 1936 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Manuel Howard; was 65 years old; and was born in Wilson County to Martin Locus and Louisa Brantley. Gray Ellis was informant.

Henry T. Ellis, then, was the son of Warren Ellis and Mary Jane Locus Ellis and stepson of Manuel Howard. He was descended (or connected) on his mother’s side from several free families of color with deep roots in the area of western Wilson County — Locuses, Brantleys, Eatmons, Howards — and on his father’s from Hilliard and Faribee Ellis, a formerly enslaved couple who established a prosperous farm in the New Hope area shortly after the Civil War.

I have seen no evidence that Ellis’ body was returned to Wilson County for burial. His parents, grandparents, and siblings are buried in Hilliard Ellis cemetery, but there is no marked grave for him there.

In memoriam: Dora Ellis Dawson.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 May 1992.

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In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Jonah Ellis, 42; wife Precilla, 38; and children Mattie, 11, Benjamin, 9, Dora, 8, Jonah Jr., 6, James, 5, and Caroline, 3.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Jonnie Ellis, 56, farmer; wife Prisilla, 46; and children Mattie, 21, Benjamin, 20, Jannie Jr., 17, Dora, 18, James, 14, Coralin, 13, and Mary, 5.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jonnie Ellis, age unknown, farmer; wife Pricilla, 56; daughter Mary, 17; daughter Dora Williamson, 28; grandchildren Fannie, 8, and Oscar, 7; and boarder Marion Edward, 28.

On 2 October 1933, Tom Dawson, 39, of Black Creek, son of James Dawson and Chanie Brooks, married Dora Ellis, 32, of Cross Roads, daughter of Jonie and Priscilla Ellis, in Wilson County.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Dawson, 46; wife Dora, 47; children Annie, 4, Dora Lee, 3, Thomas Jr., 1; mother Chanie B., 73, widow; lodger Willie Melton, 30; and stepdaughter Fannie B. Williams, 17, and her child Annie D., 5 months.

Thomas Dawson Sr. died 4 October 1967 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 March 1896 in Wilson County to Pat Faison and Chanie Dawson; was married to Dora Dawson; and was a farm laborer.

Studio shots, no. 161: Jonathan and Annie H. Ellis and children.

Ernest Ellis, Jonathan Ellis Sr., Darlena Ellis, and Annie Hagans Ellis, ca. 1908.

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In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 48; wife Zana, 38; and children Eliza, 14, [her son?] James, 5 months, Cora, 13, Macoid, 10, Oscar, 6, and Anna, 1.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Ellis, 59; wife Zana, 49; children McCoid, 18, Oscar, 17, Anna, 11, James, 10, Johnithan C., 8, and Benjiman S., 5.

Annie Hagans, 18, of Wilson township, daughter of Laurence and Mary Hagans, married Jonathan Ellis, 32, of Wilson township, son of James and Zanie Ellis, on 11 January 1905. Benjamin Ellisapplied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony at Laurence Ellis’ house in Saratoga township in the presence of M.L. Newby, F.S. Hargrave, and S.H.Vick.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Johnathan Ellis, 37; wife Annie, 23; and children Earnest, 4, Dollina, 2, and Johnathan, 1.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, farmer John Ellis, 47; wife Annie, 53 [sic]; children Ernest, 14, Dollena, 12, John Jr., 11, Nettie, 7, Chasey, 6, Nathaniel, 6; and sister-in-law McCordy Ellis, 50.

On 30 November 1927, Ernest Ellis, 22, of Toisnot township, son of Johnston [Jonathan] and Annie Ellis, married Virginia Bullock, 18, daughter of Alfred and Maggie Bullock in Wilson.

On 18 January 1928, Darlena Ellis, 19, of Taylors township, daughter of Jonathan and Annie Ellis, married Earlie Farmer, 21, of Taylors township, son of John and Cleo Farmer, in Wilson. 

Earlie Farmer Jr. died 10 February 1929, aged 2 months, 2 days, in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in Nash County, N.C., to Earlie Farmer Sr. and Darlina Ellis. He was buried at Williams Chapel cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Early Farmer, 21, and wife Dailena, 20, both farm laborers.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Earnest Ellis, 24; wife Virginia, 19; and son James E., 1.

In the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Early Farmer, 30, and wife Darlena, 32.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Earnest Ellis, 33; wife Virginia, 28; and children James Earl, 10, Charles, 9, and Ruby Mae, 7.

Ernest Ellis registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 21 December 1905 in Wilson, Wilson County; he lived at Route 2, Box 274, Elm City; his contact was wife Virginia Bullock Ellis; and he worked for Morrison Webb.

Jonathan Ellis died 12 February 1944 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 October 1875 in Saratoga to James Ellis and Zannie Applewhite; was married to Annie Ellis; was a farmer.

Photo courtesy of Cathy Thorne Bynum.