Ellis

Stantonsburg firsts.

“The first cafe owned by a black in Stantonsburg was opened in 1947 and was owned by June Scott Artis and his wife, Ethel. They were assisted in the business by their son Edgar Artis. The white frame building was located at the corner of Macon and Greenwood Avenues. The inside was highlighted by the pot belly stove that was located in the middle of the floor. Soft drinks, hot dogs (5¢), peanuts and other snacks were sold. 1965 marked the closing of the business.

James and Mary Ham owned the first black beauty shop in Stantonsburg and it was located on North Main Street. Hettie M. Forbes was the first licensed black beautician to operate in Stantonsburg. The shop operated from 1946 to 1956.

“In 1940 Toney Woodard opened the first black-owned grocery store in Stantonsburg. The business operated until Mr. Woodard’s death in 1959.

Oscar Ellis, Jr., opened a combination barber shop, pool room and cafe on Greenwood Avenue in 1960. The business is still in partial operation with the cafe being operated by Annie Mae Barnes and the barber shop operated by Ran Thompson.

“The first black-ownwed and operated business in Stantonsburg was probably the blacksmith shop that was owned by John Whitley. The business was opened in 1918 and operated until 1950. It was located in the building owned by William and Walter Artis, which was situated on the south side of Yelverton Street about twenty yards from the railroad track.”

Stantonsburg Historical Society, A History of Stantonsburg (1981).

——

  • June Scott and Ethel Becton Artis

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County:  Adam Artice, 68, a widowed farmer,  with children Louetta, 18, Robert, 16, Columbus, 14, Josephfene, 13, Jun S., 10, Lillie B., 9, Henry B., 6, Annie, 3, Walter, 26, and William Artis, 24.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Columbus Artis, 24, grocery storekeeper, with brothers June Scott, 20, and Henry J., 16, box factory laborers,plus two lodgers, John Newsome, 30, and Eliza Diggs, 24 (who were relatives of their brother William’s wife Etta Diggs Artis.) [Clearly, there was an African-American grocer in Stantonsburg well before 1940.]

J.S. Artis married Ethel Becton on 29 January 1912 in Wayne County.

June Scott registered for the World War I draft in Wayne County. He reported that he had been born 23 November 1889 near Eureka, Wayne County and resided on RFD 1, Fremont.  He farmed for himself near Eureka and was described as being tall and slender with dark brown eyes and black hair.  He signed his name “June Cott Artis” on 5 June 1917.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, farm manager June S. Artis, 30, wife Ethel, 26, and children James, 7, Edgar, 7, Manda Bell, 3, and farm laborer Edgar Exum.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 40, wife Ethel P., 34, and children James B., 17, Edgar J., 15, Amanda B., 14, and Gladys L. Artis, 5.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 50, wife Ethel, 46, and children James Brodie, 25, Edger, 23, and Gladys, 16.

June Scott Artis died 2 June 1973 in Stantonsburg of chronic myocarditis, secondary to chronic nephritis.  His death certificate reports that he was married to Ethel Becton and was born 23 November 1895 to Adam Artis and Mandy Aldridge.  He was buried 7 June 1973 at Artis Cemetery in Wayne County.

Ethel Becton Artis died 14 October 1994, days after her 102nd birthday.

  • James and Mary Frances Hamm, Hettie Hamm Forbes

In the 1910 census of Shine township, Greene County: farmer William Ham, 38; wife Jennie, 34; and children Jacob E., 13, Lucy J., 11, Pearl A., 10, William H., 7, Manor, 6, Lindsey, 4, and James L., 1; and mother-in-law Lucy Best, 70.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: farmer William H. Ham, 54; wife Janie, 51; and children Manor, 23, Linsey, 21, James L., 19, Hettie B., 17, and Mary E., 4.

  • Frank Toney Woodard

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Isaac Woodard, 32; wife Arner, 26; and children Fannie, 12, Nellie, 10, James, 9, Frank, 6, Isaac, 3, and Sis, 1.

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Tony Woodard, 25, wife Eliza, 24; son Marcelous, 5; and mother-in-law Easter Davis, 64.

On 12 September 1918, Toney Woodard registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 1 February 1874; resided on R.F.D. 1, Stantonsburg, Greene County; works a tenant farmer; and his nearest relative was Eliza Woodard.

In the 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Tonie Woodard, 45; wife Eliza, 42; sons Johnie, 14, and Frank, 7.

In the 1930 census of Eureka, Nahunta township, Wayne County: Tony Woodard, 60; wife Liza, 45; and sons Johnnie, 21, and Frank, 18.

In the 1940 census of Bull Head township, Greene County: farmer Toney Woodard, 65, and wife Liza, 60.

Toney Woodard, 75, married Hattie Belle Lane, 41, both of Stantonsburg, on 13 October 1954 in Wilson County. Witnesses were James Ham, Mary F. Ham, and James Isler.

Tony Woodard died 17 May 1959 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 February 1879 in Wilson County to Isaac and Arner Woodard; worked as a merchant; and was married to Nettie Woodard. Mr. Heattie Woodard was informant.

  • Oscar Mathew Ellis Jr.


Per A History of Stantonsburg, Oscar M. Ellis Jr. was born on the J.L. Yelverton farm on 2 May 1913. A truck driver and farmer, Ellis was active in Bethel A.M.E. Zion, the Masonic Lodge, the Elk’s Club, Future Farmers of America, 4-H, the local school board, the county Farm Bureau, and the Agricultural Conservation and Stabilization Service. He worked to “upgrade the black section of town” and as a volunteer with the Stantonsburg Fire Department.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg and Black Creek Road, tenant farmer Oscar Ellis, 34; wife Mammie, 29; and children Oscar M., 6, William H., 4, Estell, 3, A.J., 1, and Charlie, 4 months; plus John, 16, and Mathew Robinson, 14.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: Oscar Ellis, 39; wife Mamie, 39; and children Oscar Jr., 16, William, 14, Estelle, 12, Ejay, 11, Colen, 10, James, 9, Bessie M., 8, Hubert L., 6, Leroy, 2, and Dorothy, 1 month.

On 12 January 1934, Oscar Ellis, 20, of Black Creek, son of Oscar and Mamie Ellis, married Lucille Barnes, 19, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Andrew and Stella Barnes, in Wilson. C.E. [Columbus E.] Artis and Stella Barnes applied for the license.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, laborer Oscar Ellis, 26, and wife Lucille, 25.

Oscar M. Ellis Jr. died 5 December 1984.

  • Ran Thompson
  • Annie Mae Barnes
  • John Whitley

On 26 December 1910, John Whitley, 30, of Wilson County, son of Titus and Ida Whitley, married Mollie Locust, 18, of Wayne County, daughter of Wiley and Amy Locust, near Eureka, Nahunta township, Wayne County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Delaware Street, tenant farmer John Whitley, 37; wife Mollie, 23; and children Artillie, 8, Irene, 5, Madison D., 3, and John W., 7 months.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Delaware Line, blacksmith John Whitley, 49; wife Mollie, 25; and children Artillia, 18, Irene, 15, D.H., 13, John W., 10, Mary F., 8, Marjorie, 3, and Clavon, 1 month; and father-in-law Wiley Locus, 70.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Delaware Street, odd jobs worker John Whitley, 59; wife Molly, 39; and children Artelia, 22, Irene, 20, Maddison D.H., 19; John Wiley, 17; Mary Frances, 14; and Marjorie, 12. Artelia and Irene were teachers.

[William and Walter Artis, who owned the building in which John Whitley operated a smithy, were brothers of June Scott Artis and Columbus E. Artis. They lived a few miles west of Stantonsburg, across the county line near Eureka, Wayne County.]

Stantonsburg’s black community is centered on a few blocks on the eastern side of the railroad tracks bisecting the town.

Photo of the Artises courtesy of Adam S. Artis.

911 Viola Street.

The fifteenth 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, this well-preserved house is a: “ca. 1913; 1 story; Queen Anne cottage; double-pile, hip-roofed with projecting front wing; bracketed porch posts.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 911 Viola, paying $10/month rent, farmer George Bullock, 59, wife Ella, 56, sons Buddie, 15, and Author, 13, grandchildren Bulah M., 8, Willie, 6, and Charlie L., 5, and daughter Effie Davis, 23, and her husband Ernest Davis, 28.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 911 Viola, laundress Cherry Ellis, 42, and son Paul, 19, a farm laborer. Ellis rented for $10/month and reported that the family had lived in the house in 1935. In the 1941 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Cherry Ellis is listed at 911 Viola Street. In 1942, when Wesley Edwin Hines registered for the World War II draft, he listed Cherry Ellis of 911 Viola as his contact person. Per his registration card, Hines lived at 1001 East Vance Street; was born 28 April 1904 in Wilson County; and worked for Hackney Wagon Company on Gold Street in Wilson. Paul Ellis also registered in 1942. Born 1 April 1921, he lived with his mother at 911 Viola and was unemployed.

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

A&T trade school students.

From the list of trade school students in the 1922-23 Annual Catalog of the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina —

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  • Thomas Ellis
  • Reddick D. Dew — on 5 June 1917, Reddick David Dew registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card: he was born 11 September 1894 in Lucama, North Carolina; worked “farming and laboring on brick yard” for C.D. Dew and John H. Moore of Lucama; and was single. He signed his card “R.D. Dew.” In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Cornelius D. Dew, 52; wife Cora L., 39; and children Reddick D., 25, Joseph, 19, Martha L., 16, Grady, 15, Orena, 14, Lee C., 10, David H., 5, and Mary N. Dew, 1. In 1942, Redick D. Dew registered for the World War II draft in New York City. Per his draft registration card: he was born 11 September 1894 in Wilson; resided at 2453 7th Avenue, Apartment 24; his contact was Apcillar Dew of the same address; and he worked for Arthur Prazo.
  • Richard O. Edwards

 

They filled up with bug juice.

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Wilson Advance, 17 September 1891.

  • Hood Phillips — in the 1880 census of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: minister H.C. Philips, 37, wife Emma, 34, and children Louisa, 12, Hood, 9, Walton, 6, and Cornelius, 3. On 18 May 1893, Hood S. Phillips, 22, of the town of Wilson, son of H.C. and E.E. Phillips, married Phillis Gay, 24, of the town of Wilson, daughter of Wiley and Catharine Gay. Rev. H.C. Phillips performed the ceremony at the A.M.E. Zion church. Witnesses were Annie Mincy, Annie Thorn and Alex Warren. Hood Phillips is listed as a barber living at 623 Viola in the 1908 Wilson City directory. He died 22 February 1919 in Wilson.
  • James Grant Taylor — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: railroad worker Jordan Taylor, 35, wife Jane, 22, and children James Grant, 7, Manora Ann, 4, General Washington, 3, and Lilly Green, 1.
  • Alex Warren — in the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laborer Pompee Warren, 54, wife Della, 26, and sons John, 12, and Alexander, 2. In 24 December 1896, Alex Warren, 23, married Ida Davis, 22, in Wilson. Baptist minister W.T.H. Woodard performed the ceremony in the presence of Emma Burton, Mary Davis and Isaac Thompson. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 367 Spring Street, ice factory blocker Alex Warren, 34, wife Ada, 36, and son John, 19, the latter two, factory workers. Alexander Warren died 4 January 1948 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born about 1879 in Wilson County to Pompie and Della Warren; had worked as a laborer; resided at 403 E. Walnut Street; and was buried at Rountree cemetery. His neighbor John Parks of 405 E. Walnut was informant.
  • Chas. Yellock
  • Thomas Ellis

“Bug juice” was a slang term for low-quality whiskey.

Where did they go?: Indiana death certificates, no. 1.

Death certificates of Wilson County natives who died in Indiana.

  • Delphia Simpson Blackwell

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Delpha Blackwell died 2 April 1902 in Indianapolis of apoplexy. Her death certificate states that she was born in North Carolina to Silias Laster and Orpie Laster.

In the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Silas Lassiter, 38; wife Orpie,34; and children Sallie, 12, Mary, 11, James, 9, John, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Penina, 4, Hardy, 3, Silas, 1, and George, 3 months, and Delpha Simpson, 14.

On 7 December 1866, Mathew Lassiter married Delpha Simpson in Wilson County. [Mathew was Delpha’s uncle by marriage, brother of her step-father Silas Lassiter.]

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Mathew Lassiter, 47; wife Delphy, 24; and children Harriet, 3, unnamed, 1 month, and Thomas Lassiter, 2.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Nathan Blackwell, 40; his wife Mary Blackwell, 55; 36 year-old servant Delpha Lassiter; Harriet Lassiter, 14, and Nathan Lassiter, 4; Charlotte Baker, 70; and Edwin Blackwell, 17.

Nathan Blackwell and Delphia Lassiter married 30 January 1890 in Wilson County. In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: 59 year-old day laborer Nathan Blackwell; wife Delpha, 53; daughter-in-law [stepdaughter?] Harriet, 33; and Harriet’s children James, 16, Jonas, 13, Martha, 11, and Peter, 10.

  • Nathan Blackwell

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In 1860, Nathan E. Blackwell, 20, is listed as a wagoner living in the household of white farmer Robinson Baker in Old Fields township, Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: 31 year-old farm laborer Nathan Blackwell, 42 year-old Mary Blackwell, and 6 year-old Edwin Blackwell.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Nathan Blackwell, 40; his wife Mary Blackwell, 55; 36 year-old servant Delpha Lassiter; Harriet Lassiter, 14, and Nathan Lassiter, 4; Charlotte Baker, 70; and Edwin Blackwell, 17.

Nathan Blackwell and Delphia Lassiter married 30 January 1890 in Wilson County. In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: 59 year-old day laborer Nathan Blackwell; wife Delpha, 53; daughter-in-law [stepdaughter?] Harriet, 33; and Harriet’s children James, 16, Jonas, 13, Martha, 11, and Peter, 10.

  • Jonas Blackwell

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Jonah Blackwell died 22 December 1916 in Indianapolis after being struck in the head with a stove poker. Nathan Blackwell (below) was informant.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: 59 year-old day laborer Nathan Blackwell; wife Delpha, 53; daughter-in-law [stepdaughter?] Harriet, 33; and Harriet’s children James, 16, Jonas, 13, Martha, 11, and Peter, 10.

On 26 August 1910, Jonah Blackwell, 23, of Wilson, North Carolina, and son of Nathan Blackwell and Harriet Black, married Clara Martin in Indianapolis.

  • Nathan Blackwell

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Nathan Blackwell died in Indianapolis on 20 January 1946. His death certificate reports that he was born in Wilson County to unknown parents.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Nathan Blackwell, 40; his wife Mary Blackwell, 55; 36 year-old servant Delpha Lassiter; Harriet Lassiter, 14, and Nathan Lassiter, 4; Charlotte Baker, 70; and Edwin Blackwell, 17.

On 17 October 1894, Nathan Blackwell, 26, married Bertha Paton in Marion County, Indiana.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: factory laborer Nathan Blackwell, 35, Tennessee-born wife Bertha Bell, 35, and daughter A.J., 3, plus a boarder.

On 28 November 1916, Nathan Blackwell, son of Nathaniel Blackwell and Delphia Laster, married Lulu Winkfield in Indianapolis.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 2345 Baltimore Street, railroad boilermaker Nathan Blackwell, 45, Tennessee-born wife Lola, 37, and daughter Jane A., 13.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 2345 Baltimore Street, railroad laborer Nathan Blackwell, 57, wife Lola, 42, and daughter Jane Young, 23.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 2345 Baltimore Street, steam railroad laborer Nathan Blackwell, 76, wife Lulu, 67, and nephew Pete Demunery, 48.

  • Nancy Newsome Baker

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Nancy Baker died 28 December 1952 in Indianapolis. Her death certificate reports that she was born in Wilson County, North Carolina, on 18 August 1880 to Tonie Newson and an unknown mother.

In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Toney Newsome, 61, wife Jane, 41, and children Benjamin, 20, Mary, 13, Gastin, 11, and Nancy, 8.

On 18 November 1889, Benjamin Baker, 20, son of Ephriam and Margarett Baker, of Cross Roads, married Nancy Newsome, 18, daughter of Tony and Jane Newsome, in Cross Roads township.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: widow Nancy Baker, 70, was a boarder in the household of Harvey Coleman at 1058 Traub Avenue.

  • Mary Simms Berry

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Mary Berry died in Indianapolis on 30 November 1958. Her death certificate reports that she was born 23 January 1874 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Jeff Simms and Carolyn Shirley.

Jefrey Simms, son of Willis Hagans and Dicey Simms, married Carolin Barnes, daughter of Robert Dupree and Meneney Dupree, on 19 April 1869 in Wilson County. In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Jeffrey Simms, 24, wife Caroline, 21, and an unnamed one month-old daughter.

In the 1880 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: North Carolina-born laborer Jeff Sims, 35, wife Carline, 25, and daughters Martha, 10, Maliza, 6, Lillie, 3, and Laura, 1.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana: at 746 Walnut, North Carolina-born widow Caroline Simms, 47, a washerwoman, with daughters Mary, 27, Laura, 21, and Bessie, 17. Mary was a divorced washerwoman. Laura was a servant, and Bessie, the only child born in Indiana, was a student.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 1316 Columbia, Kentucky-born Lee H. Clemmons, 29, wife Laura, 29, widowed sister-in-law Mary Berry, 32, and a lodger. Lee was a saloon bartender and Mary worked as a housemaid.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: North Carolina-born Mary E. Berry, 44, divorced, lived alone in a rented home and worked as a cook for a private family.

  • Laura Simms Clemmons

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Jefrey Simms, son of Willis Hagans and Dicey Simms, married Carolin Barnes, daughter of Robert Dupree and Meneney Dupree, on 19 April 1869 in Wilson County. In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Jeffrey Simms, 24, wife Caroline, 21, and an unnamed one month-old daughter.

In the 1880 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: North Carolina-born laborer Jeff Sims, 35, wife Carline, 25, and daughters Martha, 10, Maliza, 6, Lillie, 3, and Laura, 1.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana: at 746 Walnut, North Carolina-born widow Caroline Simms, 47, a washerwoman, with daughters Mary, 27, Laura, 21, and Bessie, 17. Mary was a divorced washerwoman. Laura was a servant, and Bessie, the only child born in Indiana, was a student.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 1316 Columbia, Kentucky-born Lee H. Clemmons, 29, wife Laura, 29, widowed sister-in-law Mary Berry, 32, and a lodger. Lee was a saloon bartender and Mary worked as a housemaid.

  • Floyd Woodard

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Floyd Woodard died in Indianapolis on 26 April 1995. His death certificate reports that he was born in Wilson, North Carolina, on 1 May 1904 to Fred and Mary Ann Sauls Woodard and was buried there in Rest Haven cemetery. Floyd did not migrate to Indiana until well into adulthood; he registered in Wilson for the World War II draft.

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  • Wiley C. Bunn

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Wiley C. Bunn died in Indianapolis at his home at 2044 Ralston on 4 December 1941. His death certificate reports that he was born on 8 July 1873 in Wilson to Charlie Bunn and worked as a city street sweeper.

On 28 October 1899, Wiley Bunn, 27, of North Carolina, son of Charles Bunn, married Mattie Anderson in Marion County, Indiana.

In the 1900 census of Warren, Marion County, Indiana: Wiley Bunn, 26, and wife Mattie, 27, who had been born in Utah to North Carolina-born parents. Wiley worked as a street car laborer.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: on 5715 Bona Avenue, street laborer Wilie Bunn, 36, Virginia-born wife Mattie H., 38, a laundress, and father Chas. Bunn, 73.

Wiley C. Bunn married Julia A. Mitchell in Marion County, Indiana, on 5 September 1915.

On 12 September 1918, Wiley C. Bunn, 45, of 1803 Alvord Street in Indianapolis registered for the World War I draft. He listed his occupation as railroader for Mead Construction Company and Julia Bunn as his nearest relative. He was described as medium height and build with brown eyes and black hair.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2044 Ralston Avenue, owned and valued at $2000, Wiley Bunn, 55, a city laborer, and Kentucky-born wife Julia, 44.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2044 Ralston Avenue, owned and valued at $800, Wiley Bunn, 66, a street cleaner, wife Julia, 63, and daughter Mary C. Donawy, 9.

  • Jason Cornelius Farmer

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In the 1880 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: Warren Farmer, 37, wife Nancy, 24, and children Ella, 13, Rosann, 11, Harriett, 10, Julia, 9, Abel, 5, and Jason, 1, all born in North Carolina.

On 23 February 1897, Jason Farmer, 28, married Hannah Aretts in Marion County, Indiana.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2313 Oxford, Jason C. Farmer, 37, wife Hannah, 46, and stepdaughters Maggie, 25, Ardena, 14, and Pennie Artis, 12.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2325 Oxford, foundry worker Jason C. Farmer, 46, wife Hannah, 56, and stepdaughter Penetta Artis, 22, a hairdresser, all born in North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2325 Oxford, automobile shop laborer J.C. Farmer, 55, wife Hannah, 60, son-in-law Osborne Ballenger, 26, and daughter Pettie, 32.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2329 Oxford, Jason C. Farmer, 60, and wife Hannah, 75.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2313 Oxford, widower J.C. Farmer, 62, working as a retail grocery truck driver.

  • Hannah Ellis Artis Farmer

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Hannah Farmer died 6 April 1935 in Indianapolis. Her death certificate reports that she was born 12 April 1852 in North Carolina to Jack and Margaret Ellis.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Jackson Ellis, 45, wife Margaret, 36, children Hannah, 17, and Hewel, 11, and Hannah Ellis Sr., 90, plus Lucy, 2, and Mary Simms, 1.

On 29 February 1872, John Artist, son of Arch and Rose Artist, married Hannah Ellis, daughter of Jack and Margaret Ellis at H. Dew’s.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: John Artice, 40, wife Hannah, 23, and daughters Mary L., 10, Margaret, 8, and Susan, 1 month.

On 23 February 1897, Jason Farmer, 28, married Hannah Aretts [Artis] in Marion County, Indiana.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2313 Oxford, Jason C. Farmer, 37, wife Hannah, 46, and stepdaughters Maggie, 25, Ardena, 14, and Pennie Artis, 12.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2325 Oxford, foundry worker Jason C. Farmer, 46, wife Hannah, 56, and stepdaughter Penetta Artis, 22, a hairdresser, all born in North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2325 Oxford, automobile shop laborer J.C. Farmer, 55, wife Hannah, 60, son-in-law Osborne Ballenger, 26, and daughter Pettie, 32.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2329 Oxford, Jason C. Farmer, 60, and wife Hannah, 75.

  • Ardena Artis Hamm

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In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2313 Oxford, Jason C. Farmer, 37, wife Hannah, 46, and stepdaughters Maggie, 25, Ardena, 14, and Pennie Artis, 12.

On 20 July 1912, Ardena Artis, 26, daughter of John Artis and Hannah Farmer, married John H. Hamm, son of Ben Hamm and Mary Jones, in Marion County, Indiana.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2020 Alvord, John Ham, 34, and wife Ardena, 35.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 1038 Roache, gas plant janitor John H. Hamm, 40, and wife Ardena, 41.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: Ardena Hamm, 52, servant, in the household of Margaret Aufderheide.

Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

The heritage of Theodore and Edith Barnes Ellis.

Benjamin Barnes was born about 1819, probably in southern Edgecombe County or northern Wayne County, areas that later became Wilson County. Circumstantial evidence, largely in the form of naming patterns and proximity, suggests that Benjamin had at least two brothers, Andrew Barnes, born perhaps 1815, and Redmond Barnes, born about 1823. On 21 April 1866, Benjamin Barnes and Violet Barnes, born about 1817, registered their cohabitation at the Wilson County Courthouse. Their registration did not list the length of their marriage during slavery. Ben and Violet’s only certain child was Calvin Barnes, born about 1836, though they probably had several more.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga, Wilson County, Violet is described as a midwife, and three young girls, Elvy (1859), Ailcy (1862) and Spicy (1863), live with her and Benjamin. Given Violet’s age, it seems likely that these are granddaughters. Violet Barnes died sometime before 13 November 1879, when Benjamin married Mary Bynum in Wilson County. [N.B.: The Benjamin Barnes, son of Isaac and Judia Bynum, who married Lucy Barnes in 1872 in Wilson County is a different man.] Benjamin and Mary’s appearance in the 1880 census of Saratoga is their first and last. Benjamin listed his father’s birthplace as Virginia, but provided no additional information. He died before 1900.

Benjamin and Violet’s son Calvin Barnes and Sealie [Celia] Barnes registered their five-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 17 July 1866. Celia’s parents are unknown. In the 1870 census of Saratoga, Wilson County, Calvin and family were living next door to his parents Benjamin and Violet. Calvin and Celia’s children were Benjamin (1864), Spicy (1865), Jesse (1866), and Peter (1869). Also in the household were 20 year-old Dora Ebon (Calvin or Celia’s sister?) and her likely children Louisa (1866) and Mary E. (1869).

In 1880, in Saratoga, Wilson County: Calvin headed a household that included wife Celie and children Peter, Drue, Redman, Lizzie B., and William. In 1900, the family was listed in Stantonsburg township. Calvin was farming, and Celie reported 10 of 13 children living. Only four — William, Mary S., Laura and Celie Barnes, plus Mary’s daughter Dora Barnes — were at home. Son Peter was nearby with his wife Jane and children John R., General, Annie and Sallie, as was son Redmond with wife Genett [Jennette] and their first child Dora. Celia died prior to 1909, when Calvin married Cherry Brown Tart. The marriage was her third, and the 1910 census found them living in the town of Wilson on Stantonsburg Street. Ten years later, they are living at 610 Stantonsburg Street and both employed were in a private home. Calvin Barnes died 21 February 1923 in Wilson.

Calvin and Celia’s son Redmond Barnes was born 3 May 1873 near Saratoga or Stantonsburg. In 1898, Redmond married Jennette Best on W.H. Applewhite’s farm, where the Barneses were either sharecroppers or tenant farmers. (Applewhite’s grandson, James, is a celebrated poet whose writing often draws on the world of his childhood in Wilson County.) Their children included Dora Barnes Weaver Ward (1899-1994), Fred Barnes (1901-?), Mary Estelle Barnes (1903-1989), Minnie B. Barnes Barnes (1905-1985), Edith Bell Barnes Ellis (1907-1984), Betty Lee Barnes Bullock (1909-1992), Nora Lee Barnes (1911-?), Alice Jennette Barnes Smith (1914-2011), Lula Mae Barnes Speight (1916-?), Redmond Barnes Jr. (1918-1989), John Harvey Barnes (1920-?), and Jennette Barnes, who died in infancy.

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Rest Haven cemetery, 2014.

Jennette Best was born about 1880 near Stantonsburg. Her marriage licenses lists her parents as Sam Best and Edy Strickland. However, in the 1870 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County, “Edy Strickland” appears as Edith Winstead, age 10, in the household of Isaac Winstead, 52, and wife Jane, 35, whose other children were Robert, 7, Amanda, 3, and Aneliza, 1. The 1880 census of Stantonsburg, shows “Ada Best” in a household with her stepfather Isaac Winstead, mother Jane, half-siblings Manda, Ann, Charlie, Major, Lucy and Levi, brother Rob Farmer, and likely children Sam, 3, and Mary Best, 1. Sam Best is not listed in the county and may have died or have deserted his family just before Jenette was born. I have not found him in any census or vital record. Nor have I found any other mention of Edith Best or Strickland.

Redmond Barnes’ brother Peter Barnes (1869-?) married Jane Ruffin in 1891 in Wilson County. Their children included John Redmond (1892-1970), General (1895), Annie (1897), Sallie (1899), and Albert (1900-1924).

Redmond’s brother Andrew “Drew” Barnes (1871-1945) married Estella “Stella” Williams in 1892 in Wilson County. [Not to be confused with Andrew Barnes, son of Andrew and Amy Williford Barnes — possibly Calvin Barnes’ first cousin — who married Stella Battle in 1870.] Their children included John (1890), Wade (1894), Frank (1895), James (1897), Lula (1898), and Andrew Jr. (1900).

Redmond’s sister Elizabeth “Lizzie” or “Betty” Barnes (1873-?) married W.T. Sherrod Ellis, son of Reuben and Clarky Ellis. Their children: Willie (1892), Robert (1895), Mary E. (1896), Maggie D. (1899), Sallie (1900), Joseph (1904) and Mamie Ellis (1906).

Redmond’s sister Mollie Barnes married Floyd Ellis. Their children included Floyd Theodore (1907-1981), Columbus (1909), John Adam (1916-1965), Mary Rebeckah (1919) and Leathie Charlotte (1922).

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Isom (or Isham) Ellis was born about 1807 in southern Edgecombe County. The will of William Ellis Sr., proved in Edgecombe in 1813, declared in part, “I leave unto my said wife Unity Ellis, the following negroes, To wit, Arthur, Jonas, Isom, Belford, Lisle, Pat, Mimah, Treasy & Hester.” It seems probable that this listing is a reference to Isom Ellis.

Unity Ellis died in 1817, before her husband’s estate settled. “Pursuant to the annexed order to us directed we the commis’rs met on the 19th March at the late dwelling house of William Ellis, dec’d, and thought proper to divide the negroes between the heirs instead of selling them, after [illegible]ing the negroes belonging to the Estate of said dec’d [Unity Ellis] a draw was made as followeth:

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Isom/Isham thus passed to Willie Ellis’ ownership in 1818, when he was about 11 years old. He appears to have remained with Willie until Emancipation.

On 24 July 1866, Isom Bynum and Patience Bynum registered their 40-year cohabitation in Wilson County. Several other men — Guilford, Robert, Jackson and Lewis — also registered as Bynums, but are listed with the surname Ellis in the 1870 census. For this and other reasons, including proximity and naming patterns, I believe these men were all sons, or close relatives, of Isom Ellis.

Lewis Ellis, born circa 1834, first married Dossie Best, by whom he had one son, John Ellis (1853). He then married Millie Thompson (1832-?), who gave birth to Daniel (1860-1938), Mary (1863), Adeline “Addie” (1865), Martha (1868), Cora (1870) and James Ellis (1874). Neither Lewis nor Millie appears in the 1900 census.

Lewis and Milly’s son Daniel Ellis first married Rosa Barnes, by whom he had a daughter, Lena (1890-1928). He then married Celia Lewis (1872-1912), daughter of Furney and Eliza Lewis on 29 August 1893 in Wilson County. Their children were William (1894), Maeliza (1897), Samson (1898-1918), Harry (1900-1988), Jackson (1901-1918), Robert (1904-1968), Louetta (1906), Orran (1910-1918) and Theodore Roosevelt Ellis (1912-1979). After Celia’s death in or just after childbirth, Daniel married Maggie Woodard in 1914. Their children were Mack (1916), John Henry (1919-1963), Mattie (1922) and Jem (1925). Daniel Ellis died 10 October 1938.

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Top, Fannie Hardy Ward, Theodore R. Ellis and Edith Barnes Ellis. Bottom, Eloise Ward and T. Roosevelt Ellis Jr., probably near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, circa 1939.

Photo courtesy of Monica E. Barnes.

Cemeteries, no. 1: Hilliard Ellis family.

Hilliard Ellis, born in slavery, was a successful farmer and landowner in Wilson township. He married Fereby Rountree circa 1848 and registered their 18-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 11 August 1866. As culled from census, marriage and death records, their children included: Louisa Ellis Rowe (1850-1924), Adeline Ellis Mitchell (circa 1853-??), Caroline “Carrie” Ellis Coleman Woodard (1854-1914); William Ellis (1856); George Ellis(1859-1941); Emma Ellis Bunn (1861-1937); Hilliard D. Ellis (1865-1924); Mary Anne Ellis(1866-??); Warren Ellis (1869-??); Phillis Ellis Barnes Hagans (1870-??); and Millie Ellis Smith Hunt (1874-??).

The Hilliard Ellis family cemetery is located just off Nash Street, in an area known as New Hope that is now within the extreme northwest city limits of the city of Wilson. There are approximately 25 identifiable graves in the cemetery, including those of Ellis and his children Hilliard Ellis Jr., Carrie Coleman, Louisa Rowe, and Warren Ellis Jr.

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Hilliard I. Ellis, 6 Jan 1825-22 Sept 1900.

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Louisa Rowe, 1850-7 May 1924.

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General Joshua Barnes plantation.

Gen. Joshua Barnes House is a historic home located near Wilson, Wilson County. Built about 1844, it is a two-story, central-hall-plan, Greek Revival-style frame dwelling built around the nucleus of an earlier, Federal style dwelling dating to 1830 and was remodeled about 1870. The house features a shallow hipped roof and one-story, full-width front porch. Attached to the rear of the house is a small one-story Greek Revival frame structure connected by an enclosed breezeway. Gen. Joshua Barnes, who built the house, is considered the father of Wilson County.

The National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the house waxes enthusiastic: “The exterior appearance of the house is very simple and elegant. The house is set in a grove of mature trees at the intersection of Waterworks Road and London’s Church Road just outside the city limits of Wilson. Prime agricultural land surrounds the house. The boxy massing of the house is typical of Greek Revival architecture in general and of this type of plantation house in Wilson County in particular. The house, set on a low brick foundation, is oriented to the east and to the road. A plain continuous frieze forms a band under the boxed cornice. Applied diamond motifs ornament the rear and parts of each side elevation. Similar diamonds are found on buildings in Wilson dating from the last quarter of the nineteenth century and these diamonds may date from this period. Many plantation houses originally had a double gallery porch on the front elevation, which may account for the lack of frieze ornament on the main facade of this house. A single story porch with square posts with molded caps shelters the main facade. The broad trabeated door boasts some original etched cranberry glass in the transom and sidelights. Large six-over-six-sash windows are the dominant window type used in the house. The southern side facade has four bays on the first floor, but only three on the second floor. The rear elevation gives clues to the orientation and placement of the earlier structure as well as showing the additions which have been made to the house since 1844 including a pantry, laundry and enclosed porch.”

Of Joshua Barnes’ success: “In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War and five years after his great success in the legislature, Barnes was one of the wealthiest men in Wilson County. According to the 1860 census he was a farmer owning $27,500 worth of real property and $79,000 worth of personal property.” As usual, nowhere in the glowing description of Barnes, his house and his accomplishments is any mention of the main source of Barnes’ wealth — his slaves.

The 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County pulls back the curtain: Joshua Barnes owned 66 men, women and children, ranging in age from eight months to 94 years, housed in ten dwellings. Benjamin Ellis‘ family were among them:

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Wilson Daily Times, 13 June 1922.

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Joshua Barnes house, 1976. The house, recently sold, remains in excellent condition.