Ellis

Littleton Ellis’ land division.

Littleton Ellis‘ land was surveyed, divided and platted in the spring of 1942, several decades years after his death between 1900 and 1910. The road slicing across the middle of the plat appears to be today’s Forest Hills Road, with directions east “To U.S. Hwy. No. 301” and west “To Road Leading to the Wilson Via of Winstead Sch.”

Plat book 2, page 175, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Littleton Ellis Jr.’s crop lien.

As adapted from Wikipedia and NCPedia: the crop-lien system was a credit system widely used by cotton and tobacco farmers in the South from the 1860s to the 1930s. Sharecroppers and tenant farmers, who did not own the land they worked, and even cash-strapped landowners, obtained supplies and food on credit from local merchants. The merchants held a lien on the farmer’s crop, and the merchants and landowners were the first ones paid from its sale. What was left over went to the farmer. Merchants routinely, and lawfully, marked up prices, and country stores rapidly proliferated across North Carolina and the South. Abuses in the crop lien system reduced many tenant farmers to a state of debt peonage, as their debts to landlords and merchants carried over from one year to the next.

On 1 January 1910, Littleton Ellis Jr. gave F.S. Davis a $140 lien on his crop in order to purchase fertilizer from Farmers Guano Company. Ellis promised to raise cotton and corn on the land on which he lived (and likely owned as his share of his father’s property) and also pledged a black mule, Rhodie, and a yellow mule, Katie, as security.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 73; wife Judy, 55; and children Lucy, 21, Littleton, 18, Sarah, 16, Maggie, 14, Nettie, 12, and Minnie, 10.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Wiggins Mill Road, farmer Littleton Ellis, 27; his mother Judie, 62; and sisters Lucy, 30, Sarah, 24, Maggie, 23, and Lettie, 21.

Littleton Ellis registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his draft registration card, he was born 30 August 1882; lived at Box 75, R.F.D. #2, Wilson; was a farmer “on his own land next to R.P. Watsons”; and his nearest relative was mother Juddy Ellis.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Judie Ellis, 80, widow; children Lucy, 32, Litt, 30, and Maggie, 25; and granddaughter Manerva Barnes, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis Jr., 47; widowed mother Juddie, 82; and divorced sister Lucy Cooker, 49.

Littleton Ellis died 24 March 1934 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 August 1882 in Wilson to Littleton Ellis and Judia Barnes; Bryant Ellis was informant.

Deed book 72, page 562, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Mamie Ellis.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 December 1949.

Per her death certificate, Mamie Ellis died 4 December 1949 at her home at 117 Ashe Street. She was born 31 January 1893 in Wilson to John Ellis and Mary Daniels; was a widower; and had worked as a laundress. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, and Lula Foster, 925 Washington Street, Wilson, was informant.

1113 East Nash Street.

The thirty-eighth 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 East Wilson Historic District: “1927; 2 stories. Parsonage, Jackson Chapel Baptist Church; cubic, hip-roofed, is blend of Colonial Revival and bungalow traits, typical of a host of middle-class dwellings in district built during 1920s.”

In the 1930 Wilson city directory: Jordan Benj F Rev (c) (Maggie L) pastor First Bapt Ch h 1113 E Nash.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, minister Benjiman Jorden, 50; wife Maggie, 44; and children Benjiman F., 16, Mary B., 14, Milford L., 12, Odis, 11, Willard, 10, Irene C., 8, and James D., 6.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, renting for $20/month, W.P.A. project laborer Oscar Ellis, 50; wife Mamie, 48; children Henry, 23, laborer, Estell, 22, housekeeper, Aja, 21, waiter, Charles, 20, deliveryman for Moore’s Drug, James, 18, Bessie, 17, Herbert, 15, Leroy, 13, Fred, 8, Mamie, 10, and Clarence, 5; and adopted children Annie, 15, and Rosco Jones, 13.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2017.

Rosetta Whitley Ellis.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 April 1949.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Counsel Whitley, 27; wife Annis, 24; and children Alice Ida, 4, Matha J., 2, and Rosa Ella, 6 months.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Concil Whitley, 42; wife Annis, 37; and children Ida, 14, Jane M., 12, Rosetta, 10, Isaca, 8, Dortha, 6, Council Jr., 4, and Mina, 2, plus widower brother William Haskins, 34.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Council Whitley, 50; wife Annis, 44; and children Ida, 24, Jane, 23, Rosetta, 20, Hezekiah, 18, Dorothy, 16, Council Jr., 14, Mimy, 13, Mandy L., 9, Mary M., 6, and Ruth L., 3, plus widowed mother Mimy Whitley, 70, and lodger John H. Dean, 20.

Rosetta Ellis died 29 March 1949 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 6 October 1910 in Wilson to Council Whitley and Anis Batts; was married; and worked in farming. She was buried in Bethel cemetery. Informant was Eddie Ellis.

 

122 North Pender Street.

The thirty-third 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 2 stories; Alice Jones house; locally rare two-thirds I house, with rear ell and added side wing; aluminum sided; Jones was a schoolteacher.”

This house does not appear on the 1908 or 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps. The house shown as 122 Pender on those maps was across the street, next to Saint John A.M.E. Zion. On the 1922 map, it is labeled under a new number, 119 Pender. That number is now the address of Saint John, and lot once designated #122 is now the site of the Saint John parsonage, 121 North Pender.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1908.

This house, then, was built after 1922, and Alice Helena Albright Jones did not occupy it until after World War II.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: building carpenter David Davis, 47; wife Hepsie, 47; and sons Frank D., 22, tire shop laborer, and Willie T., 19, tobacco factory factory. The family rented the house for $6/month.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Edward Pender, 33; wife Minnie, 26; cook Annie B. Holmes, 39; Walter Johnson, 49, and his wife Winnie, 27. Edward Pender’s occupation was driving a car for Walter Johnson.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C. city directory lists tobacco worker Elijah Ellis at 122 Pender.

Alice Jones died 29 October 1957. Per her death certificate, she was 65 years old; born in Lexington, North Carolina, to John Albridght and Alice Adams; died in a car accident in Durham, North Carolina; was a retired school teacher; and resided at 122 Pender Street. Robert L. Jones, 122 Pender, was informant.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

Cemeteries, no. 17: the Littleton and Judie Ellis family.

This small family cemetery is completely hidden in a copse of trees just outside the gates of Wiggins Mill Water Treatment Plant on Forest Hills Road in Wilson. Until relatively recently, this area — nearly four miles south of downtown — was outside city limits. Few gravestones are visible in the tangle of catbrier, pines and oak saplings, but several oblong indentations — some feet deep — mark burial sites just as clearly. This cemetery holds the remains of several generations of the family of Littleton and Judy Barnes Ellis, a couple born in slavery. The couple and at least four of their children — Bryant, Lucy, Maggie, Lizzie Sarah — are buried here on land that once belonged to Littleton Ellis.

The view from the edge of the woods:

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The dark patches at right are a series of sunken graves:

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  • Maggie Ellis Darden (1886-1969). Gone to take her rest. We loved her but God loved her best. The family.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Littleton Ellis, 30, wife Judah, 21, and children Bryant, 4, and Martha, 3.

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 45; wife Judah, 30; and children Bryant, 14, Martha, 12, Patsey, 10, Mary, 8, Bud, 6, Thomas, 4, Rose, 2, and James, 1.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Littleton Ellis, 73; wife Judy, 55; and children Lucy, 21, Littleton, 18, Sarah, 16, Maggie, 14, Nettie, 12, and Minnie, 10.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Wiggins Mill Road, farmer Littleton Ellis, 27; his mother Judie, 62; and sisters Lucy, 30, Sarah, 24, Maggie, 23, and Lettie, 21.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Judie Ellis, 80, widow; children Lucy, 32, Litt, 30, and Maggie, 25; and granddaughter Manerva Barnes, 22.

On 18 March 1923, George Darden, 35, married Maggie Ellis, 25, in Wilson County. Free Will Baptist minister Tom Thomas performed the ceremony in the presence of Willie Darden, Jonathan Ford, and W.H. Cotton.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer George Darden, 42; wife Maggie, 35, and daughter Artelia, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1021 South Mercer Street, laundress Maggie Darden, 46, and daughter Artelia, 11.

Maggie Ellis Darden died 22 September 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 March 1886 in Arkansas to Littleton Ellis and Julia Barnes [were the Ellises returned Exodusters?] Informant was Artelia Neal.

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A vault cover hidden under pine needles and creeping foliage:

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  • Rev. Jesse Herring (1890-1956). Gone but not forgotten.

In the 1900 census of Indian Springs township, Wayne County, and the 1910 census of Brogden township, Wayne County, Jessie Herring is listed in the household of his parents Amos and Lucy Herring.

In 1917, Jesse Herring registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he lived at 618 Lodge Street, Wilson; was born 23 September 1892 in Mount Olive, North Carolina; worked as a carpenter for George Whitley in Wilson County; and had a dependent wife and two children.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 413 Lodge Street, carpenter Jessie Herring, 27; wife Sarah, 33; and children Daisy, 5, Minnie, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Jessie Herring, 34; wife Sarah, 36; and children Daniel, 13, Minnie, 12, Mary E., 11, Amos, 9, Maggie, 7, James L., 3, and Mary E., 1 month. Herring paid $3/month in rent. [Next door, the household of Sarah’s brother Bryant Ellis.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 301, farmer Jessie Herring, 53; wife Sarah, ; and children Dazel, 25, Amos, 20, James L., 14, Mary Elizabeth, 9, George R., 7, and Ruby Lee, 6. Herring owned his house.

Jessie Herring died 5 June 1956 in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 September 1889 in Wayne County to Amos Herring and Lucy Whitfield; was a farmer; was married to Sarah Herring; and was buried in Ellis cemetery. Sarah Herring was informant.

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  • Lizzie Sarah Ellis Herring (1884-1964). We loved you. She was the sunshine of our home.

Sarah Ellis Herring died 9 July 1964 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 May 1891 in Wilson County to Littleton Ellis and Judy [last name unknown]; was widow of Jessie Herring; and was buried in the family cemetery. Informant was Amos Herring. [This is a fine example of a Clarence Best gravestone and features many of his signature motifs.]

Studio shots, no. 12: Mamie Ellis Maryland.

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Mamie Ellis Maryland (1907-1944).

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on New Stantonsburg Road, farmer Sherrod Ellis, 49; wife Elizabeth, 44; and children Lillie, 18, Joe, 16, Mamie, 13, Mattie, 9, Oscar, 5, and Johnnie J., 2.

On 1 January 1925, Richard Maryland, of Gardners township, 21, son of John and Maggie Maryland, married Mamie Ellis, 17, of Gardners, daughter of Sherrod and Elizabeth Ellis, in Wilson. Sherrod Ellis applied for the license, and Rev. C. Barnes performed the ceremony in the presence of Ned Barnes, O.M. Ellis and Elliott Pope.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount and Town Creek Road, John Maryland, 58; wife Maggie, 49; son Richard R., 26; daughter-in-law Mamie, 23;  and grandchildren Dacey L., 6, and Willie C., 4.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Richard Maryland, 36; wife Mamie, 34; and children Dasie Lee, 14, and Willie C., 12.

Mamie Maryland died 8 March 1944 in Sharpsburg, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 June 1907 in Wilson County to Sherrod Ellis and Elizabeth Barnes; was married to Richard Maryland; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Sharpsburg cemetery.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry user El maryland. [The gloves, the telephone — what a fascinating image. — LYH]

Louisa S. Perrington estate.

This notice of sale signaled the dissolution of the estate of Louisa Perrington, who died 26 January 1936 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, Louisa Virginia Perrington was born 1 April 1857 in Wilson to Sylvester Scarboro and Annie Adams, both of Greene County; resided at 702 East Nash Street; and was the widow of Weldon Perrington. Annie Marshall was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 September 1933.

Perrington’s heirs were Annie Marshall, John Perrington, Morris Ellis and Camilous E. Ellis. The city plot up for auction was a half-acre on Nash Street  (at what is now 702 East Nash) bordered by John H. Clark‘s land, “the Daniel Vick homeplace,” and Boston Parker. The same lot had once been owned by John Kersey.

In the East Wilson Historic District nomination form, the two-story house on this lot is described as the “Louisa Parrington house; hip-roofed Colonial Revival dwelling with simple detail typical of houses of this middle-class design in East Wilson; builder was local carpenter Louis Thomas.”

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In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Anna Scarborough, 35; children John, 17, and Louisa, 14; and boarder Henry Blackman, 19.

In the 1880 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: butler Weldon Perrington, 27; wife Louise, 23, and daughter Ardena, 2.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 614 Gold Street, widow Louise Perrerrington, 48; daughters Annie, 22, and Omma, 23, both cooks; son John, 17; and grandchildren John, 2, and Virginia Glastor, 4.

Morris M. Ellis, 25, and Ometa Sylvia Perrington, 22, daughter of Louisa Perrington, all of Wilson, were married 10 August 1910 at Saint John A.M.E. Zion church. Rev. D.L. Maultsby performed the ceremony in the presence of Floyd Mitchell, Dr. W.A. Mitchner and Chas. H. Darden.

On 28 February 1912, John Marshall, 21, married Annie Perrington, 21, in Wilson in the presence of A.N. Darden, Joseph Baker and William Baker.

Morris Weldon Ellis Jr. was born 16 February 1914 to Morris M. Ellis and Ometa S. Perrington.

John Perrington registered for the World War I draft in Wilson in 1917. Per his draft registration card, he was born 22 November 1894 in Wilmington, North Carolina; worked as a barber for Morris Ellis in Black Creek; and had “weak eyes.”

Morris McKenny Ellis registered for the World War I draft in Wilson in 1918. Per his draft registration card, he was born 29 July 1884; resided at 324 South Spring; was married to Ometa Silvy Ellis; and worked in his own barbershop in Black Creek.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 324 South Spring Street, Morris Ellis, 35; Ametra, 34; son Morris Jr., 5, and daughter Linnai, 2; mother-in-law Louisa Perrington, 63, and her granddaughter Inez Perrington, 14.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hines Street, auto mechanic John Marshall, 32; wife Annie, 32; and children Glascoe, 12, Louise, 6, Bessie, 3, and Herman, 1.

On 22 November 1921, John W. Perrington, 27, of Wilson, son of Weldon and Louisa Perrington, married Nannie E. Frazier, 21, of Smithfield, daughter of Leslie and Amanda Drew, in Wake County.

Camillus Edward Ellis was born 25 February 1925.

Ometa Ellis died 3 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Morriss Ellis; resided at 702 Nash Street; was 42 years old; and had been born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Weldon Perrington of Wilmington and Louisa Scarborough of Wilson. Louisa Parrington was informant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Nash, widow Louisa Perrington, 76, a nurse; grandsons Comelius, 5, and Morris Ellis, 6; and roomer William L. Gardner, 25, a servant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 507 Hines Street, widow Annie Marshall, 42, cook; and children Louise, 16, Bessie M., 13, Herman, 11, Margrette, 9, and Gretchen G., 1.

In the 1930 census of Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio: at 1409 Union Street (owned and valued at $3500), North Carolina-born barber John Perrington, 35; wife Nannie, 29; and stepsons John, 14, and James, 13.

Annie Mariah Marshall died 12 October 1937 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 50 years old; was born in Wilson to Weldon Perrington and Louise Scarborough; resided at 703 East Nash; and was widowed. Informant was Herman Marshall.

John W. Perrington died 29 November 1927 and, as a veteran of World War I, was buried at Dayton National Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.

In the 1940 census of Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee: on Quarles Street, medical foot specialist Morris M. Ellis, 55, and wife Minnie, 56.

Morris McKinley Ellis died 16 December 1952 in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 July 1885 in North Carolina to Huel Ellis; was widowed; resided at 107-10th Street, Clarksville; and worked as a chiropodist. Camillus E. Ellis of New York, New York, was informant.

Camillus E. Ellis died 19 February 1968 in New York.

Morris Weldon Ellis Jr. died 26 November 1997 in Wilson.

 

Divorce actions, part 1.

The files of nineteenth and early twentieth century divorce cases are housed at the North Carolina State Archives. This is the first in a series abstracting some of the folders of actions filed in Wilson County Superior Court. (The allegations of misdoing summarized are derived from court pleadings and were not necessarily true.)

  • Henry Artis v. Mary Ann Artis

May term, 1901. Married 4 January 1893 in Wilson. After about a year, defendant Mary Ann deserted plaintiff Henry. She also committed adultery with Jim Pool and others and was a “common prostitute.”

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On 4 January 1893, Henry Artis, 20, of Wilson township, son of Richard and Eliza Artis, married Mary Ann Lewis, 19, of Gardners, daughter of John and Mary Lewis, in Wilson.

  • Tom Artis v. Ida Artis

November term, 1910.

  • William Artis v. Mollie Artis

May term 1906. Married December 1898 in Wilson County. Mollie abandoned William in December 1903. In 1905, she committed adultery with Noah Foreman.

  • James Artis v. Louvenia Artis

February term, 1914.

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On 28 February 1908, James Artis, 29, of Gardners township, son of Jesse and Patsey Artis, married Louvenia Pleasant, 19, of Gardners, daughter of George Pleasant. Blount Best performed the ceremony.

  • George Barnes Jr. v. Milly Barnes

June term, 1896. Married 4 July 1895 in Wilson County by Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best. Witnesses produced at trial: Richard Eatman, Smith Battle, Jerry Scarboro, William Barnes, Reuben White, George Towe, Alfred Thompson and Alfred Woodard. Divorce denied.

Plaintiff George asserted that he was unaware that Milly was pregnant at the time of their marriage. When he discovered her condition three weeks later, he left her as he was not the child’s father. Defendant Milly responded that she was an “innocent young woman and was seduced by the plaintiff under a promise of marriage to yield to his embrace and that she became pregnant by cohabitation with him”; that he was the child’s father; and that she had never had “carnal intercourse” with any other man.

Richard Eatman, who was served his subpoena in Halifax County, testified that he was acquainted with Milly Barnes for a number of years, “having been raised in the same neighborhood” with her; that about four years prior he began to have sex with her from time to time for about a year; that he never promised to marry her; that he did not think she was “innocent” when he first had sex with her; and that she had admitted to him having sex with Daniel Barnes.

H.E. Bell testified that he lived near Milly and had known her a number of years and that she had the general reputation of “a woman of loose morals.” He also knew George: “he is a young colored man, of good habits, sober and reliable in every way, that his reputation for truth is as good as any colored man” that Bell knew. Also, Bell stated, Milly lived with her father, Hilliard Ellis, who “provides for her and is able to continue to do so.”

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On 4 July 1895, George Barnes, 24, son of George and Anica Barnes, married Milly Ellis, 20, daughter of Hilliard and Feriby Ellis as Hilliard Ellis’ house. A.J.C. Moore applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of G.W. Ellis, William Roberts and General Barnes.

On 20 December 1900, Millie Ellis, 23, daughter of Hilliard and Phereby Ellis, married James Smith, 22, son of Pink Smith, in Taylors township.