Educated at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, John W. Perry was a deacon when appointed in 1882 to serve Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Tarboro. Perry was ordained a priest in 1887 and two years later was assigned to lead the congregation at Saint Mark’s in Wilson in addition to Saint Luke’s. He shared these posts for the next twelve years.
See Rev. Dr. Brooks Graebner, “Historically Black Episcopalian Congregations in the Diocese of North Carolina: 1865-1959” (2018), for more on Rev. Perry.
The assertion that the first school in East Wilson opened in 1910 is incorrect. Here are references to African-American education in 1869, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1890, 1895, 1897, and 1897. (Further, the colored graded school was not called the Sallie Barbour School until the late 1930s.)
Per this article, the Episcopal school operated from 1891 to 1912 and perhaps into the 1920s.
The school taught 50-90 students per year until 1909, when two teachers served 203 pupils.
A permanent school space eventually was built was next door to the church at South and Lodge Streets. “We used to call that Little Washington,” Marie Wells Lucas said. (And thus cleared up a mystery about the location of that neighborhood.)
Families provided firewood to heat the school.
In 1934, Carolina Builders bought the lot on which the church and school stood.
The Episcopal church and school.This photo of John Boykin, Rev. Robert N. Perry and John H. Clark was taken below the stained glass windows in the church’s gable end.
Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C. (1922).
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wheelwright Mack Wells, 40; wife Cherry, 38; and children Bertha, 11, Willie, 9, Clifton, 6, Lillie, 4, and Marry, 2.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 624 Viola, blacksmith Mack Wells. 57; wife Cherry, 55, washing and ironing; children Clifton, 25, blacksmith, and Marie, 22, washing and ironing; and granddaughter Minnie Green, 8.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory; Wells C Malachi (c; Cherry) gunsmith h 615 Viola. Also, Wells, Marie school tchr h 615 Viola
On 25 December 1934, Joe Lucas, 20, of Nash County, son of John Lucas, married Marie Wells, 30, of Wilson, daughter of Mack and Cherry Wells, at Mack Wells’ on Viola Street.
Charles Malacih [Malachi] Wells died 22 August 1939 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 October 1862 in Nash County to Dennis Wells of Nash and Nellie Adams of Nash; was married; resided at 615 Viola; and was a self-employed machinist at Wells Machinery. Informant was Clifton Wells, 700 Warren Street, Wilson.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 615 Viola Street, owned and valued at $1500, Cherry Wells, 74; machine shop blacksmith William, 47; lumber mill laborer Joseph Lucas, 43; Marie W., 42, teacher; and John D. Lucas, age illegible.
Cherry Wells died 22 September 1951 at 615 Viola Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was about 86 years old; and was born in Edgecombe County to Jones Williams and Olive [no last name given]. Informant was Marie Lucas, 615 Viola.
Clifton Wells died 6 August 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 July 1894 to Charles M. Wells and Cherrie Hines; resided at 501 North Carroll Street; was self-employed at C.M. Wells General Repair; and was married to Maggie Young. Informant was Marguerite Wells Murrain, Goldsboro.
Marie Wells Lucas died 6 October 1997 in Wilson, aged 99.
South and Lodge Streets, today, per Google Maps.
Photo of church and school courtesy of Patrick M. Valentine’s The Episcopalians of Wilson County: A History of St. Timothy’s and St. Mark’s Churches in Wilson, North Carolina 1856-1995 (1996).
Ann J. Hines — Anna Johnson Goode Hines (1927-2010) was the daughter of Robert and Anna Johnson. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she married Charles Edwin Hines, son of Wesley E. and Mary Ellis Hines, on 19 December 1957 in Wilson.
O.J. Hawkins — Presbyterian minister Obra J. Hawkins.
Photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).
In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 39 year-old farmer Henry Clark, wife Florah, 38, and children John, 16, Mary J., 14, Ella, 12, Henrietta, 9, Henry, 8, Augustin, 5, Thomas, 3, and Margaret, 10 months.
John H. Clark was Wilson’s first African-American letter carrier and a stalwart and founding member of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church. He and wife Ida Crenshaw Clark resided at 706 East Nash Street, built around 1908 and described in the East Wilson Historic District Nomination Report as a “triple-A cottage with intact wrap-around porch; includes corner gazebo and turned porch posts; among district’s finest early 20th-century houses.” It was recently demolished.