family portrait

Studio shots, no. 12: John and Florence Miller Bynum family.

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James, John Edward, Florence Roberta, and Johnny L. Bynum, circa 1924.

On 15 November 1914, John Bynum, 27, of Saratoga married Florence Miller, 19, of Saratoga in Stantonsburg township. Witnesses were Ora L. Barnes, Bert B. Person, and Anna S. Whitley, all of Stantonsburg township.

On 5 June 1917, John Bynum registered for the World War I draft at Saratoga precinct, Wilson County. Per his registration card: he was born 17 June 1888; worked as a farmer for L.P. Woodard; and had a wife and child. He was tall and of medium build, with dark brown eyes and black hair.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Bynum, 30, wife Florance, 21, sons James, 3, and John, 7 months, and brother Walter Bynum, 24.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer John Bynum, 42, wife Florance, 32, and sons James, 13, Jonnie, 10, and Hollie, 5.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer John Bynum, 52, wife Florence, 45, and children James, 23, Johnie L., 20, Harley, 15, and Marguerite, 5, daughter-in-law Gladys, 22, and grandchildren James Jr., 2, and Geraldine, 10 months.

John Bynum died 23 June 1949 at his home at 1004 Robertson Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 17 June 1887 in Wilson County to Abaraham Bynum and Jane Atkinson. Florence Bynum was informant.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user copl01.

Harry and Pet Sharp family portrait.

Like thousands of North Carolinians, Harry and Pet Sharp left Wilson County for better opportunities. However, unlike most African-American migrants, they headed south. A clue to their unusual movement is found in the 1900 census of Tatnall County, in which Harry’s occupation was listed as woods rider. A woods rider was a foreman on horseback who oversaw the rough labors of the turpentine workers moving on foot through brutally hot, rattlesnake-infested forests, “dipping” pine gum. With eastern North Carolina’s longleaf pines bled to ruin, its large and lucrative naval stores industry shifted southward to Georgia and Florida, with displaced workers in its wake. The Sharps were among them.

This Sharp family portrait was probably taken about 1900 in Georgia.

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In the 1870 census of Otter Creek, Edgecombe County, North Carolina: Gustin Sharp, 51, wife Bithy, 54, and children Lisha, 16, Harry 12, and Amanda, 10.

In the 1880 census of Auters Creek, Edgecombe County: Gustin Sharp, 63, wife Bythy, 65, and children or grandchildren Sarah, 18, Harry, 23, and Green, 15.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Nelson Farmer, 30, wife Rose, 45, children Pett, 10, and Luke, 6, nieces Jimmie Ann, 14, and Lou, 10, and Rose’s children Daniel, 21, Lear, 18, and Jef, 16.

On 30 January 1889, H.H. Sharp, 31, of Wilson, married Pett Farmer, 19, of Wilson, at G.S Sharp’s in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister J.T.Clark performed the ceremony before B.R. Winstead, William Connor and John Hardy.

In the 1900 census of Lyons, Tattnall County, Georgia: woods rider Harry Sharpe, 38, wife Pet, 30, and children Rena, 10, Lela, 8, Jessie, 5, Menar, 5, Cora, 2, and Mittie, 5 months. Rena was born in North Carolina; the remaining children in Georgia.

In the 1910 census of Toombs County, Georgia: farmer Harry H. Sharpe, 53, wife Pet, 40, and children Rena, 21, Jessie, 17, Mena, 13, Cora, 12, James, 9, David, 8, Harry, 6, Green, 4, and Caesar, 2 months.

Harry Sharp died in 1917, and Pet Farmer Sharp died in 1945, both in Toombs County, Georgia.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user lavoniarcarter.

The Simms family portrait.

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Gertrude Simms Hoskins (1904-1988), Hannah Malinda Smith Simms (1876-1961), John Leslie Simms Jr. (1910-1982), Marcellus Simms (1900-1946), Jeanette Simms Bonner (1907-1999), John Leslie Simms (1867-1942), Rosetta Simms Campbell (1909-2001), Ashley Augustus Simms (1898-1977), Benjamin Frank Simms (1903-1980), circa 1910. 

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In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Caroline Simms, 38, and children Harriet, 14, and John, 4.

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Caroline Smith Simms (1832-1928).

On 25 January 1872, Warren Simms, son of Jack Anderson and Rebecca Simms, married Caroline Smith, daughter of Morton Smith and Charlotte Smith, at the Wilson County courthouse. [Note: Not uncommonly, Caroline used both Simms and Smith as maiden names. Her brother, Simon Simms, married Emeline Brooks on 16 January 1869 in Wilson County. His license lists his parents as Martin Simms and Charlotte Simms.]

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Warren Simms, 25, wife Caroline, 47, step-daughter Harriet, 20, step-son John, 12, and children Zanah Ann, 9, and Lucy, 1, plus [Caroline’s] grandsons Ellis, 4, and Amanuel, 2.

On 7 February 1894, John L. Smith [alias Simms] married Lyndy Smith in Wayne County.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Simms, 33, wife Malinda, 23, and son Ashley, 1.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Simms, 43, wife Melinda, 37, and children Ashley, 10, Marcellus, 8, Frank, 7, Gertrude, 6, Jennette, 4, and Rosettie, 1.

On 4 December 1928, Carolina Simms died in Pine Level township, Johnston County. Her death certificate reports that she was born in 1822 to unknown parents in Johnston County.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Simms, 63, wife Milindy, 54, and children Jenette, 23, Rosetta, 20, Johnnie, 18, Paul, 16, Julia, 13, and Mary, 12.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Simms, 78, wife Melanie, 65, and children and grandchildren John Simms, 29, Paul Simms, 26, Mary L. Simms, 21, Cleo Bonner, 8, and Jesse, 6, Willie, 5, and Else Simms, 5.

John Simms died 15 December 1942 in Wilson township, Wilson County. His death certificate indicates that he was born 9 October 1867 in Wilson County to Curtis Simms and Caroline (last name unknown), that he was married to Malinda Simms; and that he was buried in Rountree cemetery near Wilson. Marcellus Simms was the informant.

Hannah Malinda Simms died 28 March 1961 in Wilson, North Carolina. Her death certificate indicates that she was born 15 August 1880 in Wayne County to Minerva Smith and an unknown father. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Jeanette Bonner was informant.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com member brianandrewbonner.

The Jim Baker family.

On 24 February 1984, subscribers to the Wilson Daily Times received a supplement with their regular papers. “Tracing Our Roots” was packed with old photos contributed by readers, including this one.

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“FARM FAMILY,” the caption read. “Mr. and Mrs. Jim Baker, their children and family dog posed outside their farmhouse on Old Stantonsburg Road in 1914. Baker was a farmer, and his descendants still live in Wilson County. The house is still standing.”

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On 5 January 1905, James Baker, 24, of Wilson, son of Dossey and Ella Baker, married Mollie Cooper, 18, of Toisnot, daughter of Lucy Williams, at the office of Justice of the Peace J.W. Cox in Elm City.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer James Baker, 30, wife Mollie, 24, and children Rena, 4, Moses, 2, and Roncey, 4 months.

When Jim Baker registered for the World War I draft on 12 September 1918, he reported his address as RFD 1, Wilson; his birthdate as 15 April 1879; his occupation as farmer and employer as Atlantic Christian College; and his nearest relative as wife Mollie Baker. He was of medium height and weight, with brown eyes and dark hair, and signed his name with an X.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, farmer James Baker, 40, wife Mollie, 33, and children Irena, 14, Moses, 12, Rony, 10, and Lossie, 7.

On 27 July 1940, James Baker died at Wilson’s Mercy Hospital. His death certificate states that he was 57 years old, married to Molly Baker, and lived at 812 East Green Street. Baker was buried at Rountree cemetery, and his daughter Irene Farmer was informant for the certificate.

Mollie Baker died 22 February 1964 and is buried in Rest Haven cemetery.

Hat tip to Will Robinson of Wilson County Public Library.

Studio shots, no. 6: Suggs siblings.

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A portrait of children of Washington and Esther Best Suggs, taken prior to 1915, when daughter Edmonia died. At top, Daniel C. Suggs (1866-1936) and Dr. James T. Suggs (1876-1934). At bottom, Serena Suggs Moore (1865-1930) at left and Mollie Suggs Watson Lucas (1869-1948), second from right. Julia Suggs Bryant (1878-1929) and Edmonia Suggs Perrington (1870-1915) are also in the bottom row, but it is not yet clear which sister is which.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user rij1294.

Snaps, no. 3: the Darden-Speight family.

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Nina and Kenneth Speight, probably near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, perhaps 1940s.

Nina Darden Speight was born in 1901 in Black Creek township, Wilson County, to Crawford F. and Mattie Woodard Darden. Her father, born about 1869 in Black Creek, was the youngest of several children born to Howell Darden and Esther (or Easter) Bass, and their only child born free. (Esther’s maiden name also appears as “Jordan” on the marriage license of one of her children.)

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Crawford and Mattie Darden and children, including Nina at upper left, circa 1910.

On 11 August 1866, Howell and Easter registered their cohabitation with a county justice of the peace and thereby legalized their 18-year marriage. Their older children included Warren (born circa 1849, married Louisa Dew), Eliza (born circa 1852, married Henry Dortch), Martin (born circa 1853, married Jane Dew) and Toby Darden (born circa 1858.) Esther Darden died 1870-1880, and Howell Darden between 1880 and 1900. Crawford Darden died 3 August 1934.

Evidence that Howell Darden and Esther Bass were both owned by James A. Barnes may be found in his will, dated October 14, 1848, and probated at February Court, 1849 in Edgecombe County. Among other property real and personal, Barnes’ wife Sarah received a life interest in several enslaved people — Mary, Esther and Charles — whose ownership would revert to nephew Theophilus Bass upon her death. To McKinley Darden, Barnes bequeathed “Negro Howell.”