Farmer

1112 Carolina Street.

The eighty-seventh 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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “circa 1913; 1 story; two-room, central-hall house; turned porch posts; asphalt siding.”

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., shows 1112 Carolina Street.

In the fall of 1929, Bettie Lofton placed an ad seeking a cooking and general housework position:

Wilson Daily Times, 17 September 1929.

Lofton apparently rented her home out shortly after. (Perhaps because she married Thomas Morning in Wilson on 17 March 1930. The couple is listed together at 518 Hadley Street, Wilson, in the 1930 census)) In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1112 Carolina, renting at $16/month, tobacco factory laborer Jessey Farmer, 34; wife Henerator, 26, laundress; and children Jessey Jr., 8, Irvin, 4, and Trumiller, 3.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lofton Betty cook h 1112 Carolina

Wilson Daily Times, 12 December 1965.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

Mother and daughter.

The family of Ruth Hooker Coppedge and her mother Elna Farmer Hooker paid tribute to them in Calvary Presbyterian Church‘s centennial anniversary booklet.

On 26 December 1900, Frank Hooker, 26, of Wilson County, married Elner T. Farmer, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Gray and Argent Farmer, in Wilson. W.H. Kittrell applied for the license, and Rev. C[larence]. Dillard, Presbyterian, performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick and J.T. Harper of Wilson and Daisy Dillard of Goldsboro.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, Frank Hooker, 57 [sic], wood sawyer; wife Ella, 33; and children Emma R., 8, Grey, 6, Clarence D., 4, and Argent, [age illegible.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 656 Viola Street, Frank Hooker, 47, woodyard sawyer; wife Elinor, 37, sewing woman; and children Ruth, 17, Gray, 14, Henry, 12, Inez, 9, Irmadeen, 7, Sylvester, 4, and Theodore, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Green Street, Ellen Hooker, 47, widowed teacher; children Ruth, 25, Cilvesta, 14, and Theodo, 11; and grandchildren Montez, 8, and Clementine, 6.

On 5 June 1937, Ruth E. Hooker, 29, of Wilson, daughter of Frank and Ella Hooker, married General W. Coppedge, 45, of Wilson, son of James and Sallie Coppedge. Presbyterian minister O.E. Sanders performed the ceremony at 708 East Green Street in the presence of Annie L. Sanders, Lenora Carroll and Eleanor J. Hooker.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 708 Green Street, Eleanor Hooker, 59, widowed teacher; daughter Inez, 27, cook; and roomer Willie Boykin, 35, bricklayer, of Lawrenceville, Virginia.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 South Vick, George Coppedge, 55, bricklayer; wife Ruth, 40, schoolteacher at county school; [his] son George Jr., 23; daughter-in-law Elouise, 20; and grandchildren Julia, 4, Deloris, 2, and Carrol, 1.

Ruth Hooker Coppedge died 26 May 1945 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; resided at 200 South Vick Street, Wilson; was married to George Coppedge; was born in Wilson to Frank Richard Hooker of Greene County and Eleanor Farmer of Wilson County; and was a school teacher.

Carolina Posse Kills Ex-GI.

The lynchings of two Wilson County men are recorded at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The name of the first, killed in 1887, is unknown. The second man, shot to death in 1946, was J.C. Farmer, a 19 year-old veteran of World War II.

Farmer and some friends were in Sims, a village in the western part of the county, playing around while waiting for a bus to take them into Wilson for a Saturday night out. Constable Fes Bissette confronted the group, ordering Farmer to get into his squad car. When Farmer refused, Bissette him in the back of the head with a blackjack, drew his gun and tried to force Farmer into the car. The two scuffled. Seizing control of the gun, Farmer shot Bissette through the hand and fled. An hour later, 20 to 25 white men, including Alcoholic Beverage Control agents armed with submachine guns, cornered Farmer near his mother Mattie Barnes Farmer‘s house and opened fire.

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 11.02.26 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 11.02.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-25 at 11.02.59 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 11.03.25 PM.png

New Journal and Guide (Norfolk, Va.), 17 August 1946.

Though the scant news accounts available are silent, it appears that Farmer was driven ten miles to Wilson to Mercy Hospital, where Dr. Batie T. Clark pronounced him dead from a “gun shot wound chest” about 30 minutes after arrival. Clark also noted on Farmer’s death certificate, by way of explanation: “shot by officer of law in gun duel” though it is not at all clear which member of the posse’s shot hit Farmer, and there had been no “duel.” (Also, who transported Farmer to town — his family or law enforcement? Why was he seen by Badie Clark, a white doctor, rather than, say, Joseph Cowan?)

In 1951, the Civil Rights Congress issued We Charge Genocide: An Historic Appeal to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People, a “record of mass slayings on the basis of race.” Among the litany of such state-sanctioned crimes committed from 1945 to 1951 was the killing of J.C. Farmer.

Equal Justice Initiative’s 2015 Lynching in America report mentioned J.C. Farmer’s murder in the chapter described racial terror directed at African-American veterans: “No one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than black veterans who had proven their valor and courage as soldiers during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Because of their military service, black veterans were seen as a particular threat to Jim Crow and racial subordination. Thousands of black veterans were assaulted, threatened, abused, or lynched following military service.” Farmer’s death was just one of a wave of such lynchings in 1946.

——

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Josh Farmer, 51; wife Mattie, 46; and children William A., 21, Josh W., 17, Waneta, 14, Lonnie D., 12, Robert, 10, Albert H., 6, and J.C., 3.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Jack Farmer, 59; wife Mattie, 55; and children Authur, 24, Jack Jr., 23, Robert, 20, Harry, 16, J.C., 13, and Juanita Barnes, 22, and her children Mattie Lee, 3, and Marjorie, 1.

J.C. Farmer registered for the World War II draft on 21 October 1944, was honorably discharged on 16 August 1945, and was dead 13 days’ shy of a year later.

——

For the hanged and beaten. For the shot, drowned and burned. The tortured, tormented and terrorized. For those abandoned by the rule of law.

We will remember.

With hope because hopelessness is the enemy of justice. With courage because peace requires bravery. With persistence because justice is a constant struggle. With faith because we shall overcome.

National Memorial for Peace and Justice

1205 Queen Street.

The sixty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District:  “ca. 1922; 1 story; bungalow with clipped-gable roof; aluminum sided.”

——

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory: Farmer Richard (c; Bessie) lab h 1205 Queen

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1205 Queen, rented for $12/month, divorced laundress Bessie Farmer, 27; and children Richard Jr., 10, Kary, 8, and Albert, 4; and brother James Farmer, age illegible.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: owned and valued at $1600, widowed cook Allie McNair, 40; son Linwood, 20, odd jobs at municipal building; and daughter Madeline, 18, nurse. Allie was born in Pitt County, and her children in Washington County. [The McNairs apparently moved to Wilson after the death of Luther McNair in Plymouth, Washington County, on 23 May 1930.]

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory: McNair Allie (c) cook h 1205 Queen

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2018.

The division of Mary Eliza Farmer’s land.

In late September 1934, a surveyor walked the land of Mary Eliza Farmer and prepared a plat dividing it into five equal sections. Mary Eliza had inherited a life estate in the property from her husband Valentine Farmer, and upon her death or remarriage it was to pass to her children and step-children. The double line at the left edge of the plat denotes a road and fronting it, in the fourth strip of lad, a pack house and dwelling are marked.

—–

On 5 February 1882, Vaul Farmer, 52, married Mary E. Ruffin, 43, in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Valintine Farmer, 70, wife Mary, 58, children Mattie, 30, Elizabeth, 26, Mary J., 24, and Elizar, 22, son-in-law Charly Freeman and daughter Carolina. All did farm work except Elizabeth, who was a cook, and Elizar, who was a schoolteacher.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: widowed farmer Mary L. Farmer, 64; daughter Mattie, 48; and granddaughter Mary Batts, 28.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Winstead Road, widowed farmer Mary Farmer, 75, and daughter Mattie, 40.

Mary Eliza Farmer died 31 October 1928. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 February 1836 in Wilson County to Bob Shelley and Minerva Barnes; was the widow of Vol Farmer; and her informant was Mattie Stallings.

Plat book 2, page 101, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

1200 Queen Street.

The sixty-fifth 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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; James Battle house; bungalow with clipped-gable roof and dormer; Battle was a drayman.”

——

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rutherford Geo lab h 1200 Queen. Also, Rutherford Maggie dom 1200 Queen.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rutherford Geo (c; Maggie B) restr 551 E Nash h 1200 Queen. Also, Rutherford Mildred (c) student h 1200 Queen

George Rutherford died 15 August 1932 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1885 in Tennille, Georgia; was married to Maggie Rutherford; resided at 1200 Queen; and worked as a cook.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Farmer Geo (c; Mamie) chauf h 1200 Queen. Also, Farmer Geo jr. (c) shoe shiner h 1200 Queen.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2018.

The children and grandchildren of Frank and Elna Farmer Hooker.

Hooker family reunion, Wilson, 1947. “L. to R. 1st Row: Catherine, Alice, Frankie. 2nd Row: Dewey, Montez, Theodore, Inez, Clementine. 3rd Row: Gray, Bernice, Sylvester. Steps: Elynore, Merida, Steven, William.” 

——

On 26 December 1900, Frank Hooker, 26, of Wilson County, married Elner T. Farmer, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Gray and Argent Farmer, in Wilson. W.H. Kittrell applied for the license, and Rev. C[larence]. Dillard, Presbyterian, performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick and J.T. Harper of Wilson and Daisy Dillard of Goldsboro.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, Frank Hooker, 57 [sic], wood sawyer; wife Ella, 33; and children Emma R., 8, Grey, 6, Clarence D., 4, and Argent, [age illegible.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 656 Viola Street, Frank Hooker, 47, woodyard sawyer; wife Elinor, 37, sewing woman; and children Ruth, 17, Gray, 14, Henry, 12, Inez, 19, Irmadeen, 7, Sylvester, 4, and Theodore, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Green Street, Ellen Hooker, 47, widowed teacher; children Ruth, 25, Cilvesta, 14, and Theodo, 11; and grandchildren Montez, 8, and Clementine, 6.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 708 Green Street, Eleanor Hooker, 59, widowed teacher; daughter Inez, 27, cook; and roomer Willie Boykin, 35, bricklayer, of Lawrenceville, Virginia.

Photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).

1207 Carolina Street.

The forty-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1915; 1 story; Queen Anne cottage with hip-roofed, double-pile form and modified bungalow type porch posts.”

Carpenter George W. Farmer and wife Rebecca are listed at 1207 Carolina Street in the 1925, 1928, 1930 and 1941 Wilson city directories.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1207 Carolina, building carpenter George Farmer, 46, wife Reba, 40; and lodger RufusMiles, 15.

George Washington Farmer died 26 October 1953 on Contentnea Creek in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 September 1886 in Wilson County to John Washington Farmer and Edmonia Barnes; lived at 1207 Carolina Street; was married; and worked as a carpenter. Informant was Rebecca Farmer, 1207 Carolina.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

Blanch Gay Farmer and daughter Goldie.

Blanch Ella Gay Farmer.jpg

Blanch Emma Gay Farmer in the backyard of her home at 807 Viola Street.

Goldie Farmer.jpg

Goldie Farmer McCoy Ricks and an unknown man in the one-armed chair.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm worker Samuel Gay, 27, wife Allice, 25, and children Blanch, 8, Louizah, 7, Edgar, 4, Charlie, 3, and Mamie, 1 month.

On 6 November 1886, Jeff Farmer, 23, married Blanch Gay, 16, at Sam Gay’s house in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister J.N. Rasberry performed the service in the presence of Sam Gay, Dallas Taylor and George Farmer,

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: drayman Jefferson Farmer, 40; wife Blanch,  28; and children May, 12, Turner, 11, Jesse, 8, Charley, 4, and Gola, 2.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 615 Hines Street, Jeff Farmer, 50; wife Blanch, 37; and children Turner, 20, Jessie, 16, Charlie, 13, Goler, 10, Jeff Jr., 7, Henry, 3, Allice, 2, and Gola, 1.

On 19 March 1918, Goldie Farmer, 21, of Wilson County, daughter of Jesse and Blanch Farmer, married George McCoy in Richmond, Virginia.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 615 Hines Street, Jeff Farmer, 57; wife Blanche, 47; and children Charlie, 24, Jeff, 18, Henry, 14, Alice, 12, Sam, 8, and Blanche, 5.

On 25 November 1925, Herbert Ricks, 22, of Nash County married Goldie Farmer, 28, of Wilson in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister J.E. Kennedy performed the ceremony in the presence of Mance Gaston, Mrs. J.C Venters, and Mrs. Beatrice Holden.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1007 Carolina Street, rented at $13/month, cafe proprietor Herbert Ricks, 27; wife Goldie, 30, private cook; and daughter Gloria H., 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 Viola Street, widowed laundress Blanche Farmer, 67; sons Henry, 34, truck driver for wholesale grocery company, and Samuel, 25, janitor for retail department store; and grandchildren Windsor, 24, tobacco factory laborer, Turner G., 19, cafe cook, and Gloria Hagans, 13, and James H. Farmer, 6.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson City Directory: Farmer Blanche (c) h 807 Viola.

Blanch Farmer died 27 March 1959 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 July 1889 in Wilson County to Samuel Gay and Alice Bryant; resided at 807 East Viola Street; and was a widow. Goldie Ricks was informant.

Jeff David Farmer died 12 June 1961 at his home at 807 East Viola Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 October 1903 in Wilson County to Jeff David Farmer Sr. and Blanch Ella Gay; was widowed; and was a World War II veteran. Goldie Ricks of 1413 East Nash Street was informant.

Goldie Farmer Ricks died 8 September 1974 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 January 1897 to Jefferson Farmer and Blanch Gay; resided at 108 Ashe Street, Wilson; and was a widow. Informant was Johnnie Lee Ward of Columbia, Maryland.

Many thanks for sharing these photos to Allen Moye, great-grandson of Blanch Gay Farmer.

He left her and her children begotten by him.

On 29 June 1894, Senora Farmer swore that her husband Thomas Farmer had abandoned her and their children. Witnesses testified for and against Thomas, and a justice of the peace sustained the charge, sending the case to Wilson County Criminal Court’s Fall Term.

Thomas Farmer, 22, married Cenora Bennett, 18, on 11 January 1883 in Taylor township. Minister Daniel Sanders performed the ceremony in the presence of Lucy An Miller, Cindie Bennett and Julia Bennett.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer Thomas Farmer, 39, living alone, though described as married.

  • Smith Bennett — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed brickmason Smith Bennett, 47, and daughter Addie, 20, with boarder Robert Wilkerson, 36; and lodgers Archie Williams, 34, and Samuel Wooten, 18.
  • Penny Moore — in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Pennie Moore, 45; children Florence, 22, Victora, 20, Cornetta, 18, Besse, 15, Turner, 14, and Gussie L., 1; and granddaughter Garlen, 1.
  • Emma Bunn
  • Ach Thompson
  • Rewbin White — in the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: ditcher Reubin Taylor, 23, and wife Annis, 22.
  • Tekel Ricks
  • Bryant Moore

Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.