Farmer

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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.” 

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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.

807 Viola Street.

The thirty-ninth 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: “circa 1960; 1 story; concrete block double shotgun.” This description of 807 Viola is obviously incorrect. What happened?

The nomination form lists five houses on the north side of the 800 block of Viola Street: (1) #801, an I-house built about 1913; (2) #803, a house built about 1970; (3) #805, a Queen Anne built about 1913; (4) #807; and (5) another Queen Anne built about 1913.

A current aerial view of the street shows that, nearly 30 years after the neighborhood was surveyed, 801 and 811 are vacant lots. #803 is easily recognized as the modern house described in the nomination form. However, there is no 805 Viola. Rather, the house next to 803 is 807 — the Queen Anne depicted above. The concrete block double shotgun is, in fact, #809.

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map, below, sheds some light on the street’s curious numbering. #801, the two-story I-house, is shown at the corner of Viola and Vick. At #803 is the predecessor to the 1970s-era ranch house now there. Hard against the street in #803’s front yard was #805, marked “S” for “store.” #807 is the same house currently at the location.

In the 1916 Wilson city directory: Brown Caroline h 807 Viola.

In the 1920 Wilson city directory: Brown Caroline dom h 807 Viola.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 Viola, Caroline Brown, 50, and daughter Marjory, 22, both tobacco factory laborers, and grandchildren Lister, 12, and Marie, 1.

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, 807 Viola is described as vacant, and there is no listing for the house in the 1930 census of Wilson.

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.

Photograph of house by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017; aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Maggie Lena F. Cooper, 99.

Maggie Lena Farmer Cooper, 99, of Wilson Pines Nursing Care Facility and formerly of 704 Maury Street, Wilson, NC died August 31, 2014. The funeral will be held Saturday at 1:00pm at St. Rose Church of Christ, 605 S. Douglas Street, Wilson, NC with Elder Ernest Melton officiating. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery. Public viewing will be Friday from 2-7 pm at the funeral home. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 12 noon to 1pm at the church and will assemble on Saturday at the residence of her son Thomas E. Williams, 501 W. Daniel Street Wilson, NC at 11:00am. Professional and personal services are entrusted to EDWARDS FUNERAL HOME, 805 E. Nash Street, Wilson NC. Condolences may be directed to edwardscares.com.

Obituary online.

Cemeteries, no. 14: the Valentine Farmer cemetery.

This small cemetery lies on the the south side of a deep curve of Lake Wilson Road on land that once belonged to Valentine Farmer. Farmer was born enslaved about 1828, and his daughter Martha Farmer Ruffin‘s W.P.A. interview — a so-called “slave narrative” — provides rich details of the family’s early history.

Valentine Farmer’s grave:

That of his second wife, Mary Eliza Ruffin Farmer:

Olivia Rena Woodard, wife of Kenney Woodard:

Mattie Farmer Statton, Valentine and Quinnie Harrison Farmer’s daughter:

and Walaenetess Reel:

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In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Vance [Valentine] Farmer, 40, wife Quinnie, 30, and children Clara, 13, Patsey [Martha], 11, Isaac, 10, Nancy, 8, Leah, 6, and Mattie, 2. Also, in Wilson township: Reuben Farmer, 68, wife Nancy, 71, and Luke Farmer, 11.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Bullie [Vallie] Farmer, 50, wife Qunnia, 46, and children Patsie, 21, Isaac, 20, Nannie, 18, Lera, 16, Mattie, 10, Caroline, 8, Bettie, 6, Mary J., 4, Charles, 3, and Sarah E., 2, plus Nancy Farmer, 90.

On 5 February 1882, Vaul Farmer, 52, married Mary E. Ruffin, 43, in Wilson County. On 19 March 1882, in the town of Stantonsburg, Robert Farmer, 19, married Marinda Bynum, 18. I have not found Martha Farmer Ruffin’s marriage record.

On 11 January 1889, Kenny Woodard, 24, of Toisnot township, son of Howell Woodard and Rhoda Farmer, married Leah Farmer, 24, of Gardners township, daughter of Vaul Farmer. London Woodard applied for the license, and they were married by a Justice of the Peace in the presence of Dublin Barnes, Frank Barnes and Peter Thomas.

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. Meanwhile, in Brodie, Pulaski County, Arkansas: North Carolina-born Thomas Ruffin, 48, his North Carolina-born wife Patsie, 42, and children Wiley, 14, Marina, 12, James, 10, Mammie, 8, and Lucy, 4. The last two children were born in Arkansas.

Valentine Farmer made out his will the following spring, and his estate went into probate in 1906:

North Carolina, Wilson County  }  I, Valentine Farmer, of the aforesaid County and State, being of sound mind, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, do make and declare this my last will and testament.

First: My executor hereinafter named, shall give my body a decent burial, and pay all funeral expenses, together with all my Just debts out of the first money which may come into her hands belonging to my estate.

Second: I give to my daughter Clary Batts, the wife of Amos Batts, and Patsy Ruffin, the wife of Thomas Ruffin, the sum of one dollar each.

Third: I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Mary Eliza Farmer, during her lifetime or widowhood, my entire estate, both real and personal.

Fourth: At the death or marriage of my wife, I give and bequeath to my four daughters, hereinafter named — Mattie Farmer, Elizabeth Farmer, Mary Jane Farmer and Sarah Eliza Farmer, all of my personal property of whatsoever kind.

Fifth: At the death or marriage of my wife, I give and bequeath to my children hereinafter named, viz: Nannie Farmer, Louvenia Farmer, Elizabeth Farmer, Mary Jane Farmer, Charlie Farmer and Sarah Eliza Farmer all of my real estate.

Sixth: I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Mary Eliza Farmer my lawful executor to all intents and purposes to execute this my last will and testament, according to the true intent and meaning thereof; hereby revoking and declaring void all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made.

In witness whereof, I, the said Valentine Farmer, do hereunto set my hand and seal this 9th day of April, 1901.   Valentine (X) Farmer

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Valentine Farmer to be his last will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence do subscribe our names as witnesses thereto   /s/ E.O. McGowan, W.H. Dixon

Valentine Farmer cemetery, July 2017.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.