farming

An example worthy of following.

The Special Collections Research Center of North Carolina State Libraries has digitized several annual reports submitted to the state’s Cooperative Extension Service by Negro County Extension Agent Carter W. Foster. Below, part 1 of a series revealing the 1942 report.

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“… I have attempted to give you an insight of the major activities carried on by Negro farmers in the county during the year.” Foster credited farm families, county officials, home economics extension agent Jane A. Boyd, the extension staffs at North Carolina State A.&T. and North Carolina State Universities, and members of the Negro school systems for the year’s successes.

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Foster named Mark Sharpe the Outstanding Man of the Year.

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Sharpe was born and reared on the farm he was buying. His father, a life-long tenant farmer, lived with him. Their landlord had made a standing offer to sell the farm for $6000 years before. “Not being satisfied with the manner in which his father was living,” Sharpe decided to buy. He happened upon an article about Farm Security Administration loans for low-income tenants. Within days he was approved. The farm was on Highway 42 on the Wilson-Edgecombe border, and about 40 of its 51 acres were suitable for farming.

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The house was in fairly good condition at purchase, but was upgraded with screens, paint and a pump on the back porch, and Sharpe constructed a laying house, a smokehouse and an outhouse.

Sharpe was a young man — just 29 years old. He was the father of five, a member of the Negro Farmers Advisory Committee, and a Neighborhood Lender. “He is an example worthy of following by many tillers of the soil.”

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Jones buys a mule.

On 17 December 1897, Thomas A. Jones purchased a bay mare mule from John Y. Moore for $75 on credit. Until Jones paid the full purchase price, title remained in Moore. On 7 January 1900, he satisfied his debt.

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In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jno. A. Jones, 22; wife Susan, 19;  children Thomas, 2, and Jesse B., 7 months; and Rosett Boykin, 10.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Dempsy Powell, 52, farmer; wife Sallie, 46; daughter Susan A. Jones, 27, and her husband John A. Jones, 34; their children Thomas A., 13, Jessee B., 11, James A., 7, Celia C., 5, Sallie C., 4, and John A., 1; and W.D. Lucus, 21, laborer.

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas A. Jones, 32; [second] wife Mary, 25; and children Wesley, 11, Earnist, 9, William P., 7, Locus C., 7, Eppie, 3, Bell L., 5, Milbry, 3, and Roxey, 6 months, plus brother Sylvester Jones, 13.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Thomas Jones, 43; wife Ida, 36; and children Earnest, 19, William, 17, Bettie, 15, Milbrey, 12, and Maoma, 21, and grandchildren Wiley J., 3, and Elroy Jones, 3 months.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Sims Road, farmer Thomas A. Jones, 51; wife Mary I., 45; children Milbry T., 23, Andrew, 19, Leona, 17, James H., 14, Ollie, 9, Ida May, 7, Paul H., 5, and Jim Lawrence, 3; and granddaughter Bettie Lee, 4.

In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Jones, 61; wife Ida, 54; and children Leona, 27, Ollie, 19, Ida M., 17, Paul, 15, James, 13, and Willie, 8.

Thomas A. Jones died 20 February 1925 in Lucama, Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 May 1868 in Wilson County to John Jones and Susie Powell; was a widower; had been married to Ida Jones; was a farmer. Informant was Earnest Jones of Bailey, N.C.

Deed book 46, page 90, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.