Wilson Daily Times, 24 November 1925.
The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson show the location of Andrew Townsend‘s store near Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church on Banks Street.
Margaret Colvert Allen, seated far right, third row, circa 1915.
Greensboro Daily News, 10 March 1916.
Margaret C. Allen, second from right, second row from top. Her sister Launie Mae Colvert Jones, at left, first row of middle section, circa 1916. Both photos, I believe depict students of Statesville’s Colored Free School. The second photo may show the school itself shortly before it burned or may depict one of the other buildings in which the school met before a replacement was built in 1921.
Photos in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.
Wilson Daily Times, 30 July 1929.
Samuel H. Vick had his finger in many pots, including tobacco farming. In a three-week span in July 1929, under circumstances that certainly strike a modern reader as suspicious, he lost to fire three barns filled with his tobacco.
Wilson Daily Times, 17 November 1936.
Wilson Colored High School (which would be renamed for C.H. Darden in 1938) suffered a devastating fire in November 1936. How long did the “indefinite” closing last? Where did children attend class in the interim?
Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 1919.
The three-story Hotel Union first appears in Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson in 1908. The wooden building had two storefronts on the ground floor and accommodations above.
The hotel also appears in the 1913 Sanborn map. By 1922, however, the Hotel Union was a boarding house. Its ground floor had been expanded to add another commercial space, and the one-story extension on the back of the building comprised a separate dwelling. There’s no listing for a black-owned hotel or boarding house in the 1922 Wilson city directory, but the 1925 directory shows the Whitley Hotel at 535-537 East Nash. Maggie A. Whitley was proprietor. In the 1928 directory, the address of the Whitley is 541 East Nash. The hotel is visible in a postcard of East Nash Street circulated in the 1920s.
In January 1928, a fire broke out in a second-floor bedroom of the Whitley. Quick action by the fire department prevented extensive damage.
Wilson Daily Times, 5 January 1928.
The 1941 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book lists the Wilson Biltmore at 541 East Nash Street, which appears to be a later iteration of Hotel Union/Whitley Hotel. (This observation matches Samuel C. Lathan‘s recollection.) The building burned to the ground in the late 1940s.
Well into the twentieth century, children faced harrowing odds against reaching adulthood. Disease, accidents, violence bore them away in sorrowful numbers. In the 1910s, 17% of American children died before age 5, a figure that was higher for Southern and African-American children. Few children in Wilson County were buried in marked graves. In town, original burials were in Oaklawn or the Masonic cemetery. The Oaklawn graves were exhumed and moved to Rest Haven in the 1940s, and headstones, if they ever existed, have been lost over time.
By allowing us to call their names again, this series of posts memorializes the lives of children who died during the first twenty years in which Wilson County maintained death records. May they rest in peace.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 December 1936.