Forbes

307 North Reid Street.

The forty-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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 10.06.46 PM.png

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 1 story; L-plan cottage with front-facing gable in side wing; cutaway bay; turned porch posts; perhaps built by carpenter John Reid.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 307 Reid Street, rented for $20/month, hospital orderly Henry A. Best, 38, wife Anney C., 40, laundress, and children Thelma, 13, Dubulte, 8, and Reatha, 6; and lodgers Leslie, 23, taxi driver, and Beulah Exam, 20.

In the 1930 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Best Henry A (c) (Annie C) orderly Carolina Genl Hosp Inc h 307 N Reid

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 307 Reid Street, rented for $14/month, Joe McCoy, 40, barber at Barnes Barber Shop, and wife Mittie, 40, laundress; and, renting at $4/month, Willie Forbs, 22, truck driver for Boykin Grocery Company, wife Goldie, 21, cook, and son Jimmie, 3; daughter Erma G. McCoy, 16; and roomer Thomas Elton, 17.

In the 1941 Wilson, N.C., city directory: McCoy Jos (c; Mittie) barber John B Barnes h 307 N Reid.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Stantonsburg firsts.

“The first cafe owned by a black in Stantonsburg was opened in 1947 and was owned by June Scott Artis and his wife, Ethel. They were assisted in the business by their son Edgar Artis. The white frame building was located at the corner of Macon and Greenwood Avenues. The inside was highlighted by the pot belly stove that was located in the middle of the floor. Soft drinks, hot dogs (5¢), peanuts and other snacks were sold. 1965 marked the closing of the business.

James and Mary Ham owned the first black beauty shop in Stantonsburg and it was located on North Main Street. Hettie M. Forbes was the first licensed black beautician to operate in Stantonsburg. The shop operated from 1946 to 1956.

“In 1940 Toney Woodard opened the first black-owned grocery store in Stantonsburg. The business operated until Mr. Woodard’s death in 1959.

Oscar Ellis, Jr., opened a combination barber shop, pool room and cafe on Greenwood Avenue in 1960. The business is still in partial operation with the cafe being operated by Annie Mae Barnes and the barber shop operated by Ran Thompson.

“The first black-ownwed and operated business in Stantonsburg was probably the blacksmith shop that was owned by John Whitley. The business was opened in 1918 and operated until 1950. It was located in the building owned by William and Walter Artis, which was situated on the south side of Yelverton Street about twenty yards from the railroad track.”

Stantonsburg Historical Society, A History of Stantonsburg (1981).

——

  • June Scott and Ethel Becton Artis

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County:  Adam Artice, 68, a widowed farmer,  with children Louetta, 18, Robert, 16, Columbus, 14, Josephfene, 13, Jun S., 10, Lillie B., 9, Henry B., 6, Annie, 3, Walter, 26, and William Artis, 24.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Columbus Artis, 24, grocery storekeeper, with brothers June Scott, 20, and Henry J., 16, box factory laborers,plus two lodgers, John Newsome, 30, and Eliza Diggs, 24 (who were relatives of their brother William’s wife Etta Diggs Artis.) [Clearly, there was an African-American grocer in Stantonsburg well before 1940.]

J.S. Artis married Ethel Becton on 29 January 1912 in Wayne County.

June Scott registered for the World War I draft in Wayne County. He reported that he had been born 23 November 1889 near Eureka, Wayne County and resided on RFD 1, Fremont.  He farmed for himself near Eureka and was described as being tall and slender with dark brown eyes and black hair.  He signed his name “June Cott Artis” on 5 June 1917.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, farm manager June S. Artis, 30, wife Ethel, 26, and children James, 7, Edgar, 7, Manda Bell, 3, and farm laborer Edgar Exum.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 40, wife Ethel P., 34, and children James B., 17, Edgar J., 15, Amanda B., 14, and Gladys L. Artis, 5.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 50, wife Ethel, 46, and children James Brodie, 25, Edger, 23, and Gladys, 16.

June Scott Artis died 2 June 1973 in Stantonsburg of chronic myocarditis, secondary to chronic nephritis.  His death certificate reports that he was married to Ethel Becton and was born 23 November 1895 to Adam Artis and Mandy Aldridge.  He was buried 7 June 1973 at Artis Cemetery in Wayne County.

Ethel Becton Artis died 14 October 1994, days after her 102nd birthday.

  • James and Mary Frances Hamm, Hettie Hamm Forbes

In the 1910 census of Shine township, Greene County: farmer William Ham, 38; wife Jennie, 34; and children Jacob E., 13, Lucy J., 11, Pearl A., 10, William H., 7, Manor, 6, Lindsey, 4, and James L., 1; and mother-in-law Lucy Best, 70.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: farmer William H. Ham, 54; wife Janie, 51; and children Manor, 23, Linsey, 21, James L., 19, Hettie B., 17, and Mary E., 4.

  • Frank Toney Woodard

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Isaac Woodard, 32; wife Arner, 26; and children Fannie, 12, Nellie, 10, James, 9, Frank, 6, Isaac, 3, and Sis, 1.

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Tony Woodard, 25, wife Eliza, 24; son Marcelous, 5; and mother-in-law Easter Davis, 64.

On 12 September 1918, Toney Woodard registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 1 February 1874; resided on R.F.D. 1, Stantonsburg, Greene County; works a tenant farmer; and his nearest relative was Eliza Woodard.

In the 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Tonie Woodard, 45; wife Eliza, 42; sons Johnie, 14, and Frank, 7.

In the 1930 census of Eureka, Nahunta township, Wayne County: Tony Woodard, 60; wife Liza, 45; and sons Johnnie, 21, and Frank, 18.

In the 1940 census of Bull Head township, Greene County: farmer Toney Woodard, 65, and wife Liza, 60.

Toney Woodard, 75, married Hattie Belle Lane, 41, both of Stantonsburg, on 13 October 1954 in Wilson County. Witnesses were James Ham, Mary F. Ham, and James Isler.

Tony Woodard died 17 May 1959 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 February 1879 in Wilson County to Isaac and Arner Woodard; worked as a merchant; and was married to Nettie Woodard. Mr. Heattie Woodard was informant.

  • Oscar Mathew Ellis Jr.


Per A History of Stantonsburg, Oscar M. Ellis Jr. was born on the J.L. Yelverton farm on 2 May 1913. A truck driver and farmer, Ellis was active in Bethel A.M.E. Zion, the Masonic Lodge, the Elk’s Club, Future Farmers of America, 4-H, the local school board, the county Farm Bureau, and the Agricultural Conservation and Stabilization Service. He worked to “upgrade the black section of town” and as a volunteer with the Stantonsburg Fire Department.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg and Black Creek Road, tenant farmer Oscar Ellis, 34; wife Mammie, 29; and children Oscar M., 6, William H., 4, Estell, 3, A.J., 1, and Charlie, 4 months; plus John, 16, and Mathew Robinson, 14.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: Oscar Ellis, 39; wife Mamie, 39; and children Oscar Jr., 16, William, 14, Estelle, 12, Ejay, 11, Colen, 10, James, 9, Bessie M., 8, Hubert L., 6, Leroy, 2, and Dorothy, 1 month.

On 12 January 1934, Oscar Ellis, 20, of Black Creek, son of Oscar and Mamie Ellis, married Lucille Barnes, 19, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Andrew and Stella Barnes, in Wilson. C.E. [Columbus E.] Artis and Stella Barnes applied for the license.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, laborer Oscar Ellis, 26, and wife Lucille, 25.

Oscar M. Ellis Jr. died 5 December 1984.

  • Ran Thompson
  • Annie Mae Barnes
  • John Whitley

On 26 December 1910, John Whitley, 30, of Wilson County, son of Titus and Ida Whitley, married Mollie Locust, 18, of Wayne County, daughter of Wiley and Amy Locust, near Eureka, Nahunta township, Wayne County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Delaware Street, tenant farmer John Whitley, 37; wife Mollie, 23; and children Artillie, 8, Irene, 5, Madison D., 3, and John W., 7 months.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Delaware Line, blacksmith John Whitley, 49; wife Mollie, 25; and children Artillia, 18, Irene, 15, D.H., 13, John W., 10, Mary F., 8, Marjorie, 3, and Clavon, 1 month; and father-in-law Wiley Locus, 70.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Delaware Street, odd jobs worker John Whitley, 59; wife Molly, 39; and children Artelia, 22, Irene, 20, Maddison D.H., 19; John Wiley, 17; Mary Frances, 14; and Marjorie, 12. Artelia and Irene were teachers.

[William and Walter Artis, who owned the building in which John Whitley operated a smithy, were brothers of June Scott Artis and Columbus E. Artis. They lived a few miles west of Stantonsburg, across the county line near Eureka, Wayne County.]

Stantonsburg’s black community is centered on a few blocks on the eastern side of the railroad tracks bisecting the town.

Photo of the Artises courtesy of Adam S. Artis.

Rough on rats.

wm-1-4-888

Wilson Mirror, 4 January 1888.

North Carolina, Wilson County

Personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace of said County, John Thigpen who being duly sworn complains and says that on the 5th day of March 1899 Irvin Forbes died in said County, it is generally believed from being poisoned by his wife Lucy Forbes. /s/ John Thigpen

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 7th day of March 1899 } J.W. Lancaster J.P.

——

State of North Carolina, Wilson Co

Be it remembered that on this the 7th day of March 1899 I, John K. Ruffin, Coroner of the County of Wilson, attended by a jury of good and lawful men viz J.C. Ellis, Robt. Bynum, J.R. Dildy, Stephen Craft, W.J. Mercer, and Eli Felton, by me summoned for that purpose, according to law, after being by me duly sworn and empaneled, at Saratoga in the County aforesaid, did hold an inquest over the dead body of Irvin Forbes (Col); and after examination into the facts & circumstances of the death of the deceased, from a view of the corpse, and all the testimony to be procured, the said jury finds as follows, that is to say, that the said Irvin Forbes came to his death by causes unknown to the Jury.  /s/ J.C. Ellis, Robt. Bynum, Jno. R. Dildy, Stephen Craft, W.J. Mercer Jr., Eli Felton.

Inquest had and signed and sealed in the presence of John K. Ruffin, Coroner of Wilson Co.

——

Lucy Forbes being duly sworn testifies as follows, I was the wife of the deceased Irvin Forbes my husband came home between nine and ten o’clock on Saturday morning complaining of being sick saying that his foot and crippled leg pained him staid in bed all day, and Sunday morning before day I became alarmed and sent for some of the neighbors, he died that morning not speaking or recognizing any of the neighbors who were present I got a box of Rough on Rats Thursday night I intended to use on my bedsteads to kill bed bugs. I put bed bug poison away in a certain box at my home never having opened it I can go and get it and show it to the jury now.

Having been sent home for the Rough on Rats by the jury of inquest she returned and made the following statement To wit I cannot find the box of Rough on Rats somebody has moved it from where I put it. I searched in the box where I put it and several others but could not find it anywhere.  Lucy (X) Forbes

——

I, J. Ellis being duly sworn testifies as follows I saw the deceased on Friday and he seemed to be in good health. I bought Rough on Rats for the deceased’s wife on Thursday in Wilson at her request, and she was in store in Saratoga to receive it Thursday afternoon. She told my wife she intended to use it to kill bed bugs but her husband objected to her using it for fear of accident.   /s/ J. Ellis

—–

George Bynum being duly sworn testifies as follows On being sent for I went to the house of Irvin Forbes and found the deceased dead I told his wife he was out of the way and she seemed in much distress.  George (X) Bynum

——

Stephen Barnes (Col) being duly sworn testifies as follows Between Four and five o’clock Sunday morning Lucy Forbes sent for me I went found the deceased Irvin Forbes in bed unconscious. I don’t know he was dead at that time or not before I got to his house I found his wife Lucy outside of the house appearing to be in much trouble and anxious for me to get in the house.  Stephen (X) Barnes

——

J.F. Thigpen being introduced and sworn says Irvin Forbes lived on my place and died Sunday morning March 5/99. Did not know he was sick Saturday. Day before his death was able to do his regular work up till Saturday. He had told me more than one time that his wife and he did not live on good terms, and that she was worthless to him as a wife told me she had threatened to take his life two or three weeks ago, and that she thought more of other men than she did of him told me more than once he thought she was too intimate with other men     /s/ John Thigpen

——

W.R. Jones being duly sworn testifies as follows about two weeks ago the deceased Irvin Forbes told me his wife had killed his dog and she said she was going to kill me told me she was no service to him as a wife and was a drawback. Told me about months ago his wife thought more of and did more for other men than she did for him.   /s/ W.R. Jones

——

Jerry Eason (col) being duly sworn testifies as follows The deceased told me about two weeks ago he loved his wife but she did not love him told me she had said if she knew of anything that would kill him she would kill him stone-dead Deceased Irvin Forbes was my half brother. The deceased and wife had been married about six or eight years and had four children    /s/ Jerry Eason

——

Jack Evans (Col) being duly sworn testifies as follows The deceased and myself were first cousins and the first day of this year like deceased wife told me she wished her husband was dead have seen the deceased several times lately and he was in good health as far as I knew.  Jack (X) Evans

7-25-88-wm

Wilson Mirror, 25 July 1888.

  • Irvin Forbes — on 20 February 1890, Irvin Forbes, 23, of Saratoga township, son of Wash Forbes, married Lucy Ruffin, 22, of Saratoga township, daughter of Lizzie Ruffin. Witnesses were Nelly Jane Best, Jane Bynum and Andrew Eason.
  • Lucy Forbes
  • George Bynum — perhaps, in the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: George Bynum, 65, wife Ally, 63, and son Joshua, 23. See also Jerry Eason entry below.
  • Stephen Barnes
  • Jerry Eason — Jerry Eason, 23, son of Wash Forbes and Agie Eason, married Mary Bynum, 23, daughter of George and Feriby Bynum, on 3 January 1889 in Saratoga township. Witnesses were Abraham Bynum, Gray Bynum and Robt. E. Bynum. In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Jerry Eason, 36; wife Mary, 35; and children Hattie, 10, Ad, 9, Georgianna, 8, Fairbee, 7, Lou, 3, and Charley, 3 months.
  • Jack Evans

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

A lazy indolent virago.

Stantonsburg July 8 1867

Mr J F Allison

Sir, Yours of July 1 has been received for several days. I have delayed answering it to get all the particulars concerning Lenard Forbs & Serena‘s his wife case. I have inquired of both white and colored persons living on the farm and from the information that I can gather She left Lenard. I understand that she has been threatening leaving him for some time & she has not cooked or washed for him in some time although she lived in the same house with him. Lenard has been sick for a month & I understand that she would neither cook nor wash for him during his illness. I understand that she goes off at any time & stay sometime for a week without his knowledge or consent & the last time she went off & returned she swore that would never cook or wash for him again. Although Lenard tried to persuade her to go home and chore herself. I am personally acquainted with the dispositions of Lenard & Serena. Lenard is a good natured fellow & is willing to get along in any way without a fuss but Serina is a lazy indolent virago compounded with saltpeter & brimstones. She has not earnt ten dollars since she became free. Lenard has her clothes to perchase from store & Lenard has carried to his house this year 200 lbs N[illegible] Mess Pork 174 lbs G[illegible] pork & he raised a hog weighing 102 lbs & I understand that she has made way with all except one p[illegible] weighing (20 lbs) twenty pounds. She has been suspicious of caring his provisions off to other parties. I think Lenard would live with her again provided he could make her stay at home and attend to his domestic affairs & if you wish any more information conserning the case I will furnish you with all that I can or you can find out all about them from the Col men living on the farm which I will  give you any information you may want &c. Hoping that this will give you the necessary information concerning this I remain yours truly  J.B. Stallings

To Luit J.F. Allison, Goldsboro N.Car.

——

Junius B. Stallings, 39, farmer/physician, appears in the 1870 census in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Neither Lenard nor Serena Forte appears in the county.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online], http://www.ancestry.com. Original documents in Records of Field Offices, State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen & Abandoned Lands 1865-1872 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1909, Record Group 105, National Archives, Washington, D.C.)