Ford

1008 Mercer Street.

This house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, the blocks of Mercer Street southwest of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad lines have been an African-American residential area since the early twentieth century. This house, with its original brackets, turned posts, balusters, and other millwork, is the gem of the block.

Per its architecture, I would peg the construction date of this house around the turn of the 20th century. City directories from that era, however, do not list house numbers for Mercer Street, describing houses only as “near Norfolk & Southern Railroad.”

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map shows 1008 Mercer as the last house inside city limits on that side of the street.

Detail from 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Collins Debora (c) lndrs h 1008 Mercer

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Collins Deborah (c) lndrs h 1008 Mercer

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Mercer, owned and valued at $3000, South Carolina-born widow Deborah Collins, 37, laundress, and niece Clara Thomas, 26, public school teacher.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Mercer, rented at $16/month, James Hall, 31, cook at Cherry Hotel; wife Edith, 31, stemmer at redrying plant; children James Jr., 10, and Lurrine, 8; and adopted son Columbus Dawson, 23, laborer at redrying plant.

In 1940, James Hardy Hall registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 6 October 1909 in Wilson; lived at 1008 Mercer; his contact was wife Edith Burnette Hall; and he was unemployed.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hall Jas H (c; Edith E; 2) cook h 1008 Mercer

In 1942, Lonnie Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 3 May 1924 in Dillon, South Carolina; lived at 1008 Mercer Street, Wilson; his mailing address was 1612 6th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.; his contact was Thomas Ford, 1008 Mercer; and he worked for War Department Bureau No. 5, Washington, D.C.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ford Thomas (c; Dora) confectioner 515 E Nash h 1008 Mercer

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

The obituary of Mamie Battle Ford, teacher.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 November 1946.

——

Earnestine Ford died 10 November 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was five months old; was born in Wilson to Curtis Ford of Dillon County, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C. Curtis Ford, 605 East Green Street, was informant.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarcy Williams, 50; roomer Curtis Ford, 37, house carpenter; nephew [sic] Mamie Ford, 24; and roomer Lias L., 4, and Quincey B. Ford, 2. [Mamie Battle Ford was the daughter of Clarissa Williams’ half-brother Richard Battle.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 407 Carroll, rented for $12/month, Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19; wife Mayme, 42; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22; daughter Leah, 22; and granddaughter Yvette Sellers, 2.

In 1940, Quincey Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 23 October 1918 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; his contact was mother Mamye Ford; and he was employed by E.B. Pittman, 509 East Nash Street.

In 1942, Harvey Gray Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson; lived at 910 East Green Street; his contact was mother Mamie Ford; and he was unemployed. His card is marked: “Dead Cancelled Feb. 19, 1943.”

Harvey Gray Ford died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson, N.C., to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Mamie Ford, 910 East Green Street, was informant.

Mamie Battle Ford died 14 November 1946 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, she was born 29 November 1892 in Wayne County to Richard Battle and Leah [Coley] Battle; was married to Curtis Ford; was engaged in teaching; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Quincy Ford died 2 December 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 October 1918 in North Carolina to Curtis Ford and Mamie Battle Ford; lived at 2037 Master Street, Philadelphia; was a machine operator; and was married to Helen Ford.

Pvt. Ford killed in Christmas Eve car accident.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 December 1944.

——

In the 1930 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Rosco Ford, 48; wife Mary J., 37; and children Roxy L., 19, Iola, 17, Beatrice, 16, David, 14, Gestine, 13, John D., 11, Rosetta, 8, Virginia, 7, Horris C., 6, Ester J., 4, Mary L., 3, and Henry C., newborn.

In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Roscoe Ford, 55; wife Mary, 48; children Beatrice, 25, David Lee, 24, J.D., 21, Rose Esther, 19, Virgina, 17, Harries, 15, Esther, 14, Mary, 13, Henry Clay, 10, and Willie Clinton, 9; and grandchildren John Beregs, 4, and and Odain McKennon, 1.

Horace Clee Ford registered for the World War II draft in June 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 28 January 1924 in Wilson County; lived on Route 1, Elm City; his contact was Roscoe G. Ford; and he worked for Walter Pridgen, Elm City.

Horace C. Ford died 24 December 1944 in rural Wilson township, Wilson County “3 mi N of Wilson.” Per his death certificate, he was born 24 January 1924 in Wilson County to Roscoe Ford and Mary Jane Simms; was single; was a soldier in the U.S. Army; and was buried in William Chapel cemetery.

Three drown; three thousand attend funeral.

The day after graduation, Darden High School’s Class of 1942 road-tripped south to Kinston for a picnic at a lake. The day ended in tragedy when three young men drowned trying to save the life of a classmate.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 June 1942.

The Daily Times estimated that three thousand mourners jammed the “Wilson Community Center” [Reid Street Community Center] for joint services for Harvey Ford, Raymond Edwards, and Russell Clay

202002191936597820.png

Wilson Daily Times, 8 June 1942.

  • Harvey Ford — Per his death certificate, Harvey Gray Ford died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 January 1921 in Wilson, N.C., to Curtis Ford of Dillon, S.C., and Mamie Battle of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Mamie Ford, 910 East Green Street, was informant.
  • Raymond Edwards — Per his death certificate, Raymond Edwards died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 15 November 1924 in Wilson, N.C., to McKenly Edwards of Greene County and Maggie Thomas of Wayne County, N.C.; was a student; and was single. Maggie Edwards, 609 South Railroad Street, was informant.
  • Russell Clay — Per his death certificate, Russell Clay died 4 June 1942 in Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, North Carolina, “drowned no boat involved.” He was born 8 April 1921 in Jarrett, Virginia, to Larry Clay of Wilson, and Hattie Grice of Wilson; was a student; and was single. He was buried in Newsome cemetery near Lucama. Hattie Clay, 902 Viola Street, was informant.
  • Parthenia Robinson — Anne Parthenia Robinson. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Vick Street, barber Golden Robinson, 30; wife Bertie, 23; and children Parthenia, 5, Gold M., 3, and Glean, 1.
  • E.M. Barnes — Edward M. Barnes was principal of C.H. Darden High School.
  • Rev. F.M. Davis — Fred M. Davis was pastor of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Rev. A.D. Dunstan
  • Charles D. James
  • Eunice Cooke — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hadley Street, railroad mail clerk Jerry L. Cook, 43; wife Clara, 39, teacher; children Henderson, 20, Edwin D., 18, Clara G., 14, Georgia E., 12, Annie, 8, Jerry L., 6, and Eunice D., 4; sister Georgia E. Wyche, 48, teacher; and nieces Kathaline Wyche, 7, and Reba Whittington, 19.
  • James Mincey — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: fertilizer plant laborer James Mincey, 39; wife Lucinda, 35; grandfather William Ran, 87, widower; and James Mincey Jr., 15.
  • Eleanor Reid — Eleanor P. Reid was principal of Sallie Barbour Elementary School.
  • Annie Cooke
  • M.D. Williams — Malcolm D. Williams was principal of Samuel Vick Elementary School.
  • Rev. W.A. Hillard — in 1942, William Alexander Hilliard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; was a minister in the A.M.E. Zion Church serving in Wilson; resided at 119 Pender Street; and his contact was Mrs. Veta Watson, 2449 Woodland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Quincey Ford — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 409 Carroll Street, carpenter Curtis Ford, 52; sons Quincey, 20, and Harvey G., 19, tobacco factory laborers; wife Mayme, 48, teacher; son-in-law Liston Sellers, 22, tobacco factory laborer; daughter Leah, 22, and granddaughter Yvette, 2.
  • Leah Ford — Leah Ford Sellers‘ daughter Yevette Sellers died just three and a half years after her uncle Harvey.
  • Kennie and Maggie Edwards — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 South Railroad Street, William Edwards, 52, farm laborer; wife Lillie, 49; son McKinley, 28, wife Maggie, 25; and son Ramond, 6.
  • Hattie Clay — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 902 Viola, hospital cook Hattie Clay, 42, widow, and children Russell, 19, Buelah M., 15, and Arthur, 7; plus mother Mary Grice, 76, widow.
  • Beulah Clay
  • Arthur Clay

From rundown farm to productive bright spot.

PC 6 5 1939 C Ford

Pittsburgh Courier, 5 June 1949.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Johnathan Ford, 32, wife Annie, and children James H., 7, John Clinton, 5, and Olivia, 3. Johnathan Ford farmed on his own account.

On 29 December 1937, 23 year-old Clinton Ford married his first wife, Augusta Caple, in Crossroads township. On 15 March 1952, he married Dorothy Willingham. (Clinton’s mother’s surname, Barnes, is listed on the license application.)

John Clinton Ford died 22 June 1971, near Sims in western Wilson County. (His death certificate notes his 18 April 1914 birthdate.) He was buried in Rest Haven cemetery in Wilson.