Foster

801 East Green Street.

The one hundred eighty-third 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. 1913; 1 story; aluminum-sided and remodeled L-plan cottage.”

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The house appears as an unnumbered dwelling on the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson, N.C. This detail from page 32 of the 1922 Sanborn maps of Wilson, shows the house numbered 801 East Green Street. (As detailed below, for many years owners of this house operated a small grocery around the corner and behind the house, on North Vick. That store was built between 1922 and 1928.)

In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Faison Grant J (c; Charlotte) gro 502 N Vick h 801 E Green

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 801 East Green, Grant Faisson, 46, grocery store merchant, and wife Charlotte, 42, trained hospital nurse. 

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 801 East Green, Grant J. Faison, 58, retail grocery operator, and wife Charlotte, 52, saleswoman in grocery store.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 December 1940.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Faison Grant J (c; Charlotte M) gro 502 N Vick h 801 E Green

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Foster Carter (c; Estelle W) gro 502 N Vick and County Farm Demonstration agent h 801 E Green

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 801 East Green, county farm agent Carter W. Foster, 36; wife Estelle, 34; daughter Bobbie J., 7; and nephew Dannie Jones, 8, born in Pennsylvania.

Carter Washington Foster died 17 February 1955 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 January 1914 in Wilson to Walter Foster and Rosa Parker; was married; resided at 801 East Green; and worked as a county agricultural agent.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2022.

Stick ’em up.

In which Tom Johnson, losing at cards, robs (and shoots) Jesse Foster to get his money back. 

Wilson Daily Times, 3 October 1930.

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  • Tom Johnson

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 112 Reid Street, owned and valued at $1500, Tom Johnson, 41, and wife Ethel, 38, cosmetics agent.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Tom Johnson, 55, public service laborer; wife Ethel, 42; mother Lula, 68; and son Rogers McGill, 27, tobacco factory laborer. [The Johnsons lived in the same house they had occupied in 1930, but were paying $20/month in rent.]

Thomas Johnson died 25 December 1942 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 September 1895 in Terrell County, Georgia, to Orange Johnson and Lula [no maiden name given]; was married to Ethel Johnson; lived at 112 South Reid Street; and died of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

  • Jesse Foster

On 20 January 1915, Jesse Foster, 23, of Fremont [Wayne County,] N.C., son of Jesse and Cora Foster, married Zalister Grice, 22, of Black Creek, daughter of Joe and Lillie Grice, in Wilson.

In 1917, Jesse Foster Jr. registered for the World War I draft in Fremont, Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 11 March 1892 near Stantonsburg, N.C.; was a farm worker on his father Jesse Foster’s farm; and married. He signed with an X.

Float makers inspire.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 July 1939.

Citing the example of two skilled craftsmen who came to Wilson to decorate floats in the annual Tobacco Festival parade, Rev. Richard A.G. Foster encouraged African-American youth to gain employment skills. “There is work for you to do, if not in Wilson, in some place if you are prepared to do that work.”

Boxing team formed at Reid Street Center.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 March 1939.

Soon after Reid Street Community Center opened, Saint John A.M.E. Zion minister Richard A.G. Foster organized a Boys Club at the church. Club members received boxing training at the Center and helped repair toys to be distributed the next Christmas.

  • Charlie Farris — businessman Charles Patrick Farris (1907-1958), son of Joseph and Rosa Selim Farris.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Fiftieth anniversary of First Baptist Church.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 September 1922. 

Was a memorial drinking fountain ever installed in front of the church? I do not recall ever seeing one. 

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  • “the late Rev. Jackson” — Rev. Andrew J. Jackson was founder of First Baptist Church, now known as Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church. 
  • Rev. J.A. Mebane — John Alexander Mebane, a native of Bertie County, lived in Wilson only briefly. In the 1922 Hill’s directory of the city: Mebane John A Rev (c) 308 Hackney

Rev. J.A. Mebane (1885-1974).

  • M.E. Rogers — Mary Elizabeth Rogers
  • John Battle — probably, John Parker Battle.
  • Henrietta Foster — Foster, who was listed as living at the rear of 308 Hackney Street in 1922, later married Rev. Mebane. Henrietta Foster Mebane died in 1950 and, though the Mebanes spent most of their married life in Tarboro, N.C., both are buried in Wilson’s Rest Haven Cemetery. Their daughter Grace Mebane, who died in Tarboro in 1940 at age 14, is also buried in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Satwun.

Annual farm family picnic.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 June 1941.

County Extension Agent Carter W. Foster published a reminder of the annual county-wide picnic for farm families, held in 1941 at Yelverton School in far southeastern Wilson County.

Lane Street Project: Nettie Young Foster.

Nettie Wife of Walter M. Foster Born July 5, 1871 Died July 7, 1912. As a wife, devoted As a mother, affectionate As a friend, ever kind and true.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Young, 34; wife Anna, 37; and children Joseph, 5, Jane, 4, John, 2, and George, 5 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Young, 45; wife Zelpha Ann, 21; and children Joseph, 15, Nettie, 13, and George, 10.

On 14 August 1896, Walter Foster, 23, son of Peter and Phillis Foster, married Nettie Young, 28, daughter of Henry and Annie Young. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at Lou Ellis‘ house in Wilson in the presence of William Coley, Cora Ellis, and Minnie Coley.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter Foster, 26, day laborer; wife Nettie, 29; daughter Mollie, 6 months.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter Foster, 34, fireman at wagon factory; wife Nettie, 39; and children Henry E., 8, and Walter A., 5; plus boarder Arthur Broady, 22, laborer.

Nettie Young Foster died 7 July 1912.

Regret for the death of Russell Owings.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 October 1938.

I missed the cues, and at first could find no record of an African-American Russell Owings living in Wilson. But that was because Owings was not Black. He was instead a “faithful and courageous friend of [their] interest.” Owings, freshly graduated from Atlantic Christian [now Barton] College, was a white man who — much in the spirit of Rev. R.A.G. Foster’s outreach — crossed the color line to teach voice lessons and direct a choral group at Saint John A.M.E. Zion. He died in a car accident in late October 1938.