For more about the Odd Fellows Hannibal Lodge building, see here and here. Shortly after it erected this building, Lodge #1552 established the Odd Fellows cemetery that now lies abandoned and overgrown on Lane Street.
The Wilson Lodge of the Knights of Labor was not the only African-American lodge operating in the county. In 1888, the Saratoga branch purchased a lot in the Town of Saratoga, presumably upon which to build a small hall. Here is the deed transcribed from Book 26, pages 378-379:
This deed made the 31st day of March 1888 by and between W.B. Young party of the first part and Essic Horn Blount Bess Benjamin Ruffin and Robert Hines trustees for the Lodge of the Knights of Labor (col) No 8221 of Saratoga Wilson County North Carolina the parties of the second part Witnesseth That for and in consideration of the sum of Eighty five (85) Dollars in hand paid by the parties of the second part the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged the party of the first part has bargained and sold and by these presents does give grant bargain sell and convey unto the parties of the second part all that lot or parcel of land lying in the Town of Saratoga Wilson County State aforesaid and fully described in a deed made by John Robbins and wife to said W.B. Young and recorded in Book No 23 and page 336 in the office of Register of Deeds of Wilson County to which deed reference is made for description of said land To have and to hold together with all rights priviledges and appurtenances thereunto belonging, to the parties of the second part and their successors in office and assigns in fee simple forever. And the said W.B. Young does covenant to and with the parties of the second part & their successors in office and assigns that he has a right to convey the above described land that the same is free from encumbrance, and that he will forever warrant and defend the title to the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever. In testimony whereof, I the said W.B. Young have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written /s/ W.B. Young Witness J.D. Barden
Essie Horn — in the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Essic [Essex] Horn, 50, and children Abraham, 20, Diana, 18, Henry, 17, Aggie, 15, Sam, 13, Herbert, 8, and Walter, 3.
Blount Bess — in the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Blount Best, 53; wife Sarah, 44; and children Joe H., 27, John I., 20, Minnie, 18, Blount, 16, Ida, 14, Annie, 13, Mariah, 10, Ella, 8, Albert, 4, Sack, 2, and Joshua, 1.
Benjamin Ruffin — in the 1880 census of Gardners township, WIlson County: farm laborer Benn Ruffin, 56; wide Salie, 45; and children Margret, 16, July A., 13, Charley, 10, Mary, 8, Louvenna, 6, William, 4, and Sallie, 1.
Robert Hines — in the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Robert Hines, 21, and wife Elizabeth, 18.
As shown in the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory, other than the Masons, all of the city’s white-only benevolent and fraternal organizations met at the Odd Fellows’ Hall at 208 1/2 South Goldsboro Street — including the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The building at 206-208 Goldsboro Street S.W. is still standing. Per the nomination report for the Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse Historic District, when constructed in 1916, the Tomlinson Building “had two storefronts with a central door leading to the lodge on the second story.” The first floor was originally occupied by the Tomlinson Company, then a series of automobile dealers, then Southern Auto Company, and now a wrought-iron design workshop. Fraternal organizations occupied the second floor into the 1930s.
The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan operated 1915 to 1944, the Klan’s so-called second era, when the group fashioned itself — and was clearly accepted as — as a fraternal organization. As across the country, the rise of the civil rights movement in the 1950s ushered in another wave of KKK activity in Wilson County.
In 1954, Marshall Lodge 297 of the International Brotherhood of the Protective Order of Elks dedicated a new brick lodge hall at the corner of Nash and Vick Streets. Prior to this, the Elks met at 541 East Nash.
1001-1005 East Nash Street.
Clarence Best engraved the cornerstone.
The lodge is defunct, and the building, long abandoned, is scheduled for demolition.
This Deed made this the 8th day of October, 1900 by Cain Artis and wife Margaret Artis, the parties of the first part to Austin J. Lindsey, Worshipful Master, Lee A. Moore, Senior Warden and John Barnes, Junior Warden, acting officers of Mount Hebron Lodge No. 42 F & A Mason and their successors in office, the parties of the second part, all of said parties being of the aforesaid County and State.
Witnesseth: That the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of One Hundred Dollars in hand paid by the said trustees, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have bargained, sold and conveyed and do by these presents bargain, sell and convey unto the said trustees and their successors in office, that certain to or parcel of land lying and being situate in Wilson Township, County and State aforesaid, the same being near the Colored Graded School building and adjoining the lands of Charley Battle, Cain Artis, and Daniel Vick and described as follows:
Beginning at a pine stump on road (commonly called path) in Charley Battle’s corner, thence with his line N. 87. 35 E 264 feet to a stake, thence S. 36. 15 E. with Cain Artiss line 172 1/2 feet to a stake, thence S. 53. 45 W. 230 feet with Cain Artis line to a stake on the road or path thence along said path N. 36. 15 W 308 feet to the first station, containing 57,900 square feet.
To Have and to hold the aforesaid lot of land to them the said trustees and their successors in office in fee simple forever. And the said parties of the first part covenant to and with the said parties of the second part and their successors in office that they will warrant and defend the title to the said land against the lawful claim or claims of any and all persons whatsoever.
In Witness whereof the said Cain Artis and wife Margaret Artis have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written. Cain (X) Artis, Margaret (X) Artis J.D. Borden cofc [clerk of court]
On 14 December 1876, Cain Artice, 23, of Wayne County, married Ann Thompson, 24, of Wilson in Wilson County. T. Felton, Jno. Newsome and Louisa Thompson were witnesses.
In the 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Cain Artis, 25; wife Annie, 25; and children Ivey C., 2, and Appie, 1.
On 11 November 1888, Cain Artis, 35, of Wayne County, son of Adam Artis and Winny Artis, married Margaret Barnes, 38, of Wilson, daughter of Sherard Edmundson, at Margaret Barnes’ house in Wilson. Primitive Baptist minister P.D. Gold performed the service in the presence of H.C. Phillips, Henrietta Clarke and Mary J. Davis. Charles Battle applied for the license.
In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Margaret Artis, 50; daughters Appie, 21, and Mary F., 20; and boarder William Watson, 22. Margaret was described as married; Cain is not found in the 1900 census. Appie was his daughter, and Margaret’s step-daughter.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Artis Cain (Oates & A) h E Nash extd bey limits. Also: Oates & Artis (Wiley Oates – Cain Artis) grocers 601 E Nash.
Appie Artis died 28 May 1916 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born August 1879 in Wayne County to Cain Artis and Annie Thompson of Wayne County; was single; worked as a laborer; and died of pulmonary tuberculosis. Cain Artis, Wilson, was informant.
Cain Artis died 23 March 1917 in Wilson township, also of pulmonary tuberculosis. Per his death certificate, he was born March 1851 in Wayne County to Adam T. Artis and Winnie Coley; was married; and was a farmer. W.M. Coley of Wilson was informant.
Margaret Artis’ will entered probate in January 1919. Though the document is dated 1909, this seems to be an error, and it appears actually to have been executed days before she died in 1919. Her sole heir is her daughter Sarah Barnes Barnes. She makes no mention of husband Cain Artis, and the 44 acres she bequeathed seems to have been property that she had jointly owned or inherited from him.
Deed book 55, page 434, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.
On 30 January 1947, the Wilson Daily Times published a lengthy list of contributors to the fundraising drive of the Mercy Hospital Women’s Auxiliary. The list, reproduced here in five parts, included many of black Wilson’s leading individuals, businesses and institutions.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Green Lassiter, 55; wife Mary Ann, 42;and children Henry, 19, Sally Ann, 17, Hardy, 15, John Green, 10, Dempsey S., 5, and Mary C., 2.
In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Liza Dawson, 40, and boarder Dempsey Lassiter, 26, sawmill engineer.
In the 1908 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lassiter Dempsey lab h 623 e Vance
In 1918, Dempsey Lassiter registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he lived at 103 East Street; was born 28 October 1874; was a blacksmith for Hackney Wagon Company; and his nearest relative was Mary Jane Lassiter.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on East Street, wagon factory laborer Dempsey Lassiter, 35, and wife Mary, 25.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 East Street, owned and valued at $1250, Demsey Lassiter, 55, wife Mary J., 44; nephew Charles Bynum, 16; and nieces Katie Powell, 10, and Willie M. Leonard, 6.
In 1940, Charles Lee Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he resided at 114 South East Street; was born 10 June 1918 in Nash County, North Carolina; his contact was his uncle, Dempsey Lassiter, 110 South East Street; and he worked for G.S. Tucker & Company, South Goldsboro Street.
Isaac T. Lassiter was born in 1940 to Dempsey Lassiter and Mary Jane Bynum.
Dempsey Lassiter died 16 July 1946 at his home at 106 South East Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he he was married; was 68 years old; was born in Wilson County to Green Lassiter and Mary Powell; was a farmer; and his informant was Mary J. Lassiter. He was buried in Rountree cemetery.
Walter Hardy — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: W.P.A. laborer Walter Hardy, 55; wife Mary, 48, tobacco factory stemmer; and children William, 26, tobacco factory floor hand, Robert, 19, Mary Elizabeth, 17, and Roy, 14.
S.C. Sherrod — Solomon Conton Sherrod was a native of Wayne County. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Viola Street, Solomon Shearard, 60; wife Josephine, 52; and children Flora, 15, Beulah, 13, Elmer, 11, and Solomon, 21; plus “son’s wife” Mildred, 18, and grandson Ernest E., 8 months.
Charlie Jones — In the 1940 census of Wilson, WIlson County: at 412 Viola, owned and valued at $2000; Charles Jones, 61, janitor at Vick School; wife Gertrude, 59, a tobacco factory stemmer; daughter Ruth Plater, 35, divorced, teacher; grandsons Torrey S., 12, and Charles S. Plater, 11; son-in-law Ruel Bullock, 35; daughter Louise, 30; grandsons Jacobia, 7, Robert, 6, Harold, 4, and Rudolph, 7 months; and granddaughter Barbara Jones, 6.