Freeman

Property of the Julius Freeman heirs.

In 1949, twenty-two years after Julius F. Freeman Sr.‘s death, L.M. Phelps surveyed and platted two parcels of land in East Wilson owned by Freeman’s estate. One, divided into three lots, was at the corner of East Nash and Powell Streets, across and down Nash a couple of hundred feet from Freeman’s son O. Nestus Freeman. The second parcel, divided into two lots, was inside the angled intersection of North East Street and Darden Alley (now Darden Lane.)

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  • Lydia Norwood — Lydia Ann Freeman Norwood Ricks was a daughter of Julius and Eliza Daniels Freeman. Robert Norwood, 24, married Lydia Freeman, 21, at the residence of Julius Freeman at 26 January 1899. Episcopal priest W.B. Perry performed the ceremony in the presence of William Kittrell, William Barnes and John Williams. In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, she is listed as a domestic living at E Nash extd, R.F.D. 4. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1025 Roberson Street, owned and valued at $1000, tobacco factory laborer Egar Ricks, 49; wife Lydia, 62; and daughter Eliza Norwood, 39, tobacco factory laborer, tobacco factory laborer. Renting rooms in the house for $8/month were widow Dora Bynum, 40, tobacco factory laborer; her children Charles, 9, Dorthy, 6, and Joseph Bynum, 2, and Rosa Lee, 15, and James Joyner, 12; and widow Rosetta Farmer, 59. Lydia Ricks died 14 October 1960 at her home at 1025 Roberson Street. Per her death certificate, she was 84 years old; was born in Wilson County to Julius Freeman and Eliza Adams; and was married to Eddie Ricks.
  • Mrs. Bass
  • Dr. B.O. Barnes — Boisey O. Barnes Sr.
  • Mrs. Darden

Julius Freeman’s parcels today, per Google Maps:

Nash and Powell Streets.

The elbow of East Street and Darden Lane.

 

 

The Round House reborn.

Wilson cut the ribbon on the Oliver N. Freeman Round House and Museum of African-American History Sunday. I was blessed with the opportunity to draft most of the text accompanying the permanent exhibit and to curate much of the content. I’m so happy and so proud and so honored and so humbled. Preserving and presenting the history of the community that raised me is my ministry.

… “Oh? I’m on the program?”

I was too geeked about the museum to think straight enough to rehearse something, so I just let my heart speak. I said that I was born at all-black Mercy Hospital just before it closed. I was born on the cusp of segregation and integration — Wilson as it was and as it would be. Though I have not lived in Wilson for more than 30 years, something powerful that I had absorbed on Carolina Street, where I spent my first decade, or Queen Street, where my father grew up, or Elba Street, where my grandmother grew up, had stayed with me. I began to curate Black Wide Awake in 2015 as a way to preserve and present the stories of the people and places of home. Since then, I’ve gained as much I’ve given, including the singular honor of contributing to and creating for the Round House museum. I’m honored and deeply grateful, I said.

Photo by Janelle Booth Clevinger.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield, Jr., friend and neighbor, son of East Wilson, took the mic and gave tribute to the real MVP, William E. “Bill” Myers, whose tenacious vision over nearly two decades bent larger Wilson toward doing right by the historical and cultural legacy of our side of the tracks. Mr. Myers was feeling a little under the weather and could not be present, but surely felt the waves of love and appreciation rolling toward him from Nash Street.

George K. Butterfield, Jr., United Stated House of Representatives. (And The Monitors? Well, get to know them.)

With that, Michael E. Myers, Board chairman Ken Jones, and the Freeman family cut the ribbon, and the community stepped into the full flower of the renovated Round House and Museum.

East Wilson bona fides: in the museum’s foyer, W. and C., two of Bill Myers’ grandsons. Both are descendants of Judith Davis, Rev. Fred M. Davis, William B. Davis and Parker Battle. In addition, W. is descended from “Picture-Taking” George W. Barnes and Benjamin Mincey.

The Round House itself is now largely dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Oliver N. Freeman.

Before the crowd arrives.

A little interactive oral history.

The medical history of East Wilson.

 

Two members of the Round House board of directors — Jean Wynn Jones, Darden Class of ’52, and one of the first Girl Scouts in Troop 11, and Inez Dickerson Bell, Darden Class of ’44.

 

Please support the Freeman Round House and African-American Museum. Admission is free, but donations are vital to this small institution’s mission and are much appreciated. 

http://www.theroundhousemuseum.com

1202 Nash Street East, Wilson, North Carolina

Studio shots, no. 83: Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.

Willie Mae Hendley Freeman (1888-1971).

In the 1900 census of Civil District #11, Davidson County, Tennessee: carriage driver William Hendley, 37; wife Connie, 32; and children Willie May, 12, Virgil, 9, Malone, 7, Hattie, 6, George, 4, Connie, 3, and Iola Leroy, 1.

In the 1910 census of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee: coachman William Hendley, 54; wife Connie, 44, washerwoman; and children Willie, 20, teacher at industrial school, Virgil, 18, coachman, Malone, 17, houseboy, Hattie, 15, George, 14, Connie, 12, Leroy, 11, John, 9, Mildred, 6, and Julian, 4.

On 18 November 1910, Willie M. Hendley and Oliver M. Freeman were married in Montgomery, Alabama.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Oliver N. Freeman, 38; wife Willie May, 31; and children Naomi, 8, Oliver N. Jr., 7, Mary F., 5, and Connie, 4.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1300 East Nash Street, valued at $6000, Oliver N. Freeman, 48, building contractor; wife Willie May, 41, born in Tennessee; and children Naomi, 18, Oliver N. Jr., 17, Mary F., 16, and Connie H., 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nestus Freeman, 58; wife Willie, 51; and daughters Connie, 25, and Mary Frances, 24.

Willie Mae Freeman died 9 October 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 June 1888 in Tennessee to William Hendley and Connie Stevens; was a widow; was a retired teacher; and resided at 1300 East Nash Street.

 

 

Studio shots, no. 81: Pattie Hagans Freeman.

Pattie Hagans Freeman (1900-1977).

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In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Larnce Haggan, 49, wife Etha, 44, and children Joe, 21, Augustus, 19, Oscar, 18, Charlie, 16, Annie, 13, Connie, 10, Lena, 8, Mollie, 7, William L., 4, Minnie, 3, and Pattie, 1, and Lawrence’s widowed mother Alice Hagans, 70.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Laurence Hagans, 60, wife Mary, 56, and children Laurence Jr., 16, Minnie, 4, and Pattie, 12.

Julius F. Freeman, 31, of Camp Pike, Pulaski County, Arkansas, married Pattie Hagan, 21, of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, on 1 October 1918.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Julias Freeman, 33, brickmason for construction company; wife Pattie, 21; and son Julias Jr., 3 months.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Washington Street, owned and valued at $3000, brickmason Julious F. Freman, 42; wife Hattie, 31; and children Julious, 10, Doloris, 9, Robert P. and Richard P., 8, John C., 6, Charles E., 4, Patricia E., 3, Mary E., 1, and Rubey, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1114 Washington Street, owned and valued at $3000, brick mason Julius Freeman, 52; wife Pattie, 40; and children Julius L., 20, Doris, 19, Robert and Richard, 18, John, 16, Charles, 14, Eunice, 12, Mary, 11, Ruby, 10, Tom, 9, Dan, 8, Lillian, 6, and Henry, 2.

Pattie H. Freeman, age 77, died 12 August 1977 in Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 August 1977.

Photograph courtesy of Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, the 100th anniversary commemorative booklet of Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Smith’s and Brown’s filling stations.

By the late 1920s, automobiles were common on Wilson County roads, and “filling stations” and garages began to cluster on roads leading out of town. The 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory includes these three owned by African-Americans:

Annie Smith was listed as the proprietor of Smith’s Filling Station, located on East Nash beyond the city limits, in the 1925 city directory. (There was no listing for the business in 1922.) It seems, then, that she sold the gas station to Columbus E. Artis (who otherwise ran an undertaking business) and the garage to Alex Obey [Obery] shortly before 1928.

Similarly, in 1925, the owner of Brown’s Filling Station, at the corner of East Nash and Wainwright, was contractor/stonemason Nestus Freeman, who lived across Nash Street. It is not clear who “Brown” was, but Albert Speight elected to retain the name when he purchased the business from Freeman.

Miss Freeman, student of social work.

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Pittsburgh Courier, 17 February 1940.

Mary Frances Freeman Ellis (1914-1996) was the daughter of O. Nestus and Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.

Founded in 1920, the Atlanta School of Social Work merged with Atlanta University in 1947.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Oliver N. Freeman, 38; wife Willie May, 31; and children Naomi, 8, Oliver N. Jr., 7, Mary F., 5, and Connie, 4.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1300 East Nash Street, valued at $6000, Oliver N. Freeman, 48, building contractor; wife Willie May, 41, born in Tennessee; and children Naomi, 18, Oliver N. Jr., 17, Mary F., 16, and Connie H., 14.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Nestus Freeman, 58; wife Willie, 51; and daughters Connie, 25, and Mary Frances, 24.

Studio shots, no. 37: the Freeman brothers.

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Ernest Aaron Freeman (1890-1970) and Joseph Thomas Freeman (1894-1991) were sons of Julius F. and Eliza Daniels Freeman and younger brothers of Oliver N. Freeman and Julius F. Freeman Jr.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.30.02 PM.png

Tom and Ernest Freeman.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 56 year-old carpenter Julius Freeman, wife Eliza, 46, and children Elizabeth, 19, Nestus, 17, Junius, 11, Ernest, 9, Tom, 6, Daniel, 4, and Ruth, 4 months.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 9.08.46 PM.png

Ernest A. Freeman.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter Julius Freeman, 65; wife Eliza, 54; and children Nestus, 28, bricklayer; Ollie, 18, Daniel, 14, John, 7, Junius, 22, Ernest, 20, and Thomas, 17.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 8.56.24 PM

Joseph T. Freeman.

Ernest Freeman registered for the World War I draft in Cleveland, Ohio. Per his registration card, he was born 3 November 1890 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 2169 East 90th Street, Cleveland; worked as a sailor for the Pitts. Steam Ship Co. on the the steamer D.M. Clemson; and was single.

In the 1920 census of Cleveland, Ohio: at 2339 East 49th Street, steel foundry laborer Earnest Freeman, 30; wife Gertrude, 26; and daughter Gertrude, 11 months.

In the 1920 census of Los Angeles, California: at 1501 Essex Street, North Carolina-born post office clerk Joseph T. Freeman, 26, a lodger.

In the 1930 census of Cleveland, Ohio: at 2258 Ashland Road, factory clerk Earnest Freeman, 39; wife Gertrude, 35; and children Evelyn, 11, Eanest, 7, and Arthur J., 10 months; as well as boarder Myrtle Bufford, 35, a domestic servant. Freeman owned the house, valued at $4000, and rented apartments in it to two families.

In the 1930 census of Los Angeles, California: at 1220 – 33rd Street, mail clerk Joseph T. Freeman, 34, and wife Phyllis N., 31, cafe waitress. Joseph was born in North Carolina, and Phyllis was born in Minnesota to a Danish immigrant parent.

In the 1940 census of Cleveland, Ohio: at 2211 East 81st Street, National Steel foreman Ernest A. Freeman, 49; wife Gertrude; children Evelyn G. 21, Ernest Jr., 17, and Arthur J., 10.

In 1942, Earnest Aaron Freeman registered for the World War II draft in Cleveland. Per his registration card, he was born 3 November 1890 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 2211 East 81st Street, Cleveland; worked for National Acme Company, East 131st and Coit Road; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Gertrude Freeman.

In 1942, Joseph Thomas Freeman registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he lived at 1248 West Jefferson, Los Angeles; was born 31 July 1894, Wilson, North Carolina; worked for the U.S. Postal Department, Terminal Annex, Mary Street and Alameda Street, Los Angeles; and his contact was Mrs. Sophia Freeman.

Ernest A. Freeman died 17 December 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Joseph T. Freeman died 8 February 1991 and was buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Photographs of Freeman boys and teenaged E. Freeman courtesy of Ancestry user JaFreeman34; photo of J.T. Freeman as young adult courtesy of Ancestry user rcbrown1592rcb; The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18, The F.J. Heer Printing Co. (1926), online at Ancestry.com.

Mercy goes on the block.

Eighty-seven years ago today, Mercy Hospital was sold at auction to the highest bidder. J.D. Reid had pledged the facility as security several years before, and the scandal that undid the Commercial Bank also dragged the struggling Mercy under. Oliver N. Freeman had signed the deed of trust transferring title.

The hospital soon reopened under new ownership.

PC 3 8 1930 mercy sold

Pittsburgh Courier, 8 March 1930.

204 North Vick Street.

The seventh 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.

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In the Nomination Form, this house is described as  built “ca. 1940; 1 1/2 stories; Nestus Freeman Rental House; locally unique dwelling with a small tower on the front facade and stone veneer; contributing stone fence; Freeman was a noted Wilson stonemason and businessman.”

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Vick, Henry Spivey, 37, manager of cabins; wife Mary, 34; and children Louise, 15, Mary Lucile, 13, Vernell, 12, and James H., 10. Henry and the older two children were reported born in Spring Hope (Nash County), Mary in Kinston (Lenoir County), and the younger children in Wilson. The Spiveys paid $14/month rent.

In 1942, James Henry Spivey of 204 North Vick Street registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County:

32892_2421406264_0092-02233

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017; U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line],www.ancestry.com.