Lane Street Project: the continued search for gravestones in Rountree and Odd Fellows cemeteries.

It was chilly Saturday morning, too, but not as bitingly cold as at my last visit. This time, I focused on the end of Odd Fellows cemetery closest to its boundary with Vick.

First depressing thing I notice — some jackass has been spinning donuts in Vick cemetery.

Once I clawed my way into Odd Fellows, though I was achingly aware that the depressions I was stumbling in were collapsed gravesites, I didn’t see much beyond broken stones scattered here and there across the forest floor.

Have I mentioned the vines? The vines are insane.

The low-lying back of the property, which has standing water, probably year-round.

After poking around in piles of broken bottles and rusted-out enamelware, I finally spotted a cluster of grave markers about thirty feet distant.

This is the only military headstone I’ve seen in Rountree or Odd Fellows, and may be the only military marker I’ve seen anywhere with “after-market” enhancement.

James F. Scott North Carolina PVT 365 INF 92 DIV March 28, 1939 Born March 6, 1887 Who is now with the Lord

In the 1910 census of Weldon township, Halifax County, North Carolina: farmer John Scott, 53; wife Mary J., 46; and children James F., 22, Annie B., 16, Salomie A., 15, John A., 13, Sylvester, 11, Eliga, 9, Mary E., 7, David, 5, Sarah J., 3, and Inthe, 1.

James Franklin Scott registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 6 March 1887 in Wayne County, N.C.; lived on “Robinson” Street, Wilson; worked as a porter for Carroll Grocery Company; and was single.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wainwright Street, farm operator John Scott, 60; wife Mary, 51; and children James, 30, wholesale company helper; Elijah, 19, David, 14, Sarah, 11, and Ianthe, 13.

Bessie Wife of John McGowan Born 1888 Jan. 7 1925 Gone But Not Forgotten

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John McGowan, 40, brickmason; wife Bessie, 35; and Beatriss, 13.

Jesse Parker Dec. 1, 1890 Apr. 12, 1937 light from our household is gone

And then there was this stack, roped with vines:

The broken granite marker supports two intact concrete headstones, two marble footstones, and a few other chunks of rock.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Edd Hunter, 27, odd jobs laborer.

Ed Hunter, 27, married Minnie Woodard, 23, daughter of Ruffin and Lucy Woodard, on 28 December 1910 at Lucy Woodard’s in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of James H. Knight, J.L.Barnes Jr., and Joe Baker.

Ed Hunter, 30, married Lossie Ruffin, 27, on 18 March 1914. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at William Coppedge’s in Wilson in the presence of William Coppedge, Timcy Jones, and Bessie McGowan.

In 1918, Ed Hunter registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 August 1883; lived on Carroll Street, Wilson; worked at Barnes-Harrell bottling plant; and his nearest relative was Lossie Hunter.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Washington Street, laborer Edd Hunter, 37; wife Lossie, 33; children Maeoma, 3, and Eliza, 1; and step-children Inise, 13, and Addie L. Ruffin, 11.

Rufus Son of James & Amelia Artis Born July 16, 1900 Died Apr. 24, 1916

Blount Artis died 24 April 1916 in Boon Hill township, Johnston County. Per his death certificate, he was about 16 years old; was born in Wilson County to Jim Artis and Amelia Artis; was single; and worked as a clerk in a drugstore. Charles Gay was informant. [Though the first name is different, this appears to be the same boy as Rufus Artis.]

Tempsy Wife of Rufus Speight Died July 16, 1917 Aged 75 Yrs. Gone to a Better Home, Where Grief Cannot Come.

In the 1870 census of Upper Fishing Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Rufus Speight, 23; wife Tempsy, 25; and children Isabella, 8, Rufus, 3, and Celey, 1.

In the 1880 census of Upper Fishing Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Rufus Speight, 45; wife Tempsy, 38; and children Isabella, 19, Rufus, 12, Wesley, 8, and Celey A., 10, and Mattie, 4.

Back toward the cleared section of the cemetery near the road, two broken concrete markers lay atop the marble base of a missing monument that must have been quite large.

Only the footstone of Mark H. Cotton, engraved with the Odd Fellows’ triple links symbol, is standing.

Mark Cotton, 23, married Jane Freeman, 22, on 27 February 1878 in Wilson, Minister Joseph Green performed the ceremony in the presence of I.S. Westbrook, S.W. Westbrook, and Charles Smith.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laborer Dempsey Parker, 60; wife Phareby, 50; and children Mark, 27, works in nursery, Sanders, 23, laborer; Mary, 22, cook; and Lemuel, 40, laborer.

Mark H. Cotton, 45, son of Dempsy and Fereby Cotton, married Mahalia Battle, 22, daughter of Turner and Effie Battle, on 26 June 1895 at the residence of Mahalia Battle in Wilson. Henry C. Rountree applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Thomas J. Day and J.T. Deans of Wilson and J.T. Tomlinson of Black Creek.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: graded school janitor Mark Cotton, 45; wife Mahaley, 27; daughter Mary E., 2, and adopted daughter Rosa L., 11.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Gold Street, school janitor Mark Cotton, 52.

Mark Cotton 67, son of Dempsey and Farebee Cotton, married Minnie Brooks, 38, daughter of Tobe Farmer, on 11 December 1922 in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Edward Smith, Sallie Smith, and Rosa Arrington.

Mark Henry Cotton died 19 November 1934 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 95 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Dempsey Cotton and Fariby Mercer; was married to Minnie Cotton; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 November 1934.

I stepped from the wood line into the cleared section of Odd Fellows cemetery. At its line with Rountree cemetery, remnants of a stone border nestle in moss, then the ground dips into a vine-choked ditch. Below, the city has recently clear-cut the western side of the street, a section of which was once part of Rountree cemetery. A short stretch of stone or concrete border remains.

Naturalized daffodils hint at the strip’s past as a graveyard.

This ambiguous concrete rectangle is the sole evidence I saw of a grave marker.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2020.


Lane Street Project: another search for gravestones in Rountree and Odd Fellows cemeteries.

First: my request for the Vick cemetery survey and documentation re the decision to destroy its headstones? As yet unfilled, though the city attorney assures me it’s coming soon.

With boots and gloves and a hand pruner, I returned to Rountree/Odd Fellows/Vick cemeteries on a frosty Saturday morning to see what else there is to see.  Walking through the clear strip of Odd Fellows, I noticed immediately that someone had neatened up the stones that are usually lying higgledy-piggledy on the ground. Here, Clarence L. Carter and his daughter Omega Carter Spicer.

Picking my way toward the back edge of the cleared section, it dawned on me that this was once the main entrance to Odd Fellows. The hinges on the post to the right were the give-away. And the traces of asphalt driveway.

Standing near Irma Vick‘s headstone and looking in, I spotted this, plain as day. It’s hard to imagine how I missed it in December.

It’s the double headstone of Daniel and Fannie Blount Vick, Samuel H. Vick‘s father and mother. Daniel Vick died in 1908 (112 years to the day before my “discovery” of his grave) and Fannie Vick sometime in the late 1800s. (Is that a bullet pockmark?)

A few feet away, the headstone of Viola Leroy Vick, daughter of Samuel and Annie Washington Vick. She died as a toddler in 1897, and East Wilson’s Viola Street was named in her honor.

And then, perhaps 25 feet away, cocooned in honeysuckle and evil smilax, this monument loomed. Was it Sam Vick’s?

To my astonishment — no. The honeysuckle pulled off like a cape (after I wasted time hacking at the briars on the other side) to reveal that this remarkable marble headstone, which tops six feet, marks the grave of Wiley Oates. (More about him later.) Samuel and Annie Vick’s gravestones remain elusive.

I’d bought the cheapest hand pruners I could find, and they performed cheaply, but I got through to this gravestone and its companion, which appear to lie across the property line in Rountree cemetery.

The gravestone for Amos Batts’ wife, Jennie Batts, who died in 1945. Behind it in the left corner of the frame you can see the base of a pine whose diameter is at least two feet, which gives a measure of how long this cemetery has been neglected.

Here is the “canal” described in the Rountree cemetery deed. It’s a channeled section of Sandy Creek, and I imagine Rountree Missionary Baptist Church once performed baptisms here. I spent idyllic childhood afternoons exploring along the banks of this waterway perhaps a quarter-mile downstream. Sandy Creek is a tributary of Hominy Swamp, which flows into Contentnea Creek, which empties into the Neuse River at Grifton, North Carolina.

Here, I’m standing on the south bank of Sandy Creek looking down into the bowl that was once Rountree cemetery. I have not found any markers in this low-lying section, though there appear to be collapsed graves. Repeated flooding was one of the factors that led to the abandonment of cemetery. The undergrowth is starting to green up and, as the weather warms, soon these graveyards will be nearly impenetrable without sharper, heavier tools.

Daffodils are not native to eastern North Carolina and would not ordinarily be found blooming in the middle of the woods. This thick drift has naturalized from bulbs perhaps more than one hundred years old. Daffodils were commonly planted in cemeteries to symbolize the death of youth or mortality.

My exit strategy failed at the edge of barricade of wild blackberry twenty-five feet deep between me and Lane Street. I had to scramble back through the woods to gain egress at the ditch dividing Rountree from Odd Fellows. All this battling ate up my time, and I wasn’t able to explore the far end of Odd Fellows, next to Vick. Peering through the fence, though, I did see this marker for Lizzie May Barnes, daughter of H. and L. Barnes, who died in 1919.


  • Amos Batts died 24 March 1937 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 61 years old; was born in Wilson County to Thomas and Mariah Batts; was married to Jennie Batts; worked as a common laborer; and lived at 1202 East Nash Street. Informant was Jennie Batts.
  • Jennie Batts died 25 December 1945 at her home at 1202 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Amos Batts; was 58 years old; was born in Wilson County to unknown parents; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Eddie Batts was informant.
  • Lizzie Barnes died 3 April 1919 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 August 1918 in Wilson County to Henry Barnes and Lena Woodard.

Mother Mary P. Wright.

“Trust in God to meet again.” (A Clarence B. Best production.)

Mary P. Wright‘s family was among hundreds who migrated North from Wilson County in the first half of the 20th century. However, her links to home remained strong enough that her children chose to bury her there, in Rest Haven cemetery.

Wright died 28 October 1962 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 October 1886 (not 22 May 1860 as her headstone states) in North Carolina; was the widow of Emit Wright; and lived at 621 Dudley Street, Philadelphia. Informant was Henretta Farmer, 621 Dudley Street.

On 13 November 1921, Jessie Farmer, 28, married Henrietta Wright, 20, in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1112 Carolina Street, rented for $16/month, Jessey Farmer, 34, tobacco factory laborer; wife Henerator, 26, laundress; and children Jessey Jr., 8, Ervin, 4, and Trumiller, 3.

On 30 December 1930, Raleigh Rae Farmer died in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 22 August 1930 to Jessie Farmer of Wilson, N.C., and Henrietta Wright of Zeblin [Zebulon], N.C. in Wilson. The infant died of bronchitis.

Jesse Farmer Sr. died 26 September 1931 in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Veterans Hospital at Oteen. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 October 1937 in Wilson to Jeff Farmer and Blanche Gay; was married to Henrietta Farmer; his regular residence was in Wilson; and he did factory work.

Though it is not clear when the Wright-Farmer family moved to Philadelphia, the Farmers, at least, were there by 1942, when Jesse Farmer Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 22 July 1922 in Wilson, North Carolina; his contact was Mrs. Henrietta Farmer, 621 Dudley Street; and he worked for Benjamin Cohen, 1140 North American Street, Philadelphia.

Jesse Farmer Jr., son of Jesse and Henrietta Farmer, married Virginia Atherine Darden, 24, daughter of William Sr. and Florence Darden, on 29 March 1947 at Crucifixion Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

In the 1950 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, city directory: Farmer Henrietta 621 Dudley HOwrd5-8655.

Wright’s daughter Henretta Farmer died just four years after her mother, on 5 June 1966. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 July 1909 in North Carolina to Emmett Wright and Mary Pullet; was a widow; and lived at 621 Dudley Street. Jesse Farmer was informant.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2019.

South Carolina roots: the Wilsons.

John and Lula Stokes Durant Wilson were among many South Carolina migrants to Wilson in the early 20th century. Rest Haven cemetery, June 2019.

In the 1900 census of Sammy Swamp township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: farmer William Stokes, 57, farmer; wife Ann F., 36; and children DeWit, 15, Euleda, 13, Lula, 11, Hallie, 8, Estell, 7, Marion, 5, Talmage, 4, and Eva, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Sammy Swamp township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: farmer William Stokes, 76, and wife Annie, 60; Lula Durant, 27, widow; Talmage, 19, and Bennie Stokes, 16; Almot, 5, Clarence, 4, and B.J. Durant, 1.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer John Wilson, 65; wife Lula, 32; children Annie D., 6, John W., 3, and Mamie and Ruth, 2; and step-children Clarence, 16, B.J., 11, and Luke Durant, 7.

In the 1940 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: John Wilson, 76; wife Lula, 47; and children Luke, 20, Annie Dell, 18, John William, 15, Mamie, 13, Ruth, 11, and Council, 8.

John Wilson died 19 October 1959 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1887 in South Carolina to Ardelia Wilson; was a fireman; was married to Lula Wilson; and lived at 1108 Queen Street. [John Wilson’s gravestone, shown above, lists his birth year as 1857. Census records suggest that he was born circa 1864.]

Lula Wilson died 13 December 1962 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 May 1902 in South Carolina to Billie and Annie Dell Stokes; and lived at 1108 Queen Street. Informant was Luke Durant, Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2019.

Della Hines Barnes.

Della Hines Wife of Dave Barnes 1858-1935 She is not dead but sleeping

Della Hines Barnes was mother of three of early 20th-century Wilson’s African-American heavyweights — Walter S. Hines, William Hines and Boisey O. Barnes. Her ornate marble grave marker — with its angel lifting her finger heavenward — gleams from the shabby remains of Rountree cemetery, a testament to the wealth of her children at the time of her death. Though the success of the Hines brothers and Dr. Barnes is primarily attributable to their own talents, each had the great good fortune to be the beneficiary of their mother’s drive and early financial success.

Della Hines Barnes was born in 1858 in Cokey township, Edgecombe County, which borders Toisnot and Gardners townships in Wilson County to the west. She was reared by Joshua Hines and Callie Mercer Hines, but, according to Hugh B. Johnston Jr., her birth father was John Routh Mercer (1825-1894), a wealthy white Edgecombe County physician.* (Mercer was likely the owner of Callie Mercer and her eldest children.) Della Hines Barnes’ first surviving child, Walter Scott Hines, was born in 1879 in Edgecombe County. Again per Johnston, his father was Walter S. Parker, a white farmer. Her second son, William Hines, was born in 1884, also in Edgecombe County. His father was Thomas Williams. About a year later, she gave birth to daughter Lucy.  In 1890, Hines and her children left the Jesse Norris farm in Edgecombe County for Wilson. There, Hines worked at Briggs Hotel and as a seamstress and tailor and was a member of London’s Primitive Baptist Church. Johnston further recorded that on 25 January 1894, just a few months before her marriage, Della Hines purchased 613 Green Street in Wilson for $375. (Though it not clear when it was built, by 1913 Della Barnes had erected a large two-story house at this address (originally 612 Green), which stood until the 1990s.) On 25 September 1911, she purchased four lots on Pender, Green and Second Streets in her own name (not her husband’s) from son William Hines for $1000, and on 1 March 1915, she purchased another lot on Green Street from son William and his wife Ethel Hines for $1200 and four lots from son Walter S. and and his wife Sarah E. Hines.


In 1866, Joshua Hines and Callie Mercer registered their seven-year cohabitation with an Edgecombe County justice of the peace.

In the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County: carpenter Joshua Hines, 41; wife Calley, 37; and children Jerry, 11, Ashley, 21, Watson, 16, Della, 14, Joshua, 8, Eliza, 6, Caleb, 4, and William, 4. [Judging by the children’s ages, it appears that Jerry was their first child together.] Listed next door were physician John R. Mercer and his children.  Mercer reported $26,500 real property and $6500 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Cocoa township, Edgecombe County: Joshua Hines, 52; wife Cally, 47; children Jerry, 20, Deller, 22, Lizer, 17, Joshua, 15, Caliph, 13, William, 11, Robert, 7, and Adline, 4; nephew Allen Harris, 3; and grandson Walter, 1 [Della’s son.]

On 15 April 1894, David Barnes, 35, married Della Hines, 32, in Wilson. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at the bride’s home in the presence of J.T. Deans, Mrs. Hardy Tate, and Hardy Tate.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: hotel porter Dave Barnes, 40; wife Della; and children Walter, 20, William, 15, Lucy, 13, Dave, 5, and Viola, 11. [Walter, William, and Lucy were, in fact, Hineses and were Della Hines Barnes’ children. Viola Barnes was Dave Barnes’ daughter by an earlier marriage to Pattie Battle. She married Mack Jones and died in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, on 8 September 1909. Dave and Pattie Barnes also had a son Efford Barnes, who was born about 1883.] Dave Sr. worked as hotel porter, Walter as a barber, and William as a day laborer.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: hotel servant Dave Barnes, 50; wife Della, 50; and children William, 25, barber, Lucy, 23, Dave, 15, Bosey, 8, Mary, 7, John, 5, Sam, 3, and Carry, 1 month. [No further record is found of the youngest four children, which suggests that they died between 1910 and the regular recording of North Carolina death certificates in 1914.]

On 5 June 1912, Lucy P. Hines, 21, of Wilson, daughter of William Hines and Della Barnes Hines, married John L. White, 27, of Hampton, Virginia, son of William and Mary R. White (resident of Hingham Centre, Massachusetts), at the bride’s parents’ home. W.S. Hines applied for the license, and Presbyterian minister H.B. Taylor performed the ceremony in the presence of M.E. Dortch of Goldsboro, North Carolina; J.M. Parker of Rocky Mount, North Carolina; and [illegible] B. Thomas of Washington, D.C.

David Barnes died 23 January 1913 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 52 years old; lived at 612 Green Street; was married; was born in Wilson; and worked in “hoteling.” William Hines was informant.

Della Barnes was appointed administratrix of her deceased husband’s estate in 1913. The estate was valued at $600, and heirs were identified as Della Barnes, Dave Barnes Jr., Boisey O. Barnes, Effort Barnes and “Viola Jones’ child.” (Efford Barnes died months later on 31 May 1913. I have not been able to identify Viola Barnes Jones’ child.) William Hines and Walter Hines joined their mother to post bond, as shown below.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 612 East Green, widow Della Barnes, 50; Cleveland Chick, 25, barber, and Dasy Chick, 23, both of South Carolina; and Della’s sons Dave, 24, and Otha, 17.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 613 East Green, valued at $8000, widow Della Barnes, 71, and sons Boysie, 26, and Dav., 35, barber.

Della Hines died 10 January 1935 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 75 years old; was born on January 19; was born in Edgecombe County to Joshua Hines and Pattie Hines; and was a widow. William Hines was informant.

Some Black Families of Wilson County, North Carolina, a compilation of The Hugh B. Johnston Working Papers published in 1997 by Wilson County Genealogical Society, contains several worksheets that Johnston apparently filled in while interviewing subjects. The information attributed to him here is drawn from the worksheets for Della Hines Barnes and William Hines.

This look at the life of Della Hines Barnes is the 2000th post of Black Wide-Awake. When I commenced this journey in October 2015, I had no idea where it would go or for how long, or even if anyone other than I would benefit from it. Thanks for coming on the ride with me.

The grave of Rev. Richard J. Young.

The grave marker of Rev. R.J. Young, Masonic cemetery, Wilson.


In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: P.J. [sic] Young, 57, farmer; wife Mary, 44; and children Bertha, 24, Rosa, 22, Emma, 20, Mary, 17, and Louise, 11.

Richard J. Young died 28 November 1933 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 May 1876 in Sumter, South Carolina, to Richard Young and Emma Scott; was married to Mary Young; resided at Route 3, Wilson; and worked as a farmer.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

The Harts’ resting place.

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A photograph does not do justice to these unique matching headstones in Rest Haven cemetery. The inset is etched black glass. Tempie Ann Hart‘s shows a regularity that suggests it was machine-made. Ben Hart‘s, however, with its pointed-tail 9’s and serifed 7’s, bears the unmistakable imprint of craftsman Clarence B. Best. Though the insets have cracked, their lettering still darkly gleams in sunlight.


In the 1870 census of Walnut Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Wiley Hart, 47; wife Chaney, 33; and children Susan, 13, James, 12, Lucius, 11 (described as “idiotic”), Wiley, 5, and Benjamin, 3.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Willie Hart, 57; wife Chaney, 43; children Susan, 24, James, 23, Willie, 15, Ben, 13, Epsy, 8, and Tildy, 6; and nephew Willie Killebrew, 15. Willie and Chaney reported suffering from dysentery.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Stephen T. Jones, 25; wife Fortune, 22; and daughters Susan, 4, and Tempy A., 2.

Ben Hart, 31, son of Wiley Hart and Chaney Hart, married Tempy Joyner, 20, daughter of Forten Joyner, on 6 June 1900 in Toisnot township, Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer Benjamin Hart, 32; wife Tempy, 25; children Hattie, 5, and Grover, 2; grandchildren [niece and nephews] Edwin, 17, George, 12, and Chaney, 11; and grandmother [mother] Chaney Hart, 65.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Wells Daws Avenue, Benjamin Heart, 43; wife Tempy, 33; children John L., 8, Willie B., 6, Dicy A., 5, Mattie, 3, and George, 1; wife’s children Hattie, 13, and Grover Johnson, 10; nephew Dallis Locus, 11; and mother Chanie Heart, 73.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Wilson-Tarboro Road, farmer Ben Hardt, 50; wife Tempy, 45; children John L., 18, Willie, 16, Dicie, 14, Mattie, 12, George, 10, Mary, 8, and Effie, 4. Next door, Grover Hart, 21, wife Mammie, 21, and son William, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Ben Hart, 63; wife Tempie, 51; and children George, 21, Effie, 15, and [grandson] Ben Jr., 7.

In the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Ben Hart, 70; wife Tempie, 62; nephew Aaron Hinnant, 18; son-in-law Ernest Parker, 23; daughter Effie, 24; and granddaughter Elouise, 6.

Tempie A. Hart died 9 July 1940 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was 57 years old; was born in Wilson County to Steve Jones and Forneighny Jones; and was married to Ben Hart.

Ben Hart died 7 November 1951 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 March 1881 in Edgecombe County to Wiley Hart; was a widower; resided at 1200 Washington Street, Wilson. Informant was Rev. J.L. Hart, 1200 Washington Street.

Willie Brown Hart died 2 April 1956 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 3 January 1906 in North Carolina to Ben Hart and Tempie Ann Jones; was married; and worked as a janitor at City Treading Plant. Informant was George Hart, 104 North Reid Street.

Grover Lee Hart died 1 November 1958 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 August 1898 in Wilson County to Ben Hart Sr. and Tempie Ann Jones; was engaged in farming; lived in Elm City; and was married to Mamie Hart.

Hattie Pitt died 12 June 1962 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 January 1897 in Wilson County to Ben Hart and Tempie A. Jones; she was a widow; and she resided at 1306 Washington Street. Mrs. Festee Cotton, 1306 Washington, was informant.

John L. Hart died 6 February 1963 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 January 1901 in Wilson County to Benjamin Hart and Temie Ann Jones; was a minister; lived at 1200 Washington Street; and was married to Elouise Hart.

George Hart died 30 September 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 February 1911 to Ben Hart and Tempie Jones; worked as a cabdriver; resided at 104 North Reid, Wilson; and was married to Lutoria Hinnant Hart.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

Wilsons of Wilson.

Though there is only one individual headstone, this family plot in Rest Haven cemetery likely holds the remains of several members of the John Adam Wilson and Mollie Newsome Wilson family.

On 13 July 1893, Adam Wilson, 26, married Mollie Newsome, 19, in Wayne County.

In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Adam Wilson, 34; wife Mollie, 27; and children Leonard, 5, Nina, 4, Adam, 2, and Zilphia, 1 month; and John Locus, 20, boarder. [Locus was the son of Adam Wilson’s sister Louisa Wilson Locus.]

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Adam Wilson, 44; wife Mollie, 36; and children Lenna, 15, Nina, 14, Adam J., 12, Zilpha A., 10, Sarah P., 8, Bunna, 6, Hurman, 4, William H., 2, and James J., 8 months.

Adam Wilson has two death certificates — (1) Adam Wilson died 30 October 1916 at the State Hospital in Fork township, Wayne County; he was 51; his regular residence was in Wilson County; and he was a carpenter, and (2) Adam Wilson did 31 October 1916 in Wilson; he was about 51; he was born in Wayne County to John Wilson and Zilfie Artis; he was a carpenter; and informant was Mollie Wilson of Wilson. [J. Adam Wilson was the brother of Elizabeth Wilson Reid.]

Fredrick Odel Wilson died 19 May 1918 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 December 1916 in Wilson County to Adam Wilson and Mollie Newsome, both born in Wayne County. He died of ileocolitis, and Mollie Wilson was informant.

John Adam Wilson registered for the World War II draft in Newport News, Virginia, in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 25 February 1899; resided at 2131-22nd Street, Newport News; worked as a carpenter for Boyle-Robertson Construction Company; and his nearest Relative was Mollie Wilson of Wilson, North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Vick, Mollie Wilson, 46; son Lennie, 25, house carpenter; daughter-in-law Georgia, 23; grandson Lennie Jr., 2; and children John A., 22, house carpenter; Annie D., 19, Sarah, 17, Bunyon, 16, Hirmon, 14, William H., 12, James J., 10, and Ire, 7.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Vick, owned and valued at $2000, widow Nolly Wilson, 54, laundress; son John B., 20, theatre janitor; daughter Irene, 17; and lodgers Mollie Zackery, 30, nurse; Blonnie Zackery, 22, cook; and Earl Zackery, 44 barber. [This entry is riddled with errors. Nolly Wilson was in fact Mollie Wilson, and Mollie Zackery (who was male, not female) was Nolly Zachary, who was a barber, not a nurse. Earl Zachary, son of Nolly and Blonnie Barnes Zachary’s son, and was 4 years old in 1930. Also, it is not clear who “John B. Wilson” is, unless this is a misnomer for son James J. Wilson.]

In the 1930 census of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey: at 10 Burnett Street, apartment janitor Leonard Wilson, 34; wife Georgia, 33; brother Herman, 21, lather; and children Leonard Jr., 11, Elma, 10, Ernest, 8, and Toney Lee, 6. All were born in North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 302 Viola Street, owned and valued at $1800, widow Mollie Wilson, 66; fish market owner Dorphus Williams, 61, roomer; and father James Newsome, 86.

Mollie Wilson died 30 January 1952 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 September 1875 in Wayne County to James Newsome and Penina Artis; was the widow of John A. Wilson; and resided at 301 North Vick. Informant was Irene Sherrod, 302 North Vick.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2018.

The graveyard artistry of Clarence Best, pt. 3.

I’ve written here of Clarence B. Best, the marble cutter whose custom gravestones can be found in cemeteries across Wilson County and beyond. Here’s more, all in Rest Haven cemetery.

  • Joseph Earl Mercer, died 1969. Apparently, a young man who loved cars.
  • Clifton L. Howard, died 1969. Best made gravestones affordable by offering customers damaged or repurposed markers such as this one, which appears to be the top portion of a larger piece.
  • Ruby M. Ellis Opie, died 1965, and Charles E. Ellis, died 1964. THEY WAS AN AFFECTIONATE SON & DAUGHTER.
  • Charlie H. Thomas, 1965. Modeled after the white marble markers provided by the military to veterans.
  • Johnnie G. Baker, died 1962. GOD LOVES LITTLE CHILDREN.
  • Rev. Nebraska H. Dickerson, died 1969. To his oft-used dogwood and cross motifs, Best added an open book.
  • Dora M. Hoskins, died 1963. Past Matron, Order of Eastern Star. DIEING IS BUT GOING HOME.
  • William Earl Artis, died 1961. Inclusion of his mother Cora Dawes’ name is unusual as is the near-italicization of the date lines.