Green

817 East Green Street.

The one-hundred-sixteenth 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, the house that stood at 817 East Green Street was: “ca. 1913; 1 story; I-plan cottage with intact turned-post porch.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Winstead Arnold (c; Sybina) brklyr h 817 E Green

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Peacock Junius W (c; Ethel) barber Walter S Hines h 817 E Green

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 807 [sic] East Green, rented for $13/month, Junius Peacock, 30, barber, and wife Ethel, 34, maid at public school.

Junius Wesley Peacock died 28 April 1935 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 35 years old; was born in Wilson County to Junius Peacock and Nora Hoskins, both of Wilson County; lived at 817 East Green; and was a barber. Informant was Ethel Peacock.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 817 East Green, rented at $14/month, George Green 32, blacksmith at repair shop, born in South Carolina; wife Martha F., 26, hospital nurse; and mother-in-law Anetta Rosser, 63 (who had lived in Whitakers, Nash County, in 1935). Also, paying $5/month, Graham Bynum, 31, building carpenter, and wife Katherine, 29, hospital nurse.

In 1940, George Willie Green registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 15 October 1906 in Saint Matthew, South Carolina; lived at 817 East Green; his contact was wife Frances Rosser Green; and he worked for Bissett’s Repair Shop, 307 South Tarboro Street.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Green Geo W (c; Frances) blksmith Herbert W Bissett h 817 E Green

817 East Green was one of several dozen houses demolished on the order of Wilson City Council in 2002. Council also approved demolition of three other houses on East Green Street owned by the heirs of Walter S. Hines. (Walter Hines often rented his Green Street properties to barbers in his employ, like Junius Peacock.)

Wilson Daily Times, 21 June 2002.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2019.

Captured with the goods.

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News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 26 September 1909.

  • Neverson Green
  • Walston Tucker — This appears to be a reference to Jacob Tucker, who ran a nearby grocery. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Jacob Tucker, 40, wife Mary, 39, and children Doward, 17, Daniel, 15, Thomas, 13, Henry, 12 (all day laborers), Smart, 9, Walter, 7, Patience, 5, Joseph, 2, and Bessie, 11 months. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, retail grocer Jake Tucker, 45, wife Jane, 45, and children Andrew, 19, a factory laborer, Walter, 15, a bootblack at a barbershop, Pet, 13, Joe, 12, Bessie, 10, and Viola, 7.
  • Tom Tucker — The 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County, shows that Thomas Tucker in fact returned to hard labor. In a “convick camp” on Sugar Hill Road, “all in this hang are Prisoners”: George Gay, 19, Henry Jones, 20, Jim Sims, 18, Henry Climer 19, Will Dew, 34, Jessey West, 43, Pharrow Sanders, 20, Fenner Moore, 20, Harry Beemer, 17, Joe Lewis, 19, Thomas Tucker, 22, and Willie Peacock, 13. [Yes, 13.]

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1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County.

To lose a faithful servant is to lose a friend.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 July 1935.

J.T. Watson of Elm City eulogized two African-American men in this letter to the newspaper. Per Watson, Jim Green, age about 58, died 16 June 1935 at a hospital in Wilson. He came to Elm City from Wayne County about 1905. He worked first for Dr. E.G. Moore, then took a job with the town. He bought a lot on the south end of Parker Street and built two houses, one for himself and one to rent out.

Jim Williams died 25 June 1935. He came to Wilson County from the Dunbar farm in Edgecombe County in 1884 and bought Susan Cohn’s old house on East Nash Street in Elm City. Williams worked at manual labor as a young man and later as a handyman for J.W. Cox. His only son, Jim, and Jim’s children lived in northern cities.

Snaps, nos. 41: J. Frank and Annie Bell Green Barnes.

Among the pictures found in Emma Barnes Taylor‘s discarded photo album were these depicting her parents, Annie Bell Green Barnes and James Frank Barnes, possibly standing beside their home at 106 South Carroll Street in Wilson.

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In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer George Barnes, 29; wife Silvester A., 24; and children John E., 5, Jacob H., 4, and James F., 1.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: carpenter Neverson Green, 45; wife Isabeler, 35; and children Mary J., 18, Annie B., 15, Oscar, 13, Ada, 11, Ora, 9, Rose L., 6, William O., 5, Lula B., 2, and Besse, 3 months; plus boarder Willie Alley, 21, farm laborer.

On 27 April 1904, Frank Barnes, 25, son of George and Sylvester Ann Barnes, married Anna Green, 20, daughter of Nelson Green, in Wilson. Fred M. Davis, Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Peter Bynum, Boston Griffin and Dorsey Powell.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, store deliveryman Frank Barnes, 26; wife Annie, 26; and sons Charlie, 5, and Frank, 3.

In 1918, James F. Barnes registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 12 January 1878; resided at 106 Fifth [later renamed Carroll] Street; was a laborer for Barnes Harrell Grocery Co., 112 Goldsboro Street; and his nearest relative was Annie B. Barnes.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Carroll, owned and valued at $800, wholesale grocery supply clerk Frank Barnes, 50; wife Annie, 44; children Frank Jr., 22, a pool room janitor, Etta M., 11, James H., 6, and Jeraline, 4; son-in-law Jack Artist, 21, odd jobs laborer, and daughter Mildred, 17, tobacco factory hander.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 June 1930.

Like many in the early days of the Depression, the Barneses faced foreclosure in 1930. It appears that they lost the house, but continued to live in it as renters as reported in the 1940 census.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 South Carroll Street, rented at $20/month, Annie Barnes, 57; husband Frank Barnes, 62, wholesale grocery shipping clerk; children Frank Jr., 33, Hotel Cherry attendant; Etta, 21; James, 16; and Geraldine, 15; James Artis, 29, laborer, wife Mildred, 29, tobacco factory hanger, and their son Charlie, 10;  and lodgers Lara Jones, 22, housekeeper, and Lula Green, 42.

James Frank Barnes died 9 October 1951 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 January 1878 in Wilson County to George Barnes and Sylvester (last name unknown); lived at 106 South Carroll; and was a laborer. Annie B. Barnes was informant.

Annie Bell Barnes died 31 January 1974 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 March 1880 in Virginia to Nelson Green and Isabella Thorp; was a widow; and resided at 1702 Queen Street. Informant was son James Herman Green.

 

167 pictures.

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Beautiful. Last fall, in her quest to learn more about the owners of an abandoned photo album, New York Times reporter Annie Correal stumbled across Black Wide-Awake and contacted me to get a feel for early 20th century Wilson. I am delighted to have played a small role in bringing this story to light.

Here’s a passage:

Etta Mae Barnes was born on July 28, 1918, in Wilson, N.C., which once called itself the world’s greatest bright-leaf tobacco market. When Ms. Taylor was young, it was a boomtown. Thousands of African-American families had migrated to Wilson from the countryside to pick tobacco on farms and hang it in big warehouses downtown.

“The first pages in the album seemed to be of Wilson; several photos had stamps from photographers’ studios there. There were portraits of women in flouncy dresses, babies, a boy with a dog, a group in straw hats in a field.

“In two portraits placed side by side, a middle-aged couple posed by a flowering bush, in front of a clapboard house. I wondered if they were Etta Mae’s parents.

“Etta Mae’s mother, Anna Bell Green Barnes, was born in Virginia and worked as a hanger at a tobacco company, the documents revealed. Her father, James Frank Barnes, was a grocery store clerk. His family went back generations in Wilson County.

“Etta Mae was one of six. When she was still a child, her oldest brother, Charles, boarded the train that passed through Wilson and became part of what we now call the Great Migration, the exodus of millions of black Southerners from the Jim Crow South. Judging from the album, many of Etta Mae’s relatives had gone north; I could tell them apart from their country kin by their suits and furs.

“Etta Mae left school after seventh grade and went to work as a housekeeper in a private home, according to the 1940 census. That year, 10 other people were living at the Barneses’, including an aunt; an adopted daughter; Etta Mae’s sister Mildred; Mildred’s husband, Jack Artis; and their baby, Charles.”

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Household of Frank and Annie Green Barnes at 1000 South Carroll Street, Wilson, 1940 census.