Greene County NC

A marriage in New Hampshire.

Some who joined the Great Migration went from Point A to Point B and stayed. Others had more peripatetic journeys. Corneda Moore Jackson Woodard Bentley Kelsey stopped in Philadelphia, then Haverhill, Massachusetts, before settling in Cranford, New Jersey.

Herschel F. Bentley, 36, and Corneda J. Woodward, 38, both of Haverhill, Massachusetts, were married 2 September 1925 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (just a few miles up the coast.) It was Bentley’s first marriage. He was a native of Columbia, South Carolina, and a cook. Woodward, a Wilson native and widow, worked as a domestic. 

Herschel Bentley was the son of Joseph [Bentley?] of Macon, Georgia, and Grace Piot, born in Wall Hollow, South Carolina, and resident of Columbia, South Carolina. Cordena Woodard was the daughter of Bryant Moore, a farmer in Wilson, North Carolina, and Peonia Hagans, born in Greene County, North Carolina, and a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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In the 1860 census of Fields district, Greene County: day laborer Robert Hagans, 31; wife Sarah, 30; and children Mary, 12, Joseph, 8, Penelope, 5, and Edwin, 1.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: siblings Joseph, 15, Penelope, 12, Edwin, 11, Sarah, 8, and George Hagans, 6, all farmer’s apprentices.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Howel Moore, 50; wife Gatsey, 42; and children Bettie, 14, Eliza, 12, Simon, 21, Clora, 10, Jesse, 8, Howel, 3, Gatsey, 2, Penny, 17, and Bryant, 19.

In the 1880 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farmer Evans Jackson, 36, and wife Charity, 26; niece Penny Moore, 25, and [her children] Florence, 2, and Victoria, 8 months; and apprentices Benjn. Farmer, 19, and George Hagens, 15.

Perhaps, in the 1880 census of Raleigh, Wake County: Bryant Moore, 25, farm laborer.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widow [sic; she was likely separated or divorced] Pennie Moore, 45; children Florence, 22, Victora, 20, Cornetta, 18, Besse, 15, Fenner, 14, and Gussie L., 1; and granddaughter Gaslen, 1.

On 27 August 1900, James H. Jackson, 21, of Wilson County, married Cornada Moore, 19, at Pennie Moore’s in Wilson. Freewill Baptist Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of Millie Best, James Best, and Jasper Davis.

On 16 September 1903, Bryant Moore, 52, of Wilson, son of Howard and Gatsey Moore, married Maggie Farmer, 37, of Wilson, daughter of Barbara Lucas, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Cooper Barnes, Jackson Barnes, and Bessie Ratley.

In the 1910 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: widow Pinney Moore, 51; daughter Florence Lee, 32, divorced, and her daughters Gussie, 11, and Madeline, 2; daughter Canetor Jackson, 27, divorced; daughter Bessie M. Bessa [Best], 25; son-in-law James Bessa, 27, and daughter Mable, 7; and lodgers Alfred O. Smith, 56, James Bell, 40, William Willand, 32, and Harrison R. Tyler, 31.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wiggins Street, odd jobs laborer Bryant Moore, 58, and wife Maggie, 37.

Fennell Moore died 25 December 1914 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 28 years old; was married; and was born in North Carolina to Bryant Moore and Penny Hagans.

In the 1920 census of Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts: at 21 Ashland Street, office building janitor William R. Woodard, 42, and wife Corneda J., 33, laundress. William was born in Ohio to a N.C.-born father and Ohio-born mother. Corneda was born in N.C.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, cotton mill laborer Bryant Moore, 65, and wife Maggie, 40, tobacco factory worker. 

In the 1930 census of Cranford, Union County, New Jersey: at 15 McClelland, owned and valued at $5000, Hersher F. Bentley, 41, cook for government service cafeteria, and wife Corneda J., 43, daily domestic.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 641 Wiggins Street, owned and valued at $1000, farm laborer Bryant Moore, 74; wife Maggie H., 45, farm laborer; and son Thomas, 16.

In the 1931 Westfield, N.J., city directory: Bentley Herschel F. (Corneda J.) cook h 103 McClellan

Bryant Moore died 23 March 1931 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; was married to Maggie Moore; was a farmer; was born in Wilson County to Howard and Gatsey Moore; and lived at 640 Wiggins Street.

Victoria A. Hill died 27 February 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 September 1883 in North Carolina to Bryant Moore and Penny Moore; lived at 252 East Sharpnick, Philadelphia; and was married to Phillip Hill.

In the 1940 census of Cranford, Essex County, New Jersey: Ganes Kelsey, 44, scavenger collector; wife Corneda, 52, domestic; and lodgers Jake Bowers, 36, truck driver, and Charles Llyod, 47, laborer. 

Florence Tyler died 3 December 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 April 1889 in N.C. to Bryant Moore and Penney Hagans; lived at 6623 Ross Street, Philadelphia; and was a widow.

Gladys Moore died 17 January 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 June 1914 to Bryant Moore and Gladys Moore; lived at 914 Carolina Street; was single; and worked as a domestic. Informant was Gracie Allen, 1006 Atlantic Street.

Corneda Kelsey died 15 May 1971 in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey.

J. Burton Harper, Lincoln ’00.

Lincoln University‘s 1900 yearbook listed Wilson, N.C., as Joseph Burton Harper‘s permanent address.

His senior bio, however, listed his birthplace as Hookerton, in Greene County, and I’ve found no other records that place him as a Wilson County resident. We’ll claim him though.

In the 1880 census of Hookerton township, Greene County: laborer Stephen Harper, 48; wife D.A., 44; and children Edna, 17, John C., 13, Joseph B., 3, and Herbert C., 2.

In the 1900 census of Hookerton township, Greene County: farmer Stephen Harper, 57; wife Dilsey, 58; and children Edney, 37, Joseph B., 23, and Herbert C., 22; plus niece Sarah Edwards, 17.

In the 1910 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: at 408 East Goldleaf, Presbyterian clergyman and teacher Joseph B. Harper, 32, and wife Olive S., 28, music teacher.

In 1918, Joseph Burton Harper registered for the World War I draft in Edgecombe County. Per his registration card, he was born 10 September 1877; lived at 606 Gold Leaf, Rocky Mount; was a minister and teacher; and his nearest relative was Olive Sagerna Harper.

In the 1920 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: at 606 East Goldleaf, Presbyterian minister Joseph Burton Harper, 41; wife Olive, 39; and daughter Stella, 11.

In the 1930 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: at 810 Holly Street, Presbyterian minister Joseph B. Harper, 51; wife Olive, 49; and children Stella, 11 [sic: 21], and Robert, 9, plus several lodgers.

Rev. Joseph Burton Harper died 19 April 1940 at his home at 810 Holly Street, Rocky Mount. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 September 1878 in Hookerton, N.C. to Stephen Harper; was married to Olive Sagerna Harper; was a minister and teacher. He was buried in Hookerton.

John H. Skinner, pastor, educator and journalist.

SKINNER, JOHN HENRY — Clergyman — b. Sept. 13, 1867, Wilson, N.C.; s. A. and Mary (Barnes) Skinner; educ St. Augustine Normal Sch., Raleigh, N.C.; A.B. State Normal Sch., Fayetteville, N.C., 1881; A.B. Tuskegee Institute, Ala., 1922; D.D. Baptist Coll., 1922; A.M. Am. Correspondence Coll., South Daniel, N.Y., 1896; m. J.H. Lane, Dec. 30, 1895 (deceased 1902); four children, Lena, b. Nov. 11, 1896; Lillie May, b. Oct. 5, 1897; Claude, b. Sept. 10, 1898; Flossie Pearl, b. Nov. 11, 1899; second marriage, Nelissa Peterson (deceased); one child, Mary V., b. 1910; third marriage, Mrs. Florence Dew; taught, Pub. Sch. Wilson County, for four years; established The Fremont Enterprise; taught in Wayne County, N.C., for fourteen years; taught in Green[e] County, N.C., for eighteen years; founded the Baptist College, Kenly, N.C., 1920; President of same, 1920-present; Associate Editor, City Paper, Kenly, N.C., 1926-present; Principal, Graded Schools, Kenly, N.C., 1926-present; General Moderator of two conferences for the sixth term, mem A.F. & A.M. Knights of Pythias; Pol. Republican; Relig. F.W. Baptist; Address, Kenly, N.C.

He began teaching when fourteen years of age and has been a teacher since 1881. He managed a newspaper in Freemont, N.C., for two years, teaching at the same time in Wayne County, holding then a First Grade Certificate. Was Dean of teachers in Greene County for ten years, resigning to found the Baptist College, of which he has been President since 1920.

The Baptist College began its work in 1909 in Fremont, N.C., and later was moved to Kenly, N.C. It held two months’ sessions each summer until 1920 when under the supervision of Rev. Skinner it began its eight months’ sessions.

The purpose of the school is to train young men and women in the elements of an English education, to prepare them for teaching and provide a Theological course. There are a number of buildings and a dormitory for boys and girls.

Joseph J. Boris, ed., Who’s Who in Colored America, vol. 1 (1927).

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Teachers and students of the Original Free Will Baptist School, also known as Skinner’s College, circa 1923. John H. Skinner is at far right. Skinner was also principal of Kenly Colored Graded School, a Rosenwald school. Photo courtesy of Johnston County Heritage Center.

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Aaron Skinner, 37, carpenter; wife Mary, 25; and son John, 9; domestic servant Esther Barnes, 21; and Willie Battle, 2.

J.H. Skinner, 24, of Wayne County, son of Aaron and Mary Skinner of Virginia, married J.A. Lane, 23, of Wayne County, daughter of Amos and Penny Lane, on 30 December 1885 in Nahunta township, Wayne County.

In the 1900 census of Fremont, Wayne County, N.C.: school teacher John H. Skinner, 37; wife Jackan, 36; and children Adie L., 12, Lillie M., 10, Claud, 8, and Clasie, 4.

On Christmas Day 1904, J.H. Skinner, 41, married Ida Artice, 25, in Greene County, N.C.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, N.C.: public school teacher John H. Skinner, 49; wife Ida, 38; and children Lillie, 20, Claudie, 17, and Flosey, 14.

On 7 September 1913, J.H. Skinner, 45, of Johnston County, married Melisa Peterson, 20, of Johnston County, in Beulah township, Johnston County.

On 17 May 1919, Richard Swinson applied for a marriage license in Greene County for J.H. Skinner, 51, of Greene County, and Rosa L. Ellison, 27, of Greene County, daughter of Harvey and Laura Ellison. The license was not returned.

In the 1930 census of Beulah township Johnston County, N.C.: on Matthew Donal Street, widower John H. Skinner, 60, teacher at Brower(?) School.

On 10 May 1930, J.H. Skinner, 60, of Kenly, son of Adam and Mary Skinner, married Elizabeth Williams, 45, of Kenly, daughter of Dock and Mary Parker, in Kenly, Johnston County, N.C.

J.H. Skinner died 16 November 1937 in Kenly, Beulah township, Johnston County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1851 in Wilson to Aaron Skinner and Mary Barnes; was married to Elizabeth Williams Skinner; and worked as a teacher and minister.

I have not been able to find more about Skinner’s Fremont Enterprise or City Paper. Excerpts from columns Skinner contributed to the Kenly Observer in 1926 are quoted in Research Report: Tools for Assessing the Significance and Integrity of North Carolina’s Rosenwald Schools and Comprehensive Investigation of Rosenwald Schools In Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson Counties (2007) and will be examined in detail in another post, as will a former student’s memories of the school published in the Kenly News in 1985.

T. Johnson and D. Barbour, Images of America: Johnston County (1997); hat tip to J. Robert Boykin III for the lead.

 

Hanging tree guitars.

“Freeman Vines has been building guitars for fifty years, and no two of them are alike. While a commercial guitar company like Gibson or Fender seeks uniformity in their instruments, Vines seeks singularity. He doesn’t force his raw material into a predetermined form. Instead, he follows its lead. He closely considers the unique qualities of the wood and allows his own artistic spirit to connect with its character and its history.

“This material might be an old mule trough, a torn down tobacco barn, or a broken piano. Or it might be a hanging tree.”

That hanging tree is said to be the black walnut at which Oliver Moore was hanged in 1930, the last official lynching in Wilson County. Folklorist and photographer Timothy Duffy, founder of Music Maker Relief Foundation, has spent years with Vines, chronicling his craft. Hanging Tree Guitars emerged from Vines and Duffy’s collaboration with folklorist Zoe Van Buren.

A review at the Foundation’s digital exhibit of Vines’ work: “To meet Freeman Vines is to meet America itself. An artist, a luthier and a spiritual philosopher, Vines’ life is a roadmap of the truths and contradictions of the American South. He remembers the hidden histories of the eastern North Carolina land on which his family has lived since enslavement. For over 50 years Vines has transformed materials culled from a forgotten landscape in his relentless pursuit of building a guitar capable of producing a singular tone that has haunted his dreams. From tobacco barns, mule troughs, and radio parts he has created hand-carved guitars, each instrument seasoned down to the grain by the echoes of its past life. In 2015 Vines befriends photographer Timothy Duffy and the two begin to document the guitars, setting off a mutual outpouring of the creative spirit. But when Vines acquires a mysterious stack of wood from the site of a lynching, Vines and Duffy find themselves each grappling with the spiritual unrest and the psychic toll of racial violence living in the very grain of America.”

 

The obituary of Rosa Lee Moye Ward, 101.

Rose Lee Moye Ward (1918-2019).

“Mrs. Rosa Lee Ward, 101, of Wilson, NC, passed away on December 10, 2019 at Wilson Medical Center in Wilson, NC.

“The funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 1:00 pm at L N Forbes OFW Baptist Tabernacle, 1800 Lane Street, Ext., Wilson, NC.  A public visitation will be held Friday, December 13, 2019 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy., Wilson, NC.   Burial will follow in Saint Delight Cemetery, Walstonburg, NC.

“Mrs. Ward was preceded in death by:  her husband, Willie Ward; one son, Willie E. Ward; her parents, Johnnie Moye and Sarah Moye; three brothers, Lloyd Moye, John Junior Moye and Glaster Moye; and three sisters, Betty L. Gay, Sarah E. Williams and Hattie M. Morgan.

“Many loving and cherished memories will linger in the hearts of:  her daughter, Veatrice A. Mills (Norman J.) of Wilson; three grandchildren, Clifton E. Cheeks (Barbara) of Randallstown, MD, Roland J. Cheeks (Carla) of Atlanta, GA and Kevin D. Cheeks of Washington, DC; four great grandchildren, LaShaunda P. Griffith (Ronnie) of Baltimore, MD, Clifton E. Cheeks, Jr. (Rajanna) and Maurice J. Cheeks (Cheryl), all of Atlanta, GA and Kevonda R. Proctor of Waldorf, MD; six great grandchildren, Cayden Cheeks, Royce Cheeks, Alijah Cheeks, Jackson Griffith, Jordan Cheeks and Za’Kari Barton; her daughter-in-law,  Tanya Fletcher-Ward of Wilson, NC; her former daughter-in-law, Doris Ward of Temple Hill, MD; one sister, Thelma Barnes of Virginia Beach, VA; one brother, Hubert M. Moye (Mary Alice) of Hyattsville, MD; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

“Arrangements are entrusted to Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Wilson, NC.”

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Willie Ward, 21, of Greene County, son of Mayo and Eliza Ward, married Rosa Lee Moye, 17, of Greene County, daughter of Johnnie and Sarah Moye, in Greene County on 7 March 1936.