grocery

109 and 111 North Vick Street.

The one hundred-tenth 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, 109 North Vick Street is “ca. 1922; 1 story; double-pile, hip-roof cottage with wraparound porch; intact classical porch posts; fine local example of late Queen Anne cottage” and 111 North Vick (formerly 109 1/2) is “ca. 1950, 1 story; Vick St. Grocery; concrete-brick corner grocery.”

The 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map shows the house at 109 standing alone. The store was essentially grafted onto the northern edge of the front porch. I have never been inside either building, but I assume there was an interior entrance from the house into the grocery.

Though labeled 213, this is the house now known as 109 North Vick depicted in the 1922 Sanborn map.

In 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Burton Hazel (c) student 109 N Vick and Burton Sadie sch tchr h 109 N Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C.,  city directory: Farmer Wm (c; Eula) bellman Hotel Cherry h 109 N Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson county: Will Farmer, 43, hotel “bell bob”; wife Eula, 40; and daughters Annie D., 19, nurse, and Sadie, 14.

In the 1941 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Moore Linwood (c; Ruth; 4) gro 102 N Vick h 109 d[itt]o. Moore is also listed at this address in the 1947 and 1950 city directories. Neither indicates an adjacent grocery. However, the 1951 directory lists Moore’s Grocery at 109 1/2 North Vick:

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2019.

Colored businesses.

Among the businesses highlighted in the Wilson, North Carolina, Industrial & Commercial Directory, published in 1912, were these:

PARAGON SHAVING PARLOR — The establishment is located at 213 East Nash street in Briggs Hotel Block, and it can truthfully be said that it is the most popular Tonsorial parlor in the city of Wilson. It is owned and managed by N.J. Tate and W.S. Hines, both of whom are skilled barbers of long experience. Their genial manner and high class work have won for them the liberal share of the best patronage of the city. Their shop is fully equipped with all the latest appurtenances, and a short visit to this establishment will after passing through their hands, convince you of what the modern, up-to-date barber shops can do to put a man in good humor with himself and the rest of mankind. The shop is equipped with five chairs, each in charge of a professional barber. Go there for your next slave.

JAMES HARDY, SUCCESSOR TO HARDY BROS. — Feed and Livery Stables. This business is located on South Goldsboro street between Nash and Barnes streets and the business has been established for the last four years. The proprietor has succeeded in building up a good patronage. He is very prompt in answering calls and his prices for Livery are very reasonable. Telephone Number 9. Hack and Dray work solicited. The proprietor wants your patronage and guarantees the right sort of treatment. He is a colored man and has the good wishes of all.

  • James Hardy — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: livery stable laborer Jim Hardy, 32; wife Lizzie, 31; sons James, 8, and Lovelace, 6; and boarders Lincoln Sellers, 29, widower and brick yard laborer, and [blank] Batts, 37, water works laborer. James P. Hardy died 20 April 1914 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 April 1879 in Greene County to Petter Hardy and Jane Foreman; was married; lived at 508 Vance Street; and was a livery stable employer. Lizzie Hardy was informant. [Who was the other Hardy Brother?]

C.H. DARDEN & SON — This is the only colored firm of undertakers and funeral directors in Wilson, and has been established by the senior member of the firm, C.H. Darden, for some thirty years. His son C.L. Darden has been a member for twelve years years. This place is located at 615 East Nash street, and every branch of the undertaking and Funeral Director business is executed. The equipment includes two Hearses, as well as all other necessary appliances pertaining to the business. They also handle Bicycles and Fire Arms, Victor Talking Machines, Records, Bicycle Sundries, etc. Special attention given to repairs. Their telephone number is 60 and all calls are promptly answered.

OATES & ARTIS — Family groceries. This firm is located at 601 East Nash Street, with telephone connection 456. The business was established in August 1910 and has steadily increased from the beginning. The stock includes all kinds of Groceries, both staple and fancy, Produce, Teas and Coffee, Tobacco and Cigars and the prices are very reasonable. The members of the firm are Wiley Oates, a native of this county, and who has been residing in the City for two years, and Cain Artis, who is also a native of the county, but who has resided in Wilson for twenty-two years. Both are colored men and they are ably attending to the business.

  • Wiley Oates — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vick Street, dredge boat laborer Wiley Oats, 32; wife Nettie, 28; and daughters Dollena, 8, and Dottie Lee, 13 months. Wily Oates died 23 July 1913 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, she was born 26 September 1879 to Adam and Amanda Oates; was a farmer; and was married.
  • Cain Artis

IDEAL PHARMACY — This is the only colored Drug store in Wilson, and it has been established for about seven years. The proprietors, D.C. Yancy, Ph.G., receiving his degree from the Leonard School of Pharmacy, Shaw University Class of 1905-06, has been connected with the store for the past three years and gas been sole proprietor for the past year and a half. He reports that the business is constantly growing and he hopes within a very few years to have one of the largest stores in the City. He personally presses over the prescription department and absolute accuracy is his watchword. His motto is “Not how cheap but how pure.” The general stock includes fresh drugs, patent medicines, Tobacco, Sundries, etc, soda fountain in connection. 109 South Goldsboro street, phone 219.

 

Snaps, no. 48: Hilliard S. “Dock” Cotton.

Per the caption in “Black History Month,” Wilson Daily Times, 22 February 2008, page 6c, “Hilliard S. ‘Dock’ Cotton was operator of Cotton’s Grocery at the corner of Carroll and Carolina Streets. He was an African-American entrepreneur during the 1950s and 1960s.”

The grocery at Carroll and Carolina Streets is on the southwest corner — 1114 Carolina Street.

——

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Henry Cotten, 44; wife Lula, 37; and children Hilliard, 15, and Ardelia, 14; all farm laborers.

In 1940, Hilliard Sander Cotton registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 17 August 1914 in Black Creek, N.C.; lived at 27 Carolina Street; worked for Wilson Veneer Company; and was married to Phoebe Cotton.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Dock (c; Phoebe, 5) fireman h 1222 Carolina

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Dock (c: Phoebe) lab h 1222 Carolina; (also) Cotton Hilliard S (c) lab Wilson Veneer h 27 Carolina

In the 1960 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Cotton Hilliard S (Phoebe B) clipper opr Wilson Veneer h 1303 Carolina; (also) Cottons Grocery Store (Hilliard S Cotton) groceries candy soft drinks wine kerosene 1114 Carolina; (also) Cotton Phoebe B Mrs cash Cottons Gro Store h 1303 Carolina

Hilliard (Dock) Cotton died 23 April 1963 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 August 1914 in Wilson County to William H. Cotton and Clara Cotton; was married to Phoebe Cotten; lived at 1216 Carolina Street; worked as a clipper operator/laborer; was buried in Jones Hill cemetery.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 April 1965.

Rev. Phoebe Ann Britton Cotton died 15 December 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 February 1916 in South Carolina to Waitis Barnwell Britton and Emma Britton; was a widow; resided at 1303 Carolina Street; and was a minister. John Cotton of Augusta, Georgia, was informant. She was buried in Jones Hill cemetery.

——

Wilson Daily Times, 10 September 1955.

 

 

Brown’s Service Station.

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This undated photograph is found in a scrapbook belonging to the Oliver Nestus Freeman family.

Brown’s Service Station stood at 1216 East Nash Street. Containing a small grocery, it was an early precursor to today’s convenience store. Per a label, Nestus Freeman is one of the men depicted; my guess is the man at left holding the gasoline pump nozzle. Note the Coca-Cola and Texaco advertising.

Entry under “Grocers–Retail” in the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory.

Freeman’s album is among the documents digitized by DigitalNC.org in the Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House Museum Group of the Images of North Carolina Collection. 

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.

Batts Grocery.

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This photograph depicts the interior of Graham W. Batts’ grocery at 418 South Goldsboro Street. Batts is standing at right. The unidentified African-American man and woman at rear likely were employees.

The west side of the entire 400 block of South Goldsboro Street — between Jones and Hines Streets — has been demolished. 418 stood in what is now the grassy side parcel of a Family Dollar store.

Photograph courtesy of Keith Thomas. Many thanks for sharing.

Cockrell’s Grocery.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 August 1946.

Cockrell’s Grocery, at the corner of Green and Pettigrew Streets one block east of the railroad, served a largely African-American clientele. The building at 404 East Green now houses Saint Mary’s Love and Faith church, a Holiness congregation. Billy Strayhorn and Swindell McDonald, despite their length of service, were teenagers at the time this article was printed. I cannot identify William White with certainty.

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404 East Green Street, courtesy Google Maps.

Be convinced by the first colored merchant uptown.

GSS_4_15_1898 Wilson AfAm Merchant

The Great Sunny South (Snow Hill NC), 15 April 1898.

[I am greatly intrigued by the ground-breaking Mrs. A.V.C. Hunt, but have found little beyond some titillating, but enigmatic, coverage of an arson event involving her and/or her husband, the unnamed Mr. Hunt.

Wilmington_Messenger_3_29_1899

Wilmington Messenger, 29 March 1899.

WDT_3_31_1899

Wilson Daily Times, 31 March 1899.

Justice apparently was available in Wilson criminal court as Hunt was acquitted of arson (though found guilty and fined for the assault on Rowe.

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Wilson Times, 30 June 1899.

A.V.C. Hunt died in 1903, and Henry C. Rountree was appointed administrator to her estate. There was not much to settle, and the value of her few possessions did not cover the expenses Rountree laid out for her board, care during illness, and burial. [Rountree himself died in 1916, and his death certificate notes that he was a “dealer in groceries.” He was born in 1848 in Wilson County to Jessie Artis and Becker Artis.]

AVC Hunt

Image from file of A.V.C. Hunt, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998, ancestry.com.