guano factory

Studio shots, no. 30: Wesley Jones.


Wesley Jones (1889-1968).

In the 1900 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas A. Jones, 32; [second] wife Mary, 25; and children Wesley, 11, Earnist, 9, William P., 7, Locus C., 7, Eppie, 3, Bell L., 5, Milbry, 3, and Roxey, 6 months, plus brother Sylvester Jones, 13.

On 27 March 1910, Wesley Jones, 21, son of Thomas and Milbry Jones, of Oldfields township, married Martha Taylor, 22, daughter of Dan and Sandy Locus, of Oldfields township. Josiah Jones applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister E.C. Watson performed the ceremony at Fess Perry‘s residence in Oldfields in the presence of Eddie Powell, James Farrell, George Vinson and Fess Perry.

In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Wesly Jones, 21, and wife Martha, 22.

Wesley Jones registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County  on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card: he was born 20 January 1889; resided at 825 Stantonsburg Road; worked as a laborer at Contentnea Guano; and supported his wife and three children. He was described as tall and slender, with gray eyes and black hair.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 825 Stantonsburg Street, Wesley Jones, 31, guano factory laborer; wife Martha, 32; and children Alice, 15, Franklyn, 11, Mildred, 5, Lucille, 2, and Vernon, 6 months.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Stantonsburg Street, fertilizer plant laborer Westley Jones, 41; wife Martha, 42; and children Mildred, 15, Lucille, 12, Marion B., 10, Willie B., 6, John W., 4, James T., 2, and Elroy, 3 months.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Stantonsburg Street, Wesley Jones, 51, fertilizer plant laborer; wife Martha, 52, tobacco factory laborer; and children Lucille, 22, teacher at Fremont School, Vernon, 20, Willie, 16, John, 14, James, 12, and Elroy, 10.

At least four men named Wesley Jones, 901 Stantonsburg Street, as their contact person when they registered for the World War II draft in the early 1940s. They were: (1) John Wesley Jones, 901 Stantonsburg, born 10 October 1925, student at A&T College, Greensboro, N.C.; (2) James Thomas Jones, 901 Stantonsburg, born 23 December 1927 and employed at Contentnea Guano; (3) Marion Vernon Jones, 901 Stantonsburg, born 18 August 1919 and employed at Imperial Tobacco Company; and (4) [son-in-law] Calvin Swinson, 1010 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson, born 6 June 1898 in Greene County and employed at Woodard-Herring Hospital.

Wesley Jones died 4 May 1968 at Wilson Memorial Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 January 1889 to Thomas Jones and Kizziah Powell; was married to Martha Jones; resided at 901 Stantonsburg Street; and had been a laborer at Contentnea Guano.

Detail from 1922 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson, N.C., showing the location of Jones’ home at 901 Stantonsburg Street, just inside city limits, and of Contentnea Guano Company.

The Jones house today, at what is now 901 Black Creek Road.

Photo of Wesley Jones courtesy of S.M. Stevens.

A deplorable blunder.

Sampson Democrat 5 26 1921 blunder

Sampson Democrat, 26 May 1921.

Ninety-five years ago today, the Times reported on a double-tragedy that befell a Sampson County family. First, their oldest son suffered a horrifying death in a guano factory in Wilson. Then, because damage to his corpse made identifying the body difficult, undertaker Charles H. Darden released his body to the wrong family.

In the 1920 census of Turkey township, Sampson County: Ed Sikes, 55, and his children Edward, 18, Leonard, 14, Lilla, 12, and David, 9.

According to The American Fertilizer Handbook, volume 13 (1920), Contentnea Guano Factory was located on the A.C.L. and Norfolk Southern Rail Road in Wilson. Founded in 1907, the factory had the capacity to produce 20,000 tons of acid phosphates annually and 600 tons of bagged goods a day. P.L. Woodard was president of the company, and Graham Woodard was secretary and treasurer.