Annie Gunn‘s will, drafted three years before she died in 1919, reveals unusual wealth and interesting family dynamics.
To her husband Daniel Gunn, Annie Gunn bequeathed the use and enjoyment of a room in their house (clearly, her house) on Lodge Street, specifically, the room next to the adjoining grocery store. Daniel Gunn was to live in the room, not rent it, and if he did not want to live there, the provision was moot. Annie Gunn also left her husband an interest in the store building for the duration of his lifetime, as long as he paid taxes, insurance, and made necessary repairs. Last, Daniel Gunn was to receive all his wife’s “wearing apparel” and her kitchen and household furnishings, except her clock, “machine,” and piano. Anything he didn’t want, he could “distribute among [her] own people as he may deem best.”
To nephew Thomas Deans, Gunn bequeathed her house at 514 South Lodge Street, the adjoining store, the piano, and the clock.
514 and 512 [now 510] South Lodge Street, with the grocery store between them, as drawn in the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson. (Is the small building behind the grocery the “room” bequeathed to Daniel Gunn?)
To Claudia Wooten, Gunn bequeathed a life interest in the house and lot at what is now 510 South Lodge and a sewing machine. At Wooten’s death, the house was to be sold to pay off debts, expenses, and inheritance taxes and to pay out these bequests:
- to friend Mrs. Vene Davis, Greenville, N.C., $100
- to Davis’ daughter, Mrs. Lourine Skinner, Greenville, N.C., $100
- to friend Mrs. Minnie Cobb, wife of John Cobb, $50
- to nephew Henry Battle, $50
- to Charles Barnes, $50
- to niece Fatina Battle, $50
- to brother Isaac Matthews, $50
- to Clara Ann Viverett, Bryant Winstead, and Ned Winstead, her sister’s children, $50
- to Cora Gunn, $50
- to Braswell Winstead, $50
- to trustees of A.M.E. Zion Church of Wilson, $50
- to Belle Holden, $50
Almost twenty years after Annie Gunn died, the house she left Claudia Wooten went up for auction. The notice of sale mentioned that the lot was a portion of the land Gunn (then Barnes) had purchased in 1897.
Wilson Daily Times, 1 June 1938.
- Annie Gunn
On 17 September 1895, Geo. Bynum, 40, of Wilson, son of Amos Pitt and Lucy Bynum, married Annie Barnes, 35, of Wilson, at Fan[?] Johnson’s residence. A.M.E.Z. minister L.B. Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Berry Bynum, Ella Allen, and Howell G. Bynum.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Annie Bynum, 40; Maggie Eanox, 24, widow, her children Addie M., 9, and Joseph Eanox, 7, and sister Bertie Eanox, 17; and boarder Mary Corbett, 24.
On 22 May 1901, Daniel Gunn, 40, of Wilson County, son of Ruffin and Lizzie Gunn, married Annie A. Bynum, 42, of Wilson County, at her residence in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister Crocket Best performed the ceremony in the presence of Cora Beckwith, Mary Thorne, and Debsel [Delzelle] Beckwith. [The Beckwiths were Annie Gunn’s next-door neighbors.]
In the 1908 and 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Gunn Anna (c) clothing h 514 S Lodge
Annie Gunn died 30 January 1919 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she lived at 514 Lodge Street; was 68 years old; was born in Nash County, N.C., to “Dr. Shaw, white” and an unknown mother; and was married to Daniel Gunn.
- Daniel Gunn
In the 1908 and 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Gunn Daniel (c) grocer 512 1/2 S Lodge h 514 S Lodge
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Gunn Daniel (c) lab h 514 S Lodge
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 514 Lodge Street, school principal James T. Deans, 53, wife Mary, 34, and children Rosevelt, 16, James Jr., 9, Walter, 5, Therodore, 3, and Dixie, 2 months, and boarder Daniel Gunn, 57, a tobacco factory worker.
In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Gunn Daniel tob grader 512 S Lodge h 514 S Lodge
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Gunn Daniel (c) lab h 514 S Lodge
Daniel Gunn died 25 May 1929 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 68 years old; was a widower; was born in Danville, Virginia; lived at 514 Lodge Street; and worked as a tobacconist (grading). Addie E. Hall was informant.
- Thomas Deans — James Thomas Deans.
- Claudia Wooten
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Clauda Wooten, 37, son Sidney, 18, farm laborer, and brother Irdel, 35, day laborer.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Goldsboro Street, widow Clauda Wooten, 47, laundress, and son Sim, 28, wagon factory laborer.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 512 South Lodge, Claudie Wooten, 57, widow, and son Sim, 37, wagon factory laborer.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 510 South Lodge, owned and valued at $1000, widow Claudia Wooten, 67, and son Sim, 48, widower, carpenter at Hackney Wagon.
Claudia Wooten died 9 August 1935 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 73 years old; was born in Nash County to Henry Shaw and Jane Shaw; was a widow; and lived at 510 Lodge Street. Informant was Sim Wooten, 510 Lodge.
- Vene Davis and Lourine Skinner
Lavenia Blount Davis (1854-1942) and her daughter Laurine Davis Skinner (1881-1959) were Wilson natives. That they were white is signaled by the inclusion of an honorific before their names. I do not know Annie Gunn’s relationship to them or why she would leave them such large sums of money.
- Minnie Cobb — Minnie Warren Cobb (1884-1964), either.
- Henry Battle
- Charles Barnes
- Fatina Battle
- Isaac Matthews
In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, North Carolina: Clara Matthews, 55, and son Isaac, 19, farm laborer.
On 12 April 1871, Isaac Matthews, son of Stephen Powell and C. Mathews, married Sidney Powell, daughter of Calvin Powell and Penny Lucus, in Wilson County.
In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: in the household of white farmer Mark M. Matthews, 40, hirelings Charly G. Howard, 24, Isaac Matthews, 28, George Locust, 50, and Calvin Powell, 50, and his son Thomas, 14.
- Clara Ann Viverett —
In the 1870 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: d[omestic] servant Anna Oats, 28; Milly Winsted, 16, d[omestic] servant, Ned Winsted, 13, farm laborer, and Clara Winsted, 12, d[omestic] servant; and John Batts, 22, white, liquor dealer.
Henry Viverett, 42, of Toisnot township, Wilson County, married Clara Winstead, 30, of Toisnot township, on 19 March 1896.
In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Vivrett, 47; wife Clory, 34; and children Isabella, 18, Arthur, 14, Willie, 10, Ella, 6, Victora, 3, and Henry, 1.
In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Henry Viverett, 56; wife Clara, 46; and children Ella, 17, Victoria, 13, Henry, 10, and Troy, 5.
In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Virrett, 55; wife Clara, 53; and son Willie, 15.
- Bryant Winstead
In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Bryant Winsted, 18, Jack Hardy, 22, and Matilda Hardy, 20, all farm laborers.
In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Bryant Winstead, 30; wide Blessing, 28; grandmother Millie Batchelor, 83; and niece Ellen Heggins, 12.
In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Bryant Winstead, 49, and wife Blessing, 45.
In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Bryant Winstead, 54, and wife Blessing, 48.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Bryant Winstead, 65, and wife Blessing, 65.
Bryant Winstead died 2 October 1933 in Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was
James H. Holden, 35, of Wilson, son of Rachel Holden, married Isabell Deans, 25, on 25 January 1900 in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of J.T. Deans, Cora Beckwith and Goodsey Holden.
N.B. Annie Barnes Bynum Gunn is not to be confused with Annie Barnes Gunn (1874-1973), whose husband was Moses Gunn.
I am not yet clear on Annie B.B. Gunn’s birth family. Her marriage licenses do not list her parents. Her death certificate lists only her father, a white physician named Shaw. Bryant, Clara, and Ned Winstead are described as Annie Gunn’s sister’s children; records name their mother variously as Iseley and Essie Winstead. (They had different fathers.) Claudia Wooten is not described as Annie Gunn’s relative, but her parents’ surnames are listed as Shaw on her death certificate. Braswell Winstead, son of Riley Robbins and Malissa Winstead, is not described as Annie Gunn’s relative, but have been. J. Thomas Deans, son of Sarah Deans, was described as her nephew. Isaac Matthews is described as her brother, but his mother was Clara Matthews. Henry and Fatina Battle are described as her nephew and niece.