The death of Alton Hagans, 13, struck by a truck while riding a bicycle.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 September 1921.


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Viola Street, Bryant Mill laborer Isic Haggins, 23; wife Essie May 19; and son Alton, 1.

Alton Hagans died 8 September 1921 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 November 1910 in Saratoga, Wilson County, to Isaac Hagans and Ezziemay Farmer; lived on Hines Street; and worked as a grocery delivery boy. His cause of death: “instantly killed by auto struck while riding bicycle.”

State vs. Daniel Sharp Jr.

In August 1911, a justice of the peace charged Daniel Sharp Jr. with assault with a deadly weapon for an alleged attack upon Louis Hagans. The charge was based on eyewitness testimony by Rufus Edmundson and Charlie Dawes. Per Edmundson, Sharp shot a pistol at Hagans at New Hope Church. (This, presumably, was New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, located then as now on N.C. Highway 58 just north of Wilson.)

  • Daniel Sharp Jr.
  • Louis Hagans — there were several Louis (or Lewis) Hagans in Wilson County around this time, and it’s not clear which this was.
  • Rufus Edmundson
  • Charlie Dawes

Criminal Action Papers, 1911, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The obituary of Edward Hagans.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 July 1948.


Edward Hagans, 23, son of Isaac and Izzy Mae Hagans, married Daisy Melton, 23, daughter of Ben and Sudie Melton, on 14 April 1937 in Wilson.

Edward Hagans died 20 July 1948 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 April 1913 in Wilson County to Isaac Hagans and Essie Mae Farmer; was married to Daisy Hagans; lived at 555 East Nash Street; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery on 22 July 1948.

Gloria Denetta Hagans died at home on 28 July 1948 of pulmonary tuberculosis (as had her father.) Per her death certificate, she was born 25 November 1934 in Wilson to Edward Hagans and Daisy Melton; was a student; lived at 536 East Nash; and was buried at Rest Haven.

In memory of Margaret Hagans Powell.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 2022.


In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, farmer Julius Hagans, 45; wife Matha, 32; daughters Frances, 10, and Margaret, 8; and hired man Andrew Sanders, 21.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Boswell Road, widower Julus Haggens, 55, and children Margrett, 18, Henry, 13, and Cecil, 4.

On 9 February 1924, William Powell, 33, of Nash County, son of Ichabod and Mary Ann Powell, married Margarette Hagans, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Julius Hagans, in Wilson County. James Powell applied for the license.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer William Powell, 30, and Margaret, 28.

Willie B. Powell died 2 March 1938 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 September 1937 in Wilson to William Powell and Margret Hagans and lived at 701 West Hines Street, Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 Hines Street, W.P.A. laborer William Powell, 48; wife Margaret, 38; and children Odell, 8, Willie Mae, 6, Joe Louis, 3, and William T., 8 months.

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: body factory janitor William Powell, 61; wife Margaret H., 45; and children Willie M., 16, babysitting, Joe L., 14, William T., 10, Betty J., 9, Jesse G., 7, James A., 5, Margaret A., 4, and Maud R., 2.

William “Bill” Pharaoh Powell died 23 July 1963 at his home at 404 North Reid Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 February 1891 in Wilson County to Echabud Powell and Mary Ann Lassiter; was married to Margaret H[agans] Powell; and worked as a laborer.

606 North Carroll Street.

The one hundred-fifty-sixth 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, this building is: “ca. 1922; heavily modified, brick-veneered, hip-roofer dwelling.” [Note: the house does not appear on the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.] The 1950 Wilson city directory reveals the original house number was 518.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hagans Oscar (c; Bertie) lab h 518 N Carroll

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, 518 North Carroll Street was vacant.

Willie Batts died 19 July 1939 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 58 years old; was born in Wilson County to [Thomas?] Batts and Mariah Batts; was married to Olivia Batts; lived at 518 North Carroll; and worked as a laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 518 Carroll Street, rented for $12/month, widowed tobacco stemmer Olivia Batts, 61, and children Ernest, 36, farm laborer; Mary M., 21, and Rosa Lee, 20, household servants; and Henry, 16, “new worker.”

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Batts Wm (c) h 518 N Carroll

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Little Geo Rev (c; Lessie) pastor Mt Zion  Free Will Baptist Ch h 518 N Carroll

Rev. George Washington Little died 1 April 1957 in Wilson when his car was struck by a train on the A.C.L. railroad. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 July 1910 in Wilson County to Wash Little and Louise Barnes; was married to Lessie Little; lived at 606 North Carroll; and worked in ministry and labor.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

Craps game ends in deadly shooting.

In early March 1924, Tom Hagin allegedly shot Otto King to death over a cheating allegation during a game of craps. The Daily Times could not help but engage in casual racism in reporting the tragedy, referring to the dice game as “African golf.”

Wilson Daily Times, 4 March 1924.


In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Shandy King, 51; wife Nancy, 49; and children Jack, 21, Marcellus, 19, Shandey, 16, Mahala, 14, Columbus, 12, Otto, 7, and Harriett, 6. 

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Jim Bass, 19, and lodgers James Allen, 21, and Otto King, 19, all farm laborers.

In 1918, Otto King registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 22 March 1891 in Wilson; lived at Route 4, Wilson; worked in farming for Charley Walston; and was single.

Otto King’s World War I service record.

On 11 January 1919, Otto King, 26, of Saratoga township, son of Shandy King, and Roberta Taylor, 16, of Gardners township, daughter of Moses Fent and Rena Taylor, were married in Saratoga township, Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Plank Road Highway, farmer Otto King, 28, and wife Roberta, 17. 

“Shot through neck & lungs Homicide”

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

The life of William S. Hagans.

Back in February, I sat down (virtually) with Tyler Mink, Historic Interpreter at Wayne County, North Carolina’s Governor Charles B. Aycock Birthplace State Historic Site, to talk about William S. Hagans, an Aycock contemporary. William S. Hagans was not a Wilson County native, but his mother Apsilla Ward Hagans was, and he grew up on a farm on Aycock Swamp just below the Wayne-Wilson county line. I have published here a series of transcripts of testimony about a land dispute that directly involved Hagans and pulled in as witnesses several men with Wilson County links.

William S. Hagans, his brother Henry E. Hagans, and their father Napoleon Hagans were contemporaries of Daniel Vick, William H. Vick, and Samuel H. Vick and other African-American Wilsonians in late nineteenth-century Republican politics, and I share this video to illuminate the world in which they all lived.

The Vicks take a loan from a friend.

Daniel Vick‘s prominence in local and regional Republican politics broadened the network of people upon whom he could call for favors. In 1898, he reached out to Henry E. Hagans of Goldsboro, for a loan. Hagans had been personal secretary to United States Congressman George H. White and remained active in politics even as assumed a position as principal of Goldsboro’s State Colored Normal School.

On 9 November 1898, Daniel and Fannie Vick executed to Henry E. Hagans of Goldsboro a promissory note for $400 to be paid by 9 February 1899.  If Vick defaulted, Hagans would sell at public auction two lots on Church Street and Barefoot Road in Wilson. The Vicks missed the mark, but Hagans did not call in the loan. A handwritten note on the mortgage deed states: “The within papers transferred to S.H. Vick this the 6th day of May AD 1899 /s/ H.E. Hagans”

Henry E. Hagans (1868-1926), in a portrait appearing in a feature article in the 21 September 1904 The Colored American.

Samuel H. Vick, of course, was Daniel and Fannie Vick’s wealthy son, who was also active and well-connected in Republican circles. The deed was filed in Wilson County on 16 April 1903 and recorded in Deed Book 66, page 236. Another note states: “This mortgage is satisfied in full by taking taking a new mortgage and is hereby cancelled 4 Dec 1903 /s/ S.H. Vick”

Deed Book 66, page 236.

“Nothing could swerve him”: The extraordinary life of Napoleon Hagans.

Please join me February 10 to hear about the extraordinary life of Napoleon Hagans of Wayne County, North Carolina, who went from involuntary apprenticeship as a free child of color to testifying before the United States Senate to Honorary Commissioner of the 1884 World Industrial and Cotton Centennial in New Orleans.

To register for this virtual event: https://forms.gle/jwhzzpCCakVpRVaGA

Elderly trio loses all in fire.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 January 1942.


In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Hegans, 31; wife Sarah, 20; children John, 3, Nancy A., 2, and Amos, 10; and Susan Hagans, 40, farm worker.

On 26 October 1889, Amos Hagans, 31, of Cross Roads township, son of John Hagans and Eliza Rich, married Jane Fields, 18, of Cross Roads township, daughter of Washington and Julia Fields, at Ben Binum’s in Cross Roads township, Wilson County.

On 21 February 1900, Amos Hagins, 39, son of John Hagins and Eliza Rich, married Lillie Richardson, 17, daughter of John and Mollie Richardson, at Mollie Richardson’s in Cross Roads township.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Amos Hagans, 54; wife Lillie, 24; daughters Martha W., 5, and Mary E., 4; and hired man Oscar Talton, 13.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on Road to Horns Bridge, farmer Amos Hagan, 63; wife Lillie, 36; and daughters Martha, 14, and Mary, 13.

Martha McCoyie died 11 February 1923 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 17 years old; was married to Mack McCoyie; was born in Wilson County to Amos Hagans and Lillie Richardson; and was buried the family graveyard.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Amos Hagans, 83; wife Lillie, 54; and James Pate, 71. [Presumably, these are the three elderly people living in the house at the time of the fire. If so, Lillie Hagans’ age was exaggerated.]

Amos Heggins died 30 January 1943 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1856 in Wilson County to John Heggins and Eliza Ricks; was married Lillie Heggins, age 56; and buried in Polly Watson cemetery near Lucama.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.