This house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, the blocks of Mercer Street southwest of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad lines have been an African-American residential area since the early twentieth century. This house, with its original brackets, turned posts, balusters, and other millwork, is the gem of the block.
Per its architecture, I would peg the construction date of this house around the turn of the 20th century. City directories from that era, however, do not list house numbers for Mercer Street, describing houses only as “near Norfolk & Southern Railroad.”
The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map shows 1008 Mercer as the last house inside city limits on that side of the street.
Detail from 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C.
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Collins Debora (c) lndrs h 1008 Mercer
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Collins Deborah (c) lndrs h 1008 Mercer
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Mercer, owned and valued at $3000, South Carolina-born widow Deborah Collins, 37, laundress, and niece Clara Thomas, 26, public school teacher.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Mercer, rented at $16/month, James Hall, 31, cook at Cherry Hotel; wife Edith, 31, stemmer at redrying plant; children James Jr., 10, and Lurrine, 8; and adopted son Columbus Dawson, 23, laborer at redrying plant.
In 1940, James Hardy Hall registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 6 October 1909 in Wilson; lived at 1008 Mercer; his contact was wife Edith Burnette Hall; and he was unemployed.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hall Jas H (c; Edith E; 2) cook h 1008 Mercer
In 1942, Lonnie Ford registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 3 May 1924 in Dillon, South Carolina; lived at 1008 Mercer Street, Wilson; his mailing address was 1612 6th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.; his contact was Thomas Ford, 1008 Mercer; and he worked for War Department Bureau No. 5, Washington, D.C.
In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ford Thomas (c; Dora) confectioner 515 E Nash h 1008 Mercer
In the 1900 census of Jackson township, Nash County: farmer Dennis Tabron, 51; wife Harrett, 49; and children Cephus, 18, Theodorie, 16, Anna D., 13, and Arena H., 7.
In the 1910 census of Ferrells township, Nash County: farmer Dennis T. Tabron, 66; wife Harret, 50; and daughters Anna D., 18, and Irena, 15.
Barney Reid, 27, of Wilson, son of Jessie and Sallie Reid, married Elnora Taborn, 21, of Nash County, daughter of Denis and Harrit Tayborn, on 28 May 1912 in Wilson.
Barney Reid registered for the World War I draft in 1918 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 13 April 1885; lived at 300 Vick Street, Wilson; worked as a mechanic for Boyd-Robertson Construction in Newport News, Virginia; and was married to Anna D. Reid.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 300 Vick Street, building carpenter Barney Reid, 43; wife Anna, 39; children Earl, 4, Piccola, 13, and Fitzhugh, 9; and in-laws Harriot, 69, and John Tayborn, 80.
Anna Dora Reid Hall died 20 April 1969 in Kinston, Lenoir County.
Cora Sherrod Barnes
In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherard, 56; wife Cassy; and children Ida, 27, Benjamin, 25, Dalas, 20, Exum, 16, Arthur, 15, and Cora, 11.
Columbus Ward, 26, of Greene County, son of Pearson and Cherry Ward, married Cora Sherrod, 18, of Wayne County, daughter of Jack Sherrod, on 17 April 1907 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County.
In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Cassie Sherrod, 75; grandchildren Zenobia, 25, Doris, 7, and Jeraldine, 6; and daughter Cora Powell, 30, public school teacher, divorced.
John M. Barnes died 27 April 1958 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1870 in Wayne County to Charles and Rebecca Pope Barnes; lived at 500 East Green; worked as a brickmason; was married to Cora Sherrod Barnes [daughter of Jack and Cassie Sherrod]; and was buried at Rest Haven. Thelma Byers was informant.
Cora Sherrod Barnes died 12 June 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 December 1888 to Jack and Cassie Sherrod; was a widow; and was a retired teacher. Ralph Sherrod was informant.
Mary Susan “Sue” Hall Woodard passed away on 5 May 2020, her 97th birthday. She was born near Stantonsburg to Robert and Katie Farmer Hall. In her honor, I offer this brief look at her deep-rooted Wilson County family lines.
Robert Hall was born about 1886 and died 19 January 1957 in Stantonsburg township. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson County to William Hall and Lucy [Barnes] Hall; was a farmer; and was buried in Bethel cemetery.
William Henry Hall‘s family is discussed in detail here and here.
In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer William H. Hall, 49; son James, 18; daughter Mary S., 16; and son Robert, 13.
In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Main Street, Robert Hall, 24, railroad section hand; wife Katy, 20; son Earnest, 1; sister-in-law Leona Farmer, 7; and father William Hall, 60, widower.
In 1917, Robert Hall registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 July 1886 in Stantonsburg; was a farmer for J.C. Stanton in Stantonsburg; and was married with three children.
In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Robert Hall, 33; wife Katie, 29; and children Earnest, 11, William H., 5, Lorenzie, 3, and Robert, 2.
William Henry Hall died 23 June 1925 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 August 1846 in Wayne County to Exaline Hunt; was married to Lucy Hall; and was buried in Bethel cemetery.
In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Hall, 43; wife Katie, 40; and children Ernest, 21, William, 15, Rennie, 13, Robert Jr., 11, Louis, 10, Mary S., 6, John L., 4, and Curtis, 1 month; and daughter-in-law Arneta [Ometa], 20.
In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Robert Hall, 50; wife Katie, 50; and children Sue, 16, John Lee, 14, Curtis, 10, James, 6, and grandchildren Ruth, 8, and Edgar C., 5.
On 30 March 1871, William Hall, son of James Woodard and Elizar Woodard [actually, Hall], married Lucey Barnes, daughter of Levey Barnes and A. Barnes, in Wilson County.
Katie FarmerHall was born about 1896 to Robert Farmer and Marenda Bynum Farmer. She died 8 September 1947 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 March 1896 in Wilson County to Robert Farmer and Fannie [sic] Bynum; was married to Robert Hall; and worked in farming. She was buried Bethel cemetery.
Ned Farmer and Jane Bynum registered their seven-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace in 1866.
Ned Farmer apparently died between 1866 and 1870.
In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Isaac Winstead, 52; wife Jane, 35; and children Edith, 10, Robert, 7, Amanda, 3, and Aneliza, 1. [Edith and Robert’s last name was, in fact, Farmer; they were Jane’s children from a previous marriage.]
In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Winstead, 60; wife Jane; children Manda, 14, Ann, 12, Charlie, 10, Major, 7, Lucy, 4, and Levi, 1; stepchildren Ada [Edith] Best, 20, and Rob Farmer, 17; and grandchildren Sam, 3, and Mary Best, 1.
On 9 March 1882, Robert Farmer, 19, married Marinda Bynum, 18, in the Town of Stantonsburg. Scott Bynum, Ben Thompson, and George Culis were witnesses to the ceremony.
Marenda Bynum Farmer died before 1908.
On 8 January 1908, Robert Hall, 21, of Stantonsburg, son of Bill Hall and Lucy Hall, married Katie Farmer, 20, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Robert Farmer and Renie Farmer, at the home of Nealy Barnes in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Witnesses were George Farmer, Nealy Barnes, and Susan Farmer.
Lewis Bynum and Delia Bynum registered their cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace on 31 August 1866.
In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Bynum, 30; wife Adelia, 29; and children George, 10, Ada, 9, Scott, 7, Penny, 6, Pet, 4, Isabella, 2, and Charles, 8 months; also, Obedience Applewhite, 63.
Adelia Bynum died before 1877.
On 9 August 1877, Lewis Bynum, 40, married Jane Bynum, 40, in Saratoga township, Wilson County.
In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: carpenter Lewis Bynum, 50; wife Jane, 47; children Renny, 15, Scott, 17, Pet, 14, Belle, 12, Charley, 10, and Tedy, 8; and granddaughter Nella, 2 months.
Lewis Bynum died between 1880 and 1900.
Rest in peace, Sue Hall Woodard.
Many thanks to the Hall family for sharing photographs.
Nicey Caroline Hall married Wyatt Lynch in Wilson in 1860 and seems to have spent the remainder of her life in Wilson County. However, she spent her childhood across the county line in northeast Wayne County.
In the 1850 census of the North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County: Lucy Hall, 45, with her children Sarah, 16, George, 15, Nathan, 13, Nicy, 10, Samuel, 3, and Esther, 6; plus Alford, 15, John, 14, Rhoda, 13, Julia, 12, and Rheuben Artis, 10; and Rufus Lane, 22. Next door: William Exum, a 25 year-old white farmer. The same year, per Wayne County apprentice bonds, Exum indentured the five Artis children to serve him as involuntary apprentices. (Lane had just aged out of his indenture too Exum.)
Under the laws governing the involuntary apprenticeship of free children of color, a mother could state her preference for the man to be named master of her bound children. When called to the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1851, Lucy Hall informed the judge that she wanted her children to be bound to James Yelverton (probably Sr.) Instead, the court awarded the indentures of George, Nathan, Nicy C., Esther and Sam Hall to their neighbor, William J. Exum, on whose land they likely lived. However, the clerk neglected to record the indentures in the court minutes, and Yelverton took advantage of the oversight to have the children bound to him instead. Exum sued Yelverton, claimed that he obtained the indentures contrary to the rules of court, and the judge rescinded Yelverton’s indentures. The court then re-bound the Halls to Exum, who thereby consolidated his control over the labor of the free children of color living on his property.
The Yelvertons and Halls’ lives remained intertwined, despite the best efforts of William J. Exum. In the 1860 census of Davis district, Wayne County, James Yelverton (Jr.), 40, shared a household with Easter [Easther] Hall, 20, and her likely children Fanny, 7, and Puss, 5. Moreover, per family lore recently backed up by DNA testing, James Yelverton Jr. was the father of Nicey Caroline Hall’s first child, Susianna Frances Hall, alias Yelverton, born about 1857.
On 5 June 1860, Wyatt Lynch married Nicey Hall in Wilson County.
In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: plasterer and brickmason Wyatt Lynch, 30, wife Caroline, 23, and daughter Frances, 3.
As revealed in this letter, while he was away at war, Captain Ruffin Barnes arranged with Wyatt Lynch for his wife to live with Barnes’ wife and perform household chores. Nicey Caroline Lynch butted heads with Barnes’ wife, however, and Barnes advised that she be sent back home.
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: brick maker Wyatt Lynch, 48, wife Nicey, 35, and children Harriet, 4, and John, 1.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on the south side of the Plank Road, widow Nicy Lynch, 40, children Harriot, 13, John, 11, Noah, 9, Sammy, 7, and Mary Wyatt, 3, with mother-in-law Nancy Lynch, 98.
On 24 January 1899, Hattie Lynch, 33, of Wilson County, daughter of Wyatt and Nicy Lynch, married William Young, 46, of Wilson County, son of Manuel and Caroline Young of Mississippi. Primitive Baptist minister J.S. Woodard performed the ceremony.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, widowed farmer Nicey Lynch, 60, daughters Harriet Young, 35, and Mary Rhodes, 23, and grandson John Rhodes, 2.
On 7 May 1905, Hattie Lynch, 39, daughter of John and Nicy Lynch, married Robert Dixon, 33, son of William and Charlotte Dixon, in Wilson County. Witnesses were D.F. Scott, Mary Rhoads, and Charley Edward.
On 3 December 1907, Eddie Bullock, 27, of Wilson, son of Preacher Chanson and Andy Bullock, married Mary Rhodes, 27, of Wilson, daughter of [name not given] Linch and Nicie Lynch.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Robert Dickson, 37, wife Hattie, 46, mother-in-law Nicie Lynch, and nephew Johnnie Rhodes, 12.
Susiannah Artis died 11 September 1931 in Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per her death certificate, she was 74 years old; was born in Wilson County to Nicy Linch of Wilson County; worked in farming; and was married to Richard Artis.
Mary Wyatt Ellis died 10 October 1943 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 May 1876 in Wilson County to Wyatt Linch and Nicie [last name unknown]; was married to Ruben Ellis; was a farmer; and was buried on the Lynch farm.
Harriet Hattie Dixon died 16 January 1958 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 July 1865 in Wilson County to Wyatt Linch and Nicie [last name unknown]; was widowed; was a retired farmer; and was buried in a family cemetery. Hattie Anderson was informant.
Susanna Frances Yelverton Artis, daughter of Nicey C. Hall Lynch.
Documents detailing the proceedings in Exum v. Yelverton are found in Box 6, Apprentice Bonds and Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives; photo of Susannah Artis courtesy of Teresa Artis.
This heavily modified shotgun house on Church Street is not located in the East Wilson Historic District. Nor was its single block included in the Wilson Central Business-Tobacco Warehouse District, though it lies just behind East Nash and Pettigrew Streets. Once densely packed with working-class housing, Church Street is now empty. Only three houses stand on the block, none occupied, and 507 is the last house remaining on the north side of the street.
The 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories list Lucy Sherrod at 507 Church. Also in 1930: Hall Lonnie (c; Mamie L) laborer 507 Church
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 507 Church, renting for $16/month, Lonnie Hall, 34, odd jobs laborer, wife Mamie, 34, hotel maid, and daughter Elsie, 2; nieces and nephews Estha, 16, Christine, 13, and lodgers Lucile Sherif [sic], 30, widow, hotel maid, Lucile Sherif, 14, and Jack Sherif, 17, odd jobs laborer.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 507 Church, renting for $12/month, laborer Will Rogers, 28, and wife Sally, 30, odd jobs. Both seemed to be Arkansas natives — he, from Pine Bluff, and she, from Fayetteville.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rogers William (c; Sallie) yd mn 507 Church
As the Central Business Historic District survey map shows, as recently as 1984, Church Street was filled with houses. 507 is encircled.
Google Maps shot this image of 507 Church in 2012. It appears that, at that time, the house was occupied.
On 10 July 1917, Judge H. Hall, 30, of Wilson, son of Edwin and Avie Ann Hall, married Bettie B. Taylor, 34, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Mary Battle of Nash County, in Wilson. A.L.E. Weeks, a Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, W.H. Burton, and Lee A. Moore.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Atlantic Street, house carpenter Judge Hall, 34, wife Bettie, 37, and roomer Lossie Hooks, 22.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Atlantic Street, carpenter Judge Hall, 42; wife Bettie, 42; son John W., 4; and a lodging family, cook Ellen Battle, 35, and Margrette, 15, Etta, 12, Minnie, 7, Julious, 10, and Norma Battle, 3.
Bettie Hall died 15 September 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Judge Hall; resided at 901 Atlantic Street; worked as a tobacco factory worker; and was born about 1889 in Wilson County to Henry Battle of Nash County and Margarett Lucas of Wilson County. Informant was Ellen Battle.
Two months before she died, Bettie Hall made out a will. Interestingly, she left nothing to her husband Judge, instead designating as her sole heirs her daughters Ellen Battle and Margaret (no last name listed.)
The eighth in a series of posts highlighting buildings inEast 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: “#901. Ca. 1930; 1 1/2 [stories]; Judge Hall house; bungalow with clipped-gable roof and dormer, engaged porch; aluminum sided; Hall was a carpenter.”
On 5 June 1917, Judge Hall of Vick Street, Wilson, registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 29 May 1888 in Wayne County; worked as a carpenter for Cleveland, Glover in Wilson; was single; and was thin and of medium height with brown eyes and black hair.
On 10 July 1917, Judge H. Hall, 30, of Wilson, son of Edwin and Avie Ann Hall, married Bettie B. Taylor, 34, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Mary Battle of Nash County in Wilson. A.L.E. Weeks, a Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, W.H. Burton, and Lee A. Moore.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Atlantic Street, house carpenter Judge Hall, 34, wife Bettie, 37, and roomer Lossie Hooks, 22.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 901 Atlantic Street, carpenter Judge Hall, 42; wife Bettie, 42; son John W., 4; and a lodging family, cook Ellen Battle, 35, and her children Margrette, 15, Etta, 12, Minnie, 7, Julious, 10, and Norma, 3.
Bettie Hall died 15 September 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she resided at 901 Atlantic Street; was married to Judge Hall; was 50 years old; worked as a tobacco factory packer; and was born in Wilson County to Henry Battle and Margarett Lucas. Ellen Battle was the informant.
Judge Hall died 9 March 1954 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 901 Atlantic Street; was married; worked as a carpenter; was born 28 May 1886 in Wayne County to Edward and Arie Hall; and was buried at Turner Swamp cemetery, Wayne County. Bertha Hall was informant.
Like many small rural churches, the early members of Stantonsburg’s Bethel A.M.E. Zion were drawn largely from a group of related families. At their core was the large extended family of William Henry Hall, whose family plot in the church cemetery was profiled here.
The cemetery, about a mile from the present location of the church, is set along a slight rise above the cut of Peacock Bridge Road, just south of the Norfolk & Southern railroad. It is lovingly tended despite its isolation, with most of the graves lying in sandy bays extending back from the unpaved road. Foxgrape vines and sassafras saplings edge the clearings, and rose bushes have naturalized among the trees.
Besides William Hall, among the earliest marked burials are:
Dick Barnes married Quilla Joyner on 10 February 1870 in Wayne County, North Carolina. (The county line is just a few miles west of Stantonsburg.) In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, 38, wife Aqulla, 33, and children Edward C., 9, William H.M., 8, Lewis H., 6, Maryland, 5, and Corneleous, 4. In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, (second) wife Gracey, 23, and children Peter, 23, Cornelius, 21, Mary S., 18, Geneva, 16, John H., 14, and Barnie, 7, and boarder Addison Fort, 17.
and William M. Hardy, who lived a few miles away over the Greene County line.
Eliza Hall was a free woman of color born about 1820, probably in what was then the heel of southwest Edgecombe County. How she met James Bullock Woodard, a prosperous white farmer and slaveowner, is unknown, but by Eliza’s early 20s they had begun a relationship that would last at least a decade. A sympathetic relative of Woodard’s recorded the births of James and Eliza’s children William Henry (1844), Patrick (1845), Margaret Ann (1847), Louisa (1849), and Balaam Hall (1851) in his family’s Bible.
In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Eliza Hall, 26, “free,” with children Wm., 6, Patrick, 4, Martha, 3, and “girl,” 1. Judging by their proximity to the listing of Orpha Applewhite, the family lived close to Stantonsburg.
In the 1860 census of Wilson County, Eliza Hall and her children are enumerated in the household of Joseph Peacock, who had been her neighbor in 1850: Jos. B. Peacock, 25, Sarah C. Peacock, 18, Sarah Peacock, 68, with William, 15, Patrick, 14, Margaret, 13, Lou, 12, Balum, 11, and Eliza Hall, 45.
Patrick Hall married Mary Ann Farmer in 1867 in Wilson County. They had at least six children: Alice (1869), Cora (1870), Dora (1874), Frank (1873), Maggie (1875), and Frederick Hall (1878).
Balaam Hall married Mary Edmundson in Wilson County in 1871, Chelsey Hodge in Wayne County in 1876, and Mary Ann Herring in Wayne County in 1895.
William H. Hall lived and farmed near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, most of his life. He was married three times — to Lucy Barnes, Annie E. Smith and Mamie Artis — and had at least nine children with them and at least one other woman, Sarah Jane Artis. In 1890, William Hall sold to trustees the quarter-acre of land upon which Stantonsburg’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was founded. More than a hundred years later, the Hall family remain at the core of Bethel’s membership. William H. Hall spent his last years living in his son Robert Hall’s household and died 23 June 1925.
The William H. Hall family plot lies in the Bethel A.M.E. Zion church cemetery on the west side of Peacock Bridge Road between Stantonsburg and the Greene County line.