Hargrave

New historical markers.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has forestalled the customary installation ceremonies, Wilson County Historical Association has erected two of four planned markers commemorating significant African-American people and places in Wilson’s history.

Charles H. Darden. Born in Greene County, 1854. Arrived in Wilson after Civil War. In 1875, here established the first African-American funeral business in Wilson, diversified by son C.L. Darden. Operated for more than 100 years. Local high school named in his honor. (Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church is at rear.)

Dr. Frank S. Hargrave. Born in Lexington, NC. Graduated Leonard Medical School, 1901. Arrived in Wilson, 1903. Founder and Chief of Staff, Mercy Hospital. In 1914, elected President, National Medical Ass’n. President, Lincoln Benefit Society. Home was at 624 E. Green St. (Hargrave’s former home is at left, and Samuel and Annie Washington Vick‘s at right.)

I collaborated with W.C.H.A. on the subject, text, and siting of these markers. I give thanks to the Association and honor to these ancestors.

A return to 624 East Green Street.

More than two years ago, I wrote here of the house at 624 East Green Street, built for Dr. Frank S. Hargrave. The house has been heavily and disfiguringly modified both inside — it’s been cut up into at least three apartments — and out, and is now unoccupied and sealed up. I recently trespassed just long enough to get a glimpse through the one unboarded window, which revealed a glimpse of the house’s former good looks.

This paneled stairwell originally led from the western edge of a large front room to the second floor. Now, there is an exterior door underneath the first flight (not visible from this angle) and, just out of the frame, a solid wall that separates the parts of the house entered through the front door from those entered through side doors.

Below, a straight-on view of Dr. Hargrave’s house. The original porch was enclosed at left and center, and the vertical siding on the second floor facade suggests alteration there as well.

Below, via Google Map, an aerial view of 624 East Green. The part of the house outlined in red is surely an add-on, as is likely the wing in yellow. The roof appears to be in remarkably good shape, given the condition of the rest of the house. The roof over the “porte cochere” (notwithstanding the National Historic Register description, it is really more of a portico) appears to be tin, which may be original. (Next door, the Vicks sprang for a slate roof.)

Our new president.

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Journal of the National Medical Association, volume 6, number 4 (1914).

  • Dr. Frank S. Hargrave
  • Bessie Parker Hargrave — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: postmaster Samuel H. Vick, 37; wife Annie M., 28; and children Elba L., 17, and Daniel L., 3; plus cousin Bessie Parker, 15. On 19 September 1907, F.S. Hargrave, 33, of Wilson, son of Henry and Laura Hargrave, married Bessie Parker, 20, of Wilson, in Wilson. Presbyterian minister Charles E. Tucker performed the ceremony at Calvary Presbyterian Church in the presence of J.D. Reid, Fred M. Davis, and Lena N. Harris. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: medical doctor Frank Hargrave, 32; wife Bessie, 23; and boarder Lena Harris, 26, an insurance bookkeeper. Bessie Hargrave reported that she borne two children, but had none living. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 625 Green Street, doctor Frank S. Hargrave, 40, and wife Bessie, 30. In the 1930 census of Orange, Essex County, New Jersey: at 83 Kenilworth Place, valued at $10000, doctor Frank Hargrave, 50; wife Bessie E., 38; and South Carolina-born lodger Alexander Wilson, commercial dry goods salesman. In the 1940 census of Orange, Essex County, New Jersey: at 83 Kenilworth Place, doctor Frank S. Hargrave, 58, and wife Bessie, 50. [83 Kenilworth Place has disappeared under the construction of the Essex Freeway, Interstate 280.]

700 East Green Street.

The forty-second 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908. 1 story. Hargrave-Sanders house; L-plan cottage with traces of original Victorian millwork in the cutaway front-facing bay; possibly first occupied by Dr. [Frank S.] Hargrave; later occupant was Dr. Otto Sanders, minister of Primitive Baptist Church [sic; Sanders was a Presbyterian minister].”

This house was occupied until just a few months ago by a Sanders descendant, who was forced out by a fire.

The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows the original house number — 629.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: medical doctor Frank Hargrave, 32; wife Bessie, 23; and boarder Lena Harris, 26, insurance bookkeeper.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 629 Green Street, renting, widow Rebeca Speight, 40; daughters Eva, 23, school teacher, Bessie, 13, Addie, 11, Rubie, 9, and Ineese, 7; and roomer Hossie Arrington, 21, wagon factory laborer.

In the 1930 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists 700 East Green as vacant, and it does not appear in the 1930 census.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 700 East Green, renting for $20/month, Rev. O.E. Sanders, 48, wife Annie, 30, teacher; and sons Charles, 6, and Otto, 14.

Annie G. Sanders died 17 September 1964 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 March 1907 in Moore County, North Carolina, to Sidney D. Goins and Rosa McCray; was married to Rev. O.E. Sanders; was a teacher; and resided at 700 East Green Street.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

624 East Green Street.

The sixteenth 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.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1922; 2 stories; Dr. Frank S. Hargrave House; district’s most distinguished Colonial Revival house when completed in the early 1920s; retains cubic form with cross gables and columned porte-cochere; aluminum; Hargrave was influential physician who helped organize local hospital for blacks.”

The house has been heavily modified, and its original charm is not easily detected. It remains, however, an imposing structure that, with Samuel H. Vick‘s house next door, dominates East Green Street.

Hargrave’s accomplishments have been chronicled here, here, and elsewhere at Black Wide-Awake. He did not live in the house long, migrating to New Jersey in the mid-1920s.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2016.