Harris

504 North Vick Street.

The one hundred sixty-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.

The approximate location of 504 North Vick.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roofed porch.” This house has been demolished.

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Detail from 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Harris Milton (c; Florence) lab 504 N Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) lndrs 504 N Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick Street, rented at $12/month, Janie Bright, 26, laundress, and sons James, 7, and Theo, 5; and sister Malisia Murphey, 35, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 Vick, widow Janey Bright, 40, and sons James, 18, CCC camp, and Joshua, 15, new worker.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c) cook 504 N Vick; also Bright Jas (c) h 504 N Vick; also Bright Joshua (c) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

In 1942, James Theo Bright registered for the World War II draft in Richmond, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 24 February 1922 in Wilson; lived at 407 East Clay Street, Richmond, Virginia; his contact was mother Jannie Bright, 504 North Vick, Wilson; and he worked for John Sarras, Richmond.

Joshua Royal Bright died 25 October 1943 at “Wilson Co. T.B. Hospital.” Per his death certificate, he was born 12 March 1925 in Wilson to Joshua Bright of Sampson County, N.C., and Jannie Murphy of Duplin County, N.C.; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Magnolia, N.C.

In October 1944, Leslie and Minnie Diggs Artis transferred title to the property at 504 North Vick to their daughter Sallie Mae Artis Bell (later Shackelford).

Wilson Daily Times, 28 October 1944.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bright Janie (c; wid Joshua) tob wkr h 504 N Vick

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2022.

Hardy and Nellie Harris Lassiter, exodusters.

Hardy Lassiter died in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on 24 June 1928. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson, N.C., to Green Lassiter; was 55 years old; was married to Edith Lassiter; resided at 1801 Texas Street; worked as a laborer for a heading factory; and was buried in Pine Bluff. Julius Lassiter was informant.

Hardy Lassiter actually was closer to 65 years old. He was born about 1864 in Wilson County to Green and Mary Ann Lassiter Powell and was the grandson of this Hardy Lassiter.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Green Lassiter, 46; wife Mary, 31; and children Henry, 10, Sallie, 8, Hardy, 6, and John G., 1 month. Lassiter reported owning $500 in real property and $125 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Green Lassiter, 55; wife Mary Ann, 42; and children Henry, 19, Sally Ann, 17, Hardy, 15, John Green, 10, Dempsey S., 5, and Mary C., 2.

On 6 March 1884, Hardey Lassiter, 20, and Nelley Harriss, 17, were married in Wilson County.

Around 1890, Hardy and Nellie Lassiter joined thousands of African-American North Carolinians migrating to Arkansas seeking better opportunities. The family stopped briefly in Mississippi, but had settled in Pine Bluff by the early 1890s.

In the 1900 census of Pine Bluff, Vaugine township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 807 State Street, warehouse porter Hardy Lasker, 34; wife Nellie, 32; and children Henry, 15, sawmill laborer, Hardy, 13, Willie, 8, Julius, 5, Mary, 3, and Arthur, 8 months; plus Mary Bass, 53, widow, mother-in-law. Hardy, Nellie, Henry and Hardy Lassiter were born in North Carolina, as was Mary Bass. Willie Lassiter was born in Mississippi. The remaining children were born in Arkansas.

Moses Theodore Lassiter was born 3 May 1901 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Hardy Lassiter, common laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., and Nellie Harris, housewife, born in Wilson, N.C. He was the 8th of their children.

Harry Lassiter was born 29 May 1905 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Hardy Lassiter, common laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., and Nellie Harris, housewife, born in Wilson, N.C. He was the 9th of their children.

John V. Lassiter was born 28 September 1907 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Hardy Lassiter, common laborer, born in Wilson, N.C., and Nellie Harris, housewife, born in Wilson, N.C. He was the 10th of their children.

In the 1910 census of Pine Bluff, Vaugine township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: grain elevator laborer Harvey Laster, 48; wife Nellie, 41; and children Willie, 18, brickyard laborer, Julius, 15, Mary, 12, Arthur, 10, Moses, 7, Harry, 5, and John, 2; plus Mary Bass, 65, widow, mother-in-law.

In 1917, Willie Lassiter registered for the World War I draft in Pine Bluff. Per his registration card, he was born 30 November 1891 in Greenville, Mississippi; lived at 1303 Georgia, Pine Bluff; was married; and worked as a laborer for Riley Corn Company, Pine Bluff.

In 1917, Julius Lassiter registered for the World War I draft in Pine Bluff. Per his registration card, he was born 3 July 1894; worked as a laborer for Union Seed Fertilizer Company; and had a wife and two children.

In 1918, Arthur Lassiter registered for the World War I draft in Pine Bluff. Per his registration card, he was born 18 September 1899 in Pine Bluff; lived at 1601 Texas Street, Pine Bluff; worked as a laborer for Riley Feed Manufacturing Company, East Forest Avenue, Pine Bluff; and his nearest relative was Nellie Lassiter, 1601 Texas Street.

In the 1920 census of Pine Bluff, Vaugine township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 1601 Texas, feed store laborer Hardy Lassiter, 55; wife Nellie, 49; and children Mary, 19, Arthur, 17, feed store laborer, Moses, 16, chauffeur, Harry, 14, and Johnie, 12.

On 11 December 1923, Moses Lassiter, 23, married Anna Lawson, 22, in Pine Bluff.

On 1 June 1924, Arthur Lassiter married Irene Melvin in Pine Bluff.

On 7 August 1924, Mary B. Lassiter, 27, married Sam Taylor, 40, in English, Jefferson County, Arkansas.

The 1927 Pine Bluff, Arkansas, city directory lists:

  • Lassiter Arthur (Irene) lab h 2215 e Barraque
  • Lassiter Hardy (Edith) lab h 1601 Texas
  • Lassiter Hardy (Ruby) lab h 910 e 19th av
  • Lassiter Harry porter Fine’s D G store h 1601 Texas
  • Lassiter Jno auto mech h 1601 Texas
  • Lassiter Julius (Emma) h 1601 Texas

On 26 November 1928, John Lassiter, 21, married Rosa Maiden, 18, in Pine Bluff.

On 18 September 1930, Harry Lassiter, 25, married Ruby Evans, 24, in Pine Bluff.

On 25 September 1930, Moses Lassiter, 26, married Ira Campbell, 20, in Pine Bluff.

On 27 June 1938, Julius Lassiter, 43, married Hallie B. Jones, 27, in Pine Bluff.

In 1942, Willie Lassiter registered for the World War II draft in Lake County, Indiana. Per his registration card, he was born 30 November 1891 in Greenville, Mississippi; lived at 1533 Mass. St., [Gary], Lake County, Indiana; worked for Carnegie Illinois Steel; and his contact was John Lassiter, 6033 Calumet, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1942, Arthur Lassiter registered for the World War II draft in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Per his registration card, he was born 18 September 1899 in Pine Bluff; lived at 1717 East 17th Street, Pine Bluff; his contact was Sadie Whaley of the same address; and he worked for Federal Compress and Warehouse, Plant #2, Pine Bluff.

In 1942, John Farrel Lassiter registered for the World War II draft in Chicago, Illinois. Per his registration card, he was born 28 September 1907 in Pine Bluff; lived at 6033 Calumet, Chicago, Illinois; worked for Sunnyside Auto Company, 4511 Lincoln Avenue, Chicago; and his contact was sister-in-law Adele Maiden Porter.

Willie Lassiter died 7 September 1946 in Proviso township, Cook County, Illinois. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 November 1891 in Greenville, Mississippi, to Hardy Lassiter and Nellie Spanks, both of North Carolina; and was buried in Oak Hill cemetery, Gary, Indiana.

Julius Lassiter died May 1965 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Arthur Lassiter died 6 July 1967 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 September 1899 in Pine Bluff to Hardy Lassiter and Nellie Harris; lived at 1516 Missouri Street, Pine Bluff; and worked as a laborer at a compress. Mrs. Sadie Lassiter was informant.

Harry Lassiter died January 1980 in Chicago, Illinois.

Mary Lassiter Taylor died February 1987 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

John Farrell Lassiter died 4 February 1997 in Chicago, Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

Coley v. Artis, pt. 4: I stated the fact.

The fourth in a series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908. The dispute centered on 30 acres of land. Thomas “Tom Pig” Artis began renting the property in 1881 from William J. Exum, a wealthy white farmer. In 1892, Exum’s widow Mary sold the land to Napoleon Hagans. Hagans died in 1896, and the land passed to his sons Henry and William S. Hagans. In 1899, Henry sold his interest to his brother William, who sold the 30 acres in 1908 to J. Frank Coley, a young white farmer. Tom Artis laid claim to the property, arguing that Napoleon Hagans had sold it to him. Coley filed suit and, after hearing the testimony of more than a dozen witnesses, the court decided in his favor. (Paragraph breaks and some punctuation have been inserted for better readability.)

Plaintiff introduces John Rountree who being duly sworn, testifies as follows:

I know Tom Artis. I heard him say that the cotton was for rents. I heard that for the last 14 years. I collected the rent for W.S. Hagans for several years. I heard Tom allude to it as rents. I heard last September after the land was sold, that it was interest. I never heard anything but rents to that time. I had a conversation with Tom, and carried a message to Hagans for Tom. This last Fall Tom came over to the gin house where I was ginning, and said to me that he understood that Hagans was going to sell the 30 acres piece of land, and said to me to tell Hagans if he pleased not to sell till he gave him notice, because he wanted to buy it. I delivered that message to Hagans. Hagans said alright he would sell it to him as soon as anybody, but he didn’t want to sell one piece at the time. We didn’t talk about the sale to Coley.

CROSS EXAMINED.

I have lived at W.S. Hagans’ for about 18 years. I farm at Hagans’. I rent land. I pay him 1/3. I collected Tom’s rent along in the Fall. Hagans has asked me to go to Tom and ask him to send his rents. Uncle Tom sometime would bring the rent and Hagans wasn’t there, and he would give it to me to keep for Hagans. Tom called it rent when Pole Hagans was living. (Plaintiff objects.) I wasn’t there when he sent it to W.J. Exum. While Mr. Exum was living, I didn’t see Tom taking his cotton there. I didn’t tell Hagans that I would swear the old man always called it rent. I had no right to, I didn’t tell the lawyers I would swear to that. I stated the fact that he always called it rent. I told Tom that Hagans had sent me for the rent two or three times. I knew it was rent. I told Hagans that I had his rent from Tom. I told Coley that the old man called it rent last summer. They had me subpoenad before then. I told him Tom always called it rent. I told Mr. Coley’s lawyers that last summer. I never told Hagans, he knew it.

This would have been a wearyingly familiar vista to John Rountree, Tom Artis, William Hagans, and the other farmers involved in this litigation.

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John Rountree, born about 1859, was the son of Fannie Rountree and lived in Nahunta township, Wayne County, all his life. However, by 1880 his widowed sister Rhoda Daniel Harris and her sons Benjamin, Edwin [Edward], and Carroll Harris had moved ten miles or so into Wilson, where she found employment as a cook for the family of Willie [Wiley] and Eliza Rountree Daniel. Eliza Daniel was a daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth Daniel Rountree, and John Rountree and Rhoda Daniel Harris may have been linked to her family during slavery. John Rountree’s great-nephew, brickmason Benjamin A. Harris, son of Edward Harris, is featured here and here and here.

Studio shots, no. 182: Benjamin F. and Fannie McNeill Harris.

Benjamin Franklin Harris (1896-1976).

Fannie McNeill Harris (1898-1943).

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In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Charles Harriss, 49; wife Maggie, 36; and children Ora, 16, Lee A., 14, Annie C., 11, Charlie, 9, Hattie, 6, Benjamin F., 4, and Carr H., 2.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Charles Harris, 50; wife Maggie, 44; and children Ora, 26, Charlie, 18, Hattie, 16, Benjamin F., 14, Hezekiah, 12, Mattie, 9, William H., 7, James C., 5, and Maggie, 1.

In the 1910 census of Back Swamp township, Robeson County, N.C.: farmer York McNeill, 49; wife Francess, 46; and children Franklin, 16, Lillie, 14, Fannie, 11, Walter, 8, Lulu, 6, Lonie, 4, and Dewey, 2.

In 1917, Benjamin Harris registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per her registration card, he was born 1 January 1896 in Black Creek, N.C.; lived at R.F.D., Fremont; was a self-employed farmer in Black Creek township; and was single.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Charley Harris, 60; wife Maggie, 55; and children Ora, 36, Ben, 24, Ezecar, 21, Mattie, 18, William, 10, 16, James, 14, and Maggie, 11.

In the 1920 census of Lumberton township, Robeson County, N.C.: John W. McNeill, 59; wife Frannie, 53; and children Lillie, 24, Fannie, 22, Walter, 18, Lula, 16, Lena, 14, and Hughie, 12.

Benjamin Harris, 29, of Black Creek township, married Fannie McNeal, 24, of Wilson, on 24 December 1925 in Wilson. Baptist minister B.F. Jordan performed the ceremony in the presence of Maggie L. Jordan and Nannie Jordan.

In the 1930 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County, N.C.: farmer Benjamin Harris, 34; wife Fannie, 28, laborer; daughter Kathaleen, 3, and Dorethea, 1; and nephew [sic] Mary L. McNeal, 11.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Ben Harris, 44, tobacco company storage hand; wife Fannie, 44; and children Catherine, 13, Duretha, 11, Lula May, 8, and Ernestine, 6.

Fannie Harris died 19 December 1943 at her home at No. 7 Carolina Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 45 years old; was born in Robeson County, N.C., to York McNeil and Frances McKeller; and was married to Benjamin Harris.

Photos courtesy of Amazon.com user Laraysha Shaw.

Snaps, no. 88: the Charles and Maggie Woodard Harris family.

Charles and Maggie Woodard Harris and children, circa 1915. 

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In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Benj’n Woodard, 32, wife Harriet, 31, and children Edna, 13, Frederick, 9, and Venah, 6.

In the 1870 census of House Creek township, Wake County, N.C.: farm laborer William Harris, 30; wife Candrice, 30; and children Emeline, 13, Charles, 12, Willie, 6, and Medicus, 2.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer, Benjamin Woodard, 42, wife Harriet, 39, children Frederick, 18, Maggie, 15, and Ruth, 10, plus a servant with neuralgia named Merrit Joyner, 23.

In the 1880 census of Houses Creek township, Wake County: farmer William Harris, 45; wife Candis, 37; and children Charles, 20, Willie, 14, Medicus, 11, Betty, 8, Nancy, 4, Mary and Martha, 5, and Patsy, 2.

Charles Harris, 23, married Maggie Woodard, 19, on 13 December 1882 at Benj. Woodard’s in Wilson County in the presence of Frank Woodard, Benj. Woodard, and Harriett Woodard.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Charles Harriss, 49; wife Maggie, 36; and children Ora, 16, Lee A., 14, Annie C., 11, Charlie, 9, Hattie, 6, Benjamin F., 4, and Carr H., 2.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Charles Harris, 50; wife Maggie, 44; and children Ora, 26, Charlie, 18, Hattie, 16, Benjamin F., 14, Hezekiah, 12, Mattie, 9, William H., 7, James C., 5, and Maggie, 1.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Charley Harris, 60; wife Maggie, 55; and children Ora, 36, Ben, 24, Ezecar, 21, Mattie, 18, William, 16, James, 14, and Maggie, 11.

Charlie Harris died 9 September 1922 in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 63 years old; was married to Maggie Harris; was a farmer who owned his farm; and was born in Franklin [sic], N.C., to William Harris. Informant was Leando Harris, R.F.D. 6, Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Hezicah Harris, 31; widowed mother Maggie Harris, 65; and daughters [i.e. Hezekiah’s sisters] Oda, 46, and Maggie, 21. Next door: Leander Harris, 44; wife Lucy, 48; and daughters Ada, 21, Rosa, 20, Dazie, 16, and Ida, 15.

Ora Harris died 10 February 1935 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 24 August 1883 in Wilson County to Charlie Harris of Franklin County and Maggie Woodard of Wilson County; was single; and farmed.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Debro Bunch, 40; wife Mattie, 38; widowed mother-in-law Maggie Harris, 76; and children Charlie, 15, Athenia, 12, David, 10, Mattie Lee, 9, and Mary Bunch, 6.

Maggie Harris died 19 February 1945 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1864 in Wilson County to Ben Woodard and Harriet Woodard; was the widow of Charlie Harris; and engaged in farming. She was buried in Harris cemetery [which had a Fremont address, but was probably in Black Creek township just inside the Wilson County line.] Debro Bunch was informant.

Cora Ann Elizabeth Woodard died 9 May 1945 in Black Creek township. Per her death certificate, she was born 19 March 1889 in Wilson County to Charlie Harris of Wake County and Maggie Woodard of Wilson County; worked in farming; was married to Steven Lee Woodard; and was buried in Harris cemetery, Black Creek.

Leander Harris died 22 February 1963 at his home at 1202 Wainwright Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 March 1886 in Wilson County to Charlie Harris and Maggie Woodard; was married to Lucy Harris; and worked as a laborer.

Mattie Harris Bunch died 15 January 1968 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 March 1902 to Charlie Harris and Maggie Woodard; was married to Debro Bunch; lived at 511 South Douglas Street, Wilson; and worked as a tobacco factory laborer.

William Henry Harris Sr. died 14 December 1970 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 22 February 1903 to Charlie Harris and Maggie Woodard and was married to Lucy L. Pate. Informant was Lucy Harris, Elm City.

Benjamin Franklin Harris died 21 August 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 January 1896 to Charlie Harris and Maggie Woodard; was a widower; lived at 205 Manchester Street; worked as a laborer. Ernestine Harris, 205 Manchester, was informant.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Laraysha Shaw.

The death by drowning of Leander Sauls.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1922.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 March 1922.

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Lee Ander Sauls registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 11 [illegible] 1899; lived at Route 3, Stantonsburg; was a farm laborer for Claude Foster; his contact was Ivery Artis, Fremont, Wayne County; and he had lost one eye. He signed his card “Leander Sauls.”

On 19 July 1919, Lee Sauls, 21, of Stantonsburg, married Bessie Barnes, 20, of Stantonsburg, in Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Lee A. Sauls, 21; wife Bessie, 20; children Mary F., 14 months, and John L., 1 month; and mother-in-law Ceilie Barnes, 61, widow.

Leander Sauls died 26 February 1922 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 23 years old; was born in Wilson County to Ivey Artis and Emia Sauls; was married; and farmed for W.A. Batts. Eddie Sauls was informant.

Snaps, no. 72: Jesse and Delphia Ruffin Harris.

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The 13 September 2018 edition of the Wilson Daily Times featured Jerry Harris‘ contribution of this photograph of his grandparents Jesse “Jack” Harris and Delphia Ruffin Harris, most likely taken in the 1950s or early 1960s.

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In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Ruffin, 24; wife Mariah, 22; and children Hurbert, 3, William, 2, and Delphia, 10 months; plus brother Walter, 19.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Arch Harris, 53; wife Rosa, 45; and children James, 22, Arch, 20, Mary Jane, 18, Nancy, 16, Lucy, 12, Minnie, 11, Maggie, 8, Jessie, 6, and Annie, 3.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Wilson Road, farmer Gray Ruffin, age unknown; wife Maria, 45; and children Hubbard, 13, William, 12, Delphia, 11, Lizzie, 9, Mary, 8, Pattie, 7, Franklin, 6, London, 4, and Bessie, 11 months.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: James Harris, 28, Dora, 22, and Rosa, 1, with grandmother Cherady Harris, 80. Next door: Arch Harris, 56, Rosa, 51, and children Jessie, 15, Annie, 12, and James, 12.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Barnes Crossing Road, farmer H. Gray Ruffin, 38; wife Mariah, 35; and children G. Hurbert Jr., 22, H. William, 21, Delphia, 20, Lizzie, 18, Mary, 16, Pattie, 15, B. Frank, 14, London, 13, Bessie, 11, [illegible], 10, and W. George, 9.

Jesse Harris, 32, of Wilson, married Delphia Ruffin, 27, of Gardners, on 17 January 1927 in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, Jessie Harris, 34, farmer; wife Delphia, 36; children Rosetta, 12, Alberta, 9, James, 2, and Jesse Jr., 1; and mother Rosa, 66, widow.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Wilson Road, Jack Harris, 43, farm laborer; wife Delphia, 40; children Rosetta, 22, Odell, 20, Annie M., 15, James Oscar, 13, Jesse, 12, Thelma, 10, Amos, 8, Archie, 7, and Chaney Mae, 5; and grandsons Ned, 5, and Leroy, 1.

Willie Gray Ruffin died 24 September 1969 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 July 1921 to Delphia Ruffin; lived at 801 Moore Street; was married to Mildred Ruffin; worked as a laborer. Channie M. Horton, 609 Stephenson Street, was informant.

Jesse Harris died 4 June 1975 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 November 1893 to Art Harris Jr. and Rosetta Woodard; was married to Delphia Harris; lived at 919 Poplar Street; and was a farmer.

Delphia Harris died 10 May 1984 in Raleigh, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 May 1899 in Wilson to Gray and Mariah Ruffin; was a widow; and had worked in farm labor.