Look! The first colored fair!

Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 1920.

“It will be up-to-date in every way. Exhibits of every kind, good racing, good riders, good speaking, good shows, good midway, good free attractions, in fact, everything that it takes to make a good fair!”

  • Hon. Robert H. Terrell
  • Prof. E.J. Hayes — Edgar J. Hayes, superintendent of Wilson’s colored graded schools.
  • F.E. Edwards — Frank E. Edwards died 17 February 1931 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 57 years old; was born in Wayne County to King and Eliza Edwards; was married to Addie Edwards; lived at 426 Spring Street; and worked as a house mover.
  • W.M. Phillips — William H. Phillips, dentist.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

E.J. Hayes and Wilson County Digest.

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Wilson Daily Times, 15 May 1923.

There are no known surviving issues of the Wilson County Digest.

The following year, Edgar J. Hayes left his position as superintendent of Wilson County’s colored graded schools to become principal of Williamston Colored School in Martin County, and to develop its high school division. This Rosenwald school was renamed E.J. Hayes High School in 1951. An elementary school in Williamston now bears Hayes’ name.


I have only one other reference to Hayes in Wilson — in the byline of an article he contributed to the Daily Times in 1921.

In the 1940 census of Williamston, Martin County, North Carolina: Amielissa Cherry, 55; daughter Nora, 25, teacher; adopted daughter Ruth Bazemore, 13; lodger Edgar J. Hayes, 30, principal, born South Carolina; lodger Augusta Hayes, 38, teacher; and lodger James Hughs, 23, insurance salesman.

Merry Christmas!



Undated Christmas card depicting Wilson’s Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church from Lula Mae Sutton Hayes, probably from the 1950s, found among the correspondence of my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001).


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Joseph Sutton, 31, wife Mary Liza, 30, and children Lula M., 9, Collie L., 6, Amanda, 4, and Bessie E., 1.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, tenant farmer Joseph B. Sutton, wife Malissa, and children Lula May, 19, a teacher, Carrol Lee, 16, Senoa, 13, Bessie, 11, Rosa Belle, 9, Beatrice, 7, James W., 5, Fredrick C., 2, and Levi J., 5 months.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farm laborer James Hays, 23; wife Lula M., 21, a schoolteacher; and sons Maris, 5, and Royland, 3.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 112 South Fourth Street, fish peddler James Hayes, 40; wife Lula, 39; sons Morris, 14, and Roland, 13.

Maurice Branch Hayes and Roland Esmon Hayes registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County as they reached their 18th birthdays. Both identified their mother Lula M. Hayes of 903 Viola Street as their contact person. Maurice worked as a busboy at Cherry Hotel and Roland at O’Brien Factory during tobacco season.

Lula Mae Hayes died 4 July 2007 in Newport News, Virginia, just shy of her 107th birthday.