Despite being described as a “good old colored woman,” Lula Jones Hinnant Hinnant was barely 40 when she died.
Murray Hinnant, 21, of Springhill township, son of Randle and Angeline Hinnant, married Lula Locus, 18, of Old Fields township, daughter of John and Milly Locus, on 4 December 1897 at Gray Deanes‘ residence in Old Fields. D.H. Hinnant of Springhill, James Deanes of Old Fields, and James Dolphus Williams of Springhill were witnesses.
Roscoe Hinnant [misspelled “Hinyard” on the upper portion of the license application], 24, of Old Fields township, son of Gray and Milbry Hinnant, married Lula Hinnant, 21, of Old Fields, daughter of Jno. and Millie Locus, on 23 March 1904 in Wilson County.
Roscoe Everett Hinnant registered for the World War I draft in 1918 in Wilson County. Per his draft registration, he was born 4 January 1879; lived at Route 1, Sims, Wilson County; farmed for William Dew; and his nearest relative was Lula Hinnant.
In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Turkey Creek Road, farmer R.E. Hinnant, 40, wife Lula, 37, and daughter Minnie, 12.
Loula Hinnant died 28 January 1920 in Bailey, Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 37 years old; was born in Nash County to John and Mary Lucus; was married to Everett Hinnant; and farmed.
I happened upon this Notice signed by Columbus E. Artis, one of the principals of the undertaking firm Artis, Flanagan & Batts, in the Wilson Daily Times. Who was Oliver Marable? What was his “case”? What were the “false reports being circulated”?
Wilson Daily Times, 14 December 1925.
Here is Marable’s death certificate:
Filled out largely in C.E. Artis’ bold, readily recognizable hand, it states that Marable died 4 December 1925 in Spring Hill township; was about 55 years old; was married to Bettie Marable; resided at 717 Manchester Street; was born in Henderson, N.C., to Grand and Cornelia Marable. In a different script, Marable’s cause of death: “fracture of base of skull accidentally incurred in a cave-in of earth.”
Or was it accidental at all?
An inquest held into Marable’s death revealed a bizarre set of facts. On a Friday evening, Marable, who lived on Roberson Street in East Wilson, was miles away in Springhill township digging with a dozen other men for “buried treasure.” Later that night, Marable’s battered body was taken to C.E. Artis and his business partner Walter E. Flanagan, who were preparing to bury him when the police intervened.
When Artis and Flanagan could not produce a death certificate, the police halted the funeral and contacted the coroner, who went with several county officials to the dig site. Dissatisfied with the accounts of witnesses as to what had happened to Marable, the coroner ordered an inquest. A jury traveled out to Tobe Hinnant‘s farm in Old Fields [Springhill?] township, where they found a “huge hole” in a field near a creek bank.
The witnesses, who had been digging the hole with Marable, testified that he had been killed when the hole’s sidewalls caved in, but the jury found foul play involved.
The physician who conducted a post mortem of Marable’s body concluded he likely met his death from a skull fracture, but had also suffered a broken arm, collar bone, and femur and contusions of the back, neck and face.
The police arrested seven people in connection with Marable’s death. Tom Boykin, conjure doctor Richard Pitts and Amos Batts [who was both Marable’s brother-in-law and the third business partner of C.E. Artis] were held without bond; William Edwards, McKinley Edwards, Tobe Hinnant, and John Hinnant bonded out. The story these witnesses told: conjure man Pitts showed up in Hinnant’s neighborhood, claiming that there was buried treasure nearby. Hinnant said he had often dreamed of such a thing, and Pitts said he could locate it. Hinnant pointed out the X in his dreams, and Pitts performed a divination with mineral oil. Though it is not clear how the rest of the treasure hunters were assembled, digging commenced. When the tip of a seven-foot augur embedded itself in a wooden object, the treasure was found. Marable died during the attempt to dig it out. The jury viewed the stuck augur, several shovels, and some sounding rods, as well as a length of white cord festooned about the perimeter to keep out the “haints” lingering in a nearby cemetery in use during slavery. (The jury concluded the augur was more likely stuck in a coffin lid than a treasure chest.) On a side note, investigators also found a large hole, filled in, in Marable’s back yard on Roberson Street, evidence of an earlier search.
Wilson Daily Times, 9 December 1925.
The next day, Raleigh’s News and Observer reported that the jury had adjourned without a verdict, but with a recommendation that Pitts be held pending investigation by a lunacy commission. (Per the Times the same day, Pitts “in his many trips and ‘treasure hunts’ in and around Wilson county had poisoned the minds of many of the negro inhabitants in regards to buried treasure and hidden pots of gold. In many cases sections of the county Pitts has ‘engineered’ treasure hunts, receiving pay for his ‘knowledge’ while honest negroes work in good faith at the task of uncovering the treasure which is never found.”) Everyone else was released. The jury had gone back to the site to find that it had been tampered with. The augur and divining rods were gone, and someone had thrown four feet of dirt into the hole. Several convicts were put to work to shovel out the dirt, but Marable’s pick could not be found. Amos Batts had testified that he did not know about the digging until Marable had died, but when told that Marable had his hand on the money when the pit collapsed, joined the enterprise. (Presumably by agreeing to bury Marable reporting the death or issuing a death certificate.) Someone named Lee Pearce testified, but no details as to what.
Five days later, the matter was dropped. Most of the 20 witnesses had testified to hearsay, Tobe Hinnant’s six-year-old swore he had never accused his father of killing Marable, and county officials gave ambiguous testimony about whether they had seen blood in the pit. The jury was hopelessly confused. Hinnant was freed, leaving only Pitts in jail, presumably for his chicanery.
In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Marable Oliver (c) lab 501 Lucas al
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Marable Oliver (c) lab Robinson nr Stantonsburg rd
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Marable Oliver (c) lab 501 Robinson
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 501 Robinson Street, Oliver Marable, 56, oil mill laborer; wife Betie, 48; and daughter Hattie, 7; plus brother-in-law John Batts, 52, oil mill laborer.
William Edwards and McKinley Edwards — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 609 South Railroad Street, rented for $16/month, farm laborer William Edwards, 52; wife Lillie, 49; son McKinly, 28, worker at Hackney Body Company; McKinley’s wife Maggie, 25, farmworkers; and his son Bernard, 6.
In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Atlas Hinnant, 47; wife Hattie, 43; children Albert, 18, Cleo, 15, Mary, 13, and Paul, 9; plus mother Haley Lane, 62, widow.
In 1940, Albert Franklin Hinnant registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 23 March 1909 in Wilson; lived at R.F.D. #1, Lucama, Wilson County; his contact was mother Hattie Hinnant, R.F.D. #3, Kenly, Wilson County; and he worked for Walter Kirby, Lucama. He was described as 6’5″, 205 pounds.
On 28 December 1972, Albert Franklin Hinnant, single, born 23 March 1911, married Lillie Mae Brown, divorced, born 23 June 1915, in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Albert F. Hinnant died 5 May 1988 in Hampton, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 March 1911 in Wilson, N.C., to Atlas Hinnant and Hattie Pierce; was married to Lillie M. Hinnant; lived in Portsmouth, Virginia, and was a retired merchant seaman. He was buried in Hampton National Cemetery, Hampton, Virginia.
In the 1870 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: Helen Hinnant, 17, farm laborer; Clarkey Hinnant, 1, and Benj. Hinnant, 95, farm laborer.
James Revell, 22, of Springhill township, son of Sanders and Hannah Revell, married Clarkie Hinnant, 21, of Springhill township, daughter of Em. Boyette and Hannah Hinnant, on 9 May 1890. London Revell applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister Nash Horton performed the ceremony.
In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer James C. Revell, 30; wife Clarky, 28; and children Nancy, 9, James T., 7, Robert, 5, and Violia, 2.
In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer James Revel, 40; wife Clorca, 39; and children Nancy, 18, James T., 16, Viola, 11, Lunn, 9, and Jefferson J., 7, and cousin Lessie Barnes, 12.
In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on a branch off the Fremont and Kenly Road, farmer James Revell, 52; wife Clarkie, 50; and children Viola, 20, London, 18, Jefferson, 16, and Manley, 5.
In the 1930 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: farmer James T. Revell, 37; mother Clarkey, 61; sisters Nancy, 39, and Viola, 32; brother Manley, 18; and nephews James L., 5, and William F. Sheard, 1.
In 1940, Manley William Revell registered for the World War II draft in Johnston County. Per his registration card, he was born 4 September 1914 in Wilson; lived in Kenly; his contact was mother Clarke Revell of Kenly, N.C.; and he worked for W.P.A.
In 1942, James Jefferson Revell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 30 September 1903 in Wayne County; lived at 506 South Goldsboro Street, Wilson; his contact was Clarkey Revell of Kenly, N.C.; and he worked for Johnson Furniture Company, 120 South Goldsboro Street, Wilson.
In 1946, William Frank Sheard registered for the World War II draft in Johnston County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 22 June 1928 in Johnston County; lived near Kenly, Johnston County; his contact was Clarky Revell of Kenly; and he worked for the Town of Wilson.
James Revell died 16 August 1948 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 September 1909 in Johnston County to James Revell and Clarkie Hinniant; was married to Annie D. Revell; was a truck driver; and was buried in Polly Watson cemetery.
Clarkie Revells died 25 February 1962 in Kenly, Johnston County. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 March 1891 to E. Boyette and Hilda Hinton; and was widowed. Viola Revells of Kenly was informant.
Nancy Sheard died 15 December 1965 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born July 1891 in Wilson County to James Revell and Clarkie Hinnant; and was buried in Polly Watson cemetery.
Viola Victoria Revell died 28 October 1970 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 December 1900 to James Revell and Clarkey Hinnant; and was buried in Polly Watson cemetery. Manley Revell was informant.
Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Tabella Atkinson.
Though the Courier reported Cleophus Hinnant’s death (and, apparently, his name) as a mystery, his death certificate was clear about what happened. Hinnant “was murdered. Shot to death by a man named Turner Williamson.”
Turner Williamson was Cleophus Hinnant’s former father-in-law, father of his deceased first wife. I have not been able to discover more about this tragedy.
In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Josiah Hinnant, 47, farmer; wife Mary L., 38; and son Cleophus, 17.
On 11 November 1920, Cleophus Hinnant, 18, of Cross Roads, son of Josiah and Victoria Hinnant, married Montie Williamson, 19, of Cross Roads, daughter of Turner and Margaret Williamson, at Turner Williamson’s. Baptist minister Emerson Hooker performed the ceremony in the presence of Abram Deans, Henry Bynum and David Bynum, all of Lucama.
Montia Hinnant died 27 November 1921 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 19 years old; was married to Cleother Hinnant; was born in Wilson County to Turner Williamson and Margarette Barnes; and was a tenant farmer for Josiah Hinnant. Josiah Hinnant was informant.
On 2 January 1923, Cleophus Hinnant and Gessie Bunch received a marriage license.
Josiah Hinnant filed for letters of administration for his son on 4 January 19. His application listed the value of Cleophus Hinnant’s estate as about $500, and his heirs as Gessie Hinnant and an unborn child.
In August 1870, Moses Bynum, with J.W. Smith, posted a bond to insure Bynum’s appearance in Wilson County court to face an adultery charge.
Jack Privett and Jinsey Privett were subpoenaed to appear as witnesses against Bynum and Martha Snead.
In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: South Carolina-born farm laborer Jack Privett, 40; wife Quincy, 32 [probably Jincey]; and daughter Malvinia, 4; plus Adeler Privett, 18, and her likely children Jane, 3, and Eli, 9 months.
Laura Sneed, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Moses Bynum and [illegible] Bynum, married Burnis Hinnant, 21, of Wilson County, son of Amos Hinnant and Lindy Hinnant, on 3 September 1888 at Henry Dudley’s residence in Cross Roads township.
Mollie Hinnant died 4 August 1954 in Kenly, Johnston County. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 September 1878 in Wilson County to Moses Bynum and Martha Snead and was a widow. Mrs. Lossie Shaw was informant. [Her marriage license and the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County, suggest that Laura “Mollie” Bynum Hinnant was in fact born about 1869, which is consistent with her parents’ prosecution.]
Adultery Records –1870, Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.
Hattie Hinnant — possibly, in the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Atlas Hinnant, 47, farmer; wife Hattie, 43; children Albert, 18, Cleo, 15, Mary, 13, and Paul, 9; and widowed mother Haley Lane, 63.
Know all men by these presents that I Benjmon Hardy being of sound mind and memory but knowing that it is apointed to man to die do make and declare this my last will and testament as follows first that all my just debts be paid sect I give to my beloved wif one half of my property both real and personal third I give to my wife daughter Litha the other half of my property booth real and personal and after the death of my wife then hir half to hir Daughter Litha fouth I here by Appoint Solomon Lamm executor to this my last will
this the 28th day of April eight teen hundard and eighty four Benjmon (X) Hardy
Test A.J. Ellis, Huel Newsom
The inventory of Benjamin Hardy’s estate, 28 December 1885.
In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborers Benjn. Hardy, 25, wife Mary A., 30, and daughter Letha, 14.
In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Benjamin Hardy, 28; wife Mary Ann, 40; daughter Tillitha, 22; and mother-in-law Hester Hinnant, 65.
Estate of Benjamin Hardy, images available atNorth Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: garden laborer Joe Hill, 71, and wife Annie, 68, housemaid; daughter Elizabeth Hinnant, 23, laundress; son-in-law Frank, 37, store drayman; grandson Hercules, 1 month; daughter Estell Hill, 20, cook; son-in-law(?) Lela Hill, 16, laundress; son-in-law Edgar Barnes, 20, odd jobs laborer, and daughter Mary, 19, laundress.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Mercer Street, widow Louise Hinyard, 58; son Frank, 34, hardware store truck driver; daughter-in-law Elizabeth, 31, tobacco factory worker; and grandson Hercules, 10.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 306 Pender Street, rented for $20/month, widow Anna Hill, 75, private maid; grandson Herkie Lee Hill, 19, drugstore deliveryman; lodgers Willie Bryant, 18, bicycle shop laborer, and Elixandora Sharp, 21, barbershop bootblack; roomer John Sharp, 13; and granddaughter Rosa Simmons, 17, laundress.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hinnant Hercules (c; porter) 306 N Pender
Per his death certificate, Hercules Hinnant died 17 June 1934 in Wilson. He was born 21 August 1910 to Frank Hinnant and Elizabeth Hill; resided at 306 Pender; was single; and worked as a laborer.
Wilson Drug Company — per the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Wilson Drug Company was at 114 South Tarboro Street.
Miller Drug Company — the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Miller’s Drug Store was at 200 East Nash.
Willie Bryant — see above.
Mack Sharpe — probably, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Katie Sharpe, 37; and children Harvey, 21, Willard, 19, Ernest, 17, Samson and Gladys T., 15, Nellie, 13, Alexander, 11, Kathryn, 9, Mack, 6, and John, 4.
Freeman Ennis — in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 904 Viola, rented for $15/month, Maggie Ennis, 45, sons Freeman, 22, barbershop bootblack, and Ennis, 12, daughter Hennie, 10; and roomer Julus Barnes, 27, Hackney body plant laborer.
Willie Neale — probably, in the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, Jaushue Neal, 45; wife Pearcy, 39; and children Willie, 18, Louise, 16, Mattie, 13, Essie M., 12, and Charlie, 11.