Though this looks like a newspaper article, the code at the bottom of this piece indicates that it was essentially an advertisement touting a device invented by Tuskegee Institute-trained veterinarian Dr. Elijah L. Reid to control frightened horses. Reid was, perhaps, at the peak of his career around this time, having moved from his native Wayne County to Stantonsburg and then to Wilson around 1905.
Tom Johnson was treating his ailing horse when Chief of Police J.A. Wiggs showed up and ordered Johnson to mayor’s court. Johnson instead went to get a veterinarian — perhaps Elijah L. Reid. When Johnson returned, he encountered Humane Society president Harry Wainwright, who told him, “We have killed your horse,” apparently with Chief Wiggs’ gun. Johnson sued both.
When the case hit the docket, Wainwright quickly secured a continuance and left the courtroom. Wiggs’ counsel was present, but the chief himself did not bother to show up. After he was adjudged liable and ordered to pay Johnson $30, the chief claimed that the charges against him were brought just “to stir up trouble” and the law was being against him unfairly. This strange assertion was borne out by the prosecutor’s announcement that he was not likely to prosecute Wainwright, though he was the actual shooter.
In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: domestic servant Thos. Johnson, 30; wife Milley, 25, domestic servant; son Charles, 1; Louisa Ruffin, 20, domestic servant; and Phillis Perry, 19, domestic servant.
In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, Thomas Johnson, 31, teamster; wife Milly, 28; and children Willie, 9, Ella, 8, and Daisey, 5.
On 6 November 1884, Thomas Johnson, 34, of Wilson County, married Alice Beaman, 24, of Wilson County, at Thomas Johnson’s. Missionary Baptist minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony in the presence of Sam Hill, Henry Linsey, and Rose Allen.
On 2 May 1895, Joe Allen, son of Matilda Allen, and Ella Johnson, daughter of Thomas and Alice Johnson, both 22 and of Wilson County, were married at “the church” by A.M.E. Zion minister L.B. Williams in the presence of S.A. Smith, S.H. Vick, and C.A. Norwood. [Thomas Johnson was a close associate of Samuel H. Vick and family.]
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Thomas Johnson, 53, mail carrier; wife Alice, 40, laundry woman; sons Keefus, 18, Thomas, 1, and Willie, 30; daughter Daisey, 22, cook; and lodger Katie Black, 19, cook.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, Thomas Johnson, 65, odd jobs laborer; wife Allice, 50, laundress; and daughter Ella, 37, cook for private family.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 320 Lodge Street, Ella Allen, 46, laundress, and her father and mother Thomas Johnson, 76, drayman, and Alice Johnson, 68.
Thomas Davis Johnson died 23 February 1924 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 78 years old; was a widower; lived at 316 Lodge; was a self-employed drayman; was born in Halifax County, N.C., to Mack Johnson and Carolina Johnson. Informant was Ella Allen.
Ella Allen died 7 January 1948 at her home at 209 Ashe Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 63 years old; was a widow; was born in Wilson to Tom Johnson and Millie Johnson. Informant was Thomas Wil[illegible], 209 Ashe. She was buried in Rountree cemetery.
In January 1898, grocerAnnie V.C. Hunt bought a sorrel mare from horse dealers Selby & Hare for $110 (which seems a very high price.) The parties registered the note in Wilson County Superior Court.
Disaster struck both parties ten months later when a fire started in Hunt’s store and swept through her Goldsboro Street block, destroying Selby & Hare’s stables. Coincidentally, both businesses rented their premises from Jefferson D. Farrior, and his suspicions about the source of the conflagration led to the murder of Hunt’s husband.
Wilson Advance, 17 November 1898.
Deed Book 46, page 128, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.