Howard

209 South Vick Street.

The one hundred-seventy-ninth 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 the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; hip-roofed, double-pile cottage with turned porch posts.”

This house was demolished, along with nearly all others in the triangle bounded by Nash, Pender and Hines Streets, to make way for Wilson’s Freeman Place redevelopment project, which has constructed more than one hundred affordable houses in the area.

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On 14 April 1914, Kenyon Howard paid Boykin-Townsend Realty Company $200 for a parcel on Second [South Vick] Street [between Robeson and Wiggins Streets] adjoining another of Howard’s lots, another of Boykin-Townsend’s lots, and a lot belonging to Jonah Wilson. This property appears to be 209 South Vick. Howard was a prosperous farmer in western Wilson County, and it does not appear that he ever lived at the address.

Deed book 26, page 329, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hines Windsor (c; Fannie) lab h 209 S Vick

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hines Windsor (c; Fannie) hlpr h 209 S Vick

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 South Vick, rented for $20/month, Winsor Hines, 53, junkyard laborer; wife Fannie, 47; daughter Margaret, 20; daughter Ada Hemery, 22; son-in-law John Hemery, 27, junkyard laborer; grandchildren Winsor, 4, and Jim L. Hemery, 3; and mother-in-law Jennette Corbett, 96, widow.

Winger Hines died 22 August 1930 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 51 years old; was married to Fannie Hines; was born in Pitt County, N.C., to Wiley Hines and Nancy Barnes; lived at 209 South Vick Street; and worked as a common laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 South Vick, Connie Batts, 59, oil mill laborer; wife Mattie, 51; children Beatrix, 27, Ruth, 25, both tobacco factory laborers, and Lula, 23, private housekeeper; grandchildren Susan, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Carl, 4, and Rudolph, 9 months; and son James, 21, grocery store deliveryman, and his wife Louise, 19.

Geather Connie Batts died 10 May 1941 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 60 years old; was born in Wilson County to Redman Batts and Celester Battle; was married Mattie Batts; lived at 209 South Vick; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Batts Mattie (c; 4) tob wkr h 209 S Vick

Mattie Batts died 17 June 1944 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 July 1890 in Nash County, N.C., to John Ford and Lettie Jones; was the widow of Gorther C. Batts; and lived at 209 South Vick. Lettie Ruth Batts was informant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bell Jerry (c; Eileeza) farmer h 209 S Vick

Wilson Daily Times, 2 March 1948.

Henderson Howard, alias Brantley, mortgages 25 acres.

On 16 January 1904, having borrowed $250, Henderson Howard, who was also known as Henderson Brantley, gave Zealous Howard a mortgage deed for 25 acres in Taylors township, Wilson County. If Henderson failed to repay the loan, Zealous was authorized to sell the property at auction.

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In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Betty Brantley, 50, and her children Kimbrel, 25, Henderson, 14, and Guilford B. Brantley, 12, all described as mulatto.

In the 1860 census of Bailey township, Nash County, North Carolina: Henderson Howard, 21, farm laborer, in the household of farmer Thomas B. Deans, 25. 

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Henderson Howard, 40; wife Mollie, 25; and children Charley, 8, Richard, 6, Bettie, 5, and Hellan, 1.

In the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: widow Henderson Howard, 59, farmer; children Charley, 26, and Bettie, 21; and servant Linda Boon, 44. 

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Howards Path, Henderson Brantley, 70, widower; daughter Bettie, 23; and cousin Dock Howard, 38.

On 9 April 1915, Hence Brantley executed a will in Wilson County. Under its terms, his daughter Bettie was to receive 22 1/2 acres, including the home place; son Charley Brantley was to receive an adjoining 22 1/2 acres; and daughter Molie Hourd [Mollie Howard] was to receive his remaining land. His money was to be split evenly among the children. Brantley named his “trusty friend” Grover T. Lamm executor, and Lamm and Dock Howard were witnesses.

Henderson Brantley died 2 December 1916 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 80 years old; was a widower; was a retired farmer; and was born in Nash County to Bettie Brantley. Informant was Charles Brantley.

Deed book, page 576-577, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Memories of William Hines.

I wrote here of the memoir of long-time Darden High School principal Edward M. Barnes. At the time, I believed the pink booklet to be a one-off tribute published by Darden High School Alumni Association. However, on a recent visit to Sallie B. Howard School, I was introduced to an entire library of these works spanning multiple literary genres — written, edited, and published in the 1980s and ’90s by Mrs. Howard for use in the Youth Enrichment Program.

I was particularly interested in this booklet, and Dr. JoAnne Woodard generously offered me a copy. William Hines seems scarcely remembered now, but was for nearly three-quarters of the twentieth century arguably Wilson’s most civically engaged African-American citizen.

The booklet is organized in a series of Mrs. Howard’s recollections. William Hines was her family’s landlord, and her earliest memories involve the house at 1011 Washington Street.

“… [W]hen we moved into his tenant house in 1935 or ’36, it was the first house we had ever lived in with electricity and an ‘inside’ toilet! We felt extremely fortunate as many of Wilson’s tenant houses did not have such accommodations.”

“How well I remember this neat little four-room house …. It sat so near the sidewalk there was hardly room to frow flowers in the front. In fact, the front porch steps were practically on the sidewalk itself! This, however, was not unusual as many houses were similarly situated during that time. I suppose the rationale of the builders was to leave room in the back so that the residents could plant gardens if they so desired. And in those lean days — nearly everyone desired!”  

“Mr. Hines owned many houses all over Wilson. He also owned his own barber shop where he employed as many as 12 barbers. The house we lived in sat right across the street from others who also owned their own homes. I remember my mother being highly impressed by the green striped awnings of some of these homeowner neighbors. Each summer they would lower these pretty awnings in order to shade their front porches. …”

“I also remember Mr. Hines as one of the donors of cash awards to students who excelled in various subjects at Darden High. Money was hard to come by in those days, and I for one worked hard to capture one of these cash prizes.”

“About 1942, I was a patient at Mercy Hospital on E. Green St. It was said that Mr. Hines was one of the persons who secured the funds from the Duke Endowment for the operations of this hospital. He was the Administrator at the time I was a patient. Practically every morning he would come into the war and say a little something to the patients.”

” … my high school days were filled with priceless memories: the parties, the basketball games held in heatless warehouses (I don’t remember feeling cold!); the football games played in the snow and slush in back of Darden High (I don’t remember feeling cold!); the Junior-Senior proms held on the 3rd floor of the old Vick casino (walk up!); the many concerts and dramas given by our school etc. …”

“Mr. Hines was one of the founders of the Men’s Civic Club. And it was this distinguished group of men who finally succeeded in getting a recreational facility for our community. Today, this facility is known as the Reid Street Center. Now the Black Community had a brand new place in which to house their various activities. How well I remember the Big Bands that played in our new facility. …”

William and Ethel Cornwell Hines in photo reproduced from booklet.

The obituary of Zillie Woodard Howard.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 June 1943.

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In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Alfred Woodard, 50; wife Sarah, 45; children Florence, 28, Mary, 22, Howell, 18, Sarah E., 16, Zilly A., 17, Lundon, 13, Minnie, 12, Willie, 10, Josephine, 7, and Evvy, 4; and grandchildren Elizabeth, 7, Robt. B., 5, and John H. Bynum, 4.

On 5 June 1901, Jesse Howard, 33, of Black Creek, son of Delius [Zealous] and Rhoda Howard, married Zillah Woodard, 32, of Taylor township, daughter of Alfred and Sarah Woodard, at Sarah Woodard’s in Wilson County. Willie Rountree registered for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister E.P. Pearsall performed the ceremony in the presence of Rountree, Phyllis Hagans, and Sarah Woodard.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Jessee Howard, 45; wife Zilla, 40; and children Henry, 25, florist, Marenda, 19, public school teacher, Lena, 17, Kensey, 15, farm laborer, Leaola, 13, and Jessie Jr., 1.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laborer Jesse Howard, 54; wife Zillia, 54; and children (or grandchildren) Cleo, 21, Ella M., 14, William, 7, and Samuel, 4.

In the 1925, 1928, and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Zillie Howard is listed at 934 Carolina Street.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 934 Carolina, owned and valued at $2000, Zellia Howard, 40, widow, maid, and grandsons William, 17, shoe shop cobbler, Oliver, 15, and Samuel Howard, 12, and Howard Artist, 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 934 Carolina, valued at $800, widow Zilla Howard, 75; her sister Nora Hinton, 64, divorced; also, paying $4/month, Helen Ford, 22, and Lydia, 5; grandson Sammie Howard, 22; and, paying $2/month, Annie Jenkins, 69.

In 1940, Oliver Lee Howard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 August 1914 in Wilson; he lived at 934 Carolina Street; his contact was his grandmother Zillie Woodard Howard; and he worked for Imperial Tobacco Company, Barnes Street, Wilson.

In 1940, Buster Howard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 1 September 1924 in Wilson; he lived at 934 Carolina Street; his contact was his grandmother Zillie Howard; and he worked for R.P. Watson & Company, Lodge Street, Wilson.

Zillie Woodard Howard died 6 June 1943 at her home at 934 Carolina Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 29 April 1865 in Wilson to Alfred Woodard and Harriett [last name unknown] and was the widow of Jessie Howard. Oliver Howard of the home was informant.

On 30 October 1944, . Howard had left all her property to her sister, Nora Hinton, and named John M. Barnes as executor. Almus A. Lovett and Letitia H. Lovett witnessed.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

927 Carolina Street.

The one hundred-fifty-third 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 building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; shotgun with hip roof.”

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 927 Carolina, rented for $8/month, Eugene McAllister, 33; wife Ella, 29; and children Eugene, 4, and Yvonne, 8. Eugene McAllister Sr. was a native of Florence, S.C.

Eugene McAlister registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 December 1907 in South Carolina; his contact was Prince Edward McAlister of Evergreen, Florence County, S.C.; and was not emplyoyed.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McAlister Eug (c; Etta; 4) lab h 927 Carolina

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Howard Pearl Mrs tob wkr h 927 Carolina

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

The Locuses sell a lot to Taylor’s Chapel.

Deed book 86, page 97, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

On 14 December 1909, John and Delphia Taylor Locus(t) conveyed an 1800 square foot parcel to Willis Ellis, Joe Eatman, and Phoebe Rountree, trustees of Taylor’s Chapel Christ’s Disciples Church. The land was on “the north side of the path leading from the Nash Road to the old home place of Ira Howard, deceased” and was adjacent to land owned by John Locus and Ruffin Watson (“the James Howard tract”).

The land was to “be used for a church in the name of the Christ’s Disciples Church,” and to return to John Locust and his heirs after such use ended. 

[There is a Taylor’s Chapel Pentecostal Holiness in Nashville, N.C., today. I do not believe it is a related church.]

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  • Willis Ellis — in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary Ellis, 34, and children Willis, 12, Walter, 9, William, 8, Henry, 5, and Lou, 4.
  • Joe Eatman
  • Phoebe Rountree — in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: widow Phebee Rountree, 59, farmer, and children Richard, 19, Warren, 17, Ardenia, 15, and Martha, 12. 
  • Ira Howard — in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Ira Howard, 45; wife Harett, 44, and son William, 18.
  • James Howard– in the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: next door to Ira Howard, farmer James Howard, 20, and wife Cisco, 20.

Guilty of bigamy.

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Wilson Daily Times, 28 November 1911.

  • Julius Locus

On 25 February 1904, Julius Lucas, 20, son of Lovett and Viney Lucas (then living in Virginia), married Lou Arrington, 24, daughter of Sidney Arrington, in Wilson. R.J. McPhail applied for the license, and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of John Moore, Amos Daniel, and Julia Davis.

In 1917, William Julius Lucas registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in April 1888 in Nash County, N.C.; lived at East Street, Wilson; worked cleaning and pressing clothes for Y.C. Lamm, Wilson; and supported a wife, five children, and a father.

I have not been able to identify Julius Locus’ second wife or the Howard daughter he ran off with.

  • Jesse Howard

On 17 August 1889, Jesse Howard, 22, son of Deal and Rhoda Howard, married Martha Ruffin, 21, daughter of Green and Tamer Ruffin, all of Taylors township.

On 5 June 1901, Jesse Howard, 33, son of Delius and Rhoda Howard, married Zillah Woodard, 32, daughter of Alfred and Sarah Woodard.

  • Mr. Powell — probably, in the 1912 Winston-Salem, N.C., city directory: Powell Geo C (Mattie C), propr Powell’s Steam Cleaning & Dye Works, h 925 Church, Salem
  • Lou Arrington

On 8 June 1896, Lou Arrington, 18, daughter of Saul and Viney Arrington, married W.M. Atwater, 23, son of Aterson Atwater and Angeline Burston, at “Rezdent hear mother” in Wilson. Baptist minister Esrom P. Pearsall performed the ceremony in the presence of Mrs. Timfrey Ann Rountree and Mrs. Blanchie Rountree. [Atwater, presumably, is the man to whom Lou Arrington was married when she married Julius Locus.]

This Memorial Day: who was Henry T. Ellis?

On 3 June 1919, the Daily Times published a list of Wilson County soldiers who died during World War I. The list is segregated. First in the Colored List is Henry Ellis, who was killed 6 October 1918 and in whose honor Wilson County’s African-American post of the American Legion was named.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 1919.

The Daily Times had commemorated Ellis’ death when it received word in December 1918:

“Private Henry Ellis Son of Mrs. Mary J. Howard, Route 1, Wilson, N.C. Died of wounds received in action while fighting for his country and oppressed humanity.” Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1918.

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In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, N.C.: farmer Martin Lucus, 52; wife Eliza, 42; and children Irvin, 19, Neverson, 16, Sidney, 13, Eliza, 7, Westray, 6, Anne, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 66, wife Eliza Eatmon, 50, daughters Amanda Locus, 18, and Mary J. Locus, 14, “son-in-law” Asa Locus, 10, and “daughter-in-law” Lougene Locus, 4, Margaret Howard, 21, and Harriet Howard, 2. [Nelson Eatmon married Eliza Locust on 28 January 1880 in Wilson County. The Locuses’ relationship designations are obviously erroneous; they were Nelson Eatmon’s stepchildren.]

On 6 February 1887, Warren Ellis, 19, of Wilson County, married Mary Jane Locust, 19, of Wilson County, in Wilson County. Phillis Ellis was one of the witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary J. Ellis, 34, widow, and children Willis, 12, Walter, 9, William, 8, Henry, 5, and Lou, 4.

In the 1910 census of Jackson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mary Jane Ellis, 44, and children Henry, 16, Louise, 13, and Charles, 6; and brother Neverson Lucas, 56.

Henry Ellis registered for the World War I draft in Nash County, N.C, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 November 1895 in Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Bailey; was a tenant farmer for Elijah Griffin; and was single. He signed his card in a neat, well-practiced hand: “Henry T. Ellis.”

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary Howard, 52, widow; son Charlie Ellis, 17; and sister Luginer Colman, 45, widow.

Mary J. Howard died 20 June 1936 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Manuel Howard; was 65 years old; and was born in Wilson County to Martin Locus and Louisa Brantley. Gray Ellis was informant.

Henry T. Ellis, then, was the son of Warren Ellis and Mary Jane Locus Ellis and stepson of Manuel Howard. He was descended (or connected) on his mother’s side from several free families of color with deep roots in the area of western Wilson County — Locuses, Brantleys, Eatmons, Howards — and on his father’s from Hilliard and Faribee Ellis, a formerly enslaved couple who established a prosperous farm in the New Hope area shortly after the Civil War.

I have seen no evidence that Ellis’ body was returned to Wilson County for burial. His parents, grandparents, and siblings are buried in Hilliard Ellis cemetery, but there is no marked grave for him there.

Tribute to principal W.H.A. Howard.

Wilson Daily Times, 17 December 1932.

Hartford E. Bess, chairman of the High School Alumni Association, penned a rather overwrought tribute to William H.A. Howard, former principal of Darden High School, in 1932. As is hinted in the piece, the year before, Howard had left the school under a cloud of accusations of sexual harassment, mishandling funds and other charges.