Howard

The Brantley cemetery.

Armed with a 1937 Leica IIIa 35mm camera, Brian Grawburg has begun a project to document “lost” Wilson County graveyards. Using early 20th topographical maps, WPA cemetery surveys, Google Maps, and tips from the public, Grawburg has battled heat, humidity and nearly impenetrable thickets to create and preserve a record of these forgotten spaces.

This is the second in a series of posts exploring African-American cemeteries that rediscovered by Grawburg.

The Brantley cemetery, off Crepe Myrtle Road in Taylors township, Wilson County, contains nine headstones. For more about the Brantleys, see here and here and here.

  • Bettie Brantley — 1878-8 Dec 1919, daughter of Henderson Brantley and Mollie Boone Brantley.
  • Charlie Brantley — 1 Aug 1873- 8 Jan 1948, son of Henderson Brantley and Mollie Boone Brantley.
  • Finner Brantley — 1 Dec 1887-5 Jan 1924, son of Charlie Brantley and Margaret Locus Brantley.
  • Floyd Brantley — 17 Feb 1901-20 May 1905, son of Richard Brantley and Missouri Eatmon Brantley.
  • Henderson Brantley — ca. 1836-2 Dec 1916, son of Bettie Brantley.
  • Richard Brantley — ca. 1877-28 Dec 1905, son of Henderson Brantley and Bettie Brantley.
  • Solomon Finch  — 9 Mar 1896-11 Mar 1955, son of Jane Finch and Joseph Jones.
  • Annie Thomas Howard — 15 May 1907-1 Aug 1930, adopted daughter of Kenyon Howard and Mollie Brantley Howard.
  • Kenyon Howard — 28 Oct 1874-9 Dec 1938, son of Zealous Howard and Rhoda Eatmon Howard, first husband of Mollie Brantley Howard Brown.

The garage museum.

When I was in Wilson this past weekend, I had the great good fortune to spend a couple of hours with Lewis and Tinia Howard Neal at Mr. Neal’s remarkable Garage Museum in Daniel Hill. The museum is, literally, packed to the rafters with photographs, news clippings, vintage tools and farm implements, political paraphernalia, and other items Mr. Neal has collected, curated and neatly labeled. His focus is local history and culture, with a strong emphasis on artifacts relevant to Wilson’s African American community.

[Obviously, in this way, Mr. Neal is a kindred spirit, but it turns out that I also share ancestry with both him and Mrs. Neal. I haven’t figured out my DNA connection to him, but Mrs. Neal is a direct descendant of Nelson and Marinda Locust Eatmon (via their daughter Rhoda Eatmon, who married Zealous “Deal” Howard), and I am descended from Nelson Eatmon’s kinsman Toney Eatmon.]

Mr. Neal opens the doors of his museum as a community meeting space and welcomes visitors. Please call for an appointment.

In the neighborhood of Watson’s land.

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Plat book 1, map 254.

This 1937 notice of sale of the property of John A. and Nannie K. Watson contains bits of information about land ownership by African-Americans in Taylors township, a few miles northeast of the town of Wilson.

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Lots 1-4 on the plat map were known as the “Ellis and Woodard tract of Kinchen Watson.” They lay about a half-mile west of the Wilson-Nashville highway (now N.C. Highway 58) and the description of their outer perimeter begins at the corner of “the old Warren Rountree lands and the Hilliard Ellis home tract.” Warren Rountree and Hilliard Ellis were half-brothers. Both were born into slavery, but became prosperous farmers and landowners within a few years after Emancipation. The irregular pentagon of Lot 1 of the tract wrapped around a two-acre rectangle belonging to the Warren Rountree heirs, and Lot 2 excluded “a parcel of land containing one-half acre called the Ellis Chapel lot upon which stands a colored church.”

Detail of lots 1 and 2 of the Ellis & Woodard tracts.

The second tract up for auction, “the Jim Howard tract,” is marked Lot 5 on the plat map at page 251 of Plat Book 1, below.

The third tract, the “Lamm tract,” consisted of Lots 1-4 of the plat map below. These properties were surrounded by tracts belonging to African-American men whose families were connected by blood, intermarriage and historical status as free people of color. James G. “Jim,” Kenyon, Jesse and Allison (not Anderson) Howard were sons of Zealous and Rhoda Eatmon Howard, and William Howard appears to have been a grandson. Charles Brantley‘s daughter Mollie married her cousin Kenyon Howard. John and Kenyon “Kenny” Locust (also spelled Locus and Lucas) were father and son, and John’s mother was Eliza Brantley Locus.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 November 1937.

Plat Book 1, Page 251.

Per Google Maps, the area shown in the first plat today. At (A), Ellis Chapel Free Will Baptist Church; at (B), the approximate location of the Warren Rountree heirs’ two acres; at (C), the Hilliard Ellis cemetery, which is outside the Watson land; at (1) Aviation Place; at (2) Packhouse Road; at (3) N.C. Highway 58; and at (4) Little Swamp, which is a tributary of Toisnot Swamp.

Plat books at Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

 

Studio shots, no. 97: Albert Howard, soldier.

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Albert Howard (1892-1956).

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Deal Howard, 39; wife Nancy, 39; and children John, 16, Christian, 14, Oscar, 11, Ettie, 10, Albert, 7, Thomas, 5, Alvin, 3, Herman, 1, and Tiner, 0.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Horne’s Road, farmer Zelius Howard Jr., 49; wife Nancy, 49; and children Albert, 17, Thomas, 15, Alvin, 13, Herman, 11, Tina, 9, Florence, 7, and Ella, 5.

In 1917, Albert Howard registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in 1892 in Wilson; was single; and farmed for himself.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Deal Howard, 58; wife Nancy, 60; and Albert, 28, Herman, 22, Tiner, 19, and Florence, 17.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Albert Howard, 35, farmer; mother Nancy, 75; and James, 11, and Tommie Howard, 9.

Albert Howard died 3 August 1956 in Taylors township. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 February 1890 in Wilson County to Dill Howard and Nancy Black; was married to Ida Howard; was a farm laborer; was a World War I veteran; and was buried in Howard cemetery, Wilson County.

Photograph courtesy of Europe A. Farmer.

 

The only colored school with a domestic science class.

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Wilson Daily Times, 8 April 1921.

  • Elm City Colored Graded School
  • Prof. J.D. Reid — Reid was principal of the Wilson Colored Graded School.
  • Prof. W.S. Washington
  • Mary Howard — in the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on the Elm City and Wilson Road, farmer Junius Rosser, 59, wife Lizzie, 46, children Daniel, 14, Annie, 12, Bennie, 10, and Lizzie, 8, and boarder Mary Howard, 19, a teacher.

The division of Henderson Brantley’s land.

Though he died in 1916, Henderson Brantley‘s land in Taylors township was not divided per the terms of his will until 1946. His son Charlie Brantley and daughter Mollie Brantley Howard received equal shares.

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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 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 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; was born in Nash County to Bettie Brantley. Informant was Charles Brantley.

Bettie Brantley died 8 December 1919 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 40 years old; single; and was born in Wilson County to Henderson Brantley and Mollie Boone. Charlie Brantley was informant.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Charlie Brankley, 63; his sister Mollie Howard, 53; and lodger Earnest Howard, 30, a farm laborer.

Charlie Brantley died 8 January 1948 in Taylor township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was single; was born 1 August 1874 in Nash County to Hence Brantley and Mollie Boone; was a farmer; and was buried in Brantley cemetery. Mollie Brantley was informant.

Mollie Howard Brown died 1 January 1974 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 April 1878 in Wilson County to Henderson Brantley and Mollie Boone; was a widow; and was buried in Howard cemetery. Earnest Howard was informant.

Plat book 2, page 218, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson has lost an icon.

This morning’s announcement from Wilson’s Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education:

Our beloved, Sallie Baldwin Townsend Howard, passed away at 2:50am this morning, September 25, 2018. She was 102 years old and wanted everyone to know that “she was ready”. We miss her already but her life and her legacy remains with us, enshrined in the work we do for children for generations to come. Concerning her passing from this earth, this is what she had to say…

“When I lay me down to die
Have bade farewell this beauteous world
Of valleys green and oceans swirl
Of fragrant blossoms and birds that sing
Of happy voices with childlike ring
Of ecstasy from lovers kiss
Though evermore I’m done with this
And my journey through eternity
To the dawn of nothing be…
I shall begin it cheerfully
If little children let shed a tear
To express the love they bear
And weep my passing from this earth
Because til death, yea from birth
For truth and goodness I have striven
Because of kindness I have given
If they should weep to have me stay
Because I’ve lighted up their way
Then happy upon my couch I’ll lie
When I lay me down to die.”

Sallie B. Howard, 1948

Studio shots, no. 61: Florence Howard Zimmerman.

This portrait of Florence Howard Zimmerman, likely taken circa 1920, is immediately identifiable as taken in the studio of African-American photographer George W. “Picture-Taking” Barnes.

Florence Howard Zimmerman.

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In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Horne’s Road, farmer Zelius Howard Jr., 49; wife Nancy, 49; and children Albert, 17, Thomas, 15, Alvin, 13, Herman, 11, Tina, 9, Florence, 7, and Ella, 5.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Deal Howard, 56; wife Nancy, 60; and children Albert, 28, Herman, 22, Tiner, 19, and Florence, 17.

On 1 July 1920, Sheppard Zimmerman, 22, of Wilson, son of Caesar and Irene Zimmerman, married Florence Howard, 18, of Taylor township, daughter of Deal and Nancy Howard. Admire Zimmerman applied for the license, and a justice of the peace performed the ceremony at Wilson County Court House in the presence of David Woodard, B.E. Howard and Admire Zimmerman.

——

P.S. Here’s Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver with the same crossed feet sitting in the same one-armed chair in front of the same window at Barnes’ studio:

Many thanks to Europe A. Farmer for use of the photo of Florence H. Zimmerman. Photo of Sarah H.J. Silver in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Studio shots, no. 43: Alvin Howard.

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In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Deal Howard, 39; wife Nancy, 39; and children John, 16, Christian, 14, Oscar, 11, Ettie, 10, Albert, 7, Thomas, 5, Alvin, 3, Herman, 1, and Tiner, 0.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Horne’s Road, farmer Zelius Howard Jr., 49; wife Nancy, 49; and children Albert, 17, Thomas, 15, Alvin, 13, Herman, 11, Tina, 9, Florence, 7, and Ella, 5.

Alvin Howard registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 15 November 1896 in Wilson County; worked as a farmer for John Ba[illegible]; and was single.

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In the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Dock Eatmon, 63; wife Sallie, 63; son Clifton, 19; brother Peedie, 50; and lodger Alvin Howard, 44.

Alvin Howard died 15 August 1974 near Sims, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1903 to Deil Howard and Nancy Blackwell; was a retired laborer; never married; and was buried in Howard cemetery. Mary Eatman was informant.

Photograph courtesy of Europe A. Farmer.