Hamilton, for colored.

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These ads appeared in the 1947-48 edition of Hill’s Wilson City Directory. Based 25 miles away in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Hamilton Funeral Home was a late arrival to the somewhat crowded black undertaker scene in Wilson, jostling stalwarts Darden Memorial  and C.E. Artis.


On 13 August 1935, Talmon Hunter, of Wilson County, son of Will and Callie Hunter of Wilson County, married Naomi Swinney, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Samuel and Georgia Swinney of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 530 East Nash Street, Salmon Hunter, 29, born in Georgia, funeral director for a burial concern.

Talmon Hunter died 5 May 1986 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 November 1913 in Dodge County, Georgia, to Will Hunter and Callie Wilcher; resided at 707 East Nash; worked as a funeral director; and was married to Naomi Swinney Hunter.

Naomi S. Hunter died seven months later, on 31 December 1986. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 November 1913 in Roberson County, North Carolina, to Samuel Swinney and Georgia Rickett; was a widow; and resided at 707 East Nash. Informant was son Joseph S. Hunter, Greensboro, North Carolina.


The Shoo Fly train ran over him.

Wilson Mirror, 30 August 1893.


On 11 April 1878, Hilliard Hunter, 26, of Nash County, married Mary Jane Pitt, 25, of Wilson County, in Toisnot township.

In the 1880 center of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Hunter, 25; wife Mary J., 27; and son Walter, 5 months.

In 1893, Mary Jane Hunter filed an unsuccessful suit against Wilmington and Weldon Railroad over her husband’s death.

On 6 July 1899, Turner Anderson, 21, married Lillie Hunter, 20, in Toisnot township in the presence of Annie Bryant, Martha Modica and Nancy Deans.

On 2 August 1903, Mary Jane Hunter, 40, of Elm City, daughter of Moses and Marina Pitt, married Daniel Foster, 45, of Elm City, son of Austin and Rachael Foster of Kansas at George Barnes‘ in Toisnot township. Red Batts applied for the license.

On 12 July 1905, Willie Hunter, 22, of Elm City, son of Hilliard and Mary J. Hunter, married Mary Whitehead, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Ben and Francis Whitehead, in Toisnot township. T.H. Nicholson applied for the license, and the ceremony took place at Ben Drake’s in the presence of T.H. Nicholson, William Short and W.A. Whitfield.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City-Stantonsburg Road, widowed farm laborer Mary J. Hunter, 40, and daughter Alice, 20, a laundress.

On 18 January 1914, Arthur Hunter, 20, of Toisnot, son of Mary J. Hunter, married Estelle Wooten, 24, of Toisnot, daughter of Linda Wooten, in the presence of Turner Anderson, Lillie Anderson and Clarence Wiggins, all of Elm City.

On 23 March 1915, Liza Hunter, 20, of Elm City, daughter of Hilliard Hunter and Mary J. Pender, married Jim Pinkney, 21, son of Henny and Hilly Pinkney, in Johnston County.

On 14 September 1921, B.S. Jordan, 58, son of Hardy and Mary J. Jordan, married Lilly Anderson, 39, daughter of Hilliard Hunter and Mary J. Hunter, at Lilly Anderson’s in Toisnot township. Wiley Locus applied for the license, and Baptist minister Elias Lucas performed the ceremony in the presence of L.A. Johnson and Bud Simms of Wilson and Hamp Mordcia [Modica] of Elm City.

Alice Hunter died 20 April 1960 in Elm City. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 October 1901 to Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jane Pitt; and was never married. Informant was Eliza Pinkney, Elm City. [Note that Alice Hunter’s birthdate is off by at least 10 years.]

Willie Hunter died 28 April 1960 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 February 1884 in Wilson County to Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jane [last name not listed]; lived at 204 South East Street; and worked as a laborer. Informant was Doris H. Wilson, 204 South East Street.

Eliza Pinkney died 10 July 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 June 1898 in North Carolina to Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jones; resided in Elm City; was married to Jim Pinkney; and was buried in Elm City cemetery. Doretha H. Farmer, 706 East Green Street, was informant.


White Swamp runs about 5 miles south of Elm City.

The regular daily Norfolk-to-Wilmington passenger train was known as the Shoo Fly. In 1906, the train had a cataclysmic accident near Warsaw, Duplin County. After, a ghost train legend grew in the area.



Elm City news.


New York Age, 12 July 1930.

  • Bedford Severage – Bedford Savage Lucas was born about 1907 to Frank Savage and Serena Woodard. She married Elias Lucas on 6 July 1930 in Wilson and died 25 July 1965 in Wilson.
  • Elias Lucas – Elias Joseph Lucas was born in Elm City in 1908 to Haywood and Cora Williams Lucas.
  • Alice Hunter — in the 1930 census of Elm City town, Toisnot township, Wilson County: Eliza Pinkney, 34, and sister Alice Hunter, 40. Alice Hunter died 20 April 1960 in Elm City. Her death certificate lists her parents as Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jane Pitt, and Eliza Pinkney was the informant. Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jane Pitt married 11 April 1878 in Toisnot township. Per estate records, Hunter died about 1893.
  • Eliza Pinkney – Eliza Pinkney, wife of Jim Pinkney and daughter of Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jones, died 10 July 1969 in Wilson.
  • Mary Hunter – Mary Whitehead Hunter, born 1886 in Nash County to Benjamin and Frances Whitehead, was the wife of Alice and Eliza’s brother Willie Hunter. She died 1 July 1930 in Wilson.
  • Katie Wynn – in the 1930 census of Elm City town, Toisnot township, Wilson County: railroad shifter Jessie Winn, 38; wife Katie, 37; and children Ralph, 16; George, 14; Charlie, 9; Jennie M., 7; Marie, 6; Herbert, 4; Katie, 2; and Edward Winn, 1. Katie Davis Wynn was born 30 May 1901 in Edgecombe County to John and Mary Williams Davis. She did 13 June 1963 in Elm City. Jessie Wynn died in 1946.
  • Genevieve Ward — Genevieve Ward was born in 1912 to Peter James Ward and Vallie Hockaday Ward. In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: railroad laborer Peter Ward, 35; wife Vallie, 28; and children V. Jennie V., 7; James, 6; and Eliza Ward, 3 months. Peter Ward, son of Jim and Phyliss Winstead Ward , died 17 October 1938 in Elm City.
  • Mamie Clyde Ricks Dantly –Mamie Clyde Ricks was born in 1909. At the time of the 1930 census, she had not yet joined her husband Aaron Dantley, who is shown living in a rooming house in Washington DC and working as a hotel waiter. Instead, she is listed as a 20 year-old in Elm City town, Toisnot township, with Ed Ricks, 52; Nannie, 50; Ruth, 16; and Eugene, 10 months.

MC Dantley

  • Mary Gaston — in the 1930 census of Elm City town, Toisnot township: Dewey Gaston, 30, barber; wife Mary, 20; and children Doris L., 5, and Victor H., 3. Next door in one direction: barbershop proprietor George Gaston, 72, and daughter Ada, a teacher, 43. In the other: John Gaston, 48, brickmason; wife Nannie, 41; daughters Pricilla, 21, and Minnie, 18; plus mother-in-law Mary Barnes, 62. Dewey Gaston, 23, son of George and Priscilla Gaston, married Mary B. Howard, 24, daughter of Mary E. Darden, on 8 March 1923 in Tarboro, Edgecombe County. Witnesses were Mancie Gaston and Fannie F. Ricks of Elm City. Dewey Milton Gaston, born 11 November 1899 in Elm City, died 16 February 1948. His father George died 30 May 1934.
  • Charles and Clarence Nicholson — Charles B. Nicholson and Clarence Everard Nicholson were born 24 December 1914 in Elm City to Thomas Harrison Nicholson (originally of Halifax County) and Clara Williams Nicholson. [Which golf course could African Americans play on in Wilson in 1930?]

That’s your wife.


Wilson News, 21 September 1899.

Ignore the snark, which was par for the course for newspapers covering African-American social and cultural events. This is a fascinating peek into early East Wilson’s social circles.

  • Henry S. Perry — Henry S. Perry (1873-1927) was a native of Lagrange, Lenoir County. He worked as a bellhop, porter and waiter.
  • Centha Barnes — Lucinda Barnes (1881-circa 1909), known as “Cintha” or “Cindy,” was the youngest child of Willis and Cherry Battle Barnes.
  • Roebertha E. Long
  • Rev. S.B. Hunter — Rev. Southey B. Hunter (1847-??) was an A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • Chas. B. Gay — Charles Benjamin Gay (1878-1953) was the son of Samuel and Alice Bryant Gay.
  • J.H. Brown
  • Michael Taylor — Henry Michael Taylor (1861-1927), married to Rachel Barnes, was the bride’s brother-in-law. Known as “Mike,”he worked as a drayman.
  • Edward Barnes — Edward Barnes (1869-1912) was the bride’s brother. He was much better known as Ned Barnes and married Charles and Lucy Gay’s sister Louisa Gay.
  • Walter Clark — Walter Clark (1884-??) was the son of mechanic Rhoden Clark and Sarah Hill Clark, who were Edgecombe County natives. The family lived at 606 E. Green Street.
  • Lucy Gay — Lucy Gay was a sister of Charles Gay. She later married John H. Lewis in Wilson.
  • L.H. Jones — Levi Hunter Jones (1877-1961), a native of Hertford County, North Carolina, was a barber.
  • E.J. Tate — Tate was probably a relative of Hardy Tate (1854-1938), a brickmason.
  • Williams Barnes — William Barnes (1879-1917) was also the bride’s brother.
  • Leutha Clark — Alethia Clark (1882-1936) was the sister of Walter Clark.
  • John Coleman
  • Sattena Barnes — Sattena Barnes (1878-1928) was born in Elm City, Wilson County, to Dublin and Eliza Batts Barnes. She later married John Gaston.
  • William Kittrel — William Kittrell (1875-??) was an Oxford, North Carolina, native and bricklayer.
  • Catharine Clark — Catherine Clark (1880-1933) was a sister of Walter and Lethia Clark.
  • Maggie Taylor — Maggie Taylor (1885-) was Mike and Rachel Barnes Taylor’s daughter.
  • Virginia Dawson — Virginia Dawson (1890-1933), daughter of fishmonger/merchant Alexander D. Dawson and dressmaker Lucy Annie Hill Dawson.
  • Bettie Clark — Bettie Clark (1885-??) was another of Rhoden and Sarah Clark’s children.
  • Lucy Hines — Lucy Hines (1886-??) was the daughter of Della Hines Battle.
  • Anna Pridgen
  • Glace Battle — Glace Battle (circa 1890-??) was the daughter of Parker and Ella Battle. She later married Timothy Black.
  • Alice Pierce — Alice Pierce (1889-1915) was the daughter of Andrew Pierce and Alice Knight Pierce. She later married Walter A. Maynor.
  • Bertha Taylor — Bertha Taylor (1891-1962) was also Mike and Rachel Barnes Taylor’s daughter.