Jackson

602 Viola Street.

The one hundred-fifty-seventh 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. 1908; 1 story; two-room, central-hall house with turned post porch.”

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In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson William H Rev h 613 Viola

The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map shows that the original house number was 613.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: White James (c) hostler h 613 Viola

In 1918, George Lane registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 1 June 1879; lived at 613 Viola Street; worked as a brick laborer for John M. Barnes, Green Street, Wilson; and his nearest relative was Mamie Lane, 613 Viola. He signed his card with an X.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lane George (c) col h 613 Viola

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: renting at 613 Viola, George Lane, 43, tobacco factory laborer; wife Mamie, 30, washing and ironing; and children John, 11, Clyde, 7, George Jr., 6, and Louise, 1.

On 21 November 1920, an unnamed infant girl was born dead at 613 Viola to George Lane and Mamie Washington Lane. Her mother was informant for her death certificate.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Sweny, 53, painter, and children Neoma, 17, Laney, 15, Easter, 13, Gracy, 12, John H., 10, and George P., 7.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Swinney Saml (c) pntr h 602 Viola; also, Swinney Naomi (c) student h 602 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Swinney, 76, painter, daughters Ester, 22, a tobacco stemmer, and Gracie, 22, superintendent at NYA project, and sons Johnnie R., 18, “in CCC camp,” and George, 17.

Samuel W. Swinney died 24 December 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 59 years old; born in Roberson County to Richard Swinney and Fannie Manning, both of Dillon, South Carolina; and a widower. Grace Swinney of 602 Viola Street was informant.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists Elizabeth Swinney, maid; George Swinney, tobacco worker; Grace Swinney, teacher; and John Swinney, grocer, at 602 Viola. John Swinney’s grocery store was at 612 Viola.

In 1942, Johnnie Richard Swinney registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 13 May 1921 in Wilson; lived at 602 East Viola Street, Wilson; his contact was Lonnie Thompson, 602 East Viola, Wilson; and he worked in “business (store).” 

In 1942, George Cleo Swinney registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1923 in Wilson; lived at 602 East Viola Street, Wilson; his contact was Naomi Hunter, 11 1/2 North Pender Street, Wilson; and he worked for Thurston Motor Line, Wilson. 

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Swinney Geo (c) student h 602 Viola; also, Thompson Lanie S (c) cook ACC h 602 Viola

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1963.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

The Jacksons’ resting place.

The Clarence Best-carved double headstone of Benjamin and Annie F. Jackson stands over their graves in Rest Haven Cemetery.

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In the 1900 census of New Bern, Craven County, N.C.: baker Edward Jackson, 58; wife Sophia, 46; sons Benjamin, 10, and George, 7; and nephew Hallie Taylor, 20.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon driver John W. Farmer, 37; wife Edmonia, 33; and children George, 13, Paul, 12, Annie, 9, Mary, 7, and Fannie, 5.

In the 1910 census of New Bern, Craven County, N.C.: baker Edward Jackson, 56; wife Sophia, 54; and children Ida J., 37, seamstress — dressmaking; Benjamin, 21, butcher at meat market; George, 19, delivery boy for retail dry goods store; and Garfield, 22.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: express wagon driver John Farmer, 48; wife Edmonia, 41, a laundress; and children George, 23, factory laborer; Paul, 19, hotel servant; Annie, 18; Mary, 16; Fannie, 14; Arthur, 8; Melton, 6; and William, 4.

On 21 August 1917, Ben H. Jackson, 28, of Wilson, son of Ed and Sophia Jackson of New Bern, married Annie Lee Farmer, 26, of Wilson, daughter of John Wash and Edmonia Farmer, at the residence of the bride’s father. Walter Maynor applied for the license, and Presbyterian minister H.B. Taylor performed the ceremony in the presence of Emily M. Daniels, Cornelia E. Maynor, and S.B. Thomas. [Note that the officiant, Halley B. Taylor, was Benjamin Jackson’s first cousin and had lived with the Jackson family in New Bern at the time of the 1900 census.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vick Street, barber Ben Jackson, 30, and wife Annie, 28.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson Benjamin H barber W M Hines h 721 e Green

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson Benj H (c) barber h 721 e Green

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson Annie (c) cook h 721 e Green

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jackson Benj H (c; Annie) barber Wm Hines h 1212 Washington

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1212 Washington Street, owned and valued at $1500, barber Benjiman Jackson, 39; wife Annie, 38; and daughter Devaria, 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1212 Washington Street, paying $10/month in rent, Robert Shaw, 30, presser at Moore’s Cleaners; wife Bertha, 25; and roomer Ben Jackson, 50, barber. [What happened here? Where was Annie Jackson? If Ben Jackson was a roomer, who actually owned the house at 1212? I suspect this is an enumerator error.]

Benjamin Harrison Jackson died 24 October 1951 in Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 November 1890 in New Bern, N.C., to Edward Jackson and Sophie [maiden name unknown]; lived at 1212 E. Washington Street; and worked as a barber.

Annie Farmer Jackson died 8 February 1983 in New York.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2021.

Fiftieth anniversary of First Baptist Church.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 September 1922. 

Was a memorial drinking fountain ever installed in front of the church? I do not recall ever seeing one. 

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  • “the late Rev. Jackson” — Rev. Andrew J. Jackson was founder of First Baptist Church, now known as Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church. 
  • Rev. J.A. Mebane — John Alexander Mebane, a native of Bertie County, lived in Wilson only briefly. In the 1922 Hill’s directory of the city: Mebane John A Rev (c) 308 Hackney

Rev. J.A. Mebane (1885-1974).

  • M.E. Rogers — Mary Elizabeth Rogers
  • John Battle — probably, John Parker Battle.
  • Henrietta Foster — Foster, who was listed as living at the rear of 308 Hackney Street in 1922, later married Rev. Mebane. Henrietta Foster Mebane died in 1950 and, though the Mebanes spent most of their married life in Tarboro, N.C., both are buried in Wilson’s Rest Haven Cemetery. Their daughter Grace Mebane, who died in Tarboro in 1940 at age 14, is also buried in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Satwun.

Lane Street Project: the Joseph S. Jackson family plot.

The deeply incised, irregular J’s of these granite cornerstones are unmistakably the work of Clarence B. Best. They, and a foot marker for Rev. Joseph S. Jackson, are all that remain of the Jackson family’s plot in Odd Fellows cemetery.

The grave of Jackson, a Baptist minister and tobacco factory foreman, may be the only one in the plot. Jackson’s children migrated North and West, and his wife died in Philadelphia in 1962. Annie H. Jackson’s Pennsylvania death certificate lists her place of burial simply as Wilson, N.C. However, by then Odd Fellows was in serious disrepair. She was buried in city-owned Rest Haven instead, and Rev. Jackson was disinterred and reburied beside her. When Joseph S. Jackson Jr. died in 1967, his body was returned to Wilson for burial in Rest Haven, too.

Where did they go?: Michigan World War II draft registrations, no. 3.

  • Southen Jones

In the 1940 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: on East Canfield, renting for $50/month, Southern Jones, 33, born in North Carolina, general work-W.P.A. project. He reported that he had been living in the same place in 1935.

Southen Jones registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 26 December 1906 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1971 East Canfield, Detroit; his contact was friend Walter Dale; and he worked for W.P.A. He was described as Negro, 5’7″, 140 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, dark brown skin, and a scar above his left eye.

  • Alphonza Jackson

Alphonza Jackson registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 9 June 1906 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 996 Ferry Avenue, Detroit; his contact was common-law wife Pearl Jackson; and he was unemployed. He was described as Negro, 5’9″, 184 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark skin.

  • Walter Dortch Hines

Walter Dortch Hines registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 17 July 1909 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 7068 Michigan, Detroit; his contact was mother Sara Elizabeth Hines, 617 East Green, Wilson; and he was a self-employed medical doctor. He was described as Negro, 5’10”, 154 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, dark skin, and a scar on “dorsal aspect of left hand.”

  • Sead Abdulla (formerly Lonnie Bailey)

In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John D. Bailey, 42; wife Jeneva, 33; and children Rhoda, 15, Pearlie, 12, Mary L., 9, Lonnie, 8, Ora, 6, John T., 5, William H., 4, Melton P., 2, and Richard E., 1.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farm laborer Gilbert Vick, 29; wife Pearlie, 22; daughter Carrie Belle, 5; and brother-in-law Lonnie Bailey, 17.

Lonnie Bailey registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 26 January 1902 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1023 Illinois, Detroit; his contact was friend Geneva Bailey, 516 Church Street, Wilson; and he worked for Linwood Coal Company, Detroit. He was described as Negro, 5’9″, 165 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, dark brown skin, and a scar on his left wrist. Via Probate Court, Bailey formally changed his name to Sead Abdulla on 1 June 1944. [His apparent conversion to Islam is the first I have seen for a Wilson County native, and it is reasonable to assume that he was a member of the Nation of Islam, founded in Detroit.]

Sead Abdullah died in February 1968 in Detroit.

  • Clifton Ray Hines

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Walter Hines, 50, wife Sarah, 48, and children Elizabeth, 21, Walter, 20, Carl W., 16, and Clifton R., 7.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 617 East Green, Walter S. Hines, 60; wife Sarah E., 58; son Carl W., 24, teacher; son’s wife Ruth, 23, teacher; and son Ray W. [sic], 17.

Clifton Ray Hines registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 24 December 1922 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 7068 Michigan, Detroit [his brother Walter D. Hines’ home, see above]; his contact was mother Sarah Hines, 617 East Green Street, Wilson; and he worked for “Wayne Co. Rd. Comm. Traffic Census.” He was described as Negro, 5’7″, 140 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, dark skin, and a scar on his left cheek.

Clifton Ray Hines died 11 September 1993 in Mayfield Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 

Jackson buys from the Vicks.

In 1902, Samuel H. and Annie M. Vick sold Joseph S. Jackson a narrow strip of land lying between Jackson’s lot at 618 East Green Street and the Vicks’ lot.

The Jacksons’ two-story house at 618 East Green Street, shown here on the 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, no longer stands.

It was replaced relatively recently by this small gable-front house:

Book 68, page 551, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Mary Elise Jackson Jenkins of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Like her brother Paul L. Jackson, Mary Elise Jackson Jenkins migrated from Wilson to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Toward the end of her life, she was featured several times in Philadelphia Inquirer articles.

  • Art exhibit

Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 June 1983.

  • Education in the South

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Philadelphia Daily News, 17 February 1987.

The “very special block” was, of course, the 600 block of East Green Street, home to the Vicks, the Hines/Barnes family, the Hargraves, the Reids, and other striving East Wilsonians. However, Claflin University (then College) was an unusual choice for a Wilson family. I have not been able to determine who the “girl from my home” was.

  • The Great Migration

Elise Jenkins contributed keepsakes to “Let This Be Your Home,” a year-long exhibit at Philadelphia’s Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum [now the African American Museum] chronicling the lives of “the new Philadelphians” who arrived in the city as part of the Great Migration.

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Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 February 1990.

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Joseph Jackson, 37, minister; wife Annie, 45; and children Eloise, 8, Joseph, 5, Paul L., 2, and John, 2 months.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 616 Green Street, Joseph S. Jackson, 48, minister; wife Annie H., 45; and children Mary E., 18, Joseph S., Jr., 15, Paul L., 11, and John B., 9.

On 18 August 1926, Leroy H. Jenkins, of Philadelphia, son of John and Molie Jenkins, married Mary Eleis Jackson, 25, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister J.S. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of C.L. Darden, C.S. Thomas and H.S. Stanback.

In the 1930 census of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: at 2346 North 25th Street, owned and valued at $2900, South Carolina-born Leroy Jenkins, 33, a doctor of dentistry; North Carolina-born wife Elise, 28; and brother Augustus, 21, automobile works inspector.

In the 1940 census of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: at 2351 West Haggart, owned and valued at $3000, dentist Leroy H. Jenkins, 42; wife Elise, 39; and children Leroy, 8, and Anne, 5.

Mary Elise Jackson Jenkins died 6 May 1990 in Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 May 1990.

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M. Elise Jackson Jenkins (1901-1990).

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user GusJenkins.