Joyner

Tragedy in Elm City.

When the Daily Times reported the shooting of Ephraim Joyner on 18 August 1896, several days after the fact, it noted “the wound would probably result fatally.”

Wilson Daily Times, 28 August 1896.

Raleigh’s News and Observer got the story out a day earlier, but gave conflicting information about Joyner. The headline screams “murder” and speaks of searches for the “murderer,” but concedes Joyner was alive when the article went to press.

News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 27 August 1896.

Did Ephraim Joyner die after all?

It’s not clear. No death records exist for the period, and I have found no further news articles about this incident. However, there is evidence of a man named Ephraim Joyner living in the Elm City area after 1896. If he is the same man, not only did Ephraim Joyner survive the shooting, he lived a good, long life. His son Marvin Ransom was not as fortunate.

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In the 1880 census of Cooper township, Nash County, N.C.: brothers and hirelings Ephram, 22, and Dallas Joyner, 16. Also, in the 1880 census of Rocky Mount township, Nash County: Harrett Joyner, 42, and sons Ephram, 21, Dallas, 16, Ballie, 15, and Lon V., 1.

On 9 January 1888, Ephraim Joyner, 25, married Mary Ann Cooper, 22, in Nash County.

Marvin Ransom died 17 June 1928 in Township #1, Edgecombe County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1899 in Edgecombe County to Ephram Joyner of Wilson County and Jennie Shaffer of Halifax County, N.C.; was married to Dicy Ransom; was engaged in farming; and was buried at Cherry Place. Jenny Shaffer was informant.

“Gunshot wound of abdomen wounding intestine in several places. Gunshot wound of perineum & scrotum. Homicide.”

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: widower Eph Joyner, 80, farm laborer and widower, living alone.

Studio shots, no. 200: Hattie Sutton Taylor Joyner.

Hattie Sutton Taylor Joyner (1877-1957).

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In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Calvin Sutton, 25; wife Silvania, 26; children Hattie, 3, and twins Joel B. and Josephin, 1; mother Dolly, 55; brothers Dallow, 18, and Henry, 16; and sister Mary, 12.

On 20 December 1899, Frank Taylor, 21, of Wayne County, son of Alfred and Pleasant Taylor, married Hattie Sutton, 22, daughter of Calvin and Sylvania Sutton, at Calvin Sutton‘s house in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the ceremony in the presence of R.R. Braswell, A.B. Braswell, and L.H. Horton.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Taylor, 19;  wife Hattie, 23; and nephew Alfred, 7.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Upper Black Creek Road, farmer Calvin Sutton, 54; wife Sylvania, 58; daughter Hattie Taylor, 33; and grandchildren Olivia, 9, Viola, 7, Lillie M., 5, Georgiana, 4, and Mittie, 2; plus adopted grandson Frank McNeal, 16.

Olivia Barnes died 28 October 1918 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1899 in Wayne County, N.C., to Frank Taylor and Hattie Sutton; was married to Rossie Barnes; and was buried in Pate graveyard.

In the 1920 census of Selma township, Johnston County, N.C.: farmer Icm J. Joyner, 52; wife Hattie, 40; and children Viola D., 17, Lillie M., 15, George A., 14, Mittie L., 12, Lizzie, 7, Annie, 3, Zalista, 2, and James I., 5 months.

In the 1930 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: farmer James I. Joyner, 59; wife Hattie, 50; and children Lillie, 24, Lizzie, 18, Annie, 12, and James I., Jr., 10.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Isom Joyner, 67; wife Hattie, 61; daughter Annie, 23; son James, 20; daughter-in-law Victoria, 20; and granddaughter Lenis Atkinson, 5.

Isom Joyner died 3 June 1943 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 July 1875 in Wilson County to Mary Barnes; was married to Hattie Joyner; was a farmer; and was buried in Polly Watson.

Hattie Joyner died 4 August 1957 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 26 January 1878 in Wilson County to Calvin Sutton and Sylvania Simmons; was the widow of Isom Joyner; was a retired farmer; and was buried in Polly Watson cemetery. Annie Edwards was informant.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Regan Crump.

The obituary of Maggie Joyner.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1949.

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In the 1930 census of Jackson township, Nash County, North Carolina: sawmill laborer Herbert Joyner, 36; wife Laura, 36; and children Mary L., 7, Maggie, 4, and Herbert Jr., 3.

In the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Hurbert Joyner, 44; wife Lauria, 44; and children Lizzie, 17, Maggie, 14, Hurbert, 13, James, 10, Clee E., 7, and Theodo, 1.

Maggie Leona Joyner died 30 May 1949 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 23 May 1925 in Nash County to Herbert Joyner and Laura Chissel [Chisolm]; was single; lived in Sims; and worked as a farm laborer. She was buried in Granite Point cemetery. [Whose location I am still trying to determine.]

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

The estate of Melissa Winstead.

Braswell R. Winstead was a close associate of Samuel H. Vick, attending Wilson Academy and Lincoln University, teaching at the Colored Graded School, helping establish Calvary Presbyterian Church, and working as assistant postmaster and political ally.

Winstead was born about 1866 in Wilson County to Riley Robbins and Melissa Winstead. Melissa Winstead died about 1880, leaving three heirs — adult daughters Jennie Smith, wife of Charles Smith, and Eliza Joyner, wife of Joe Joyner, and minor son Braswell Winstead (whose name is first listed as John Braswell.) Two of the children filed in Wilson County Superior Court to have their mother’s lot in Wilson township partitioned into equal parts. There was a problem though — the lot was too small to yield useful thirds. Accordingly, the Smiths and Braswell Winstead were petitioning for the sale of the property with six weeks’ notice in the local paper for the benefit of the Joyners, who lived in Georgia. The petition was granted.

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  • Charles and Virginia Smith

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Roberts Winstead, 26, farm laborer; Caleshea, 28; Eliza, 15; Virginia, 13; Barnwell [Braswell], 7; Caroline, 19; Simmons, 17; Prince, 14; Frank, 7; and Harret Winstead, 7. [The relationships between the members of this household are not clear. Eliza, Virginia “Jenny,” and Braswell were siblings, but I am not sure about the others.]

On 28 August 1874, Charly Smith, 22, married Jennie Barnes, 17, in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pettigrew Street, minister Charles Smith, 26; wife Virginia, 22; and children Arminta, 7, John T., 3, and Charles H., 1; and brother-in-law Braswell Winstead, 20, teaching school.

  • Joseph and Eliza Winstead Joyner

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Roberts Winstead, 26, farm laborer; Caleshea, 28; Eliza, 15; Virginia, 13; Barnwell [Braswell], 7; Caroline, 19; Simmons, 17; Prinnce, 14; Frank, 7; and Harret Winstead, 7.

On 3 June 1879, Joseph Joyner, 24, and Eliza Winstead, 23, were married in Wilson County by A.M.E. Zion minister R.B. Bonner in the presence of A. Lindsay, Joseph Hinton, and Jas. Harriss.

In the 1880 census of Wayne County, Georgia: Robert Roberson, 30, and wife Hattie; Joseph Joyner, 25, and wife Eliza, 22; and Jacob Dove, 30, and wife Susan, 25. All were born in North Carolina, except Susan Dove, who was born in Florida. All the men worked turpentine.

Wilson Advance, 10 September 1880.

1105 Atlantic Street.

The one hundred-forty-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. 1922; 1 story; bungalow with gable-end form and subsidiary gable-end porch.”

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Joyner Lee J (c; Sarah) plstr h 1105 Atlanta

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McCall Oscar (c; Flora) truck driver h 1105 Atlantic

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Street, taxi chauffeur Oscar McCall, 27; wife Flora, 22; and children Louise, 6, Louis, 5, Willie F., 3, and H.B., 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1105 Atlantic Avenue, butler Ola Dupree, 44; wife Georgia, 32; and roomers Florence Atkinson, 24, and her husband William Atkinson, 26, a medical doctor.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dupree Otis (c; Georgia) cook h 1105 Atlantic

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dupree Ola (c; Georgia A; Silver Boot Grill) h 1105 Atlantic

Wilson Daily Times, 12 April 1980.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 November 1985.

The apprenticeship of Cora Joyner.

On 10 September 1902, a Wilson County Superior Court judge ordered 15 month-old Cora Joyner bound as an apprentice to Van Dawson until she reached 21 years of age. A note written at the top of the indenture stated the arrangement was “By consent and presence of Louiza Ann Joyner mother of the child Cora Joyner.”

  • Cora Joyner
  • Louisa Ann Joyner
  • Van Dawson

On 18 February 1897, Van Dawson, 21, married Annie Braswell, 27, at the bride’s residence in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: day laborer Van Dawson, 23; wife Anne, 37; and niece Sally Armstrong, 17.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City Lane, lumber wagon teamster Van Dawson, 36; wife Annie, 42, laundress; and daughter Estell, 9.

In 1918, Van Dawson registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 March 1873; lived in Elm City, Wilson County; was a self-employed farmer; and his nearest relative was wife Annie Dawson. He signed his card with an X.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Joe Hagans, 29, mechanic at automobile shop; wife Estelle, 28; sons Joseph, 2, and William I., 1; and father-in-law Van Dawson, 55, farmer, widower.

On 2 September 1932, Van Dawson, 56, of Toisnot township, son of Sarah Dawson, married Jennie Batts, 30, of Toisnot township, daughter of Dennis and William Ann Batts, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Cobb Avenue, Van Dawson, 67; wife Gennie, 34, cook; son Lee Roy, 8; daughter Sarrah, 7; and stepdaughter Anna Batts, 15.

Van Dawson died 24 December 1947 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 June 1874 in Wayne County, N.C., to Tank Ivory and Sarah Dawson; was married to Jennie Dawson; lived in Elm City, Wilson County; and worked as a farmer.

United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.

Lane Street Project: James “Sunny” Simms.

Sunny Simms‘ grave marker bears the three links symbolizing Odd Fellows membership. 

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Ceasar Simms, 61; wife Adline, 41; and children Elizthesbeth, 16, James, 14, Mack, 12, and Tamar, 4.

On 28 January 1908, James Simms, 21, of Taylors township, son of C. and Adline Simms, married Victoria Joyner, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Reubin and Millie Joyner, at “the old Simms [illegible].” Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarborough performed the ceremony in the presence of Orlando Williams, Schaird [Sherrod] Ellis, and Mary Jane Simms.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Sonnie factory hd h Stantonsburg rd extd

Sunnie Simms registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 3 June 1885; lived at Route 4, Wilson; worked as a farmer on Fred Washington’s farm; and his nearest relative was Adeline Simms Barnes. As a disqualification, the registrar noted: “Left Foot been cut very near off.”

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Sunny Simms, 34; wife Victoria, 29; and children Fannie B., 9, James C., 7, Willie A., 5, Mary G., 3.

James Sims died 18 August 1924 at the Colored Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 August 1905 in Wilson County to Sonny Sims and Mariah Harris; worked as a farmer for John Drones; and Rhodie Strickland was informant. Sims was stabbed in the shoulder in a homicide.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: public service laborer Sunny Simms, 58; wife Victoria, 50; and children Matthew, 19, tobacco factory laborer, Annie and Nannie, 17, and William, 13. 

William Harold David Simms registered for the World War II draft in 1945. Per his registration card, he was born 9 July 1927 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 1015 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was unemployed; and his contact was Sonny Simms, 1015 Stantonsburg.

Pfc. William Simms, son of Sunny and Victoria Simms. Wilson Daily Times, 23 March 1953.

Victoria Simms died 23 September 1947 at her home at Stantonsburg Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 June 1893 in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Ruebin Joyner; was married to Sonnie Simms; and was buried to Rountree [Odd Fellows?] Cemetery. [Her grave marker has not been found.]

Wilson Daily Times, 27 September 1947.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2021.

 

Fatal auto accident on the road to Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 November 1918.

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While trying to pass a wagon on the road from Black Creek to Wilson (probably today’s Black Creek and Frank Price Church Roads), Johnnie Williams smashed his automobile into a telegraph pole, killing Washington Joyner and injuring Coot Robbins and Hiram Faulkner.

  • Johnnie Williams
  • Washington Joyner — George Washington Joyner.
  • Coot Robbins
  • Hiram Faulkner — probably, Hiram Faulkland.

The obituary of Eddie Lee Joyner, master plasterer.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 June 1989.

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In 1918, Ed Lee Joyner registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 February 1897 in Wilson County; his father’s birth place was Wilson County; he lived at Route 1, Elm City; he worked for G.A. Barnes, Elm City; and his contact was mother Fortney Bailey. He signed the card “Eddie Lee Joyner.”

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Ed Joyner, 22; [step]father Louis Bailey, 80; mother Fortiny, 56; niece Maggie, 16; and nephews Rogers, 14, and John E., 8.

On 8 January 1921, Eddie Joyner, 22, of Elm City, son of Fortning Bailey, married Annie Pearl Wynn, 19, of Elm City, daughter of Will and Jenny Wynn, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Bettie Gaskell, Mattie M. Ford, and Mary Latham.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Joyner Edward L (c; Annie) plastr h 1205 Washington

In 1940, Roger Bailey registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 February 1897 in Wilson County; lived at 1205 Washington Street, Wilson; his contact was uncle Edd Lee Joyner, 1205 Washington Street; and he worked for T.A. Loving & Co., Goldsboro, at Cherry Point Marine Base.

In 1942, Eddie Lee Joyner registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 10 October 1905 in Wilson; lived at 539 Barnes  Street, Wilson; his contact was Annie Joyner; and he worked for Will Ray, Farmers Cotton Oil Company, Wilson.

Lane Street Project: G. Washington Joyner.

This marker in Odd Fellows cemetery is likely the footstone for the grave of George Washington Joyner, called “Wash,” a painter turned barber.

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In the 1870 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Ned Joyner, 34; wife Edith, 22; and children Charles, 9, Mary, 7, John, 5, Toney, 2, and Hail Columbus, 1 month.

In the 1880 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: laborer Ned Joyner, 51; wife Eadie, 42; and children Charles, 19, Mary, 16, John, 14, Toney, 12, Lumm, 10, Wash, 7, Louiza, 5, Birt, 3, and Mirtina, 1.

On 7 October 1895, Geo. W. Joyner, 21, son of Ned and Edie Joyner, married Sarah Barnes, 18, daughter of Frances and Alex Barnes, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Dock Chandler, Alfonzo Graves, and J. Nelson Peacock.

In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Joyner Washington, painter, h 616 Viola.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon factory laborer Willie Paulkin, 26, wife Pearl, 22, son Atric, 2, and brother Sam, 24, a wagon factory laborer; also house painter Wash Joyner, 35, wife Sarah, 32, a laundress, and son Alexander, 13.

In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Joyner Washington, barber, h 616 Viola.

In 1918, George Washington Joyner registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1875; resided at 616 Viola Street; was a self-employed barber at 213 Goldsboro Street; and his nearest relative was Sarah Jane Joyner.

G.W. Joyner died 18 November 1918 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1875 to Ned Joyner and Edith [last name not given]; was a barber; and he died in an automobile wreck. Sarah Joyner was informant.