L-plan cottage

802 Viola Street.

The one hundred twenty-eighth 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 house is: “ca. 1908; 1 story; L-plan cottage with turned-post porch and brackets.”

Jesse Ward registered for the World War I draft in Wilson in 1918. Per the registration card, he was born 15 June 1881; lived at 703 Viola Street; worked as a carpenter for Boyle-Roberson Construction, Newport News, Virginia; and his contact was Mary E. Ward

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola Street [Wilson city house numbering was changed about 1921], house carpenter Jessie Ward, 36; wife Mary, 34; and children Mabel, 17, Gertrude, 12, Kerfus, 7, Malachi, 5, Dempsey, 3, Virginia, 2, and Sara, 1 month. 

Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C., 1922.

Jessie Ward died 13 June 1923 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 38 years old; married to Mary Etta Ward; lived at 802 Viola Street; worked as a janitor and carpenter at graded school; and was born in Wilson County to Jessie Ward and Classy Burney.

Virginia Dare Ward died 15 June 1923 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 14 February 1919 in Wilson to Jessie Ward and Mary Sherrod and lived at 802 Viola. Like her father, she died of arsenic poisoning. 

Mary Etta Ward died 12 June 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 41 years old; was the widow of Jessie Ward; lived at 802 Viola; was born in Wayne County to Dempsey Shearard and Harriet Hill; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Solomon Shearard. 

Wilson Daily Times, 4 August 1925.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hodges James (c; Gertrude) driver h 802 Viola; Hodges Joseph (c; Pearl) lab h 802 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Viola, rents at $16/month, laundress Anna R. Parker, 65, widow; grandchildren Gurtrude, 7, Emma M., 5, Matthews, 4, and Dorthy, 2; and daughters Ellen Gay, 27, laundress, and Minnie Knight, 29.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Parker Minnie (c) lndrs h 802 Viola; Parker Roxie A (c) lndrs h 802 Viola

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 802 Viola Street, Solomon Shearard, 60; wife Josephine, 52; and children Flora, 15, Beulah, 13, Elmer, 11, and Solomon, 21; plus “son’s wife” Mildred, 18, and grandson Ernest E., 8 months. [Solomon Sherrod (also known as Shearard) was the brother of Mary Shearard Ward, above.]

In 1947, Elmer Lee Sherrod registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 March 1929 in Wilson County; lived at 802 East Viola; worked for BPOE Elks Home, East Nash Street, Wilson; and his contact was Solomon Sherrod, 802 East Viola.

Solomon Shearard died 6 February 1948 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 October 1878 in Wayne County, N.C., to Dempsey Shearard and Harriett Hill; was married to Josephine Shearard; lived at 802 East Viola Street; worked as a common laborer; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2020.

203 North Pender Street.

The one hundred-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.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1890; 1 story; Reverend Henry W. Farrior House; L-plan cottage with intact Victorian motifs, including bracketed chamfered porch posts and bay window; Farrior was minister of the St. John’s A.M.E. Zion Church.”

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980) provides additional details about the house, including the photo above: “This L-plan cottage probably dates c. 1880. It boasts a handsome three-sided baby in the front ell. The bay is ornamented by a molded cornice, paired scrolled brackets, and arched window surrounds.” As shown in Sanborn fire insurance maps, prior to 1923 the house was numbered 130 Pender.

From the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.

In the 1916 and 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Farrior Henry W Rev h 130 Pender. (In 1916, also:, Farrior Dancy h 130 Pender)

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 130 Pender, minister of the Gospel Henry W. Farrior, 56; wife Icey, 54; and granddaughter Florence, 10; plus Isadora Estoll, 18.

In the 1922 and 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Farrior Henry W Rev h 203 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender, owned and valued at $4000, Christian Church minister Henry W. Farrior, 60, and wife Aria, 60, with boarders tobacco factory stemmer Earnest Bulluck, 35, his wife Lena, 30, and children Earnest Jr., 12, Paul T., 8, and Lee, 7.

Henry William Farrior died 6 March 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 12 August 1859 in Powhatan, Virginia, to Henry and Sylvia Farrior; resided at 203 Pender Street, Wilson; was married Isiebell Farrior; and was a preacher. Dalley Farrior was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evaline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 September 1948.

203 North Pender has been demolished. The property now belongs to nearby Calvary Presbyterian Church.

303 Elba Street.

The first in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located at 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 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.

In the Nomination Form for the district, 303 Elba Street (erroneously labeled #305) is described very simply: “L-plan cottage with turned porch posts,” built circa 1908.

The neighborhood was off the grid of the 1908 Sanborn maps of Wilson, but, in the September 1913, there it is:

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This is the deed for Jesse Jacobs‘ purchase of 303 Elba Street.

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He bought the house (in which he was already living) and its lot for $725 from E.L. and Ietta R.M. Reid on 4 May 1908. (Veterinarian Elijah Reid was born into a free family of color from the opposite end of Wayne County than Jesse and and his wife, Sarah Henderson Jacobs.) The same day, Jacobs gave George W. Connor, Trustee, a mortgage on the property, perhaps to secure the $400 loan he used to buy it.  Jacobs was to repay Connor at the rate of $2.50 per week.

On 10 April 1917, the Jacobses arranged another mortgage on their Elba Street home, this time promising to repay W.A. Finch, Trustee, $395 at 6% interest. Circumstances intervened. By about 1922 or ’23, Jesse Jacobs was too ill to work. He sold the house to his children, subject apparently to the lien, and died in 1926. When Sarah Jacobs died in early 1938, the house remained encumbered. Finch’s loan was not repaid until September of that year, most likely from the sale of the property.

For a personal account of the early years of this house, and its sad present, see here.

303 Elba

303 Elba Street, summer 2013. Since this photo was taken, it has continued to deteriorate under the pressures of squatters, petty criminals, weather and time.