State vs. Nep Lee.

In November 1912, clerk of court Thomas A. Hinnant recorded evidence in State vs. Nep Lee, a case alleging receiving and concealing stolen goods. 

Jim Pearce was on trial for stealing a watch. Neptune Lee, his accomplice, attended his trial as “an interested spectator — or apparently so.” Seemingly to Lee’s surprise, the prosecutor called him to the stand to ask if he had seen Pearce with the watch. Lee said he had not, but had bought a watch the day before from a man he did not know. Prosecutor Dickinson asked Lee to show the watch and, incredibly, he did. Mary Henderson and others quickly identified the watch as her stolen property. What happened next is not clear. Was Lee convicted and sentenced to 13 months on the county roads on the spot? 


  • Nep Lee

In the 1880 census of Woodville township, Bertie County, N.C.: Bob Lee, 62; wife Betsy, 38; and children David, 18, Winnie, 14, John H., 13, Harrisson, 8; Neptun, 6; and Annie, 4.

On 16 December 1900, Nep Lee, 21,  of Wilson, son of Robert and Bettie Lee, married Laurena Williams, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Susan Gray, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Crocket Best performed the ceremony.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lee Neptune plstr h 411 s Spring

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: painter Marion Watson, 51; wife Annie, 33, laundress; and brickmason Neptune Lee, 36, lodger.

On 21 June 1911, Nep Lee, 30, married Lizzie Myers, 21, at the home of Mary Myers in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony.

Neptune Lee died 24 January 1949 at the County Home, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 June 1881 in Bertie County, N.C., to Robert Lee of Florida and Mary E. Thompson of Bertie County; was the widower of Lizzie Lee; worked as a brick layer; lived at 506 East Walnut Street; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Annie Watson was informant.

[Note, a different Nep Lee died 18 October 1953 in Wilson at the Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 November 1876; was married to Bertha Lee;  was a farmer; and lived near Robersonville, Martin County, N.C.] 

  • Jim Pearce

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

1010 Atlantic Street.

The one hundred sixty-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 building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; Queen Anne cottage with double-pile, hip-roofed form, projecting front wing, and several intact turned porch posts.” [The house is misnumbered as #1008 in the nomination form.]


In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Jones Lee C (c; Sadie L), dentist 559 1/2 E Nash h 1010 Atlanta

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1010 Atlantic Street, seamstress Sadie Jones, 32, and sons Emery L., 7, Clarance and Clinton, 3; and lodgers Catherine Joyner, 14, James Coley, 9, and Elaine Coley, 15. [Sadie Jones was described as “single” and presumably was divorced.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: owned and valued at $1500, Robert Lee, 27; wife Elaine, 25; and son Robert Jr., 3.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lee Robt E (c; Elaine L; 1) tchr h 1010 Atlantic av

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lee Robt E (c; Elaine ) tchr h 1010 Atlantic av

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.