literacy

Signatures, no. 5.

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

This is the fifth in a series of posts featuring the signatures of men and women born before 1900, men and women who could not take even a basic education for granted.

  • Alexander Barnes Joyner (1896-?), 1917, World War I draft registration card, Wilson; 1942, World War II draft registration card, New York, New York.

  • William M. King, 1912, the marriage license of Banks Blow and Mag Parker, Wilson.

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Signatures, no. 3.

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

This is the third in a series of posts featuring the signatures of men and women born before 1900, men and women who could not take even a basic education for granted.

  • Levi H. Peacock (1856-), from the Wilson County marriage license of Peter Mercer and Caroline Applewhite.

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  • Charles Battle (ca. 1843-1910), from the Wilson County marriage license of Cain Artis and Margaret Barnes.

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  • Lucy Barnes Bynum (ca. 1882-??), 1911, from the letters of administration for the Wilson County estate of Amos Bynum.

  • Simeon A. Smith (1861-??), 1897, from the affidavit of witness to the will of Esther McGowan.

  • Nestus Bagley (1862-??) and Margaret Coleman Bagley (1866-1934), 1887, from the Wilson County estate file of Squire Coleman.

 

 

 

Signatures, no. 2.

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

This is the second in a series of posts featuring the signatures of men and women born before 1900, men and women who could not take even a basic education for granted.

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  • Kernel Morris Jones (1851-??), 1877, from file of the estate of Milly Jones.

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  • Dr. William A. Mitchner (1882-1941), 1930, from the death certificate of Charles Barnes of Wilson.

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  • Undertaker Columbus E. Artis (1886-1973), 1930, from the death certificate of Fabie [Fereby] Artis of Wilson.

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  • Dr. Matthew S. Gilliam (1885-1932), 1930, from the death certificate of Fabie [Fereby] Artis of Wilson.

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Signatures, no. 1.

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

This is the first in a series of posts featuring the signatures of men and women born before 1900, men and women who could not take even a basic education for granted. One grew to adulthood in slavery, the others were born in the two decades after Emancipation.

  • Sara Elizabeth Sherard Coley (1883-1926), 1926, from the application for letters of administration for the estate of her husband, Rufus Coley.

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  • Bettie Boykin, 1899, from a deposition in the widow’s pension application file of Malinda Hinnant.

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  • Spicey Jane Atkinson Barnes (ca. 1884-1925), 1899, from a deposition in the widow’s pension application file of Malinda Hinnant.

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  • Dennis Brooks (ca. 1867-??), 1904, from a sworn statement in the coroner’s inquest re George Williford.

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  • Mary Ann Hines Boddie Wilkins (ca. 1875-??), 1915, from the estate file of Reddin S. Wilkins.

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  • Ishmael Wilder (1836-1917), 1882, from the application for letters of administration for the estate of Spicy Adams.

 

The life and times of Nathan W. Boyette.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 1921.

In a nutshell: Nathan W. Boyette lived at 210 Pender Street. He was born 18 September 1850 and was enslaved in Old Fields township by Jimmy Boyette. He was the second oldest of 11, eight boys and three girls. His mother Julie was literate and taught her children to read and write. In October 1865, Boyette purchased a Blueback Speller from Moses Rountree’s store at Tarboro and Broad Streets in Wilson. In 1871, he began subscribing to the Wilmington Post. Before he was 20, he became Sunday school superintendent at New Vester Baptist Church. Shortly after, he moved to Goldsboro and went to work for “Old Man” John Robinson. After seven years, he became a carpenter and continued to work into his 70s. In 1920 Boyette married his sixth wife. All but one — Roscoe Boyette — of his 14 children were dead. However, Roscoe’s whereabouts since his discharge from the military after World War I were unknown. Boyette was hardworking and thrifty and gave up his sole vice, smoking, as a condition of his last marriage. He had only been inside a courtroom to serve as a juror three times. He was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church on East Nash Street. “Never had a doctor but once in my life and then I could have done without him. The Lord has been good to me.”

——

The 1860 slave schedule of Old Fields township, Wilson County, lists James Boyett as the owner of eight enslaved people: a 28 year-old woman [Julia?]; six boys aged 19, 12, 9 [Nathan?], 7, 4 and 2; and a girl aged 8. They were housed in two dwellings.

On 23 February 1882, Nathan Boyett, 31, of Wayne County, son of Moses Bayley and Julia Bayley of Wilson County, married Charity Crow, 27, of Wayne County, daughter of Jorden and Jane Crow of Wayne County, in Mount Olive, Brogden township, Wayne County, North Carolina.

On 2 March 1904, Nathan Boyette, 53, married Louisa Fowler, 38, daughter of Suckey Wiggins, in Goldsboro, Wayne County.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Boyette Nathan carp h 210 Pender; Boyette Emma dom h 210 Pender.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Boyett Nathan W (c, Emma) carp h 210 Pender

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 115 West Walnut Street, rented for $20/month,  Nathan Boyette, 79, and Emma Boyette, 56, cook for private family.

Nathan Boyett died 2 June 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 February 1850 in Wilson County to Moses Bailey and Julia Boyett of Wilson County; had worked as a laborer until three months prior to his death; was married to Emma Boyett; and lived at 115 West Walnut. [Note that Nathan Boyette adopted his mother (and former owner’s) surname upon Emancipation. Julia Boyette apparently died before 1870. In that census Moses Bailey is listed as the single parent of several children, and on 5 January 1871, he married Isabella Renfrow in Wilson County. Per their marriage license, Bailey was the son of Benja Bryant and Juda Jones.]