Livingstone College

Who was Dr. F.O. Williston?

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In the 1900 census of Cross Creek township, Cumberland County: on Grove Street, grocer Frank Williston, 65; wife Henrietta, 60; children Henrietta, 23, James, 20, and Oliver, 18; grandchildren Hattie, 13, and Edwin Perry, 15; and boarders Mary, 28, and James Pearce, 44.

The 15 November 1902 issue of the Wilmington Messenger announced that F.O. Williston had been granted a license by the state board of pharmacy.

Dr. Frank Oliver Williston married Doane Battle, daughter of Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle, in Wilson on 17 December 1905.

In the 1910 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 926 Horah Street, Frank O. Williston, 28, drugstore pharmacist; wife Doane B., 23, teacher; and daughter Leah H.E., 3.

On 22 March 1913, the Salisbury Evening Post published a report that a “Salisbury negro, Dr. F.O. Williston, is seeking the appointment as minister of the United States to Liberia ….” “Provided a colored man is to be named,” Williston had the endorsement of Navy Secretary Josephus Daniel, formerly of Wilson, and other leading state North Carolina Democrats, as well as the National Colored Democratic League. The article noted that Williston was recently returned from the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in Washington, D.C., where he had been received in the West Wing by the president himself. Both Williston and David Bryant, another African-American who accompanied him, had been as children servants of Wilson’s father when the family lived in Wilmington, North Carolina. Williston, 32, was a native of Cumberland County; a graduate of “the A.&M. college” in Greensboro and Shaw University in Raleigh; was a chemistry professor at Livingstone; and operated a pharmacy in Salisbury.

Four days later, Williston’s hometown newspaper, the Fayetteville Weekly Observer, ran a piece on Williston’s bid for the Consul General position, noting that “Dr. Williston is born and bred in Fayetteville, and is well known and esteemed here. He is of a prominent family of colored people, being the youngest son of the late Frank P. Williston and the brother of J.T. Williston, druggist and F.D. Williston, grocer and farmer.” Pointedly, the article further noted that the “statement that Dr. Williston was a servant of President Wilson’s father, the Presbyterian minister, when he lived in Wilmington, is incorrect.”

Greensboro Daily News, 29 April 1916.

The following year, Williston offered to raise a regiment of African-American troops to aid the war effort.

Salisbury Evening Post, 22 March 1917.

Frank Oliver Williston registered for the World War I draft in Salisbury in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 22 May 1881; resided at 409 South Caldwell Street, Salisbury; worked as a janitor in the U.S. Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Doane B. Williston. He was described as having dark gray eyes and dark brown hair, of medium height and stout.

In the 1920 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 419 South Caldwell, Frank O. Williston, 38, wife Doane, 33, and daughters Henrietta, 13, Inez, 8, and Dorothy, 6.

In the 1930 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1110 Fairmont Street, owned and valued at $11,000, drugstore pharmacist Frank O. Williston, 49; wife Doane, 41; daughters Inez, 18, and Fan, 16; and roomer Weldon Phillips,, 38, a contractor for a private company.

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1110 Fairmont Street N.E., Washington, D.C.

Baltimore Afro-American, 3 October 1936.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1222 Jackson Street, owned and valued at $4000, Frank O. Williston, 58; wife Doane B., 54, file clerk at F.H.A. [this appears to be an erroneous entry meant for her husband]; and daughter Dorthy F., 26.

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1222 Jackson Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.

In 1942, Frank Oliver Williston registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 22 May 1881 in Fayetteville, North Carolina; resided at 1222 Jackson; worked for the U.S. government in the Federal Housing Administration; and his contact was Mrs. Doane Williston.

Excerpts from African Americans and the New Deal, http://www.fdrlibraryvirtualtour.org/graphics/05-20/5-20-NewDeal_confront_pdf.pdf.

“If I rest, I rust.”

From the 1927 Ell Cee, the yearbook of Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina:

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From the 1928 Maple Leaf (as the yearbook was called the following year):

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More on Joseph Sylvester Jackson Jr. here.

(By the way, the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions was an organization founded in 1886 that sought to recruit college and university students in the United States for missionary service abroad. (Or, presumably, among Negroes.))

William B. Davis, Livingstone ’29.

From the 1928 Maple Leaf, the yearbook of Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, junior William Bayard Davis, Sigma man and N.A.A.C.P. member:

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 42, Baptist church minister; wife Dianah, 42; children Eva M., 16, Bertha, 15, Fred, 11, Ruth, 13, Addie L., 8, and William B., 5; and mother Jud., 60.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fred M. Davis, 50, church preacher; [second] wife Minnie, 39; children Fred Jr., 20, Berthia, 22, school teacher; Addie, 18, and William B., 16; and mother Judie, 76.

On 12 May 1934, in Danville, Virginia, William Bayard Davis of Greensboro, North Carolina, son of F.M. Davis and Dinah Dunson, married Hazel Marie Ingram of Greensboro, North Carolina, daughter of H.M. Ingram and Cynthia Rainy.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 621 East Green Street, Rev. Fred M. Davis, 73, minister; wife Minnie J., 59; [son-in-law] Dr. G.K. Butterfield, 35, dentist; [daughter] Addie L. Butterfield, 34; son William B. Davis, 32, high school teacher; daughter-in-law Hazel M. Davis, 30, teacher; grandson William B. Davis, 4 months; and son Fred M. Davis, 40, home interior decorator.

In 1940, William Bayard Davis registered for the World War II draft in Halifax County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 15 November 1904 in Wilson; resided in Weldon, Halifax County; worked as a principal for the Weldon Graded School District; and his contact was his father, Rev. Fred Mashion Davis, 621 East Green Street, Wilson.

William B. Davis died 30 October 1955.

 

The Battle siblings.

Charles Tecumseh Battle was not the only distinguished offspring of Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 35, wife Leah, 30, and children Adelia, 5, Geneva, 2, Virgil, 1 month, and Nicholas, 18.

Ada G. and Geneva T. Battle left Wilson to complete their studies in the western part of the state. The Charlotte Observer‘s coverage of Livingstone College’s 1890 commencement mentioned that Ada had received the freshman award for oratory.

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Charlotte Observer, 1890.

In Reminiscences of College Days, his self-published 1904 memoir of Livingston College, William Frank Fonvielle remembered both Battle sisters:

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While still in school, Ada Battle began teaching at Wilson’s Colored Graded School. As Fonvielle noted, however, she graduated Scotia Seminary’s Normal and Scientific Department in 1895:

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The Concord Times, 13 June 1895.

A year later, she was well-enough known to personify Wilson’s African-American elite, along with Samuel H. Vick and Braswell R. Winstead:

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Raleigh Gazette, 19 December 1896.

In the 1900 census, Ada G. Battle, 24, is a listed as a teacher at Scotia Seminary in Concord, Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Her younger sister Chandler Battle was enumerated among the school’s students.

On 17 November 1904, Chandler News listed Ada G. Battle of Chandler, Oklahoma, among the teachers certified as first grade instructors. Ada’s brother Nicholas Battle was a Chandler resident, and this seems to be Ada of Wilson.

On 17 September 1905, in Wilson County, Doane Battle, 19, daughter of Charles Battle, married F.O. [Frank Oliver] Williston, 24, of Wilson, son of Henrietta Williston of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Episcopal priest Robert N. Perry performed the ceremony at the residence of James Jenkins before official witnesses F.S. Hargrave, Jenkins, and William Dawson.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County, on Stantonsburg Street, widow Cortney Gofney, 50, and lodgers Ada Battle, 30, teacher, and Sylvester Gofney, 16, laborer. (Courtney Battle Goffney may have been Ada’s relative.) Teacher Chandler Battle, 27, is listed in the household of her cousin George H. Porter in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. In the census of Salisbury, Rowan County: Frank O. Williston, 26, wife Doane B., 23, and daughter Leah H.E., 3. In Chandler, Logan County, Oklahoma:

In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Battle Ada G tchr Wilson Graded School

Three years later, however, it appears that the peripatetic Ada had returned to Oklahoma. On 26 August 1915, Guthrie’s Oklahoma State Register published a notice of the teachers selected by Logan County schools that included Ada G. Battle, hired in District No. 94.

In the 1920 census of Iowa, Logan County, Oklahoma: 55 year-old Georgia-born farmer Stonewall J. Favers, wife Geneva, 39, daughter [sic] Charles M., 15, and sister-in-law Ada G. Battle, 41. Geneva and Ada’s brother Charles T. Battle also lived in Iowa township. In Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, their brother Nicholas R. Battle, 56, wife Dora, 58, and son Henry N., 11. Back in North Carolina, in Salisbury, Rowan County: Frank O. Williston, 38, and wife Doane, 33, and children Henrietta, 13, Inez, 8, and Dorothy, 6, and in Brinkleyville, Halifax County: farmer Charles Wright, 36, wife Chanler, 35, and brother June, 29.

On 5 June 1927, the Guthrie Daily Leader ran this respectful notice of the death of Geneva’s husband, Stonewall Jackson Faver:

FAVER, NEGRO LEADER TO BE BURIED SUNDAY
Body To Lie In State In Guthrie During Morning Hour

The body of S. J. Faver, one of Logan county’s best known negro leaders, was to lie in state at the Edwards and McKee funeral home, 301 W. Harrison av. Sunday between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Faver died Friday at his home south of Meridian where he has lived on his one thousand acre farm for the past few years.
Faver was for two terms a county commissioner of Logan county and was on the board at the time the county courthouse was built in 1907. He was on who secured the building for use of the state soon after statehood.
Funeral and burial ceremonies will be from the family residence at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

In the 1930 census of Brinkleyville, Halifax County: Charlie Wright, 42, wife Chandler, 38, and children Charlie, 9, and Nicholas T., 7.  In Washington, D.C.: Frank O. Williston, 49, wife Doane, 44, and children Inez, 18, and Fay, 16, and Weldon Phillips, 38. In Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: Henry Battle, 22, his wife Vannie, 23, and son Henry Jr., 3, plus widower father Nicholas B. Battle, 64. In Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma: Geneva B. Faver, widow, lived alone at 1002 E. Vilas Street.

In the Educational Directory of North Carolina issued for 1934-35 by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the list of Jeanes Industrial Supervisors (Colored) includes Ada G. Battle of Clinton, Sampson County.

In the 1940 census of Clinton, Sampson County: living at 123 McKoy, which seems to have been a teacherage, Ada G. Battle, 54. In the census of Washington, D.C.: Frank Williston, 58, wife Doane B., 54, and daughter Darthy H., 26. In the census of Brinkleyville, Halifax County: farmer Charlie Wright, 54, wife Chandler, 50, son Chas., 20, (“college — in summer works on farm”), and Nichols, 18. In the census of Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: farmer Nicholas R. Battle, 75, wife Ella, 39, and children Ada L., 5, Nicholas R., 3, and Evelene, 1. In the census of Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma: widow Geneva B. Faver, 60, and daughter Charles Marie Faver, 28, an instructor at Langston State University.

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The Carolina Times, 22 November 1941.

Per Findagrave.com, N.R. Battle died Christmas Eve 1946 and was buried in Chandler, Oklahoma’s Clearview cemetery.

Ada G. Battle made out her will on 7 April 1951. She was living in Wilson again and had been seriously ill since at least the previous October. Her sister Chandler Wright had come from Enfield to tend her during her confinement, and Ada made special provisions for her. She also left bequests to her remaining siblings, Geneva Faver of Guthrie, Oklahoma; Doane Willistoin of Washington, D.C.; and Charles Battle of Mobile, Alabama. Rev. O.J. Hawkins was named executor, and Estella L. Shade (wife of pharmacist Isaac Shade) and pharmacist Darcy C. Yancey witnessed the execution of the document.

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On 12 November 1952, Chandler Battle Wright died at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Her death certificate noted that her residence was Enfield, Halifax County; that she was 61 years old and married; that she had been born in Wilson County to Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle; and that her occupation was “graduate nurse.” Mrs. Willie H. Smith of Wilson was the informant.

Chandler Wright’s will was filed in Wilson Superior Court six days later. Though her death certificate cited her residence as Enfield, the will notes that she owned two houses in Wilson. Chandler distributed her belongings widely: a desk to cousin Willie Hargrove Smith; a gold necklace with pearl cross to niece Charlie Faver Tilghman (Geneva’s daughter); a dining room suite to son Nicholas L. Wright; a walnut bedroom suite to son Charlie Wright; all her livestock and $25.00 to husband C.W. Wright; her 304 North Pender Street house to son Nicholas; her 306 North Pender Street house to son Charlie; and all personal property to be divided between her sons. Willie H. Smith was named executrix, and Roberta Battle Johnson (daughter of Parker and Ella Burson Battle; a cousin?) and Mary L. Spivey of Wilson were witnesses.

CBW will

In 1957, Willa Allegra Strong submitted a dissertation to the University of Oklahoma Graduate College entitled “The Origin, Development and Current Status of the Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs.” Among the women she interviewed was Geneva B. Faver, and she wrote this about this seminal figure in Guthrie’s black community:

“Mrs. Geneva Faver assumed the office of treasurer in 1940 and has served without interruption since that date. Mrs. Faver, a pioneer citizen of Guthrie, Oklahoma, has functioned as a leader in many areas of service. She was the first music teacher hired to teach in Guthrie public schools. The Negro high school of Guthrie has been named for her husband. Some special serviced rendered to the public by Mrs. Guthrie have included: secretary of the Logan County Republican Central committee, juror in Federal Court, chairman of the city library board, and member of the library board. Mrs. Faver donated a forty acre tract of land for use as a camp site for Negro boys. The location of this site was three miles south of Meridian. The presentation was a memorial to her husband, Stonewall J. Faver.”

Per Findagrave.com, Geneva Battle Faver June 1877-December 1967 and Charlie Faver Tillman 1904-1998 are buried undera double marker at Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie.

Dr. John Wesley Darden.

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“In the early 1900s a horse and buggy slowly made its way along dusty, dirt roads throughout Opelika and the countryside as Dr. John Darden began a long day of calling on patients. His bride, Maude Jean, who rode along to keep the young doctor company, sat in the buggy and waited until he provided medical care to his patients.

John Wesley Darden had decided at 13 years of age that he wanted to become a medical doctor when he was unable to find a physician for his unconscious younger sister. His sister lived, fueling a young John to become a doctor.

“Born in 1876 in Wilson, N.C., John was the eldest of 13 children. His father was the first African American undertaker in the state of North Carolina and also owned a general store that sold fresh produce and his homemade wine. The community held him in such high esteem that the first African American high school was named in his honor, the Charles H. Darden High School.

“When John was 13 years old, his parents, who were determined to give all their children an education, sent him to high school in Salisbury, N.C. John worked his way through Livingstone College (now Shaw University) [sic; but this is incorrect] and a medical internship in Long Island, N.Y.

Since his hometown already had African American medical service, the young doctor began searching for a place where his services were needed. A college friend, who was a physician in Tuskegee, recommended the small town of Opelika. John moved to Opelika in 1903 and became the first African American physician in a 30-mile radius and began working 18-hour days. …”

After restoration, Dr. Darden’s house was listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Today, it houses the J.W. Darden Wellness Center, which offers health screening and education in collaboration with the J.W. Darden Foundation, Inc., the EAMC Parish Nurse Program, and the Auburn University School of Nursing. For more of Dr. Darden’s remarkable life and practice in Opelika, see Dr. John Wesley Darden, www.eastalabamaliving.com, the source of the passage above.

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Dr. J.W. Darden House, Opelika, Alabama.

Russell Buxton Taylor.

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Greensboro Daily Industrial News, 29 May 1906.

Russell Buxton Taylor, born 1881, one of five children of Jordan Taylor and Mary Jane Bass Taylor Henderson Sutzer. According to an entry in History of Wilson County, North Carolina and Its Families (published in 1985 by the Wilson County 130th Anniversary Committee) written by his daughter B.T. Barnes, Taylor worked as wood hauler and tobacco warehouse laborer before leaving Wilson to attend school at Slater Normal School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, then Livingstone College. While in Salisbury at Livingstone, he met Viola Elaine Gaither. They married in 1911, and their children included Beatrice Taylor Barnes, Lauraetta Janet Taylor, Sarah Gaither Taylor McMillan, Christopher L. Taylor, and William Goler Taylor. Rev. R.B. Taylor registered for the World War I draft in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1918. He reported that he was preaching at an A.M.E. Zion church in the city. The Taylors returned to Wilson in 1927. Rev. Taylor taught for sixteen years at Carver High School in Pinetops, Edgecombe County.

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Photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina.

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“God’s finger touched him and he slept.” Masonic cemetery, Wilson, November 2015.

 

A peculiar taste, aptness and fondness for drawing.

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M.A. Majors, ed., Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Their Activities (1893).

The 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson township, shows Washington Suggs, 42, brickmason, with children Sarena, 8, Mary, 2, Decatur [Daniel Cato], 6, plus farm laborer, Richard Harper, 17. Wife Esther was apparently overlooked.

Edward Moore, per his death certificate, was born in 1853 in Washington, North Carolina, to James and Peggy Keys Moore. A “doctor and teacher,” he died in Salisbury in 1927.

J.C. Price was a noted orator.

Serena Moore

Serena Leticia Suggs Moore (1863-1930).

Photo courtesy of JamesKennedy621, http://www.ancestry.com.