Locust

In the neighborhood of Watson’s land.

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Plat book 1, map 254.

This 1937 notice of sale of the property of John A. and Nannie K. Watson contains bits of information about land ownership by African-Americans in Taylors township, a few miles northeast of the town of Wilson.

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Lots 1-4 on the plat map were known as the “Ellis and Woodard tract of Kinchen Watson.” They lay about a half-mile west of the Wilson-Nashville highway (now N.C. Highway 58) and the description of their outer perimeter begins at the corner of “the old Warren Rountree lands and the Hilliard Ellis home tract.” Warren Rountree and Hilliard Ellis were half-brothers. Both were born into slavery, but became prosperous farmers and landowners within a few years after Emancipation. The irregular pentagon of Lot 1 of the tract wrapped around a two-acre rectangle belonging to the Warren Rountree heirs, and Lot 2 excluded “a parcel of land containing one-half acre called the Ellis Chapel lot upon which stands a colored church.”

Detail of lots 1 and 2 of the Ellis & Woodard tracts.

The second tract up for auction, “the Jim Howard tract,” is marked Lot 5 on the plat map at page 251 of Plat Book 1, below.

The third tract, the “Lamm tract,” consisted of Lots 1-4 of the plat map below. These properties were surrounded by tracts belonging to African-American men whose families were connected by blood, intermarriage and historical status as free people of color. James G. “Jim,” Kenyon, Jesse and Allison (not Anderson) Howard were sons of Zealous and Rhoda Eatmon Howard, and William Howard appears to have been a grandson. Charles Brantley‘s daughter Mollie married her cousin Kenyon Howard. John and Kenyon “Kenny” Locust (also spelled Locus and Lucas) were father and son, and John’s mother was Eliza Brantley Locus.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 November 1937.

Plat Book 1, Page 251.

Per Google Maps, the area shown in the first plat today. At (A), Ellis Chapel Free Will Baptist Church; at (B), the approximate location of the Warren Rountree heirs’ two acres; at (C), the Hilliard Ellis cemetery, which is outside the Watson land; at (1) Aviation Place; at (2) Packhouse Road; at (3) N.C. Highway 58; and at (4) Little Swamp, which is a tributary of Toisnot Swamp.

Plat books at Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

 

300 acres to be sold at the courthouse door.

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Wilson Advance, 25 November 1881.

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NOTICE.

By virtue of a decree of the Superior Court of Wilson county, rendered January 5th, 1882, I will sell at the Court House door in Wilson Monday the 6th day of February 1882, the lands whereof Nelson Eatman died seized, consisting of three tracts adjoining the lands of M.M. Mathews, Deal Howard, William Taylor and others, containing three hundred acres more or less. Terms: one thousand dollars cash, balance on credit of eight months. Title reserved till payment of all the purchase money.  F.A. WOODARD, Adm.

Wilson Advance, 3 February 1882.

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Nelson Eatmon married Marinda Locust on 29 January 1835 in Nash County.

In the 1850 census of Nash County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 34, wife Rinda, 33, Rhoda, 14, Wilmot, 12, Priscy, 10, Ginny, 8, Smithy, 6, and Alford, 4.

In the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 50, wife Morinda, 45, and children Elizabeth, 20, Ginsey, 18, Smithy, 17, Alfred, 14, Nelson, 5, Emily, 7, and Jarman, 2.

In the 1870 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 53; wife Marinda, 51; daughter Wilmouth, 31, and her children William, 13, Robert, 11, Margaret, 10, Crawford, 4, and Missouri, 7 months; children Grimsey, 25, Alfred, 23, Emily, 15, Nelson, 13, and Jarman Eatmon, 11.

Eatmon married Barbray Farmer on 9 September 1871 in Wilson County

On 28 January 1880, Eatmon married Eliza Locust. In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 66, wife Eliza Eliza, 50, [step?]daughter Amanda Locus, 18, and Mary J. Locus, 14, “son-in-law” Asa Locus, 10, and “daughter-in-law” Lougene Locus, 4, Margaret Howard, 21, and Harriet Howard, 2. [The latter Locuses’ relationship designations are obviously erroneous.]

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Zelous Howard married Rhoda H. Eatmon on 31 July 1853 in Nash County. [Zealous’ nickname was “Deal.” He was freeborn, but I have not located him in the 1850 or 1860 censuses.] Rhoda was the oldest daughter of Nelson and Marinda Locus Eatmon.]

In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Delus Howard, 35, wife Rodah, 33, and children Mary, 16, Ira, 13, George, 11, Delus, 8, Gibbs, 6, Jesse, 3, and Doctor, 1.

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, close by Nelson Eatmon: farmer Zealous Howard, 50, wife Roda, 48, and children Zealous Jr., 19, James G., 16, Jesse, 15, Allison, 8, Kenan, 6, Anna, 4, and Doctor F., 11.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Zealous Howard, 69, wife Roda, 64, daughter Anna, 24, and two bound boys Lonza, 15, and Jack Howard, 5.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Zelius Howard, 80, widower, living alone on Howard’s Path, along which several of his extended family lived.