McGowan

Lane Street Project: the continued search for gravestones in Rountree and Odd Fellows cemeteries.

It was chilly Saturday morning, too, but not as bitingly cold as at my last visit. This time, I focused on the end of Odd Fellows cemetery closest to its boundary with Vick.

First depressing thing I notice — some jackass has been spinning donuts in Vick cemetery.

Once I clawed my way into Odd Fellows, though I was achingly aware that the depressions I was stumbling in were collapsed gravesites, I didn’t see much beyond broken stones scattered here and there across the forest floor.

Have I mentioned the vines? The vines are insane.

The low-lying back of the property, which has standing water, probably year-round.

After poking around in piles of broken bottles and rusted-out enamelware, I finally spotted a cluster of grave markers about thirty feet distant.

This is the only military headstone I’ve seen in Rountree or Odd Fellows, and may be the only military marker I’ve seen anywhere with “after-market” enhancement.

James F. Scott North Carolina PVT 365 INF 92 DIV March 28, 1939 Born March 6, 1887 Who is now with the Lord

In the 1910 census of Weldon township, Halifax County, North Carolina: farmer John Scott, 53; wife Mary J., 46; and children James F., 22, Annie B., 16, Salomie A., 15, John A., 13, Sylvester, 11, Eliga, 9, Mary E., 7, David, 5, Sarah J., 3, and Inthe, 1.

James Franklin Scott registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 6 March 1887 in Wayne County, N.C.; lived on “Robinson” Street, Wilson; worked as a porter for Carroll Grocery Company; and was single.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wainwright Street, farm operator John Scott, 60; wife Mary, 51; and children James, 30, wholesale company helper; Elijah, 19, David, 14, Sarah, 11, and Ianthe, 13.

Bessie Wife of John McGowan Born 1888 Jan. 7 1925 Gone But Not Forgotten

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John McGowan, 40, brickmason; wife Bessie, 35; and Beatriss, 13.

Jesse Parker Dec. 1, 1890 Apr. 12, 1937 light from our household is gone

And then there was this stack, roped with vines:

The broken granite marker supports two intact concrete headstones, two marble footstones, and a few other chunks of rock.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Edd Hunter, 27, odd jobs laborer.

Ed Hunter, 27, married Minnie Woodard, 23, daughter of Ruffin and Lucy Woodard, on 28 December 1910 at Lucy Woodard’s in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of James H. Knight, J.L.Barnes Jr., and Joe Baker.

Ed Hunter, 30, married Lossie Ruffin, 27, on 18 March 1914. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at William Coppedge’s in Wilson in the presence of William Coppedge, Timcy Jones, and Bessie McGowan.

In 1918, Ed Hunter registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 August 1883; lived on Carroll Street, Wilson; worked at Barnes-Harrell bottling plant; and his nearest relative was Lossie Hunter.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Washington Street, laborer Edd Hunter, 37; wife Lossie, 33; children Maeoma, 3, and Eliza, 1; and step-children Inise, 13, and Addie L. Ruffin, 11.

Rufus Son of James & Amelia Artis Born July 16, 1900 Died Apr. 24, 1916

Blount Artis died 24 April 1916 in Boon Hill township, Johnston County. Per his death certificate, he was about 16 years old; was born in Wilson County to Jim Artis and Amelia Artis; was single; and worked as a clerk in a drugstore. Charles Gay was informant. [Though the first name is different, this appears to be the same boy as Rufus Artis.]

Tempsy Wife of Rufus Speight Died July 16, 1917 Aged 75 Yrs. Gone to a Better Home, Where Grief Cannot Come.

In the 1870 census of Upper Fishing Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Rufus Speight, 23; wife Tempsy, 25; and children Isabella, 8, Rufus, 3, and Celey, 1.

In the 1880 census of Upper Fishing Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Rufus Speight, 45; wife Tempsy, 38; and children Isabella, 19, Rufus, 12, Wesley, 8, and Celey A., 10, and Mattie, 4.

Back toward the cleared section of the cemetery near the road, two broken concrete markers lay atop the marble base of a missing monument that must have been quite large.

Only the footstone of Mark H. Cotton, engraved with the Odd Fellows’ triple links symbol, is standing.

Mark Cotton, 23, married Jane Freeman, 22, on 27 February 1878 in Wilson, Minister Joseph Green performed the ceremony in the presence of I.S. Westbrook, S.W. Westbrook, and Charles Smith.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laborer Dempsey Parker, 60; wife Phareby, 50; and children Mark, 27, works in nursery, Sanders, 23, laborer; Mary, 22, cook; and Lemuel, 40, laborer.

Mark H. Cotton, 45, son of Dempsy and Fereby Cotton, married Mahalia Battle, 22, daughter of Turner and Effie Battle, on 26 June 1895 at the residence of Mahalia Battle in Wilson. Henry C. Rountree applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Thomas J. Day and J.T. Deans of Wilson and J.T. Tomlinson of Black Creek.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: graded school janitor Mark Cotton, 45; wife Mahaley, 27; daughter Mary E., 2, and adopted daughter Rosa L., 11.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Gold Street, school janitor Mark Cotton, 52.

Mark Cotton 67, son of Dempsey and Farebee Cotton, married Minnie Brooks, 38, daughter of Tobe Farmer, on 11 December 1922 in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Edward Smith, Sallie Smith, and Rosa Arrington.

Mark Henry Cotton died 19 November 1934 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 95 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Dempsey Cotton and Fariby Mercer; was married to Minnie Cotton; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 November 1934.

I stepped from the wood line into the cleared section of Odd Fellows cemetery. At its line with Rountree cemetery, remnants of a stone border nestle in moss, then the ground dips into a vine-choked ditch. Below, the city has recently clear-cut the western side of the street, a section of which was once part of Rountree cemetery. A short stretch of stone or concrete border remains.

Naturalized daffodils hint at the strip’s past as a graveyard.

This ambiguous concrete rectangle is the sole evidence I saw of a grave marker.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2020.

 

Notice of sale of McGowan’s lot.

Tillman McGowan and wife Charity McGowan died within days of one another in 1892. In an earlier post, I noted that I had not found estate records for the McGowans. Now, I have.

The McGowans had at least nine children — Martha McGowan Cole, Chloe McGowan Barnes, Amy McGowan Hinnant, Lucinda McGowan Harper, Aaron McGowan, Ira McGowan, Delia Ann McGowan Morgan, Nathan McGowan and Courtney McGowan. At appears that three — Martha, Aaron and Courtney — died before their parents, though of these only Martha left heirs.

The McGowan children inherited as tenants in common a half-acre single lot at the corner of Vance and Maplewood Streets. Too small to divide seven ways, the McGowan heirs sought to sell the lot and divide the proceeds equally among them. To do this though, everyone needed to be on board. Ira and Nathan McGowan had migrated to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Delia McGowan Morgan was still living in Wilson. It is not clear to me where Chloe Barnes, Lucinda Harper or Amy Hinnant were living, but they were accounted for. All joined as plaintiffs in a suit for partition, naming their nieces and nephews — Charity, Nelson, Mary, Aaron and John Cole — as defendants. The Coles could not be found in the state, however, and the court named Henry G. Connor as guardian ad litem to represent their interests. The notice below ran for six weeks in the Wilson Mirror, but the children did not respond. On 10 December 1894, an appointed commissioner conducted a public sale of the lot, netting a $345 bid. After fees were deducted for the plaintiffs’ attorney ($20.00), the guardian ($5.00) and the commissioner ($10.00), the McGowans shared the proceeds.

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Wilson Mirror, 19 September 1894.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Setta Whitfield, 37, domestic servant; Gross Conner, 18, a white news dealer; Tillman McGown, 35, farm laborer, wife Charity, 36, and children Amy, 17, Lucinda, 15, Aaron, 20, Ira, 5, Delia A., 7, Nathan, 3, and Courtney, 1.

On 15 October 1875, Lucinda McGowan, 20, married Richard Harper, 22, in Wilson.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Tilman McGown, 43, wife Charity, 49,  and children Delia A., 18, Ira R., 15, and Nathan, 13.

On 1 September 1892, Delia Ann McGown, 22, of the Town of Wilson, daughter of Tilghman and Charity McGown, married Dennis Morgan, 38, of Wilson township. Rev. Crocket Best performed the ceremony in the presence of J.T. Deans, Paul Loyd and Cora Beckwith.

On 24 May 1894, Nathan McGowan married Clara Hester in Marion County, Indiana.

On 2 December 1894, Ira R. McGowan married Alice A. Stout in Marion County, Indiana.

Ira McGowan died 17 May 1939 at his home at 952 Camp, Indianapolis, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 January 1865 in North Carolina to unknown parents; worked as a laborer; and was married to Alice McGowan.

Ira R. McGowan of Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Indianapolis Star, 18 May 1939.

——

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Setta Whitfield, 37, domestic servant; Gross Conner, 18, a white news dealer; Tillman McGown, 35, farm laborer, wife Charity, 36, and children Amy, 17, Lucinda, 15, Aaron, 20, Ira, 5, Delia A., 7, Nathan, 3, and Courtney, 1.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Tilman McGown, 43, wife Charity, 49,  and children Delia A., 18, Ira R., 15, and Nathan, 13.

Ira R. McGowan married Alice A. Stout on 2 December 1894 in Marion County, Indiana.

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Indianapolis Journal, 30 April 1895.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 928 Camp Street, Ira McGowan, 33, foundry day laborer; wife Alice S., 27; son Benjamin, 4; and two boarders Carrie Stout, 15, and Frank Stout, 13.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 928 Camp Street, market house salesman Ira McGowan, 45, born in North Carolina; his Kentucky-born wife Alice, 38; and Indiana-born son Benjamin T., 13.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 952 Camp Street, Ira McGowan, 54; wife Alice, 60; son Ben, 23; and daughter-in-law Helen, 27.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 952 Camp Street, owned and valued at $6000, Ira R. McGowan, 61, public market salesman; wife Alice, 57; and cousin Lottie Freeman, 8.

Ira McGowan died 17 May 1939 at his home at 952 Camp, Indianapolis. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 January 1865 in North Carolina to unknown parents; worked as a laborer; and was married to Alice McGowan.

Benjamin McGowan died 20 October 1945 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 May 1899 in Indiana to Ira McGowan of North Carolina and Alice Stout of Paris, Kentucky; worked as a custodian at the “Income Tax Division”; and was married to Ruth McGowan.

A closer look at the 1872 map of Wilson.

In a post about the 1872 E.B. Mayo map of Wilson, I erroneously stated that Lemon Taborn‘s barber shop was the only African-American landmark depicted. A close look at a clearer image of the map revealed two others.

Tilman McGowan‘s house was on Vance Street northwest of Pine Street. McGowan was the long-time jail keeper in Wilson. His house and the lot on which it was situated were sold at auction after McGowan’s death.

On Tarboro Street, west of Barnes, there is a reference to “Jack Williams Black Smith Shop,” which is likely to have been the workshop of blacksmith Jack Williamson.

Sam Vick and his assistants.

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Wilson Mirror, 26 February 1890.

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Wilson Mirror, 1 April 1891.

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Wilson Mirror, 11 August 1891.

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Raleigh Morning Post, 14 July 1898.

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Raleigh Morning Post, 4 January 1902.

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Raleigh Morning Post, 8 April 1903.

  • Samuel H. Vick
  • Braswell R. Winstead
  • Levi H. Peacock
  • Jim Thorp — On 22 March 1900, James J. Thorp, 22, of Wilson, son of Edy Thorp, married Hattie Bunn, 17, daughter of Joshua and Emma Bunn, at Joshua Bunn‘s house in Wilson. Richard Renfrow applied for the license, and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Hilliard Ellis, Levi Jones and Phyllis Ellis. In the 1912 Wilson city directory, James Thorp, insurance agent, is listed at 654 Viola Street.
  • Fannie McGowan — on 30 August 1905, at the bride’s residence on Vance Street, Henry Matt Daniel, 40, son of Dave and Flora Daniel, married Flora McGowan, 28, parents unknown. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of L.A. Moore, J.S. Spell, and Mack Sharp.

The last will and testament of Esther McGowan.

I, Esther McGowan of the County of Wilson and State of North Carolina, being of sound mind and memory, do make and declare this to be my last Will and Testiment in manner and form following to wit: First that my executor hereinafter named shall provide for my body a decent burial suitable to the wishes of my relatives and friends, and pay all my funeral expenses together with my just debts howsoever and to whomsoever owing out of the first monies that shall come into his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Item 1st  I give and devise unto my beloved grand daughter Alice Moore All the property which I have except such as shall be hereinafter set forth, to the said Alice Moore to have and to hold to her self the said Alice Moore during her natural life.

Item 2nd I give and devise to my great-grand children, namely: Charlie Moore and Hester Moore one bed each.

Item 3rd After the death of the said Alice Moore, all of said property given and devised to her shall be given to the heirs of the said Alice Moore, during their natural lives, and after their deaths, then to their heirs and assigns forever And lastly I hereby constitute and appoint my friend Charles Battle Executor to this my last Will and Testiment. I hereby declare utterly void all former Wills and Testiments made by me In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal. This the 18th day of July A.D. 1895.  Esther (X) McGowan

Witnesses /s/ S.A. Smith, Chas. H. Darden

——

In the 1870 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County: Estha McGowan, 70, and Alice McGowan, 16.

On 28 January 1875, Prince Moore, 21, married Allice McGowan, 22, in Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, Esther McGowan, 65; daughter Alice, 25, cook; and son-in-law Prince Moore, 25, laborer.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed cook Alice Moore, 40, with children Hester, 12, and Wilbert T., 11.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 923 Para Street, Alice Moore, 49; son Charles, 27, a store porter; daughter-in-law Lizzie, 30; grandson Sylvester T., 1; and son Wilbert, 16. Alice, Charles and Wilbert were born in North Carolina; Lizzie in Tennessee; and Sylvester in Indiana.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 809 West Pratt Street, Charles Moore, 38; wife Elizabeth, 40; children Sylvester, 11, Beatrice, 7, and Ruth, 6; mother Alice, 65; and brother Wilbur, 26.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 809 West Pratt Street, hotel porter Charles Moore, 38; wife Elizabeth, 50; children Sylvester, 21, a station porter, Beatrice, 17, and Ruth, 16; mother Alice, 65; brother Wilbert, 37, a railroad station janitor, and nephew Wilbert Jr., 10.

Alice Moore died 4 June 1946 at her home at 809 West 9th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her death certificate reports that she was born 10 March 1852 [the year is incorrect] in Wilson, North Carolina, to John Bright and Mary McGown; that she had resided in Indianapolis for 43 years; that she was buried in Crown Hill cemetery; and that her informant was Charles Moore.

Charles Moore died at home on 27 May 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His death certificate reports that he was born 22 November 1883 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Prince Moore and Alice McGowan; was married to Elizabeth Moore; worked as a porter at Fannie May’s Candy Shop; and was buried in Crown Hill cemetery.

Wilbert T. Moore died 14 February 1963 at his home at 937 Camp Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. His death certificate reports that he was born 6 November 1896 in Wilson, North Carolina; was married to Ida Moore; worked as a laborer for B&O railroad; and was buried in Crown Hill cemetery.

 

The colored jailer.

For at least five years, and presumably more, Tilghman McGowan was the jailer at Wilson’s town hoosegaw. He is known primarily from unflattering mentions in the newspaper.

Here, he is deservedly chastised for beating a small African-American boy:

8 20 1887

Wilson Mirror, 20 August 1887.

Here, he is mocked for allowing an inmate to escape at dinner time:

9 13 1887

Wilson Mirror, 13 September 1887.

And here, he and his unnamed wife receive a treacly double obituary:

2 17 1892

Wilson Mirror, 17 February 1892.

McGowan’s hut may have been lowly, but he seems to have owned it, and in late 1894, a half-acre lot he’d owned just across from Maplewood cemetery was sold at auction. (I have not found evidence of any probate records for McGowan, so do not know whether the sale was occasioned by an estate settlement.)

12 19 1894

Wilson Mirror, 19 December 1894.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Setta Whitfield, 37, domestic servant; Gross Conner, 18, a white news dealer; Tillman McGown, 35, farm laborer, wife Charity, 36, and children Amy, 17, Lucinda, 15, Aaron, 20, Ira, 5, Delia A., 7, Nathan, 3, and Courtney, 1.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Tilman McGown, 43, wife Charity, 49,  and children Delia A., 18, Ira R., 15, and Nathan, 13.

Farmer v. Vick.

After her husband Gray Farmer’s death in July 1893, Argent Farmer went to court to get what she felt was hers. She filed suit against Daniel Vick, asserting that he had claimed title to a parcel land that had rightfully belonged to Gray and from which she was entitled to dower.

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Vick’s lawyer promptly responded, asserting, among other things, that:

  • Gray Farmer had indeed owned property as tenants in common with Charles Battle, Washington Sugg, William McGowan, and Wilson Barnes, but not at the time of his death.
  • That land, in fact, was east of the railroad, two acres on the northeast side of the alley running from Pettigrew to Pender Streets. (See the 1893 Sanborn map section below. The alley, marked “lane,” is now Church Street.)
  • On 13 February 1886, Gray and Argent Farmer conveyed all their title and interest to the property to J.T. McGraw.
  • On 7 May 1890, J.T. McGraw conveyed his interest to Charles Battle.
  • Pursuant to a judgement in a suit against Battle, Suggs and McGowan, the property was sold at public auction on 7 November 1892. Daniel Vick purchased it.

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Wilson Advance, 13 October 1892.

Farmer gave up on her claim, and the Clerk of Superior Court entered a nonsuit.

farmer v vick

  • Gray Farmer — Possibly, in the 1870 census of Wilson , Wilson County: Clay Farmer, 60, Gray W. Farmer, 13, and Jonas Gay, 14. Young Gray worked in a brickyard. On 15 March 1876, Gray Farmer, no age listed, married Argent Blount, 20, at Smith Knight‘s in Wilson. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter Gray Farmer, 27, wife Argent, and children Ellenor, 3, and Charlie Gray, 2.
  • Argent Blount Farmer
  • Daniel Vick
  • Charles Battle
  • Washington Suggs
  • William McGowan — William McGowan appears with five siblings in the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County, in the household of their mother, Anna McGowan, 35, washerwoman. Widower William McCowan, 86, died 1 September 1940 in Wilson of myocarditis. He resided at 513 Church Street, in the middle of block he and his partners had lost to sheriff’s sale 60 years earlier.
  • Wilson Barnes

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.