The last will and testament of Lula Speight.

In a will dated 5 August 1943, Lula Speight left all her personal property and real estate to her son, James T. Speight. Witnesses to the document were Jesse T. McPhail and Dave Graham.

  • Lula Speight

On 13 February 1914, Albert Speight, 35, of Greene County, son of Gray and Julia Speight, married Lula Ruff, 25, of Greene County, daughter of Louis Edwards, in Carrs township, Greene County.

In the 1920 census of Carrs township, Greene County, N.C.: on Snow Hill and Stantonsburg Road, farmer Albert Speight, 40; wife Lula, 29; and son James T., 9.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speight Albert (c; Lula) prop Brown’s Filling Sta 1216 E Nash

Albert Speight died 7 July 1929 at Saint Agnes Hospital, Raleigh, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was 50 years old; was born in Greene County to Gray Speight and Julia Williams; worked for himself as a merchant; and was married to Lula Speight. He was buried in Wilson.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speight Lula (c) gro 209 Finch h do [ditto]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 Finch Street, owned and valued at $1000, widow Lula Speight, 34, drink stand proprietor, and son James T. Speight, 19, bank porter. Renting from Speight for $8/month, William Hodge, 25; wife Sarah, 23; and children Eva R., 6, and William Jr., 1.

On 15 October 1934, Louis Jones, 35, of Wilson, son of Louis Jones and Beatie [last name unknown], married Lula Speight, 36, of Wilson, daughter of Louis Edwards and Emma Edwards. A.F.W.B. minister R.A. Horton performed the ceremony at his home in Wilson in the presence of Mary J. Horton, Flossie Johnson, and Ethel Parker.

Lula Speight died 22 September 1948 at her home at 209 Finch Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 August 1894 in Wayne County, N.C., to Louis Edwards and Lou Thompson; worked as a domestic; and was widow. She was buried in Washington Branch cemetery, Greene County, N.C. James Artis of Greensboro, N.C., was informant.

  • Jesse T. McPhail
  • Dave Graham — David Graham died 31 July 1966 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 September 1890 in South Carolina to Jim Graham and Nora Bradley; worked as a male nurse; was a widower; and lived at 622 New Street, Wilson.

Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church.

Now at 1626 Martin Luther King Parkway (formerly East Nash Street), Trinity, Wilson’s second A.M.E. Zion church, was originally located on Banks Street.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1928).

Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1948.

This granite plaque is affixed to eastern end of the church’s front porch:

Jesse T. McPhail is memorialized for his nearly 70 years of service to Trinity, which he joined just after his 19th birthday.


In the 1910 census of Dunn, Harnett County: on Washington and Pearson, lumber mill laborer Arnold McPhail, 25; wife Norah, 20; and children Jesse, 3, and Ellis, 18 months.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Arnold McPhail, 35; wife Nora, 29; and children Jessie, 13, Ellis, 11, Isibell, 9, Neressa, 7, Ethel, 5, and Paul, 2; and niece Ruby Monroe, 3.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 813 Mercer Street, owned and valued at $1500, truck farmer Hardy Hinnant, 38; mother Mollie B., 35; son George, 8 months; and roomer Jessie McPhail, 24, bank elevator boy.

On 29 March 1931, Jessie McPhail, 24, of Toisnot, son of Arnold McPhail, married Minnie Barnes, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Frank and Chaney Barnes. Elder W.C. Chavers, minister of the “U. Holiness Church,” performed the ceremony in Wilson in the presence of Hardy Hinnant, Dave [illegible] and Arnold McPhail.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: post office janitor Jesse McPhail, 32; wife Minnie, 27; and children Jesse Jr., 8, Clarence, 7, Milton, 5, Geraldine, 4, Ester, 3, Nathaniel, 1, and Minora, 4 months.

In 1942, Alen McCrimmon registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 17 November 1923 in Wilson; resided at 9 Carolina Street; his mailing address was 1114 Carolina Street; his contact was Jesse McPhail, 7 Carolina Street; and he was unemployed.

Jesse Thurston McPhail died 24 May 1994 in Wilson.

Photographs by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2019.

Studio shots, no. 26: Mary Howard Gaston McPhail.

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 10.07.42 PM

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on the Elm City and Wilson Road, farmer Junius Rosser, 59, wife Lizzie, 46, children Daniel, 14, Annie, 12, Bennie, 10, and Lizzie, 8, and boarder Mary Howard, 19, a teacher.

On 8 March 1923, Dewey Gaston, 23, son of George and Priscilla Gaston, all of Wilson County, married Mary B. Howard, 24, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Mary E. Darden. Dewey’s brother Mancie Gaston applied for the license, and Rev. R.E. Sentelle performed the ceremony in Edgecombe County in the presence of Mancie Gaston and Fannie F. Ricks of Elm City.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: barber Dewey Gaston, 30, wife Mary, 20 [sic], and children Doris L., 5, and Victor H., 3.

In the 1940 census of the Town of Elm City, Wilson County: on Dixon Street, barber Dewey Gaston, 40, wife Mary, 38, a teacher, and children Dorris, 15, and Victor H., 13.

Dewey Milton Gaston died 14 February 1946 in Elm City. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 November 1899 in Elm City to George Gaston and Priscilla (no maiden name listed); worked as a self-employed barber; was married to Mary Gaston; and was buried in Elm City cemetery. Mary Gaston was informant.

On 21 January 1951, Mary B. Gaston, 47, of Elm City, daughter of Victor and Mamie Howard, married Hector H. McPhail, 48, of Wilson, son of R.J. and Laura Waddell McPhail. A.M.E. Zion minister Allen J. Kirk performed the ceremony in Elm City. Mrs. C.L. Darden, Dr. J.B. Rosemond, and Mrs. Grace Artis were witnesses.

Mary Howard Gaston McPhail died 7 July 1985 in Wilson.

Photograph courtesy of Maria Rosemond Logan — many thanks.