Melton

Rev. Melton paints his house.

On 1 February 1898, Leavy J. Melton purchased $39.13 of paint and other materials on credit for improvement of a house at the corner of Pender and Green Streets. Melton bought the paint from George D. Green and in exchange gave him a lien on the house, which he had purchased from Green in 1893.

Deed book 46, page, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Photographs by Winstead of Wilson.

These five photographs were taken at Francis M. Winstead’s studio in Wilson, most likely in the early 1890s. They are part of a trove of cartes de visite of African-Americans assembled by S.J. Reidhead, who graciously shared them with me. The images appear to have been part of one family’s collection, but I have been able to identify only a few of the subjects.

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On the reverse: “Compliments of Rev & Mrs L.J. Melton to Mr & Mrs G.T. Foster.” These are likely two of the Melton children.

  • Leavy J. Melton — Presbyterian minister Leavy J. Melton arrived in Wilson about 1891 and remained for seven years. In the 1900 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: minister L.J. Melton, 36; wife Rebeca, 29; and children Marion, 6, Hally, 4, Onna Bell, 2, and Robert J., 1.
  • Rebecca Canty Melton
  • Grant T. Foster — Grant T. Foster, 22, married Alice M. Daniel, 22, in Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina, on 19 May 1886. The couple apparently moved to Wilson within the next few years, and Alice Foster is likely the Mrs. who received the photo. On 11 June 1900, presumably after Alice’s death, Grant T. Foster, 27, of Oxford, North Carolina, married Maggie Ransom, 27, of Wilson, daughter of Annie Horne, in Emporia, Virginia.

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Based on his photo in A.B. Caldwell’s History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (see link above), I am fairly sure this depicts a young Rev. Melton.

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Are these African-American children? The children of a white friend of the Meltons in Wilson? The former seems more likely.

Vick and Melton, Albion Academy trustees.

“The Albion Academy was designed to prepare young men and women to be teachers in schools intended for the instruction of colored people in the Southern States.

“It was organized by the late Rev. Moses A. Hopkins, its first principal, and aided by his Presbyterian friends North and South.

“Like all schools, at its commencement, it had many obstacles to fight. But by prayer, and the indefatigable energy and push of its founder, it grew gradually until it attracted the public in such a way, that the State of North Carolina, feeling the need of having intelligent, warmhearted citizens who will exercise their right of suffrage intelligently, and for the good of their country, the elevation of the race, and the glory of God, established six Normals, and located one at Franklinton, in connection with the Albion Academy.”

Albion Academy’s 1892-93 catalog listed 58 students by name in the Academic program and claimed another 189 in the preparatory and primary programs. Though Samuel H. Vick and Rev. Leavy J. Melton (and Clarence Dillard) served on the school’s board of trustees, no children from Wilson matriculated at Albion that year.

Excerpts from catalog found at http://www.ancestraltrackers.net/nc/franklin/catalogue-albion-academy-1892.pdf

Snaps, no. 15: Rev. Lafayette “Fate” Melton.

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On 3 December 1907, Mack Melton, 55, of Gardners township, son of Lenzy and Eliza Melton, married Sarah Wootten, 40, of Greene County, in Wilson County. Moses Dew applied for the marriage license, and he, Carrie Melton and Marry Thomas witnessed.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Mack Melton, 60, wife Sarah, 45, and children Lafyette, 14, Lillie, 12, Gilber, 10, and Warren Melton, 8. Both Mack and Sarah reported that this was a second marriage for each. Sarah reported that seven of her nine children were living.

Fate Milton registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he resided in Wilson County, was born in Pitt County on 21 December 1895, and worked a farmer.

On 29 December 1921, Fate Melton, 26, of Wilson County, son of Mack and Sarah Melton, married Annie Brooks, 21, of Wilson County, daughter of Grant and Sallie Brooks. Primitive Baptist minister Thomas Bunch officiated at the ceremony, and David Bynum, Leander Harriss and Leander Sauls were witnesses.

Fate Melton was appointed as an elder in the Union Primitive Baptist Association as a young man and served as pastor of at least four Wilson County churches, Oaky Grove, Friendship, Union Grove and Jerusalem Grove. He led Jerusalem Grove from 1924 until his death in 1961; the church is now helmed by a grandson.

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Fate Melton died 4 September 1961 at a Veterans Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was a farmer and Primitive Baptist minister; was born 21 December 1896 in Wilson County to Tony Sharp Melton and Sarah Ellis; and was a World War I veteran. Annie Brooks Melton was informant.

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Proceedings of the 58th Annual Session of the Union Primitive Baptist Association found at www.archive.org; military headstone application found at U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Many thanks to Anthony J. Edwards for permission to feature this photograph.

Applications for military headstones, no. 1.

  • John Melton

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In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Melton, 42, wife Lucy, 45, sons John, 16, and Samuel A., 13.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Melton, 51, wife Lucy, 55, son Johnnie Jr., 24, boarder James Dudley, 20, and grandson Sam Melton, 12.

On 29 October 1917, John Melton, 26, of Wilson, married Cora Barnes, 25, of Wilson. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Linnie Wilson, M.H. Wilson, and Lorena E. Gregg.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: house carpenter John Melton, 28, wife Cora, 26, with son Robert O., 1, and cousin Della Griswill, 24.

  • Albert Battle

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On 28 December 1917, Albert Battle, 31, of Wayne County, son of Albert and Annie Battle, married Hannah Pate, 30, of Stantonsburg, daughter of John and Vinie Pate, in Wilson County. Rev. S.J. Brown, a Freewill Baptist minister, at P.P. Barnes’ house in Stantonsburg in the presence of Smithie Barnes, P.P. Barnes, and Rosa Battle.

In the 1920 census of Great Swamp, Wayne County: Albert Battle, 33, wife Hannah, 31, and daughter Linday, 12, on Pikeville and Fremont Road.

In the 1930 census of Great Swamp, Wayne County: Albert Battle, 43, wife Hannah, 39, sister-in-law Smythia, 45, nieces and nephews Odie, 18, Flossie M., 17, Hettie B., 10, Beatrice, 7, Viola, 6, and James O. Battle, 3.

Albert Battle died 19 March 1936 in Fremont, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 March 1886 in Edgecombe County to Albert Battle and Dossie Ann Drake; worked as a laborer; was married; and was buried in Wilson. Hannah Battle of Fremont was informant.

  • Larry Hooks

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In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Larry Hooks, 20, listed a prisoner in the county stockade on Wiggins Mill Road.

Lary Hooks, 27, registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 May 1890 in Fremont, North Carolina, and worked as a “convict on road” in the Nashville road district. He was married and described as medium height and stout with brown eyes and black hair.

Larry Hooks died 3 August 1936 in Wilson’s Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was married to Sarah Hooks; was born about 1890 in Wayne County to Charlie Hooks and Melvina Reid of Wayne County; and worked as a common laborer. Charlie Hooks of Elm City, North Carolina, was informant.

  • Willie Gay

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In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Emma Gay, 35, and children Charlie, 15, steam mill worker, Mary, 11, Etheldred, 8, and Willie, 6, plus boarder Fannie Thompson, 19, cook.

On 8 January 1894, Willie Gay, 18, son of Charles and Emma Gay, married Mary Bunn, 21, daughter of Dick and Mary Bunn, at Willie Gay’s house in Wilson. Presbyterian minister L.J. Melton performed the ceremony in the presence of W.M. Phillips, L.A. Moore, and C.C. Williams.

Probably, in the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer William Gay, 26, a widower, living alone.

On 29 October 1902, Willie Gay, 27, married Mary Johnson, 22, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Cain Artis, Chas. S. Thomas, and Robt. E. Artis.

On 23 March 1906, William Gay, 33, son of Charles and Emma Gay, married Augustus McNeil, 30, daughter of Peter and Emily Patterson of Fayetteville, North Carolina, at William Gay’s house in Wilson. Rev. Fred M. Davis performs the ceremony in the presence of J.E. Fanner, Robert Stricklin, and Charlie Fain.

Possibly, in the 1940 census of Kecoughtan, Elizabeth City County, Virginia: Willie Gay, 66, born in North Carolina, patient at Veterans Administration facility.

N.B.: Gay, who served 1898-99, was a veteran of the Spanish American War.

  • Robert Crocker Harris

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In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1018 Wainwright Street, farmer Moses Dupree, 50; wife Henrietta, 48, nurse for private family; grandson Robert Harris, 8; and roomer Virginia Humphreys, 54, cosmetics peddler.

In 1942, Robert Crocker Harris registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. His draft card reports that he was born 6 June 1922 in Wilson County; resided at 1018 Wainwright Street; listed Henriette Dupree of that address as his contact person; and worked as a tobacco farm aide.

Robert Croker Harris died 21 June 1952 in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 June 1922 in Wilson County to Willie Harris and Smithie Dupree; was married; worked as an orderly at Duke Hospital; and resided at 613 Fayetteville Street. Detective W.H. Upchurch was informant. Cause of death: “Abdominal hemorrhage; two pistol shot wounds of back; shot while being arrested for disorderly conduct & resisting arrest — officer exonerated by grand jury.”

The thief was on to the game.

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Wilson Advance, 25 February 1897.

A “tom thumb” is a sausage made with pork shoulder, sage, and red pepper, heavily salted and stuffed into a hog’s stomach.  The resulting large lump is either smoked or dry-cured and is a delicacy found — with decreasing frequency — in Virginia and the Carolinas.

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On 7 January 1886, John Melton, 28, married Lucey Farmer, 29, at Tobey Farmer‘s in the presence of Thos. Ruffin, J.H. Lassiter and Robert Melton.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Melton, 42, wife Lucy, 45, sons John, 16, and Samuel A., 13.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Melton, 51, wife Lucy, 55, son Johnnie Jr., 24, boarder James Dudley, 20, and grandson Sam Melton, 12.

News of the colored graded school.

WM 7 22 1891

Wilson Mirror, 22 July 1891.

WA 9 14 1893

Wilson Advance, 14 September 1893.

WDT 5 28 1897

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1897.

  • Frank O. Blount — in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: gristmill worker Daniel Vick, 38, wife Fannie, 35, and children Samuel, 16, Nettie, 14, Earnest Linwood, 12, Henry, 10, and James O.F., 8, plus Frank O. Blount, 20, and Marcus W. Blount, 26. Though the Blounts were described as boarders, they were in fact Fannie Blount Vick’s brothers. Three years later, Frank and his cousin Samuel H. Vick (as well as neighbor Daniel Cato Suggs) were recorded in the junior class at Lincoln University in Chester, Pennsylvania. Frank Blount left Wilson before 1895. In that year, he is listed in the city directory of Washington, D.C., working as a porter and living at 463 Washington N.W. In 1900, he is found in the census of Saint Louis, Missouri, newly a widower, boarding at 2627 Papin Street and working as a janitor. Ten years later, he had gotten on with the post office and was living at 3030 Laclede with his second wife Mamie L. and her four sons, George P., 26, Cortello, 21, Robert M., 19, and Harrison Dove, 10. In the 1920 census, Frank and Mamie Blount are recorded at 3010 Laclede. Mamie Dove Blount died in 1930 in Chicago, but I have not yet found Frank’s death certificate.

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Catalogue for Lincoln University for 1882-83 (1883).

  • Braswell Winstead — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: assistant postmaster Braswell Winstead, 39, wife Ada, 25, and children Arnold, 13, George, 12, Rolland, 11, and Christine, 8.
  • Levi Peacock — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: postmaster Levi Peacock, 30, wife Hannah, 28, a schoolteacher, and children Olivia, 5, Hannah, 3, and Levi, 2, plus mother Susan Pyett, 50.
  • Ada Battle and Charles Battle — Ada G. Battle and Charles Tecumseh Battle were children of Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle. Ada, born about 18, never married.
  • Lucy Thompson — Per her death certificate, Lucy A. Thompson was born about 1875 in Wilson County to Ennis and Helen A. Ruffin Thompson. She was unmarried, a teacher, and died 24 July 1946.
  • _____ Melton — probably Leavy J. Melton.
  • Sallie Barber — Per her death certificate, Sallie Minnie Blake Barbour was born about 1871 in Wake County to Essex and Clara Hodge Blake. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson township, Wilson County: mechanic Charlie Barber, 47; wife Sallie, 40, teacher; and sons Luther, 21, John, 17, James, 17, and Herbert, 15, plus two roomers. The colored graded school was renamed in her honor in the late 1930s. She died in 1942.

Rev. Leavey J. Melton.

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LJ Melton 2

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A.B. Caldwell, ed., History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (1921).

In May 1892, Rev. Leavy J. Melton, with Rev. J.F. Jordan, jointly presided over the marriage of Samuel H. Vick and Annie M. Washington at the A.M.E. Zion church in Wilson. Vick was a staunch Presbyterian and apparently insisted on the inclusion of his pastor.

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Excerpt from marriage license of Vick and Washington.

Per The Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, vol. 1, edited by Edgar Sutton Robinson (1898):

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