Store damaged by fire.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 March 1924.


  • Ed Johnson — Edward Johnson died 15 April 1924 (two weeks after his store burned.) Per his death certificate, he was born 12 February 1869 in Durham County, N.C., to Martin Johnson and Francies Burks of Durham County; was married to Rachel Jane Johnson; was a self-employed grocery merchant; and lived at 406 East Hines Street. His wife Rachel Johnson was the daughter of his landlord Lewis Townsend.
  • Louis Townsend — Lewis W. Townsend and his brother Andrew J. Townsend operated groceries together and separately in the warehouse district southwest of downtown Wilson.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Waylaid and murdered.

The Independent (Elizabeth City, N.C.), 28 January 1921.


In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Carolina Street, laborer Haddie Swinson, 29; wife Ianthia, 31; and children May Bird, 6, Glasco, 5, and James B., 3.

Haddie Davis Swinson, a merchant, was shot in the head on 21 January 1921.

The last will and testament of Jake Tucker.


On 2 February 1883, Jacob Tucker, 22, married Mary Jane Townsend, 26, in Durham County, North Carolina.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Jacob Tucker, 40, wife Mary, 39, and children Doward, 17, Daniel, 15, Thomas, 13, Henry, 12, all day laborers, Smart, 9, Walter, 7, Patience, 5, Joseph, 2, and Bessie, 11 months.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, retail grocer Jake Tucker, 45, wife Jane, 45, and children Andrew, 19, a factory laborer, Walter, 15, a bootblack at a barbershop, Pet, 13, Joe, 12, Bessie, 10, and Viola, 7.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 416 Spring Street, grocery merchant Jake Tucker, 50, wife Mary, 49, daughter Viola, 18, a tobacco factory worker, and grandson David Jenkins, 5.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 422 Spring Street, Jake Tucker, 83, widower.

Jake Tucker died 13 February 1946 at his home at 422 Spring Street. Per his death certificate, he was born about 1869 in South Boston, Virginia, and worked as a tobacco grader and grocery store owner. Viola Tucker was informant.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Mr. Moore’s retirement plan.


Raleigh Gazette, 31 July 1897.


Raleigh Gazette, 18 September 1897.


In the 1870 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: brickmason Benjamin Moore, 36; wife Isabella, 42; laundress Polly Swann, 21; Henrietta, 15, Satyra, 5, Benjamin, 2, and Philip, 2 months; Harriet Quince, 23; and Alice Watson, 19.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: South Carolina-born farm worker Joseph Palmer, 20, wife Ella, 21, children Pearl, 9, and Mattie, 6, and mother Mariah Moore, 45.

On 2 December 1895, Benjamin Moore, 26, of Wilmington, son of Benjamin Moore of Wilmington, and Mattie Elizabeth Palmer, 22, of Wilmington, daughter of Joseph and Ella Palmer of Wilmington obtained a license to marry in New Hanover County.

The retirement experiment in shopkeeping. Before 1900, Benjamin and Mattie returned to Wilmington, and Benjamin rejoined the ranks of Pullman porters.

In the 1900 census of Wilmington, New Hanover: Bengamin J.W. Moore, 30, “R.R. porter,” and wife Mattie, 26. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: South Carolina-born carpenter Joseph C. Palmer, 42, wife Estel, 41, a confectioner, and grandson Joseph C. Palmer Jr., 9.


Wilmington Messenger, 5 April 1902.

In the 1910 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: at 1113 Market Street, railroad cook Benjamin J.W. Moore, 39, and wife Mattie, 35. (B.J.W. reported to the census taker having been married twice. The 19 April 1894 issue of the Wilmington Messenger recorded his grant of divorce from Laura Moore.) In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, house carpenter Joe Palmer, 50, and wife Ella, 49.

In the 1920 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: Ben Moore, 49, private car porter A.C.L. [Atlantic Coast Line], and wife Mattie, 40. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 710 Lodge Street, grocery store salesman Joe Palmer, 60, and wife Ella, 61, a general merchant.

Her mother Ella Palmer died 21 September 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 59 years old and born in Hyde County, North Carolina, to Mariah Moore. Within 15 months, Mattie Palmer Moore lost her closest remaining relatives.

Her husband Benjamin J.W. Moore died 28 March 1922 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 November 1870 in Wilmington to Benjamin Moore and an unknown mother, worked as a cook for A.C.L., and lived at 1113 Market Street. He was buried at Pine Forest cemetery. M.E. Moore was informant.


Wilmington Messenger, 14 April 1922.

Her father Joseph C. Palmer died 12 December 1923 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a native of Columbia, South Carolina, a widower, and a store proprietor. Mrs. Mattie E. Moore was informant.

On 14 January 1924, Camillus L. Darden (with his father Charles H. Darden as surety) applied for and received at Wilson County Superior Court letters of administration to handle J.C. Palmer’s estate, which he valued at $8000. Curiously, he asserted that Palmer had no heirs.


In fact, both Mattie Palmer Moore and her son Joseph Clifton Palmer were alive. Joseph died 21 May 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 36 years old, married to Viola Palmer, lived at 614 East Green, and was the son of James Artis and Mattie Palmer. His mother Mattie Moore was informant.

Mattie Palmer Moore, it appears, died 20 May 1952 in Wilson.

North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:

Be convinced by the first colored merchant uptown.

GSS_4_15_1898 Wilson AfAm Merchant

The Great Sunny South (Snow Hill NC), 15 April 1898.

[I am greatly intrigued by the ground-breaking Mrs. A.V.C. Hunt, but have found little beyond some titillating, but enigmatic, coverage of an arson event involving her and/or her husband, the unnamed Mr. Hunt.


Wilmington Messenger, 29 March 1899.


Wilson Daily Times, 31 March 1899.

Justice apparently was available in Wilson criminal court as Hunt was acquitted of arson (though found guilty and fined for the assault on Rowe.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 8.05.42 PM.png

Wilson Times, 30 June 1899.

A.V.C. Hunt died in 1903, and Henry C. Rountree was appointed administrator to her estate. There was not much to settle, and the value of her few possessions did not cover the expenses Rountree laid out for her board, care during illness, and burial. [Rountree himself died in 1916, and his death certificate notes that he was a “dealer in groceries.” He was born in 1848 in Wilson County to Jessie Artis and Becker Artis.]

AVC Hunt

Image from file of A.V.C. Hunt, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,