migration from South Carolina

Annie Lewis slain by husband.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 July 1942.

Annie Russell Bethune Lewis was felled with a blow from an axe in her own yard. Her husband James Lewis was quickly arrested and allegedly confessed, claiming he “just couldn’t get along with her.” On September 9, the Daily Times reported that Lewis had entered a plea of not guilty by virtue of insanity. On September 11, the paper reported that a jury convicted him of manslaughter, and a judge sentenced him to 10-15 years in state prison.

James Lewis did not serve his full sentence. By 1949, he had returned to Black Creek — where he was shot in the back and killed on November 25.

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In the 1900 census of Sammy Swamp township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: Theodore Bethune, 34; wife Mary A., 25; and children Florence, 8, Alberta, 7, Amanda, 5, Oneitha, 3, and an unnamed girl infant, 2 months.

In the 1910 census of Stony Creek township, Wayne County, N.C.: Duckery Lewis, 42; wife Smithy, 36; and children John, 12, Ben, 10, James, 8, Floyd, 7, Albert, 6, and Needham, 3.

In the 1910 census of Manning township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: on Georgetown Road, Theodore Bethune, 45; wife Ann, 36; and children Florence, 18, Elberta, 17, Charlotte A., 15, Arnetha, 12, and Annie R., 10.

In the 1920 census of Sammy Swamp township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: Theodore Bethune, 45; wife Annie, 44; and daughters Charlotte, 17, Onithea, 15, and Annie, 13. [The children’s ages are wildly off.]

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Duckrey Lewis, 50; wife Smithy, 40; and children Ben, 20, James, 19, Floyd, 17, Albert, 15, Needham, 13, and Duckrey Jr., 7.

On 31 March 1931, James Lewis, 29, of Black Creek, son of Duckrey Lewis and Smithie [maiden name not given], married Annie R. Bethune, of Wayne County, 25, daughter of Theodore and Annie Bethune, in Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Theodore Bethune, 70; wife Annie, 60; daughter Annie Lewis, 30; and grandchildren Annie M., 7, Willie, 5, and Ned, 2.

“Murdered hit on head with axe by husband James Lewis killing her instantly” 

In 1942, James Willie Lewis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 7 July 1901 in Wayne County; lived on Clifton Tomlinson’s farm, Black Creek township; his contact was Sip Rogers, Route 1, Black Creek; and he worked for Clifton Tomlinson, Route 1, Black Creek.

On 25 November 1949, James Willie Lewis died at Mercy Hospital, Wilson, of a gunshot blast to the back. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 July 1900 in Wayne County to Duckrey Lewis and Smithie Barnes; was a widower; and lived at Route 1, Black Creek.

Studio shots, no. 196: Jesse and Levan Wilkins Handy.

Jesse and Levan Wilkins Handy.

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In the 1900 census of Red Bluff township, Marlboro County, South Carolina: wood cutter George Handy, 36; wife Mary, 30; and children Neill A., 12, George, 8, Simeon, 5, Iola, 2, and Jessee, 2 months.

In the 1910 census of Stewartsville township, Scotland County, North Carolina: farmer George Handy, 55, and children Neill, 20, George, 18, Sim, 15, Iola, 12, Jessie, 9, Mary, 6, and Archie, 4.

Neil Handy registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he lived at Route 6, Wilson; was born 30 May 1886; was a farmer for Jesse Barnes; and Nellie Handy was his nearest relative.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, George Handy, 60, and children Douglass, 18, Arch, 12, and Mary Sudie, 14.

In the 1930 census of Jonesboro, Lee County, North Carolina: odd jobs laborer Jesse Handy, 25; wife Janie, 25; and daughter Mary J., 2.

In the 1930 census of Mannings township, Nash County, North Carolina: farmer John Wilkins, 52, widower, and children William C., 20, farm laborer, Levian, 17, and Zollie, 15, farm laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street Alley, brickmason Douglas J. Handy, 40; wife Evan, 28, laundress; and daughter Mary J., 12.

Jessie Dugles Handy registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 14 April 1898 in Marion County, South Carolina; resided at 404 South Spring Street Alley; worked for Jones Brothers Construction on Lodge Street; and his contact was brother, Neal Handy, a brickmason.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Handley Jesse (c; Levan) brklyr h929 Carolina

Jessie Handy died 19 August 1979 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 April 1900 in Cumberland County, North Carolina, to George and Mary Handy; resided at 107 South East Street; worked as a brick mason; and was married to Levan Wilkins Handy.

News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 13 August 2005.

Photo courtesy of Cassandra Handy Horsley. Thank you for sharing!

 

Grant burned to death in home at veneer company.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1948.

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Emanuel Grant had lived in Wilson only a few months when he was killed in a house fire. Though the newspaper account of his death emphasizes his alleged intoxication, Grant’s death certificate paints a different picture of his demise, describing it as “by fire in burning building” due to being “unable to escape due to unconsciousness due to smoke filled room.”

Emanuel Grant died 25 May 1948 in Wilson. He was born 21 February 1914 in Georgetown, South Carolina, to Essau Grant and Lue White; worked as a laborer at Wilson Veneer Company; lived at Wilson Veneer; was single; and was returned to Georgetown, South Carolina, for burial.

Ed McCollum saves the day.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 April 1911.

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In the 1900 census of Bennettsville, Marlboro County, South Carolina: Edward McCollum, 22, butler, and wife Sarah, 26, washerwoman, with Lawrence McRae, 10, errand boy.

On 27 September 1905, Eddie McCollum, 27, son of E. and E. McCollum, married Rosa Farmer, 20, daughter of Gray and A[rgent]. Farmer, in Wilson. Presbyterian minister Charles E. Tucker presided, and C.S. Thomas, J.J. Thorp, and H.C. Holden witnessed. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: laborer Edie McColum, 38; wife Rosa, 36; and children Elvia, 8, Gladys, 5, and Edith, 4.

Argen Farmer McCollum died 20 January 1926 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 4 years old; was born in Wilson to Eddie McCollum of Bennettsville, South Carolina, and Rosa Farmer of Wilson; and lived at 811 East Viola. 

Eddie McCollum died 13 May 1929 at the colored hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 March 1880 in Bennettsville, South Carolina, to Edwin McCollum and Easter Dupree; was married to Rosa McCallum; and was a day laborer for Allen Furniture Company.

Elva McCollum died 6 May 1950 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 August 1911 in Wilson to Eddie McCollum and Rosa Farmer; was never married; worked as a beautician; and lived at 418 North Vick Street. Gladys McCollum was informant.

716 East Green Street.

The one hundred-forty-second in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1913; 1 story; shotgun with flush eaves and chamfered porch posts.” 

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The 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists laborer Edward D. Gause and wife Rosa, students Lorine and Maude Gause, and laborer Maxie Gause at 716 East Green.

Ed. Gause died 19 July 1929 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, he was 54 years old; was born in Nichols, S.C., to Solomon Gause and Annie Gause; worked as a common laborer; lived at 716 East Green; and was married to Rosa Gause. Inez Williams was informant, and Gause was buried in Rountree’s cemetery.

The 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists factory hands Lorine and Maude Gause, laborers Maxwell and Winston Gause, and laundress Rosa Gause at 716 East Green.

Lorene Gause died 6 January 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was single, was 21 years old, worked as a domestic, and was born in Mullens, S.C., to Ed Gause and Rosa McDaniel. Rosa Gause, 716 East Green, was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 716 East Green, rented for $14/month, Joseph Sutton, 61; wife Malissa, 60; children Beatrice, 26, James, 25, Fred, 23, Bruce, 19, Beulah, 17, and Mable, 16; and grandchildren Ivan, 8, and Geraldine, 7.  

Fred Douglass Sutton registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 18 September 1918 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 716 East Green Street, Wilson; worked for Southern Tadoco [Tobacco] Company, Wilson; and his contact was mother Millisa Gray Sutton, 716 East Green.

James Wesley Sutton registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 18 August 1914 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 716 East Green Street, Wilson; worked for Southern Tobacco Company, Wilson; and his contact was mother Mallissie Grey Sutton, 716 East Green.

Joseph Levi Sutton registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 May 1919 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 534 East Nash Street, Wilson; worked for Southern Tobacco Company, Wilson; and his contact was mother Malissie Grey Sutton, 716 East Green.

Thomas Rogers registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 February 1900 in Nash County, N.C.; lived at 713 East Vance Street, Wilson; worked for R.F. Beland at Plummer Shop, 119 South Goldsboro Street, Wilson; and his contact was Mrs. Mallissa Sutton, 716 East Green.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists laborer Fred Sutton, maid Beatrice Sutton, CCC worker Bruce Sutton, tobacco worker James W. Sutton, laborer Levi Sutton and wife Josie, and Melissa G. Sutton at 716 East Green.

The 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists student Bruce Sutton, housekeeper Melissa G. Sutton, and domestic Rosa Sutton at 716 East Green.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2021.

Someone to take care of her.

Like hundreds of others, Annie Mae Lewis likely came to Wilson during the Depression to seek work in the tobacco factories. She fell sick though, far from her family, and died in the winter of 1934.

Registrar Kate C. Daniels’ note on Lewis’ death certificate: “This girl came here from S.C. & the welfare dept got this woman at 313 Manchester St to take care of her.”

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The obituary of Dorothy H. Ellis, 100.

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July 3, 1919 — Dec. 15, 2019

Dorothy Geneva Hammond Ellis, 100, of Wilson, died Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, at the UNC Hillsborough Hospital campus in Hillsborough.

“Dorothy was a beloved retired schoolteacher who taught eighth grade at Darden High School starting in 1942. She and her husband, Coach [James C.] “Shank” Ellis, went on to teach at Coon Junior High School until they retired early in 1979. While teaching at Darden, she was asked to use her basketball skills to coach the basketball team while the men went off to fight in World War II.

“The funeral will be held at noon on Monday, Dec. 23, at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 209 Pender St. N., Wilson. The Rev. Rogers E. Randall Jr. will officiate. Burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery, 1717 Lane St. SE, Wilson.

“A public viewing will be 2-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, in the Chapel of Edwards Funeral Home with the family visitation from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“Dorothy was born July 3, 1919, in Cheraw, South Carolina.

“Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home.”

South Carolina roots: the Britton family reunion.

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Wilson Daily Times, 22 June 1977.

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In the 1910 census of Indian township, Williamsburg County, South Carolina: farmer Waders Britton, 33; wife Emma, 34; and children Prince D., 6, Eda M., 5, Elizabeth, 4, Manda A., 2, and Joseph S., 9 months.

In the 1920 census of Ridge township, Williamsburg County, South Carolina: farmer Waiters Britton, 46; wife Emma, 33; and children Prince, 15, Etta, 13, Carry, 11, Jane, 10, Florence, 8, Cora, 6, and Nettie, 2.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County, North Carolina: farmer Waitren B. Britton, 50, born in Florida; wife Emma, 52, born in South Carolina; and children Elizabeth, 22, Phoebe, 20, Ruth, 18, Emma Jr., 14, Sarah, 11, and Johney, 6, all born in South Carolina; and boarder Idee Howard, 22.

Emma Britton died 29 June 1931 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 58 years old; was born in Florence, South Carolina, to James Meyers and Amanda Bostic; had been farming on the “Tillman farm” since 1928; and was married to Watus B. Britton.

Walter Britton died 4 May 1933 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a widower; was 58 years old; was born in Florence, South Carolina, to Walter and Feebie Britton; was a widower; and worked as a day laborer. Emma Britton was informant.

Mary Ruth Lofton died 22 May 1963 at her home at 807 East Vance Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 August 1913 in South Carolina to Watis Britton and Emma Myers; was married. Informant was Benjamin Lofton, 807 East Vance.

On 9 November 1964, Charles Jennette, 45, twice divorced, born in Belhaven, N.C., City of Norfolk garbage collector, married Elizabeth Britton Stewart, 53, twice divorced, born in Florence, S.C., beautician, daughter of Watties Bonwell Britton and Emma Myers, in Norfolk, Virginia.

Rev. Phoebe Ann Britton Cotton died 15 December 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 February 1916 in South Carolina to Waitis Barnwell Britton and Emma Britton; was a widow; resided at 1303 Carolina Street; and was a minister. John Cotton of Augusta, Georgia, was informant. She was buried in Jones Hill cemetery.

Elizabeth Jennette died 4 February 1980 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 June 1910 in South Carolina to Watis Barnwell Britton and Emma Myers; was married; lived at 1600 Lane Street; and was a beautician. Sister Sarah B. Applewhite was informant.

Sarah Addie Britton Applewhite died 12 November 1986. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 April 1919 in South Carolina to Watis Britton and Emma Myers; was widowed; worked as a belt operator at Export Tobacco Company; and lived on Lane Street Extension. Daughter Janifer A. Burns, Chesterfield, Virginia, was informant.

South Carolina roots: the Wilsons.

John and Lula Stokes Durant Wilson were among many South Carolina migrants to Wilson in the early 20th century. Rest Haven cemetery, June 2019.

In the 1900 census of Sammy Swamp township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: farmer William Stokes, 57, farmer; wife Ann F., 36; and children DeWit, 15, Euleda, 13, Lula, 11, Hallie, 8, Estell, 7, Marion, 5, Talmage, 4, and Eva, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Sammy Swamp township, Clarendon County, South Carolina: farmer William Stokes, 76, and wife Annie, 60; Lula Durant, 27, widow; Talmage, 19, and Bennie Stokes, 16; Almot, 5, Clarence, 4, and B.J. Durant, 1.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer John Wilson, 65; wife Lula, 32; children Annie D., 6, John W., 3, and Mamie and Ruth, 2; and step-children Clarence, 16, B.J., 11, and Luke Durant, 7.

In the 1940 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: John Wilson, 76; wife Lula, 47; and children Luke, 20, Annie Dell, 18, John William, 15, Mamie, 13, Ruth, 11, and Council, 8.

John Wilson died 19 October 1959 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1887 in South Carolina to Ardelia Wilson; was a fireman; was married to Lula Wilson; and lived at 1108 Queen Street. [John Wilson’s gravestone, shown above, lists his birth year as 1857. Census records suggest that he was born circa 1864.]

Lula Wilson died 13 December 1962 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 May 1902 in South Carolina to Billie and Annie Dell Stokes; and lived at 1108 Queen Street. Informant was Luke Durant, Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2019.

The obituary of Rev. James Wesley Holiday.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1977.

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In the 1920 census of Concord, Clarendon County, South Carolina: farmer Wesley Holiday, 29, farmer; wife Caroline, 22; and children Erlier, 5, Cecil, 4, Manyard, 3, and Eddie, 2.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Holiday Wesley (c; Rosa) tob wkr h 709 Cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 612 East Suggs, rented for $12/month, tobacco factory laborer Westley Holiday, 40; wife Rosa, 30; and children Earlise, 12, Edward, 11, Deborah, 9, Lula M., 6, Earnest, 4, and Joseph, 1.

Rosa M. Holiday died 31 January 1938 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 5 months old; was the daughter of Wesley Holiday and Rosa Brown, both of Sumter, South Carolina; and resided at 312 Spruce Street.

In 1946, Joseph Holliday registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 16 September 1928 in Wilson County; lived at 648 Cemetery Street; was a student; and his contact was his father Wesley Holliday, 648 Cemetery.

Rosa Holiday died 8 December 1951 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 18 September 1899 to Payrow Brown; was married; and lived at 648 Cemetery Street. Rev. W.H. Holiday was informant.

James W. Holiday, 69, married Lona Tillery, 47, in Wilson on 23 October 1958.

Lonia Tillery Holiday died 15 November 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 57 years old; was married to James Holiday; was the daughter of Mary Sanders; and had worked as a maid.

James Wesley Holiday died 8 March 1977 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born January 1900 in South Carolina to unknown parents;