migration to Arkansas

Studio shots, no. 170: the William D. Lucas family.

William D. and Neppie Ann Woods Lucas and children. Ettrick Marion Lucas is at right in white collar. This photo was likely taken in the late 1890s in Arkansas, a few years after the family migrated from North Carolina.

William D. Lucas, grandson of William and Neppie W. Lucas, and wife Henrietta Lucas.

——

In the 1860 census of Coopers township, Nash County: farm laborer Chordy Locus, 26; wife Jinsey, 24; and children William, 2, and John, 1 month.

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Cordie Lucas, 35; wife Quincy, 35; and children William, 10, Arnold, 9, Lahary, 7, Sidney, 5, Willie, 3, and Olivia, 1 month.

In the 1880 census of Coopers township, Nash County: Corda Lucus, 46; wife Jincy Jane, 45; and children William, 21, Arnold. Jno., 20, L.A. Jane, 17, Sidney E., 14, J. Wiley, 12, Livy A., 10, Martha A., 4, and Moning, 1.

On 3 February 1886, W.D. Lucas, 27, of Nash County, and Neppie Ann Wood, 21, of Franklin County, were married at Read Wood’s residence in Franklin County.

In the 1900 census of Madison township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: farmer William D. Lucas, 42; wife Neffie, 35; and children William, 13, John, 12, Ettric, 9, Askew, 6, Peter, 5, and Emma, 2; and adopted daughter Della Short, 16. All but the youngest four children were born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Telico township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: farmer William D. Lucas, 43; wife Neppie A., 40; sons Askew W., 16, Ettrick M., 18, and Peter W., 13; adopted sister Dellar Short, 30; and Lula Wood, 17. 

In 1918, William Lucas registered for the World War I draft in Saint Francis County, Arkansas. Per his registration card, he was born 30 November 1883; Lived in Forrest City, Arkansas; worked as an express driver for Wells-Fargo Express Company; and his contact was Anna Lucas.

In the 1920 census of Telico township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: farmer Wm. Lucas, 60; wife Neppie, 53; son Ettrick, 28; grandchildren Susie, 7, Leonard, 6, William D., 4, and Linda, 3; cousin Leo Tabron, 8; and boarders Della Short, 45, Roy Allen, 19, and Louis Jones, 23.

Neppie A. Lucas died 13 September 1928 in Caldwell, Telico township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas. Per her death certificate, she was 63 years old; was born in North Carolina to Bill and Amanda Ritch; and was married to William D. Lucas. She was buried in Goodlow cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Telico township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: on Shiloh Dirt Road, cotton farmer William D. Lucas, 62; wife Lucy, 54; grandchildren Sussie, 15, Leonard, 15, Annie L., 13, William D., Jr., 14, and Lenda, 12; and adopted daughter Della, 45. 

On 8 January 1934, Saint Francis Chancery Court granted William D. Lucas a divorce from Lucy Lucas on the grounds of desertion. They had married in 1929.

On 6 August 1935, William D. Lucas, 76, of Forrest City, Saint Francis County, married Martha Grady, 52, also of Forrest City, in Clay County, Arkansas.

In the 1940 census of Telico township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: farmer W.D. Lucas, 81; son Ettric Marion Lucas, 48; grandson William, 25, granddaughter-in-law Henrietta, 17, and great-grandchildren James Earl, 2, and Leon Lucas, 1; Della Short, 59, adopted daughter; and Arnold Lucas, 7, great-grandson.

William D. Lucas died 7 September 1951 in Caldwell, Saint Francis County, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was born 26 January 1880 [actually, about 1858] in North Carolina to Corda Lucas and an unknown mother; was a widower; and a farmer. E.M. Lucas was informant.

Photos courtesy of Europe Ahmad Farmer.

The Armstrong family calendar.

Lydia Bledsoe Hunter continues to share gems from her family, which migrated from the area of northeastern Wilson County and southwestern Edgecombe County. Haywood Armstrong was born enslaved to Abraham and Cherry Armstrong, most likely around the present-day Town Creek community east of Elm City.

Around 1889, Haywood and his wife Agnes Bullock Armstrong, who was born just across the county line in Edgecombe County, following hundreds of Black North Carolinians, moved their family more than 900 miles to central Arkansas. 

Haywood and Agnes Armstrong’s descendants created this commemorative calendar to raise funds for the upkeep of the family’s cemetery. It features photos and mini-bios of each of the Armstrongs’ children set against backdrops of rural Lonoke County.

Caroline Lee Armstrong Moore.

Charlie Armstrong Sr.

Mollie Armstrong Daniel.

William H. Armstrong.

 

Joshua Armstrong.

Benjamin H. Armstrong.

Cherry Armstrong Meadows, the first child born in Arkansas.

Anna Armstrong Parker and Frank J. Armstrong.

Minnie Armstrong Johnson.

Agnes Armstrong Mitchell and Hayward A. Armstrong.

Edward Armstrong.

Lollie Armstrong Nicks.

Many thanks to Lydia for sharing the Armstrong family commemorative calendar.

Other suns: Arkansas.

Arkansas was not a Great Migration destination. Rather, it was a state from which thousands of African-Americans streamed North to cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit. However, no doubt, many such families had come to eastern and central Arkansas from Wilson County in the 1880s and ’90s.

  • Ellis, Littleton, and Julia Barnes Ellis and children, unnamed location, ca. 1886
  • Dixon, Luke, and Martha Tyson Dixon, DeValls Bluffs, 1889
  • Armstrong, Haywood, and Agnes Bullock Armstrong, and children Charlie, Mollie, William, Joshua, and Herman, Lonoke County, ca. 1890
  • Parker, Caesar, and Cinda Parker and children Mattie, Willis, Daniel, and Louvenia, Keo, Lonoke County, 1890
  • Barnes, Nathan, and Lucy Barnes, and children Marson, Mary Jane, Claudie, and Elroy, Saint Francis County, ca. 1890
  • Ruffin, Thomas, and Martha Farmer Ruffin, and children Wiley, Marina, and James, Brodie, Pulaski County, ca. 1891
  • Scarborough, George, and Millie Armstrong Scarborough and children Walter, George, Martin J., and Charity, Lonoke County, ca. 1892
  • Scarborough, George, and children Martin, Cromwell, Arie, Jesse, Fannie, Joseph, and Leon, Lonoke County, betw. 1893 and 1900
  • Forbes, Wiley, and Penny Forbes and siblings Johnnie, Mary B., Martha J., and Tinsey, 12; and father Toney Forbes, bef. 1894
  • Bynum, Isaac, and Martha Bynum and children, Lonoke County, ca. 1895
  • Daniels, Henry, and Elizabeth Daniels, and children William H., Matilda A., and Mary J., Pine Bluff, bef. 1896
  • Lucas, Ephraim, and Annie Lucas, and son Luther, Cross County, betw. 1896 and 1900
  • Bullock, Harriet, county unknown, bef. 1897
  • Taylor, George W., Pulaski County, ca. 1898
  • Barnes, Smithy, and sons George, Sidney and Bruce Cooper, Pine Bluff, bef. 1900
  • Farmer, Peter, and Mariah Farmer, and children John, Margaret, Isaac, Eli, and Louisa, Cross County, bef. 1900
  • Armstrong, Isaac, and Laura Armstrong and children William, David L., Mary B., and James G., Ashley County, bef. 1900
  • Jones, George D., Little Rock, bef. 1900
  • High, Joseph W., Lafayette County, bef. 1900
  • Farmer, Peter, and Mariah Lofton Farmer, and children Hardy and Essie, Cross County, bef. 1900
  • Hines, Cherry Ward, Lonoke County, bef. 1900
  • Barron, Mark, Ashley County, bef. 1900
  • Aycock, Green, and Janie Aycock, and children Robert, Larry, and Peter, and mother Faine Aycock, Jefferson County, bef. 1900
  • Davis, Paul, and Annie Davis and Louvinia, Sadie, Emma and Claud, Cross County, bef. 1900
  • Armstrong, Burton, and Clara Armstrong, Ashley County, bef. 1900
  • Barnes, Haywood, and Tena Barnes, and sons James and Clayton, Lonoke County, bef. 1900
  • Wesley, Hayward, Columbia County and Pine Bluffs, bef. 1900
  • Woodard, John H., Pope County, bef. 1900
  • Lewis, Kinchen, and children Cora, John, William and Arthur, Marianna, Lee County, bef. 1900
  • Adams, Abram, and Millie Adams, and Fannie Adams Owens, Union County, bef. 1900
  • Hooks, Thomas, Pulaski County, bef. 1904
  • Baker, James, Lonoke County, bef. 1910
  • Harp, Adeline, Lee County, bef. 1910
  • Brown, Rhoda Tabron Taylor, Saint Francis County, bef. 1910
  • Thomas, Hattie Sharpe, Lonoke County, bef. 1910
  • Griffin, Josh, Little Rock, bef. 1910
  • Barnes, Clayton, and Jennie Barnes and sister-in-law Lucille Jones, Lonoke County, bef. 1910
  • Smith, Jesse A., Crossett, Ashley County, ca. 1911
  • Joyner, Ada Barnes, Pine Bluffs, bef. 1916
  • Davis, Drew, Jefferson County, bef. 1926
  • Barnes, Fred, Saint Francis County, bef. 1930
  • Connor, Thomas F., Mississippi County, bef. 1930 (prior, in Mississippi)
  • Horn, Gray, Desha County, bef. 1939 (prior, in Louisiana)
  • Barnes, Richard B., Little Rock, bef. 1930
  • Scarborough, Jesse, Pulaski County, bef. 1930
  • Tabron, Elzie Jones, Cross County, bef. 1930
  • Bynum, Lawrence, and Edna Bynum, and James C., Mary, Charlie, and Hattie, Lonoke, bef. 1930
  • Bines, Lillie Ricks, North Little Rock, bef. 1931
  • Robinson, Alvanie Sharp, Desha County, bef. 1937
  • Jones, Andrew J., Bradley, Lafayette County, bef. 1940
  • Bullock, Eliza Barnes, Chicot County, bef. 1940
  • Langston, George W., Lewisville, Lafayette County, bef. 1940
  • Horn, Henry, Dermott, Chicot County, bef. 1942
  • Hooks, Elijah W., West Helena, Phillips County, bef. 1942
  • Lassiter, Hardy, Pine Bluff, bef. 1942
  • McDowell, Charlie, Bradley County, bef. 1942 
  • Aycock, Jethro, Scott County, bef. 1942
  • Gay, Charlie, Blytheville, Mississippi County, bef. 1942
  • Adams, Edward, Prattsville, Grant County, bef. 1942
  • Hines, Paul, Sebastian County, bef. 1942
  • Dillard, Mary Simms, Crittenden County, bef. 1951
  • Phillips, Martha Farmer, Little Rock, bef. 1955

Death certificate of Hayward Wesley, who died 23 July 1924 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The merchant had been born in Wilson, North Carolina.

Caesar Parker of Keo, Arkansas.

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Undated issue of the Arkansas Gazette.

OLD DARKIE PASSES ON TO REWARD LEAVING MANY GOOD EXAMPLES FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW

By Robert Sakon

In the early hours of the morning of June 27, 1940, Caeser Parker, colored, passed away. His passing was indeed marked by the stillness of the morning as he had lived his life, quiet and peaceful. Caeser Parker was born in Wilson, North Carolina in the year 1861 and moved to Arkansas in the year 1890. During this time he had resided in and around England and Keo. Coming to Lonoke county as a young man Caeser Parker, with his wife, began his lifelong work farming, producing from the earth that which all of us must depend upon. During this time he raised his family of three boys and five girls, which still survive. In the year of 1924 in the month of March, his wife died. It was a severe blow to lose his mate of forty years. So well was his family thought of that at the funeral of his wife the Colored Baptist church at Keo could not hold the ones who came to pay their respects. In the year 1926, Caesar remarried, still determined to continue his life farming, living among those who knew him best. He joined the Baptist church at Keo in 1892 and was a deacon for 44 years, the oldest deacon in that church in the point of service. At the time of his death he was living on the farm he bought from Mr. Jimmy Cobb 25 years ago. This forty acre farm was his pride and joy.

Surviving are two sons, Will and R.D. Parker of Keo; three daughters, Lula of Little Rock, Etta of Tucker and Mary Armstrong of Los Angeles, Calif. His funeral was held on the evening of June 30, at the colored Baptist church of Keo where every seat and available space was filled with those who came to pay their respects to this well known and beloved colored person. Among the many white people to attend were Mr. and Mrs. M. Adler, Mrs. A. Lindenburg and Robert Sakon of England, and many from Keo and surrounding territory. The pastor of the church called upon the writer to say a few words. Robert Sakon said: “We enter this world without our consent; we leave against our wishes, yet, if each and every one of us can live the life of the deceased then we can proudly have no fear of the hereafter. A better colored person never lived than Caeser Parker; he always was a person that was well loved by both the white and the colored. He has built a place in the hearts of all of us who knew him that can never be replaced. Caeser Parker added much to the prestige of the colored race; he lived a life that was without blemish his record was clean he was not as well known as the great Booker T. Washington, the colored educator, or as powerful with his fists as Joe Louis, but to us who knew him he was a champion in every way. everyone whether he be white or colored can proudly point to in his record of 79 years never once being in trouble of any kind. His death is a great loss to the colored people, but is a goal that to live like him is to have the respect, the best interest, the betterment of their race because of the respect of the white people and the colored. W.M. Wilson said that in the passing of Caeser Parker one of the best beloved darkies of our time has passed beyond. Caeser Parker was always trying to help, always taking pleasure in aiding the American Red Cross with his bit, always trying to build up goodwill for those of his race, in life, as in death, kind, gracious and peaceful.

——

Caesar Parker (1861-1940).

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: John Parker, 50; wife Piety, 40; and children Esther, 20, Sarah, 18,  Green, 16, and Ceasar, 8; [and grandchildren] John, 3, and Lucy, Fannie and Rose, 8 months. [No cohabitation record exists for John and Piety Parker in either Wilson or Pitt Counties. Assuming Caesar Parker’s birthplace is correct in his obituary,  it is not clear if the family was originally from Wilson and moved to Pitt, or were Pitt County natives who lived briefly in Wilson.]

In the 1880 census of Falkland township, Pitt County: John Parker, 60; wife Pietty, 50; children Esther, 33, Greene, 25, and Ceasur, 18; and grandchildren John, 11, Lucy and Fanny, 9, Henry, 5, and Sarah, 4.

On 26 January 1882, Caesar Parker, 21, son of John and Pristy Parker, married Judy Newton, 20, daughter of Abel and Mary Newton, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

In the 1900 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Ceaza Parker, 39; wife Juda, 42; and children Mattie, 16, Ned, 14, Daniel, 12, Louvenia, 18, Herbert, 4, Piety, 4, and Mary A., 1. Next door: Bud Fobes, 27; wife Esther, 23; and sons Artha, 1, and an unnamed newborn; plus boarder Piety Parker, 80. All over age 4 were born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on Witherspoon Road, farmer Caesar Parker, 49; wife Judah, 47; children Louvenia, 17, Hubbard, 15, Piety, 13, and Mary A., 11; and Frank Dancy, 10

In the 1920 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on Keo Road, Caesar Parker, 60; wife Judie, 62; daughters Piety, 23, and Mary A., 20; and granddaughter Emma, 5.

In the 1930 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Ceasar Parker, 69; wife Annie, 56; grandchildren Emma Parker, 16, Herbert Moore, 9, and Lottie Greene, 6; and stepsons Leroy Newsom, 19, Willie Newsum, 18, and Elihue Austin, 16.

In the 1940 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on “unimproved dirt road running west into Keo Road,” in a house owned and valued at $200, farmer Caesar Parker, 79; wife Annie, 68; daughter Prince Brockman, 40; her children Cumy, 16, Elvira, 16, Mary, 14, Andrew, 12, Willie, 8, and Almary, 6; and granddaughter Lottie Parker, 16.

Caesar Parker died 27 June 1940 in Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was 80 years old; the son of John Parker and Piti Etta of North Carolina; was married to Annie Parker, 66; and worked as a farmer.

Images courtesy of Ancestry.com user Joanetta Counce.

The last will and testament of Hiram Forbes.

I, Hiram Forbes of the County of Wilson and the State of North Carolina, being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existance, do make & declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say:

Item. I give and devise to my beloved wife the tract of Land on which I now live during the term of her natural life or widowhood and after her death or marriage to my son Romulus and also lend to my wife Two negro slaves, one woman named Mary Ann and man Jim. The above named negroes to remain on the land and work for the support of my wife and two younger children Romulus and Elizabeth, and if in case my wife should marry, my will is that the negroes above shall be equally divided between my three children – Randolph, Elizabeth and Romulus.

Item. I give for the support of my wife & her family, fifteen hundred pounds of Pork and thirty barrels of corn, eight stacks of fodder first choice, Three sacks flour and I also give to my wife and two children, Elizabeth and Hannah, three sows and six shoats. I also desire that my wife should take care of a negro child Hannah until it arrives to the age of ten years.

Item. I give and devise to my children Randolph, Elizabeth and Romulus, three negroes Tony Mace and Hannah to be equally divided between them, and if any one of the other should die without issue, the negroes to be equally divided between the other two and if one of the two should die without issue the one thats living should be his.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Sally, wife of Thomas Baker, 1 negro girl named Silvey to have and to hold to her and her lawful children forever.

Item. I give and devise to my son Rufus Webb and my daughter Cinthia Webb, children of Tempa Webb, one negro woman named Gatsy, to be equally divided between them.

Item. I give and devise to my six children, Vesta Ann, Walter, Barney, Lipsicomb, Tempa and Amanda, one tract of land known as the Felton Land, beginning at the Mill and running to the road so as to include all the tract of land above named and adjoining the land formerly belonging to Tempa Webb to have and to hold to them and their heirs forever. Also two negroes named Tobey and Minna to them and their heirs forever. It is my will and desire that the last named negroes, Tobey and Minna shall remain on the land that I give to my six children … and work to support the said children, until they arrive to the age of twentyone years, and I also give to the said children, one black horse male, one cow & yearling. The cow is red and white color. One pair of cart wheels, wooden axle, one plow, ten barrels corn, two blade stacks fodder, three hundred pound pork.

Item. My will and desire is that the Mill shall be kept up by my four sons … for the benefit of all my children. My will and desire is that if I have enough owe me after selling my property to pay my debts that my negroes hereafter named, to be hired out until they hire for enough to pay — Tony, Mace, Gatsy.

And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my trusty friend James Barnes my lawful executor of all intent and purposes to execute this my last will and testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause-thereby revoking and declaring all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I, the said Hyrum Forbes, do hereunto set my hand and seal the 18th day of December, 1861.    /s/ Hyrum Forbes

WITNESS: Wm. Ellis, John Carter Jr.

——

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Hiram Forbes, 55; wife Milly, 45; and children Martha, 21, Rufus, 18, Randal, 17, Bettie, 8, and Romulus, 4. Forbes reported owing $8800 in personal property, which would have consisted largely of enslaved people. Next door was [the mother of the other set of his children] Temperance Webb, 55, and her children Susan, 20, and Sintha, 15.

In 1866, Tony Forbes and Cherry Barnes appeared before a Wilson County justice of the peace to register their seven-year cohabitation. James Forbes and Sarah Barnes registered their ten-year cohabitation.

On 2 August 1867, Toby Forbes, son of Abraham Webb and Masin [Mace] Forbes, married Patience Mercer, daughter of Cila Mercer, at Henry Winston’s in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Toby Forbes, 25, farm laborer.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Tony Forbes, 25; wife Cherry, 23; and children Willie, 6, George, 5, Harriet, 2, and Bud, 2 months, plus Alfred Bynum, 25. Sharing the same household: James Forbes, 38, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 25; and children Garrot, 12, Joseph, 4, Bynum, 3, and William, 1.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: James Forbes, 48; wife Sarah, 37; and children Garrett, 20, Joseph, 15, Bynum, 14, Murtheny, 10, Rose, 9, Movy, 8, Florence, 4, and Reddic, 6 months.

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Toney Forbs, 39; wife Cherry, 30; and children Wiley, 17, George, 16, Harrett, 12, Buddie, 10, Elizebeth, 8, Elishea F., 4, and Mary L., 3 months.

In the 1900 census of Ellis township, Pulaski County, Arkansas: farmer Wiley Forbes, 37; wife Penny, 27; daughter Lula, 6; siblings Johnnie, 18, Mary B., 16, Martha J., 15, and Tinsey, 12; and father Toney Forbes, 70. All were born in North Carolina, except Lula, who was born in Arkansas.

In the 1910 census of Union township, Pulaski County, Arkansas: farm manager Jacob C. Gay, 28; wife Mary, 25; children William, 3, and Mattie S.A., 8 months; and father-in-law Tony Forbes, 80.

Estate of Hiram Forbes, images available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

Where did they go?: Arkansas World War II draft registrations, no. 2.

In the 1880s and ’90s, thousands of African-Americans left North Carolina for Arkansas, seeking better fortune. Many settled in the east-central part of the state, including the families of these World War II draft registrants.

  • Edward Adams

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  • Fred Barnes

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In the 1930 census of Johnson township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: cotton and corn farmer Fred Barnes, 39; wife Rosy, 24; and son Edward, 8.

  • Sidney Watson Cooper

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In the 1900 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: Smithee Baker, 44, day laborer, and sons George, 22, Sidny, 19, and Bruce Cooper, 9, all born in North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Melton township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: widower Sidney Cooper, 40, farmer.

  • William Henry Daniels

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In the 1900 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 1013 West 8th Avenue, Henry Daniels, 55; wife Elizabeth, 46; and children William H. 17, Matilda A., 15, Mary J., 13, and Rice B., 4. Only Rice was born in Arkansas.

In the 1940 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: steam railway laborer Wm. H. Daniel, 56; wife Willie M., 52, laundress; children Dorotha, 19, Wm. Henry Jr., Zereta, 14, Floyd, 13, Eloise, 11, and Robert 9; and father[-in-law] William Floyd, 83.

  • Eli Farmer

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In the 1900 census of Cold Water township, Cross County, Arkansas: farmer Peter Farmer, 73; wife Mariah, 51; children John Farmer, 28, widow Margaret Bunn, 21, and Isaac, 18, Eley, 17, and Louisa Farmer, 15; and grandchildren Sanders, 6, and Theodrick Bunn, 5. All but the grandchildren were born in North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wappanocca township, Crittenden County, Arkansas: widower Eli Farmer, 58, farm operator, and widowed sister Maggie Newson, 60, both born in North Carolina.

  • Henry Horn

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In the 1940 census of Dermott township, Chicot County, Arkansas: Nazzie Horn, 43; North Carolina-born husband Henry, 52; and widowed sister Sallie Garman, 64.

  • Hardy William Lassiter

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In the 1930 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 910 East 19th Avenue, Hardy Lassiter, 40, sealer of cars for freight office; wife Ruby, 37; and widowed mother-in-law Ella Epperson, 56, washerwoman. Per Find-A-Grave.com, Hardy Lassiter, born 31 January 1887 and died 26 November 1976, was buried in Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.

  • Will Lewis

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In the 1900 census of Spring Creek township, Lee County, Arkansas: farmer Kention Lewis, 50; daughter Cora, 23; and sons John, 22, Bill, 17, and Arthur, 15. The sons were born in Arkansas.

  • Luther Lucas

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In the 1900 census of Searcy township, Cross County, Arkansas: farmer Ephram Lucas, 44; wife Annie, 34; and children Luther, 11, Annie, 5, Rezella, 4, and Etta, 1. Luther and his parents were born in North Carolina, Annie in Mississippi, and the youngest children in Arkansas.

  • Charley McDowell

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In the 1940 census of Pennington, Bradley County, Arkansas: North Carolina-born Charlie McDowell, 46, contract lumber stacker at saw mill; wife Minny, 37; and children Herbert, 21, Floyd C., 18, James L., 16, Edward, 13, and Don A[illegible], 1.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Studio shots, no. 87: Haywood and Agnes Bullock Armstrong.

Haywood and Agnes Bullock Armstrong.

In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: Abraham Armstrong, 52, wife Cherry, 32, and children Nancy, 16, Haywood, 14, Nelson, 12, Joshua, 11, and Burlee, 7.

On 28 February 1878, Haywood Armstrong, 21, married Agnes Bullock, 18, in Township No. 13, Edgecombe County. Frank Bullock, Nelson Armstrong and B.P. Jenkins witnessed. [Agnes Bullock is listed in her (widowed?) mother Rena Bullock’s household in the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County. Serena Bullock was married to Crumel Bullock, and another of their daughters, Mary, married Haywood Armstrong’s brother Nelson Armstrong. If researching this line, please be mindful that several Cromwell/Crummel/Crumel Bullocks lived in northeastern Wilson County/southwestern Edgecombe County during the late 19th century.]

In the 1880 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County: laborer Haywood Armstrong, 23; wife Agnes, 18; and daughter Caroline, 1.

In the 1900 census of Richwoods township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: renting a farm, Haywood Armstrong, 48; wife Agness, 38; and children Charlie, 19, Mollie, 16, William, 14, Joshway, 12, Hirman, 11, Cherry, 10, Annie, 8, Frank, 6, Minnie, 4, and Agnes, 2. The last five children were born in Arkansas.

In the 1910 census of Richwoods township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Haywood Armstrong, 54; wife Agness, 48; and children Henry, 23, Joshaway, 22, Himan, 21, Cherry, 19, Anna, 18, Frank, 16, Minnie, 14, Agness, 11, James Haywood, 10, Eddie, 8, and Lottie, 3.

Agnes Bullock Armstrong died 10 September 1915. Haywood Armstrong died in 1917. Both were buried in Hickory Grove cemetery, Lonoke County.

Many thanks to Lydia Hunter for sharing these photographs of her ancestors, who migrated from Wilson County to Lonoke County, Arkansas, about 1889.

Work and that woman has kept me right.

Martha Tyson Dixon‘s husband Luke D. Dixon consented to a Federal Writers Project interview, too. His story, starting with his Africa-born grandparents, is electric.

“My father’s owner was Jim Dixon in Elmo County, Virginia. That is where I was born. I am 81 years old. Jim Dixon had several boys — Baldwin and Joe. Joe took some of the slaves his pa gave him, and went to New Mexico to shun the war. Uncle and Pa went in the war as waiters. They went in at the ending up. We lived on the big road that run to the Atlantic Ocean. Not far from Richmond. Ma lived three or four miles from Pa. She lived across big creek — now they call it Farrohs Run. Ma belonged to Harper Williams. Pa’s folks was very good but Ma’s folks was unpleasant.

“Ma lived to be 103 years old. Pa died in 1905 and was 105 years old. I used to set on Grandma’s lap and she told me about how they used to catch people in Africa. They herded them up like cattle and put them in stalls and brought them on the ship and sold them. She said some they captured they left bound till they come back and sometimes they never went back to get them. They died. They had room in the stalls on the boat to set down or lie down. They put several together. Put the men to themselves and the women to themselves. When they sold Grandma and Grandpa at a fishing dock called New Port, Va., they had their feet bound down and their hands bound crossed, up on a platform. They sold Grandma’s daughter to somebody in

“Texas. She cried and she begged to let them be together. They didn’t pay no ‘tension to her. She couldn’t talk but she made them know she didn’t want to be parted. Six years after slavery they got together. When a boat was to come in people come and wait to buy slaves. They had several days of selling. I never seen this but that is the way it was told to me.

“The white folks had a iron clip that fastened the thumbs together and they would swing the man or woman up in a tree and whoop them. I seen that done in Virginia across from where I lived. I don’t know what the folks had done. They pulled the man up with block and tackle.

“Another thing I seen done was put three or four chinquapin switches together green, twist them and dry them. They would dry like a leather whip. They whooped the slaves with them.

“Grandpa was named Sam Abraham and Phillis Abraham was his mate. They was sold twice. Once she was sold away from her husband to a speculator. Well, it was hard on the Africans to be treated like animals. I never heard of the Nat Turner rebellion. I have heard of slaves buying their own freedom. I don’t know how it was done. I have heard of folks being helped to run off. Grandma on mother’s side had a brother run off from Dalton, Mississippi to the North. After the war he come to Virginia.

“When freedom was declared we left and went to Wilmington and Wilson, North Carolina. Dixon never told us we was free but at the end of the year he gave my father a gray mule he had ploughed for a long time and part of the crop. My mother jes

“picked us up and left her folks now. She was cooking then I recollect. Folks jes went wild when they got turned loose.

“My parents was first married under a twenty five cents license law in Virginia. After freedom they was remarried under a new law and the license cost more but I forgot how much. They had fourteen children to my knowing. After the war you could register under any name you give yourself. My father went by the name of Right Dixon and my mother Jilly Dixon.

“The Ku Klux was bad. They was a band of land owners what took the law in hand. I was a boy. I scared to be caught out. They took the place of pattyrollers before freedom.

“I never went to public school but two days in my life. I went to night school and paid Mr. J.C. Price and Mr. S.H. Vick to teach me. My father got his leg shot off and I had to work. It kept me out of meanness. Work and that woman has kept me right. I come to Arkansas, brought my wife and one child, April 5, 1889. We come from Wilson, North Carolina. Her people come from North Carolina and Moultrie, Georgia.

“I do vote. I sell eggs or a little something and keep my taxes paid up. It look like I’m the kind of folks the government would help — them that works and tries hard to have something — but seems like they don’t get no help. They wouldn’t help me if I was bout to starve. I vote a Republican ticket.”

NOTE: On the wall in the dining room, used as a sitting room, was framed picture of Booker T. Washington and Teddy Roosevelt sitting at a round-shaped hotel dining table ready to be

“served. Underneath the picture in large print was “Equality.” I didn’t appear to ever see the picture.

This negro is well-fixed for living at home. He is large and very black, but his wife is a light mulatto with curly, nearly straightened hair.

——

This is the image that Luke Dixon’s interviewer so studiously ignored. The event it depicted, which scandalized white America in 1901, is the subject of Deborah Davis’ recent book, Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation (2012).

I have not found Luke Dixon or his parents in the censuses of Virginia. There is no “Elmo County,” Virginia, but New Port may have been Newport News, which was little more than a fishing village in the antebellum era.

Dixon apparently attended night school at Wilson Academy, but it is not clear when. Joseph C. Price headed the school from 1871 to 1873, when Samuel H. Vick was just a child. Vick assumed the helm at age 21 after graduating from Lincoln University.

I do like they done.

Martha Ann Tyson Dixon of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, sat for an interview with a Federal Writers Project worker in the late 1930s. Dixon had spent her childhood enslaved near Saratoga, Wilson County, and she and her husband Luke D. Dixon had migrated west in the late 1880s. More than 50 years after Emancipation, she vividly described the hardships of life during and after slavery.

“I am eighty-one years old. I was born close to Saratoga, North Carolina. My mother died before I can recollect and my grandmother raised me. They said my father was a white man. They said Jim Beckton [Becton]. I don’t recollect him. My mother was named Mariah Tyson.

“I recollect how things was. My grandmother was Miss Nancy Tyson’s cook. She had one son named Mr. Seth Tyson. He run her farm. They et in the dining room, we et in the kitchen. Clothes and somethng to eat was scarce. I worked at whatever I was told to do. Grandma told me things to do and Miss Nancy told me what to do. I went to the field when I was pretty little. Once my uncle left the mule standing out in the field and went off to do something else. It come up a hard shower. I crawled under the mule. If I had been still it would have been all right but my hair stood up and tickled the mule’s stomach. The mule jumped and the plough hit me in my hip here at the side. It is a wonder I didn’t get killed.

“After the Civil War was times like now. Money scarce and prices high, and you had to start all over new. Pigs was hard to start, mules and horses was mighty scarce. Seed was scarce. Everything had to be started from the stump. Something to eat was mighty plain and scarce and one or two dresses a year had to do. Folks didn’t study about going so much.”

“I had to rake up leaves and fetch em to the barn to make beds for the little pigs in cold weather. The rake was made out of wood. It had hickory wood teeth and about a foot long. It was heavy. I put my leaves in a basket bout so high [three or four feet high.] I couldn’t tote it — I drug it. I had to get leaves in to do a long time and wait till the snow got off before I could get more. It seem like it snowed a lot. The pigs rooted the leaves all about in day and back up in the corners at night. It was ditched all around. It didn’t get very muddy. Rattle snakes was bad in the mountains. I used to tote water — one bucketful on my head and one bucketful in each hand. We used wooden buckets. It was a lot of fun to hunt guinea nests and turkey nests. When other little children come visiting that is what we would do. We didn’t set around and listen at the grown folks. We toted up rocks and then they made rows [terraces] and rock fences about the yard and garden. They looked so pretty. Some of them would be white, some gray, sometimes it would be mixed. They walled wells with rocks too. All we done or knowed was work. When we got tired there was places to set and rest. The men made plough stocks and hoe handles and worked at the blacksmith shop in snowy weather. I used to pick up literd [lightwood] knots and pile them in piles along the road so they could take them to the house to burn. They made a good light and kindling wood.

“They didn’t whoop Grandma but she whooped me a plenty.

“After the war some white folks would tell Grandma one thing and some others tell her something else.  She kept me and”

“cooked right on. I didn’t know what freedom was. Seemed like most of them I knowed didn’t know what to do. Most of the slaves left the white folks where I was raised. It took a long time to ever get fixed. Some of them died, some went to the cities, some up North, some come to the country. I married and come to Fredonia, Arkansas in 1889. I had been married since I was a young girl. But as I was saying the slaves still hunting a better place and more freedom. Grandma learnt me to set down and be content. We have done better out here than we could done in North Carolina but I don’t believe in so much rambling.

“We come on the passenger train and paid our own way to Arkansas. It was a wild and sickly country and has changed. Not like living in the same country. I try to live like the white folks and Grandma raised me. I do like they done. I think is the reason we have saved and have good a living as we got. We do on as little as we can and save a little for the rainy day.”

——

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Nancy Scarborough, 47; Victoria, 10, Susan, 6, and Laurina Scarborough, 3; farm manager Seth Tyson, 23; and Julia, 18, Nancy, 17, Aaron, 15, and Abner Tyson, 13.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Mary Tyson, 62, with Edith, 23, John, 21, Abraham, 16, and Martha Tyson, 11.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: Martha Tyson, 20, was a cook in the household of white marchant/farmer Mark Atkinson.

Martha Tyson, 26, married Luke Dixon, 26, in Wilson County on 12 February 1885. Minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Batts, Tempey Cotton and Green Taylor.

In the 1910 census of Watensaw township, Prairie County, Arkansas: Luke Dixon, 49, saw filer at Bar factory, and wife Martha M., 52.

In the 1920 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cedar Street, farmer Luke Dixon, 58; wife Martha, 59; and cousins Margaret Tyson, 14, and Oleo McClarin, 9.

In the 1930 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke D. Dixon, 70, born in Virginia, and wife Martha, 70, born in North Carolina, with cousin Allen Reaves, 8.

In the 1940 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke Dixon, 84, born in Virginia, and wife Martha A., 84, born in North Carolina.

Federal Writers’ Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 2, Arkansas, Part 2, Cannon-Evans, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mesn.022.

Where did they go?: Arkansas World War II draft registrations.

In the 1880s and ’90s, thousands of African-Americans left North Carolina for Arkansas, seeking better fortune. Many settled in Lonoke, Jefferson and Pulaski Counties in the east-central part of the state, including the families of these World War II draft registrants.

  • Jethro Aycock

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Samuel Acock, 36; wife Jane, 35; and children Sam, 15, Fannie, 13, Harrett, 12, Amos, 10, Emma, 8, Mattie, 6, Hannah L., 4, Maggie, 2, and Jeathroe, 1.

  • Peter Aycox

In the 1900 census of Barraque township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: farmer Green Aycock, 52; wife Janie, 48; and children Robert, 30, Lary, 18, and Peter, 13; plus mother Faine Aycock, 81.

  • Jim Baker

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County: on England Road, farmer James Baker, 26, wife Mae E., 23, and children Bertha, 3, and Annie, 7 months.

  • Clayton Barnes

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Clayton Barnes, 24; wife Jennie, 25; step-daughters Lizzie Phillips, 12, and Carrie Phillips, 8; plus sister-in-law Lucelia Jones, 18. The adults were born in North Carolina; the children in Arkansas.

  • Richard Barnes

In the 1930 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: at 1515 Bishop Street, owned and valued at $3000, Richard B. Barnes, 40, an office building porter, and wife Hazel Barnes, 30.

  • James Columbus Bynum

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Larence Bynum, 24; wife Edney, 19; children James, 1, and Mary J., 1 month; mother-in-law Liddie Bynum, 55; brother Isac Bynum, 22; and sister-in-law Anna Bynum, 17.

In the 1930 census of Well township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer J.C. Bynum, 51; wife Florence, 50; daughter Odessa, 12, and adopted son Columbus Webb, 5. J.C. and Florence were born in North Carolina; the children in Arkansas.

  • Charley Augusta Bynum

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, see James C. Bynum above.

In the 1900 census of Richwoods, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Laurance Bynum, 55; wife Edna, 39; children Mary, 19, Charlie, 17, Hattie, 16, Rachel, 9, Lewis, 6, Cora, 3, and Laurance, 11 months; grandsons Mack and Romie Notsie, both 1 week; and son-in-law Ed Notsie, 25. The Children after Rachel were born in Arkansas.

  • Josh Griffin

In the 1910 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: at East 11th Street, Josh Griffin, 28, public works laborer; wife Lizzie, 30; and stepson Willie Sanders, 6.

  • Tom Hooks

In the 1920 census of Barraque township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: on Little Rock Road, farmer Thomas Hooks, 43; wife Lula, 44; and children Thomas, 16, Nathan, 14, Carolina, 14, Corena, 10, Nora B., 7, Wilber, 6, Vandie, 4, and Fredona, 1. All the children were born in Arkansas.

  • Andrew Jackson Jones

  • George Daniel Jones

In the 1900 census of Williams township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Virginia-born farmer Peter Jones, 50; wife Ellen, 44; and son George, 20, both born in North Carolina.

  • Robert Daniel Parker

Perhaps, in the 1900 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Ceaza Parker, 39; wife Cinda, 42; and children Mattie, 16, Willis, 14, Daniel, 12, Luvenia, 8, Huburt, 7, Piety, 4, and Mary A., 1.