Some who joined the Great Migration went from Point A to Point B and stayed. Others had more peripatetic journeys. Corneda Moore Jackson Woodard Bentley Kelsey stopped in Philadelphia, then Haverhill, Massachusetts, before settling in Cranford, New Jersey.
Herschel F. Bentley, 36, and Corneda J. Woodward, 38, both of Haverhill, Massachusetts, were married 2 September 1925 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (just a few miles up the coast.) It was Bentley’s first marriage. He was a native of Columbia, South Carolina, and a cook. Woodward, a Wilson native and widow, worked as a domestic.
Herschel Bentley was the son of Joseph [Bentley?] of Macon, Georgia, and Grace Piot, born in Wall Hollow, South Carolina, and resident of Columbia, South Carolina. Cordena Woodard was the daughter of Bryant Moore, a farmer in Wilson, North Carolina, and Peonia Hagans, born in Greene County, North Carolina, and a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In the 1860 census of Fields district, Greene County: day laborer Robert Hagans, 31; wife Sarah, 30; and children Mary, 12, Joseph, 8, Penelope, 5, and Edwin, 1.
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: siblings Joseph, 15, Penelope, 12, Edwin, 11, Sarah, 8, and George Hagans, 6, all farmer’s apprentices.
In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Howel Moore, 50; wife Gatsey, 42; and children Bettie, 14, Eliza, 12, Simon, 21, Clora, 10, Jesse, 8, Howel, 3, Gatsey, 2, Penny, 17, and Bryant, 19.
In the 1880 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County: farmer Evans Jackson, 36, and wife Charity, 26; niece Penny Moore, 25, and [her children] Florence, 2, and Victoria, 8 months; and apprentices Benjn. Farmer, 19, and George Hagens, 15.
Perhaps, in the 1880 census of Raleigh, Wake County: Bryant Moore, 25, farm laborer.
In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widow [sic; she was likely separated or divorced] Pennie Moore, 45; children Florence, 22, Victora, 20, Cornetta, 18, Besse, 15, Fenner, 14, and Gussie L., 1; and granddaughter Gaslen, 1.
On 27 August 1900, James H. Jackson, 21, of Wilson County, married Cornada Moore, 19, at Pennie Moore’s in Wilson. Freewill Baptist Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of Millie Best, James Best, and Jasper Davis.
On 16 September 1903, Bryant Moore, 52, of Wilson, son of Howard and Gatsey Moore, married Maggie Farmer, 37, of Wilson, daughter of Barbara Lucas, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Cooper Barnes, Jackson Barnes, and Bessie Ratley.
In the 1910 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: widow Pinney Moore, 51; daughter Florence Lee, 32, divorced, and her daughters Gussie, 11, and Madeline, 2; daughter Canetor Jackson, 27, divorced; daughter Bessie M. Bessa [Best], 25; son-in-law James Bessa, 27, and daughter Mable, 7; and lodgers Alfred O. Smith, 56, James Bell, 40, William Willand, 32, and Harrison R. Tyler, 31.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wiggins Street, odd jobs laborer Bryant Moore, 58, and wife Maggie, 37.
Fennell Moore died 25 December 1914 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 28 years old; was married; and was born in North Carolina to Bryant Moore and Penny Hagans.
In the 1920 census of Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts: at 21 Ashland Street, office building janitor William R. Woodard, 42, and wife Corneda J., 33, laundress. William was born in Ohio to a N.C.-born father and Ohio-born mother. Corneda was born in N.C.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, cotton mill laborer Bryant Moore, 65, and wife Maggie, 40, tobacco factory worker.
In the 1930 census of Cranford, Union County, New Jersey: at 15 McClelland, owned and valued at $5000, Hersher F. Bentley, 41, cook for government service cafeteria, and wife Corneda J., 43, daily domestic.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 641 Wiggins Street, owned and valued at $1000, farm laborer Bryant Moore, 74; wife Maggie H., 45, farm laborer; and son Thomas, 16.
In the 1931 Westfield, N.J., city directory: Bentley Herschel F. (Corneda J.) cook h 103 McClellan
Bryant Moore died 23 March 1931 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; was married to Maggie Moore; was a farmer; was born in Wilson County to Howard and Gatsey Moore; and lived at 640 Wiggins Street.
Victoria A. Hill died 27 February 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 September 1883 in North Carolina to Bryant Moore and Penny Moore; lived at 252 East Sharpnick, Philadelphia; and was married to Phillip Hill.
In the 1940 census of Cranford, Essex County, New Jersey: Ganes Kelsey, 44, scavenger collector; wife Corneda, 52, domestic; and lodgers Jake Bowers, 36, truck driver, and Charles Llyod, 47, laborer.
Florence Tyler died 3 December 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 April 1889 in N.C. to Bryant Moore and Penney Hagans; lived at 6623 Ross Street, Philadelphia; and was a widow.
Gladys Moore died 17 January 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 20 June 1914 to Bryant Moore and Gladys Moore; lived at 914 Carolina Street; was single; and worked as a domestic. Informant was Gracie Allen, 1006 Atlantic Street.
Corneda Kelsey died 15 May 1971 in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey.
The Herald, the yearbook of Atlantic City High School, Atlantic City, N.J., 1945.
Born in Wilson in 1928, Ernest Lee Artis Jr. and his parents Ernest and Louise Artis joined the Great Migration during the early years of the Depression.
On 13 June 1923, Ernest Artis, 21, of Fountain, son of Joe and Ella Artis, married Louise McNair, 18, of Plymouth, N.C., daughter of Rufus and Louise McNair, at Louise McNair’s resident at Plymouth, Washington County, N.C.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Artis Ernest L (c; Louise) (Service Barber Shop), h 404 N Vick
In the 1940 census of Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey: at 700 Ohio Avenue, Ernest Artis, 36, barber; wife Louise, 35, storekeeper; and son Ernest, 12. All were born in North Carolina.
Ernest Lee Artis registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic City in 1946. Per his registration card, he was 27 September 1905 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 720 North Ohio Avenue, Atlantic City; his contact was wife Louise Artis; and he was self-employed at 135 North Penn, Atlantic City.
Ernest Artis Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic City in 1946. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1928 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 720 North Ohio Avenue; his contact was friend Anna Butler, 705 North Ohio; and he was a student at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania.
The Lion, the yearbook of Lincoln University, 1949.
In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Smithfield Road, GrayBarron, 49, farmer; wife Tempie, 44; and children Laura, 20, Dora, 17, Sarah, 15, Bessie, 13, Aggie, 10, Minnie, 8, and Robert, 6.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Barron, 63; wife Tempy, 58; children Dora, 26, Larro, 28, Minnie, 15, and Robert, 16; and grandchildren Ernest, 9, J.C., 8, Lucile, 5, and Areline, 2.
In 1940, Robert Barron registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 1 May 1914 in Wilson County; lived at Route 1, Elm City; his contact was sister Minnie Bynum; and he worked for James Whitehead, Route 1, Elm City.
In the 1951 Plainfield, New Jersey, city directory: Barron Robert (Naomi) fctywkr h538 W 3rd
Robert Barron Sr. died 31 August 1983 in Irvington, Essex County, New Jersey.
Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user rogerbarron52.
The Darden sisters, Norma Jean and Carol Darden Lloyd, currently living in Manhattan, have immortalized their magnificent Montclair home and family history in a 1978 book now reaching its fifth edition, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine.
Their parents, Dr. Walter Darden and his wife Mamie Jean, had acquired their Montclair property at 266 Orange Road in 1946. The house employed a butler, a maid and a gardener. Dr. Darden built the garden apartment complex behind their home as a business venture.
Dr. Darden, was born in Wilson, N.C. He was an alumnus of Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., and of the Howard University Medical School in Washington. He moved to Newark to join a colleague and stayed on in private practice. He was one of the first black men to be a guest in the audience of the then-segregated Cotton Club of Harlem where he acted as physician.
Among his patients, friends and Montclair houseguests were Sara Vaughn, Lena Horne, Billy Eckstein, the Duke Ellington band, as well as Sammy Davis Junior. From the sports world, Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson, Monte Irving and the Newark Eagles baseball team that meet frequently at the Darden house. The Dardens with Harold Shot and Congressman Peter Rodino did fundraising and organizing for the Montclair chapter of the NAACP. The Dardens were also affiliates of education pioneer Mary McCleod Bethune and hosted her often in their home in Montclair.
Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine intends to be a historical family cookbook, but it is of even greater value as it presents an exceptional social history. Norma Jean and Carole Darden also have two restaurants in Harlem – Miss Mamie’s at 366 W. 110th St., named after her mother, and Mrs. Maude’s at 547 Lenox Ave., named after her aunt.
Both graduates of Sarah Lawrence, Carole was a social worker, Norma, a Wilhemina model before they wrote the 1979 cookbook that launched them into the celebrity food world.
The recipes and family stories in Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine came from their Southern roots: corn pone, spareribs, peach cobbler, banana pudding. Their grandfather, Charles Darden born before the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, was a great inspiration also. Papa Darden, a former slave that became an undertaker, was quite known for his recipes for fruit based wines and pine needle beers.
A request to cook for a Channel Thirteen event led to the birth of the Darden Sister’s catering company. Catering has its own challenges they say, like one time they packed up Norma Jean’s Porsche in front of their home on Orange Road before doing a catering gig and the huge quantity of coleslaw began to create a big white puddle under the car. Another time, an order of fried chicken fell out of the back door of the delivery van and was stolen by onlookers waiting at a bus stop. Norma had to buy more chicken and two fryers and then find a hiding place where she could prepare it on the fly at the event. Years later, when a space opened next to the catering kitchen, it seemed natural to open a small restaurant.
When the cookbook came out, despite its glorious history, the Hahnes Department Store in Montclair declined to sell the book. In an interview on the Martha Stewart Show, where Norma Jean was presenting her story, she said that she had learned many recipes from her father. Stewart smiled and asked, “Oh, your father was a cook?” Norma Jean smiled back at Stewart who had apparently not read the book and replied, “No my father was a medical doctor.” The audience giggled.
Today, the Darden House is the lovingly preserved home of Senator Nia Gill, Thurston Briscoe, and Bradley Gill.
The hometown “boy” was Dr. Frank S. Hargrave, founder of Wilson Hospital and Tubercular Home, later known as Mercy Hospital. (Editor John D. Gold’s piece was not only disrespectful, it was inaccurate. Hargrave was a native of Lexington, North Carolina.)