migration to Washington DC

The obituary of Jake Blackwell.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 May 1943.


In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer William Blackwell, 45; wife Sally Ann, 29; and children Bennie, 10, Curvis, 7, Jakie, 5, and Nancy, 1.

In October 1940, Jake Blackwell registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic County, New Jersey. Per his registration card, he was born 15 December 1914 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 923 Virginia Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey; his contact was Mabell Ingram, friend; and he was unemployed.

In the 1940 census of Prince George’s County, Maryland: at Glenn Dale Sanatorium, [a tuberculosis hospital], Jake Blackwell, born in North Carolina, resident of Washington, D.C.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

The obituary of Hattie Rose Gaston Pannell, 100.

Hattie Rose Pannell, 100, transitioned to be with the Lord on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Washington DC.

“A viewing will be held Wednesday, December 8, 2021, from 2 pm-5 pm at McGuire Funeral Home, 7400 Georgia Avenue, Washington, DC and a Celebration of Life Service will take place on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at Tabernacle Temple of Jesus Christ 1601 Bishop L.N. Forbes St., Wilson, NC 27893 at 1 pm followed by burial at Rest Haven Cemetery.

“Hattie was born May 4, 1921, to Hattie Bates Gaston and William Gaston. Hattie attended Elm City public schools and moved to Washington, DC at a young age.

“Hattie was a pillar to her community and will be truly missed.  Hattie was a faithful and devoted member of St. Mark’s Baptist Church for 48 years, she loved her pastor Raymond Matthews, First Lady Matthews, and her church family. Regardless of how Hattie was feeling on any given Sunday, she took pleasure in attending Sunday school, church service, worshipping with her St. Mark’s Baptist Church family, singing hymns, reading Scriptures, and praising the Lord. Individually and collectively, it all gave her so much joy. Hattie is the longest-serving church usher in the District of Columbia. Hattie will now be waiting with Saint Peter to greet her.

“Hattie was a faithful member of St. Mark’s Missionary Society; she was in fact the oldest member of the Missionary Society.  Hattie loved her St. Mark’s church family.

“Tribute to Mrs. Hattie Pannell:

“The Fort Stevens Senior Center has lost a treasure of insurmountable value; priceless.

“Mrs. Hattie Rose Pannell was always the person who greeted you, in fact, she was the head of the ladies of the round table; the group that actively volunteered to plan, orchestrate and host most of our events and all our fabulous birthday parties. It was Mrs. Pannell, the fashionista, the show-stopping model, the actress, the flower arranger extraordinaire, the plant doctor, the hostess with the mostest that attracted so many people to become members of Fort Stevens Senior Center. Hattie enjoyed line dancing at the Senior Center the younger seniors had to keep up with her.  Hattie was recognized for her Distinguished Volunteer Service to the Fort Stevens Senior Planning Committee by the DC Department of Recreation and Parks.  Hattie enjoyed her 100-year-old birthday celebration/drive-by party at Fort Stevens Senior Center in May, the celebration was featured in The Washington Informer, so many people came from near and far to CELEBRATE with her. Hattie REALLY enjoyed herself and talked about it for months after. Hattie loved her Fort Stevens family.

“Hattie was a General Service Supervisor for over 25 years and retired in the 1990’s. Hattie enjoyed traveling and was in a traveling club. Hattie has visited all 50 states, Africa, and other countries. Hattie attended a lot of social events, she was TRULY a socialite.  Hattie catered for major events in the District of Columbia area and enjoyed fashion, modeling, acting, event planning, decorating parties, flower arranger extraordinaire, the plant doctor, enjoyed tea parties, manicures, and pedicures (even at 100 years old) listening to jazz and gospel, her favorite artist was Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On” was her favorite song. She enjoyed hour-long conversations with family and friends these were just a few things that warmed her heart, lifted her spirits, and place a smile on her face.  Hattie met many friends who would remain a special part of her friendship circle throughout her life. Hattie loved politics, she made sure she voted in every election, and she was eager to vote in the 2020 election. Hattie received several awards throughout her life for her outstanding accomplishments and volunteer services, including letters from the President of The United States for her Birthday and Councilmembers of the District of Columbia recognizing her as well.

“Hattie’s sweet spirit, warm smile, and calming presence will be solely missed by those who loved her.

“In the presence of the Lord, she now joins her late mother, Hattie Bates Gaston; father, William Gaston; sisters, Annie Nancy Gaston-Knight and Marie Ruth Gaston-Howard; and brothers, William Glenn Gaston Jr., John Rufus Gaston, and George Eddie Gaston.

“Hattie is survived by her 96-year-old sister, Catherine Bernice Gaston-Atkinson of Elm City, NC; a host of nieces, nephews, loving relatives, and friends; and a special goddaughter, Vee Davis.

“Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as their Matriarch has gained her wings to become their guardian ANGEL.

“Arrangements have been entrusted to Stevens Funeral Home, 1820 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, Wilson, NC.”


In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Will Gaston, 39; wife Hattie, 28; and children Willie, 12, Hattie, 9, John R., 8, Bernice, 6, Nancy, 3, and Marie, 3 months.


Other suns: Washington, D.C.

New York City may have been the Number One destination for North Carolinians during the Great Migration, but Washington, D.C., surely was second, especially after the Great Depression.

  • Moody, William, wife Sarah Ward Moody and children, bef. 1900
  • Artis, Solomon Andrew, bef. 1907
  • Artis, Columbus E., mid-1910s (returned to Wilson bef. 1922)
  • Barnes, Clinton Robert, bef. 1917
  • Bowser, Russell L., bef. 1917
  • Barnes, Harvey Grey, bef. 1918
  • Brown, Richard B., bef. 1918
  • Farrior, Dalley, bef. 1918
  • Burns [Bunn], William, bef. 1920 (first, to Maine)
  • Gaston, Augustus, bef. 1930
  • Reid, James D., bef. 1930
  • Reid, J.D., 1930
  • Ruffin, James Garfield, wife Parthenia, and children, bef. 1930
  • Winstead, Arnold Clearfield, betw. 1930 and 1934
  • Cotton, Sidney W., bef. 1931
  • Bagley, Lonnie, bef. 1933
  • Whitehead, Thelma Reid, bef. 1935
  • Bryant, Counsel, bef. 1935
  • Bynum, Theodore, bef. 1935
  • Bynum, Raymond, bef. 1935
  • Cameron, John R., bef. 1935
  • Cooper, Haywood R., bef. 1935
  • Barnes, Frederick A., bef. 1935
  • Henderson, Dempsey L., 1930s
  • McNair, Lena, 1930s
  • Powell Battle Dade, Inez, 1930s?
  • Bynum, Benjamin, betw. 1935 and 1940
  • Harrison Palmer, Ojetta, bef. 1937
  • Hill Westray, Kay, 1939
  • Barnes, John, bef. 1940
  • Brown, James E., bef. 1940
  • Bynum, Joe, bef. 1940
  • Bynum, William, bef. 1940
  • Bynum, William, bef. 1940
  • Bynum, Willie James, bef. 1940
  • Bullock, James A., bef. 1940
  • Bullock, Joseph, bef. 1940
  • Carter, Roby, ca. 1940
  • Coppedge, James E., bef. 1940
  • Campbell, Theodore, bef. 1940
  • Creech, David, bef. 1940
  • High, John W., bef. 1940
  • Powell, Eddie C., bef. 1940
  • Bullard, James, bef. 1941
  • Cox, Henry L., bef. 1941
  • Barnes, John T., bef. 1942
  • Black, Troy, bef. 1942
  • Bullard, Frank, bef. 1942
  • Byrd, Samuel, bef. 1942
  • Cogdell, Pervis, bef. 1942
  • Cotton, Isaac E., bef. 1942
  • Cotton, Zid, bef. 1942
  • Carter, Lenard, bef. 1942
  • Carter, James W., bef. 1942
  • Farmer, Lonnie, bef. 1942
  • Haskins, Allen J., bef. 1935
  • Haskins, James, bef. 1942
  • Haskins, Nathan Porter, bef. 1942 (returned to Wilson)
  • Hines, Joseph Peter, bef. 1942
  • Hockaday, Willie, bef. 1942
  • Hollings, Fred, bef. 1942
  • Jones, William Pete, bef. 1942
  • Jones, Willie, bef. 1942
  • Powell, Dempsey Ward, bef. 1942
  • Redding, Fleetwood, bef. 1942
  • Robinson, Walter, bef. 1942
  • Rosser, James Hays, bef. 1942
  • Simms, Dempsey, bef. 1942
  • Simms, Henry, bef. 1942
  • Simms, James, bef. 1942
  • Tabyran, Calvin, bef. 1942
  • Taylor, Joshua Paul, bef. 1942
  • Watson, Herbert, bef. 1942
  • Westray, William Herbert, bef. 1942
  • Whitley, John G., bef. 1942
  • Williams, James J., bef. 1942
  • Williams, Thomas, bef. 1942
  • Woodard, Calvin, bef. 1942
  • Powell Beane, Vanilla, bef. 1942
  • Jones, Johnnie W., and Marie Lofton Jones and children Ruby, Cecilia, Johnie, Charles, Joan and Jacqueline, 1944
  • Burns, James A., bef. 1945
  • Reid, Herbert O., 1947
  • Boyd, Joyce Henderson, late 1940s
  • Swinney Dupree, Gracie, late 1940s
  • Wilder, Seth, 1950s 
  • Henderson, Jesse A., 1950s (in Philadelphia, Penn., before and Baltimore, Md., after)

Jesse A. Henderson in D.C., circa early 1950s.

William Burns of Elm City; Portland, Maine; and Washington, D.C.

While looking for more about William Burns, whose 1942 World War II draft registration indicated that he was born in Elm City, I ran across this entry in the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.:

William Burns, 51, born N.C., laborer on W.P.A. construction project; wife Lulu, 48, private family cook, born in Virginia; daughter Marjorie, 27, born in Maine, restaurant waitress; son-in-law Manuel, 26, born in Mexico, hotel waiter; granddaughter Carmelita, 4, born D.C.; daughter, Marion, 24, maid for private family, born in Maine; son William, 20, born in Maine; sons Herman, 18, and Carol, 18, born in D.C.; and daughter Janet, 6, born in D.C.

… Maine?

William Burns was born William Bunn. In the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Amos Bunn, 51; wife Mojano [Margianna], 40, cook; children Tildy, 24, cook, Amos, 21, farm laborer, William G., 19, farm laborer, Lewis B., 17, Genetta B., 14, Sallie B., 13, cook, Jonas B., 10, nurse, Louisannie, 7, Eddie B., 3, and James W., 2; and widowed mother Tabitha, 80, “idle.”

By 1910, William Bunn had left home. In the 1910 census of Portsmouth, Virginia: at 817 Queen Street, William Battle, 33, blacksmith helper, and wife Bettie, 31, shared a household with Charles Morris, 28, wharf stevedore, and William Bunn, 29, gas plant driver. All were from North Carolina. William Bunn reported that he was married.

In 1918, William Burns registered for the World War I draft in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine. He reported that he was born 26 July 1881; lived at 10 Deer Street, Portland; and worked as a cook and laborer for Portland Company (a marine repair company.) His nearest relative was Amos Burns, Wilson County, N.C.

8-10 Deer Street, Portland, 1924. Collections of City of Portland — Planning & Development, www.mainememory.net

On 24 September 1918, William Burns, 37, and Georgia Robinson, 31, both of Portand, Maine, were married in Portland. Both worked as cooks. William was born in Wilson, N.C., to Amos Burns and Margianna Bowser. Georgia was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, to Jarrett Robinson and Martha Cook.

Prior to this marriage, William had several children in Portland with Lulu Robinson, also of Virginia. (Was this Georgia, using a nickname?) An unnamed daughter born 27 September 1911 was described as the second living of three children. [Note that William is described as “W” — white. In other records, he is described as mulatto, and may have been light enough to pass.] An unnamed son was born 29 August 1917 in Portland. These children appear to be Marjorie and William Jr.

The Burneses left Maine around 1919. In the 1920 census of Washington, D.C.: Mary Williams, 38, charwoman for “Pullman (RR)”; William Burns, 28, apartment building porter; wife Lula, 30, laundress; and children Marjory, 8, Marion, 4, and William Jr., 2 (all born in Maine); and lodger Martha Robinson, 48, laundress.

In the 1930 census of Washington, D.C.: at 915 Fifth Street, William Burns, 44, rectory cook (birthplace: Maine); wife Lula, 36, rectory pastry cook (birthplace: Rhode Island); daughter Carmen Galan, 20, restaurant bus girl; granddaughter Carmen Galan, newborn; daughters and sons Marion, 15, William Jr., 12, Herman, 9, Carrol, 5, and Janet, 3; nephews Sin, 21, rectory dishwasher, and Henry Burns, 18, railroad cook; and lodgers Edward Young, 24, restaurant cook, and Mack, 6, and Margaret Herndon, 9.

In 1940, William Girard Burns registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 29 August 1917 in Portland, Maines; lived at 624 O Street, Washington, D.C.; his contact was mother Lula Martha Burns; and he worked for Z.D. Gilman.

Z.D. Gilman’s Drug Store, Washington, D.C. Historic American Buildings Survey, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Per his 1942 World War II draft registration card, William Burns was born 26 July 1882 in Elm City, N.C. He lived at 624 O Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.; his contact was Jeanie Peoples, 629 Rhode Island Avenue, Washington; and he worked at the Archives Building, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Herman Amos Burns registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 27 December 1920 in Washington; lived at 624 O Street, N.W.; his contact was Mrs. Lula Burns; and he worked for Z.D. Gilman Drug Co., 627 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, http://www.familysearch.org.

Ojetta C. Harrison, Saint Aug freshman.

Ojetta C. Harrison was listed in the freshman class of Saint Augustine’s College in 1936-37. She does not appear in subsequent school catalogs.


In the 1930 census of Bailey township, Nash County: farmer Ellie W. Harris, 45; wife Rosa A., 44; and children Carrie L., 21, William E., 19, Ojetta, 18, Lila M., 16, Ethel M., 14, Mattie E., 13, Robert H., 10, Jessie L., 10, Beatrice, 8, George L., 6, and Hellin J., 2. Ellie, Rosa, and their four oldest children were born in South Carolina; Ethel in Virginia; and the remaining in North Carolina.

On 25 November 1937, Ojetta C. Harrison, 25, married Fred D. Palmer, 25, in Washington, D.C. She remained in D.C. the rest of her life.

Snaps, no. 83: John W. High.

John W. High Sr.


In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Peter High, 50; wife Mary, 50; sons Grant, 10, and John W., 9; and hireling William Young, 12.

On 1 October 1891, John High, 19, of Taylors township, son of Peter and Mary High, married Trecy Rowe, 17, of Taylors township, daughter of Samuel and Louisa Rowe, at Ellises Chapel, Taylors township. Noah Battle applied for the license, and Freewill Baptist minister Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of Hilliard Ellis, Joshua Bunn, and William Ray.

In the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer John High, 26; wife Treasy, 23; and Walter, 8, and Sam, 6.

On 8 September 1907, John High, 37, of Wilson married Flora Lucas, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Elbert and Rosa Lucas, at Ace Thompson’s house in Selma, Johnston County, N.C. Edward Battle of Wilson was a witness.

In the 1910 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer John High, 40; wife Florine, 19, farm laborer; and Lena M., 2.

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John W. High, 55; wife Flore R., 34; and children Lizzie, 14, John Jr., 16, Rennie, 12, Perlia, 10, Minnie, 8, Gldyes, 7, Bessie M., 5, and Earnest T., 1; daughter Julia Wood, 20, and granddaughter Rasey M. Wood, 8 months.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C., John High Sr., 67, widower, is listed as a lodger in the household of James E. and Pauline Tyler.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user gia707.

“I didn’t want red. … Well, you know why.”

The pandemic has shuttered Vanilla Powell Beane‘s millinery shop, but could not stop her from creating a hat especially for Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri. Now This Politics delivers the take:

The Reid-Miller marriage announcement.

Baltimore Afro-American, 12 July 1930.

James D. Reid Jr., a dentist, was born in Wilson in 1905 to J.D. and Eleanor Frederick Reid. On 7 July 1930, he married Irene Miller, whose father Kelly Miller was a renowned mathematician and sociologist at Howard University and an outspoken anti-racism intellectual.

In the 1940 census of Washington, District of Columbia — at 2826 Fourth Street, widow Annie M. Miller, 71; son-in-law James D. Reid, Jr., 39, dentist; daughter Irene Miller Reid, 39, teacher at Miner Teacher College; daughter-in-law Carlissa Miller, 39, clerk; and granddaughters Annie Mae 18, and Gloria Miller, 16.

In 1940, James D. Reid Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 5 January 1905 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 2225 Fourth Street, N.W., Washington; his contact was wife Irene Miller Reid; and was self-employed, with an office at 1203 U Street, N.W. [2225 Fourth Street is now the site of Howard University’s Bethune Annex residence hall.]

Dr. Reid’s U Street office was in this building.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Studio shots, no. 156: Eddie C. Powell.

Screen Shot 2020-05-17 at 8.49.22 PM

Eddie C. Powell (1892-1968).

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer David Powel, 35; wife Sallie, 27; and children Eddie, 8, Rosa, 5, Henry, 4, and Joseph, 1.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Edward C. Powell, 17, and wife Nellie B., 17.

In 1917, Eddie C. Powell registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1892 in Wilson County; lived near Sims; was a self-employed farmer; and had a wife and four children.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Old Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer Eddie C. Powell, 27; wife Nellie, 27; and children Beula M., 9, Sallie M., 7, Willard, 6, Rosa Lee, 4, and Johnie, 8 months.

In the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Williard Powell, 17, farmer; mother Nellie, 37; siblings Beula, 20, Rosie, 14, Johnie, 11, Hattie, 8, Pattie, 8, Betrice, 7, and Earnest T., 3; plus sons(?) E.C. Jr., 5, and James R., 2.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: on K Street NE, Beula M. Powell, 28, maid; siblings Willard, 25, lunchroom bar tender, Rosa L., 24, lunchroom waitress, John, 21, club busboy, and Pattie L., 19, maid; nephew Willie T. Powell, 8; sister Hattie L. Warren, 19, maid, and her children Melton T., 2, and Barbara J., 7 months; father Eddie C. Powel, 50, drugstore porter; and lodgers Beatrice Smith, 17, and Issac Brown, 30, W.P.A. sewer project laborer. Per the census, in 1935, Beula, Rosa, Pattie, Eddie and Beatrice had been living in Washington, D.C.; Willard in Newport News, Virginia; John and Hattie in Wilson; Willie in Philadelphia; and Isaac in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1942, Eddie Conner Powell registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1895 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 1859 California Street, N.W., Washington; his contact was Sally Powell of the same address; and he worked for Peoples Drug Store #128, Bethesda, Maryland.

Eddie C. Powell died in September 1968 in Washington, D.C.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user Eva Renee Powers.