migration to Washington DC

She loved the Lord.

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Inez Powell Battle Dade Leaves a Legacy of Love

Long-time member of the Annapolis First Baptist Church Inez Powell Battle Dade passed away in March at 103 years old. Dade was a resident of Annapolis and Washington, D.C., and attended services at the Annapolis church for 49 years. Shortly after she joined First Baptist, she became a volunteer and worked in many of its ministries.

Dade was the matriarch of a large family that includes four daughters, 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and seven great, great-grandchildren. One sister, Vanilla Beane, a resident of Washington, D.C., who is 96 years old, survives her.

One of Dade’s daughters, Peggy Holly, resident of D.C. said, “My mother would always say, ‘Have faith in the Lord; stay active and help others.'”

First Baptist Rev. Louis Boston said she would do anything to help others.

“She was compassionate and gave her best because of her love for the Lord,” Boston said. “She loved her church.”

Dade was born in [Wilson,] North Carolina and moved to D.C. when she married John Battle. She later married James Dade. She worked as an elevator operator until she got a job with the Federal government.

After retiring from the government job, Dade opened a daycare center called Tiny Tots Preschool and Nursery in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C. in 1972. She ran the center until taking her leave at the age of 99.

“I vividly remember that Mrs. Dade was someone who did a lot with a little,” said Boston. “She loved the Lord.”

From http://www.capitalgazette.com, 30 March 2016.


Inez Powell was born in 1913 in Wilson County to James and Martha Hagans Powell. Her father, born about 1876, was the son of Ichabod and Mary Ann Lassiter Powell. (Mary Ann’s parents were Silas and Orpha Simpson Lassiter.) Her mother Martha was the daughter of Charles and Charity Thomas Hagans.

Herbert Reid, Harvard Law, Class of ’45.

More on Herbert O. Reid, Wilson-born scholar and civil rights attorney.


IN THE FIELD of constitutional law and in the protection of civil rights, Herbert O. Reid, who died on Friday at the age of 75, stood out. Because of Dr. Reid, a brilliant professor and former acting dean of the Howard University Law School, thousands of men and women across the country share a common vision of the majesty of the Constitution and the workability of America.

Except for his first year as a Howard Law School professor in 1947, when he said he learned more from his students than he taught them, Herb Reid had a major hand in producing a host of this country’s most distinguished lawyers, public officials and judges. Many served with him during the decades of the 1950s and 1960s as legal guardians of the civil rights movement. But unlike many legal scholars, Dr. Reid was as comfortable in the courtroom and in the backroom of politics as he was in the classroom. Everywhere he landed, he became a pivotal figure. He took on the exclusion of New York Rep. Adam Clayton Powell from the House of Representatives in 1967 and won a U.S. Supreme Court victory two years later. School segregation in America fell before him and a handful of lawyers from the Howard Law School faculty and the NAACP who participated in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education and the companion desegregation cases for the District of Columbia. They carried the day in court, in part, because of the preparation and the dry runs that took place under Herb Reid’s drilling in the basement of the law school.

Dr. Reid was always on call for rescue operations. Sixteen years ago, when the board of education was mired down in the firing of yet another school superintendent, it was he who took on the excruciatingly difficult role of hearing officer and, with a degree of incisiveness and dignity, helped end that long ordeal for the city. It was that sense of duty to the city and his friends from the movement that led Dr. Reid to serve as former mayor Marion Barry’s personal counsel and then as a member of that administration. Without Herb Reid’s being there, friends say, it could have been even worse.

A graduate of Harvard law school himself, Dr. Reid frequently spoke lovingly and longingly about the “golden age” of the Howard Law School — the period in the 1940s and early 1950s, when distinguished faculty worked with students and other lawyers on the major civil rights issues of the time. Herbert Reid was a central part of it all.

Washington Post, 17 June 1991.


On 16 October 1940, Reid registered for the World War II draft at the Harvard University precinct in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


New York Age, 8 December 1945.


New York Age, 12 July 1947.

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

The mystery of Astor B. Bowser.

Astor Burt Bowser, born 1896, was one of three sons of Burt L. and Sarah Rountree Bowser. He appears with his parents (and grandparents) in the 1900 and 1910 censuses of Wilson, but in 1916 is listed at 17 Mott Street in the city directory of White Plains, New York. When he registered for World War I draft in September 1918, however, he was in Wilson, working in his father Burt’s cafe.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County, the Bowser family’s surname was erroneously recorded as “Brown.”


Occupations of the household’s inhabitants were recorded in the right-most columns. Astor’s? Doctor/dentist.


Dentist? When and where did Astor Bowser attend dental school?

Astor married Deloris Harvey of Alamance County on 17 August 1921 in Wilson. Throughout the 1920s, he appears to have continued to move between Wilson and greater New York City.  In the 1922 and 1925 city directories of Wilson, he is listed as an insurance agent residing at 520 East Nash. However, in the 1924 White Plains city directory: Astor B Bowser, clerk, at 17 Mott. And in the 1925 New York state census of White Plains, Westchester County: bank messenger Astor Bowser, 28, wife Deloris, 24, daughter Sarah, 2, and Lettia Bowser, 49, a widow. In the 1926 and 1928 city directories of White Plains, Astor is listed as a porter living at 7 Mott Street. But Astor B. Bowser Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, in May 1928.

In the 1930 census, Astor B. Bowser, 32, Delores, 29, and their children, Astor B., Jr., 1, and Sarah, 6, are listed in Chicago, Illinois, at 4905 Vincennes, where they were lodgers. Astor worked as an artist in his own studio and Deloris as a saleslady in a millinery.

In 1942, Astor registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 29 September 1896 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided at 4905 Vincennes, Chicago; was married to Delores Bowser; and worked for the Fannie May Candy Company.

Astor died in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, in 1981.

Was Astor really then a dentist?

A brief entry in an industry journal may clear up the matter:


The Dental Cosmos: a Monthly Record of Dental Science, Edward C. Kirk, ed. (1917).

In fact, it was Astor’s elder brother Russell L. Bowser who attended dental school, graduating from Howard in June 1917. The same month, he registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card: Russell Linwood Bowser was born 5 March 1891 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 416 Oakdale Place, Washington, D.C.; was single; worked as a dental surgeon in Washington; was tall, medium build, with brown eyes and black hair; and had “defective eyesight and a weak heart.”

In the 1920 census of Chicago, Illinois: North Carolina-born Dr. Linwood Bowser, 28, dentist, was a lodger on Evans Avenue.

In 1942, Russell Linwood Bowser registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card: he was born 5 March 1891 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 5634 South Parkway, Chicago (telephone number Went 2910); listed as a close contact Mr. A.B. Bowser, 4905 Vincennes Avenue, Chicago; and worked in the Central Investigating Unit, Federal Security Agency, Public Health Service, 54 West Hubbard Street, Chicago.

Per the Cook County, Illinois, Death Index, Russell L. Bowser died 2 December 1951.

Miss Swinney marries.


Pittsburgh Courier, 10 December 1946.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Sweny, 53, painter, and children Neoma, 17, Laney, 15, Easter, 13, Gracy, 12, John H., 10, and George P., 7.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Viola Street, Samuel Swinney, 76, painter, daughters Ester, 22, a tobacco stemmer, and Gracie, 22, superintendent at NYA project, and sons Johnnie R., 18, “in CCC camp,” and George, 17.

Samuel W. Swinney died 24 December 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 59 years old; born in Roberson County to Richard Swinney and Fannie Manning, both of Dillon, South Carolina; and a widower. Grace Swinney of 602 Viola Street was informant.

Gracie Beatrice Swinney married John Wilkerson DuPree on 17 August 1946. Presbyterian minister O.J. Hawkins performed the ceremony, and Charles D. James, Lula Moore Foster and Bedford C. Lucas were witnesses.


Gracie DuPree’s obituary was published in the Washington Post on 15 February 1997:

Gracie Swinney DuPree, 77, a history teacher who retired in 1978 from Wakefield High School, died of cardiac arrest Feb. 12 at Prince George’s Hospital Center. She lived in Landover Hills.

Mrs. DuPree was a native of Roberson County, N.C., and she attended Barber Scotia Junior College in North Carolina. She was a graduate of Shaw University and received a master’s degree in education from Columbia University. She did additional graduate work in education at George Washington University, the University of Virginia and the University of Minnesota.

Before moving to the Washington area in the late 1940s, she taught at a high school in Wilson County, N.C., and at Tuskegee Institute, Fayetteville State Teachers College and Bishop College in Marshall, Tex., where she also was dean of women. She taught history at Morgan State University in Baltimore and was a teacher at Langston Elementary School before becoming a history teacher at Hoffman-Boston High School in Arlington. It later merged with Wakefield.

Mrs. DuPree was a member of clubs at Northeastern Presbyterian Church in Washington, a commissioner of the National Capital Presbytery and a member of Links Inc., the National and Virginia Education associations and the National Council of Social Studies. She was vice president of the Iona Whipper Home board of directors, treasurer of the Shaw University Alumni Association chapter in Washington and a volunteer at the Hospital for Sick Children, Howard University Hospital, Red Cross, Junior Village, D.C. Village and the Merriweather Home.

Her honors included the Henry Tupper Humanitarian Award of the Shaw University Alumni Association and the achievement award of the Women of Turner Memorial AME Church in Washington.

Her husband, John DuPree, died in 1967. There are no immediate survivors.

Buffalo soldier; or the colored man in the fight.

WDT 4 11 1917 WW1 soldier Farrior

Wilson Daily Times, 11 April 1917.


Rev. Owen L.W. Smith was a teacher, pastor of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church, and United States consul general in Liberia.

In the 1900 census of Lisbon township, Sampson County, North Carolina: Virginia-born preacher Hennry Farrior, 39, wife Izzy, 37, children Lillie, 17, Dallas, 15, and Diane, 5, and divorced brother-in-law Richard Robinson, 50. Dallas and Richard worked as farm laborers. [Henry W. Farrior was an A.M.E. Zion minister.]

It appears that soon thereafter Dalley tried his luck up North and, on 4 October 1903, this tiny ad appeared in the classified ads of the Philadelphia Inquirer:


On 15 May 1905, in Manhattan, New York City, William H.D. Farrior [Dalley’s full name] married Florence Seel.

Before long, though, he returned to North Carolina. In the 1910 census of Lisbon township, Sampson County, North Carolina: house carpenter Dalley Farrior, 26, wife Florance, 22, and children James, 3, and Florance (Jr.), 1. [I have not found a marriage license for Dalley and Florence. Their daughters Florence Elizabeth, born 15 January 1909, and Sadie Carolina, born 6 November 1910, filed delayed birth certificates in Cumberland and Sampson Counties, respectively.]

At an unknown date, Dally Farrior enlisted in the United States Army’s Tenth Cavalry Regiment, a segregated unit that was one of the original regiments of Buffalo Soldiers. His role in the Army’s Mexican Expedition would garner him a measure of recognition and probably helped him secure government employment.

As adapted from Wikipedia: the Punitive Expedition, officially known in the United States as the Mexican Expedition, was an abortive military operation conducted by the United States Army against the paramilitary forces of Francisco “Pancho” Villa from 1916 to 1917. The expedition was retaliation for Villa’s invasion of the United States and attack on the village of Columbus, New Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. More than 5,000 U.S. troops under General John J. Pershing, including elements of the 7th Cavalry and the 10th Cavalry Regiment, entered Mexico in hot pursuit of Villa. The campaign consisted primarily of dozens of minor skirmishes with small bands of insurgents. On 21 June 1916, two troops of the 10th, totaling 92 troopers, attacked Mexican Federal Army troops in the Battle of Carrizal, Chihuahua. Twelve U.S. troops were killed and 23 taken prisoner; 45 Federales were casualties, including the Mexican general Gomez. The engagement nearly precipitated open war with Venustiano Carranza’s Mexican government, but both governments immediately moved to lessen tensions and open negotiations for U.S. withdrawal, preventing war. The Carrancista government repatriated the American prisoners at El Paso, Texas.


Washington Post, 1 July 1916.

Dalley was one of the highest-ranking enlisted men in the Tenth Cavalry and, as an escapee from the bloodshed, was called upon to testify to the debacle. He gave the affidavit below to then Major Charles Young, the African-American commander of the Tenth Cavalry’s Second Squadron.*


State of Chihuahua, Camp U.S. Troops, Colonia Dublan, Mex.  }  ss.

Personally appeared before me the undersigned authority, one Dalley Farrior, Q.M. Sergeant, Troop C, 10th Cavalry, who being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says, concerning the engagement between American troops commanded by Capt. Charles R. Boyd, 10th cavalry, and Carranza troops near Ahumada, Mexico, on June 21st, 1916, that “when we arrived near Carrizal, the Captain had us load our rifles and pistols. We halted and sent a messenger in to ask permission to pass thru the town. When the messenger returned several Mexicans came with him, and they [illegible] our point. The Captain went forward and talked to them. He returned to us and said that “It looked favorable, but we could only go north.” He said that his orders were to go east, and he meant to go that way. By this time the general of the Carranza troops had come out and the Captain went forward to talk to him. When he returned he said the general had given us permission to go thru the town, but we could go thru as foragers. As we formed line of foragers, the general called him back again. When he returned he said he would execute fight on foot and advance in that formation. We did this and ordered no man to fire until fired upon. As we moved forward K Troop was on the right and C on the left. The Captain cautioned Sergeant Winrow, who organized the right of C Troop to keep his men on a zigzag line. The Mexicans during this time had formed a line out front about 200 yards away and opened fire on us. We laid down and fired back. Then we advanced by rushes. As to the second rush I was wounded in the right arm, and staid where I was. The line I had been on kept moving forward. On their third rush they reached the Mexican’s front line of defense, where there were two machine guns. By this time Captain Boyd had been shot in the hand and shoulder. Sergeant Winrow had been wounded in the leg and [illegible] Wilhoit had also been wounded in the knee. The Captain tried to get K Troop, which was in our rear, to move up to us. He was shot and killed at this time. Lieut. Adair had gone with his man and was out of sight. Captain Morey said to assemble K Troop on him and we would all surrender. But several men in K Troop remonstrated with Capt. Morey and induced him to make towards an adobe house on our left rear, where we could possibly make a stand. Capt. Morey was very weak from loss of blood and fainted once. From there I finally made my way to the Santa Domingo ranch. From here I finally reached the 11th Cavalry about [illegible] miles west of San Luis.

Further deponent sayeth not,  /s/ Dalley Farrior, Q.M. Sergeant, Troop C, 10th Cavalry.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27 day of June 1916. /s/ Chas. Young, Major, 10th Cavalry, Summary Court.

A year later, on 15 June 1917, in the Nashville Globe‘s “News of the Nation’s Capital”:


Dalley Farrior registered for the World War I draft in Washington, D.C. on 12 September 1918. His draft card reports that he resided at 1830 – 9th Street N.W.; was born 3 September 1984; and worked as a messenger for the federal government at 4 1/2 & Missouri Avenue, S.W., Aircraft Production Division. His nearest relative was Isia Farrior, 11 Winter Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The card also reveals that he was more seriously injured at Carrizal than the Post reported — “gunshot wound in right forearm, hand almost totally paralyzed, in action with US troops in Mexico.”

On 9 January 1918, this tiny listing appeared in the Washington Post:


It appears to be notice of a suit for maintenance by Dalley’s wife Florence Farrior, and William H. Dalley Farrior seems to have been his full name.

Two days later, on 11 January, the Washington Herald ran this brief:


Two months later, Dalley threw down the gauntlet with a legal notice naming as defendants his wife and three men, presumably those with whom Dalley believed she had committed adultery.


Washington Post, 20 March 1918. 

The suit was successful. In the 1920 census of Washington, D.C.: boarders Dalley Farrior, 25, divorced, messenger for War Department; and son James Farrior, 12.

Dalley’s father Henry W. Farrior appeared in Wilson city directories as early as 1916 and throughout the 1920s. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Christian Church minister Henry W. Farrior, 60, and wife Aria, 60, with boarders tobacco factory stemmer Earnest Bulluck, 35, his wife Lena, 30, and children Earnest Jr., 12, Paul T., 8, and Lee, 7.

Henry William Farrior died 6 March 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 12 August 1859 in Powhatan, Virginia, to Henry and Sylvia Farrior; resided at 203 Pender Street, Wilson; was married Isiebell Farrior; and was a preacher. Dalley Farrior was informant.

In 1942, Dalley Farrior registered for the World War II draft. His draft card reports that he resided at 2319 Druid Hills Avenue, Baltimore; was born 10 April 1884 in Garland, North Carolina; was employed by Samuel Plato, Turner’s Station, Baltimore; and his nearest relative was Pearl Farrior.

Per the Social Security Death Index, Dalley Farrior died in Baltimore on 7 May 1971. He was survived by daughters Florence E. Farrior and Sadie Farrior Izquierdo. Sadie died in 1995. Florence died 14 October 2015 in New York City at the age of 106.

*A copy of this affidavit is included in the draft of Ann T. Gustavson’s The Question of Pershing’s Verbal Orders: Carrizal 1916, published at http://www.barbarabeatty.com. The original is held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Vanilla Beane, milliner extraordinaire.

Posted today on the Facebook page of the National Museum of African American History and Culture:

“Vanilla Beane, is a milliner, or hatmaker, known for her custom-made pieces adorned by civil rights activist Dorothy Height.

“Born Vanilla Powell in Wilson, N.C. in 1910, as the youngest of seven. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1942 where she met her husband, Willie Beane. Working in the downtown Washington Millinery Supply and as a seamstress in the 50s, she sharpened her craft. After leaving the company, Beane continued to passionately make hats while working as a mail clerk for the General Services Administration. In 1979, she opened Bene Millinery & Bridal Supplies on Third Street in Northwest Washington to serve the African American community that kept the tradition of ornate hats alive, especially in the church. The 106 year-old milliner paid a visit to the museum on Grand Opening day. You can see an example of a millinery shop in our Power of Place exhibition on the fourth floor.”


According to birth records, Vanilla Powell was born in 1919 in Wilson County to James and Martha Hagans Powell. Her father, born about 1876, was the son of Ichabod and Mary Ann Lassiter Powell. (Mary Ann’s parents were Silas and Orpha Simpson Lassiter.) Her mother Martha was the daughter of Charles and Charity Thomas Hagans.

For more on Mrs. Beane, see here and here.

The Battle siblings.

Charles Tecumseh Battle was not the only distinguished offspring of Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: blacksmith Charles Battle, 35, wife Leah, 30, and children Adelia, 5, Geneva, 2, Virgil, 1 month, and Nicholas, 18.

Ada G. and Geneva T. Battle left Wilson to complete their studies in the western part of the state. The Charlotte Observer‘s coverage of Livingstone College’s 1890 commencement mentioned that Ada had received the freshman award for oratory.

Charlotte Observer 5 30 1890

Charlotte Observer, 1890.

In Reminiscences of College Days, his self-published 1904 memoir of Livingston College, William Frank Fonvielle remembered both Battle sisters:



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While still in school, Ada Battle began teaching at Wilson’s Colored Graded School. As Fonvielle noted, however, she graduated Scotia Seminary’s Normal and Scientific Department in 1895:

Conord Times 6 13 1895

The Concord Times, 13 June 1895.

A year later, she was well-enough known to personify Wilson’s African-American elite, along with Samuel H. Vick and Braswell R. Winstead:

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Raleigh Gazette, 19 December 1896.

In the 1900 census, Ada G. Battle, 24, is a listed as a teacher at Scotia Seminary in Concord, Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Her younger sister Chandler Battle was enumerated among the school’s students.

On 17 November 1904, Chandler News listed Ada G. Battle of Chandler, Oklahoma, among the teachers certified as first grade instructors. Ada’s brother Nicholas Battle was a Chandler resident, and this seems to be Ada of Wilson.

On 17 September 1905, in Wilson County, Doane Battle, 19, daughter of Charles Battle, married F.O. [Frank Oliver] Williston, 24, of Wilson, son of Henrietta Williston of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Episcopal priest Robert N. Perry performed the ceremony at the residence of James Jenkins before official witnesses F.S. Hargrave, Jenkins, and William Dawson.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County, on Stantonsburg Street, widow Cortney Gofney, 50, and lodgers Ada Battle, 30, teacher, and Sylvester Gofney, 16, laborer. (Courtney Battle Goffney may have been Ada’s relative.) Teacher Chandler Battle, 27, is listed in the household of her cousin George H. Porter in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. In the census of Salisbury, Rowan County: Frank O. Williston, 26, wife Doane B., 23, and daughter Leah H.E., 3. In Chandler, Logan County, Oklahoma:

In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Battle Ada G tchr Wilson Graded School

Three years later, however, it appears that the peripatetic Ada had returned to Oklahoma. On 26 August 1915, Guthrie’s Oklahoma State Register published a notice of the teachers selected by Logan County schools that included Ada G. Battle, hired in District No. 94.

In the 1920 census of Iowa, Logan County, Oklahoma: 55 year-old Georgia-born farmer Stonewall J. Favers, wife Geneva, 39, daughter [sic] Charles M., 15, and sister-in-law Ada G. Battle, 41. Geneva and Ada’s brother Charles T. Battle also lived in Iowa township. In Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, their brother Nicholas R. Battle, 56, wife Dora, 58, and son Henry N., 11. Back in North Carolina, in Salisbury, Rowan County: Frank O. Williston, 38, and wife Doane, 33, and children Henrietta, 13, Inez, 8, and Dorothy, 6, and in Brinkleyville, Halifax County: farmer Charles Wright, 36, wife Chanler, 35, and brother June, 29.

On 5 June 1927, the Guthrie Daily Leader ran this respectful notice of the death of Geneva’s husband, Stonewall Jackson Faver:

Body To Lie In State In Guthrie During Morning Hour

The body of S. J. Faver, one of Logan county’s best known negro leaders, was to lie in state at the Edwards and McKee funeral home, 301 W. Harrison av. Sunday between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Faver died Friday at his home south of Meridian where he has lived on his one thousand acre farm for the past few years.
Faver was for two terms a county commissioner of Logan county and was on the board at the time the county courthouse was built in 1907. He was on who secured the building for use of the state soon after statehood.
Funeral and burial ceremonies will be from the family residence at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

In the 1930 census of Brinkleyville, Halifax County: Charlie Wright, 42, wife Chandler, 38, and children Charlie, 9, and Nicholas T., 7.  In Washington, D.C.: Frank O. Williston, 49, wife Doane, 44, and children Inez, 18, and Fay, 16, and Weldon Phillips, 38. In Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: Henry Battle, 22, his wife Vannie, 23, and son Henry Jr., 3, plus widower father Nicholas B. Battle, 64. In Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma: Geneva B. Faver, widow, lived alone at 1002 E. Vilas Street.

In the Educational Directory of North Carolina issued for 1934-35 by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the list of Jeanes Industrial Supervisors (Colored) includes Ada G. Battle of Clinton, Sampson County.

In the 1940 census of Clinton, Sampson County: living at 123 McKoy, which seems to have been a teacherage, Ada G. Battle, 54. In the census of Washington, D.C.: Frank Williston, 58, wife Doane B., 54, and daughter Darthy H., 26. In the census of Brinkleyville, Halifax County: farmer Charlie Wright, 54, wife Chandler, 50, son Chas., 20, (“college — in summer works on farm”), and Nichols, 18. In the census of Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma: farmer Nicholas R. Battle, 75, wife Ella, 39, and children Ada L., 5, Nicholas R., 3, and Evelene, 1. In the census of Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma: widow Geneva B. Faver, 60, and daughter Charles Marie Faver, 28, an instructor at Langston State University.

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The Carolina Times, 22 November 1941.

Per Findagrave.com, N.R. Battle died Christmas Eve 1946 and was buried in Chandler, Oklahoma’s Clearview cemetery.

Ada G. Battle made out her will on 7 April 1951. She was living in Wilson again and had been seriously ill since at least the previous October. Her sister Chandler Wright had come from Enfield to tend her during her confinement, and Ada made special provisions for her. She also left bequests to her remaining siblings, Geneva Faver of Guthrie, Oklahoma; Doane Willistoin of Washington, D.C.; and Charles Battle of Mobile, Alabama. Rev. O.J. Hawkins was named executor, and Estella L. Shade (wife of pharmacist Isaac Shade) and pharmacist Darcy C. Yancey witnessed the execution of the document.

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On 12 November 1952, Chandler Battle Wright died at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Her death certificate noted that her residence was Enfield, Halifax County; that she was 61 years old and married; that she had been born in Wilson County to Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle; and that her occupation was “graduate nurse.” Mrs. Willie H. Smith of Wilson was the informant.

Chandler Wright’s will was filed in Wilson Superior Court six days later. Though her death certificate cited her residence as Enfield, the will notes that she owned two houses in Wilson. Chandler distributed her belongings widely: a desk to cousin Willie Hargrove Smith; a gold necklace with pearl cross to niece Charlie Faver Tilghman (Geneva’s daughter); a dining room suite to son Nicholas L. Wright; a walnut bedroom suite to son Charlie Wright; all her livestock and $25.00 to husband C.W. Wright; her 304 North Pender Street house to son Nicholas; her 306 North Pender Street house to son Charlie; and all personal property to be divided between her sons. Willie H. Smith was named executrix, and Roberta Battle Johnson (daughter of Parker and Ella Burson Battle; a cousin?) and Mary L. Spivey of Wilson were witnesses.

CBW will

In 1957, Willa Allegra Strong submitted a dissertation to the University of Oklahoma Graduate College entitled “The Origin, Development and Current Status of the Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs.” Among the women she interviewed was Geneva B. Faver, and she wrote this about this seminal figure in Guthrie’s black community:

“Mrs. Geneva Faver assumed the office of treasurer in 1940 and has served without interruption since that date. Mrs. Faver, a pioneer citizen of Guthrie, Oklahoma, has functioned as a leader in many areas of service. She was the first music teacher hired to teach in Guthrie public schools. The Negro high school of Guthrie has been named for her husband. Some special serviced rendered to the public by Mrs. Guthrie have included: secretary of the Logan County Republican Central committee, juror in Federal Court, chairman of the city library board, and member of the library board. Mrs. Faver donated a forty acre tract of land for use as a camp site for Negro boys. The location of this site was three miles south of Meridian. The presentation was a memorial to her husband, Stonewall J. Faver.”

Per Findagrave.com, Geneva Battle Faver June 1877-December 1967 and Charlie Faver Tillman 1904-1998 are buried undera double marker at Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie.

Mother Ward has departed this life.


Pittsburgh Courier, 19 April 1924.


Mittie Roena Ward was the mother of Dr. Joseph H. Ward, the Wilson-born Indianapolis doctor featured in my first blog entry. Mittie and her twin sister Apsilla, “Appie,” were born in 1849 to Sarah Ward in Greene County on the plantation of David G.W. Ward, who was their father as well as owner. [Ward’s plantation extended into Wilson County, and I have blogged about his home just south of Stantonsburg here.]


Mittie’s twin, Appie Ward Hagans, perhaps 1880s.

On 12 July 1866, Sarah Ward and Sam Darden filed their cohabitation in Wilson County. This registration, which formalized the marriages of ex-slaves, noted that they had been married five years, well after the births of Sarah’s children. Daughter Appie married Napoleon Hagans of Nahunta, Wayne County, circa 1867, and on 16 June 1870, Henry Ward, son of D.G.W. Ward and Sarah Darden, married Sarah Forbes, daughter of Henry Forbes, in Wilson. The couple appear next door to the Forbes family in the 1870 census of Wilson. On 6 May 1879, Mitty Finch [alias Mittie Ward] married Virginia-born Algernon Vaughn in Wilson.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sarah Darden, 57, son-in-law Algia Vaughn, 23, daughter Mittie, 22, and grandchildren Joseph, 8, Sarah, 6, and Macinda Vaughn, 5 months. [Joseph “Vaughn” was actually Joseph Ward, listed with his stepfather’s surname.] Also living in Wilson, plow shop worker Henry Ward, 27, wife Sarah, 28, and children Walter, 9, Manora, 7, Lilly, 5, Claudius, 3, and Addie, 1.

Mittie’s daughter Sarah married William Moody in Wilson on 18 February 1892.


Before the decade was out, the entire family relocated to Washington DC to join William’s mother, Fannie. In the 1900 census of the District: William Moody (born 1872), wife Sarah S. (1876) and children Augustus (June 1894) and Crist Moody (1896), plus sister-in-law Minerva Vaughn (1890), mother-in-law Mittie Vaughn (1854), and mother Fannie Harris (1854), all born in North Carolina.

Soon after, however, Mittie joined her son Joseph Ward in Indianapolis, reverted permanently to her maiden name (though keeping the title “Mrs.”), and began a peripatetic life that saw her in and out of the households of her children. The Indianapolis Recorder, an African-American news weekly, kept close tabs on the mother of one of the city’s most illustrious residents:

  • “Mrs. Mittie Ward, mother of Dr. J.H. Ward will leave today for Washington, D.C., to spend the winter with her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Moody. Her youngest daughter will remain in the city with her brother Dr. Ward.”  [12 December 1903]
  • “Ward-Artis.  On Wednesday June 22, at high noon the wedding of Miss Minerva Ward, the daughter of Mrs. Mittie Ward and sister of one of our prominent physicians Dr. Joseph H. Ward, and Mr. Dillard Artis, of Marion, will be celebrated in the presence of the immediate family and a few intimate friends. Rev. Morris Lewis assisted by Rev. T.A. Smythe will perform the ceremony. They will leave at 5 p.m. for Marion, where a wedding reception will be given from 8 to 11 p.m., at 920 S. Boot street, the home of the groom. The bride is well and favorably known in our city’s best circles and is a favorite in the younger social set. The groom is a prominent cement contractor of Marion and a highly respected citizen, owning a great deal of property, which he has accumulated by his industry and business tact. They will be at home at 920 S. Boot street, Marion.”  [18 June 1910]
  • “Mrs. Minerva Ward Artis of Marion, spent the holidays with her mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward, of the city.”  [31 December 1910]
  • “Mrs. Dillard Artis of Marion, was in the city a few days this week. Mrs. Artis is visiting her brother, Dr. J.H. Ward and her mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward.”  [18 February 1911]
  • “Dr. J. Ward of Indianapolis and Master Joseph were guests of his mother Mrs. Mittie Ward and sister Mrs. S.D. Artis of S. Boots street Wednesday.”  [19 August 1911]
  • “Mrs. Mittie Ward of Indianapolis, who has been the guest of her daughter for the past week Mrs. S.D. Artis returned home Saturday and on December 5, will leave for Washington, D.C. to spend the winter with her daughter.”   [2 December 1911]
  • “Dr. J.H. Ward of Indianapolis was called to this city [Marion, Indiana] the first part of this week to attend the bedside of his mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward, who is ill at the home of her daughter, Mrs. S.D. Artis, in South Boots street.”  [25 November 1916]

It was during one of her visits with her daughter Sarah Moody in Washington, D.C., that Mittie Ward succumbed to a stroke.