minister

Clergymen.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1947).

  • William W. Askew, Baptist — William Wesley Askew. Per his death certificate, William Askew died 2 March 1956 in Wilson; was born 13 March 1890 in Bertie County, North Carolina, to Isaac and Mance Askew; was married to Elizabeth Askew; worked as a minister; and resided at 1104 Rountree Avenue.
  • W. Samuel Barnes, Baptist — pastor of a Missionary Baptist church.
  • Frank F. Battle, Baptist — pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist church.
  • Chester B. Beamon, Methodist — A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • Walter Bobbitt, Baptist– Walter Lee Bobbitt, pastor of Saint John Free Will Baptist. Per his death certificate, Bobbitt died 26 February 1952 at his home at 109 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was born 19 November 1896 in Pitt County to Sidney Bobbitt and Millie Payton; was a minister; and was married to Annie Bobbitt.
  • Edward H. Cox, Baptist — Eddie Harrison Cox, pastor of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Eddie H Cox, 49, and wife Carrie H., 32.
  • Hattie Daniels, Holiness — Hattie Owens Daniels. Per her death certificate, Hattie Daniels died 25 April 1979 in Wilson; was born 4 July 1900 in Chester County, Georgia, to Mack Owens and Mary Gardner; was widowed; resided at 908 Wainwright Street; and was a minister and kindergarten teacher. Informant was daughter Deborah Daniels of the home.
  • Fred M. Davis, Baptist — Fred Marshon Davis Sr., pastor of Jackson Chapel First Baptist and others.
  • Jacob Edwards, Holiness
  • John A. Everette, Methodist — pastor of Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church.
  • John L. Hart, Apostolic — John L. Hart died 6 February 1963 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 January 1901 in Wilson County to Benjamin Hart and Temie Ann Jones; was married; was a minister. Elouise Hart, 1200 Washington Street, was informant.
  • Obra J. Hawkins, Presbyterian — Obra Jeffrey Hawkins, pastor of Calvary Presbyterian.
  • William A. Hilliard, Methodist — William Alexander Hilliard was pastor at Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion Church. In 1942, he registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card: he resided at 119 Pender; his mailing address was 2449 Woodland Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri; he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; his contact was Mrs. Veta Watson of 2449 Woodland; he was employed as a minister in the A.M.E. Zion connection serving in Wilson.
  • Jefferson Holloway, Methodist — pastor of an A.M.E. Zion church. Jefferson Davis Holloway died 7 November 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 November 1885 in Wilson County; was married to Ella Holloway; and resided at 323 Griffin Street.
  • Edward Ingram, Holiness — pastor of Nazarene Holiness Church.
  • Robert Johnson, Episcopal — Robert Josiah Johnson, Saint Mark’s Episcopal.
  • Charles T. Jones, Baptist — Charles Thomas Jones, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
  • George Little, Baptist — pastor of Mount Zion Free Will Baptist Church. George Washington Little died 1 April 1957 on the A.C.L. railroad tracks near Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 July 1910 in Wilson County to Wash Little and Louise Barnes; worked as a minister and laborer; resided at 606 North Carroll Street. Louise Little was informant.
  • William McLondon, Holiness — pastor of Mount Zion Holiness Church.
  • Otto E. Sanders, Presbyterian — Otto Edward Sanders, former pastor of Calvary Presbyterian.
  • R. Buxton Taylor, Methodist — Russell Buxton Taylor, A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • William Thomas, Baptist — pastor of a Missionary Baptist church.
  • Cleveland Thompson, Holiness
  • Roosevelt Wheeler, Holiness — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 812 East Vance, minister Roosevelt Wheeler, 26; wife Minnie, 24; and lodger Jessie Edwards, 17.
  • William E. Willoughby, Holiness

Celebrating 50 years in the Episcopal priesthood.

William Hines, Ann J. Hines, Anna Burgess Johnson, Rev. Robert J. Johnson, Wilton M. Bethel, Rev. O.J. Hawkins and Rev. David Yates, 1960.

  • Ann J. Hines — Anna Johnson Goode Hines (1927-2010) was the daughter of Robert and Anna Johnson. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she married Charles Edwin Hines, son of Wesley E. and Mary Ellis Hines, on 19 December 1957 in Wilson.
  • O.J. Hawkins — Presbyterian minister Obra J. Hawkins.

Photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).

Studio shots, no. 32: Geneva Jones Bailey.

geneva jones bailey

Geneva Jones Bailey (1876-1959) with her Bible.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Jones, 35; wife Lucy, 25; and children Catharine, 8, James R., 7, Louisa, 4, Geneva, 3, and Rosa L., 10 months; plus Mary Boykin, about 45, mother-in-law.

On 20 December 1893, at the residence of Richard Jones in Old Fields township, John D. Bailey, 24, son of Hill and Mary Bailey, married Genevia Jones, 18, daughter of Richard and Lucy Jones.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer John D. Bailey, 31; wife Geneva, 23; children Rhoda, 4, Pearl, 1, and Mary L., one month; plus servant Lillie Bagley, 35.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer John D. Bailey, 35; wife Jeneva, 33; Rhoda, 15, Pearlie, 12, Mary L., 9, Lonnie, 8, Ora, 6, John T., 5, William H., 4, Melton P., 2, and Richard H., 1.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Bailey John D (Geneva) lab h 509 Church.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 516 Church Street, oil mill laborer John Bailey, 60; wife Geneva, 52; and children Johnny, 16, James, 14, Perry, 21, and Jerry, 24 (both railroad laborers); plus lodgers Mack Miller, 35, an auto mechanic in a garage, and Mary P. Williams, 74, a private nurse. Bailey owned the house, valued at $2000.

Geneva Jones Bailey died 29 September 1959 at her home at 516 Church Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, he was born 6 March 1876 in Wilson to Richard Jones and Lucy Boykins; was a widow; and had worked as a tobacco factory laborer and minister. Rev. James H. Bailey of Riverton, New Jersey, was informant.

This extraordinary photograph is courtesy of Findagrave.com contributor James Morgan.

Artist, lawyer, preacher.

On 15 September 1939, Cora L. Bennett, a writer employed by the Works Project Administration interviewed William Arthur Cooper for the Folklore Project. The transcript of the interview is housed at the Library of Congress. Here is an excerpt:

William A. Cooper, artist and preacher gives the story of his life as follows:

“My work has been my life. Whatever degree of success I have had has come about, I believe, as a result of my dogged determination to do something tangible for my race.

“I was born in the country near Hillsboro, N.C. As a small boy I worked on the farm. I worked in the tobacco fields, worming and stemming tobacco as well as in the cotton fields. For about four months in the winter I attended a Mission school in Hillsboro for negros. In summer time I worked as a janitor and some times as a cook or house boy.

“When I was about fourteen I began to support myself, and soon there after went to the Industrial Institute at High Point, N.C. as a work student. I worked on the school farm,
got up at five o’clock in the morning to milk the cows, plow and hoe cotton and corn, and anything else that needed to be done. While I was at this school I also took up brick laying along with my other studies.

“From High Point I went to the National Religious Training School at Durham, N.C. There I took the four year Theological Course. Still working my way through school, I received the Bachelor of Theology Degree from that institution.

“As soon as I had finished I went to Wilson, N.C. where I started out as an insurance man, and at the same time preaching at a small church on Sunday.

“I went from there to Burlington, N.C. where I was elected Principal of a high school. I also served as Principal of the high school at Graham, N.C. and taught at various other places. All this time I was studying law at night and passed the State Bar examination in 1922.

“I became interested in art for the first time a few years before this. I was in bed with a severe cold and while lying idle I thought I would try to do two pictures illustrating the Biblical quotation: ‘Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, but straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be who
find it.’ The members of my church were quite pleased with the pictures. Their pleasure encouraged me a great deal, and from that time on I began to paint other things. It was then I started painting the members of my race, anybody I could get 3 to sit— field hands, teachers, children, cooks or washerwomen. I had taken no formal lessons at the time but I kept right on trying to see what I might do.

“I have attempted to show the real negro through art. I believe that unless we have some record of the negro that is neither burlesqued with black face nor idealized with senmentality, the younger generation of negroes will be deprived of inspiration from their own race. …”

——

William Arthur Cooper (1895-1974), preacher, lawyer, and artist, painted the portraits of Negro field hands, domestic servants, children, religious and civic leaders and business executives. As a member of the North Carolina Interracial Commission, Cooper made a “good will” tour to colleges and universities in North Carolina where he exhibited his portraits and lectures on art and black culture.

Cooper’s papers, housed at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, include: “Biographical materials; correspondence, concerning portrait commisions, lectures on art, and exhibitions of his work; two account books containing expenditures; receipts; a journal, 1935, containing expenditures and notes concerning his “good will” tour; a report on the tour; Cooper’s publication Educating Through Fine Arts; his book A Portrayal of Negro Life, 1936, which contains reproductions of his portraits acompanied by his explanatory text, and documents related to the book including proposed plans, sales records, and a typescript of the book which contains portraits not included in the published version; price lists for Cooper’s paintings; exhibition catalogs, clippings, miscellany, and a book by Charles C. Dawson, ABCs of Great Negroes; and 36 photographs of Cooper, of his friends and church members, and his portrait paintings.”

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The Bathing Girl (1932).

Obituary of Calvin Sidney Edwards.

calvin edwards 1 14 47

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1947.

In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Aaron Edwards, 40; wife Lucinda, 39; and children Thomas, 13, Mary J., 10, Louvenia, 8, Sallie A., 5, George A., 2, and Calvin, 4 months.

On 25 April 1912, Calvin Edwards, 25, son of Aaron and Lucinda Edwards, of Wilson, married Beatrice Moore [sic, Morgan] 18, daughter of William and Mary Moore [Morgan] of Cross Roads, in Lucama. Missionary Baptist minister R. Corbett performed the ceremony in the presence of J.L. Newsom, W.R. Kent, and Rev. C.D. Dew.

On 12 September 1918, Calvin Sydney Edwards registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1882; resided at 113 Pender Street; worked as a plumber of J.E. Alphin on Nash Street; and his nearest relative was Beatrice Edwards.

Beatrice Edwards died 15 October 1918 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1895 in Johnston County to William Morgan and Mary Saunders; resided at 113 Pender Street; and was married to Calvin Edwards.

On 24 September 1919, Calvin Edwards, 32, married Lizzie Woodard, 25, in Wilson.

Calvin Edwards executed a will on 31 August 1944. Under its terms, his wife (and executrix) Lizzie was to receive all his personal property and a life interest in his real property; at Lizzie’s death Maggie Holt Rountree, wife of Connie Rountree, was to receive a life interest; thence a life interest to Maggie’s brother Freddie Holt; thence to the nearest blood kin. [Maggie Foster, daughter of Charley and Georgianna Holt, married Connie Rountree in Nash County in 1937.]

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Calvin Sidney Edwards died 10 January 1947 at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1887 in Wayne County to Aaron Edwards of Orange County and Lucinda Davis of Durham; resided at 1105 Carolina Street, Wilson; was a preacher; and was married to Lizzie Woodard. He was buried in the Masonic cemetery, Wilson.

Lizzie Edwards died 21 May 1954 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was born 3 September 1890 in Wilson County to Stephen Woodard and Pheba McGowan. Informant was John M. Barnes, 500 East Green Street.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The reverends grew up together.

NY age 3 15 1930

New York Age, 15 March 1930.

The Negro ministers were well received.

pc 3 12 1938

Pittsburgh Courier, 12 March 1938.

  • Richard A.G. Foster — As shown here, Rev. Foster was a steadfast and enthusiastic proponent of civil rights.
  • E.O. Saunders — South Carolina native Otto Eugene Sanders was newly arrived from Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Bryant P. Coward

He learned the English alphabet in about twenty minutes.

Jethro, Nimrod, the Queen of Sheba, Saint Catherine, Hannibal, Phillis Wheatley, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Denmark Vesey … and Rev. Robert S. Rives. Rives was pastor of Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion in Wilson around 1900 and testified at the coroner’s inquest over the shooting death of James A. Hunt. His selection as one of the Negro stars of the ages is as curious as author W.H. Quick’s contrived (and occasionally opaque) prose.

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Right reverends.

For more than 100 years, three churches have loomed over a two-block stretch of Pender Street, near the northwest edge of black Wilson. Jackson Chapel Missionary Baptist and Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion were among the earliest established black churches in Wilson, and Calvary Presbyterian Church was not far behind. Saint John’s, especially, was a plum ministerial assignment, but Jackson Chapel and Calvary also attracted high-profile clergy.

Here, a running list of African-American ministers of the gospel active in Wilson County before 1920. (All worked in Wilson, unless otherwise noted.)

A.M.E. Zion (Saint John’s unless noted)

Baptist

  • Nick AndersonNew Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Nick Arrington, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Solomon Arrington, Free Will
  • William Baker, Missionary
  • Frank Barnes, Primitive (Elm City)
  • Crockett Best, Ellis Chapel Free Will
  • A. BluntPiney Grove Free Will
  • D. BluntPiney Grove Free Will
  • Jim Brown, Brown’s Chapel Free Will, Wynn Chapel (Elm City)
  • Thomas Bunch, Primitive
  • Alfred Carmen, Piney Grove Free Will
  • G.W. Buckram, Second Missionary
  • James G. Coppedge, Second Missionary
  • E.H. Cox, Free Will
  • Fred M. DavisFirst Missionary/Jackson Chapel First Missionary
  • G.W. Davis, Free Will
  • L.M. Davis, Missionary
  • Spurgeon D. Davis, First Missionary
  • Thomas Davis, Free Will
  • Nelson Hines, Free Will
  • Nathaniel L. Horton
  • R.A. Horton, Mount Zion Original Free Will
  • Andrew J. Jackson, First Missionary
  • Joseph S. Jackson
  • Charles T. Jones
  • William H. Mitchiner, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Alonzo Moore, Piney Grove Free Will
  • H.H. Neil, Free Will
  • Esrom P. Pearsall, Missionary
  • John W. Pitts, Free Will
  • C.H. Register, Missionary
  • P. Rodman, Brown’s Chapel Free Will
  • Fred M. Rogers, First Missionary
  • W.J. Sasser, Ellis Chapel Free Will
  • J. Scarborough, Missionary
  • [unknown] Stamper, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Daniel Stokes, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Marshall A. Talley, Missionary
  • B.W. Tippett, Free Will
  • E.H. Ward, Missionary
  • E.C. Watson, Missionary (Taylor township)
  • P.P. Watson, First Missionary
  • Alfred L.E. Weeks, First Missionary, Tabernacle Missionary
  • Jonah Williams, London’s Primitive, Barnes Chapel Primitive (near Stantonsburg), Little Union Primitive (near Elm City)
  • William B. Williams, Primitive
  • London Woodard, London’s Primitive
  • W.T.H. Woodard, First Missionary
  • Abram Wooten, Pilgrim’s Rest Primitive

Presbyterian (Calvary)

Other

  • A.B. Abney, Seventh Day Adventist
  • Horace Bowens, United Holy
  • G.J. Branch, Mount Zion Holy/Branch’s Memorial Tabernacle United Holy
  • J.H. Harrison, Mount Zion Holy
  • W.H. Horton, Christian
  • J.H. Jones, Saint Mark’s Episcopal
  • Joseph Lancaster, Church of God and Saints of Christ
  • Isaac Lewis, Pentecostal
  • Alex A. Locker, Saint Luke African Methodist Episcopal
  • William H. Neal, Saint James Holiness
  • John W. Perry, Saint Mark’s Episcopal
  • Robert N. Perry, Saint Mark’s Episcopal
  • John H. Scott, Saint James Holiness