106 North Pender Street.

The twenty-fourth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “1925; 2 stories; L.A. Moore house; hip-roofed cubic house with simple Colonial Revival detail; end chimney with exposed face; aluminum sided; Moore was an insurance agent for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; builder was Short Barnes.”

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Idea Moore, 67; Samuel, 23, Vinah, 20, Lee, 7, Nellie, 6, and Jane Moore, 1 month; Sidney, 8, Frances, 7, Nancy, 13, and Edmond Moore, 14.

On 23 January 1873, Lawrence Moore, 30, married Vinah Moore, 25, in Wilson County. Minister London Johnson performed the service.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Moore, 38; wife Viny, 25; and children Lee, 16, Nellie, 13, Esther and Delah Ann, 10, John, 7, David, 5, and Austin, 2.

On 6 April 1886, Lee Moore, 21, and Louisa Morgan, 18, were married in Black Creek.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: merchant Lee Moore, 36, wife Louisa, 32, and son Ernest, 12.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, life insurance agent Lee Moore, 40; wife Mary, 36; and son Earnest, 19.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 646 Nash Street, Leon A. Moore, 57, insurance agent; wife Virginia, 29; stepchildren Westry, 11, Wall C., 10, and Lula Darden, 9; and children Walter L., 5, Ruth, 3, and Xzimena Moore, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Pender Street, insurance agent Lee A. Moore, 59; wife Virginia, 37; and children Walter, 14, Ruth, 13, Simenia, 9, Bernard, 6, and Corteze, 4. The house was valued at $5000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Pender Street, insurance agent L.A. Moore, 70, retired insurance man; wife Virginia, 46, day laborer at tobacco factory; children Xizmenna, 19, E.R., 23, cafe waiter, Bernard, 17, drugstore delivery boy, and Cortez, 13.

Lee A. Moore died 17 February 1948 at Mercy Hospital after a stove explosion in his home. Per his death certificate, he was married to Virginia Moore; resided at 106 Pender Street; was born in Wilson County about 1863 to Lawrence and Vinnie Moore; and worked as an insurance agent. William C. Hines was the certifying physician, and Moore was buried in the Masonic cemetery.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1948.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

[Update, 23 April 2018: The house at 108 North Pender Street was demolished in March 2018.]


Students at the colored orphanage.


For “School Session September 1929 to May 1929,” the Roster of Students for the Oxford Colored Orphanage listed six children from Wilson: Madell Moore; Julian and Joseph Covington; and Dempsey, Malachi and Kurfew Ward.




  • Madell Moore — in the 1930 census of Fishing Creek township, Granville County, Maedall Moore, 9, is listed as an inmate of the Oxford Colored Orphanage of North Carolina.
  • Julian Covington
  • Joseph Covington
  • Dempsey Ward — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Viola Street, house carpenter Jessie Ward, 36; wife Mary, 34; and children Mabel, 17, Gertrude, 12, Kerfus, 7, Malachi, 5, Dempsey, 3, Virginia, 2, and Sara, 1 month. In the 1930 census of Fishing Creek township, Granville County, Dempsey Ward, 14, farm laborer, is listed as an inmate of the Oxford Colored Orphanage of North Carolina. (Neither his brothers nor the Covingtons are listed.)
  • Malachi Ward — Malachi Ward died 14 February 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 November 1919 in Wilson, N.C., to Jesse Ward and Mary Sherrod; he resided at 2819 North 11th Street, Philadelphia; and he worked as a barber. Kerfew Ward of Compton, California, was informant.
  • Kurfew Ward — Kurfew Melvin Ward was born 17 December 1912 in Wayne County, North Carolina. On 15 September 1937, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, issued a marriage license for Kurfew M. Ward, 24, and Elizabeth Brown, 19, both residents of Pittsburgh. Per their application, Wars was born 17 December 1912 to Jesse Ward and Mary Sheard, both dead; was from Wilson, N.C.; worked as a laborer; and lived at 621 Whittier. Brown resided at 107 Pugh and was the daughter of Earl Brown of Pittsburgh and Blanche Brown of Virginia. In the 1954 city directory of Compton, California: Kerfew M. Ward, plasterer, with Elizabeth J. Ward. Kurfew M. Ward died 4 July 1970 in Los Angeles, California.

Annual Reports of the Colored Orphanage Oxford, N.C. is available at

Commissioners meeting.

4 10 96

Wilson Times, 10 April 1896.

  • John Atkinson — perhaps, in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: John Atkinson, 63, farmer; wife Jane, 58; and children Nellie, 21, James, 19, Nettie, 18, Naoma, 15, Lucy, 13, and Robert E., 8.
  • Amos Bunn — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Amos Bunn, 51 farmer; wife Mojana, 40, cook; children Tildy, 24, cook, Amos, 21, day laborer, William G., 19, Lewis B., 17, and Genetta B., 14, all farm laborers, Sallie B., 13, cook, Jonas B., 10, nurse, Louisanna, 7, Eddie B., 3, and James W., 2, plus mother Tabitha, 80.
  • Abram Moore

Physiology, Hygiene, Narcotics.

Moore book

This book was found discarded near the former home of insurance salesman Lee A. Moore at 106 North Pender Street. Orestes M. Brands’ Health Lessons for Beginners: A Physiology and Hygiene, With Special Reference to the Effects of Alcoholic Drinks and Other Narcotics Upon the Human System was a book for school children first published in 1885.

The inside cover bears two inscriptions: “Mr. L.A. Moore, book Jan 5, 1898, Wilson Station, N.C.” and “Ometa Parrington, #324 South Spring St. Wilson.”

inside cover


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 614 Gold Street, widow Louise Perrerrington, 48; daughters Annie, 22, and Omma, 23, both cooks; son John, 17; and grandchildren John, 2, and Virginia Glastor, 4.

Morris M. Ellis, 25, and Ometa Sylvia Perrington, 22, daughter of Louisa Perrington, all of Wilson, were married 10 August 1910 at Saint John A.M.E. Zion church. Rev. D.L. Maultsby performed the ceremony in the presence of Floyd Mitchell, Dr. W.A. Mitchner and Chas. H. Darden.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 324 South Spring Street, barber Morris Ellis, 35; wife Ameta, 34; children Morris Jr., 5, and Linnai, 2; widowed mother-in-law Louisa Perrington, 62; and her granddaughter Inez Perrington, 14.

Ometa Ellis died 3 May 1928 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was married to Morriss Ellis; resided at 702 Nash Street; was 42 years old; and had been born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Weldon Perrington of Wilmington and Louisa Scarborough of Wilson. Louisa Parrington was informant.

Many thanks to Edith Jones Garnett for sharing these images.

Rev. William J. Moore.

Toward the end of his life, Rev. William John Moore served as pastor of Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion Church in Wilson and Presiding Elder of the Wilmington District, Cape Fear Conference, of the A.M.E.Z. Church. In younger years, however, he had been a vital force in establishing the denomination throughout the region, as this entry in J.W. Hood’s One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; or, the Centennial of African Methodism makes clear:




Rev. W.H. Davenport’s The Anthology of Zion Methodism, published in 1925, notes: “The Autobiography of Rev. William J. Moore, D.D., is interesting from cover to cover. Zion Methodism had its inception in the South in New Bern, N. C. Eliza Gardner, Mary Anderson and others of the Daughters of Conference of New England raised money to send Rev. J. W. Hood to the South. Shortly after his arrival he and Moore met and there began a friendship between them which was beautiful in its sincerity and purity. The early struggles of Moore’s life are intimately connected with the early struggles of Zion Methodism in North Carolina. The book is not cast in a high literary mold, but is a rugged and straightforward statement of a religious frontiersman and pioneer.”


Moore was in Wilson as early as 1892, when his wife Sarah is listed among gift-givers celebrating the marriage of Samuel Vick and Annie Washington.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister William J. Moore, 64; wife Sarah J., 60; daughter Mary E., 29; and grandsons Alfred Hill, 12, and Wilbur, 3.

On 6 December 1906, Mary E. Moore, 29, daughter of W.J. and Sallie Moore, married Willie Mitchell, 24, son of Wiley and Betsy Mitchell, in Wilson. Judge Mitchell applied for the license, and Rev. N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of L.A. Moore, Isaac Stone, W.J. Moore and Mrs. Burtie Farmer.

On 2 January 1908, Alex Moore, 38, and Mary Magett, 26, were married in Wilson by Methodist minister G.A. Wood in the presence of Martha Wood, Joseph Sutton and C.G. Lewis.


Hill’s Wilson, N.C, Directory (1908).

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, Willy Mitchell, 34, odd jobs laborer, wife Mary, 39, and son Wilton, 13.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, Alex Moore, 46, factory laborer, wife Mary, 28, and son Charlie, 3.

Rev. Moore drafted and executed a will on 15 November 1913.


In it, he gave his children Mary and Alex a house and five lots in Wilson (which later revoked) and “all the endowment money ” coming from the Masonic Lodge, the Eastern Star Chapter, and the Brotherhood of the A.M.E. Zion Church. He further passed to Mary his interest in the mortgage held on property in Pamlico County, North Carolina, and named her his executrix. One of the witnesses, New Bern native Rev. Clinton D. Hazel, also served as Presiding Elder of Wilmington District.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 314 Stantonsburg Street, widowed cook Mary Mitchell, 46; barber Alex Moore, 43, his wife Mary, 38, a laundress, and their son Charles, 44. [The 1920 Wilson city directory lists Alex as an employee of M.D. Cannon‘s barber shop.]

On 9 November 1920, Mary E. Mitchell drafted a will with very terms. She had three insurance policies and specified that from the policy for $121.00 on the Durham Company [North Carolina Mutual] $50 be paid to Dr. W.A. Mitchner and $50 to Fannie Simpson “who nursed me last winter.” She owned “a house and some lots on Stantonsburg Street in the town of Wilson.” They were to go to Sylvia Best on the condition that she live in or rent out the house for ten years. “If at the time of the expiration of said ten years my son Alfred Hill, whom I have not heard from in a number of years, has not returned to Wilson,” the land would pass in fee to Best. If Alfred returned, he would receive the lot on which the house was located, and Sylvia the best. If he returned earlier than ten years, he was to allow Sylvia and her family to live with him until the ten years expired. W.A. Mitchner was named executor.

Mary E. Mitchell died 5 February 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was divorced; resided on Stantonsburg Street; worked as a laundress; and was born 10 May 1865 in Beaufort County, North Carolina, to W. John Moore of Washington, North Carolina, and Sarah Moore. Informant was Alex Moore.

Mary Moore Mitchell’s will entered probate on 14 February 1921.

Alex Moore died 28 December 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 108 Manchester Street; was a widower; worked as a common laborer; was 60 years old; and was born in Wilson to John and Sallie Ann Moore, both of New Bern, North Carolina. Charles Moore was informant.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line],

Snaps, no. 5: Wilbert T. Moore.

Research on the will of Esther McGowan lead to the discovery of the migration of her daughter Alice McGowan Moore to Indianapolis in the first decade of the twentieth century. Alice’s Wilson-born children Charles, Hester and Wilbert settled in Indiana with her. After I published the McGowan post, I was contacted by a descendant of the family. Today, Damon Moore shared with me photographs of Alice M. Moore’s youngest son Wilbert. Many thanks, Damon!


Wilbert T. Moore (1896-1963).

Terrible strain.

Coroner’s report of Inquest held March 18th 99 to investigate cause of death of an unknown child

Examination of L.A. Moore

L.A. Moore duly sworn says: He is a resident of Wilson and Wilson County. Della Greene lived in same house that he lived in. She had room there about two months. Judged from Della’s personal appearance that she was pregnant. Did not know stage as she was a fleshy woman. Noticed that she seemed to have shrunk about abdomen after coming from Mr. Ed Rawlings, where she had worked as cook. Della got sick there and was sent to my house to her room.

The body of the infant was found yesterday in corner of garden.

The body seemed to have been burnt, as it was scorched and fingers crumped up. She had fireplace in her room. Had staid at Mr. Ed Rawlings at night. Sent to me for help to get away from Wilson. Has been sick and unable to work since snow. Knows of no doctor attending her. Della was 33 or 34 years old. She left Wilson last Wednesday.  /s/ L.A. Moore


Dr. C.E. Moore, duly sworn says:

Have seen the body. It is the remains of a well matured, full term colored child. Found it in complete stage of decomposition . Evidently been dead for four or six weeks. Extremities were charred, crust on hands could be broken through. Cant say that child was born alive.  /s/ C.E. Moore


Mr. E.G. Rawlings, being duly sworn says:

I employed a woman by name Della, as a cook. Who lived part of the time she slept at my house. Was taken sick while there, was confined to her room one night and day about six weeks ago. About time of first snow. My wife went to room, found it disordered, blood on bed clothing. Della gave as excuse that it was her menstrual period. We sent her home. She asked permission to take soiled bed clothes, wash and return, but failed to return them. Neither saw nor heard at any time a disturbance as of a woman in labor. Owing to situation of room the cry of an infant could have been unheard. This woman Della lived at the house of L.A. Moore.  /s/ E.G. Rawlings


Louisa Moore, duly sworn says:

Della Greene lived at my house. Same woman employed at Mr. Ed Rawlings. She had prominent abdomen. When Della came in surrey from Mr. Rawling’s colored boy came with her. He or she took a sack to her room, looked like bundle. Afterwards saw bedclothes, washed, hanging in fence. She carried bedclothes away. Smelt something, smelt like broiled meat, same week. Went to her room. She was scraping with a stick in fire place. Saw nothing except chicken bone. She said it was some turkey that Mrs. Rawlings had given her. When she came down after sickness she was much smaller. Told her that she was reported to have had a baby and to have destroyed it. She denied this. When she left said she was going to Enfield. I and others helped her with money. She asked for help. Her home is in Warrenton, but would stop at Enfield to get money to get home. Child when found looked like it had been burnt.  /s/ Louisa Moore


Emma Jenkins, duly sworn says:

Lived in same house with Della, who cooked for Mr. Ed Rawlings. She had a large abdomen. I had no suspicion of pregnancy. When she returned from Mr. Rawlings she had lessened in size. I saw the child. It looked like it had been burnt.  Emma (X) Jenkins


Lucinda Miller duly sworn says:

I think there was as much change in [illegible] would be from anyone who had been confined. I have not seen the child. Did not smell any thing that had been burning. The child was not borned in my house. I gave her 25 cents to leave Wilson with. She had gotten behind in her dues. I told her last Monday to leave but not on account of back rent. The Dr. was sent for last Sunday morning but I did know anything about it until Sunday aft.  Lucinda (X) Miller



Wilson Times, 24 March 1899.


Answers at The Bar of God.

The case of Della Greene, the negro woman charged with infanticide, was ended last night, It will be remembered that she was in jail awaiting the next term of court in Wilson, and that the evidence was heavy against her for the destruction of her infant.

But the case will not called at any earthly [illegible]. Tuesday night the Messenger of Death came to the lonely prisoner in Wilson jail, and while the storm raged without and the lightning flashed, and the thunder pealed, her soul was required of her, and at the bar of God she will answer for the crime for which she was accused.

She was sick when arrested, broken in body and mind when she held to court to answer for the awful crime of her destroying her offspring by fire, and though the physicians did all in their power to preserve her life, last night it flickered out, and she passed into the vast beyond.

Her body was taken from the jail to day and buried at the expense in the pauper burying ground.

Wilson Times, 30 March 1899.

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.