Music

Saint Mark’s organist honored at concert.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1971.

“Mrs. Wilton Maxwell (Flora Clark) Bethel, church organist of St. Mark’s [Episcopal] Mission since 1930, will be honored Sunday for her faithful years of service during the 5 p.m. concert featuring the St. Augustine’s College choir.

“Mrs. Bethel served as a student organist for the Raleigh school during the worship services at the college chapel.

“From 1932 to 1964, Mrs. Bethel was employed in the Wilson city schools system where she furthered the use of her musical talents. For many years, she was the musical assistant for the Darden School Choir.

“In addition she has taught private classes in piano and organizing for a number of students in the Wilson community, while at the same time serving as organist for the St. Mark’s Mission. Mrs. Bethel’s contribution to music at St. Mark’s Mission will be recognized during the concert by the St. Augustine’s choir, which is said to be a tribute to all the makers of music to the greater glory of God.”

Hartford E. Bess, minister of music.

Wilson Daily Times, 23 July 1934.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 April 1935.

Wilson Daily Times, June 28, 1940.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 May 1949.

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In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 208 Pender Street, widow Minnie Best, 48; and children Hartford, 30, delivery boy for retail dry goods business; Ruth, 27, teacher at Williamston School; James, 23, janitor at Oettinger’s store; and Glenwood, 10, grocery delivery boy.

In 1940, Hartford Eugene Bess was registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he resided at 208 Pender Street; was born 9 September 1910 in Wilson; his contact was his mother Minnie Luevenia Bess; and he worked for David Oettinger, 110 West Nash Street.

On 23 July 1960, Hartford E. Bess, 44, married June Wilkins Manley, 37, in the presence of Ruth G. Bess, Alice B. Mitchell and Nora A. Jones. Baptist minister Talmadge Watkins performed the service.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 December 1988.

 

 

Recommended reading, no. 2.

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A project of North Carolina Arts Council and local partners, African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina (2013) is a 218-page insider’s guide to the music traditions of an eight-county region. Drawn largely from interviews with living musicians and interspersed with vivid photographs and up-close vignettes, the book devotes thirty pages to Wilson County’s rich musical history, both sacred and secular.  Highlights include the role of Reid Street Community Center (and tobacco warehouses) as music venues, shape note singing and hymn lining, and influential music teachers. The book suggests travel routes for each section and includes a 17-track CD of eastern North Carolina recordings.