North Carolina A&T State University

The obituary of Lauraetta J. Taylor.

Lauraetta J. Taylor (1916-1977), daughter of Russell Buxton and Viola Gaither Taylor, was a legendary women’s basketball coach at Fayetteville State University. A gymnasium on campus is named in her honor.

Pittsburgh Courier, 26 March 1977.

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In the 1920 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: on Johnston Bow, preacher Russell B. Taylor, 35; wife Viola, 31, seamstress; and children Beatrice, 7, Janett, 5, and Sarah, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on East Nash Street, Methodist minister Russell B. Taylor, 48, widower; children Laura, 14, Sarah, 11, Christopher, 7, and William, 4; daughter Beatrice Barnes, 18, public school teacher, and her son Elroy, 1; and lodgers Cora Speight, 49, laundress, and Mamie Williams, 30, ironer, and Roscoe McCoy, 32, farm laborer.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 536 East Nash, preacher and public school teacher Russell B. Taylor, 52; children Loretta, 23, and Sarah, 21, both teachers, Leonard, 16, and William, 14; grandson Elroy Barnes, 11; and lodgers Isiar Jones, 36, Virginia-born construction laborer; Mitchell Frazier, 32, South Carolina-born truck driver; John Baldwin, 29, Lumberton, N.C.-born tobacco redrying factory laborer, and his wife Clyde, 26, a native of Wilmington, N.C.

1939 edition of The Ayantee, the yearbook of North Carolina State A.&T. University in Greensboro. Taylor’s sister Sarah G. Taylor graduated from A.&T. that year.

The last will and testament of Carter W. Foster.

Carter Washington Foster died 17 February 1955, deeply in debt.

Foster had been Wilson County’s Negro agricultural extension agent. To open his estate, his widow Estelle Duncan Foster testified that she had found his will among papers in a locked box at the National Bank of Wilson. Sadie H. Collins, Helen W. Branford and John M. Miller Jr. examined the paper and positively identified as the document they had witnessed Foster sign just a month before.

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On 24 February 1955, Wilson County Superior Court opened the estate. Foster’s will was straightforward — he left all property left after his debts were settled to his wife and named her his executrix. The attachment to the will is more perplexing.

First, “I suggest that the $5000 Metropolitan Policy payable to my wife be loaned to the Company and payable to Carlotta and Barbara shall need same for schooling.” (What company? Was this suggestion lawful? Barbara Jean, born 1942, and Carlotta Estelle, born 1951, were the couple’s daughters.)

Second, Foster named three people who owed him a total of $30 — Isham Bryant, Leona Hines, and Maggie Bryant.

Third, he named eleven people that he owed a whopping $3007.5 (roughly $27,000 in 2017 dollars) — M.R. Zachary ($320), Mrs. Branford ($375), Percy Williams ($100), Mark Sharp ($825), Joe Hester ($650), Frank Murphy ($350), W.R. Barnes ($105), Cora S. Wilson ($75), Isiah Whitehead ($100), M.G. Garris ($25), and Martha Mitchell ($82.50). [As newspaper notices gave witness, attempts to pay them all back would require the sale at auction of Foster’s personal belongings, such as a 1951 Plymouth, and the house on Vance Street that he and his sister had inherited from their mother.]

Fourth, he designated seven people as trustworthy advisors to his wife — Bing Miller, Charles James, Rev. Farmer, Rev. Watkins, M.R. Zachary and Thomas J. Moore.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 707 Vance Street, Walter Foster, 46, fireman at wagon company; wife Rosa, 34; children Heneretta, 18, Carl [sic, Carter], 6, and Naomi, 4; and sister-in-law Etta Parker, 32, a school teacher.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 808 East Vance Street, teacher Rosa Foster, 42; children Carter, 16, Daily Times newsboy, and Naomi, 14; and two roomers Alice Jones, 36, and Mamie Key, 20, both teachers.

The 1939 Ayantee, yearbook of North Carolina A&T State University.

On 29 December 1939, Carter Washington Foster, 26, of Wilson, and Estelle Duncan, 25, of Maysville, North Carolina, were married in Danville, Virginia. Foster, son of Walter Foster and Rosa Parker, worked as an agriculture teacher at Chatham County Training School and lived in Siler City, and Duncan, daughter of Samuel Duncan and Annie Hicks, lived in Clinton, North Carolina.

In 1940, Carter Washington Foster registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 15 January 1914 in Wilson; resided at 808 East Vance; worked as county farm agent at 559 1/2 East Nash Street; and was married to Estelle Duncan Foster.

This newspaper article about county officials reveals that Foster was paid less than half of his white counterpart’s salary:

Wilson Daily Times, 1 December 1941.

His work, alongside black home demonstration agent Jane Boyd, was recognized, however:

“Wilsonia” column, John G. Thomas, Wilson Daily Times, 24 January 1945.

Carter Washington Foster died 17 February 1955 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 January 1914 in Wilson to Walter Foster and Rosa Parker; was married; resided at 801 East Green; and worked as a county agricultural agent.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 February 1955.

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  • Sadie Collins — Wilson cafe operator Sadie Collins.
  • Helen W. Branford — per the 1953 Raleigh city directory, Helen Wade Branford (1913-1994) was a agricultural extension agent living in Wilson.
  • J.M. Miller Jr. — Wilson elementary school principal John Maxwell Miller Jr. 
  • Isham Bryant — Sampson County native Isham Bryant (1891-1961) was a machinist in Wilson.
  • Leona Hines — Leona T. Hines (1901-1988) of Wilson County and later Lenoir County.
  • Maggie Bryant — Wilson teacher Maggie Walker Bryant (1910-1958).
  • M.R. Zachary — Hertford County native Molton R. Zachary was a classmate of Foster at A&T and was a county farm agent.
  • Mrs. Branford — probably Helen W. Branford above.
  • Percy Williams
  • Mark Sharp — Wilson County farmer Mark B. Sharpe.
  • Joe Hester — Granville County native Joe Hester (1900-1984) was a Wilson County farmer.
  • Frank Murphy
  • W.R. Barnes
  • Cora S. Wilson
  • Isiah Whitehead — Isaiah Whitehead Jr. (1894-1969) was a farmer near Tarboro, Edgecombe County.
  • M.G. Garris
  • Martha Mitchell — probably, Martha Taylor Mitchell (1895-1976) of Wilson.
  • Bing Miller
  • Charles James — undertaker Charles D. James.
  • Rev. Farmer
  • Rev. Watkins — Baptist minister Talmadge Adam Watkins (1915-2002)
  • Thomas J. Moore
  • Jane Boyd — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1111 Washington Street, Walter Thorpe, 63; wife Rebecca, 46; and roomer Jane Boyd, 37, Virginia-born county home demonstration agent.

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

Teacher training at A&T.

From the roster of teachers receiving training listed in the 1922-23 Annual Catalog of the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina —

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  • Lurean Barnes  Lurean Barnes Zachary died 30 April 1963 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 February 1899 in Wilson to Sam Barnes and Ida Hinton; was married to Joe K. Zachary; and worked as a teacher.
  • Mary E. Isler — Mary Isler was the stepdaughter of Owen L.W. Smith. In the 1900 census of Swift Creek township, Pitt County, North Carolina, she is listed as a one month-old in the household of her parents Turney and Cynthia Isler. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County, minister Owen W. Smith, 58, wife Lucy A., 45, son Jessy A. Smith, 27, daughter Carry E. Smith, 10, and step-children John H. Isler, 12, and Mary A. Isler, 10. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 129 Pender Street, Owen L. Smith, 68; wife Cynthia, 55; stepchild Mary E. Isler, 20, a teacher; roomer John H. Isler, 21; Claud L. Burgen, 29, wife Annie L., 24, and son Claud L., Jr., 1; and five roomers, all tobacco factory workers, John Davis, 33, Major Lewis, 25, Edgar Jones, 25, Walter Walker, 25, and Paul Barnes, 21. On 2 June 1922, Mary E. Isler, 22, foster daughter of O.L.W. and Anna A. Smith, married Clarence L. King, 24, of Wayne County, son of James and Sarah King, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of J.D. Reid, C.S. Thomas, and W.T. Darden. By 1940, the Kings were living in the Bronx with daughter Grace, born about 1923. Mary E. King died in New York in April 1981.
  • Fannie F. Ricks — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: railroad track laborer Samuel Ford, 25, wife Mattie, 21, and daughter Fannie, 1. In the 1910 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Wilson Street, railroad foreman Samuel T. Ford, 34; wife Mattie, 30; and children Fannie, 11, Maurice, 9, Willie, 4, and Thomas, 1. On 27 July 1919, Fannie Fort, 21, of Toisnot township, married Wiley Ricks, 21, of Toisnot township. Presbyterian minister A.E. Sephas performed the ceremony in the presence of John Gaston, Saml. T. Ford, and T.H. Nicholson. Fannie Ford Ricks died 9 March 1924 in Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 11 January 1899 in Wilson County to Sam Ford of Halifax County and Mattie Williams of Wilson County. She was married to Wiley Ricks.

A&T trade school students.

From the list of trade school students in the 1922-23 Annual Catalog of the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina —

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  • Thomas Ellis
  • Reddick D. Dew — on 5 June 1917, Reddick David Dew registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card: he was born 11 September 1894 in Lucama, North Carolina; worked “farming and laboring on brick yard” for C.D. Dew and John H. Moore of Lucama; and was single. He signed his card “R.D. Dew.” In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Cornelius D. Dew, 52; wife Cora L., 39; and children Reddick D., 25, Joseph, 19, Martha L., 16, Grady, 15, Orena, 14, Lee C., 10, David H., 5, and Mary N. Dew, 1. In 1942, Redick D. Dew registered for the World War II draft in New York City. Per his draft registration card: he was born 11 September 1894 in Wilson; resided at 2453 7th Avenue, Apartment 24; his contact was Apcillar Dew of the same address; and he worked for Arthur Prazo.
  • Richard O. Edwards

 

Graduates of A&T.

From the “List of Graduates” in the 1922-23 Annual Catalog of the Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina

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  • Roger Edgar Bunn — Bunn (circa 1890-1973) was a native of Goldsboro, but apparently lived in Wilson briefly.

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  • J.W. Curry