obituary

The obituary of Johnsie P. Hardy, age 99.

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Johnsie P. Hardy, 6 October 1918-20 June 2018.

“Mrs. Johnsie Pauline Hardy, age 99 of Wilson, died Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at her residence. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm at Brown Chapel FWB Church, 507 Hadley Street in Wilson, NC with Bishop Willie Thomas officiating. Burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery. Public viewing will be on Friday, June 29, 2018 from 3-7 p.m. at Edwards Funeral Home Chapel.

“Celebrating her memory are her loving and devoted family: George L. Hardy [Louise], Christine D. Deans [Larry], Faye D. Hardy, Vernon T. Hardy, Vicky L. Saunders [James], Gwendolyn Paulette Howard, Patricia A. Jones [Mark] and Bruce Hardy [Joyce]; two daughters-in law, Betty Hardy and Joan Hardy; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

“The family will assemble at her residence on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 12 noon for the procession to the church. Direct condolences to edwardscares.com. Professional and personal services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home, Inc., 805 Nash Street East in Wilson, NC 27893.”

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In the 1920 census of Coleridge township, Randolph County: farmer James M. Cheek, 34; wife Donna, 36; and children Georgeanna, 9, Sarah B., 7, James H., 6, Thomas L., 4, Walter L., 2, and Jonsie P., 1.

In the 1930 census of Coleridge township, Randolph County: farmer J. Manley Cheek, 44; wife Donna, 46; and children Georgiana, 19,  Beatrice, 18, James H., 16, Thomas L., 14, Walter L., 13, Johnsie P., 11, Callie V., 9, Mahalah, 8, Celia M., 6, Gerladine, 4, Sylvinia, 2, and Margaret, 2 months.

On 1 October 1938, Pauline Cheek married Lawrence Hardy in Randolph County, North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 209 Warren Street, rented for $7/month, Edna Hardy, 54; daughters Dina Mae, 18, and Nancy, 13; granddaughter Margaret, 1; son Lawrence, 23, bakery shop deliveryman; and Randolph County-born daughter-in-law Pauline, 21, cook.

In 1940, Lawrence Barnett Hardy registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 28 April 1916 in Pitt County, North Carolina; resided at 409 South Warren; was married to Mrs. Johnson Pauline Hardy; and worked for Imperial Tobacco Company, corner of Lodge and Barnes Streets, Wilson.

The obituary of Edgar Williams.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 January 1949.

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In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Williams Edgar (c) lab h 213 Spruce; Williams Jane (c) lab h 213 Spruce

In 1917, Edgar Williams registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 January 1896 in Mount Olive, N.C.; lived at 213 Spruce, Wilson; and worked as a laborer for Wilson Country Club.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 213 Spruce, Jane Williams, 46, and son Edgar, 24, both tobacco factory workers.

On 16 December 1920, Edgar Williams, 24, of Wilson County, son of Jane Williams, married Anna McKoy, 22, of Wilson County. Rev. A.L.E. Weeks performed the ceremony in the presence of F.F. Battle and Annie Weeks of Wilson and Almer Pouncey of Bennettsville, South Carolina.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 511 South Mercer Street, rented at $8/hour, Echo Williams, 33, office boy for “Empriel Tobacco Fac.”; wife Anna, 28; and lodger Ora Sanders, 26.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 South Mercer Street, rented for $6/month, Edgar Williams, 44, redrying plant office janitor, and wife Anna, 39, redrying plant “hang.”

Edgar Williams died 18 January 1949 at his home at 511 Mercer Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 June 1896 in Wilson to Jane Spells; was a widower; worked as a tobacco factory day laborer; and was buried at Rountree cemetery. Inez Watson, 113 Pender Street, was informant.

The obituary of Fletcher F. Pierce.

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Philadelphia Daily News, 22 February 2002.

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Fletcher Forest Pierce was born 5 May 1912 in Wilson to Nazareth Pierce and Ella Armstrong Pierce.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 806 Vance Street, Export Tobacco laborer Nazareth Pierce, 42; wife Ella, 43; children Eugene S., 18, Almira, 16, Leroy J., 14, Louie, 10, and Fletcher, 7; and mother-in-law Luvicy Armstrong, 65.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, insurance agent Nazareth Pierce, 54; wife Ada, seamstress; son Fletcher, 17, and daughter Elmira, 25.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 905 Vance Street, Milton Fisher, 32, teacher; wife Elmira, 28, teacher; and brother-in-law Fletcher Pierce, 26, insurance salesman.

In 1940, Fletcher Forest Pierce registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his draft registration card, he was born 5 May 1912 in Wilson; lived at 905 East Vance; his contact was father Nazerth Pierce, 415 East Green; and he worked for Winston Mutual Life Insurance, 656 East Nash Street, Wilson.

On 12 June 1943, Fletcher Forest Pierce, 31, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of N.A. and Ella Pierce, married Lucile Helen Russell, 30, of Charlotte, daughter of L.M. and Irene Russell, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 1950, Fletcher F. Pierce filed for World War II compensation.

Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The obituary of Charles Oats.

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Wilson Daily Times, 16 July 1941.

Incredibly, the grave markers of Charles Oats and his wife Emma Oats are among the few that remain at Rountree cemetery. Oats was an employee of C.H. Darden and Sons Funeral Home.

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In the 1870 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Albert Oates, 40; wife Elizabeth, 30; and children Ferrebee, 10, and Charly, 3.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: Albert Oates, 51; wife Bettie, 34; and children Charles, 13, Turner, 11, Adam, 9, and Willie, 3.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Charles Oates, 34; wife Emma, 30; and children Willie, 11, Fannie, 9, Annie, 8, Effie, 5, and Queen Elsie, 4.

On 9 August 1916, Charles Oats, 53, applied for a license to marry Lou Woodard, 48. It was never returned for registration.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on 119 Ash Street, laborer Charlie Oats, 52; wife Lilla, 42; and step-children Lizzie, 24, and Elmira Woodard, 15.

On 6 December 1920, Fannie McCullers died in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 32 years old; married to Andrew McCullers; lived on Ash Street; and was born in Wilson County to Charley Oates of Edgecombe County and Emma Williams of Wilson County.

On 3 February 1921, Matthew Smith of Greene County married Annie Edmundson, 30, of Wilson, daughter of Charles and Emma Oats. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of James Debury, Charles Thomas and Richard Green.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Stantonsburg, rented for $24/month, Charlie Oats, 67, undertaking establishment laborer; wife Emma, 53; daughter Almira, 25; and mother Betsie, 92.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Jeff Benjamin, 41, bricklayer; wife Marie, 26, tobacco factory laborer; and lodger Charlie Oats, 75, widower, undertaker shop laborer.

Charles Oats died 13 July 1941 at his home at 112 South Vick Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 September 1873 in Edgecombe County to Albert Oats and Bessie Mercer; was widowed; and was an undertakers assistant.

Sarah Artist Battle of Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Indianapolis Recorder, 1 October 1938.

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In the 1880 census of Greencastle township, Putnam County, Indiana: farmhand Jonathan Artis, 47; wife Margret, 39; and children Evert, 19, Gray, 16, Sarah, 14, Tamer, 12, Minnie, 10, Rose, 8, John, 6, Jonathan, 4, and Willie, 2.

In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2419 North Oxford, Margaret Artist, 57, and children John, 24, day laborer, Jonathan, 22, grocery deliveryman, Willie, 22, railroad section laborer, and Sarrah, 34.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: Margaret Artist, 67, with family members John, 30, Emma, 34, and Damon Artis, 8; Ralph, 13, and Mona McWilliams, 8; and Rose, 29, and Sarah Artist, 40.

In the 1930 census of Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana: in a house owned and valued at $300, Anthony Battle, 70, farmer, and wife Sarah, 70, both of North Carolina.

Sarah Artist Battle died 27 September 1938 in Evansville, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was about 72 years old; was born in North Carolina to Jonathan Artist and Margaret Woodard; was married; and resided in Greencastle, Indiana.

The obituary of Charles Diggs.

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 2 May 1919.

Charles Diggs left Wilson County shortly after Emancipation, and I have found no record of him there. He is remarkably elusive in federal census records as well, but newspaper clippings and other records offer glimpses of his family and the rich life he led in Brooklyn, New York. (Why was he called “Colonel,” though? Was he a veteran of the United States Colored Troops?0

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On 25 April 1872, in Brooklyn, New York, Charles Diggs, 25, of Wadesborough, Virginia [sic], son of James Diggs and Lydia Harris, married Carter Corlea Jones, 25, of Lynchburgh, Virginia, daughter of Riley Carter and Polly Reed.

In the 1874 Brooklyn, N.Y., city directory: Diggs Charles well sinker 1191 Atlantic av

A female child was born 14 October 1874 in Brooklyn to Charles Diggs and Carter Carlea Jones.

A male child was born 4 April 1878 in Brooklyn to Charles Diggs and Carter Jones.

Florence R. Diggs was born 20 October 1878 in Brooklyn to Charles Diggs and Carter C. Jones.

A male child was born 2 December 1880 in Brooklyn to Charles Diggs and Carter C. Jones.

In the 1889 Brooklyn, N.Y., city directory: Diggs Charles welldriver 289 Franklin av

Carter Diggs died 25 March 1890 in Brooklyn, New York. Per her death certificate, she was 46 years old, was born in Virginia, and was married.

In 1890, Diggs was initiated into the Brooklyn Literary Union, organized in 1886, and where he would rub elbows with journalist T. Thomas Fortune:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 8 May 1890.

In the 1892 state census of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York: Chas. Diggs, 45, well digger, and children Rosa, 19, [illegible], 15, Horace, 10, and Florence, 12.

In the 1895 Brooklyn, N.Y., city directory: Diggs Chas welldigger 485 Waverly av

Horace L. Diggs, age 16, died 9 June 1898 in New York, New York.

A 1901 article noted that Diggs was one of a few Brooklyn residents to have been born into slavery:

From “Brooklyn’s Colored Population: It Is Believed to Number Eighteen Thousand — Progress in Prosperity and In Intellectual Advancement — Paying Taxes on Property Amounting to About One Million Dollars. The Brooklyn Citizen, 8 December 1901.

In the 1905 state census of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York: at 111 DeKalb Avenue, Louis Paultry, 42, laborer; wife Harriett Paultry, 38; well digger Charles Diggs, 59; porter James Teamer, 32; stable man Edward Scoot, 46; and laborer John Harry, 27.

“Colonel” Charles Diggs helped plan the Garnet Republican Club’s Lincoln Dinner in February 1908. During the event, he delivered a speech on “Organization and Unity.”

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 13 February 1908.

Diggs helped plan the Garnet Republican Club’s observance of the 100th anniversary:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 28 November 1908.

In 1911, the Society of the Sons of North Carolina, to which Diggs belonged, planned a “monster mass meeting” and published an appeal for support of its efforts to address “the condition of immorality existing among the young girls of our race in certain sections ….”

New York Age, 6 July 1911.

Of more personal concern, in late 1911, widow Rosa Hardnut signaled her intent to sue Bristol Meyers Chemical Company, where her husband was buried alive while working on a dig for Charles Diggs.

Brooklyn Daily Times, 9 December 1911.

Charles Diggs died 29 April 1919 in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. Per his death certificate, he was born 1848 to James and Lydia Diggs; was a well digger; was a widower; and was buried in Mount Olivet cemetery.

Florence Varner died 28 April 1928 in Manhattan. Per her death certificate, she was 61 years old; was widowed; was born in 1886 in New York City to Charles Diggs of North Carolina and Carter Jones of North Carolina.

Mae Wilson died 23 July 1941 in the Bronx. Per her death certificate, she was 42 years old; was widowed; and was born 24 October 1880 to Charles Diggs of North Carolina and Carter Jones.

[What was the Society of the Sons of North Carolina?

The Bystander (Des Moines, Iowa), 26 May 1911.

The obituary of Esther Brown Goodwin.

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Arizona Daily Star, 31 July 1984.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 419 Hines Street, Lewis Townsend, 62; wife Henrietta, 60; daughter Alzie, 22; and daughter Geneva Brown, 24; son-in-law George Brown, 26; and grandchildren Ester, George Jr., and Martha.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 508 South Spring, pressing club operator George Porter, 34, divorced; Jeneva Brown, 30, divorced,  housekeeping servant, and her children Brown, 15, Esther, 13, Martha, 12, and Olive, 9; and George M. Porter, 4.

George Brown died 1 October 1947 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 53 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Sam and Martha Brown; was married; lived at 911 Robeson Street; worked as an auto mechanic; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Mrs. Esther Goodwin, 408 East Hines Street.

In June 1955, the Goodwin family flew from Frankfurt, Germany, to New York after Capt. Felix Goodwin completed a tour of duty.

New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com.

The obituary of Lena Mitchell Kent, 104.

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Lena Mitchell Kent, 104, of Wilson, died Tuesday, July 30, 2019. Funeral will be 1 p.m. Friday at Mount Zion Progressive Primitive Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Hamilton Burial Gardens. Visitation will be 7 p.m. Thursday at Carrons Funeral Home. Arrangements are by Carrons Funeral Home.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 July 2019.

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On 15 December 1888, Laurence Mitchel, 21, of Cross Roads township, son of Primus Mitchel, married Ester Darden, 18, of Cross Roads township, daughter of Martin and Jane Darden, at Primus Mitchel’s in Cross Roads.

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Laurence Michel, 29; wife Easter, 24; and children Alonza, 8, Nettie, 6, Eddie, 4, and Babe, 1.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Lawrence Mitchell, 40; wife Easter, 36; and children Alonzo, 19, Nellie, 17, Eddie, 13, Jesse, 11, Bettie, 7, Coy S., 5, Mattie, 3, and an infant, 11 months.

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Mitchell, 30; wife Louisa, 30; and children Altie, 29, Bettie, 17, Colasta, 14, Mattie, 12, Wiley, 9, Cleveland, 6, and Lena, 4.

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Mitchel, 57; wife Louisa, 45; and children Cleveland, 17, Lena, 15, and Easter, 16.

On 9 October 1937, in Smithfield, Johnston County, Joseph Kent, 25, of Lucama, son of Joseph Kent and Minnie Kent, married Lena Mitchell, 22, of Lucama, daughter of Lawrence Mitchell and Easter Mitchell.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Joe Kent, 27, and wife Lena, 24.

In 1940, Joe Kent Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 October 1912 in Wilson; lived at R.F.D. #1, Lucama; was married to Lena Kent, wife; and worked for T.R. Smith, Lucama.

Caesar Parker of Keo, Arkansas.

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Undated issue of the Arkansas Gazette.

OLD DARKIE PASSES ON TO REWARD LEAVING MANY GOOD EXAMPLES FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW

By Robert Sakon

In the early hours of the morning of June 27, 1940, Caeser Parker, colored, passed away. His passing was indeed marked by the stillness of the morning as he had lived his life, quiet and peaceful. Caeser Parker was born in Wilson, North Carolina in the year 1861 and moved to Arkansas in the year 1890. During this time he had resided in and around England and Keo. Coming to Lonoke county as a young man Caeser Parker, with his wife, began his lifelong work farming, producing from the earth that which all of us must depend upon. During this time he raised his family of three boys and five girls, which still survive. In the year of 1924 in the month of March, his wife died. It was a severe blow to lose his mate of forty years. So well was his family thought of that at the funeral of his wife the Colored Baptist church at Keo could not hold the ones who came to pay their respects. In the year 1926, Caesar remarried, still determined to continue his life farming, living among those who knew him best. He joined the Baptist church at Keo in 1892 and was a deacon for 44 years, the oldest deacon in that church in the point of service. At the time of his death he was living on the farm he bought from Mr. Jimmy Cobb 25 years ago. This forty acre farm was his pride and joy.

Surviving are two sons, Will and R.D. Parker of Keo; three daughters, Lula of Little Rock, Etta of Tucker and Mary Armstrong of Los Angeles, Calif. His funeral was held on the evening of June 30, at the colored Baptist church of Keo where every seat and available space was filled with those who came to pay their respects to this well known and beloved colored person. Among the many white people to attend were Mr. and Mrs. M. Adler, Mrs. A. Lindenburg and Robert Sakon of England, and many from Keo and surrounding territory. The pastor of the church called upon the writer to say a few words. Robert Sakon said: “We enter this world without our consent; we leave against our wishes, yet, if each and every one of us can live the life of the deceased then we can proudly have no fear of the hereafter. A better colored person never lived than Caeser Parker; he always was a person that was well loved by both the white and the colored. He has built a place in the hearts of all of us who knew him that can never be replaced. Caeser Parker added much to the prestige of the colored race; he lived a life that was without blemish his record was clean he was not as well known as the great Booker T. Washington, the colored educator, or as powerful with his fists as Joe Louis, but to us who knew him he was a champion in every way. everyone whether he be white or colored can proudly point to in his record of 79 years never once being in trouble of any kind. His death is a great loss to the colored people, but is a goal that to live like him is to have the respect, the best interest, the betterment of their race because of the respect of the white people and the colored. W.M. Wilson said that in the passing of Caeser Parker one of the best beloved darkies of our time has passed beyond. Caeser Parker was always trying to help, always taking pleasure in aiding the American Red Cross with his bit, always trying to build up goodwill for those of his race, in life, as in death, kind, gracious and peaceful.

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Caesar Parker (1861-1940).

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: John Parker, 50; wife Piety, 40; and children Esther, 20, Sarah, 18,  Green, 16, and Ceasar, 8; [and grandchildren] John, 3, and Lucy, Fannie and Rose, 8 months. [No cohabitation record exists for John and Piety Parker in either Wilson or Pitt Counties. Assuming Caesar Parker’s birthplace is correct in his obituary,  it is not clear if the family was originally from Wilson and moved to Pitt, or were Pitt County natives who lived briefly in Wilson.]

In the 1880 census of Falkland township, Pitt County: John Parker, 60; wife Pietty, 50; children Esther, 33, Greene, 25, and Ceasur, 18; and grandchildren John, 11, Lucy and Fanny, 9, Henry, 5, and Sarah, 4.

On 26 January 1882, Caesar Parker, 21, son of John and Pristy Parker, married Judy Newton, 20, daughter of Abel and Mary Newton, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

In the 1900 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Ceaza Parker, 39; wife Juda, 42; and children Mattie, 16, Ned, 14, Daniel, 12, Louvenia, 18, Herbert, 4, Piety, 4, and Mary A., 1. Next door: Bud Fobes, 27; wife Esther, 23; and sons Artha, 1, and an unnamed newborn; plus boarder Piety Parker, 80. All over age 4 were born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on Witherspoon Road, farmer Caesar Parker, 49; wife Judah, 47; children Louvenia, 17, Hubbard, 15, Piety, 13, and Mary A., 11; and Frank Dancy, 10

In the 1920 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on Keo Road, Caesar Parker, 60; wife Judie, 62; daughters Piety, 23, and Mary A., 20; and granddaughter Emma, 5.

In the 1930 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Ceasar Parker, 69; wife Annie, 56; grandchildren Emma Parker, 16, Herbert Moore, 9, and Lottie Greene, 6; and stepsons Leroy Newsom, 19, Willie Newsum, 18, and Elihue Austin, 16.

In the 1940 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: on “unimproved dirt road running west into Keo Road,” in a house owned and valued at $200, farmer Caesar Parker, 79; wife Annie, 68; daughter Prince Brockman, 40; her children Cumy, 16, Elvira, 16, Mary, 14, Andrew, 12, Willie, 8, and Almary, 6; and granddaughter Lottie Parker, 16.

Caesar Parker died 27 June 1940 in Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas. Per his death certificate, he was 80 years old; the son of John Parker and Piti Etta of North Carolina; was married to Annie Parker, 66; and worked as a farmer.

Images courtesy of Ancestry.com user Joanetta Counce.

Studio shots, no. 115: Charles Eugene Freeman.

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Charles Eugene Freeman (1926-1960), probably in the 1940s. 

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In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Washington Street, owned and valued at $3000, brickmason Julious F. Freman, 42; wife Hattie [Pattie], 31; and children Julious, 10, Doloris, 9, Robert P. and Richard P., 8, John C., 6, Charles E., 4, Patricia E., 3, Mary E., 1, and Rubey, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1114 Washington Street, owned and valued at $3000, brick mason Julius Freeman, 52; wife Pattie, 40; and children Julius L., 20, Doris, 19, Robert and Richard, 18, John, 16, Charles, 14, Eunice, 12, Mary, 11, Ruby, 10, Tom, 9, Dan, 8, Lillian, 6, and Henry, 2.

Charles Eugene Freeman registered for the World War II draft in 1944:

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On 20 April 1944, Charles Freeman, 18, son of Julius and Pattie Hagans Freeman, married Carrie Lee Hardy, 15, daughter of Cornelius and Carrie Hardy, in Wilson.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 March 1960.

As a World War II veteran, Charles E. Freeman received a military headstone. His mother, Pattie H. Freeman, submitted the application for the marker.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user Delwyn Eugene Caniglia; Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.