obituary

The obituary of Lizzie H. Dawson, an esteemed woman.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 January 1937.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, printing office pressman; wife Sarah, 33; children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2; and lodgers Manse Wilson, 36, and Johnnie Lewis, 21, both carpenters.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

Elizabeth Thomas, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Charlie and Sallie Thomas, married Clarence Dawson, 21, of Wilson, son of A.D. and Lucy Dawson, on 20 March 1917 in Wilson. Andrew Pierce applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of John Barbour, A.L. Dawson, and Elton Thomas.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 East Green Street, printing office laborer Charlie Thomas, 65; daughter Elizabeth Dawson, 32; son-in-law Clarence Dawson, 31; and grandchildren Eris Dawson, 11, Naomi, 9, Clarence, 7, and Thomas V. Dawson, 3; and daughters Sarah, 19, theatre ticket seller, and Beatrice Thomas, 17.

Lizzie Dawson died 16 January 1937 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 July 1894 in Wilson to Charly Thomas of Nash County and Sarah Best of Wilson, and was married to Clarence Dawson. Informant was Charly Thomas.

Lane Street Project: Charles S. Thomas.

Charles S. Thomas‘ pale gray, fine-grained grave marker is unique in Odd Fellows cemetery. It faces southwest, and in late afternoon, catching the rays of the setting sun, glows golden. Thomas was a barber and insurance salesman and long-time chorist at Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church. Before mid-century, granite headstones were relatively rare in Wilson’s African-American cemeteries. (Marble was the favored high-end material; concrete, the ordinary.) The machine-cut decorative features — including the harp as a nod to Thomas’ musical legacy — suggest that this was a replacement stone, perhaps an upgrade, set well after Thomas’ death.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2020.

 

The obituary of Samuel H. Vick, postmaster, educator, banker, real estate dealer, theatre owner and businessman.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 July 1946.

Samuel H. Vick‘s grave marker was unearthed last month by Lane Street Project volunteers. Though “Rountree” was already the name used collectively for the three cemeteries at the east end of Lane Street, Vick was in fact buried in Odd Fellows.

The obituary of John R. Reid, house carpenter.

John R. Reid was a descendant of Rhoda Reid, a free woman of color, and her enslaved husband David Reid, who lived in Nahunta township, Wayne County, north of present-day Eureka. As described here, many of the Reids migrated into Wilson around the turn of the twentieth century. Though veterinarian Elijah L. Reid and school principal and banker J.D. Reid were most prominent, the Wilson branch of Reids included several notable carpenters. John Right Reid, born in 1887 to Isaiah and Edith Evans Reid, was one.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1960.

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In the 1900 census of Pikeville township, Wayne County: farmer Isiah Reed, 47; wife Eidie, 34; and children John W[right]., 17, Ida L., 15, Oscar, 8, Bessie J., 5, Waid J., 4, and Parthenie, 2. 

Johnie Reid married Laura Anderson on 17 December 1906 in Wayne County, N.C.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, wagon shop laborer Johnie Reid, 25; wife Laura, 21; and children Louisa, 3, Odell, 2, and George W., 2 months.

In 1918, John Right Read registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 17 October 1884; lived at 105 4th Street, Wilson; worked as a carpenter for Emmett L. Winn, Pine Street, Wilson; and his nearest relative was Laura Reid. He signed his name “John Rite Reid.”

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: in Fourth Street, house carpenter John Reid, 34; wife Laura, 31; and children Odell, 11, John Jr., 8, Augustus, 7, Elton, 6, Eula, 4, Alfonso, 2, and Sammie, 9 months.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 109 Fourth Street, owned and valued at $750, house carpenter John R. Reid, 44; wife Laura, 41; and children Oden, 20, bookstore delivery boy; Johnnie, 19, ready-to-wear delivery boy, Augusta, 17, Elton, 15, Mary, 14, Alfonza, 12, Sam, 11, Christine, 8, Margaret, 5, and William, 3.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 109 Fourth Street, carpenter John R. Reid, 55; wife Laura, 42; and children Gus, 25, tobacco factory laborer, Alfonza, 19, grocery store delivery boy, Christine, 17, Sam, 17, Fobbs’ Grocery delivery boy, Margret, 13, William, 11, and Edgar, 9. 

In 1940, Addison Odel Reid registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 October 1910 in Wayne County; lived at 1104 East Nash Street, Wilson; his contact was father John R. Reid, 109 4th Street; and he worked for Bissette’s Drug Store. He signed his name “Adderson Odel Reid.”

Odell Reid died 1 April 1944 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 35 years old; lived at 205 South Reid Street; was a widower; was born in Wayne County to John R. Reid of Wayne County and Laura Anderson of Wilson County; and worked as a defense laborer. John R. Reid was informant.

Lane Street Project: Annie Washington Vick.

We were exulting over the discovery of Samuel H. Vick‘s headstone when we stumbled upon the vault cover for his wife, Annie Washington Vick.

Though her obituary states that she was buried in Rountree cemetery, Vick actually was interred in Odd Fellows cemetery.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 August 1952.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2020.

The obituary of Noah Best, well-known brick layer.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 January 1929.

Noah Best was a member of the extended family who owned most of the land in the community known as Grabneck.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Daniel Best, 62; wife Jane, 50; children Laura, 19, Nicy, 17, Noah, 16, and Orange, 21, and [Orren’s wife] Hancy, 21.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: hireling Daniel Best, 72, and wife Jane, 55, living amid a cluster of household that included farmer Orren Best, 31, wife Hansey, 31, and children James, 9, Oscar, 6, George, 4, Fannie, 2, and Hattie, 3 months; hireling Lewis Best, 53, wife Harriette, 50, and children Daniel, 23, Sarah, 12, John, 8, and Willie, 10; and brickmason Noah Best, 27, wife Sarah, 25, and sons William, 2, and Thomas, 4 months.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Noah Bess, 45, brickmason; wife Sarah, 45; and children Henry, 22, brickmason, Morris, 20, day laborer, Wilson, 17, Clinton, 15, Frank, 11, Thad, 8, Noah, 6, Alis, 5, Lorra, 3, and Hillard, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Road, bricklayer Noah Best, 52, widower; son Clinton, 24, bricklayer; daughter-in-law Minnie, 21, seamstress; son William, 19, bricklayer; and daughters Alice, 15, and Laura, 13.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, laborer Frank Mitchell, 27; wife Alice, 23; daughter Nora A., 1; and boarder Noah Bess, 63, widower.

Noah Best died 29 January 1929 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 62 years old; was born in Greene County to Daniel Best; and lived near Grabneck. Informant was Clinton Best.

Noah Best drafted a will on 9 January 1924, leaving bequests to his children Laura Best [Boddie], Morris Best, Clinton Best, Alice Best Mitchell, William Best, Wilson Best, and Henry Best. (On 8 July 1927, Best signed a codicil modifying the second provision slightly, leaving his house on Griffin Street to both daughters.)

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

The death of Lucy Dawson, erudite and affable.

Death of Mrs. A.D. Dawson.

“A star has gone down

To rise upon some fairer shore;

An ardent toiler has fallen asleep,

A faithful pilgrim has reached home.”

Mrs. Lucy A. Dawson, wife of Mr. A.D. Dawson of Wilson, N.C., went to sleep Sunday evening, May 20, just after the sun had gone down behind the western hills and all was quiet and still. So peaceful was her death that those watching by her bedside scarcely knew the end had come.

Mrs. Dawson was a true Christian, a loving wife and a devoted mother. Mrs. Dawson had lived in Wilson more then 40 years and the friendships she formed are too numerous to mention. Mrs. Dawson was erudite, affable and kind and her removal from our midst “to join the innumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm” has made a wound in our community which only the lapse of time can heal. Mrs. Dawson was a lady of the highest type, having in her life indelible stamp of the Christ-life and during her life she placed before us a standard of Christian living worthy of our emulation; and now that her life’s work is ended we rejoice in the thought that “having fought the good fight and kept the faith” she has received the “crown of life that fadeth not away.”

Mrs. Dawson leaves to mourn her loss nine children, a father, husband, two sisters, three brothers and a host of friends. All the children were present at her bedside. Miss Mattie Dawson, a teacher in Selden institute, Brunswick, Ga., and Miss Lucile Dawson, of Emerson institute, Blackville, S.C., reached home just before the end came. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. H.B. Taylor and Rev. C. Dillard of Goldsboro, N.C., at Calvary Presbyterian church, Tuesday afternoon, May 22. The Household of Ruth ceremony was conducted by Mrs. Mattie Dortch of Goldsboro, N.C., district most noble governor. In expression of high respect many floral offerings were received, among them a wheel with a broken spoke by the family, a crescent by Calvary Presbyterian church, a pillow by Household of Ruth, a cross by A.M.E. Zion church and a wreath of carnations from Prof. and Mrs. S.H. Vick and other beautiful designed from her many friends.

“There are no dead.

The stars go down

To rise upon some fairer shore;

And bright in Heavn’s jeweled crown

They shine forevermore.” 

Joseph H. Foy, Wilson Daily Times, 13 June 1917.

  • Lucy A. Dawson —

In the 1870 census of Swift Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Joseph Hill, 31; wife Sallie, 30; [mother?] Lucie, 76; and children Lucie, 17, Josephine, 14, Mason, 9, Sarah, 7, Sherman, 4, and Jacob, 3.

On 8 April 1875, Lucy A. Hill, 17, married James Gatlin, 26, in Edgecombe County.

On 1 November 1882, A.D. Dawson, 25, of Wilson, son of Robert and Rachel Dawson, married Lucy Gatlin, 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Joseph and Sally Hill, at Gatlin’s residence in Wilson County. Methodist minister P.M. Hilliard performed the ceremony in the presence of Sam Collins, Lewis Battle and Martha Tyson.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: dealer in fish Edd [Alexander D.] Dawson, 40; wife Lucy, 40, dressmaking; and children Mattie, 14, Virginia, 9, Lucy, 8, Edd, 5, Clarence, 3, and Augusta, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: restaurant cook Alexander Dawson, 50; wife Lucy, 49; and children Sophie,  25, school teacher, Mattie, 23, stenographer, Virginia, 19, school teacher, Lucile, 17, Alexander, 15, Clarence, 13, Augusta, 11, and Arlander, 1. 

Lucy Annie Dawson died 20 May 1917 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 October 1860 to Joseph Hill of Virginia and Sally Slaughter of Virginia [but residents of Edgecombe County, N.C.], was married, and was engaged in dressmaking. Sophia Dawson was informant.

  • A.D. Dawson —

Possibly, in the 1870 census of Snow Hill township, Greene County: Robert Dawson, 30; wife Cherry, 25, and son Elice, 5.

In the 1908 Dawson Alex D (c) fish City Market h 505 E Vance. In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson city directory, these Dawsons were listed as residents of 505 E Vance: Alex D. (eating house 215 S Goldsboro); Alex D., Jr. (barber); Clarence C. (clerk); Lucille P. (music teacher); Mattie H. (stenographer), Sophie L. (teacher); and Virginia S. (teacher.)

  • Mattie Dawson
  • Selden Institute — An historical marker in Brunswick, Georgia’s Selden Park reads: “Selden Normal & Industrial Institute. Established 1903. Operated by Negro citizens of Brunswick and Miss Carrie E. Bemus, high school courses in teacher training, practical and industrial arts. Site purchased by industrialist E. P. Selden and Dr. Charles Selden, a Christian missionary to China, named Selden in honor of Dr. Charles Selden. Later taken over by board of general missions, Presbyterian Church North, and became a Presbyterian school. Three principals served: Miss Carrie E. Bemus, Rev. H.A. Bleach, and Rev. S.Q. Mitchell. Consolidated with Gillespie Institute, Cordele, Ga., 1933. Presented by Selden Alumni and Former Students. Original Board of Directors Rev. S.G. Dent, Sr., Chas. A. Shaw, Alex Atkinson, Rev. John Williams, Mrs. Ellen Buggs. Glynn County Commissioners R.L. Holtzendorf, Chairman, John E. Taylor, R.E. Owens, Gerald Edwards, Roy J. Boyd.”
  • Lucile Dawson — On 10 December 1919, Simon Frazier, 24, of Georgia, married Lucille P. Dawson, 24, of Wilson, in Wilson. In the 1920 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: medical doctor Simon F. Frazier, 30; wife Lucile, 24; and lodger Martha Daniels, 39, public school teacher. In the 1930 census of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia: at 222 East Park Avenue, physician Simon F. Frazier, 40; wife Lucille P., 33; and children Muriel E., 9, Ouida, 6, and Wahwee A., 3 months.
  • Emerson Institute
  • Rev. C. Dillard — Clarence Dillard.
  • Rev. H.B. Taylor — Halley B. Taylor.
  • Mrs. Mattie Dortch
  • Prof. and Mrs. S.H. Vick — Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick.
  • Joseph H. Foy 

Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III and Sue Powell for details of the clipping.

The obituary of John W. Jeffries (or Jefferson), member of the Red Hots.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 June 1938.

The “local negro fire company” was, of course, the Red Hots.

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On 20 November 1887, John W. Jefferson, 36, of Wilson County, son of Jack Jefferson, married Lizzie D. Dotson (or Doster) at “the rectory at St. Timothys church.” Episcopal priest B.S. Bronson performed the ceremony.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer John Jefferson, 52, widower.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jeffreys John V (c) lab h 708 S Spring

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 360 Spring Street, odd jobs laborer John Jeffries, 60, and wife Maggie, 30.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson John (c) lab h 708 S Spring

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Spring, house carper John Jefferson, 68, and wife Maggie, 31.

In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson John (c) lab h 607 S Spring

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson John (c) carp h 521 Spring

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jeffreys Jno W (c) carp h 521 Spring

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jeffries John W (c) carp h 521 Spring

John Wesley Jeffrey died 27 June 1938 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 May 1849 in Harnett County, N.C.; lived at 307 Spruce Street, Wilson; was divorced from Maggie Wilson; and was a laborer.

The obituary of Braswell R. Winstead, esteemed teacher.

Samuel H. Vick penned this memorial to his friend Braswell R. Winstead, his schoolmate at Wilson Academy and Lincoln University, his assistant postmaster, his fellow teacher and Mason, and his co-founder of Calvary Presbyterian.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 August 1928.

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Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for sharing the clipping.