This house is not within the bounds of East Wilson Historic District. However, the blocks of Mercer Street southwest of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad lines have been an African-American residential area since the early twentieth century.
906 Mercer appears in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance maps of Wilson.
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Outlaw Arthur (c; Mary) fishermn h 906 Mercer
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Oates Henry (c; Minnie) driver Clark Hdw Co Inc h 906 Mercer
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 906 Mercer, rented for $21/month, Henry Oates, 34, hardware store truck driver; wife Minnie L., 26; and children Willie, 9, Albert L., 8, Fredie, 6, and Bubbie, 2.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 906 Mercer, Lettie Smith, 48, widow, works at stemming machine at redrying plant; her children Harvey, 28, gas station attendant, Mary, 15, Herbert, 13, and Elijah and Elisha, 11; and grandson Donald Ray, 8.
The house is listed as vacant in the 1941 city directory, but in the 1947 directory was occupied by tobacco worker Lena Whitley. (Whitley died in 1965 at her home at 918 Mercer. The informant on her death certificate was Eula King, 906 Mercer.)
Documents from the pension application file of Lizzie Woodard, daughter of Union army veteran London Woodard of Wilson County:
On 22 August 1933, Lizzie Woodard of 119 Ashe Street, Wilson, filed a Declaration for Pension for Children Under Sixteen Years of Age, claiming benefits for herself and her sister Mamie Woodard as children of London Woodard. The declaration noted that London Woodard enlisted 10 July 1861 at Wilson, North Carolina, in the “Col. Army.” London was not wounded in service and was discharged 11 November 1865. He died 10 February 1931. Lizzie Woodard was 37 years old; her sister, 35. Their mother, Grace Woodard, had been London’s second wife when they married 30 November 1886. The first, whom he married in 1874, died without issue. Paul Bunch of Black Creek and Martha Allen of Wilson witnessed Lizzie’s signature.
Unfortunately, in January 1934, the Pension Authority summarily rejected the Woodards’ application “on the ground that the children of the alleged soldier were over 16 years of age at the date of his death.”
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.
In 22 November 1877, London Woodard, 30, married Margaret Guest, 24, at RichardHaggans’ house. G.T. Daniel, Ned Barnes and Jim Bynum witnessed.
In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: London Woodard, 34; wife Margaret, 26; and children James G., 9, and Alley, 7. (The children were likely Margaret’s from a previous relationship.)
On 27 November 1895, London Woodard, 47, married Nancy Webb, 23, in Gardners township at the bride’s parents’ home. Adella E. Barnes, Jane R. Farmer and MarthaWoodard witnessed.
In the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, age unknown; wife Nancy, 28; children Lizzie, 3, and Mamie, 1; brother-in-law Joseph Webb, 17, and sister-in-law Rhodie Webb, 13.
In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, 62, divorced.
Nancy, however, did not report their divorce to the enumerator. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Nancy Woodard, 33, widow, and children Lizzie, 14, Mamie, 11, Hubbard, 4, and David, 2. (Apparently, “Hubbard” — in fact, Herbert — and David were not London’s children, as they were not parties to the pension application.)
Though she applied for benefits using her maiden name, Lizzie Woodard, 20, daughter of Lum and Nancy Woodard, married Dock Barnes, 24, son of Rhodes and Frances Barnes, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on 1 November 1913.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, 75, widower.
In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Lipscomb Road, wagon factory laborer James Barnes, 29; wife Lizzie, 23; children Estelle, 11, and Lenard, 5; sister-in-law Mamie Woodard, 21; and boarders John Hollins, 22, Rose Barnes, 18, Pete Barnes, 19, and Tom Outlaw, 21.
Mamie Woodard, 29, married Thomas Outlaw, 29, on 19 November 1929. Witnesses were W.I. Barnes, John A. Barnes Jr., and Elisha L. Webb.
Lizzie Woodard Barnes died 26 November 1959 in Wilson.
Mamie Woodard Outlaw died 28 December 1988 in Beaufort, Washington County, North Carolina.
File #1,734,955, Application of Lizzie Woodard et al. for Children’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.