Pender Street

118 North Pender Street.

The forty-first in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1940; 2 stories; popular hip-roofed cubic house with bungalow type porch posts; probably built as tenement, which is currently is.”

In the 1930 Wilson, N.C., city directory Ida Whitley, a domestic, and Vernona Whitley, a tobacco worker, are listed at 118 Pender.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 118 Pender Street, widow Ida Whitley, 46, laundress; her children Virginia, 18, and John E. Whitley, 9; and Roland Thompson, 30, a meat market laborer, and wife Mildred, 29.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C. city directory, Frank Woodard is listed at 118 Pender Street.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

108 North Pender Street.

The thirty-fifth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “1925; 2 stories; Camillus L. Darden house; one of the district’s fine Colonial Revival house, with rare original brick veneer, arched floor-to-ceiling windows flanking front door; columned entry porch with roof balustrade; Darden contracted white architect Charles Benton; builder was black brick mason John Barnes [Darden’s brother-in-law]; Darden operated district’s leading mortuary business, established by his father, Charles Darden.”

After the death in 1987 of Camillus Darden’s widow, Norma Duncan Darden, the house passed to the local graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2016.

202 North Pender Street.

The thirty-fourth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.IMG_0609.jpg

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 2 stories; George McDaniel house; triple-A I house is one of two in the district; chamfered porch posts; aluminum sided; McDaniel was a house painter.”

This house appears on the 1908 and 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps as 131 Pender Street. George McDaniel is listed in the 1908 and 1916 city directories at 207 North Spring and 137 Darden alley, respectively. He died in 1917. Thus, if McDaniel ever in fact lived in this house, it was only briefly.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: renting 131 Pender, Annie Edmundson, 25, her children Jones, 16, and Lillian, 14, and roomers J.W. White, 35, and his wife Patsy, 30. [Widow Minnie McDaniel and her family lived two doors down at 137 Pender. This house was at the corner of Pender and Darden Alley and was likely the same as the 137 Darden Alley, above.]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Pender, widow Minnie McDonald [sic], 35, maid; daughter Christine, 21, teacher; Andrew McCullum, 45, tobacco factory packer; Alline Deans, 25, cook; Lucile Williams, 16, nurse; and Thomas Hicks, 29, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 202 Pender, Minnie McDaniel, 55; daughters Christine Smith, 27, teacher, and Erma L. McDaniel, 14; Mozelle Simms, 22, cook; Lizzie Rogers, 20, cook; Eleanor Newkirk, 21, cook; Maggie Foster, 38, “cleans”; Tempie Hicks, 19, “cleans”; and Annie Hines, 50, cook.

Minnie McDaniel died 30 May 1950 at her home at 202 Pender Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 February 1886 in Apex, North Carolina, to Rev. Daniel Hicks and Mary Gilmore and was a widow. Christine Armstrong was informant.

Sanborn fire insurance map (1908).

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

122 North Pender Street.

The thirty-third in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 2 stories; Alice Jones house; locally rare two-thirds I house, with rear ell and added side wing; aluminum sided; Jones was a schoolteacher.”

This house does not appear on the 1908 or 1913 Sanborn fire insurance maps. The house shown as 122 Pender on those maps was across the street, next to Saint John A.M.E. Zion. On the 1922 map, it is labeled under a new number, 119 Pender. That number is now the address of Saint John, and lot once designated #122 is now the site of the Saint John parsonage, 121 North Pender.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1908.

This house, then, was built after 1922, and Alice Helena Albright Jones did not occupy it until after World War II.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: building carpenter David Davis, 47; wife Hepsie, 47; and sons Frank D., 22, tire shop laborer, and Willie T., 19, tobacco factory factory. The family rented the house for $6/month.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Edward Pender, 33; wife Minnie, 26; cook Annie B. Holmes, 39; Walter Johnson, 49, and his wife Winnie, 27. Edward Pender’s occupation was driving a car for Walter Johnson.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C. city directory lists tobacco worker Elijah Ellis at 122 Pender.

Alice Jones died 29 October 1957. Per her death certificate, she was 65 years old; born in Lexington, North Carolina, to John Albridght and Alice Adams; died in a car accident in Durham, North Carolina; was a retired school teacher; and resided at 122 Pender Street. Robert L. Jones, 122 Pender, was informant.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

120 North Pender Street.

The thirty-second in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; John Barnes house; Queen Anne house with high hip-roofed main block and clipped-gable cross wings; wraparound porch; aluminum sided; Barnes was a brick mason.”

In the 1912 Hill’s city directory, John M. Barnes, bricklayer, is listed at 121 Pender Street (across from Saint John A.M.E. Zion.) The 1913 Sanborn map shows that 121 Pender was not the same house as the Queen Anne depicted above. Rather, it was a one-story dwelling on an adjacent lot.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Wilson, N.C. (1913).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 123 Pender Street, Georgia Akin, 45, widow, livery stable manager; brother Alexander Crockett, 47, stable salesman; and roomers John Norfleet, 30, and Mose Parker, 32, both laborers. [Per the 1913 Sanborn insurance map, the lot now occupied by this house was numbered 123, and the house was a simpler and somewhat smaller two-story building. Georgia’s husband John H. Aiken had been a partner with Crockett in Crockett & Aiken, a livery, transfer and house-moving outfit. 123 was a small house next door, to the south, of 120. The Aikens family moved into 120 within a few years of the census.]

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Wilson, N.C. (1922).

In the 1925 Wilson city directory: Georgia Akins, matron, 120 Pender.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 120 Pender, school teacher George C. Akin, 52; stepbrother James Crockett, 60, drayman; and lodgers Rogers Odom, 21, warehouse laborer, and Clarance Pierce, 20, barber.

Georgia Crockett Aikens died 17 August 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 67 years old, born in Wayne County to William Crockett and Rachel Powell, resided at 120 Pender Street in Wilson, and was the widow of John Aikens. Rachel Williams, New York City, was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Philadelphia-born widow Rachel Williams, 44, dress factory presser; club hostess Eleanor Rogers, 22; cook Rosa Mae Rogers, 30; Daniel B[illegible]. 27, attendant to sick invalid; and Prince Cunningham, 38, tobacco factory laborer.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson city directory lists Rachel Williams and Oralee Pender as residents of 120 Pender.

The 1962 Hill’s Wilson city directory lists Rachel C. Williams at 120 North Pender.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

106 North Pender Street.

The twenty-fourth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “1925; 2 stories; L.A. Moore house; hip-roofed cubic house with simple Colonial Revival detail; end chimney with exposed face; aluminum sided; Moore was an insurance agent for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; builder was Short Barnes.”

In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Idea Moore, 67; Samuel, 23, Vinah, 20, Lee, 7, Nellie, 6, and Jane Moore, 1 month; Sidney, 8, Frances, 7, Nancy, 13, and Edmond Moore, 14.

On 23 January 1873, Lawrence Moore, 30, married Vinah Moore, 25, in Wilson County. Minister London Johnson performed the service.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Lawrence Moore, 38; wife Viny, 25; and children Lee, 16, Nellie, 13, Esther and Delah Ann, 10, John, 7, David, 5, and Austin, 2.

On 6 April 1886, Lee Moore, 21, and Louisa Morgan, 18, were married in Black Creek.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: merchant Lee Moore, 36, wife Louisa, 32, and son Ernest, 12.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, house carpenter Lawrence Moore, 70; wife Lavinia, 65; and children Lee, 38, Joe, 36, John, 34, Benjamin, 32, Annie, 30, Ellen, 20, and Nellie, 18.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 646 Nash Street, Leon A. Moore, 57, insurance agent; wife Virginia, 29; stepchildren Westry, 11, Wall C., 10, and Lula Darden, 9; and children Walter L., 5, Ruth, 3, and Xzimena Moore, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Pender Street, insurance agent Lee A. Moore, 59; wife Virginia, 37; and children Walter, 14, Ruth, 13, Simenia, 9, Bernard, 6, and Corteze, 4. The house was valued at $5000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 106 Pender Street, insurance agent L.A. Moore, 70, retired insurance man; wife Virginia, 46, day laborer at tobacco factory; children Xizmenna, 19, E.R., 23, cafe waiter, Bernard, 17, drugstore delivery boy, and Cortez, 13.

Lee A. Moore died 17 February 1948 at Mercy Hospital after a stove explosion in his home. Per his death certificate, he was married to Virginia Moore; resided at 106 Pender Street; was born in Wilson County about 1863 to Lawrence and Vinnie Moore; and worked as an insurance agent. William C. Hines was the certifying physician, and Moore was buried in the Masonic cemetery.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1948.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

 

305 North Pender Street.

The seventeenth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.


As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1908; 1 story; John Blount House; triple-A cottage with bracketed porch posts; Blount was a barber.”

John Blount, 24, married Jane Bryant, 21, on 4 March 1886, at Caroline Vick‘s in Wilson. E.H. Ward, Missionary Baptist minister performed the ceremony in the presence of Vick, Julius Watkins and Bettie Rountree.

In the 1900 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: on William Street, John Blount, 38, and wife Jane, 35.

John Blount is listed in the 1908, 1912 and 1916 Wilson city directories as a barber living at 206 Pender. The 1912 directory lists his work address as 422 East Nash.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hagarty Street [briefly, the name of Pender Street], barber John Blount, 48, wife Mary J., 44, and son Walter, 9.

John Blount died 29 October 1917 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1863 in Greene County to Wright and H. Blunt and worked as a barber. Informant was J.W. Blunt.

In the 1920 Wilson city directory, Jane Blount is listed as a domestic living at 206 Pender Street.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 305 North Pender Street, Julius Parker, 50, coal company laborer; wife Mollie, 42; and children Pearl Mae, 23, and James O., 19.  In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Julius Parker is listed at 305 Pender with wife Mollie. His occupation was driver for Carolina Builders Supply Corp. Son James L. Parker, a student, had a separate listing at 305 Pender. (Julius Parker, 20, son of Jason and Annis Parker, married Mollie Ricks, 18, daughter of A. and Cherry Ricks, in Toisnot township on 25 December 1913. Elder B.W. Tippett, a Freewill Baptist minister, performed the ceremony at Jason Parker’s in the presence of S.S. Strickland, H.F. Boswell and Mc. Whitehead.)

In the 1959 and 1963 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city director Herman W. Edwards was listed as the occupant of 305 North Pender Street. His descendants own and occupy the house today.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

210 North Pender Street.

The twelfth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 1 story; J.D. Reid Tenant House; double-pile, hip-roofed, side-hall cottage with patterned-tin roof and turned-post porch; built by Reid for tenant, including bank clerk Harry Stanback.”

J.D. Reid wore many hats — school principal, banker, hospital administrator, real estate investor. Virginia native Harry Sylvester Stanback arrived in Wilson in the easily 1920s to serve as cashier of the black-owned Commercial Bank. He is shown in the 1925 and 1928 Wilson directories residing at 210 Pender. Two years later, landlord and tenant were convicted of embezzlement, forgery and other bank fraud crimes and sent to the state penitentiary.

Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory for 1930 shows 210 Pender occupied by barber Mack D. Cannon and his wife Bettie, a maid at the “Federal Building.” They were recent arrivals, as the 1930 census of Wilson shows them sharing a duplex nearby at 527 Church Street. 210 Pender is not listed in the directory and may have been vacant.

Mack D. Cannon died 15 December 1938 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 210 Pender; was married to Bettie Cannon; was employed as a barber; was born in Oxford, North Carolina, to Henry Cannon and Mary Dinger; and was buried in Wilson. Marie Mathews was informant.

Bettie Cannon remained in the house until her death in Wilson on 17 February 1963. Per her death certificate, Bettie Elizabeth Cannon was born 1 August 1879 in Brunswick County, Virginia; worked as a laborer at the post office; and was widowed. Lula Sims, of the home, was informant.

[The empty lot at the right of the photo is the former site of the Clinton Bess house at 208 North Pender.]

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, November 2016.

North Carolina Mutual.

This photograph was found at 208 North Pender Street shortly before the house was demolished. The house had been owned by the Clinton and Minnie Lockhart Bess family since the 1920s and was last occupied by their children Ruth Gladys Bess (1912-2003) and Rev. James Clinton Bess (1915-2002).

The photograph, which probably dates from shortly after the turn of the century, depicts four African-American men in suits and six women dressed in nurses’ caps and pinafores. The men at right are John Merrick (1859-1919) and Dr. Aaron M. Moore (1863-1923), who founded North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association (now North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company) in Durham in 1898.

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In John Merrick: A Biographical Sketch, published in 1920, R. McCants Andrews quoted a long-time North Carolina Mutual employee: “The second oldest agent in the service of the company is Mr. L.A. Moore, of Wilson, North Carolina, who is still in the employ of the company.”

Lee A. Moore lived on Pender Street, but not at 208, and it is not clear whether anyone in the Bess family worked for N.C. Mutual. Though the insurance company employed nurses, such as Henrietta R. Colvert, that provided home healthcare, none of the women above has been identified as someone with a direct connection to Wilson. Nor have the men at top left.

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Hill’s Wilson, N.C., Directory (1908-1908).

If you have information about this photograph, please leave a comment.

Many thanks to Edith Jones Garnett for sharing this image.

Central Business District, part 3.

In 1984, a preservation consultant prepared a Nomination Form for recognition as a National Historic District for “Wilson Central Business District – Tobacco Warehouse Historic District,” a thirty-six-block area at “the commercial and industrial heart of Wilson.” This area included the stretch of Nash Street east of the the railroad, Wide Awake’s black business district, and the nomination  form has preserved forgotten details of the architecture and history of these blocks, part of which underwent dramatic, transformative loss a few years after the report was created.

Excerpted below are details of buildings in blocks of Barnes and Pender Streets that lie adjacent to the main corridor of Nash Street, with recent photographs of the buildings described. (The entries are presented as original with minor typographical corrections and just a few fact corrections, noted in brackets.)

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#116. Wilson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, 513 East Barnes Street.

The Wilson Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1872 and had by 1880 erected a small frame church at this site. That congregation, now known as the Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, was a leader in the black community and in 1913 erected their current Romanesque Revival style church nearby at the corner of North Pender and East Nash Streets (#275). In 1915 the old frame church was sold to the Wilson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church. It was replaced in 1958 by this present building, a gable front, three bay by six bay brick structure that contains triangular pointed windows and a crenellated, partially-inset tower, all of which are faintly reminiscent of the Gothic Revival style. The site has played a significant role in the religious life of East Wilson for over one hundred years.

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Wilson Chapel.

#272. Rental house, 121 North Pender Street.

This modest, turn of the century, two bay-by-two bay, frame dwelling is sheltered beneath a hipped roof of standing seam metal that is pierced by a brick chimney. Occupied by black renters since its construction, the house has four-over-four sash windows and a two-bay front porch carried on plain posts. It and a similarly modest dwelling at 123 North Pender Street were acquired in 1976 by the adjacent St. John’s African Methodist Epsicopal Zion Church for future expansion. The house at 123 was razed in November 1983; the church has plans to raze this one also.

Demolished.

#273. St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and Parsonage, 119 North Pender Street.

One of the earliest black congregations in Wilson, the St. John’s African Methodist Epsicopal Zion Church was deeded this property in 1880 by prominent white businessman E.D. Nadal (1843-1896). A frame church of which there is scant information, was erected on the site soon thereafter. This frame church was razed in 1914 to make way for this impressive and imposing Gothic Revival edifice, which was erected in 1915 by talented Wilson brickmason John Barnes, who was a brother-in-law [sic; son-in-law] of Charles H. Darden (1845-1931). Darden was one of the leaders in Wilson’s black community, the first black undertaker in North Carolina, and a member of this congregation. While the architect is unknown, there is no reason to believe that the church may be the work of Charles C. Benton (1887-1960), who designed several buildings for the Darden family. Dominating the large brick church is the three-story square tower which has corner buttresses, Gothic arched windows, projecting stone rainspouts, a louvered and arched belfry with limestone trim, and stone finials, crosses and caps at the top. Molded stone Gothic arches that rest on clustered stone columns are used prominently in the arcade that shelters the recessed entrance on the Pender Street (southeast) facade. The truncated hip roof (slate covered) has prominent gables on the sides, each containing an arched window with a wide, stone surround. Square, one and-a-half story towers with crenellated tops mark the east and west corners; the east tower is augmented by a marvelous octagonal minaret with a bell cast roof. The handsomely finished interior focuses upon the recessed central dome which is carried by arches springing from the four corners of the sanctuary. This dome, like all of this church’s windows, has its original stained art glass windows. The altar in the east corner is flanked on the northwest by the recessed choir and on the northeast by the adjoining church school rooms. A spacious balcony, accessible by stairs in the corner towers, extends across the two street elevations. The interior’s woodwork retains its lustrous dark finish. A modern Sunday School wing was added on the rear in the 1960s. The church was designated by the City Council on February 16, 1981, as a Wilson Historic Property.

The adjacent, two-story, three-bay-by-four-bay brick parsonage, built soon after the church, continues the Gothic character of the church in its Gothic arched and recessed entrance. These arches are framed by wide, bold stuccoed surrounds and rise from round piers. However, the rest of the parsonage is Colonial Revival in style. The parsonage has a low, pyramidal roof supported by shallow brackets beneath the eaves. Nine-over-nine sash windows brick sills and solider course lintels. The recessed porch has two entrances, the southwest one leading to the pastor’s study and the northeast one providing access to the living quarters. The interior is plastered and simply finished.

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Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion and adjacent parsonage.

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The parsonage.

#274. Mount Hebron Masonic Lodge #42, 115-117 North Pender Street.

The Mount Hebron Masonic Lodge #42, the oldest black fraternal organization in Wilson, was chartered on December 15, 1881. G.A. Farmer, Alfred RobinsonI.H. Harris, J.W. Hood and Joseph Hill, all prominent leaders in Wilson’s small, but growing, black community, were the first officers. The craft met in various churches until 1896 when this lot at the corner of North Pender and Smith Streets was purchased from the St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and a small, two-story frame lodge hall was built here. (The impressive 1915 Gothic Revival edifice of St. John’s stands across Smith Street from the lodge.) This building was occupied by the craft for over 40 years until it deteriorated and was replaced in 1947 by the present plainly finished, two-story, two-bay-by-five-bay, concrete block building. It was erected by prominent Wilson bricklayer B. Frank Barnes according to the marble cornerstone; Barnes was a lodge member. The facade contains two (rental) storefronts with recessed central entrances; number 117 has suffered major alterations while the 115 storefront is basically intact. The second story contains paired six-over-six sash windows flanking a central inset marble tablet bearing the masonic emblem. The stepped parapet has tile caps. The side and rear elevations contain an irregular arrangement of doors of small raised windows on the first story and single six-over-six sash windows on the second story. The interior was entirely remodeled in 1960. The lodge rooms are on the second story. The 155 [sic; 115] store was occupied by the Wilson County Negro Library from 1947 until ca 1974, when the library moved to 208 South Pender Street and the name was changed to the East Branch of the Wilson County Library. Since then it has been occupied by the Squire Club (social club) of the lodge. The 117 store was first occupied by lodge member Linwood Moore as a grocery until 1950 and from 1950 until ca 1980 it was operated as the Stop Light Grill by James Morrison, also a lodge member. It is presently vacant. The membership of the Mount Hebron Lodge has included, since its organization, most of the leaders in Wilson’s active black community. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries its members also included all of the members of the Red Hot Hose and Reel Company Volunteer Fire Company, a black fire department which assisted the City of Wilson’s fire department; the company is still in existence, but hasn’t actively fought fires for many years. With a present membership of about 140, the Mount Hebron Lodge is one of the largest and most active black masonic lodges in eastern North Carolina.

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Mount Hebron Lodge.

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#275. Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, 101 North Pender Street.

In 1872, a congregation of black Christians, under the leadership of Rev. Andrew Jackson, established a Missionary Baptist church in Wilson; the present name of the church serves as a memorial to its founder. The congregation first met in a downtown building, but by 1880 had raised enough money to erect a small wooden church at 513 East Barnes Street. The church enjoyed a steady growth and became a strong and influential element in Wilson’s black community, leading to the initiation in 1905 of a drive for a larger sanctuary. In the 1906 of the present lot was deeded to the church by Samuel H. Vick (1861-1946) [sic; 1863-1946], a prominent educator, former postmaster, and a leader of educational, cultural and business causes in the black community of Wilson. The trustees of the Jackson’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church at that time were Parker Battle, George W. Woodard, S.D. Henderson, and Walter Foster, each a prominent citizen of Wilson’s progressive black community. Led by their minister, the Rev. M.A. Tally, and several members who mortgaged their personal property, by 1913 the congregation was able to hold a cornerstone ceremony which Booker T. Washington is said to have attended. In 1915 the original church was sold to Wilson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, who altered the building and eventually replaced it. However, a church continues to exist at the site at 513 East Barnes Street, one block south of this sanctuary.

Erected in 1913 in a boldly Romanesque form (architect and builder unknown) at the corner of East Nash and North Pender Streets, the Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, with its tall, three-story corner belltower, is a visual landmark in East Wilson (the traditional black community), especially when approaching from the east. Constructed of red brick and covered with a hipped roof with wide, open eaves under which is a corbeled and arched cornice panel, the church focuses upon the three-story tower at the south corner (corner of East Nash and North Pender Street). Crowned by a bellcast pyramidal roof with finial and support[ed] by curved brackets, the tower is pierced at all levels by rounded openings, with those on the first floor at Pender Street containing the door. Three smaller ones on the Nash Street side illuminate the interior stairwell. The elongated openings on the third level are subdivided by columns into three round-headed arches and contain the bell. A similar, but shortened, tower is at the west corner. The southeast facade (North Pender Street) contains one large, roundheaded, three-part window flanked on each side by similar, two part windows. The East Nash Street elevation contains two tiers of paired one-over-one windows, each surmounted by a round fanlight; the central window on the first floor has been enlarged to make an entrance and the flanking windows have been bricked in. A rose window occupies the top of the East Nash Street gable.

The handsome interior is plastered and has a sloping floor and curved pews which focus on the recessed chancel in the northeast elevation. The ceiling is a coved cross vault, from a central, ornate metal rosette hand and octagonal lantern. The walls of the chancel area are finished in a pseudo half-timber fashion.  The baptistry is recessed into the upper chancel wall. A U-shaped balcony extends along each side and curves at the rear. It is supported by Tuscan columns and the balcony’s fascia treated like an entablature; a brass railing is on top. The balcony is reached by four separate flights of stairs, one in each of the towers and one at the front of each wing of the balcony. Behind the altar are the choir rooms, the parson’s study and Sunday school rooms. Additional Sunday school rooms and a large meeting room are found in the basement. The Jackson Chapel First Baptist Church was designated a Wilson Historic Property by the City Council on March 21, 1979.

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Jackson Chapel, viewed from Pender Street.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2016.