This is the petition delivered to city officials by Lane Street Project representatives during the 21 September 2023 City Council meeting. Since then, Mayor Carlton Stevens has reached out to one of the signatories to request a meeting. Details have not been confirmed, but we are hopeful.
Petition of Dr. Anderson’s and List of Signers Asking for Water and Sewer to be in Every Home.
To the Honorable, the Board of Aldermen of the Town of Wilson:
We, the undersigned citizens of the town of Wilson, respectfully petition your honorable Board:
1st. That the town of Wilson put water and sewer in every house in the town; because, it is the safest and best sanitary measure known at this time; and we want nothing but the best.
2nd. It is the only plan whereby the town will receive immediate return from water rent to pay all interest on the debt and ultimately the debt.
3rd. That the town buy material and install at cost, the consumer to pay cash when installation is complete, as is now being done in the case of gas.
4th. We protest against in surface closets because they do not give protection to the people, with open wells, all, or nearly all of which have been found to be polluted. It is a mere makeshift and will prove in the end a very expensive proposition. It will costs between Six and Seven Thousand Dollars to install them and Four Thousand Dollars per year to keep them up. This is more than enough to pay interest on sufficient bonds to put in water and sewer.
5th. It will cost approximately $75,000.00 to put it in 1300 closets; interest on that amount at 5 per cent is $3750. The water rent will be $13,000.00. Deduct from this the interest and we have $9250.00 left each year to pay for the upkeep and the other expenses of the plant and to pay on the debt.
6th. These people referred to below pay taxes but have not the fire protection to which they are entitled.
The following are signators:
… F.S. Hargrave, Dr. M.S. Gilliam, L.A. Moore, Dr. W.A. Mitchener, C.L. Darden, Jno. H. Clark, Chas. T. Jones, Jno. M. Barnes, A.N. Darden, J.F. Barnes, H.H. Barnes, J.W. Rodgers, D.C. Yancey, G.H. Edmundson, L.V. Arrington, Rev. H.B. Taylor, Chas. S. Thomas, W.P. Evans, B.R. Winstead, M.D. Cameron, W.H. Phillips, G.L. Brooks, W.H. Kittrell, C.A. Crawford, Rev. B.P. Coward, Dr. E.L. Reid, Richmond Pender, G.W. Joyner, J.Z. Staton, W. Pitts, Jno. Cherry, J.J. Langley, W.S. Langley, H.G. Staton, E.S. Hargrave, Jas. Thomas, L.H. Peacock, J.T. Teachie, J.D. Reid, Henry Tart, S.H. Vick, Ernest Winn.
Wilson Daily Times, 27 March 1917.
Transcription courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Trial Williamson, born about 1805, is likely the “Trion” mentioned in the 1829 will of Hardy Williamson and is certainly the “Trial” mentioned in the 1858 estate records of Hardy H. Williamson. His blood relationship to other enslaved people held by the Williamsons is unknown.
Trial Williamson dictated his will in April 1878 and died the next month.
In the name of God Amen! I Tryal Williamson do make and declare this my last will and testament as follows:
Item 1 I give and devise to my wife Rosetta the lands whereon I now live during her natural life or widowhood and at her death or marriage to be equally divided between my daughter Mary wife of John Boykin and my daughter Cherry wife of Daniel Hocutt during their lives and at their deaths to be equally divided between the children of each; that is the children of Mary to have one half and the children of Cherry to have the other half the said lands to be free from the control of their respective husbands John Boykin and Daniel Hocutt.
Item 2 I give and bequeath to my said wife my mare one ox all the hogs bacon and corn & fodder of which I may die possessed. Also all my kitchen and household furniture and farming implements.
Item 3 It is further my will and desire that my cattle one mule colt bees and any other property that my wife does not want be sold and the proceeds of said sale with whatever money I may have at my death be used by my wife for her sole benefit and use the interest to be used by here whenever she needs it.
Item 4 I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Rosetta executrix to this my last will and testament
Signed and declared my last will and testament This 6 day of April 1878 Tryal (X) Williamson
Witness J.M. Taylor, A.S.J. Taylor
In 1866, Trial Williams [sic] and Roseta Williams registered their 17-year cohabitation with a Wilson County justice of the peace.
In the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Trial Williamson, 65; wife Rose, 60; and daughters Mary, 21, and Cherry, 19.
On 18 September 1874, Cherry Williamson, 19, married Danl. Hocutt, 24, in Wilson.
In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer John Boykin, 42; wife Mary, 29; and children Dock, 19, and Dick, 15 (both sick with whooping cough), Turner, 7, Troy, 5, Betty, 3, and John, 1. [Per the 1870 census, Zadoc and Richard — Dock and Dick — were John’s children.] Next door, widowed farmer Rose Williamson, 68.
In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Daniel Hocutt, 30; wife Cherry, 29; and children Jiney, 4, James T., 3, and Tilda An, 1.
Rose Williamson died in 1891. Ishmael Wilder was appointed administrator of her estate. Her meager household goods, purchased by friends and family, netted less than nine dollars.
Per the terms of Trial Williamson’s will, at Rosetta Williamson’s death, the family farm passed in equal shares to their daughters Mary Williamson Boykin and Cherry Williamson Hocutt.
In 1902, by their attorney W.A. Finch, Cherry Hocutt and her heirs filed a Petition to Sell Real Estate for Division, Including Infants Interest. In a nutshell: (1) Trial Williamson died in 1878 and left a will with the above provision; (2) before Trial died, his land was divided, and the halves were allotted to his daughters; (3) after Rosetta Williamson died about 1891, Cherry Hocutt took full possession of her half; (4) Cherry Hocutt is now 49 years old and has these living children — J.A. Hocutt, age 27, J.T. Hocutt, age 25, M.A. Hocutt, age 22, Ben Hocutt, age 20, Settles Hocutt, age 17, Ida E. Hocutt, age 15, Willie J. Hocutt, age 14, and Lenore Savannah Hocutt, age 12 — and no grandchildren; (5) B.A. Scott has been appointed to represent the interests of the minor children; (6) the Hocutts are tenants in common on their half of Trial Williamson’s 23 1/2 acres in Spring Hill township; (7) in 1889, Daniel and Cherry Hocutt and their children migrated to [Cotton Plant,] Tippah County, Mississippi; (8) the Hocutts wish to sell their half because they “derive no benefit whatever” from it, are too far away to look after it, derive no net income from renting it out, and “the land is hilly and badly washed” and getting worse; and (9) the land is too small to divide among them.
The Superior Court approved the sale, it was advertised, and J.T. Rentfrow was high bidder at $500. Rentfrow promptly filed to partition his property from the half held by Mary Boykin and her heirs — Turner Boykin and wife; Laura Boykin; William Boykin and wife; Cora Boykin; Bettie Boykin; John Connor Boykin; Minerva Boykin; Sarah Boykin; James Boykin and wife; Ella Boykin; Buck Boykin; and Lizzie Boykin. Turner, Laura and John Connor Boykin no longer lived in North Carolina.
The court ordered this survey, then approved the partition as platted:
Estate Records of Trial Williamson, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; Estate File of Rose Williamson, Estate File of Trial Williamson, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.