Dr. Yancey’s defeat.

A recent post revealed pharmacist D’Arcey C. Yancey‘s April 1947 declaration of candidacy for a seat on Wilson’s Board of Aldermen, today’s equivalent of City Council. I had not been aware of Yancey’s political career, and his campaign is not covered in Charles McKinney’s Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina.

The Daily Times made sure, of course, to highlight Yancey’s race, but otherwise made no comment about his extraordinary bid for elected office.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 April 1947.

The campaign season was only weeks long, and the Times wasted little ink covering it. May 6 saw a record turnout at the polls, and the Daily Times announced the results the next day. Yancey had been badly defeated, garnering only 75 votes to incumbent Ed W. Davis’ 348.

My thanks to Matthew Langston for following up on the initial post. 

Who was Dr. F.O. Williston?


In the 1900 census of Cross Creek township, Cumberland County: on Grove Street, grocer Frank Williston, 65; wife Henrietta, 60; children Henrietta, 23, James, 20, and Oliver, 18; grandchildren Hattie, 13, and Edwin Perry, 15; and boarders Mary, 28, and James Pearce, 44.

The 15 November 1902 issue of the Wilmington Messenger announced that F.O. Williston had been granted a license by the state board of pharmacy.

Dr. Frank Oliver Williston married Doane Battle, daughter of Charles and Leah Hargrove Battle, in Wilson on 17 December 1905.

In the 1910 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 926 Horah Street, Frank O. Williston, 28, drugstore pharmacist; wife Doane B., 23, teacher; and daughter Leah H.E., 3.

On 22 March 1913, the Salisbury Evening Post published a report that a “Salisbury negro, Dr. F.O. Williston, is seeking the appointment as minister of the United States to Liberia ….” “Provided a colored man is to be named,” Williston had the endorsement of Navy Secretary Josephus Daniel, formerly of Wilson, and other leading state North Carolina Democrats, as well as the National Colored Democratic League. The article noted that Williston was recently returned from the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in Washington, D.C., where he had been received in the West Wing by the president himself. Both Williston and David Bryant, another African-American who accompanied him, had been as children servants of Wilson’s father when the family lived in Wilmington, North Carolina. Williston, 32, was a native of Cumberland County; a graduate of “the A.&M. college” in Greensboro and Shaw University in Raleigh; was a chemistry professor at Livingstone; and operated a pharmacy in Salisbury.

Four days later, Williston’s hometown newspaper, the Fayetteville Weekly Observer, ran a piece on Williston’s bid for the Consul General position, noting that “Dr. Williston is born and bred in Fayetteville, and is well known and esteemed here. He is of a prominent family of colored people, being the youngest son of the late Frank P. Williston and the brother of J.T. Williston, druggist and F.D. Williston, grocer and farmer.” Pointedly, the article further noted that the “statement that Dr. Williston was a servant of President Wilson’s father, the Presbyterian minister, when he lived in Wilmington, is incorrect.”

Greensboro Daily News, 29 April 1916.

The following year, Williston offered to raise a regiment of African-American troops to aid the war effort.

Salisbury Evening Post, 22 March 1917.

Frank Oliver Williston registered for the World War I draft in Salisbury in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 22 May 1881; resided at 409 South Caldwell Street, Salisbury; worked as a janitor in the U.S. Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Doane B. Williston. He was described as having dark gray eyes and dark brown hair, of medium height and stout.

In the 1920 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: at 419 South Caldwell, Frank O. Williston, 38, wife Doane, 33, and daughters Henrietta, 13, Inez, 8, and Dorothy, 6.

In the 1930 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1110 Fairmont Street, owned and valued at $11,000, drugstore pharmacist Frank O. Williston, 49; wife Doane, 41; daughters Inez, 18, and Fan, 16; and roomer Weldon Phillips,, 38, a contractor for a private company.

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1110 Fairmont Street N.E., Washington, D.C.

Baltimore Afro-American, 3 October 1936.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1222 Jackson Street, owned and valued at $4000, Frank O. Williston, 58; wife Doane B., 54, file clerk at F.H.A. [this appears to be an erroneous entry meant for her husband]; and daughter Dorthy F., 26.

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1222 Jackson Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.

In 1942, Frank Oliver Williston registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 22 May 1881 in Fayetteville, North Carolina; resided at 1222 Jackson; worked for the U.S. government in the Federal Housing Administration; and his contact was Mrs. Doane Williston.

Excerpts from African Americans and the New Deal,

913 East Green Street.

The fourteenth 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: “ca. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; Darcey Yancey House; bungalow with engaged porch; Yancey was a druggist.”

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Dr. Darcey C. Yancy, proprietor of Ideal Pharmacy, was listed as a boarder at Union Hotel.

Darcey C. Yancey, 28, of Danville, Virginia, son of W.A. and F.S. Yancey, married Lelia Beatrice Ireland, 25, of Guilford County, North Carolina, on 14 September 1910 in Sedalia, North Carolina. One of the witnesses to the ceremony was Charlotte E. Hawkins, later Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who founded what would become Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia in 1902. Lelia Ireland, a graduate of Scotia Seminary, was the first teacher Hawkins Brown hired.

8 24 1917

Wilson Times, 24 August 1917.

Darcy Cecil Yancey registered for the World War I draft in Wilson on 12 September 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1883; resided at 547 East Nash Street; worked for himself as a druggist at 546 East Nash; and his nearest relative was Lelia B. Yancey.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: residing at 547 Nash Street, Darcy C. Yancey, 37, manager at drug store, and wife Lelia B., 32.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 538 East Nash Street, druggist Darcy C. Yancey, 46, wife Lelia B., 40, and daughter Maude, 9.

Also in 1930 census of Wilson, the enumerator found four young single women at 913 East Green Street: Minnesota-born Ruth A. Brown, 23, North Carolina-born Annie Wilson, 25, and Lucile Wynn, 22, and Washington, D.C.-born Bessie Davis, 28, all teachers, paying a total of $25/month in rent. The house, in effect, was a teacherage for Wilson Colored High School, which sat right across Carroll Street.

Intersection of Green and Carroll, Sanborn insurance map, 1930.

At some point in the 1930s, the Yanceys purchased 913 East Green and left their rented digs on Nash Street across from the pharmacy. The 1941 Hill’s city directory lists Darcey C. and Lelia B. Yancey’s residence as 913 East Green, and Yancey’s Drug Store at 563 East Nash.

D’arcey Yancey died 12 April 1957 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 February 18983 in Danville, Virginia, to William Alexander Yancey and Florence E. Stewart; resided at 913 East Green Street; and worked as a druggist. Wife Lelia B. Yancey was informant.

Lelia Beatrice Yancey died 4 June 1983 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1889 to unknown parents; was the widow of D’arsey C. Yancey; and was a retired superintendent of elementary schools. She was buried with her husband at Rest Haven cemetery in Wilson.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

He led the class.

Wm. Henry Vick, a young colored man, who acquitted himself so creditable in the pharmaceutical examination at Shaw University last spring, passed an examination before the State Pharmaceutical Association of New Jersey, leading in a class of 44. Vick was the only colored man in the 44.  — Wilson Times, 3 September 1897.