Barbers and bank — can you confirm this location?

A generous reader shared this breathtaking photo of seven African-American men standing on a Wilson street curb. I know nothing about its provenance. Can you help me identify the men or the location?

A few clues:

(1) My best guess for the time period is 1910-1920.

(2) Two of the seven men are wearing white barber’s jackets.

(3) One of the two men standing in vests at center may have been Columbus E. Artis. Of the two, my money is on the man at left, holding … what? Artis is not known to have been a barber. In fact, in 1913, he operated an eating house at 214 South Goldsboro Street. Artis migrated to Washington, D.C., around World War I, returning to Wilson by 1921, when he commenced a long career as the town’s number 2 Black undertaker, behind Charles and Camillus Darden.

(4) The storefront behind them is adorned with a barber’s pole, and “Baths” is painted on its enormous plate glass window. Better-quality barbershops of the time offered clients bathtubs or showers for a full grooming experience in an era in which hot water and indoor plumbing were still rare home luxuries. This shop would have catered to white clients (you can see vaguely one peering out of the window) and would have been located west of the railroad tracks.

(5) Next to the barbershop, there is a doorway. The letters visible in its multi-muntin transom are an S (imprinted or sewn onto a heavy cloth background) and B-A and a partial N. A bank. With a patron (or perhaps banker) exiting in a top hat.

(6) Though the styles of the storefronts are different, the second floor above them seems to show they are bays in a single building.

(7) An examination of the 1908 and 1913 Sanborn insurance maps reveals only one neighboring barbershop and bank in downtown Wilson — at 108 and 110 East Nash Street in 1913. The map shows a two-story brick building divided into equal-sized spaces. (In 1922, the businesses were still there, but the street numbers had changed to 109 and 111.)

Detail, Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1913.

(8) Per the 1912 city directory, 108 East Nash was home to Mayflower Barber Shop, whose owner at that time was Levi H. Jones. None of these men appears to be Jones.

(9) Per the 1912 city directory, 110 East Nash was home to Wilson Trust and Savings Bank, whose president was John F. Bruton and vice-president was Jonah Oettinger.

Is this Mayflower Barber Shop? Who are the men?

Thank you, C. Joyner!

[Update: Dana Corson pointed out an O.V. Foust photo of the construction of the First National Bank building in 1926 that confirms 109 (108) and 111 (110) East Nash Street as the location of the buildings in this photo. Ironically, the buildings were gone — subsumed in the footprint of Wilson’s high-rise building. The window forms and dentil corbelling seen above, however, continued across to 105 and 107 and are visible in this close-up.]

Raines and Cox Studio Photograph Collection, State Archives of North Carolina.

Detail from 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, N.C.

The life and times of Wilton M. Bethel, part 3.

Wilton M. Bethels collection includes several large group photographs mostly taken on the campus of Saint Augustine’s, the Episcopal Church-affiliated college for African-Americans in Raleigh, North Carolina.

One of the earliest appears to be the formal portrait below of nine African-American men. In 1996, J. Robert Boykin III, who rescued the collection, sought assistance from Sarah L. Delany (of “Having Our Say” fame) to identify them.

On the top row, they are Rev. Henry Hudson (“my classmate”), a 1910 graduate of Saint Augustine’s collegiate division; Professor Charles H. Boyer (1870-1942) (“my teacher”), Saint Augustine’s professor; Rev. Charles Mail, priest at Oxford, North Carolina; Wylie B. Latham, a mail clerk in Raleigh and member of Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church; and perhaps Mr. Latham’s son.

Seated are Rev. James E. King, priest at Saint Ambrose from 1896 to 1913; “my father” the renowned Bishop Henry Beard Delany (1858-1928), first African-American Episcopal bishop in North Carolina and the second in the United States; Rev. James K. Satterwhite, Saint Aug graduate, priest at Saint Ambrose from 1913-1919 and then in Florida; and Rev. Robert N. Perry (“1st cousin of my mother, Nanny L. Logan”) and priest at Wilson’s Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church from 1905-1919.

Below, a photograph of student nurses and, perhaps, staff of Saint Agnes Hospital, established in 1896 on Saint Augustine’s campus. This image appears in Saint Aug’s 1927-28 Annual Catalogue. Bethel’s collection contains several loose snapshots of campus buildings. Did he take them for the college’s use?

Below, a group of lay people and clergy standing in front of another presumed campus building. (Can anyone identify it?) Wilson’s John H. Clark, a longtime lay leader at Saint Mark’s Episcopal, stands furthest left. The man standing second to the right of the girl on the front row is unidentified, but appears in snapshots in Wilton Bethel’s photo album.

John H. Clark (1863-1949), Wilton Bethel’s father-in-law.

Another large group standing on the steps of Saint Augustine’s Hunter Building.

Below, an industrial arts class at Saint Augustine’s College.

Another mixed group of clergy and lay people, presumably at Saint Aug. John H. Clark is seated on the second or third row, directly behind the man on the front row with his hat on his knee.

This shot, probably dating to the late 1930s, depicts a dinner gathering of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance employees in Goldsboro, N.C. The guest of honor, N.C. Mutual’s long-time president Charles C. Spaulding, is seated below the welcome sign, wearing a bowtie. Goldsboro was Bethel’s home office. I don’t see him in the shot; perhaps he was the night’s photographer. (Notice the folding chairs borrowed from the occasion from funeral director Lawrence T. Lightner.)

In the photo below, a bow-tied John H. Clark overlooks a large group of people gathered at one side of what appears to be a church or school building. It does not appear to have been taken in Wilson at Saint Mark’s. I am not certain, but the man on the third row, at right, standing beside a woman in white, appears to be Rev. Robert N. Perry.

Lane Street Project: finding Odd Fellows photos.

The only pre-Lane Street Project pictures of Vick, Odd Fellows, and Rountree Cemeteries discovered to date are aerial images and newspaper photographs. I reached out to Drew C. Wilson of the Wilson Times to find out if the paper’s photo archives held originals of the prints published in the 18 February 1989 article about Benjamin Mincey‘s efforts to keep Odd Fellows clear. I stopped by the Times‘ newsroom yesterday, where Olivia Neeley and Lisa Boykin Batts were already sorting through files. Drew Wilson split a stack of negatives with me, the ancestors smiled, and within minutes, I’d found the images.

Me with one of two negative strips and Olivia Neeley with an original print of the 1989 article. Photo by Drew C. Wilson.

The writer/photographer used almost all his shots in his article. I initially had trouble pinpointing Mr. Mincey’s location in the image below, then I recognized Della and Dave Barnes‘ headstones just left of the center of the image. The stone nearest him is Charles S. Thomas‘ granite marker. The trees in this area threw me, as all have since been removed. (What’s that pile of stones by the tree? There’s a similar pile, smaller, near a different tree now.) A number of the small, white marble footstones so common in Odd Fellows are visible, but many appear to have been moved now from their original locations. There seems to be something large and square to the left and behind the Barnes headstones, but it’s not clear what it is.  

The approximate view this morning, with the Thomas marker at (A) and the Barneses at (B). 

Below, Mr. Mincey stands near a sign: NO TRESPASSING CEMETERY PROP. UP TO $200.00 FINE FOR DUMPING TRASH. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED BY ORDER of THE CITY OF WILSON CEMETERY COMMISSION. It’s not clear exactly where this was. Vick Cemetery? The Cemetery Commission now disclaims responsibility for any cemeteries other than Rest Haven and Maplewood, and the City’s Public Works Department mows and otherwise looks after Vick and a strip of Odd Fellows.

To the left and behind Mr. Mincey, Lucinda White‘s headstone, unbroken. To his right, back among young pines, Henry Tart‘s obelisk, which still leans back at about the same angle. Wisteria had not yet become the scourge in these woods that it is now.

Today, with (A) White and (B) Tart markers.

Below, Mr. Mincey and an unnamed assistant stand at the fire hydrant marking the grave of Mr. Mincey’s father, Benjamin Mincey. There appears to be a wooden sign draped with plastic sheeting in front of hydrant, and piles of trash and tree stumps are visible in the middle distance. I’d thought the large white headstone at center was Walter Foster‘s, but its outline and location don’t match up. The small white monument with a knob on top behind and to the left of the large marker made be that of Louvenia Pender, found back in December with its finial broken off.

Six months ago, this image would have been impossible to reproduce. Today, though the wisteria has begun to rebound from being cut back during the winter, the hydrant is visible at (A) with effort. The white stone behind Mr. Mincey appears to have been in the Vick plot, and may be the double headstone of Daniel and Fannie Vick. The dark wedge near its upper left corner appears to correspond with the divot in the Vicks’ stone caused by a gunshot.

This shot appears to have been taken from Lane Street and shows a gatepost similar to the ones that bracketed (until recently) another entrance into the cemetery perhaps 50 yards to the northeast. This entrance below is approximately at the current entrance to the cemetery parking lot. 

Finally, a bonus image, show later in 1989, perhaps to commemorate a milestone in Mr. Mincey’s service with East Nash Volunteer Fire Department. 

Madison Benjamin Mincey (1913-2001), the real MVP of Odd Fellows Cemetery. 

Many thanks to Drew Wilson, Olivia Neeley, and Lisa Batts for their generosity of time, resources, and spirit in the search for these photographs!