physician

Proud he was born in Wilson.

Dr. Joseph H. Ward, circa World War I. Photo credit unknown.

In September 1926, Dr. Joseph H. Ward sent a note of thanks to Daily Times editor John D. Gold for a complimentary article the paper had published a few weeks before. The New York World had picked up and reprinted the piece, which had caught Dr. Ward’s attention. 

Dr. Ward noted the “generosity and goodwill” of Wilson’s citizens and proclaimed that he was “proud to have been touched by the benign influence of the men who laid the foundation of the Wilson of today — the Messrs. Barnes, Woodards, Ruffins, Rountrees, Golds, Daniels, Conners, Davises, Vicks and Prices, and their illustrious compatriots.” 

By populating his roll call with surnames only, Dr. Ward was able to place on an equal footing the African-American men who had positively impacted his youth — Samuel H. Vick and Joseph C. Price (and possibly, Rev. Fred M. Davis.) Notably, he did not name the family of his biological father, Dr. David G.W. Ward.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 September 1926.

I have not been able to find the August 19 article.

Many thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for the clipping.

Snaps, no. 79: Dr. James A. Battle.

We met Dr. James A. Battle, born in Wilson in 1885 to Parker and Ella Battle, here. His granddaughter, Mae Castenell, recently shared several family photographs.

Dr. Battle and wife Della Plummer Battle. Della Battle’s sister was E. Courtney Plummer Fitts, who lived in Wilson.

The Battle house on West 4th Street in Greenville, North Carolina. The Battles and their young daughter Ella are seated in the lawn.

Dr. Battle, seated at left, with an unknown group of young African-American men.

Many thanks to Mae Castenell.

Iredell County Chronicles, no. 9.

Statesville Landmark, 7 June 1932.

Statesville Daily Record, 20 April 1934.

——

In the 1880 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: tanner Robert Lord, 48; wife Rosetta, 40; and children Robert, 19, tobacco factory worker, Nora, 15, Irene, 12, Alonzo, 8, and Elizabeth, 21.

In the 1900 census of Statesville, Iredell County: on Garfield Street, Alonzo Lord, 28, physician; wife Lula, 24; and sister Nora B., 31.

Alonzo Richardson Lord was born 26 April 1904 in Cabarrus County, N.C., to Lula Hart and Alonzo David Lord.

In the 1930 census of Statesville, Iredell County: A. Loid, 54, physician, and wife Lula, 52.

In the 1930 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, N.C.: Alonzo Hart, 25, teacher, lodger in the household of W.F.G. Moore.

Alonzo D. Lord died 15 April 1934 in Statesville, Iredell County. Per his death certificate, he was born 24 October 1874 in Salisbury to Robert and Rosetta Lord; was married to Lula Lord; and was a physician.

In the 1938 Hill’s Rocky Mount, N.C., city directory: Lord Alonzo R (c) prin Booker T Washington Sch h 232 Atlantic av

In the 1940 census of Statesville, Iredell County: on Adams Road, Lula Lord, 63, widow, and Henrietta Thomas, 49, widow, private nurse.

In the 1940 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County, N.C.: Alonzo Hart, 35, principal and teacher, lodger in the household of Marion Hood, 35.

In 1942, Alonzo Richardson Lord registered for the World War II draft in Edgecombe County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 April 1904 in Concord, N.C.; lived 232 Atlantic Avenue, Rocky Mount, N.C.; his contact was Lula H. Lord; and he worked for Rocky Mount City Schools at Booker T. Washington High School.

On 1 October 1943, Alonzo R. Lord, 39, of Statesville, N.C., son of Alonzo and Lula Hart, married Mae McKoy, 36, of Mebane, N.C., daughter of David and Alice Murray, in Wilson. Dr. B.O. Barnes applied for the license, and Presbyterian minister J.W. Barnette performed the ceremony. [Per Beverly A. Henderson, Dr. Barnes and Alonzo Lord were close friends from their college days at Johnson C. Smith University.]

The 1962 Elizabeth City State College Catalogue lists A.R. Lord as principal and M.M. Lord as a teacher at Fourth Street Elementary School, Plymouth, N.C.

Alonzo R. Lord died 3 June 1986 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Alonzo R. Lord, Bertha Hart, a Murphy (first name not known), Minnie McNeely, Ardeanur Smith, Statesville, N.C., mid-1920s. 

Photo in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Thus ends the week. Who will pick up the blogging mantle to create a one-place study chronicling  the lives and history of Iredell County African-Americans?

The funeral of Dr. William A. Mitchner.

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 1.57.54 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 1.58.09 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 1.58.29 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 1.58.42 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 1941.

Dr. Ward challenged Jim Crow.

Indiana History Blog published Nicole Poletika’s detailed look at Dr. Joseph H. Ward‘s role in challenging segregation as the head of Tuskegee, Alabama’s Veterans Hospital No. 91 in the 1920s and ’30s.

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 5.34.46 AM.png

Dr. Ward is on the front row, center (next to the nurse) in this 1933 photograph of Veterans Hospital staff.  Photo courtesy of VA History Highlights, “First African American Hospital Director in VA History,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

For more on Dr. Ward, who was born in Wilson about 1869, see here and here and here and here and here.

[Sidenote: Dr. Ward was not born to “impoverished parents” per the article, though it is possible that he himself gave this gloss on his early life. Rather, his father was Napoleon Hagans, a prosperous freeborn farmer in nearby Wayne County, and his mother was Mittie Ward, a young freedwoman whose family moved into town after Emancipation from the plantation of Dr. David G.W. Ward near Stantonsburg.]

Hat tip to Zella Palmer for pointing me to this article. She is Dr. Ward’s great-granddaughter, and they are my cousins.

Doctors in the house.

Again, for a town whose population did not hit 10,000 until 1920 (of which only half were black), Wilson produced an astounding number of African-American physicians in the last decades of the nineteenth century and first few of the twentieth century. To the ranks of Drs. Joseph Henry WardCharles Hudson Bynum, William Henry BryantJohn Wesley Darden, James Thomas Suggs, Walter Theodore Darden, James Alexander Battle, James Arthur Cotton, John Clemon Williamson and Rolland Tyson Winstead, add four grandsons of Della Hines Barnes — Drs. Boisey O. Barnes, William C. Hines, Walter D. Hines and Clifton R. Hines.

African-American physicians who practiced in Wilson prior to World War II, but were born elsewhere, included: George W. Williams, Frank Settle HargraveWilliam Arthur Mitchner, Michael Edmund Dubissette, William H. Atkinson Jr., Thomas Clinton Tinsley, Matthew Stanley Gilliam Sr., and Joseph Franklin Cowan.

Native-born dentists from this period, none of whom practiced in Wilson, included Paul L. Jackson, Christopher L. Taylor and James D. Reid, while William H. Phillips, Lee C. Jones and George K. Butterfield Sr. settled in the community from elsewhere.

Simms’ Blue Book and National Negro Business & Professional Directory (1923).

Dr. John Clemon Williamson.

Winston-Salem Journal, 7 June 1914.

Winston-Salem Journal, 7 June 1914.

Born near Lucama in 1876 to Alex and Gracie Shaw Williamson, John Clemons Williamson attended Slater Industrial (the precursor to Winston-Salem State University), then Leonard Medical School. He returned to Winston-Salem to practice medicine and founded a private sanitarium in 1914.

——

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Elic Williamson, 44; wife Gracy, 29; and children John, 14, Lugen, 11, Joseph, 9, Jennie, 7, Mary, 6, Clem, 4, Sarah J., 2, and Pall, 1.

In the 1900 census of Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina, John C. Williamson, 24, is listed as a pupil at Slater Industrial and State Normal School.

On 14 January 1905, John C. Williamson, 28, of Winston-Salem, son of Alexander and Gracie Williamson of Wilson, married Callie S. Hairston, 22, of Winston-Salem, daughter of Robert and Catherine Hairston of Winston-Salem.

In the 1906 Winston-Salem, N.C., city directory: Williamson John C (Callie) tchr Slater Sch r[esidence] Columbian Hts

In the 1910 Winston-Salem, N.C., city directory: Williamson Callie S tchr Graded Schl [boards at] 605 Chestnut. Also, Williamson J C (Callie) student h 930 Ida Bell av, Columbian Heights

In 1918, John Clemon Williamson registered for the World War I draft in Winston-Salem. Per his registration card, he was born 19 May 1876; resided at 1326 East Bank Street; was a physician at 408 Church Street; and was married to Callie S. Williamson.

In the 1920 census of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina: Dr. J.C. Williamson, 43, physician; wife Callie S., 38; and daughter Plummer M., 7; niece Pearl Whitley, 22, office assistant to Dr. Williamson; and boarders John J. Green, 34, merchant; Rev. C.A. Nero, 38, of Nevis, West Indies, clergyman at Saint Stephens Episcopal Church; and nieces Liggitt Hairston, 15, of Saint Kitts, West Indies, and Catherine Hairston, 11.

The Twin City Daily Sentinel, 25 June 1920.

In the 1923 Winston-Salem, N.C., city directory: Williamson Jno C (Callie) pres Eureka Drug Co and Phys 800 N Ridge av h 1326 E Bank

John Clemon Williamson died 17 April 1927 in Winston-Salem. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 May 1876 in Wilson County to Alexander Williamson of Nash County and Grace Shaw of Wilson County, and he was a physician.

Undated and unattributed news clipping.

John C. Williamson left a straightforward will leaving all his property to his wife. Probate but anything but smooth though, as creditors disputed Callie Williamson’s handling of her husband’s estate and petitioned for her removal as executrix for mismanagement. The doctor’s $12000 estate was illusory, as his real property was encumbered by deeds of trust and his accounts receivable proved uncollectible. In 1929, Callie Williamson pulled up stakes and moved to Harlem with her daughter and infant granddaughter.

In the 1930 census of Manhattan, New York County, New York: at 196 Edgecombe Avenue, rented for $150/month, Callie Williamson, 48, widow; daughter Plummer, 17, domestic; and grandchild Jacqueline, 11 months, born in North Carolina; plus 13 roomers.

Callie Williamson died 27 May 1930 in Manhattan.

Signature from Williamson’s World War I draft registration card.