Pitt

903 East Vance Street.

The seventy-sixth 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. 1913; 1 1/2 stories; Ximena Pitt house; Queen Anne cottage with double-pile, hip-roofed form and wraparound porch with classical posts and balustrade; similar to #905; Pitt was a store clerk.”

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Hattie laundress h 903 E Vance; Pitt Violet laundress laundress h 903 E Vance

In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Elsie cook h 903 E Vance; Pitt Violet dom h 903 E Vance; Pitt Ximena clk h 903 E Vance

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Pitt Mena (c) sch tchr h 903 E Vance.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 903 East Vance, owned and valued at $2000, Elsie Pitt, 54, cook; sister Hattie Pitt, 52; sister Louisa McNeil, 49, cook; niece Evelyn Pitt, 9, born in Ohio; sister Mina Pitt, 36, public school teacher; and sister Elizabeth Pitt, 26, public school teacher.

Elsie Pitt died 19 June 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1875 in Wilson County to William Pitt of Nash County and Violet Emerson of Wilson County and was single. Informant was Ximena Martinez.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Ramon Martinez, 38, is listed as a roomer in the household of Mena Pitts, 39, at 903 Vance Street. He reported that he was born in Argentina, had been living in Pennsylvania five years previously, and worked as a sign painter.

On 16 February 1942, Ramon Jose Martinez registered for the draft in Wilson. He listed his birth date and place as 7 September 1898 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He worked as a commercial artist, resided at 903 Vance Street, and Ximena Pitts Martinez was his contact person. He was 5’6″, 184 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark brown skin. The registrar noted: “he limps (right leg).”

Ramon Jose Martinez died 15 September 1973 in Wilson. His death certificate reports that he was born 7 September 1900 in Argentina; lived at 903 East Vance; and worked as a self-employed commercial artist. His parents were unknown. Wife Ximena Pitt Martinez was informant.

Ximena Pitt Martinez died 21 December 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate she was born 12 August 1896 to Violet Pitt; was widow; was a retired teacher. Evelyn P. Stoney of Brooklyn, New York, was informant.

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey (1980) provides additional details about this house, including the photo below.

“This turn of the century cottage is stylistically related to entry 286 [705 East Green Street], the same modified L-plan is followed, and the house is enhanced by the use of metal ridge pole ornaments and a wrap around porch with doric columns and a pedimented porch entry.”

Though the metal roof and balustrade have been replaced, 903 East Vance Street retains much of its original exterior detail and is one of the best-preserved houses in the district.

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Wilson Daily Times, 5 December 1981.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

Smith student attains distinction.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 March 1935.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Warren Street, Hester Haskins, 56; and children Estella, 18, Annie, 22, Martha, 36, Ernest, 21, Ambroga, 17, Damp, 12, and [grandson] Joseph, 8.

On 15 November 1922, George Pitt, 31, of Nash County, son of Wiley Pitt and Ida McNair, married Martha Haskins, 30, of Wilson, daughter of Damp and Hester Haskins. James Haskins applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister John A. Mebane performed the ceremony in the presence of Glenn S. McBrayer, Jeff Holloway and Eula Farmer.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1200 Wainwright Street, owned and valued at $1700, Damp Haskins, 24, laborer at Coca-Cola plant; wife Sudie B., 21; children Damp Jr., 2, and Hellen, 6 months; widowed mother Hester, 72; brother [nephew] Joseph, 18; Martha Pitt, 52; and nephew Jim R. Haskins, 10.

On 18 February 1931, Jos. F. Haskins, 19, son of Jas. Haskins and Martha H. Pitt, married Beatrice O. Bryant, 17, daughter of Isham and Rossie Bryant. Rev. J.T. Douglas performed the ceremony at Calvary Presbyterian Church in the presence of Judge Mitchell and the Bryants.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1231 W Street, N.W.: at 1231 W Street N.W., barber John Jones, 37, wife Sarah, 37, and daughter Ruby, 13; and hotel waiter Joseph Haskins, 27, mother Martha, 58, and uncle James, 36, post office department laborer. Both Joseph and Martha reported being divorced, and both had lived in Wilson, North Carolina, five years previously. [Joseph also reported that he had completed three years of college, which suggests that did not finish Johnson C. Smith.]

In 1940, Joseph Franklin Haskins registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 8 January 1913 in Durham, North Carolina; resided at 1231 W Street, N.W.; his contact was mother Martha Whitehead Haskins, 1231 W Street, N.W.; and he worked for Dr. R.M. Williams, 1914 – 11th Street, N.W.

On 11 April 1942, Joseph Franklin Haskins married Florence Windom Green in Washington, D.C.

Joseph Franklin Haskins died 16 September 1983 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Johnson C. Smith University Bulletin (1935), page 109.

Wanton deviltry.

One hundred twenty years ago yesterday …

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Wilson Advance, 14 October 1897.

  • Lewis Pitt — On 1 August 1872, Lewis Pitt, 24, and Charity Strayhorn, 21, were married in Edgecombe County. In the 1880 census of Hillboro township, Orange County, Lewis, 25, and Charity Pitt, 23, were listed in the household of Charity’s parents, Yank and Patsy Strayhorn. In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Lewis Pitt, 55; wife Carty, 50; and grandson Daniel, 10. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 633 Green Street, farmer Lewis Pitt, 71; wife Charity, 68; daughter Gradis, 15; and roomers George Thompson, 16, and John Byrd, 20, both wagon factory laborers. Lewis Pitt died 6 April 1924 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was about 76 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Hardy and Peggy Atkinson; and resided at 704 East Green Street. Charity Pitt was informant.
  • Nettie Jones
  • Bill Ayers
  • John Swader

The Shoo Fly train ran over him.

Wilson Mirror, 30 August 1893.

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On 11 April 1878, Hilliard Hunter, 26, of Nash County, married Mary Jane Pitt, 25, of Wilson County, in Toisnot township.

In the 1880 center of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Hunter, 25; wife Mary J., 27; and son Walter, 5 months.

In 1893, Mary Jane Hunter filed an unsuccessful suit against Wilmington and Weldon Railroad over her husband’s death.

On 6 July 1899, Turner Anderson, 21, married Lillie Hunter, 20, in Toisnot township in the presence of Annie Bryant, Martha Modica and Nancy Deans.

On 2 August 1903, Mary Jane Hunter, 40, of Elm City, daughter of Moses and Marina Pitt, married Daniel Foster, 45, of Elm City, son of Austin and Rachael Foster of Kansas at George Barnes‘ in Toisnot township. Red Batts applied for the license.

On 12 July 1905, Willie Hunter, 22, of Elm City, son of Hilliard and Mary J. Hunter, married Mary Whitehead, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Ben and Francis Whitehead, in Toisnot township. T.H. Nicholson applied for the license, and the ceremony took place at Ben Drake’s in the presence of T.H. Nicholson, William Short and W.A. Whitfield.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Elm City-Stantonsburg Road, widowed farm laborer Mary J. Hunter, 40, and daughter Alice, 20, a laundress.

On 18 January 1914, Arthur Hunter, 20, of Toisnot, son of Mary J. Hunter, married Estelle Wooten, 24, of Toisnot, daughter of Linda Wooten, in the presence of Turner Anderson, Lillie Anderson and Clarence Wiggins, all of Elm City.

On 23 March 1915, Liza Hunter, 20, of Elm City, daughter of Hilliard Hunter and Mary J. Pender, married Jim Pinkney, 21, son of Henny and Hilly Pinkney, in Johnston County.

On 14 September 1921, B.S. Jordan, 58, son of Hardy and Mary J. Jordan, married Lilly Anderson, 39, daughter of Hilliard Hunter and Mary J. Hunter, at Lilly Anderson’s in Toisnot township. Wiley Locus applied for the license, and Baptist minister Elias Lucas performed the ceremony in the presence of L.A. Johnson and Bud Simms of Wilson and Hamp Mordcia [Modica] of Elm City.

Alice Hunter died 20 April 1960 in Elm City. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 October 1901 to Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jane Pitt; and was never married. Informant was Eliza Pinkney, Elm City. [Note that Alice Hunter’s birthdate is off by at least 10 years.]

Willie Hunter died 28 April 1960 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 February 1884 in Wilson County to Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jane [last name not listed]; lived at 204 South East Street; and worked as a laborer. Informant was Doris H. Wilson, 204 South East Street.

Eliza Pinkney died 10 July 1969 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 June 1898 in North Carolina to Hilliard Hunter and Mary Jones; resided in Elm City; was married to Jim Pinkney; and was buried in Elm City cemetery. Doretha H. Farmer, 706 East Green Street, was informant.

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White Swamp runs about 5 miles south of Elm City.

The regular daily Norfolk-to-Wilmington passenger train was known as the Shoo Fly. In 1906, the train had a cataclysmic accident near Warsaw, Duplin County. After, a ghost train legend grew in the area.