plat map

The Old Harper Place.

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In 1918, Atlantic Coast Realty Company prepared this plat cutting new streets and subdividing the “Old Harper Place” into more than 70 lots. The proposal was ambitious, but did not get off the ground immediately. In fact, it never really came together at all.

The streets are readily recognizable today. They are not, however, lined with houses.

Neither Best, Bennett, Oliver nor Lipscomb Streets appear in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, which was the first to include a street-by-street residential listing. Harper Street is there, however, and the directory lists five blocks. The 700 block had fifteen households, but the others were sparser, indicating larger parcels or empty lots. All the households except three are marked “colored.” W.J. Walston appears to have occupied the entire 400 block and possibly the 500 block. On the other side of the street, J.T. Strickland was the sole household listed in the 600 block.

1928 city directory.

However, the 1930 city directory notes that Harper Street was now Lipscomb Road. Unusual for the time, the street had become more integrated. White households replaced black at 238 and 300 Lipscomb. John A. Owens now lived at 400, but the 600 block on both sides of the street contained additional white households.

1930 city directory.

By time the 1941 city directory issued, Harper Street was back, but in a new place. This Harper Street is the one shown in the plat map. Or at least the two blocks of it between Best Street and Herring Avenue. This street was entirely inhabited by white families.

1941 city directory.

The description of Lipscomb Road in the 1941 directory is perplexing. On a modern map, it seems to correspond in part to modern Gold Street, which runs from Herring just past the end of Railroad Street to Reid Street. The inexplicable part is “intersecting 700 Herring av.” 700 Herring Avenue is at the corner of Herring and modern Ward Boulevard. In order to intersect with Herring, Lipscomb/Gold would have to turn back 135 degrees.

Is this 1941 Lipscomb Road? Gold Street is highlighted in solid yellow. The dotted yellow line shows the possible course of Lipscomb as described in the 1941 directory. The blue arrows show modern Lipscomb Road. (Ward Boulevard did not exist in 1941.)

In any case, this area continued to show unusual integration for mid-twentieth century Wilson. Though the majority of households were African-American, several were occupied by white families.

In 1959, per “Survivors Deeded Lucas Property,” Wilson Daily Times, 18 March 1959, George Lucas’ two daughters inherited 71 of the lots shown on the plat on Best, Benton and Harper streets. Eventually, they sold much of the land to the city for a housing project.

Plat Book 1, page 58, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; aerial view per Bing.com.

Another look at the location of Oakdale, the “colored cemetery.”

As noted here, I have long been intrigued by the disappearance (in space and memory) of Wilson’s first African-American cemetery, sometimes called Oaklawn or Oakland or Oakdale. The precise location of the first city-owned black cemetery is a mystery, though most people believe (and as I conjectured here) it was above Cemetery Street where Whitfield Homes are now situated.

No official records related to the cemetery survive, and no plat map delineates its complete boundaries. However, I’ve found one reference to the “colored cemetery” on a 1923 plat map of “The D.C. Sugg Property Located on Stantonsburg Road and Lincoln Avenue.”  Using a 1937 aerial photograph of the area (the graves in the cemetery were disinterred in the early 1940s), plus the plat, I’ve come up with a revised location estimate.

Here’s the plat map, with modern street names noted and the area marked “Colored Cemetery” emphasized:

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Plat Book 1, page 215 (annotated), Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Wilson disinterred the (known) graves at Oakdale in 1941. Accordingly, I searched the 1937 aerial photograph of this area, below. The street at left is Railroad Street. Manchester Street is at far right, and parallel to it was then Stantonsburg Street. (North of Cemetery, it is now Pender Street. The lower section is now Black Creek Road.)The red-dashed lines mark current streets, including Pender, New, Nora, and Blount. The blue-dashed line is Nora St. as it appears on the 1923 plat map above. The green marks the borders of the colored cemetery above. (I have added a northern border though none is shown on the plat map.)

If my mark-up is correct, the cemetery (or, at least, its southern extension) was south of Cemetery Street near the site now occupied by Daniels Learning Center (the former Elvie Street School.)

I ran the mark-up by Will Corbett, GIS Coordinator, Wilson County Technology Services Department, for an opinion on my conjecture. He agreed and returned this graphic:

Bingo. The blue-shaded area is the “colored cemetery” overlaid on a current map of the neighborhood. This image reveals that the cemetery covered what is now a row of houses fronting on New Street, as well nearly the entirety of the lawn and semi-circular driveway in front of Daniels/Elvie school.

Was this cemetery marked on Sanborn fire insurance maps? It is not on the 1922 map, the last one for which I have access.

The maps corresponding to the sections marked 25 and 29 show houses along Railroad, Suggs and Stantonsburg Streets, and a few along the north side of East Contentnea (now Cemetery) Street. However, south of East Contentnea, the space is blank but for subsection numbers 225 and 256, and no corresponding maps were made. Though it is not marked, Oakdale cemetery was located in this space.

With the information above, I revisited a plat map the city filed in 1942. I initially had difficulty interpreting “The Town of Wilson Property on Cemetery Street,” but I now see it is oriented south to north. Turn it upside down, and the outline of the old colored cemetery clearly emerges. As I suspected, the city had owned the section between present-day New and Cemetery Streets as well as the inverted L below New, and it is likely that there were also burials in this space.

Plat book 3, page 150, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

The Wiggins land.

This plat map of the block bounded by Grace, Gay, Moore and Wiggins Streets was drawn from a survey made 22 October 1914 and proposed a subdivision into twenty lots.

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Eight years later, there were only five houses on the block.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C. (1922).

Here is the block today. Hines Street subsumed Wiggins Street in the late 1960s as part of a road improvement project that connected Raleigh Road and U.S Highway 301. The red-roofed endway house facing Grace Street may be the house shown on the Sanborn map above.

Plat book 1, page 14, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; aerial view courtesy of Google Maps.

Tuskegee Place.

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In the late 1940s, the Wilson Cemetery Trustees made plans to sell off some of its land adjacent to Rest Haven cemetery. This June 1949 plat map shows the proposed subdivision of a parcel southwest of Lane Street.

The street layout mostly came to fruition, though Merrick Street never crossed the highway, Tuskegee did not extend past Lane, and the short stretch labeled “Barbour Street” is just a sharp turn on Lane.

Aerial view courtesy of Bing.com.

Property of Judge Fleming heirs.

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As detailed here, Judge Fleming and his son Johnnie died in an automobile accident in 1934. This plat map of Fleming’s Gardners township property was drawn in December 1947. Fleming’s youngest child had reached the age of majority, and the land likely was divided to be distributed among his heirs.

Plat book 4, page 82, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Cash Williams’ property in Little Richmond.

The corner of East Wilson (specifically, Little Richmond neighborhood) shown in this 1946 plat map of D.C. “Cash” Williams‘ property between Maury and Railroad Streets was demolished for the construction of the Carl B. Renfro Bridge in the early 1970s. This collection of duplexes and endway (the local name for shotgun) houses would have housed mostly workers at one of several nearby oil mills and factories.

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The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map shows the duplexes on Maury, Gay, and Railroad Streets were already in place by then.

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Here, via Google Maps, is Williams’ former block now. Railroad Street ends several hundred feet to the west. Taylor Street is gone. Gay Street peters out in a dead-end well short of its former terminus at Railroad. All of the houses have been torn down.

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Plat map 4, page 56, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

The town’s property on Cemetery Street?

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NOTICE: I am speculating here.

This is a plat map, labeled “The Town of Wilson Property on Cemetery Street,” showing the subdivision of a parcel of land into 79 lots and several blocks of unnamed streets. I do not have access to the deed recording the city’s purchase of this tract. Moreover, the exact location of this tract today is difficult to determine. However, the date of map — October 1942, eleven months after the exhumation of graves from Oakdale cemetery — suggests to me that this is the cemetery land that the city “condemned … to build several roads through it.”

Col. church.

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Surrounded by “the Farmer place owned by the hairs of Mrs. Jerusha Woodard” was a small square of land upon which a “colored church” was built. Woodard, born 1838 to Moses and Elizabeth Barnes Farmer and married to Warren Woodard, died in 1910. This plat map was drawn in 1914.

I have not been able to identify the church.

Plat book 1, page 111, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Map of the J.C. Palmer estate.

The settlement of Joseph C. Palmer‘s estate in 1924 required a survey and subdivision of the property he owned on South Lodge and Banks Streets. A large lot containing Palmer’s Lodge Street home and grocery store, as well as a smaller four-room house, was divided into six lots. Around the corner on Banks, he owned another lot with a ten-room apartment house.

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These blocks were surveyed just two years earlier for an update to the Sanborn fire insurance maps. The Sanborn map’s scale appears to be slightly off, but it’s easy to find Palmer’s grocery at 700 South Lodge and home at 702 South Lodge, as well as the smaller house at 408 East Banks. There was also a narrow house at 410 East Banks that apparently was demolished prior to 1924.

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On the other hand, the ten-room apartment building had not been built yet, and its lot is shown empty.

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The site today. The blocks below South Lodge Street were cleared for a public housing project, Whitfield Homes, in the 1960s.

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——

Joe Palmer, 20, married Ella Moore, 21, on 4 December 1879 at Saint Timothy’s Church.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Jospeh Palmer, 20, works on farm; wife Ella, 21; daughters Pearl, 9, and Mattie, 6; and mother Mariah Moore, 60, cook. [These were Ella Palmer’s daughters and mother.]

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: South Carolina-born Joseph Palmer, 42, carpenter; wife Estel, 41, confectioner; and son Joseph C., Jr., 9.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, house carpenter Joe Palmer, 50, and wife Ella, 49.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 710 Lodge Street, grocery store salesman Joe Palmer, 60, and wife Ella, 61, a general merchant.

Ella Palmer died 21 September 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 59 years old; lived at 702 Lodge; and born in Hyde County, North Carolina, to Mariah Moore. J.C. Palmer was informant.

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Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory (1922).

Joseph C. Palmer died 12 December 1923 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was a native of Columbia, South Carolina; lived at 702 South Lodge; was a widower; and worked as a store proprietor. Mrs. Mattie E. Moore was informant.

On 14 January 1924, Camillus L. Darden (with his father Charles H. Darden as surety) applied for and received at Wilson County Superior Court letters of administration to handle J.C. Palmer’s estate, which he valued at $8000.

Plat book 2, page 14, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; aerial view courtesy of Google Maps.