Powell

Vanilla Beane celebrates 100!

Jeni Hansen has graciously allowed me to share plans for the observation of the 100th birthday of her grandmother, celebrated milliner Vanilla Powell Beane, who was born in Wilson County on 13 September 1919.

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Find more on Vanilla Beane here:

  • Articles

The Washington Post, Celebrating 3 sisters’ lives and longevity, Avis Thomas-Lester, 5 November  2011

The Washington Post, C​elebrated D.C. Milliner Marks 90th Birthday With Friends, Hats, Hamil R. Harris, 20 September 2009

Afro-American Newspapers, ​D.C. Woman Celebrates 100th Birthday with Sisters, 97, and 93, Avis Thomas-Lester and Teria Rogers, 14 November 2012

Associated Press,​Dr. Height’s Hat Immortalized in Metal, Sarah Karush and Teneille Gibson, 15 June 2010

  • Videos

Hat Academy: “​Bene Millinery​
Museum of Fine Arts: ​Dorothy Height’s Hats 360

Press contact:

Jeni Hansen
jeni@jenihansen.com​

Cemeteries, no. 26: the Alex and Gracy Williamson cemetery.

The Alex and Gracy Williamson cemetery lies adjacent to the Hardy H. Williamson cemetery off N.C. Highway 42 in Spring Hill township. Hardy Williamson (1807-1858) was a white farmer who owned property in parts of Johnston and Nash County that became Wilson County after 1855.

A view of the Alex Williamson cemetery from the western edge of the Hardy Williamson cemetery.

  • Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson died May 6, 1921 age 84

On 9 September 1869, Alex Williamson, son of Samuel Bass and Silvy Williams, married Grace Shaw, daughter of Thomas Narron and Katty Williamson, at Thomas Shaw‘s in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Ellic Williamson, 33; wife Gracy, 24; and children Ellic, 4, and Eugenia, 1.

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 Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Alex Williamson, 63; wife Gracy, 50; children Genny Whitley, 26, and Sarah, 22, Paul, 21, Daniel, 19, Henietta, 15, Edna, 15, and Katie Williamson, 12; and grandchildren Nancy, 8, Della, 5, and Pearle Whitley, 4.

On 23 November 1904, Paul Williamson, 25, son of Alex and Grace Williamson of Springhill township, married Mary Hinnant, 23, daughter of Joe and Rhoda Hinnant of Spring Hill township. W.H. Horton of the Christian denomination performed the ceremony at Thom Hinnant‘s house in the presence of  J.T. Hinnant, L.H. Horton and W.H. Shaw.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson and Smithfield Branch Road, farmer Alexander Williamson, 72; wife Gracy, 62; widowed daughter Jennie Williamson, 38; daughters Sarah, 20, and Henrietta, 26; and grandchildren Nancy, 18, Della, 17, Hattie, 15, and Pearle Whitley, 14.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Clayton and Wilson Road, farmer Alexandria Williamson, 83; divorced daughter Janie W. Williamson, 37; granddaughter Dezell Bailey, 4; and stepson [son-in-law?] McKinley Bailey, 28, house carpenter.

Alexander Williamson died 6 April 1921 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1837 in Wilson County; was the widower of Gracy Williamson; was a farmer; and was buried in the Williamson graveyard.

  • Gracy Shaw Williamson

Gracy wife of Alex Williamson born  Jan 19, 1850 died June 28, 1912.

  • Mary Williamson

Mary Williamson Feb 21 1874 Sept 2 1899 Resting till the resurrection morn.

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.

  • Henrietta Williamson Kent

Henrietta Kent wife George S. Kent Born Sep. 4 1883 Died Sep. 14 1912 She fought the good fight she kept the faith and is safe in the arms of Jesus.

The Masonic emblem suggests that this stone was originally intended for a male decedent.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Alex Williamson, 63; wife Gracy, 50; children Genny Whitley, 26, and Sarah, 22, Paul, 21, Daniel, 19, Henietta, 15, Edna, 15, and Katie Williamson, 12; and grandchildren Nancy, 8, Della, 5, and Pearle Whitley, 4.

On 6 April 1911, George Kent, 28, of Nash County, married Henrietta Williamson, 27, of Spring Hill township. Missionary Baptist William H. Mitchiner performed the ceremony at the bride’s father’s house in the presence of J.T. Hinnant of Spring Hill, Paul Williamson of Lucama and Sallie M. Barbour of Wilson. (George Samuel Kent was a son of Ned and Lydia Barnes Kent.)

  • Bettie Boykin

Bettie dau. of J.R. & Mary Boykin Born Oct 5, 1876 Died Apr 25, 1913 Weep not, she is not dead but sleeping.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer John Boykin, 42; wife Mary, 29; and children Dock, 19, DIck, 15, Turner, 7, Troy, 5, Betty, 3, and John, 1.

  • Edna Williamson Barnes

Edna wife of J. H. Barnes born Jan. 19, 1885 died June 13, 1914.

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Alex Williamson, 63; wife Gracy, 50; children Genny Whitley, 26, and Sarah, 22, Paul, 21, Daniel, 19, Henietta, 15, Edna, 15, and Katie Williamson, 12; and grandchildren Nancy, 8, Della, 5, and Pearle Whitley, 4.

On 18 November 1906, James H. Barnes, 25, of Spring Hill township, son of Joe and Chaney Barnes, married Edna Williamson, 22, of Spring Hill, daughter of Alex and Grace Williamson.

In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Smithfield Branch Road, James H. Barnes, 28, and wife Edna, 25.

Edna Barnes died 10 June 1914 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 32 March 1884 to Elex Williamson and Gracie Bailey in Wilson County and was married. James Barnes of Lucama was informant.

  • Katie Williamson

Katie Williamson Aug 10 1887 Just when we began to love her God called her back

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Alex Williamson, 63; wife Gracy, 50; children Genny Whitley, 26, and Sarah, 22, Paul, 21, Daniel, 19, Henietta, 15, Edna, 15, and Katie Williamson, 12; and grandchildren Nancy, 8, Della, 5, and Pearle Whitley, 4.

  • Annie Williamson

Annie Williamson Aug. 8, 1886 Oct. __, 1886 Our loved one is gone to be an angel

  • Mary Kent Renfrow

Mary Wife of I. Renfrow Born June 30, 1868 Died Sept. 30, 1914

In the 1870 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farm laborer Elbert Kent, 25, wife Rebecca, 23; and daughter Mary, 1.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: Elbert Kent, 36, farmer; wife Rebeca, 29; and children Mary, 10, Rufus, 9, Saraha, 7, Flournes J., 6, Martha M., 4, and Pharrow, 1.

On 8 August 1886, Isaac Renfrow, 25, married Mary Kent, 20, at Buck Horn, Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Rentfrow, 38; wife Mary E., 29; and children John M., 11, Hettie B., 9, and Qweenie V., 2.

In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Rentfrow, 48; wife Mary, 40; and children Victoria, 12, and Isaac, 9, plus Rebecca, 14, Joseph, 12, Lutory, 6, and Joseph Barnes, 2.

Mary Renfrow died 30 August 1914 in Spring Hill township. Per her death certificate, she was born 30 June 1868 to Elbert Kent and Mary Barnes and was a farmer’s wife. Isaac Renfrow was informant.

Detail of the exquisite three-dimensional carving on Mary Renfrow’s headstone. The hand pointed upward symbolized the hope of Heaven. The veined stone is unusual in Wilson County markers.

  • Isaac Renfrow

Isaac Renfrow Born July 5, 1862 Died Mar. 5, 1915

In the 1870 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Penelope Renfrow, 29, and sons Jacob, 16, Esaw, 13, and Isaac, 10.

On 8 August 1886, Isaac Renfrow, 25, married Mary Kent, 20, at Buck Horn, Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Rentfrow, 38; wife Mary E., 29; and children John M., 11, Hettie B., 9, and Qweenie V., 2.

In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Rentfrow, 48; wife Mary, 40; and children Victoria, 12, and Isaac, 9, plus Rebecca, 14, Joseph, 12, Lutory, 6, and Joseph Barnes, 2.

Isaac Renfrow died 6 March 1915 in Spring Hill township. [Six months after his wife’s death.] Per his death certificate, he was born 1861 to Harry and Pennie Renfrow of Wilson County; was married; and was a farmer. Johnnie Renfrow was informant.

  • Abbie and Lidia Barnes

Abbie dau of J & C Barnes 1886 1909 At rest

Lidia dau of J & C Barnes 1880 1910 At rest

In the 1900 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Joseph Barnes, 48; wife Chana, 44; and children Lydia, 20, James H., 18, Edgar F., 16, Abbey A., 14, Minnie, 12, Lula, 9, Eliza, 6, Joseph, 2, and Sarah, 2 months.

On 29 October 1905, Lydia Barnes, 26, of Spring Hill, daughter of Joe and Chanie Barnes, married Thomas Hinnant, 26, of Spring Hill, son of Tom and Martha Hinnant, in Wilson County.

In the 1910 census of Spring Hill township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Hinnant, 32; wife Liddie, 37; and children Claude, 9, Alonzo, 7, Viola, 4, and Chana, 2; plus sister Louzetta Hinnant, 39.

  • Sallie Powell

Sallie Powell Dau of K Freeman Age 22 At rest

  • Lorenzo Freeman

Husband Loranzie Freeman 1849-1895 At rest

On 25 September 1885, Lourenza Freeman, 28, married Katey Deans, 26, at Meeksville, Wilson County.

  • Anonymous grave

Hand-hewn natural rock markers were placed at the head and foot of this grave.

  • Williamson grave

This small, badly weathered stone was also hand-cut. The name Williamson is barely visible among the hand-cut letters on its face.

  • Rachell Roberson

Mother Rachall Roberson 1837-1925 At rest

In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Guilford Robinson, 35; wife Rachel, 34; and children Katy, 15, Henry, 14, and Lucy, 12.

In the 1880 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Gilford Robinson, 53; wife Rachal, 36; and children William, 9, and Sally, 8.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Guilford Roberson, 69, and wife Rachel, 57.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Raleigh Road, farmer Rachael Robertson, 71, widow, and daughter Katie Freeman, 52.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Raleigh Road, farmer Rachael Robertson, 80, widow, and daughter Katie Freeman, 61, widow.

Rachal Robinson died 19 July 1925 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 98 years old; was a widow; worked on a farm; was born in Wilson County to Mary Dawson and an unknown father. W.R. Robinson of Simms was informant.

  • Phillip Allen

Phillip Allen North Carolina Pvt Co D 333 Svc Bn OMC World War I April 11 1894 October 20 1962

On 14 March 1920, Phillip Allen, 26, of Spring Hill, married Daisy Creech, 22, of Spring Hill, in Old Fields township.

Phillip Allen died 20 October 1962 in Lucama, Spring Hill township. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 October 1894 in Wilson County to William Allen and Charlotte (last name not given); was married; and was a laborer. Daisy Allen was informant.

  • Martha Field Creech

Mother Martha F. Creech June 15 1879 Sept 10 1961

Martha Field Creech died 10 September 1961 in Lucama, Crossroads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 February 1888 in Wilson County to Wash Field and an unknown mother and was widowed. Daisy Allen was informant.

Remnants of fencepost and wire fence around the cemetery.

I’ve driven up and down Highway 42 a half-dozen times looking for this cemetery. Many thanks to Brian Grawburg for the tip that lead me straight there.

Bethana Jones’ community.

As shown here, in December 1852 administrator Benjamin Simpson conducted a sale of the property of Bethana Jones, a recently deceased free woman of color. At the time of her death, Jones’ land was in Nash County. Three years later, it was in Old Fields township, western Wilson County.

In the 1850 census of Nash County, Thany Jones, 78, is listed at household #537 with extended family Mary, 26, William, 10, John, 2, and Willie Jones, 17. A closer examination of the men (and one woman) who purchased items from Bethana Jones’ estate reveals the mix of close neighbors and kin, black and white, who made up her community.

  • Dempsey Harrison — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #579, Dempsey Harrison, 66, and sons Dempsey Jr., 21, Christian, 19, and Gethro, 21 [see Jethro Harrison, below].
  • Willis Jones — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #536, Willis Jones, 50, farmer; wife Sarah, 42; and children Henry, 13, Alex, 10, Noel, 8, Kingsberry, 3, and Peyton, 9 months.
  • Mabry Hinnant — in the 1850 census of District 9, Johnston County: at #34, Mabra Hinnant, 34, farmer, and family.
  • Lazarus Cook — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #526, Lazarath Cook, 67, farmer.
  • Jethro Harrison — in the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Jethro Harrison, 31, farmer and family, plus Willis Jones, 35, making turpentine, and wife Mary, 37, domestic, both free people of color. Harrison reported $400 in real property and $1400 in personal property.
  • Jacob Jones — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #521, turpentine laborer Jacob Jones, 25; wife Milly, 28; Shade, 18; and Susan Jones, 2; plus Levi Worrel, 60, farmer.
  • Amos Ellis — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #539, cooper Amos Ellis, 30, and family. (At #542, slave dealer Bartley Deans.)
  • William Jones — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #249, cooper William Jones, 35, and wife Mary, 35.
  • Isaac Williamson — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #535, farmer Isaac Williamson, 42, and family.
  • Robert Simpson — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #534, farmer Robert Simpson, 36, plus cooper Eligah Powell, 50; wife Selah, 48; and children Denis T., 22, and Henry, 21, turpentine laborers; Eligah, 19; Mary, 18; Stephen, 10; Jane, 6; Jabe, 2; and Sally, 18.
  • Asberry Blackwell — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #584, Asberry Blackwell, 25.
  • Dempsey Powell 
  • John Simpson — John Simpson was a son of Benjamin and Clara Simpson, see below.
  • Shadrach Jones — see Shade Jones, above, in the household of Jacob Jones.
  • Joseph Jones — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #538, Joe Jones, 36, turpentine laborer, and children Milly, 10, Milbry, 6, Edie, 5, Sarah, 4, Jesse, 3, Nathan, 1, James, 3 months, and Delphi, 2.
  • Andrew Cook — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #527, farmer Andrew Cook, 38.
  • Frederick Taylor — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #561, farmer Frederick Taylor, 21, and family.
  • Calvin Davis — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #531, Calvin Davis, 22, turpentine laborer, and family.
  • Jesse Simpson Sr. — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #533, farmer Jesse Simpson, 74, and family.
  • Clara Simpson — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #532, Clary Simpson, wife of Benja Simpson.
  • Benjamin Simpson — in the 1850 census of Nash County: at #532, farmer Benja Simpson, 46, and family, plus Mahalah Jones, 5, a free girl of color who was likely an apprentice.

Studio shots, no. 111: Fred D. Hines.

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Fred D. Hines (1928-1995), right, with unknown woman, probably 1940s.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Wilson Road, farmer Turner Hines, 43; wife Penny, 33; and children E. Mary, 21, Allen, 17, Hester, 18, West, 16, W. Jim, 7, Beatrice, 6, Tommie, 4, Rosa, 3, Francie, 2, and T. Lou, 4 months.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Hines, 51; wife Eliza, 50; and children Beatrice, 17, Tommie, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 12, Creasy, 11, Turner Jr., 8, Daisy L., 6, Willie B., 4, and Fred D., 3.

On 24 November 1937, in Wilson, George Powell, 24, of Gardners, son of George Powell and Mary Jones, married Beatrice Hines, 23, of Gardners, daughter of Turner Hines and Rosa Hines.

In the 1940 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Hines, 62, and children Rosetta, 23, Francis, 22, Lucretia, 21, Turner J., 18, Daisey, 17, Willie B., 13, Fred, 11, Freeman, 8, Ederene, 6, and Thelma D., 4.

George Henry Powell died 22 May 1992 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1910 in Edgecombe County to George Powell and Mary Cotton; resided at 1505 Queen Street Extension, Wilson; was married to Beatrice Hines Powell; and had worked as a carpenter.

In 1946, Fred Davis Hines registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 30 September 1928 in Wilson County; lived on Route 4, Wilson; and his contact was brother-in-law George Henry Powell. [It appears Hines was named for popular local Baptist minister Fred M. Davis.]

Fred Hines died 22 September 1995 in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user rogerbarron52.

Darden v. Robert G. Lassiter & Co., 198 N.C. 427, 152 S.E. 32 (1930).

Wilson Daily Times, 31 October 1929.

Darden v. Robert G. Lassiter & Company reached the North Carolina Supreme Court on appeal from Wilson County Superior Court. Camillus L. Darden, administrator of the estate of Evan Powell, filed the action against Robert G. Lassiter & Company to recover damages for Powell’s death of plaintiff’s death, which was alleged to have been caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of the defendant. The county court entered a judgment for plaintiff, and Lassiter & Company appealed.

The evidence showed that on December 29, 1927, Powell was working for Lassiter in a trench or ditch cut along Mercer Street in the town of Wilson in preparation for laying sewer or water mains. The trench was cut by a ditching machine to approximately the required depth, and Powell was engaged in smoothing out the bottom of the trench to a uniform grade, called “fine grading,” when the trench caved in and injured him, along with two other workmen. Powell died the following day.

Powell, “a colored man about 29 years of age,” had been employer by Lassiter as a day laborer for about five months and working with this particular crew for about two months prior to his injury. The trench was approximately 7 feet deep and about 21 inches wide. The ground was saturated with water from heavy rainfall.  Water seeped in from the walls on both sides of the trench, and there had been a couple of cave-ins prior to this one. About fifteen yards from the most recent cave-in, workers encountered quicksand about 6 feet below the surface of the ground. Lassiter installed a pump to keep the water out of the trench.

Lassiter’s foreman, O.L. Pickering, directed that certain bracing be used to keep the walls of the trench from falling in — two upright pieces of timber, placed from 8 to 16 feet apart along the sides of the ditch, with two horizontal braces placed between them, one at the top and the other at the bottom. However, contrary to custom, Pickering provided no longitudinal stringers to keep the banks of the ditch from falling or caving in.

On the day of the incident, Pickering went to lunch about 12:30 and left the others working in the ditch. There were no braces for a space of 18 or 20 feet (one witness said from 35 to 40 feet) immediately behind the ditching machine where Powell was working. Shortly after the foreman left, the bank of the ditch suddenly caved in just beyond the last brace and temporarily buried three of the workmen.

Foreman Pickering testified, in part: “It was my duty to see that these braces were put in. I instructed them to put the braces in at intervals of 8 feet. There was a space behind the machine of about 12 or 15 feet in which there were no braces. They had put in all the braces I had instructed them to put in except the last one. They did not have it in when I left. I left them to put that in — the one right behind the machine — and to lay the pipe. Evan Powell was in the ditch at the time I left. He was leveling the bottom or doing fine grading.”

Lassiter offered evidence that Powell had a duty to help put in braces and assumed the risk of his injury. However, this was countered by evidence showing that Powell had no such responsibility. Other employees were instructed to place the braces in the ditch under the immediate supervision of the foreman, who, in turn, was under the supervision of an engineer employed by Lassiter.

The usual issues of negligence, contributory negligence, assumption of risk, and damages were submitted to the jury, resulting in a verdict for the plaintiff. The defendant appealed.

Chief Justice Stacy wrote the opinion. “The case, with evidence sufficient to carry it to the jury, was tried upon the theory that in law the defendant was in duty bound, in the exercise of ordinary care, to provide a reasonably safe place for [Powell] to work, and to furnish him reasonably safe means and suitable appliances with which to execute the work assigned, subject to the limitation that the deceased took upon himself, as an employee or servant of the defendant, the ordinary risks of danger incident to the employment, which were obvious or could have been perceived by him in the exercise of his senses and by the use of ordinary care and circumspection. In this, there was no error. …

“Whether ‘fine grading’ in the bottom of a trench, such as [Powell] was doing in the instant case, is dangerous, or otherwise, would seem to depend upon a variety of circumstances. In some cases, it might be entirely safe; in others, not. The size and dimensions of the trench might affect it. The character of the soil would certainly have some influence. The presence of lime, stone, or quicksand, or of earth newly filled in, the moisture in the ground, and numerous other conditions might render such work more or less safe, or more or less hazardous. The state of the weather or the season of the year might have something to do with it. But all of these are matters of fact, about which there may be conflicting evidence, as in the instant case, calling for determination by a jury.

“Indeed, in the instant case, the fact that [Powell]’s work was done under the immediate supervision and direction of the defendant’s foreman would seem to be equivalent to an assurance that he might safely proceed with it. … When the foreman went to get his lunch, he left [Powell] at work in the trench, leveling the bottom or doing fine grading. He was therefore, at the time of leaving, in a better position than [Powell] to observe and appreciate the danger.

“The case was properly submitted to the jury.

“No error.”

Evan Powell’s death certificate. Cause: “Paralysis. Crushed by falling dirt while digging a ditch in town of Wilson; fractured vertebrae.” Powell was a native of Whiteville, Columbus County, in southeast North Carolina.

Snaps, no. 37: George H. Powell.

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George Henry Powell (1908-1992).

In the 1910 census of Town of Tarboro, Edgecombe County: laborer George Powell, 26; wife Mary, 25; and children Annie, 13, Viola, 6, Russel, 3, Johnny, 5, George H., 2, and Mattie, 2 months.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Bryant, 30; wife Annie, 30; children William, 16, farm laborer, and Elizabeth, 11; and nephew George Powell, 19, farm laborer.

On 24 November 1937, in Wilson, George Powell, 24, of Gardners, son of George Powell and Mary Jones, married Beatrice Hines, 23, of Gardners, daughter of Turner Hines and Rosa Hines.

George Henry Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 20 October 1912 in Edgecombe County; he resided at R.F.D. 4, Wilson; his contact was wife Beatrice Powell; and he was employed by William Mack Brown, R.F.D. 4, Wilson.

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George Henry Powell died 22 May 1992 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1910 in Edgecombe County to George Powell and Mary Cotton; resided at 1505 Queen Street Extension, Wilson; was married to Beatrice Hines Powell; and had worked as a carpenter.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user RogerBarron52.

1007 East Nash Street.

The seventieth 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 story; double shotgun with bungalow-type porch posts.”

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McBrayer Glenn S (c; Lillian) lawyer h 1007 E Nash. [The house is not listed in the 1930 census.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1007 East Nash Street, (1) paying $/11 month rent, Elizabeth Hardy, 29, husband Herman, 33, a “P.W.A.” laborer, and son Leroy, 5; and (2) also paying $11/month rent, Carter Powell, 42, stationary fireman for apartment building, and wife Anna, 35.

In 1940, Herman Hardy registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 8 December 1907 in Greene County; his contact was wife Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash; and he worked for Watson Tobacco Company, Wilson.

In 1940, Carter James Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 4 January 1899 in Nash County; his contact was Sylvester Powell, “no number” East Nash “near Gills Store”; and he worked for Dr. M.A. Pittman, Raleigh Highway, Wilson, who was a second contact.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hardy Mrs Eliz (c; nurse) 1007 E Nash

Virginia A. Jones died 3 July 1966 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1879 in Wilson County to Enos and Cherry Applewhite; had been a farmer; was the widow of Joseph Jones; and resided at 1007 East Nash. Informant was [daughter] Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Walter Jones died 31 November 1973 at home at 1007 East Nash, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 August 1921 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Virginia Applewhite; had been a cook; and was married to Nora Allen. Informant was sister Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Elmer Jones died 21 March 1975 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 January 1920 in Wilson County to Joseph Jones and Virginia Applewhite; had been a porter-electrician; had never married; and resided at 1007 East Nash. Informant was sister Elizabeth Hardy, 1007 East Nash.

Elizabeth Jones Hardy lived in her home at 1007 East Nash until she passed away in 2001.

 Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

“Wide A-wa-ake Lo-ove!” — the Wilson County roots of Tupac Shakur.

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Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-1996).

Via his maternal grandfather, Tupac Amaru Shakur had roots in Wilson County. He and his mother, Afeni Shakur, were descendants of Jack and Cassey Exum Sherrod, whose homestead was profiled here. Jack and Cassey Sherrod’s daughter Fannie married George Washington Powell, a native of northern Nash County. The couple and their children were tenant farmers or sharecroppers and moved often among the counties surrounding Wilson. Fannie and George Powell’s daughter Lena B. Powell married a Greene County native, Walter L. Williams, and this family also appear to have been sharecroppers in Wilson and bordering counties. Walter L. Williams Jr. married Rossie Bell McLellan of Robeson County, North Carolina, in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1944. The couple returned to North Carolina, where the future Afeni Shakur was born Alice Faye Williams in 1947.

——

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jack Sherard, 26, wife Cassey, 25, and daughter Fanny, 4.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherod, 37; wife Cassey, 28; and children Fanny, 12, William, 9, Ida, 7, Marcy, 2, John, 5, and Benny, 11 months.

On 18 October 1893, George Powell, 24, of Town of Wilson, son of Lawson and Lany Powell of Nash County, married Fannie Sherrod, 23, of Town of Wilson, daughter of Jack and Cassa Sherrod of Wilson County. A.M.E. Zion minister L.B. Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Rev. L.J. Melton, Rev. Fred M. Davis, and S.A. Smith.

In the 1900 census of North Whitakers township, Nash County: farmer George Powell, 33; wife Fannie, 20; and sons Earnest, 4, Sylvester, 3, and James C., 1.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer George W. Powell, 42; wife Fannie, 40; and children Earnest, 14, Sylvester, 12, Carter, 9, Lena, 8, Burser, 5, Ida, 3, and Bruss M., 2.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer George Powell, 51; wife Fannie, 51; and children Silvester, 22, Cartis, 20, Lena, 18, Bertha, 16, Ida, 14, and Fannie, 12.

On 31 March 1920, Carter Powell, 21, of Green County, son of George and Fannie Powell, married Anna Barnes, 18, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Harry and Rena Barnes, in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. George Powell witnessed the ceremony.

On 12 June 1921, Lena B. Powell, 21, of Saratoga, daughter of G.W. and Fannie Powell, married Walter Williams, 28, of Greene County, son of Henry and Sarah Williams, in Saratoga. Rev. E.H. Cox of U.A.F.W. church presided, and John Williams of Saratoga, H.T. Dillard of Wilson, and Mable Speight of Saratoga witnessed.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer George Powell, 60; wife Fannie, 60, washer woman; and children Bruce, 21, and Fannie, 16.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn Road, farmer Walter L. Williams, 37; wife Lena B., 29; and children Walter Jr., 8, Ernest H., 6, Lafaett, 3, Hattie M., 1, Ada G., 1, and sister-in-law Fannie I. Powell, 16.

George Powell died 18 August 1930 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1869 in Nash County to Lawson Powell and Lannie Taylor; was a farmer; was married to Fannie Powell. Informant was Robert Powell, Stantonsburg.

In the 1940 census of Great Swamp township, Wayne County: farmer Walter Williams, 48; wife Lena, 39; and children Walter Jr., 18, Ernest Hubert, 16, Lafayette, 14, Hettie May, 12, Ada Gold, 10, Juanita, 8, Sharon, 6, and Charles Ray, 9 months.

In 1942, Walter Williams Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Goldsboro, Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 April 1922 in Walstonburg, North Carolina; resided at 505 East Chapel Street, Goldsboro; his contact was mother Lena B. Williams, Route 1, Fremont, North Carolina; and his employer was Ossie Wiggs, Route 1, Goldsboro.

On 26 July 1944, Walter Williams Jr., 23, of Walstonburg, North Carolina, son of Walter Williams Sr. and Lena B. Powell, resident of Norfolk, married Rosabella McLellan, 26, of Rowland, North Carolina, daughter of Kenny McLellan and Rosa Lee Powell, resident of Portsmouth, in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Alice Faye Williams [later, Afeni Shakur] was born 10 January 1947 in Robeson County, North Carolina, to Rossie Bell McLelland and Walter Williams Jr.

Joseph Sylvester Powell died 13 July 1958 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1896 in Wayne County  to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; was unemployed; was married to Minnie Powell; lived at 108 Powell Street. Informant was Bertha Reid, Wilson.

Bertha Powell Reid died 6 June 1970 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 January 1904 to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; and resided at 118 Irma Street. Mrs. Fannie Burgess, 404 East Banks Street, Wilson, was informant.

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born 16 June 1971 in New York City. [His birth name was Lesane Crooks.]

Bruce Powell died 5 October 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 December 1906 to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; was a farmer; was married to Blonnie Sauls; and resided at 108 Powell Street.

Rev. Walter Larry Williams died 6 November 1973 in Kenly, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1893 to Henry and Sarah Williams. Informant was Mrs. Ada Jones, Kenly.

James Carter Powell died 13 October 1980 in Wilson Per his death certificate, he was born 4 January 1900 in Nash County to G.W. Powell and Fannie Sherrod; worked as a butler; and was a widower.

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Afeni Shakur (1947-2016).

Many thanks to Edith Lee Harris for bringing this connection to my attention.

Image of Tupac Shakur courtesy allhiphop.com, copyright holder unknown; image of Afeni Shakur (c) Associated Press, 2016.

 

 

Jones buys a mule.

On 17 December 1897, Thomas A. Jones purchased a bay mare mule from John Y. Moore for $75 on credit. Until Jones paid the full purchase price, title remained in Moore. On 7 January 1900, he satisfied his debt.

——

In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jno. A. Jones, 22; wife Susan, 19;  children Thomas, 2, and Jesse B., 7 months; and Rosett Boykin, 10.

In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Dempsy Powell, 52, farmer; wife Sallie, 46; daughter Susan A. Jones, 27, and her husband John A. Jones, 34; their children Thomas A., 13, Jessee B., 11, James A., 7, Celia C., 5, Sallie C., 4, and John A., 1; and W.D. Lucus, 21, laborer.

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas A. Jones, 32; [second] wife Mary, 25; and children Wesley, 11, Earnist, 9, William P., 7, Locus C., 7, Eppie, 3, Bell L., 5, Milbry, 3, and Roxey, 6 months, plus brother Sylvester Jones, 13.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Thomas Jones, 43; wife Ida, 36; and children Earnest, 19, William, 17, Bettie, 15, Milbrey, 12, and Maoma, 21, and grandchildren Wiley J., 3, and Elroy Jones, 3 months.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Sims Road, farmer Thomas A. Jones, 51; wife Mary I., 45; children Milbry T., 23, Andrew, 19, Leona, 17, James H., 14, Ollie, 9, Ida May, 7, Paul H., 5, and Jim Lawrence, 3; and granddaughter Bettie Lee, 4.

In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Jones, 61; wife Ida, 54; and children Leona, 27, Ollie, 19, Ida M., 17, Paul, 15, James, 13, and Willie, 8.

Thomas A. Jones died 20 February 1925 in Lucama, Springhill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 May 1868 in Wilson County to John Jones and Susie Powell; was a widower; had been married to Ida Jones; was a farmer. Informant was Earnest Jones of Bailey, N.C.

Deed book 46, page 90, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Four-part harmony.

The Gospel Four, circa 1940.

Like The Soul Stirrers, the Gospel Four were a quartet with five members. Founded in the Lucama area, the Gospel Four achieved local fame fed by their weekly radio show during the 1940s. Shown above, they were Jim Lawrence Jones, his brother Paul H. Jones, brothers Robert Powell and Russell Powell, and Eddie Finch, who was married to the Jones brothers’ sister Ida Mae.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 February 1947.

  • Jim Lawrence, Paul and Ida Mae Jones — Jim Lawrence Jones (1917-1976), Paul Henderson Jones, and Ida Mae Jones were children of Thomas and Mary Ida Bagley Jones.
  • Robert Powell — Robert (1908-1956) and David Russell Powell (1911-1990) were sons of David B. and Sarah Boykin Powell.
  • Eddie Finch — Nash County native Edward Finch (1909-1978), son of William and Mattie Finch, married Ida Mae Jones (1912-1986) in Johnston County, North Carolina, on 10 January 1931.

Photograph courtesy of Edith Jones Garnett. Thank you!