The pandemic has shuttered Vanilla Powell Beane‘s millinery shop, but could not stop her from creating a hat especially for Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri. Now This Politics delivers the take:
In August 1912, 17 year-old Nash County boy Lieutenant Hawkins was found stabbed to death on his employer Iredell Williams’ farm near the Wilson County line. His body had lain in a pasture overnight. The Wilmington Morning Star reported that two men, Paul Powell and Oscar Eatmon, were quickly arrested.
Eatmon was convicted “of having something to do with the killing.” (What?) He served five years in state prison and returned to Wilson. Meanwhile, Paul Powell’s brother Dempsey Powell, also involved in the incident, left the state. When he returned in May 1939 for one of his brothers’ funeral, he was arrested and charged with Hawkins’ murder.
Wilson Daily Times, 27 May 1939.
A mere five days later, the Nashville Graphic reported that Powell had been acquitted. Eatmon was the star witness. Eatmon, Hawkins, Powell and others had argued on their way home from church. A fight broke out, and Hawkins was slain. Eatmon was taken into custody as a witness, but “at a preliminary hearing talked too much and was arrested in connection with the crime.” Powell returned to North Carolina about 1933 and saw and talked to Eatmon, but Eatmon had not reported him. When Powell came back in 1939, Eatmon alerted authorities.
All good until cross examination. Defense attorney I.T. Valentine confronted Eatmon with a sworn statement from the 1912 trial record. Eatmon had testified then that another boy, named Wiggins, had stabbed Hawkins, and Powell had only pulled Wiggins off the victim. After reviewing this bombshell, the judge directed a “not guilty” verdict, and Powell’s ordeal was over.
- Dempsey Powell — in the 1900 census of Jackson township, Nash County, N.C.: Ichabod Powell, 50, farmer; wife Mary A., 50; children Mary A., 20, Martha, 18, Joseph, 16, Margarett, 14, Geneva, 12, Billie P., 11, Dempsey H., 9, and Paul J., 6; and nephew Henry Lassiter, 28. In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer William T. Powell, 38; wife Mary, 21; brother-in-law Dempsie, 16; and sister-in-law Martha, 6. On 14 February 1912, Dempsey Powell, 19, of Old Fields township, son of Tom and Clarky Powell, married Bessie Hedgpeth, 18, of Oldfields township, daughter of Dock and Clara Hedgpeth, in Wilson County. [Is this the same Dempsey?]
- Paul Powell — Paul Powell died 21 July 1966 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 May 1894 in Nash County to Jabe [Ichabod] Powell and Mary Ann Lancaster [Lassiter]; lived at 1304 Carolina Street; and was never married.
- Oscar Eatmon — in the 1910 census of Jackson township, Nash County, Oscar Eatmon is a 16 year-old farm laborer living with his widower father Jarman Eatmon.
- Lieutenant Hawkins — in the 1910 census of Jackson township, Nash County, Lieutenant Hawkins is a 14 year-old farm laborer living with his parents Bynum and Julia Hawkins.
- I.T. Valentine — Itimous Thaddeus Valentine, later an associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Wilson Daily Times, 11 September 1945.
I have not been able to identify Anne Powell or her mother.
The one-hundred-twenty-fourth 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, this building is: “ca. 1922; 1 story; Alf McCoy house; Queen Anne cottage with hip roof and double-pile plan; evidence of original turned posts and patterned-tin roof.”
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: McCoy Alfred (c) lab h Reid betw Carolina & E Green
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Town of Wilson laborer Alfa McCoy, 43; wife Florence, 40; widowed mother-in-law Adline King, 78; sister-in-law Mattie Mercer, 30; and roomers Leroy Mercer, 35, Town of Wilson laborer, Silvester Mercer, 15, and Dempsey Mercer, 1.
The 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map, detail below, shows only three houses on North Reid between Carolina and Green Streets. As indicated in the 1916 city directory, Queen Street had not been cut through yet. The house thus appears to be a few years older than estimated in the nomination form.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 404 Reid Street, owned and valued at $2000, Alford McCoy, 53, fertilizer company laborer, and wife Florance, 52, laundry.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 404 Reid Street, owned and valued at $2000, Alfred McCoy, 72, “not able” to work, and wife Florence, 60, washing.
Alfred McCoy died 5 November 1953 at his home at 404 North Reid Street. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 September 1875 in Edgecombe County to Alexander McCoy and Ellen [last name unknown]; was married; and worked as a laborer for the Town of Wilson. Informant was Florence McCoy
In her 3 October 1955 will, filed after her death in Wilson County Superior Court, Florence McCoy left her house at 404 North Reid Street to her neighbor John H. Jones.
Florence McCoy died 21 August 1956 at her home at 404 North Reid Street. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1883 in Nash County to Berry King and was a widow. Informant was John H. Jones, 405 North Reid Street.
William “Bill” Pharaoh Powell died 23 July 1963 at his home at 404 North Reid Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 February 1891 in Wilson County to Echabud Powell and Mary Ann Lassiter; was married to Margaret H[agans] Powell; and worked as a laborer.
Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1928.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brothers James Powell, 24, and Henry Powell, 22, both farm laborers.
In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Powell Henry (c) laborer h 136 Manchester; also, Powell James (c) laborer h 136 Manchester
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Powell, 33, farm laborer; wife Martha, 28; daughters Mattie B., 4, and Charity, 1; and lodger Henry Powell, 32, farm laborer.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Powell Henry (c) fireman h East nr Nash
On 6 November 1912, Henry Powell, 34, married Sarah E. Hagans, 25, at the bride’s house in Wilson. Primitive Baptist elder Jonah Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Dempsey Lassiter, Alus Harris, and Charles Parker.
In the 1920 census of Jackson township, Nash County: on Raleigh and Tarboro Road, farmer Henry Powell, 43; wife Sarah, 35; and children Eva, 16, Hallah, 13, Mildred, 11, John, 8, Maso, 6, Ruth, 5, Annie B., 3, Charlie L., 2, and Millie, 3, months.
Cora Miller Powell died 13 November 1926 in Jackson township, Nash County. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 September 1926 in Nash County to Henry Powell and Sarah Hagans, both of Wilson County; and was buried in Nash County. Henry Powell was informant.
Henry Powell died 29 September 1928 in Jackson township, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was born November 1877 in Wilson County to Ichabod Powell and Mary Ann Lassiter; was married to Sarah Powell; was a farmer; and was buried in Nash County.
Sarah Powell filed for letters of administration in Nash County Superior Court on 9 October 1928. His estate was estimated at $5500, of which $4500 was land. His heirs were his wife and children Ruth Powell, Geneva Woodard, Mahala Powell, J.H. Powell, Mildred Powell, Maso Powell, Annie Belle Powell, Christine Powell, Charles L. Powell, Irene Powell, Freeman Powell, Junius Powell, and Lorenzo Powell.
Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.
Eddie C. Powell (1892-1968).
In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer David Powel, 35; wife Sallie, 27; and children Eddie, 8, Rosa, 5, Henry, 4, and Joseph, 1.
In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Edward C. Powell, 17, and wife Nellie B., 17.
In 1917, Eddie C. Powell registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1892 in Wilson County; lived near Sims; was a self-employed farmer; and had a wife and four children.
In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on Old Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer Eddie C. Powell, 27; wife Nellie, 27; and children Beula M., 9, Sallie M., 7, Willard, 6, Rosa Lee, 4, and Johnie, 8 months.
In the 1930 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Williard Powell, 17, farmer; mother Nellie, 37; siblings Beula, 20, Rosie, 14, Johnie, 11, Hattie, 8, Pattie, 8, Betrice, 7, and Earnest T., 3; plus sons(?) E.C. Jr., 5, and James R., 2.
In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: on K Street NE, Beula M. Powell, 28, maid; siblings Willard, 25, lunchroom bar tender, Rosa L., 24, lunchroom waitress, John, 21, club busboy, and Pattie L., 19, maid; nephew Willie T. Powell, 8; sister Hattie L. Warren, 19, maid, and her children Melton T., 2, and Barbara J., 7 months; father Eddie C. Powel, 50, drugstore porter; and lodgers Beatrice Smith, 17, and Issac Brown, 30, W.P.A. sewer project laborer. Per the census, in 1935, Beula, Rosa, Pattie, Eddie and Beatrice had been living in Washington, D.C.; Willard in Newport News, Virginia; John and Hattie in Wilson; Willie in Philadelphia; and Isaac in Richmond, Virginia.
In 1942, Eddie Conner Powell registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1895 in Wilson, N.C.; resided at 1859 California Street, N.W., Washington; his contact was Sally Powell of the same address; and he worked for Peoples Drug Store #128, Bethesda, Maryland.
Eddie C. Powell died in September 1968 in Washington, D.C.
Photo courtesy of Ancestry user Eva Renee Powers.
Nathan Hines made out his will just three weeks before his death.
In the 1870 census of Cokey township, Edgecombe County: Nathan Hines, 22, farm laborer; wife Maria, 22; and [parents] George, 80, and Morning Hines, 65.
In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Nathan Hines, 31; wife Mariah, 31; and children Marion, 8, Dora, 6, Ella, 3, and Frank, 2.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson township: day laborer Nathan Hines, 52; wife Mariah, 52; and children Dora, 24, Georgianna, 14, Ella, 22, and Julia, 13.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 127 Suggs, odd jobs laborer Nathan Hines, 62, widower; son Marion, 32, and [son-in-law] Dossey, 25, both public school teachers, Georgia, 27, and granddaughter Josephine, 2.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 127 Suggs Street, Nathan Hines, 72, widower; daughter Ella Powell, 38; son-in-law Dorsey Powell, 34, mail clerk; nephews [Hines’ grandsons] Chauncey, 15, and Graham Bynum, 11; and [grand]sons Onessimus, 6, and Columbus Powell, 1.
Nathan Hines died 29 March 1925 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 77 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to George Hines and Mourning Gabs; worked as a common laborer; lived at 614 Suggs; and was buried at “Mason cemetery,” Wilson.
Marion Hines died 10 December 1927 in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 April 1872 in North Carolina to Nathan Hines and Maria Bynum; was married; and worked as a painted. Orneida G. Hines was informant.
[Sidenote: Hines’ property at 614 Suggs Street, next to Oakdale cemetery, now lies under a housing development.]
Nathan Hines Will (1925), Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
Ed. Powell and Thomas Mercer gave bond for a marriage license for Ed. Powell and Mary Jones on 14 August 1848 in Nash County. The couple likely lived in a section of Nash that would be incorporated into Wilson County in 1855.
Nineteen years later, on 10 October 1867, John Allen Jones, son of Edwin Powell and Mary Jones, married Susan Simpson, daughter of Sallie Simpson, at Margarett Simpson‘s house in Wilson County.
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. [Sallie Simpson married Dempsey Powell in Wilson County in 1855. The family appears in the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: turpentine worker Dempsey Powell, 30; wife Sallie, 28; and Susan Simpson, 9.]
Many thanks to Edith Garnett Jones for this copy of the Powell-Jones marriage license.
We examined the will of free man of color Nathan Blackwell here, in which he left his estate to sons Nathan, Exum, and Josiah Blackwell and named Asberry Blackwell as his executor. Nathan directed Asberry, who was probably his brother, to “take Andrew and see to his labor for my children to the best advantage also take my children and take care of them.”
Andrew was an enslaved man.
Nathan Blackwell died sometime in 1846 in a section of eastern Nash County that is now Wilson County. His personal assets were sold on 16 August 1846, and buyers included his relatives Peter Blackwell and Drucilla Blackwell, as well as Stephen and Josiah Powell, who were likely relatives of his deceased wife Jincey Powell Blackwell. Willis Jones was listed among debtors to the estate.
Nathan Blackwell’s orphaned sons were minors. Ordinarily, they would have been placed with a white family via involuntary apprenticeship. However, their father’s estate had assets, and a couple of white men, Jarman Eatman and Mabry H. Hinnant, took turns as their guardian. Exum seems to have died not long after his father
As requested, “negro Andrew” was hired out and his lease fee applied to Blackwell’s estate for the benefit of his boys. Jesse Simpson, for example, hired him for about 54 dollars on credit in the year 1848.
Nathan Blackwell Estate Records (1846), Nash County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
About 1857, as Benjamin Simpson took stock of his son’s estate, he prepared a list of notes owed to Jesse Simpson. Several free people of color, all neighbors of the Simpsons, are listed among the debtors.
- “1 note against Silas Laseter for 7.17 on the mande from intrust from the date given the 1 of Febraury 1855″ — In the 1860 census of Wilson district, Wilson County: farmer Silas Lassiter, 38; wife Orpie, 34; children Sallie, 12, Mary, 11, James, 9, John, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Penina, 4, Hardy, 3, Silas, 1, and George, 2 months; and Delpha Simpson, 14.
- “1 acount against Jo Jones for 6.00″ — in the 1860 census of Wilson district, Wilson County: Joseph Jones, 40, turpentine; wife Zillah, 34; and children Milly, 17, Jesse, 10, Nathan, 8, and Frances and Lenora, 6.
- “1 acount against William Jones for 2.50″ — in the 1860 census of Oldfields district, Wilson County, either: William Jones, 35, making turpentine, and wife Mary, 37, domestic, in the household of farmer Jethro Harrison, 31, or, more likely, William Jones, 20, mulatto, farm laborer; Mahaly Jones, 17, domestic; John Locus, 10; Mary Jones, 35, domestic; John, 10, and Josiah Jones, 6; all mulatto; in the household of farmer Elizabeth Simpson, 30.
The list of “book accounts” included:
- Penne Powel — probably Penelope Taborn Powell, the wife of Calvin Powell, see below.
- Wilis Jones — in the 1860 census of Oldfields district, Wilson County: Willis Jones, 62, black, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 51, mulatto; and children Henry, 20, Alexander, 17, Noel, 16, Willis, 12, Paton, 10, Burthany, 7, Sarah, 13, and James, 10.
- Calvin Powel — In the 1860 census of Black Creek district, Wilson County: Calvin Powell, 35, teamster; wife Penelope, 30; and children Jefferson, 12, Cidney, 10, and Calvin, 6. Next door: Dempsey Powell, 30, turpentine; wife Sallie, 28; and Susan, 9.
- Dempsy Powel — see above.
- Asbary Blackwell — in the 1860 census of Kirby’s district, Wilson County: Asberry Blackwell, 45, turpentine laborer, wife Nancy, 30, farm laborer, and children Charity, 14, Drucilla, 9, Albert, 7, Appy, 7, Zilpha, 4, Obedience, 3, and Asberry, 2 months.
- Alin Powel — in the 1870 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Calvin Powell, 49; William Powell, 4; and Allen Powell, 79, basket maker. [William and Allen Powell were described as white; Calvin, as mulatto.]
- Stephen Powel — in the 1860 census of Winsteads township, Nash County: 50 year-old Stephen Powell; wife Cyntha, 45; and children Gray, 21, Dollerson, 17, Queenanah, 13, Crocket, 12, Matchum, 10, and Frances, 8.
- Lige Powel Ju. — Elijah Powell Jr. Probably, in the 1860 census of Wilson district, Wilson County: John Valentine, 32, engineer, with Elijah Powell, 23, and Josiah Blackwell, 21, sawmill laborers.
North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], ancestry.com.