In June 1928, a Atlantic Coast Line railroad worker spotted a grievously wounded elderly man lying by the tracks. He flagged a train, and the “injured negro” was taken to the company’s hospital almost twenty miles north in Rocky Mount. He died. Two days later, the Wilson Daily Times reported the death of “Uncle Dortch.”
So did his death certificate.
Though he lived at the Wilson County Home, also known as “the poorhouse,” no one seemed to know Uncle Dortch’s surname. I regret that I have not been able to restore it to him.
“Fractured Skull (found by side of R.R. track near Wilson)”
Henry Peacock was killed in a particularly gruesome train accident in 1896.
In the 1870 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Moses Peacock, 42; wife Hagar, 30; and Charles, 10, Matilda, 9, Green, 7, Roxy, 5, Caroline, 16, Lucetta, 2, and Henry Peacock, 13.
In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Henry Peacock, 24; wife Courtney, 25; daughters Hettiroe, 4, and Naroe, 2; and stepmother Celia Thompson, 50.
Peacock’s land in Cross Roads township was mentioned in the notice of an action to sell a tract belonging to the estate of George Thompson.
Wilson Advance, 20 March 1890.
A week after her husband’s terrible death, Courtney Peacock appealed to justice of the peace W.R. Davis to appoint two disinterested people to assess Henry Peacock’s estate and apportion to her the year’s support to which she was entitled by law. Davis appointed Larry Lucas and Amos Atkinson and made this notation on the back of their summons:
She is entitled to 300$ as years support for herself and 100$ each for any child under 15 years of age — to be set apart out of all the personal estate of the dec’d. including crop now growing — which crops must be valued as correct as possible.
Courtney Peacock had eight dependents, though, and the value of her husband’s estate was only $432.50.
Henry Peacock’s widow Courtney died within a few years, leaving their children orphaned. In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer [illegible] Peacock, 18; and siblings Nerroe, 21, James P., 20, Amos H., 15, Georg A., 7, and Nettie, 5; plus grandmother Celia Thompson, 80.
Georgia Barnes died 28 December 1929 in Lucama, Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 38 years old; was married to Junious Barnes; was born in Wilson County to Henry and Cortna Peacock; and was buried in the Peacock graveyard.
Anderson Peacock died 24 September 1933 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1883 in Lucama to Henry Peacock and Courtney Thompson; was the widower of Pattie Dawson; was a tenant laborer; and was “found dead in field no sign of foul play.” Abie Reid was informant.
Nero Bains died 3 February 1942 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 30 June 1878 in Wilson County to Henry Pickup and Codney [last name unknown]; was the widow of John Bains; and was buried in Bickup cemetery near Lucama.
James P. Peacock died 3 March 1942 in Fremont, Nahunta township, Wayne County. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 November 1880 in Wilson County to Henry Peacock and Cedney [last name unknown], both of Wilson County; was a wage hand; was married to Minnie Belle Peacock; and was buried in Bains cemetery near Lucama.
Nellie Reid died 19 December 1949 in Great Swamp township, Wayne County. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 March 1889 to Henry and Courtney Peacock; was married; and was buried in Watson cemetery.
Henry Peacock Estate Records (1896), Wilson County, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.