Reid

505 East Green Street.

The fortieth 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1908; 1 ½ stories; Roscoe Hall house; unusually narrow, two-bay house with gambrel roof and shed dormer; asphalt shingled; Hall was a butler.”

In the 1912 and 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories: Rountree Lucy (c) laundress h 504 E Green. John Rountree is also listed at the address — the prior house number — in 1912.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 504 East Green, Lucy Rountree, 70, “wash & iron”; granddaughter Alene Barnes, 13; and twelve lodgers [which hardly seems possible] Cleveland Sims, 35, oil mill laborer; house carpenters William Thomas, 19, and John Hinnant, 22; factory laborers Herbert Joyner, 24, and Edgar Wilkerson, 30; wagon factory laborer Nathan Woodard, 20; garage laborer Nathan Williams, 22; wagon factory Robert Night, 17; department store truck driver Roy Evins, 22; factory laborer James Ostan, 22; woodcutter John Ostan, 22; and house carpenter Macon Locon, 22.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $24/month, Lucy Roundtree, 80; her daughter Bertha King, 43, servant; and lodgers Della Jones, 47, maid, and Annie Coney, 28, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 505 East Green, rented for $20/month, veterinarian Elijah L. Reid, 78; wife Ietta R., 65; and daughter Odessa B., 30, a graduate nurse.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

1007 Washington Street.

The thirty-seventh 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 East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1930; 1 1/2 stories; gambrel-front house with two-bay facade and gabled porch; built by William Hines for tenants.”

In the 1930 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Fitts E Courtney (c), tchr Stantonsburg St Graded School h 1007 Washington; Fitts Howard M (c) (E Courtney) commander American Legion, Henry Ellis Post, h 1007 Washington

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1007 Washington Street, dry cleaner Oscar Reid, 41; wife Nora, 39, laundress; and children James O., 20, Cecil, 18, Percell, 16, Leotis, 14, Margarett, 7, Evangeline, 4, Eugene, 3, and Lettie Romaine, 2 months.

In the 1941 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Reid J Oscar (c; Nora; 5) clnr Service Laundry & Dry Clnrs h 1007 Washington.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.

Karl Fleming’s Wilson.

The Wilson Daily Times is the source of many of the newspaper articles posted at Black Wide-Awake. I am not unmindful of the racist over- and undertones of many of the clippings, especially those reporting alleged criminal activity. Nevertheless, they have value as imperfect documentation of the existence of so many African-Americans whose lives went otherwise unrecorded. Journalist Karl Fleming made his name covering the Civil Rights movement — most notably, Freedom Summer — for Newsweek magazine in the early 1960s. Fleming’s newspaper career began about 1947 at the Daily Times, which, in Son of the Rough South: An Uncivil Memoir (2005), he credits with introducing him to the brutal racist policies of his native state.

Fleming devotes several chapters to his time in Wilson. His behind-the-scenes explanation of the Times‘ race conventions is illuminating:

“The style of the Daily Times decreed that unmarried black women of whatever age be called ‘girl.’ A married ‘colored’ woman after being identified by her whole name, perhaps, perhaps Elsie Smith, in the first mention, would in succeeding graphs be called ‘the Smith woman.’ This avoided the honorifics ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs.’ being applied to colored women. Colored men, of course, were never referred to as ‘Mr.,’ not even on the full page that ran ever Saturday headlined ‘News of the Colored Community,’ which catalogued the doings of the colored Charles L. Darden [sic] High School, church and Sunday school events, marriages, funerals, and social clubs. Darden ran the colored funeral home and a colored insurance agency and was the colored community’s most substantial citizen.”

His physical description of the town remains recognizable in many ways, even in the water fountains have been dismantled:

“Wilson and the surrounding county was half white and half colored. The town squatted in the sweltering heart of the table-flat and sandy North Carolina coastal plain, throughout which tobacco was the main cash crop. In the center of town, in front of a marble courthouse with six fluted Doric columns, two magnolia trees, and a confederate statue, were ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ water fountains.”

“The old train depot, the faded brick six-story Cherry Hotel alongside it, and the tracks of the Atlantic Coast Line railroad separated these black and white worlds.”

“What the colored people across the tracks may actually have felt about segregation in general and separate schools specifically no one in the white world knew. It was simply assumed that what they said to the white people was true — that they were content with the status quo. The pillars of the black community, the ministers and school teachers and the owners of the few colored businesses allowed to exist because whites wanted nothing to do with them — such as restaurant, beauty parlors, barber shops, funeral homes, pool halls, and juke joints patronized entirely by colored people — did not publicly protest or resist. There seemed to be among them a seeming general air of good-natured acceptance. When one of them excelled, or died, it was said that “he was a credit to his race,” suggesting that ordinary blackness was a debit somehow.”

Fleming exaggerates the uniform decrepitude of East Wilson’s building stock. As this blog has amply demonstrated, East Wilson was a lot more than shotgun rentals in need of whitewash. There were certainly a fair number of those though.

“The colored community was a close-packed warren of gray unpainted shotgun shacks rented from white landlords on dirt alleys across the railroad tracks. Its only paved roads were Nash Street, becoming Highway 41 [91] going east into the country towards the coast, and U.S. 301 going north and south, the principal highway from New York to Miami. Its inhabitants were for the most part menials of every sort, field hands on the surrounding tobacco farms, manual laborers for the city and county maintenance departments, and unskilled workers in the tobacco warehouses and wholesale packing houses.”

And then this observation, followed by a truism:

“Few white people ventured into ‘niggertown.’ … The arrival of a white man could mean nothing good. He was either ‘the law,’ a bill collector, or someone selling something — usually life of burial insurance.”

Fleming also offers a reporter’s assessment of (and white Wilson’s take on) the trial of Allen T. Reid, who was sentenced to death in 1949 for burglary.

 

Ada Harris Reid Sharpe, 101.

Ada H. Sharpe, of Charlotte, born December 5, 1908 in Wilson County, NC, died peacefully at Sunrise Senior Living Facility, August 21, 2010 – just 3 1/2 months short of her 102nd birthday. A graduate of Fayetteville State teachers College, she taught primary grades in several of Wilson County’s two-room Rosenwald Schools and the first of its three Black consolidated high schools, Speight, for over 39 years. Moreover, she was active in numerous civic organizations, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and volunteered at OIC and Wilson Memorial Hospital for over 12 years after retirement.

God blessed her marital union in 1933 with Willie Gorham Reid, Sr. (died 1963), a successful barber, with 1 son, Rev. Dr. Willie Gorham Reid, Jr., a Presbyterian minister, who preceded her in death in 1990. In 1972 she married a successful farmer, entrepreneur, financier and well-known civil rights activist Mark B. Sharpe (died in 2009 at age 98); from this union she gained 9 adopted children – Barbara, Rudolph, Eugene, Trumilla, Dorothy, Earnestine, Betty, David, and Gail, who died in 1995. It was providential that she taught Mark’s 7 older children in primary school and had the joy of also nurturing and mothering them in their adult life. A praying and deeply spiritual servant-teacher for God, she was the oldest living member of Jackson Chapel Baptist Church, having been baptized there over 73 years ago by Rev. B.F. Jordan. In 2005 when she and Mark moved to Sunrise Assisted Living in Charlotte, they chose to become members of Indian Hill A.M.E. Zion Church, and their daughter, the Rev. Dr. Dorothy Sharpe Johnson, became their pastor. Other living relatives include a nephew, Theodore (Estelle) Artis; a niece, Minister Jacqueline (Earl) Hill; many cousins, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Sharpe’s memorial service will be held at Long and Son Mortuary Chapel, 2312 Beatties Ford Road, Wednesday, 7-8 p.m. The funeral will be held at Jackson Chapel Baptist Church in Wilson, corner of Nash and Pender Streets, Thursday, with her pastor, Dr. Dorothy S. Johnson, preaching the eulogy. The visitation hour will be from 11-12 noon and the burial will be in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Published in Charlotte Observer, 23 August 2010. Obituary online here.

——

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Leander Harris, 24, wife Lucy, 27, and daughter Ada, 1.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Leander Harris, 33; wife Lucy, 35; and daughters Ada, 11, Rosa, 9, Daisy, 7, and Ida, 5.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Leander Harris, 44; wife Lucy, 48; and daughters Ada E., 21, schoolteacher, Rosa, 20, Davie, 18, and Ida, 15.

On 30 November 1933, Gorham Reid, 30, of Greene County, son of Bill and Bettie Reid, married Ada Harriss, 25, of Black Creek, daughter of Leander and Rosa Harriss. Elder Primitive Baptist minister Paul Bunch performed the ceremony at L.H. Harriss’ in the presence of David Bynum, G.S. Woodard and S.L. Woodard.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Willie Reid, 36, and wife Ada, 31, schoolteacher.

 

Town business.

861918.jpg

Wilson Daily Times, 6 August 1918.

Among business considered the first week of August 1918 by Wilson’s town commissioners were matters raised by:

  • J.D. Reid, who requested that the city install lighting at the corner of Green and Hackney Streets
  • Rev. Alfred L.E. Weeks, who, pleading cashflow problems, requested an extension of time for the A.M.E. Zion church to pay the city for installing “closets,” i.e. toilets
  • Henry Tart, who requested an increase in the fees he charged for hauling baggage.
  • The colored fire department (the Red Hots), who requested funding for firemen’s tournaments.

Teachers College graduates.

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Fayetteville State Teachers College Catalog 1944-45 (1944).

The 1944 graduating class of Fayetteville State Teachers College included Clyde Joan Dickerson, Nora Allen Mitchell and Helen Elveta Reid, all of whom graduated Darden High School in 1938. In addition, their FSTC classmate Azzalee Mallette of Wilmington, North Carolina, married Alvis A. Hines, Darden ’37, in Wilson on 5 April 1952.

 

 

Dedications.

The Trojan (1948).

Isaac Albert Shade registered for the World War I draft in Wilson on 12 September 1918. Per his draft card, he lived at 110 Pender Street, Wilson; was born 17 May 1876; was a self-employed druggist at 530 East Nash Street, Wilson; and wife Estella Shade was his nearest relative.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 535 Nash Street, Turner Stokes, 50, carpenter; wife Morah, 39; mother-in-law Martha Pitt, 83; and boarders Isac Shade, 44, drugstore manager; wife Estella, 38; and children Kenneth, 13, and Sarah, 9.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Green Street, drugstore owner Dr. I.A. Shade, 63; wife Estelle, 54, city school teacher; niece Myrtle Lane, 23, county school teacher, and nephew George Lane, 21, drugstore clerk; and roomers Louisa [illegible], county school teacher, Vera Green, 18, housekeeper, and Catherine Ward, 20, county school teacher.

Estelle L. Shade died 15 June 1961 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 October 1880 in Pocomoke City, Maryland, to William Lane and Maria Waters; was widowed; and had been a school teacher. Sarah L. Shade was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 June 1961.

——

The Trojan (1949).

On 18 October 1899, J. Daniel Reid, 25, of Wayne County, married Elenor P. Frederick, 22, of Duplin County, in Warsaw, Duplin County. Minister of the Gospel G.L. Clark performed the ceremony in the presence of John A. Croom, Maud M. Frederick and Mrs. H.E. Hogan.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: graded school principal James Reid, 36; wife Elanor, 32, teacher; and children Bruce, 7, James D., 5, and Thelma, 1.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Judge D. Reid, 47, wife Elenora P., 41, and children Bruce P., 17, James D., 15, Thelma R., 11, Carl F., 7, and Herbert O., 4.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: banker Judge D. Reid, 52, public school principal Elnora Reid, 50, sons Fredrick, 17, and Herbert, 14, and lodger Edwin D. Fisher, 36, a studio photographer. The house was owned free of mortgage and valued at $6000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Sally Barbour School principal Eleanor P. Reid, 62, is listed with five roomers, Margaret Kornegay, 28,  Sallie Mae Johnson, 29, Elworth Sadler, 30, Amanda Daniel, 26, and Martha Johnson, 32. All were teachers at Darden High School or Sallie Barbour Elementary School. Reid owned the house free of mortgage, and it was valued at $8000. [Eleanor was described as married, but her husband J.D. was not listed in the household and has not been discovered elsewhere.]

Wilson Daily Times, 5 December 1958.

C.H. Darden High School published its first yearbook, The Trojan, in 1948. Digital copies may be found at 

Elizabeth Wilson Reid.

Bettie Reid 12 4 1947

Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1947. 

Elizabeth “Bettie” Wilson Reid was born about 1864 in near Eureka in northern Wayne County to John and Zilpha Artis Wilson. The Artises, Wilsons and Reids were free families of color. [Zilpha A. Reid was a sister of Adam T. Artis (and Bettie was first cousin of Josephine Artis Sherrod.)] On 27 December 1882, Bettie Wilson married William Reid at her father Jack Wilson’s house in Wayne County. [William Reid was a cousin of Elijah and J.D. Reid.] They had ten children, Pinkney Reid, Hattie Reid Exum, Maggie Reid, Milton Curtis Reid, Iantha Reid Neal Braswell, Council Troy Reid, William Sylvester Reid, Loumiza Reid Cooper, Willie Gorham Reid and Mater Reid Winstead, at least six of whom settled in Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Saratoga Road, tenant farmer William Reid, 63; wife Bettie, 52; and daughter Iantha M., 25; sons Council, 23, and Vester, 21; Vester’s wife Hattie, 19; son Gorum, 17; daughter Mater, 14; daughter(?) Marion, 7; and son(?) Melab(?), 1.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer Willie Gorham [sic], 27; mother Bettie Reid, 65; niece Marion, 17; and nephew Abraham, 11.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: widowed farmer Iantha Braswell, 46; and children Abraham Neal, 21, and Randolph, 15, Nona Bell, 13, Mavis, 12, Bettie R., 10, and widowed mother Bettie Reed, 75.

Bettie Reid died 2 December 1947 at home at 1011 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of William Reid; was born 1 August 1874 in Wayne County to Jack Wilson and Zilphia Artis. Informant was Loumiza Artis Cooper, and C.E. Artis [Bettie’s first cousin] was undertaker.

Iantha Braswell died 9 May 1955 in Wilson. Per her death certificated, she resided at 719 Stantonsburg Street; was a widow; was born 10 September 1892 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson. She was buried 15 May 1955 in Turner Swamp cemetery, Wayne County. Informant was Nonnie Braswell of Wilson.

Vester Reid died 27 October 1956 at Mercy Hospital after being struck by an automobile on the highway near Stantonsburg, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he resided at 502 East Green Street; was married to Hattie Reid; was born 7 March 1897 to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; and was buried 30 October 1956 at Reid family cemetery in Eureka, Wayne County.

Pinkney Reid died 30 November 1961 at his residence at 504 North Vick Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 July 1881 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was married to Matilda Reid; was a farmer; and was buried at Turner Swamp cemetery, Wayne County. [Pinkney Reid was the father of Allen T. Reid.]

Willie Ghorum Reid died 28 February 1963 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 1013 East Nash Street; worked as a barber at William Hines‘ Barber Shop; was married to Ada Reid; was born 12 August 1902 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Council Troy Reid died 29 August 1951 in Walstonburg, Greene County.  Per his death certificate, he was a widowed farmer; was born 21 July 1885 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was a World War I veteran; and was buried 2 September 1951 in Bethel cemetery, Stantonsburg. Informant was Knowless Reid Dupree.

Mater Reid Winstead died 5 January 1979 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 31 March 1906 in Wilson County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was widowed; and was buried in Bethel cemetery, Stantonsburg.

Loumiza Reid Cooper died 26 June 1988 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 January 1900 to William Reid and Bettie Wilson in Wayne County and had worked as a laundry operator.