Pete Randolph registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 22 June 1914 in Edgecombe County; lived on R.F.D. #1, Elm City; his contact was wife Easter Esther Randolph; and he worked “farming with Mrs. C. Parker” near Elm City.
In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm operator Pete Randolph, 25; wife Easter, 21; and sons Eddie Morris, 5, Pete Jr., 4, and James E., 1. Pete, Easter and Eddie Randolph had lived in Pitt County in 1935.
Like many who operated “cabarets” — Negro or not — Herbert Woodard supplied adult beverages to clients who sought them. Wilson was a dry county, however, and “liquor by the drink” was unlawful.
[Illegal or not, corrupt police “allowed” liquor sales by a handful of bootleggers who were expected to pay for the privilege. Herbert Woodard’s repeated arrests suggest that he was either unwilling to make payoffs or was not among the chosen few.]
This nasty bit of “news” is a sample of the gratuitous racism that permeated Josephus Daniels‘ News & Observerin the Jim Crow era. Daniels had grown up in and gotten his journalistic start in Wilson and undoubtedly knew all the involved parties well.
Benjamin Woodard, a notorious folk doctor in Wilson County, had been arrested on unclear charges (probably involving bootlegging liquor) and hauled into federal court in Raleigh. Several notable white Wilsonians showed up to serve as counsel and character witnesses, including brothers and law partners Frederick A. Woodard (a former United States Congressman) and Sidney A. Woodard (a state congressman). The Woodards were described as Ben Woodard’s former owners, though F.A. had been a child and S.A. an infant at war’s end. Ben’s owner, then, had been their father, Dr. Stephen Woodard of Black Creek, Wilson County. F.A. requested a nolle prosequi (“nol. pros.”), which is odd, as this is generally a motion made by a prosecutor who wishes to drop charges. The District Attorney here politely indicated his unwillingness to make such a request, but the judge cheerfully entered it anyway. Thus Dr. Ben benefitted from ties forged in slavery and earned an insulting article in the state’s newspaper of record.
Coot Robbins — on 18 March 1912, Coot Robbins, 29, married Hennie Harris, 27, in Wilson.
Junius Peacock — in the 1912 Wilson city directory: Peacock Junius cook h[ome] Chestnut
Mark Sharpe — likely, in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Road, tobacco factory laborer Mack Sharpe, 43, wife Katie, 29, and children Harvey, 12, Willard C., 10, Earnest, 8, Samson, 6, Nellie B., 3, and Elexander, 1. In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Savage Mack butler h[ome w Nash ne Lucas av