A lucky find.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 October 1925.


On 31 January 1910, Fletcher Bowling, 34, of Wilson, married Lucy Barnes, 25, of Wilson, daughter of Rhoda Barnes, in Wilson. Holiness minister Leroy Wiggins performed the ceremony in the presence of William King, Bertha Wiggins, Lemuel Hargett, and Elder J.R. Beamon of Mount Olive.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Walnut Street, Fletcher Bowling, 34, and wife Lucy, 25.

George Fletcher Bowling registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he lived on Mercer Street, Wilson; was born 8 August 1975; worked as a plumber’s helper for J.R. Hinton, Tarboro Street; and his nearest relative was Maria Bowling, Simpsonville, Greenville County, South Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fletcher Bowling, 45, plumber; wife Lucy, 40, tobacco factory laborer; and daughter Ruby, 18 months.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 508 Spruce Street, paying $16/month in rent, Fletcher Bowling, 54, city sewer laborer; wife Lucy, 54; and daughter Ruby, 12.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 407 Spring Street Alley, Fletcher Bowling, 66; wife Lucy, 56; daughter-in-law Ruby Powell, 22, retrying tobacco factory laborer; and grandchildren Billy and Bobby, 5, and Edna Earl, 4.

Fletcher Bowling died 25 December 1940 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1878 in South Carolina to George F. Bowling and Mariah Smith; was married to Lucy Bowling; was a common laborer; lived at 407 Spring Street Alley; and was buried in Masonic Cemetery.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Iredell County Chronicles, no. 3.

Just months after Eugene B. Drake bought her in 1863, 23 year-old Rebecca was gone. Desperate to recoup his investment, Drake posted this remarkably detailed reward notice in newspapers well beyond Statesville. After precisely noting her physical features, Drake noted that Rebecca was “an excellent spinner” and “believed to be a good weaver, and said she was a good field hand.” (He had not had the chance to see for himself.) Rebecca may have helped herself to the products of her own labor, carrying away several dresses, as well as “new shoes.” Drake had purchased her from one of Richmond’s notorious slave dealers, but she was from Milton, in Caswell County, North Carolina, just below the Virginia line and southeast of Danville. There, Rebecca had been torn from her child and other relatives. Drake believed she was following the path of the newly opened North Carolina Railroad, which arced from Charlotte to Goldsboro, perhaps to seek shelter with acquaintances near Raleigh. He offered a $150 reward for her arrest and confinement.

Daily Progress (Raleigh, N.C.), 23 November 1863.

A year later, Drake was again paying for newspaper notices, this time for the return of his “slave man” Milledge, also called John, who had also absconded in new clothes and shoes. Drake again provided precise a physical description of the man, down to his slow, “parrot-toed” walk. Milledge/John had procured counterfeit free papers and a travel pass, and Drake believed he was aiming 200 miles south to Augusta, Georgia, probably on trains. 

Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, N.C.), 28 December 1864.

I don’t know whether Drake recaptured either Rebecca or Milledge/John. If he did, the rewards he paid were money wasted. The Confederacy surrendered in April 1865, and thereafter he owned no one.

Newlywed robbed and abandoned.

The mayor of Wilson offered a fifty-dollar reward for the recovery of Carrie Cooper Pettiford’s money.

Wilson Advance, 26 January 1893.

  • J.E. Pettiford — John E. Pettiford, a Wilson resident and Granville County native, son of John and Louisa Pettiford, married Carrie Cooper of Wilson on 20 December 1892.
  • Carrie Cooper Pettiford

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Carrie Cooper, 20, school teacher, living alone.


The marriage license of John E. Pettiford and Carrie Cooper.

In 1893, Hampton Normal School Press published Twenty-Two Years’ Work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Hampton, Virginia (Records of Negro and Indian Graduates and Ex-Students with historical and personal sketches and testimony on important race questions from within and without, to which are added, by courtesy Messrs Putnam’s Sons, N.Y., some of the Songs of the Races gathered in the School), which featured an interview of Carrie Cooper.

Carrie Cooper is listed as a teacher in the 1896 edition of Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Owens Smith, 49, minister; wife Adora, 30; son Jesse, 19; daughter Flossie, 4; widowed mother Maria Hicks, 78, a midwife; and boarder Carry Pettiford, a widowed teacher.

In 1901, Carrie Pettiford was arrested with Millie Sutton for threatening the life of Adora Smith, wife of Rev. Owen L.W. Smith.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, Carrie Pettiford, 46, widow, cook, living alone.


Burned a barn and stole a horse.


Wilson Advance, 28 November 1884.


Wilson Advance, 12 December 1884.

  • Joe Hinnant — in the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Emizel Hinnant, 30, with Harriet, 19, Tamer, 11, Henderson, 13, Mary, 7, Dennis, 8, and Joseph Hinnant, 1. In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Tamer Hinnant, 20, and brothers James, 11, and Joseph Hinnant, 11.
  • Dave Powell
  • Lewis Freeman — in the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Lewis Freeman, about 55, wife (or daughter) Katy, 25, and Violet Eatman, 78.