State v. Charles Evans, alias Dog Head.

In April 1912, a Wilson County clerk of court typed up notes in the matter of State vs. Charles Evans, who was also known as “Dog Head.” Evans had been charged with highway robbery, apparently on the evidence of Jim Redman, who testified that he had come to Wilson with Evans from Washington, N.C., and had lifted a man’s pocket book and given it to Evans. Bond for Evans was set at $200, but someone dashed off a comment in pencil that went to the core of the alleged crime. Who was the victim? “What man — who?”

It does not appear that Evans or Redman were residents of Wilson.

Criminal Action Papers, 1912, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Stick ’em up.

In which Tom Johnson, losing at cards, robs (and shoots) Jesse Foster to get his money back. 

Wilson Daily Times, 3 October 1930.


  • Tom Johnson

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 112 Reid Street, owned and valued at $1500, Tom Johnson, 41, and wife Ethel, 38, cosmetics agent.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Tom Johnson, 55, public service laborer; wife Ethel, 42; mother Lula, 68; and son Rogers McGill, 27, tobacco factory laborer. [The Johnsons lived in the same house they had occupied in 1930, but were paying $20/month in rent.]

Thomas Johnson died 25 December 1942 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 September 1895 in Terrell County, Georgia, to Orange Johnson and Lula [no maiden name given]; was married to Ethel Johnson; lived at 112 South Reid Street; and died of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

  • Jesse Foster

On 20 January 1915, Jesse Foster, 23, of Fremont [Wayne County,] N.C., son of Jesse and Cora Foster, married Zalister Grice, 22, of Black Creek, daughter of Joe and Lillie Grice, in Wilson.

In 1917, Jesse Foster Jr. registered for the World War I draft in Fremont, Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 11 March 1892 near Stantonsburg, N.C.; was a farm worker on his father Jesse Foster’s farm; and married. He signed with an X.

Taxi driver Nicholson carjacked.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 August 1936.

This 1925 map of the Stantonsburg area shows the locations of Fairfield Dairy, north, and Edmundson bridge, southwest of Stantonsburg. Roads are marked with their current names. Wilson County Soil Map, 1925, North Carolina Maps, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Singers lose their clothes.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 June 1922.

Two unnamed African-American entertainers, described as “singers of note and the highest priced among their race,” were robbed of their wardrobes before a performance at the Globe Theatre. Booker Dew and Sylvester Jones were charged with the theft, and Gussie Davis, Marie Wallace, and Maggie Jefferson with receiving stolen goods. Globe owner Samuel H. Vick, Allen Armstrong, and Noah Tate appeared in court as witnesses.


  • Booker Washington Dew — Booker T. Washington was a popular inspiration for names of African-American boys in the early 20th century. Almost universally, however, such children were named “Booker T.,” rather than “Booker W.” Thus, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 602 Stantonsburg Street, widow Maggie Dew, 48, and children Maggie, 21, Alfred, 18, T. Booker, 14, and Mildred, 3. Booker T. Dew died 22 May 1923. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 July 1905 in Wilson to Jackson Dew and Maggie Thompson; worked as a day laborer; and lived at 602 Stantonsburg Street. Maggie Belle Rutherford was informant.
  • Sylvester Jones
  • Gussie Davis
  • Marie Wallace
  • Maggie Jefferson — perhaps, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Spring Street, carpenter John Jefferson, 68, and wife Maggie, 31. And/or, in the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Jefferson Maggie tobwkr 622 Wiggins
  • Samuel H. Vick
  • Allen Armstrong — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: public laborer Allen Armstrong, 35, and mother Ellen Armstrong, 70, widow, cook. [Both were described as born in Texas, but other records indicate the more likely North Carolina.]
  • Noah Tate

An open safe.

Wilson Mirror, 26 November 1897.

The mid-1890s’ surge of white supremacy, best and most horrifically exemplified in the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, created an atmosphere in which crude and casual racism flourished even in “respectable” publications. The Wilson Mirror led a story about a robbery with this gratuitous doggerel.

  • Riley Faison — Riley Faison, 30, of Wilson County, son of Henry and Sophia Faison, married Frances Farmer, 26, of Wilson County, daughter of Tom and Polly Farmer, on 8 May 1902. A.M.E. Zion ordained elder N.L. Overton performed the ceremony at Frank Barnes’ plantation in Toisnot township in the presence of Mattie M. Overton, James Smith, and Polly Farmer.
  • Ed. Barnes
  • “across the railroad near the Methodist church” — in the vicinity of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church. 

Bold hold-up.

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Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1921.

Alfred Robinson was a boarder in Samuel H. Vick‘s house at 622 East Green Street. Short Barnes did not live across the street, but three doors down from Vick at 616.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 502 Grace, James Austin, 34, tobacco company laborer; wife   , 28, tobacco factory worker; son James Jr., 3; and roomer George Jenkins, 24, tobacco factory worker.

Robbed of Christmas savings.

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Wilson Daily Times, 12 December 1925.


On 12 January 1868, Wright Barnes, son of Harry Taylor and Nelly Barnes, married Jane Strickland, daughter of Redrick and Mary Strickland, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Wright Barnes, 22, wife Jane, 19, and daughter Henrietta, 7 months.

In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Wright Barnes, 31; wife Jane, 29; and children Henrietta, 11, Susan, 9, Della, 8, William W., 7, Mattie, 5, and John R., 4 months.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Wright Barnes, 51; wife Jane, 50; and children Mattie, 21, James, 17, Bessie L., 14, Willie, 12, Mary A., 11, George, 9, Jane, 6, and Fannie, 4.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, farm laborer Wright Barnes, 61; wife Jane, 58; and children Mary A., 17, George, 15, Jane Jr., 14, and Fannie, 13.

Janie Barnes died 18 June 1917 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 21 months old; was born in Wilson County to Wright Barnes and Janie Conn. Informant was Bessie Smith.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 January 1920.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Park Avenue, street ditcher Wright Barnes, 71, and wife Jane, 68.

Henrietta Flemmings died 29 August 1921 in Township #12, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 1881 in Wilson County to Wright Barnes and Jane Barnes and was married to Henry Fleming.

Mattie Davis died 28 October 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 62 years old; was born in Wilson County to Wright Barnes and Jane Strickland; resided on Church Street, Wilson; worked as a laundress; and was married to Charley Davis.

Susianna Blount died 11 June 1936 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 60 years old; was born in Wilson County to Wright Barnes and Jane Barnes and resided at Blount Street, Wilson. Informant was George Barnes, 710 Suggs Street, Wilson.

George Barnes died 6 June 1974 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 February 1891 to Wright Barnes and Jane Strickland; was married to Mary Dupree; was a retired laborer; and resided at 910 Wainwright Street, Wilson.