root doctor

Booze in the bed (but not enough).

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 6 August 1907.

Both the Daily Times and the News & Observer got a lot of mileage out of covering root doctor Benjamin Woodard. (Josephus Daniels, the N&O’s founder and editor, had known Woodard personally during his Wilson years.) Here, despite detailed description of the liquor found in Woodard’s house, Woodard was acquitted. However, state’s witness Bloss Batts (who was jailed pending hearing, as was done in those days) was charged with “retailing,” i.e. selling alcohol illegally. I have not found evidence of the outcome of that matter.


For more about Ben Woodard, see here and here and here and here.

  • Bloss Batts

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Tom Batts, 69; wife Mariah, 60; and children Eddie, 22, Willie, 20, Blossom, 18, William, 15, Bettie, 29, and Frank, 11.

In 1918, Blos Batts registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in March 1883; lived on Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; worked as a laborer for Farmers Cotton Oil Company; and his nearest relative was Buddy Marlowe, Stantonsburg Street.

On 23 November 1919, Bloss Batts, 40, of Wilson, son of Tom and Mariah Batts, married Lizzie Taylor, 25, of Wilson, at Bettie Marable‘s in Wilson. Oliver Marable applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister C.L. Johnson, of Craven County, performed the ceremony.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Batts Bloss (c; Lizzie) h 203 Ashe

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Wiley Batts, 68; wife Lucy, 59; daughters Anna Knight, 34, and Mary Batts, 25; grandchildren James Thomas, 3, and Jimmy Lee Batts, 2 months, and Junior, 11, and Mamie Knight, 9; and brother Bloss Batts, 56, widower.

Bloss Batts died 9 April 1942 at the Wilson County Home. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old; was born in Wilson County to Tom Batts and Mariah Jones; was married to Lizzie Batts; worked in farming; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery.