Wilson Advance, 28 April 1887.
Henry C. Rountree was a prosperous butcher and grocer.
Wilson Advance, 28 April 1887.
Henry C. Rountree was a prosperous butcher and grocer.
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.
Cora Farmer at Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium, circa 1950.
“Me and Cora Farmer worked over at the Sanatorium together. She was the cause of me going over there to get the job. ‘Cause I was living there on Queen Street right from her house, and I seen her going over there with that white dress on all the time. So she seemed to be very friendly, and her daughter, and her husband. And their boys. And so I went over there.” — Hattie Henderson Ricks
Cora Lee Rountree Farmer (1900-1990) was the daughter of Jack and Lucille Bergeron Rountree.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm Jack Roundtree, 53; wife Lucy, 35; and children Junius, 15, Delzel, 12, Cora Lee, 10, John H., 7, Jessie, 6, Mable, 4, and Gallie May, 1.
On 24 December 1917, Paul Farmer, 29, of Wilson, son of Jno. Wash Farmer and Edmonia Farmer, married Cora Rountree, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Jack and Lucile Rountree. G.W. Barnes applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion paster B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Annie Jackson, G.W. Barnes and Jack Rountree.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Old Stantonsburg Road, farmer Jack Rountree, 57; wife Lucile, 47; son Julius, 24, daughter-in-law Lida, 23, sons John Henry, 17, and Jesse, 16, daughters Mabel, 14, and Ola May, 10, and married daughter Cora Farmer, 19. [Her husband Paul was working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1201 Queen Street, fertilizer plant laborer Paul Farmer, 44; wife Cora, 30; and children Pauline, 4, Fredrick, 2, and John W., 1, and lodger Nancy Wilson, 17.
Cora Rountree Farmer died 4 February 1990 in Wilson.
Interview of Hattie Henderson Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved; photo from personal collection of Hattie H. Ricks, now in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.
In late summer of 1945, lying abed at Duke Hospital, Clarence McCullers grew concerned enough about his prognosis that he wrote out a brief will. With his wife and son both dead, he left all his property to his sisters Bert Atkinson and Lucy Darden and appointed John Mack Barnes his administrator. His witnesses were Rev. W.A. Hilliard and Edwin Dortch Fisher.
In the 1900 census of Selma township, Wilson County: Jerry McCullers, 50; wife Lucinda, 50; and children Lucy, 24, Ma[illegible], 17, Cha[illegible], 15, Clarence, 15, Laura, 14, and Budina, 7; plus roomers Calvin, 24, and Stanchy Richardson, 22.
On 31 October 1905, Clarence McCullers, 21, son of Jerry McCullers, married Bessie Simms, 19, daughter of Lee and Mary Simms, at the bride’s residence in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Mary J. Pender, Rosa Rountree, Boston Griffin and Will Bullock.
On 5 June 1917, Clarence McCullers registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1888 in Johnston County, North Carolina; resided at 425 Nash Street; and worked as a butler for D.S. Boykin.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 42, hardware store laborer; wife Rosa E., 37, who did washing; and son Willie E., 17.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 45, born Johnston County, light plant employee; wife Rosa, 43, born Wilson County, a laundress; and roomer Ethel Alexander, 28, born Scotland Neck, North Carolina, a teacher at Darden High.
Rosa E. McCullers died 18 January 1944 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she resided at 1008 Washington Street; was 50 years old; was born in Wilson to John Hardy and Lucinda Rountree; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Clarence McCullers was informant.
North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
Wilson Advance, 10 December 1880.
The fourth in a series — Pennsylvania death certificates for Wilson County natives:
On 20 January 1915, Lee Hagans, 21, son of Briscoe and Vesta Hagans, and Maggie Croom, 20, daughter of John and Phyllis Croom, in Wilson township. Witnesses were Willie Hunt, Moses Dew and William Pitt. As late as 1940, the family remained in North Carolina. In the 1940 census of Great Swamp township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lee Albert Hagans, 46, wife Maggie, 41, and children Richard, 20, Jesse James, 19, Addie May, 16, Gladys M., 14, Mildren C., 12, and Biscoe, 9.
Astor Burt Bowser, born 1896, was one of three sons of Burt L. and Sarah Rountree Bowser. He appears with his parents (and grandparents) in the 1900 and 1910 censuses of Wilson, but in 1916 is listed at 17 Mott Street in the city directory of White Plains, New York. When he registered for World War I draft in September 1918, however, he was in Wilson, working in his father Burt’s cafe.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County, the Bowser family’s surname was erroneously recorded as “Brown.”
Occupations of the household’s inhabitants were recorded in the right-most columns. Astor’s? Doctor/dentist.
Dentist? When and where did Astor Bowser attend dental school?
Astor married Deloris Harvey of Alamance County on 17 August 1921 in Wilson. Throughout the 1920s, he appears to have continued to move between Wilson and greater New York City. In the 1922 and 1925 city directories of Wilson, he is listed as an insurance agent residing at 520 East Nash. However, in the 1924 White Plains city directory: Astor B Bowser, clerk, at 17 Mott. And in the 1925 New York state census of White Plains, Westchester County: bank messenger Astor Bowser, 28, wife Deloris, 24, daughter Sarah, 2, and Lettia Bowser, 49, a widow. In the 1926 and 1928 city directories of White Plains, Astor is listed as a porter living at 7 Mott Street. But Astor B. Bowser Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, in May 1928.
In the 1930 census, Astor B. Bowser, 32, Delores, 29, and their children, Astor B., Jr., 1, and Sarah, 6, are listed in Chicago, Illinois, at 4905 Vincennes, where they were lodgers. Astor worked as an artist in his own studio and Deloris as a saleslady in a millinery.
In 1942, Astor registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 29 September 1896 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided at 4905 Vincennes, Chicago; was married to Delores Bowser; and worked for the Fannie May Candy Company.
Astor died in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, in 1981.
Was Astor really then a dentist?
A brief entry in an industry journal may clear up the matter:
The Dental Cosmos: a Monthly Record of Dental Science, Edward C. Kirk, ed. (1917).
In fact, it was Astor’s elder brother Russell L. Bowser who attended dental school, graduating from Howard in June 1917. The same month, he registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card: Russell Linwood Bowser was born 5 March 1891 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 416 Oakdale Place, Washington, D.C.; was single; worked as a dental surgeon in Washington; was tall, medium build, with brown eyes and black hair; and had “defective eyesight and a weak heart.”
In the 1920 census of Chicago, Illinois: North Carolina-born Dr. Linwood Bowser, 28, dentist, was a lodger on Evans Avenue.
In 1942, Russell Linwood Bowser registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card: he was born 5 March 1891 in Wilson, North Carolina; lived at 5634 South Parkway, Chicago (telephone number Went 2910); listed as a close contact Mr. A.B. Bowser, 4905 Vincennes Avenue, Chicago; and worked in the Central Investigating Unit, Federal Security Agency, Public Health Service, 54 West Hubbard Street, Chicago.
Per the Cook County, Illinois, Death Index, Russell L. Bowser died 2 December 1951.
From “The Graded School Bill: An Act to Establish a Graded School in Wilson township, Wilson County,” as published in the Wilson Advance. The North Carolina legislature ratified the bill on 27 February 1883.
Wilson Advance, 23 March 1883.
New York Age, 30 April 1914.
New York Age, 1 October 1927.
Pittsburgh Courier, 6 January 1934.
New York Age, 5 September 1936.
New York Age, 31 August 1946.
New York Age, 12 July 1919.
New York Age, 9 September 1922.