Patrick M. Valentine’s The Episcopalians of Wilson County: A History of St. Timothy’s and St. Mark’s Churches in Wilson, North Carolina 1856-1995 (1996), features several invaluable appendices that illuminate Wilson’s tiny African-American Episcopalian community. Valentine credits Cindy and Jeff Day with compiling them, and this post is the first in a series annotating the marriage list.
“Appendix J: Marriages, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church” shows the marriages between 1895 and 1905:
- Richard Norwood to Celia Hill, 27 February 1895
On 28 February 1895, Celia A. Hill, 22, daughter of H. and H[enrietta]. Hill, married Richard Norwood, 21, son of B. Norwood of Chatham County, in Wilson. Episcopal minister J.W. Perry performed the ceremony at Saint Marks in the presence of John H. Clark, B.R. Winstead and S.A. Smith. Cecilia Anna Norwood died 27 June 1944 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 February 1879 in Washington, North Carolina to Edward Hill and Henrietta Cherry; resided at 205 Pender, Wilson; was widowed; and was a teacher. Informant was Hazel Covington of Wilson.
- Robt. Norwood to Lydia Freeman, 26 January 1899
On 26 January 1899, Robert Norwood, 24, of Wilson County, son of Harris and Rebecca Norwood of Bynum, North Carolina, married Lydia Freeman, 21, daughter of Julius and Eliza Freeman of Wilson. Episcopal priest W.B. Perry performed the ceremony at Julius Freeman’s in the presence of William Kittrell, William Barnes and John Williams. Robert Norwood died 20 October 1916 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was married; was born in 1880; and worked as a cook in a cafe. Informant was Julius Freeman.
- James Roach [sic] to Jane Tyson, 24 May 1899
James Branch, 29, of Wilson County, married Jane Tyson, 30, on 24 May 1899. J.C. Palmer applied for the license; Rev. W.B. Perry performed the ceremony at the home of Mrs. J.C. Palmer in the presence of J.C. Palmer, Mrs. J.C. Palmer and Robert Norwood. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco packer James Branch, 28; wife Jane C., 31, cook; and stepsons Carrol C. Tyson, 12, house servant, and Caborn C. Tyson, 8.
On 2 August 1899, Walter B. Hulin, 21, of Wilson County married Hattie Artis, 18, of Wilson, at “Mrs. Artis’ home” in Wilson. Rev. W.B. Perry, Episcopalian, performed the ceremony, and James Artis, Miss Irene Winstead and Mrs. Barnes witnessed. [W.B. Perry, in contravention to Jim Crow norms, appears to have been deliberate about his use of the honorifics “Miss” and “Mrs.” for his African-American congregants.]
- Spincer Barnes to Annie Petyford, 4 December 1899
On 4 December 1899, Spencer Barnes, 26, of Wilson County, married Anna Pettiford, 25, of Franklin County, daughter of Manlis and Frances Pettiford. Rev. W.B. Perry, Episcopalian, performed the ceremony, and Mr. McDonald, Miss Irene Winstead and Mrs. James Branch witnessed.
- Junius M[illegible] and Jin [illegible], 14 August 1899
Junius Munk, 26, son of Dudley and Pheomy Munk of Magnolia, North Carolina, married Jennie Strickland, 24, daughter of Jim and Neomy Strickland, of Wilson on 14 August 1899. Rev. W.B. Perry performed the ceremony at the bride’s home in the presence of Howard Strickland, John Coleman and Archie Hunt.
On 17 September 1905, F.O. Williston, 24, of Wilson, son of Henrietta Williston of Fayetteville, North Carolina, married Doane Battle, 19, daughter of Charles Battle of Wilson. F.S. Hargrave applied for the license, and Rev. Robert F. Perry performed the ceremony at James Jenkins‘ home in the presence of F.S. Hargrave, James Jenkins and William Dawson.
- Colie Barnes and Leaha Barnes, 27 December 1905
Wilson County marriage records do not reflect a marriage between Colie Barnes and Leaha Barnes. However, on 27 December 1905, Colie Barnes, 20, married Ella Taylor, 19, in Wilson.