Samuel H. Vick

The curious bid of Walter S. Hines.

Deed Book 86, pages 570-571, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

What is happening here? Why did Walter S. Hines intercede to bid for this parcel at auction?

The land had been the property of Frank W. Barnes, who died in May 1910. His widow Mattie Bynum Barnes was administratrix of his estate; Alice Barnes Harriss was their daughter. Per a judgment of Superior Court (effectively, probate court), the parcel went up for public auction on 10 December 1910. Walter S. Hines was highest bidder at $3000. However, on 19 December 1910, he transferred his bid to Alice Harriss, who paid the money and received the deed for a 71-acre tract adjoining “J.D. Farrior, S.H. Vick, the Clark heirs, the Amerson place, and others.”

The tract appears to be the land later known as the Wright Farm, which wraps around two sides of Vick Cemetery. Here’s the ever-helpful plat map of the farm, which comprises now comprises two tracts with different (but related) owners. Vick Cemetery is the rectangle just above and right of center. The corner vicinity map shows the original parcel, which I believe to be that which Walter Hines bid upon.

Plat book 38, page 198.

Why was he part of this transaction? 

Lane Street Project: Sam Vick’s purchase of the lot.

As we know, in 1913, Samuel H. Vick sold the Town of Wilson the 7.84 acres that became Vick Cemetery. As the deed below shows, Vick had purchased this land in February 1908 from banker Franklin W. Barnes and his wife Matilda Bynum Barnes. 

Deed book 81, page 196, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Notice that Vick’s purchase is described as about 10 acres adjoining the Rountree Church lot. In other words, Vick bought a large lot that he later subdivided. At an unknown date, he conveyed the two or so acres adjoining Rountree Cemetery to Hannibal Lodge, Odd Fellows, for use as its cemetery and conveyed the rest to the City for Vick Cemetery in 1913. The Odd Fellows never filed a deed for their cemetery, but we now have a tighter window — between 1908 and 1913 — for the date of its establishment.

So, if Odd Fellows Cemetery was not established until some time after 1908, why do some of its grave markers show death dates before that time? Recall Wilson’s first Black public cemetery, Oakdale. Sam Vick was an ardent Odd Fellow. It may be that after the cemetery opened, he had the graves of his mother, father, and daughter Viola moved from Oakdale and reinterred in a new family plot. Chief Ben Mincey may also have done the same for his father and brother

Vick delivers address in Scotland Neck.

In 1896, Samuel H. Vick delivered the keynote address at the laying of the cornerstone for Shiloh Baptist Church in Scotland Neck, Halifax County, North Carolina. The church, which still meets, was built “under the auspices” of Scotland Neck’s Little Kehukee Lodge No. 3492, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, established four years earlier.

The Commonwealth (Scotland Neck, N.C.), 27 August 1896.


Kerfuffle at the Board of Education.

The appointment of three populists, including Samuel H. Vick, to the Wilson County Board of Education in June 1897 created a firestorm and was condemned in the Times as a result of lawlessness and chicanery.

Notwithstanding, the new Board members were qualified at the beginning of July, and got on with their business. On July 23, C.H. Mebane issued an interim ruling recognizing Vick, George W. Connor, and Nathan Bass as Board members, as they had received a majority of votes from a majority of county commissioners during a meeting marked by confusion (and, likely, rancor.) Democrats Boykin, Moore, and Aycock were the choices of the county commissioners’ minority Democrat members. 

Wilson Daily Times, 23 July 1897.


Vick buys shares in McGirt Publishing Company.

In December 1909, Samuel H. Vick purchased fifteen shares of the capital stock of The McGirt Publishing Company and was issued this certificate: 

Robeson County native James E. McGirt was poet of very modest talent who published a few collections of verse before moving to Philadelphia and founding McGirt’s Magazine, a monthly dedicated to African-American arts, literature, and general affairs. Public accommodationist declarations notwithstanding, Sam Vick was a race man, and his investment in this Black-owned business is not a surprise. It was a risky move, however, and in 1910 McGirt’s went under.

Lane Street Project: the Vick family plot.

The Vick family plot was the nucleus of what is now Odd Fellows Cemetery. It contains five marked graves — Samuel H. Vick, his wife Annie Washington Vick, their daughters Irma and Viola Vick, and his parents Daniel and Fannie Blount Vick — but likely other family members.

With funds crowdsourced from Black Wide-Awake‘s readers, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care has been expertly cleaning, repairing as necessary, and resetting grave markers in Odd Fellows. The past few days, Billy Foster has worked his magic in the Vick family plot.



The earliest of these markers belongs to little Viola Leroy Vick, who died in 1897 just before her third birthday.

It is a pretty little headstone, but oddly proportioned and badly in need of cleaning. When Billy Foster began to work on it, he discovered that the two-part base of the stone was completely buried — we’ve only been seeing the stele.

Foster dismantled the headstone.

When he cleaned it and reassembled it, an epitaph came into view on the pedestal:

A light from our household is gone

A voice we loved is stilled

A place is vacant in our hearts

Which never can be filled.

The plinth is also inscribed: Burns & Campbell, Petersburg, Virginia, a prolific firm known as much for its headstones as for constructing Confederate monuments.


My deep thanks to M. Barnes, R. Breen, S. Brooks, V. Cowan, D. Dawson, D. Gouldin, J. Hackney, J. Hawthorne, B. Henderson, T. Lewis, B. Nevarez, and M. Wrenn for sponsoring headstone repairs. There is more restoration work to be done, and I hope others will donate to support our efforts. 

Where was the Tubercular Home?

When Dr. Frank S. Hargrave and Samuel H. Vick envisioned the healthcare facility they would found to treat African-American patients in Wilson, it had two parts — a hospital and a “tubercular home,” i.e. sanatorium, outside town limits.

Wilson Hospital opened on East Green Street in 1913. Later that year, Sam Vick sold a forty-acre parcel south of downtown to The Wilson Tubercular Home, Inc., for $5000.   Vick had bought the parcel in 1902 from S.W. and Jean S. Venable.

Deed book 97, page 313, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Despite reports that a building on the site was near completion, the Tubercular Home apparently never opened. 

With the help of Wilson County’s GIS Coordinator Will Corbett, I have identified the rough location of “high sandy knoll self-drained and one-third of which is covered with native pines” upon which a sanatorium and patient cottages were to be built., Pinpointing the area will require additional research in the Register of Deeds office.