This passage appeared in the recent article I posted about Lawyer Sanders and his 35 children. By happenstance, shortly before I saw the column, my mother mentioned learning when she first came to Wilson in the early 1960s that, in local usage, to go “up the road” meant to migrate North. Thus, for reasons we cannot know, shortly after giving birth to a child that did not survive, Dora Clark Sanders joined the Great Migration, leaving her husband and remaining children in Wilson. She did not return.
Wilson Daily Times, 2 May 1940.
Lawyer Sanders married Dora Clark in 1904 and Beatrice Ruffin in 1914. Readily available records reveal only 17 of Lawyer Sanders’ purported 35 children: Gilly, Rosetta, Lillie, Earnest, an unnamed girl, Maggie, Daisy Ella, Lorena, Mavis, Odessa, Lawyer Jr., David, Bertha, Dorothea, Mary Lee, Theodore Roosevelt, and Mae.
On 18 May 1904, Lawyer Sanders, 20, of Saratoga, son of M.A. Williams, married Dora Clark, 18, of Saratoga, daughter of Dora Clark, at Eason Brothers Store in Saratoga.
In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Plank Road, Lawyer Sanders, 22; wife Dora, 22; and children Gilly, 2, and Rosa, 1.
An unnamed three month-old female child died 23 October 1913 on Railroad Street in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born August 1913 to Lawyer Sanders and Dora Clark.
On 11 June 1914, Lawyer Sanders, 25, of Gardners township, married Beatrice Ruffin, 15, daughter of Ransom Ruffin, at the residence of Ransom Ruffin. Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Ransom Ruffin, Charles Bynum, and James Braswell.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Lawyer Sanders, 33; wife Beatrice, 20; and children Rosetta, 16, A. Lillie, 11, G. Earnest, 8, Maggie, 4, E. Daisy, 3, and Lorena, 1.
In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Lawyer Sanders, 43; wife Maggie, 30; and children Maggie R., 14, Dazella M., 14, Lorena, 11, Mavis E., 9, Odessa, 7, Lawyer J., 5, David A., 3, and Bertha L., 1.
Rosetta Sanders died 11 July 1933 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 28 years old; was born in Wilson County, N.C., to Lawyer Sanders and Dora Clarke; and worked in farming.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 708 Railroad Street, rented at $6/month; WPA laborer Lawyer Sanders, 51; wife Beatrice, 41; children Maggie, 23, farm laborer, Essie Mae, 19, cook, Odessa, 18, cook, Lawyer Jr., 15, farmhand; David A.J., 13; Bertha Lee, 11, Dorothea, 9, Mary Lee, 7, Roosevelt, 5, and Mae E., 2; and granddaughter Eldewards, 2.
The Sawyers’ “shack” back on Daniel Hill was on a short stretch of dirt road called West Railroad Street, which ran alongside the Norfolk-Southern railroad between Park Avenue and Daniel Street. (And is not to be confused with the Railroad Street that borders the Atlantic Coast Line railroad downtown.) West Railroad no longer exists, and a roofing supply business and a large empty lot stand in its place. Detail, 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson.
In 1942, Lawyer J.R. Sanders registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he lived at 621 West Railroad Street, Wilson; was born 5 January 1924 in Wilson; and his contact was Beatrice Sanders.
In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Norfolk-Southern Railroad Street, Lawyer Sanders Sr., 61, ditching for water line-street department for city; wife Beatrice R., 51, private service work; children Theodore, 16, Eloise, 12, and Mary Lee, 17; and grandchildren Velma L., 1, and Willie L., 1.
Eloise Sanders Johnson died 18 July 1953 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 17 June 1937 in Wilson to Lawyer Sanders and Beatrice Ruffins and was married to Clarence Johnson.
Lawyer Sanders died 30 January 1959 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 May 1888 in Wilson County to Bill and Martha Ann Sanders; was married to Beatrice Sanders; worked as a laborer; and lived at 214 Graham Street, Wilson.
Wilson Daily Times, 31 January 1959.
David Sanders died 22 January 1968 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, she was born 25 March 1927 to Lawyer Sanders and Beatrice Ruffin; was married to Doretha Sanders; and lived at 104 Tacoma Street, Wilson.
Maggie Sanders Clark died 17 January 1968 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 May 1915 in Wilson to Lawyer Sanders and Beatrice Ruffin; was married to Sam Clark; was a tobacco factory laborer; and lived at 212 West Walnut Street, Wilson.
Beatrice Sanders Ricks died 14 October 1970 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 8 February 1911 in Wilson County to Ransom Ruffin and Maggie Pender; was a widow; was a tobacco factory laborer; and lived at 614 Manchester Street, Wilson. Informant was Doretha Mitchell, 906 Hadley Extension.
Wilson Daily Times, 16 October 1970.
The Lawyer Sanders family joined with the J.D. Taylor family in 1980 to hold a family reunion at Brown’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church.
Wilson Daily Times, 2 August 1980.
Ernest Sanders Sr. died 8 July 1987 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 March 1910 in Wilson to Lawyer Sanders and Beatrice Ruffin; lived at 516 Forrest Street, Wilson; and worked as a construction helper.
Daisy Sanders Rice [Rhice] died 18 August 1991 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 April 1916 in Wilson to Lawyer Sanders and Beatrice Ruffin; was married to Richard Rice; and lived at 1002 Macon Street.
On 19 May 1904, a Wilson County Superior Court judge ordered 12 year-old Charity Sanders bound as an apprentice to Julius Hagans until she reached 18 years of age.
Charity was the daughter of Mary Sanders and Edmund (or Edward) Sanders (or Wrenn?) and was likely an orphan at the time of her apprenticeship. Julius Hagans had recently married Charity’s aunt, Martha Sanders.
In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: teamster Edman Sanders, 39; wife Winne, 32; son Andrew, 12, day laborer, and daughter Charty, 9; sisters Martha, 19, and Bettie Sanders, 20; and boarders Willie Sanders, 21, day laborer, Preston Bryant, 24, day laborer, and Chrischana Sanders, 18.
On 2 January 1901, Julius Hagan, 36, of Wilson County, son of Richard and Allie Hagan, married Martha Sanders, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Lovett and Charity Sanders, at Ed Sanders’ residence in Wilson County.
On 6 December 1906, James Tate, 27, of Wilson, son of Isaac and Emily Tate, married Charity Sanders, 17, of Wilson, whose parents were dead and whose guardians were Julius Hagans and wife. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony at Julius Hagans’ residence in the presence of Martha Hagans, Jason Farmer, and Bettie Boykin. [Charity Sanders, in fact, was only about 15 years old.]
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, James Tate, 27; wife Charity, 18; step-son Henry Sanders, 3; son Hollie Tate, 2; and lodger John Pleasant, 39. All the adults were farm laborers. [On nearby Finch Mill Road, Charity Sanders Tate’s brother Andrew Sanders, 21, was living with Julius and Martha Hagans as a hired man.]
On 9 February 1914, Charity Sanders, 22, married Cordy Tillery, 22, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Allen Nelson, Edward Hill, and Lacy Sloane.
In 1917, Cordy Tillery registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 9 August 1889 in Manchester, Virginia; lived at Spring Street, Wilson; was a convict of the County of Wilson (for “misdemeanants”); and had a wife and one child to support.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Park Avenue, tobacco factory worker Cordy Tillery, 28, and wife Charity, 27.
In the 1920 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tillery Charity dom h ft [foot of] Daniel; Tillery Cordy lab h 510 Railroad; Tillery Lorena dom h ft Daniel
Charity Tillery died 18 May 1920 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 25 years old; was born in Smithfield, N.C., to Edward Wrin of Raleigh, N.C., and Mary Saunders of Smithfield, N.C.; was married to Cordy Tillery; worked as a tenant farmer; and lived on Daniel Street. William Smith was informant.
United States Indenture and Manumission Records, 1780-1939, database at https://familysearch.org.
Wilson Daily Times, 2 October 1935.
In his 2005 memoir Son of the Rough South, journalist Karl Fleming painted a dark picture of police officer Philemon Ray Hartis in the late 1940s, a dozen years after he shot Ernest Sanders to death. In a chapter titled “My First Bad Cop,” Fleming introduced Hartis as the detective whose job it was to follow what was happening across the tracks in “n*ggertown” and in other pockets of the town’s demimonde, who ran white madames and black bootleggers as informants, who hoarded the dirty secrets of the white upper class, and who smacked around any black body he deemed deserving.
Earnest Sanders’ death was ruled a justifiable homicide, “shot by policeman.”
Wilson Daily Times, 27 June 1962.
- Howard M. Fitts
- Anna D. Reid Hall
In the 1900 census of Jackson township, Nash County: farmer Dennis Tabron, 51; wife Harrett, 49; and children Cephus, 18, Theodorie, 16, Anna D., 13, and Arena H., 7.
In the 1910 census of Ferrells township, Nash County: farmer Dennis T. Tabron, 66; wife Harret, 50; and daughters Anna D., 18, and Irena, 15.
Barney Reid, 27, of Wilson, son of Jessie and Sallie Reid, married Elnora Taborn, 21, of Nash County, daughter of Denis and Harrit Tayborn, on 28 May 1912 in Wilson.
Barney Reid registered for the World War I draft in 1918 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 13 April 1885; lived at 300 Vick Street, Wilson; worked as a mechanic for Boyd-Robertson Construction in Newport News, Virginia; and was married to Anna D. Reid.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 300 Vick Street, building carpenter Barney Reid, 43; wife Anna, 39; children Earl, 4, Piccola, 13, and Fitzhugh, 9; and in-laws Harriot, 69, and John Tayborn, 80.
Anna Dora Reid Hall died 20 April 1969 in Kinston, Lenoir County.
- Cora Sherrod Barnes
In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherard, 56; wife Cassy; and children Ida, 27, Benjamin, 25, Dalas, 20, Exum, 16, Arthur, 15, and Cora, 11.
Columbus Ward, 26, of Greene County, son of Pearson and Cherry Ward, married Cora Sherrod, 18, of Wayne County, daughter of Jack Sherrod, on 17 April 1907 in Stantonsburg, Wilson County.
In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Cassie Sherrod, 75; grandchildren Zenobia, 25, Doris, 7, and Jeraldine, 6; and daughter Cora Powell, 30, public school teacher, divorced.
John M. Barnes died 27 April 1958 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1870 in Wayne County to Charles and Rebecca Pope Barnes; lived at 500 East Green; worked as a brickmason; was married to Cora Sherrod Barnes [daughter of Jack and Cassie Sherrod]; and was buried at Rest Haven. Thelma Byers was informant.
Cora Sherrod Barnes died 12 June 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 December 1888 to Jack and Cassie Sherrod; was a widow; and was a retired teacher. Ralph Sherrod was informant.
- O.E. Saunders — Rev. Otto E. Sanders.
Wilson Daily Times, 7 December 1934.
- Tom Sanders
The Africo-American Presbyterian, 15 September 1938.
- Calvary Presbyterian Church
- Rev. O.E. Sanders — Otto Eugene Sanders (1886-1978), Presbyterian clergyman, native of South Carolina.
- Mrs. A.L. Sanders — Annie Lonza Goins Sanders (1907-1964), teacher, Moore County, North Carolina, native; wife of Rev. Sanders.
- Connie Freeman — Connie Hendley Freeman Banks (1915-2006), daughter of O. Nestus and Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.
- Bessie Joyner — Bessie Mae Joyner Redden, daughter of Eddie and Annie Joyner.
- Oris Langley — Orris Lydia Langley Randall (1917-1994), daughter of Jarrette and Lydia Savage Langley.
- Edna Grey Taylor — Edna Gray Taylor Desvigne (1921-2011), daughter of Roderick and Mary John Pender Taylor.
- Randall James — Randall Roland James (1916-1981), son of Randall R. and Lizzie Darden James.
- Lucy D. Artis — Lucy Dawson Artis Moss (1922-1989), daughter of Jesse A. and Sophia Dawson Artis)
- Helen A. Whitfield — Helen Alice Whitfield Tate (1918-1998), daughter of James A. and Lillian McNeil Whitfield.
- William Knight — William Nelson Knight (1916-2011), son of James H. and Ada Green Knight.
- Delores Robbins — Delores Robbins Coleman (1920-2003), daughter of James D. and Louise Davis Robbins.
- Annie F. Crawford — Annie Frances Crawford (1921-??), daughter of Clarence and Maggie Barnes Crawford.
- Alphonse Heningburg
- Carter Foster — Carter Washington Foster (1914-1955), son of Walter and Rosa Parker Foster.
- Bernard Moore — Bernard Michael Moore (1910-2000), son of Lee A. and Virginia L. Moore.
- Jessie Lassiter — Jesse C. Knight Lassiter Jr. (1914-1989), son of Jesse C.K. and Lessie Dew Lassiter.
- Sarah Taylor — Sarah Gaither Taylor McMillan (1918-1978), daughter of Russell B. and Viola Gaither Taylor.
- Laura Taylor — Lauraetta Janet Taylor (1916-1977), daughter of Russell B. and Viola Gaither Taylor.
- Betty Best
- Monte Vick — Monte L. Vick Cowan (1918-??), daughter of Samuel H. and Annie M. Washington Vick.
- Susie J. Jones — Susie Jane Jones Carpenter (1914-1995), daughter of John A. and Bettie Hinnant Jones.
- Vertist Crawford — Vertist Armenia Crawford Edwards (1917-1999), daughter of Clarence and Maggie Barnes Crawford.
- Hattie M. Barnes
- George W. Wilkins Jr. — George Washington Wilkins Jr. (1917-1972), son of G. Washington and Nancy Adams Wilkins.
- William Howell — William Harry Howell (1921-2004), son of Harry and Annie Thompson Howell.
- David E. Holden — David Edward Holden (1916-2003), son of Edward and Gussie McClammy Holden.
- Sadie Williams — Sadie Louise Williams (1912-1976), daughter of Clifton and Ometa Moore Williams.
- Alvis Hines — Alvis Ashley Hines (1918-1981), son of Ashley and Mattie Barnes Hines.
- Clarence Best — Clarence Herman Best (1019-1994), son of Clarence B. and Geneva Smith Best.
- Mary Thomas
- Nora A. Mitchell — Nora Allen Mitchell Jones (1919-??), daughter of Frank and Alice Best Mitchell.
- Ximenia Moore — Xzimena Moore, daughter of Lee A. and Virginia L. Moore.
- Clyde Dickerson — Clyde Joan Dickerson Faison (1921-1997), daughter of Fred and Almeter Edmundson Dickerson.
- Romaine Blount
- Virginia Artis — Virginia Maye Artis Reid (1917-2006), daughter of Lawrence and Emma Hedgepeth Artis.
- Beulah C. Bowers
- Ethel G. Howell — Ethel Gray Howell (1919-1997), daughter of Harry and Annie Thompson Howell.
- Roselyn Whitehead — Rosalyn Augusta Whitehead (1918-2006), daughter of Henry and Victoria Ennis Whitehead.
- Johnnie M. Brewington — Johnnie Marion Brewington (1916-1964), son of Neal and Emma Moore Brewington.
- Anderson Holden — James Anderson Holden (1908-??), son of Ed and Gussie McClammy Holden.
- Charles Lassiter — Charles Brantly Lassiter (1917-1946), son of John M. and Mamie Sanders Lassiter.
- Howard Fitts Jr. — Howard Monroe Fitts Jr. (1921), son of Howard and Courtney Plummer Fitts.
- Aurelia Lucas — Aurelia Janet Lucas Hagood (1920-1997), daughter of Henry and Mamie Battle Lucas.
- Doris Freeman — Doris Patricia Freeman James (1920-2003), daughter of Julius and Pattie Hagans Freeman.
- Mary Tena Melton — Melton (1920-1992), daughter of John and Cora Barnes Melton.
- Frederick Reid — Carl Frederick Reid (1912-1982), son of J.D. and Eleanor Frederick Reid.
- Doretha Farmer — Doretha Hunter Farmer (1912-1992), daughter of Will and Mary Whitehead Hunter.
- Mary J. Barnes
- Katie Powell
- Georgia Cook — Georgia Eugenia Cooke Gant (1917-1970), daughter of Jerry and Clara Godette Cooke.
- Gracie Swinney — Gracie Beatrice Swinney DuPree (1919-1997), daughter of Samuel and Georgia Rickett Swinney.
- Lossie Haskins — Lossie Dorothy Haskins, daughter of Robert and Gertrude Haskins.
- Annie Cooke — Annie Elizabeth Cooke Dickens (1921-??), daughter of Jerry and Clara Godette Cooke.
- Fitzhugh Reid — Jesse Fitzhugh Reid (1920-??)
- Ruth M. Potter
- Maude J. Yancey — Maude Josephine Yancey, daughter of Darcy and Leila Ireland Yancey.
- James Bynum
- Freddie Cooper
- Montes Hooker — Montez Colesse Hooker Boatman (1922-1990), daughter of Gray F. and Bettie Caddell Hooker.
- James F. Coley — James Frederick Coley (1921-??), son of Rufus and Sarah Sherard Coley.
- Kenneth McK. Shade — Kenneth McKinley Shade (1907-1951), son of Isaac and Emma Green Shade.
- Herbert O. Reid — Herbert Odell Reid (1916-1991), son of J.D. and Eleanor Frederick Reid.
- Robert E. Vick — Robert Elliott Vick (1908-2001), son of Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick.
The forty-second 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 story. Hargrave-Sanders house; L-plan cottage with traces of original Victorian millwork in the cutaway front-facing bay; possibly first occupied by Dr. [Frank S.] Hargrave; later occupant was Dr. Otto Sanders, minister of Primitive Baptist Church [sic; Sanders was a Presbyterian minister].”
This house was occupied until just a few months ago by a Sanders descendant, who was forced out by a fire.
The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows the original house number — 629.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: medical doctor Frank Hargrave, 32; wife Bessie, 23; and boarder Lena Harris, 26, insurance bookkeeper.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 629 Green Street, renting, widow Rebeca Speight, 40; daughters Eva, 23, school teacher, Bessie, 13, Addie, 11, Rubie, 9, and Ineese, 7; and roomer Hossie Arrington, 21, wagon factory laborer.
In the 1930 edition of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists 700 East Green as vacant, and it does not appear in the 1930 census.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 700 East Green, renting for $20/month, Rev. O.E. Sanders, 48, wife Annie, 30, teacher; and sons Charles, 6, and Otto, 14.
Annie G. Sanders died 17 September 1964 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 28 March 1907 in Moore County, North Carolina, to Sidney D. Goins and Rosa McCray; was married to Rev. O.E. Sanders; was a teacher; and resided at 700 East Green Street.
Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, July 2017.
Raleigh News & Observer, 24 July 1912.
In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on New Creek Road, farmer Adolphus Sanders, 51; wife Penny, 52 (who reported that 10 of her 14 children were living; daughters Lucy Jane, 22, and Rosabella, 20; daughter Annabella Bird, 20, and her husband David Bird, 21; son Walter, 14; daughters Casilla, 13, Vizetteora, 11, and Liewgenia, 10; son George L., 7; and granddaughter Annabella, 4 months; plus hired woman Alice Whitley, 45. Next door: Adolphus and Penny’s son Milton Sanders, 28, and family.
Johnston County native Adolphus Sanders died 24 February 1929, aged 67.