The obituary of Jordan Sauls, farmer and nonagenarian.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 May 1940.


On 17 September 1873, Jordan Sauls married Serena Fort in Wayne County.

In the 1880 census of Saulston township, Wayne County: farmer Jordan Sauls, 27; wife Serena, 33; and children Elizabeth, 13, Ichabod, 10, and James Fort, 7; Emma, 6, Dortch, 5, and Isabel, 9 months; and Loumiser Sauls, 21, and [her?] children Oda, 5, and Anna, 1.

In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jordan Sauls, 50, widower.

On 25 December 1906, Jordan Sauls, 52, of Wayne County, son of Charles and Smithy Sauls, marred Mary Davis, 39, of Wayne County, daughter of Ellis and Hester Fort, at Mary Davis’ in Nahunta, Wayne County.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Jorden Sauls, 53; wife Mary, 45; children Hester, 19, Betsey, 17, Thomas, 15, George, 10, Eliza, 8, Pearly, 6, Ben, 4, Blossey, 9 months, and Ellis, 21; and grandchildren Emma, 4, and Rena Davis, 2.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on Black Creek and Stantonsburg Road, farmer Jordan Sauls, 74; wife Mary, 47; and children Lina, 18, Ben, 15, Blossie, 19, and George, 5.

On 10 January 1925, John Tyson, 23, son of Red and Alberta Tyson, married Lizzie Sauls, 20, daughter of Jordan and Mary Sauls, in Wilson County.

On 21 September 1925, Herbert Tyson, 23, son of Ed and Mell T. Tyson, married Blossie Sauls, 16, daughter of Jordan and Mary Sauls, in Wilson County. 

In January 1926, Benjamin Sauls, 20, son of Jordan and Mary Sauls, married Janetta Sutton, 18, daughter of John and Penna Sutton, in Wilson County.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jerdan Sauls, 82; wife Mae, 65, farm laborer; daughter Lossie Tyson, 22, cook; and grandchildren Jerdan Jr., 3, and Zebedee Tyson, 1.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: John Tyson, 35, farm laborer; wife Lizzie, 38; father-in-law Jordan Sauls, 99; mother-in-law Mary Sauls, 78; and Frank Strickling, 9, “adopted.”

Lizzie Tyson died 19 July 1943 in Bullhead township, Greene County. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 May 1903 in Wayne County to Jurdan Sauls and Mary Davis and was married to John Tyson.

Blossie S. Powell died 2 June 1979 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 August 1909 in Wayne County to Jordan Sauls and Mary Fort; was a widow; and lived at 1200 East Nash Street.

The death by drowning of Leander Sauls.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 March 1922.

Wilson Daily Times, 25 March 1922.


Lee Ander Sauls registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 11 [illegible] 1899; lived at Route 3, Stantonsburg; was a farm laborer for Claude Foster; his contact was Ivery Artis, Fremont, Wayne County; and he had lost one eye. He signed his card “Leander Sauls.”

On 19 July 1919, Lee Sauls, 21, of Stantonsburg, married Bessie Barnes, 20, of Stantonsburg, in Wilson County.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Lee A. Sauls, 21; wife Bessie, 20; children Mary F., 14 months, and John L., 1 month; and mother-in-law Ceilie Barnes, 61, widow.

Leander Sauls died 26 February 1922 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 23 years old; was born in Wilson County to Ivey Artis and Emia Sauls; was married; and farmed for W.A. Batts. Eddie Sauls was informant.

The purchase of land for Macedonia.

As we saw here, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is one of the few surviving early twentieth-century wooden gable-end African-American churches in Wilson County. In 1917, Macedonia trustees R.A. Worrell and Matthew Sauls acted on behalf of the church to purchase the one-half acre lot on which the church was later built. 

Note the reference to the adjoining property — the “public school lot, known as Powell’s school house (col).” Powell School predated the Rosenwald school-era. It was not listed in a recent state survey of early African-American schools in Wilson County.


In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: on Goldsboro Road, Matthew Sauls, 43; wife Fannie, 36; and children Sylvester, 15, Nellie, 12, Maggie, 6, Dred, 4, Hattie, 2, and Bessie, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on W.R. Raper Road, farmer R[ichard] A. Worlds, 40; wife Rachel, 43; and children Bessie, 16, Eddie, 13, Effie, 12, Richard, 10, Iona, 7, Elnora, 6, Viola, 3, and John, 2.

Deed book 111, page 195, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

The end of the Red Hots?

In 1938, the city of Wilson professionalized its firefighting operations, converting the white volunteer department to semi-paid status. The Daily Times originally reported that the black volunteer organization, the Red Hots, would be abolished, but here clarified that, while they were being retired from active service, they would continue to send representatives to competitions and state conventions and would be called upon in emergencies.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 July 1938.


  • Ben Mincey
  • George Coppedge — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason George Coppedge, 34; wife Mittie, 34; and children George Jr., 4, and Elenora, 2.
  • Aaron Best — William Aaron Best died 21 August 1949 at his home at 1009 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 September 1900 in Wilson County to Aaron Best and Nannie Best; was a widower; and had been a laborer at Export Tobacco Company. Audrey Best was informant.
  • Ambrose Floyd — in 1942, Ambrose Floyd registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 4 February 1901 in Lumberton, North Carolina; resided at 1214 East Nash Street; his contact was Clara Smith; and he was employed by Gary Fulghum, 901 Branch Street, United States Post Office.
  • W.J. Howell
  • Henry Sauls — in 1942, Henry Sauls registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 10 February 1898 in Black Creek; resided at 21 Carolina Street (mailing address 1114 Carolina Street); his contact was Hattie Davis, 19 Carolina Street; and he worked for W.T. Clark Jr., 1415 West Nash Street, Barnes Street tobacco factory.
  • Louis Thomas — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 715 East Green Street, carpenter Louis Thomas, 53; wife Lillie, 33; and children Louis Jr., 16, Charlie H., 14, and Van Jewel, 12.

102 North East Street.

The thirteenth 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 the East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; 2 stories; Queen Anne house with L-plan and cross-gable roof; intact turned-post porch.”

The history of occupancy of this shabby gem is spotty. Though the house’s year of construction is estimated at 1913, the house does not appear on the 1922 Sanborn insurance map of Wilson unless the house at 901 East Nash was moved and reoriented to face East Street at the red X. The plan of the house at 901 closely resembles that of 102 North East.


Laborer Rufus Hilliard* and his wife Pennie are listed at 102 North East Street in the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory. However, in 1940, when Roosevelt Leech [Leach] registered for the World War II draft, he listed his address as 102 North East Street. He also indicated that he was born 25 May 1913 in Johnston County; was married to Hattie Leech; and worked as a cook in his own cafe at 512 East Nash Street.  He signed the card with an X. The 1941 city directory also shows Leach at the address. In 1942, when George Lee Williams registered for the draft, he named Hattie Leach of 109 [sic] North East Street as his nearest relative. Williams was born in Goldsboro on 10 March 1924 and worked for Draper Brothers in Frederica, Delaware. Roosevelt Leach died 30 October 1943 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he lived at 102 North East Street, was married to Hattie Leach, worked as a cook, and was born in Johnston County to Colman Leach and Mary Hall. In 1945, Robert Earl Williams, presumably George’s brother, named Hattie Leach, 102 North East Street, as his guardian on his draft registration card. He indicated that he had been in Wayne County on 11 August 1927 and worked as a laborer.

Sarah Sauls died 3 October 1961 in Wilson at her home at 102 North East Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1888 in Greene County to Patric Sauls and Ada Thomas and was buried in the family cemetery in Black Creek. Bessie Sauls of 102 North East Street was informant.

In the 1963 Hill’s city directory, Hattie E. Lee is listed at 102 North East.

*The National Register nomination form describes 903 East Nash Street, just around the corner from 102 North East, as the Rufus Hilliard house and notes that Hilliard operated a store at 901 East Nash [the People’s Palace, built about 1940 and destroyed since the district was registered] and speculated in local real estate. Such real estate included 104 North East Street, built circa 1930.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2017.

I cannot get any information from the negroes.


Ada Sauls – Mary Sauls my daughter. Died Sat. June 22; died in kitchen. I and grandchildren present. No one else present. Died about 1 o’clock; was in the kitchen when they – deceased – and Mary were there; Mary told one of the children to get her water; when I looked around she fell under the table; Sarah was in another room when Mary fell; they had no trouble during the day, had no trouble that could be seen from the road; After asking for water little girl began cry; ran to her and tried to get her up – hardly know what I did; say Gray Spell when he come; never told him that Mary and Sarah had been fighting; Mary and Sarah was continually scrapping about the children; Mary was continually complaining her heart; she was bloated ever since birth of her last child.

Gray Spell – I learned of this trouble June 22 12 o’clock; heard she was dead. I saw Mary laying on floor in dining room; Miss Farmer and the children was there; never saw Ada Sauls; Ada said they were eating, Mary and Sarah got to full, Ada wouldn’t let them fuss; Mary reached around to get something to hit Sarah with but she never arose; no licks passed; helped pick Mary up; put her on the bed; she was dead; never saw any blood or bruise.

Grace Farmer – I visited this house yesterday; heard her squalling; heard children say My poor mother is dead; when I got to the house she was on the floor dead; Estelle Sauls and her Mother was there; Sarah was on the outside; Evan Farmer Estelle & Ada Sauls helped to put her on the bed; heard Sarah say she didn’t believe Mary was dead; said God damn her she didn’t believe she was dead. She was obeying her mother by remaining on outside; I remained until late; assisted in shrouding; Sarah didn’t help; Never saw wounds except on her face; her hands were drawn.

Ada Sauls – 12 years old; was in room when mother died. She asked for water. I waited on her. Mother and Sarah was not mad; Aunt Sarah was not in room when Mother died; Mother fell backward; fell between bench & table; struck bench on one side. Sarah came in after death; no one told me what to say; I was looking at her when she fell; said nothing before falling.

Sarah Sauls – had no trouble with sister Saturday; Grace Farmer misunderstood me; I never cursed her; saw Grace when she got over fence; Never eat a mouthful for dinner; wasn’t in the room when she fell; wasn’t in room when mother was talking to Grace Spell; went in room after he fell; never saw any wounds on body; never held ill feeling against my sister. Only about children; Mary said Saturday morning, I feel like my heart will kill me.

Estell Sauls – Wasn’t in room when she died; Mary & Sarah to my knowing had not been fussing.

R.B. Etherid[g]e – Don’t know but little about affair; Gracie told me to send Dr. that Mary was foaming at mouth; didn’t know whether she was dead or not; asked her if there had been any trouble; nothing but few words fast. Went to depot and delivered message.

Jas. Bass – First I knew Spell came by me and said Mary Sauls was past speaking. Some one was fighting Mary & Jane.

John Hinnant – First heard of trouble between 12 & 1; heard she was dead; Spell told me she was dead; found Mary lying on the floor dead.


Black Creek NC, 6/23/07

Dear Doctor: —

Two negro women fighting yesterday at Jos. Horne’s place near the Branch farm blow struck one fell dead – sisters & I can’t get any information parties who saw body yesterday pm said blow on left eye little pierced hole above upper eyelid – Many People desire post mortem before burial at 4 pm I would suggest you come & bring such assistance as you deem sufficient.

Yours truly, H.M. Rowe


Black Creek NC, 6/23/07

D Sir:

I could not get any information from the negroes all of one family sisters at that I have written Coroner to come hold post mortem & that’s why I wired you.

Yours truly, H.M. Rowe


Sunday Afternoon, June 23, 1907,

We, the following jurors, summoned and duly sworn to enquire into the cause of death of Mary Sauls, find from the evidence adduced that the deceased came to her death from natural causes.  R.B. Evans, R.B. Ethridge, W.D. Ruffin, L.D. Tomlinson, Wiley Barnes, Jonathan Tomlinson, W.H. Anderson Coroner


  • Ada, Mary Ann, Sarah Jane, Estelle, and Ada Sauls — On 20 December 1869, Patrick Sauls married Ada Thompson in Wayne County, North Carolina. In the 1880 census of Saulston, Wayne County: Patrick Sauls, 28, wife Ada, 23, and children Walter, 9, Mary Ann, 7, Sarah J., 5, Hattie, 3, and Lee, 3 months. [Note: Lee Sauls swore, with an X, to an affidavit asserting his belief that his sister had died by criminal act. See above.] In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Patric Saul, 57, wife Ada, 47, and children and grandchildren Mary A., 22, Susan, 5, Ester, 3, Sarrah, 28, Dewey, 3, Lee, 16, Clyde, 13, Enniss, 11, and Estelle, 9. Ada Sauls died 16 October 1925 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Parritt Sauls, born about 1853 in Green County, worked as a tenant farmer for Fred Carr. Dewey Sauls was informant. Sarah Sauls died 3 October 1961 in Wilson at her home at 102 N. East Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1888 in Greene County to Patric Sauls and Ada Thomas and was buried in the femily cemetery in Black Creek. Bessie Sauls of 102 N. East Street was informant.
  • Gray Spell — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widowed farmer Chaney Spells, 55, sons James S., 19, Gray, 17, Walter, 16, and Charley, 13, grandchildren Unity, 14, Fannie, 10, Irvin, 7, and Chaney Farmer, 2, and boarder Harriet Killibrew, 45.
  • Grace Farmer


News & Observer (Raleigh), 25 June 1907.

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The Sauls sisters meet an alligator.

The November 2001 issue of Trees, the publication of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, ran a piece from Hugh B. Johnston’s files about Jane Sauls, her daughters and their encounter with an alligator on their farm. The Saulses likely lived just inside the Wayne County line, but they and their families were part of the nearby Stantonsburg community. William Woodard Sr., with whom Jane was apprenticed as a child, and Calvin Woodard Jr., whom her daughter Mary nursed, lived near White Oak Swamp in Wilson County.


Jane Lane Sauls was born circa 1842 in the Bullhead area of northwest Greene County, which borders Wilson County. She was one of several children of Sylvania Artis, a free woman of color, and her husband Guy Lane, an enslaved man, but is not found in the 1850 or 1860 censuses.

In the 1870 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, farm laborer John Sauls, 35, wife Jane, 27, and children Mary, 3, and Silvany, 1, are listed with Trecinda Barnes, 20, Jane Barnes, 7, and Edwin Barnes, 1. No marriage record for Jane and John has been located, and their relationship to the Barneses is unknown.

The 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows farmer John Sauls, 45, wife Jane, 36, daughters Mary, 12, Silvany, 9, Anner, 7, and Lucy, 6, plus Jane’s sister [niece?] Fanny Lane, 14.

The 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows John Sauls, wife Jane, daughters Mary and Sylvania Sauls, and “grandchildren” Louvenia, Henry and John Lane. [In fact, these children were probably niece and nephews.]

The 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows John Sauls, 76, wife Jane, 56, Mary, 38, Sylvany, 36, Anna, 33, and Snobe, 10, plus niece Louvenia Lane, 23, and boarder Freeman Swinson, 14. Anna reported that she was divorced; “Snobe” — John B. Sauls, alias Snow B. Nobles — was her son. Freeman Swinson was the son of Jane’s sister Mariah Artis Swinson.

The 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows Anna Sauls, 45, widowed, sharing a household with her sisters Sylvania, 46, and Mary, 49, widowed mother Jane, 76, and cousin Levenia Sauls, 28.

Jane Lane Sauls died 16 Dec 1928 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, of paralysis due to hypertension and cerebral hemorrhage.  Her death certificate reported that she was born in 1842 in Greene County NC to Guy Lane and Sylvania Artis, both of Greene County, and she was the widow of John Sauls. She was buried 17 December 1928 at Union Grove cemetery in Wayne County by C.E. Artis of Wilson NC.  (Columbus E. Artis was her cousin.)  The informant for her certificate was Anna Sauls, Route 6 Box 94, Stantonsburg.

Anna Sauls died 20 December 1950 in Stantonsburg township, Wayne County, of cerebral hemorrhage. Her death certificate reports that she was a widow and was born 1 January 1878 in Wayne County to John Sauls and Jane Lane. She was buried 23 December 1950 at Union Grove cemetery. The informant was Louvenia Sauls, Route 2 Box 300, Stantonsburg.

Sylvania Sauls died 23 October 1957 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, of cerebral hemorrhage.  Her death certificate reports that she was about 87 years old and was born in Wayne County to John Sauls and Jane Lane. She was buried 28 October 1957 in Union Grove cemetery.  The informant was Louvenia Sauls.

Mary Sauls died 29 December 1960 in Fremont township, Wayne County, of cerebral hemorrhage. Her death certificate reports that she was born 3 September 1861 in Wayne County to Johnnie Sauls and Jane Lane. (And thus was 4 years old when assigned to look after Calvin Woodard Jr.) Mary was buried 3 January 1961 at Union Grove cemetery.  The informant was Anna Ray, Route 2 Box 143, Fremont.