Anatomy of a photograph: Williams Lumber Company.

Founded in 1912 in Elm City, Williams Lumber Company‘s Wilson sawmill was sandwiched between Banks Street and Hominy Swamp Canal to the north and south, and Douglas (formerly Spring) and South Lodge Streets to the west and east. (There is still a lumber company at that location, but it’s not Williams Lumber.)

In the mid-1940s, Charles Raines and Guy Cox photographed Williams’ workers posing with equipment in the lumber yard.

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A tractor driver.

A forklift driver sits atop a load.

Seven drivers lounge against their trucks.

If you recognize any of these men, please let me know.

This top image is found among the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_299H_WilliamsLumber3. Many thanks to John Teel for sharing. 

Killed in sawmill.

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Fayetteville Observer, 26 October 1921.

Bob Speight was also known as Bob Hill. A Greene County native, he was 17 years old at his death.

Perhaps due to confusion created by his use of alternate surnames, Robert Hill, alias Speight, has two death certificates. Bob Hill’s document notes that an epileptic seizure contributed to the saw mill accident that killed him. Odie Speight acted as informant and undertaker, and W.B. Wooten signed the certificate at filing.

Robert Speight’s certificate does not mention an underlying medical event. Jessie Speight was informant, and, curiously, C.H. Darden & Son signed as undertaker. There is no registrar’s signature.

Killed in sawmill.

Fayville Obs 10 26 1921

Fayetteville Observer, 26 October 1921.

Probably, in the 1920 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Moyetown Road, tenant farmer Elijah Ward, 34; his sister Florance, 26; farm laborer Hillery Wootten, 26, servant; farm laborer Robert Speight, 35, servant; his brother James Ward, 19, and sister Sarah Ward, 16.