Recently, Brooke Bissette Farmer of Wilson’s fantastic Imagination Station reached out to me with a remarkable set of photos. A man (whom, it turns out, I’ve known since our childhoods) came into the museum to ask about an artifact he found while clearing out a house on Viola Street in the 1990s.
Though rusty and missing its top plate, the instrument is clearly identifiable as the seal embosser for Peaceful Valley Lodge 272, Wilson’s African-American Knights of Pythias lodge.
Peaceful Valley, like most of North Carolina’s Knights of Pythias lodges, is defunct. Lodge 272’s founding date is not clear, but it definitely was established well after Wilson’s Black Masons and Odd Fellows.
Pleasant Valley Lodge 272 was active into the 1980s. Frank W. Barnes, Howard English and Emanuel Spells were among its last leaders.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 July 1974.