Simms

Wiley Simms house.

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 9.14.10 PM.png

3 22 1975.png

Wilson Daily Times, 22 March 1975.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981): “Local tradition maintains that this house was built circa 1840 for James or Benjamin Simms, who were twins. The Simms brothers were born in 1787. Wiley Simms is said to have occupied the house after his marriage to Sarah E. Wilkins in 1862. Wiley Simms died in 1876 and the Simms family still owns the property. The house was built in the Greek Revival style and is similar to the Edwin Barnes House. The main section of the house is two stories high with a one-story shed extension at the rear and a one-story kitchen wing. Large, single-shoulder stepped chimneys are on the exterior ends. The attached porch is elegantly designed and is supported by tapered, reeded columns with a Greek key design below the capital. The two front windows and two front doors have typical reeded surrounds with square corner blocks. On the interior a hall-and-parlor plan is followed with a long narrow rear shed room giving access to an enclosed stair. The original woodwork has remained intact as have the unique floromorphic plaster medallions and cornices. Panelled wainscot is found in the two front rooms.”

For more on the 1922 tornado that struck the Evansdale community, see here.

——

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County: Willie Simms, 29, farmer. He reported $5178 real property. [“Willie” was the usual spelling of “Wiley” in 19th century eastern North Carolina.]

In the 1850 slave schedule of Edgecombe County, Willie Simms is reported with 11 slaves, four women aged 23 to 60 and seven boys and men aged 1 to 45.

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Willie Simms, 38, farmer. Simms, a bachelor, reported $25,070 in real property and $39,140 in personal property.

In the 1860 slave schedule of Saratoga township, Wilson County, Willie Simms is reported with 30 slaves, 13 girls and women aged 3 to 50, and 17 men and boys, aged 1 to 52.

The 1870 census of Wilson County lists many African-Americans with the surname Simms in Wilson County, especially in the southeast section. These include Rose Simms, 37, with her children Milly, 10, Susan, 7, and Lucy Simms, 8 months (plus Mary Hall, 23), listed next-door to Willie Simms.

The first drowning at Contentnea Park.

I posted here about the accidental drowning of Samuel H. Vick Jr.‘s friend Eugene Fisher. The Daily Times noted that Fisher’s death was the second at Contentnea Park in a little over a week. Eddie Simms was first:

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9.47.48 PM.png

Wilson Daily Times, 22 July 1924.

  • Eddie Simms — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Manchester Street, tobacco factory worker Frances Simms, 34, and children Milton, 22, Eddie, 18, Raymond, 10, Maggie, 8, Ava, 5, Richard, 2, and Bay, 3 months. Eddie B. Simms died 17 July 1924. Per his death certificate,he was born 3 August 1904 in Wilson to Ed Mitchell and Frances Simms; was single; lived at 610 Manchester Street; worked as a shoeshiner; and “drowned while in the act of swimming accidentally.” Informant was Millie Simms.

Snaps, no. 50: Susan Locus Simms Ellis.

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 3.41.37 PM.png

Susan Locus Simms Ellis (1890-1980).

——

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Johnnie Lucus, 43; wife Delpha, 51; children Kinion, 26, Nannie, 24, Edwin, 15, Sidney, 12, and Susan, 9; and grandsons Bunion, 5, and Martin L., 3.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Howards Path, John Locust, 66; wife Delphia, 64; children Kinyan, 36, and Susie, 19; and grandchildren Bunyan, 15, Luther M., 13, and Roxie, 7 months.

On 15 May 1913, Loyd Simms, 21, of Taylors township, son of Lou Simms, married Susan Locus, 22, of Taylors, daughter of John and Delphia Locus, at the Register of Deeds office in Wilson.

In the 1920 census of Jackson township, Nash County: on Stanhope & Wilson Road, farmer Lloyd Sims, 28, and wife Susie, 27.

On 1 December 1924, Roxie Ann Lucas, 18, daughter of Susie Sims Lucas, married Asberry Blackwell, 28, son of Howard and Classy Blackwell, in Nashville, Nash County.

In the 1930 census of Jackson township, Nash County: Turner Deans, 45, wife Nannie, 52; sister-in-law Susie Simms; and nieces Gatsey Dean, 20, and Alphia Dean, 1.

Roxie Ann Blackwell died 3 September 1959 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 September 1910 in Wilson County to Frank Mitchell and Susie Lucas; was married to Ashbury Blackwell; had engaged in farming; and was buried in the Lucas cemetery in Wilson County.

Susie Locus Ellis died 20 August 1980 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 July 1890 in Wilson County to John and Delphia Lucas; was a widow; had engaged in farming; and was buried in the Lucas cemetery in Wilson County. Grandson Kenneth Blackwell was informant.

Photograph courtesy of samjoyatk.

 

Snaps, no. 33: Hannah Malinda Smith Simms, Jeanette Simms Bonner and Claude D. Bonner Jr.

 

This photo depicts Hannah Malinda Smith Simms, her daughter Jeanette Simms Bonner, and grandson Claude L. Bonner Jr., circa early 1940s. A family portrait of Hannah and John Simms and their children is found here.

——

On 7 February 1894, John L. Smith [alias Simms] married Lyndy Smith in Wayne County.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Simms, 33, wife Malinda, 23, and son Ashley, 1.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Simms, 43, wife Melinda, 37, and children Ashley, 10, Marcellus, 8, Frank, 7, Gertrude, 6, Jennette, 4, and Rosettie, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Simms, 63, wife Milindy, 54, and children Jenette, 23, Rosetta, 20, Johnnie, 18, Paul, 16, Julia, 13, and Mary, 12.

Claude Bonner, 30, son of Richard and Maggie Bonner, married Jeanette Simms, 23, daughter of John and Melinda Simms, on 3 August 1931 in Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Simms, 78, wife Melanie, 65, and children and grandchildren John Simms, 29, Paul Simms, 26, Mary L. Simms, 21, Cleo Bonner, 8, and Jesse, 6, Willie, 5, and Else Simms, 5.

John Simms died 15 December 1942 in Wilson township, Wilson County. His death certificate indicates that he was born 9 October 1867 in Wilson County to Curtis Simms and Caroline (last name unknown), that he was married to Malinda Simms; and that he was buried in Rountree cemetery near Wilson. Marcellus Simms was the informant.

Claude Leonard Bonner Jr., 22, son of Claude L. Bonner and Jennatta Simms Bonner, married Jean Williams, 19, daughter of Jim and Josephine Batts Williams, on 12 October 1957 in Wilson.

Hannah Malinda Simms died 28 March 1961 in Wilson, North Carolina. Her death certificate indicates that she was born 15 August 1880 in Wayne County to Minerva Smith and an unknown father. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Jeanette Bonner was informant.

Jeanette S. Bonner died 1 December 1999 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 21 January 1907 in Wilson County.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user brianandrewbonner.

515 East Walnut Street.

This large bungalow, heavily modified from its original form, is not located within the East Wilson Historic District. Seated on the north side of East Walnut Street, it is now surrounded by Whitfield Homes, a 1960s-era urban renewal project that obliterated several blocks immediately west of the Seaboard railroad and south of downtown. (Specifically, it is south of the former tobacco warehouse district, from which it is cut off by Hines Street Connector/Carl Renfro Bridge, a 1970s overpass project that wiped out additional streets to bypass Nash Street and link east and west Wilson.) The house is owned by the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith and is part of a compound that includes the church and the delectable Whole Truth Lunchroom.

East Walnut Street (circled), as shown in the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.

The area today, per Bing.com.

West Walnut Street was pulled relatively late into the confines of Wilson’s max segregated residential pattern, and the point at which the street “turned” is easily detected.

The 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists carpenter Cullen Uzzell at 515 East Walnut. He was white. A comparison of the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map and the directory reveals that the 500 blocks of Walnut and its adjacent street, Spruce, were white, with little exception.

The 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists John and Mary Winstead at 515 East Walnut. They were white as well.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 515 East Walnut, rented for $9/month, house painter Elisha F. Lane, 43, wife Lena, 43, and daughter Nellie, 13. The 1930 city directory also lists E. Franklin Lane at 515 East Walnut. The street-by-street listing at the back of the directory reveals that East Walnut was solidly “colored” from Goldsboro Street east across Spring [Douglas] and Lodge Streets to #505. The next house, 509 (across a vacant lot, as a Sanborn map shows), is occupied by a white family, and white families fill the street’s remaining blocks to a dead end at Factory Street. [Lane died in Wilson in 1948. Per his death certificate, he had lived at his Nash Street address for 15 years, which means he left Walnut Street in or before 1933.]

During the latter half of the Great Depression, the 500 blocks of East Walnut and East Spruce shifted to an all-African-American neighborhood of renters.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory lists: Sims Cary (c; Delia; 2) h 515 E Walnut. As the directory reveals, white residents remained only in the last three houses on the street, hard by the railroad.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 7.00.22 PM.png

1941 city directory.

1922 Sanborn fire insurance map showing cluster of African-American-occupied houses east of Lodge Street in an otherwise white area. 515 East Walnut is shown at the bottom edge of the map.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2018.

Shadrach and Keziah Simms Dickinson house.

Per Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981):

“This Georgian cottage is said to have been the dwelling of Keziah and Shadrack Dickenson. Dickenson was the daughter of Robert Simms, a major landowner in Black Creek Township. The land upon which this house was built is said to have come from the Simms family. This late eighteenth-century cottage is a rare survival in Wilson County. It was probably constructed much as it stands today. It is a small rectangular building with a gable roof. The gable ends suggest the presence of exterior end chimneys, now removed. The door is board and batten. Although some alterations have been made on the interior, the present appearance suggests that it was once a hall-and-parlor plan dwelling. The interior is sheathed with flush boards and some original woodwork remains intact. The interior and exterior details of this house suggest that it may be of the oldest, as well as one of the best-preserved houses in the county.”

——

As shown in the last column on this partial image, Shadrach Dickinson reported to the enumerator recording the 1790 census of Wayne County, North Carolina, that he owned 14 enslaved people. (Black Creek township was part of Wayne County prior to 1855.)

Dickinson died in 1818 at the age of about 68. His will entered probate in Wayne County:

In the Name of God Amen — I Shadrack Dickinson of the County of Wayne & State of No Carolina do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament Revoking all others being in Sound mind & memory. It is my wish and desire that all my children To wit Martha Simms Elizabeth Stanton Polly Thomas Sally Jernigan Patience Turner James Dickinson Penelope Barnes Wm Dickinson & Susannah Edmundson  shall have an equal part of all my whole estate that is consisting Lands negroes and money &tc with the Exception of my Daughter Polley Thoma’s part of the negroes which I have now in possession it is my wish and desire after the Valuation of sd negroes that her part be made up to her in money or good notes of hands and the said negroes Eqully Divided between the above name Eight Heirs with the exception of my negro man Jacob & his wife Jenny shall be valued at one Hundred dollars and my negro man Harry shall be valued at three Hundred dollars, and without any compulshon shall have their choice of said Eight Heirs for their Master or Mistress, and the said Four Hundred dollars to be paid in good Notes as the other part of said Estate, it is my wish & desire that all the negroes & perishable property which already has been given to said nine Heirs be valued at the time when said property was [illegible] and also three Hundred Acres of Land deeded to my son James also three Hundred Acres of Land deeded to my daughter Patience valued at this time, it is also my wish and desire after all my Just debts are paid that all the residue of my Estate be Equally divided between the above named nine Heirs by Joel Newsom Junr & Arthur Bardin which I ordain and appoint also my Executors to this my last will and Testament. Oct. 28th 1818. Shadrack Dickinson  Signed Seald & acknowledged in the presents of William Dickinson, Henry T. Stanton

1790 United States Federal Census; North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The obituary of Willie Simms.

 

Wilson Daily Times, 7 August 1954.

On 25 January 1911, Willie Simms, 21, of Black Creek, married Lucindy Barnes, 22, of Black Creek, at William Spells’ house in Black Creek.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Old Stantonsburg Road, farmer Will Simms, 34; wife Lucindy, 30; and daughters Emma, 16, Clara, 11, and Agnes, 3.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, farmer Willie Simms, 49; wife Lucindy, 37; and daughters Clara, 19, Agnes, 13, Addie M., 6, and Elizabeth, 4.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1205 East Nash, rented for $6/month, carpenter Willie Simms, 50; wife Lucindy, 52; and children Clara, 33, Addie, 16, and Elizabeth Simms, 14; and daughter Emma Farmer, 37, widowed cook, and her children Turner Jr., 8, Emma C., 4, and Marie, 1. [The “sisters” named in the obituary were actually Simms’ daughters.]

Willie Simms died 6 August 1954 at his home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 October 1890 in Wilson County to Benjamin and Beckie Simms; had worked as a laborer; and was a widower. Addie Jennifer was informant.

[For more re Elder Fate Melton, see here.]

They are not married to each other.

In the summer of 1892, a Wilson County Superior Court grand jury took up the case in State vs. Henry Crutchfield and Dianna Simms, a matter alleging charges of fornication and adultery. Several prominent African-American townsmen were issued subpoenas commanding them to appear as witnesses at the next term of court.

The case file contains this summary of testimony:

State vs. Henry Crutchfield & Dianna Simms   }

Chas. Barber – I know deft. They are not married to each other. A man claims Dianna as his wife. They lived together up to the time. I have seen Crutchfield at Simms almost every night I heard Simms & Crutchfield quarreling & Simms told C. to stay away from his house. Crutchfield lived only a short distance from Simms’s on same Street & Dianna would go to his house almost every day. I would see her when I was passing. They were fussing nearly all the time. One Sunday morning I came by Crutchfield’s house; Simms was standing at the door & was saying to Crutchfield you have my wife in your house & then say I can’t some in there or you will kill me. I looked in at the door & saw Crutchfield & Simms’s wife on a pallet together before the fire. This was in open day light on Sunday morning. Sims & his wife moved away from there & I did not see Crutchfield after that time.

G.W. Sugg – I know Crutchfield. He passed for a colored man. I also know Dianna. I saw them together in the woods together last April. I saw them having sexual intercourse with each other. I saw Crutchfield at her house frequently. Her husband was gone at that time. She rented house from Calvin Blount. Dianna is Frank Sims’s wife.

Edmond Pool – Know defts. Dianna is wife of Frank Sims. I have seen Sims order Crutchfield from his house. Sims & wife are not living together now.

Joseph Sims – I passed where Dianna lived about 9 o’clock & she & Crutchfield had a pallet made down on floor & were on it together. Have heard Frank Sims & Crutchfield quarreling about this woman.

Henry Crutchfield – I got this woman to work for me a year or so off & on & I went back & forth from my house to her house to get my clothes. Cross Ex.

Dianna Simms – I went in Crutchfield’s to see about some clothes.

——

  • Henry Crutchfield — Crutchfield is not found in Wilson County records. However, he was likely the Virginia-born shoemaker named Henry Crutchfield, 53, found 25 miles away in the 1900 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina, and in the 1910 census of Goldsboro as Henry Crutchfield, 58, shoemaker. [The censuses note that Crutchfield’s mother was born in Scotland. In 1900, he was described as white. In 1910, as mulatto. His racial ambiguity is likely the basis of Suggs’ comment that he “passed for a colored man.”]
  • Dianna Simms Simms — on 19 June 1879, Deana Simms, 18, married Frank Simms, 22, at A. Farmer’s in Wilson. Jerry Barnes and Mike Barnes witnessed. In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmhand Frank Simms, 23; wife Diannah, 20; and son Frank, 7 months.
  • Frank Simms
  • Charles Barber — Barber, a mechanic, was soon embroiled in his own marital drama.
  • G. Washington Suggs
  • Calvin Blount
  • Edmund Poole
  • Joseph Simms
  • Redden S. Wilkins — Though subpoenaed, Wilkins apparently did not testify.

Adultery Records, Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.

The last will and testament of Clarence McCullers.

In late summer of 1945, lying abed at Duke Hospital, Clarence McCullers grew concerned enough about his prognosis that he wrote out a brief will. With his wife and son both dead, he left all his property to his sisters Bert Atkinson and Lucy Darden and appointed John Mack Barnes his administrator. His witnesses were Rev. W.A. Hilliard and Edwin Dortch Fisher.

c McCullers will

In the 1900 census of Selma township, Wilson County: Jerry McCullers, 50; wife Lucinda, 50; and children Lucy, 24, Ma[illegible], 17, Cha[illegible], 15, Clarence, 15, Laura, 14, and Budina, 7; plus roomers Calvin, 24, and Stanchy Richardson, 22.

On 31 October 1905, Clarence McCullers, 21, son of Jerry McCullers, married Bessie Simms, 19, daughter of Lee and Mary Simms, at the bride’s residence in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Mary J. Pender, Rosa Rountree, Boston Griffin and Will Bullock.

On 5 June 1917, Clarence McCullers registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1888 in Johnston County, North Carolina; resided at 425 Nash Street; and worked as a butler for D.S. Boykin.

On 30 March 1918, Clarence McCullers, 30, and Rosa Rountree, 28, were married by A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward in the presence of Walter Faulkland and Georgia C. Aiken.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 42, hardware store laborer; wife Rosa E., 37, who did washing; and son Willie E., 17.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 45, born Johnston County, light plant employee; wife Rosa, 43, born Wilson County, a laundress; and roomer Ethel Alexander, 28, born Scotland Neck, North Carolina, a teacher at Darden High.

Rosa E. McCullers died 18 January 1944 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she resided at 1008 Washington Street; was 50 years old; was born in Wilson to John Hardy and Lucinda Rountree; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Clarence McCullers was informant.

——

  • W.A. Hilliard — William Alexander Hillard registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 14 September 1904 in Greenville, Texas; resided at 119 Pender Street, Wilson; had a permanent address and contact in Kansas City, Missouri; and was an A.M.E. Zion minister.
  • Edwin Dortch Fisher — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Connecticut-born Edwin D. Fisher, 46, was a roomer in the household of Letitia Lovett at 301 Viola Street. His occupation was listed as “World War veteran.” (They wed a year letter. Fisher was the son of Edwin W. Fisher.)

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.