Smith

Working on the railroad, drowned on the river.

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Wilson Advance, 16 February 1883.

When construction resumed after the Civil War, the state of North Carolina leased thousands of African-American convicts — many sentenced for trivial crimes — to the Western North Carolina Rail Road Company to perform the dirty, dangerous work of grading, laying rail and excavating tunnels. Hundreds died, including Jerry Smith.

The W.N.C.R.R. crosses the Tuckaseegee River, which flows entirely in North Carolina, several times between Bushnell and Almond, North Carolina.

The Wilson Collegiate Institute, a private school for boys, opened in 1872 and operated for about 20 years.

Formerly principal of the Wilson graded school.

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REV. CHARLES H. SMITH, B.D.

Charles H. Smith was born in Jones County, near New Berne, N. C., in 1853, and is the son of Thomas and Harriet Smith. At an early age he entered the Northern school at New Berne, remaining there till he obtained a normal education, and then attended St. Augustine College, Raleigh, N. C., for three years. He occupied the position of principal of the Wilson graded school, giving entire satisfaction, until, becoming desirous of entering the ministry, he was ordained deacon by Bishop J. W. Hood at Salisbury in November, 1877, and given charge of Snow Hill Circuit. Here he so rapidly increased the membership that Bishop Hood divided the work, making two circuits. In 1880 he was ordained an elder at Tarboro, N. C. When he entered upon his duties as pastor of the Whiteville Circuit he found the Methodists and Baptists worshiping in the same church edifice, and at once set to work and built a beautiful church for Zion. A strong man was needed at Henderson, the Baptists being about to absorb the Methodists. Elder Smith entered his field, published a pamphlet on the proper mode of baptism, which obtained a general circulation, and soon became master of the situation. Henderson is now one of the strongholds of Zion in the North Carolina Conference.

In 1887 Rev. Smith was appointed pastor of St. Peter’s Church at New Berne and grandly entertained the General Conference at that church in 1888. A large debt on the church was canceled during his pastorate. While at New Berne he married the accomplished Miss Mamie Stanley, a teacher in the graded school of that city. Mrs. Smith makes a model minister’s wife. While a member of the North Carolina Conference Rev. Smith won the first prize in gold for the largest collection of General Fund. He was a member of the General Conferences of 1884, 1888, and 1892. He was transferred to the West Alabama Conference, where he erected a fine parsonage at Jefferson and relieved the church of debt. At Selma, Ala., he saved the church, which was about to be sold, and greatly reduced its debt. He is a strong temperance advocate, is generous and sympathetic, and an able scholar and theologian.

Now I will fix you.

Mittie Webb.

I was at home (at Place the deceased was killed) abut 12 oclock and Will McNiel came to the house and said he was coming in and did come in and broke the key which was in the lock. My sister Octavia went out the back door after a Policeman. He came in and hit me on the hand and head, and I truck him on hand and across head with iron poker. About an hour he returned and entered the house by forcing the door. I was sitting on bed with my baby when he struck at me with a hatchet, saying you tried to have me arrested, and now I will fix you. Before he came in the last time, the man in house with us shot at him once and on his coming in the second time he shot at McNiel twice more, after the 3rd shot was fired, McNeill grabbed at him and they went in the kitchen to gether and I run out the front door in the yard. After McNiel went out the house the first time, Octavia was trying to get away from him he caught her and threw her to the ground and beat her in the street. The pistol that the shooting was done with was one I borrowed from Nan Garrett. He cut Octavia with a pocket knife in 2 or 3 places.  Mittie (X) Webb

Charles Taylor.

I met this woman Octavia at about 9 30 oclock at Dr. Harriss store, it was rainy and she asked me to go home with her. I went with her and during my stay in the house, a man came to the door and demanded to be admited which the woman declined to open the door and he swore loud oaths to the effect  he was going to come in. This was about 12 oclock and I went up town after an Officer. Left the man inside house fussing and fighting this woman. When I came back with the Officer he was gone and the women of the house being very much frightened asked me to remain for there protection about an 1 1/2 hour or more he returned still demanding admittance which was denied him and with threats and curses he forced the door open by pushing, which was fastened by a chair. The second attempt to gain admittance was when I shot the first time, ball going through the door facing. He then left and returned the 3rd time when he busted the door open and came in at this time. I fire two more shots. He entered with a hatchet in his hand and struck at one of the women and seeing me in the corner made at me with hatchet and grabbed at my head. I went out the front door. I did not go in back room at all only with Office[r] when they searched him.    Charlie (X) Taylor

Octavia Smith.

I was up the street about 9 30 oclock it was rainy and hearing that it was against the law to be out after 9 oclock, I asked this man Charlie Taylor to go home with me which he did. After being there some time Will McNeil came there and demanded admittance by loud cursing and threats, saying he was going to kill the last d-mn one of us to night. We woud not let him come in and he forced the door open and this man who accompanied me home ran out and went after an Officer. Left McNiel in house fighting my sister. At this time I went out the back door to get help, when he followed me in the street and knocked me down and tried to cut my throat. I was in my room when he returned the 2nd time and forced the door open which was fastened with a chain.   Octavia (X) Smith

Miss Nan Garrett

This woman Octavia Smit came to my house and asked me to go up there and help Mittie Weelb, that McNiel was beating her. I went but McNiel was gone. Mittie Weelb asked me to loan her my pistol, which I did. About two hours after  I saw from my porch firing of pistols in front of this womans hous where this McNiel was killed.     /s/ Nanie Garrett

Wilson, N.C., March 2, 1902.

We the Jury for our verdict, after viewing the corpse, and hearing the evidence, find that William McNiel (col) came to his death from a wound from a pistol shot fired by Charlie Taylor (col); and we furthermore find that the killing was justifiable.  /s/ E.F. Nadal, T.M. Pace, Henry Humphrey, R.S. Bryan, W.P. Lancaster

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  • Mittie Webb — in the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Mittie Webb, 19, and daughter Viver, 4. In the 1910 census of Wilmington, New Hanover County: at 1006 Smith Street, laundress Mittie Webb, 29, children Vivere Webb, 14, Annie Wilmore, 10, and Richard Wilmore, 7, and John McLaughlin, 35. On 15 February 1911, in Wilmington, North Carolina, John McGlaughlin, 30, son of John and Janie McLaughlin, married Mittie Webb, 25, daughter of Joseph and Mary Smith of Magnolia, North Carolina. Mittie McLaughlin died 10 December 1947 at her home at 915 Queen Street in Wilmington. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 March 1884 in Duplin County to Joseph Smith. Informant was Annie Brown.
  • William McNeil
  • Charles Taylor
  • Octavia Smith
  • Dr. Harriss — This, once again, is William “Salt Lake” Harris.
  • Nannie Garrett — in the 1908 city directory of Wilson: Miss Nan A. Garrett, 512 South Spring Street.

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

The last will and testament of Samuel Smith.

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I Samuel Smith of the County of Wilson and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory do make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following to wit:

First that my Executor herein after named shall provide for my body a decent burial suitable to the wishes of my relations and friends pay all my funeral expenses together with my just debts howsoever and to whomever owing out of the first moneys that shall come into his hands as a part or parcel of my estate.

Item 2 I leave unto my beloved wife Annie Smith during her natural life (after paying my just debts and funeral expenses) all my property of every kind real personal and mixed, and after her death to be equally divided between my son Herman S. Smith and any other child which may be born to her within ten months after my death to him or their heirs  forever.

And lastly I hereby constitute and appoint my friend John Alvin Clark [Clack?] my sole executor to this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills and Testaments made by me.

In witness whereof I have hereby set my hand and seal this the 25th day of April A.D. 1882   Samuel (X) Smith

Witness C.C. Peacock, B.H. Bardin

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In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: iron foundry worker Samuel Smith, 28, wife Anna, 19, and brother Simeon, 23, school teacher. Samuel died in early 1882, and his will entered probate in May of that year.

Herman Smith, born 16 October 1880 to Samuel Smith and Annie Bryant in Wilson, applied for a Social Security number in December 1936. The index to Social Security numbers does not list his residence at the time.

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

Respects to the family of Mrs. Annie Blount.

A month after his wife’s death, Julius Freeman, Austin J. Lindsey and Braswell R. Winstead placed an ad in Raleigh’s African-American newspaper to show respects to their lodge brother Marcus W. Blount.

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Raleigh Gazette, 28 November 1896.

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In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Louiza Bryant, 30, Cornelius Harriss, 23, Catherine Harriss, 20, Cornelius Harriss, 1, Ann Bryant, 9, Willie Bryant, 8, and Alice Ellis, 15.

Prior to 1880, Ann Bryant married Samuel Smith. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: iron foundry worker Samuel Smith, 28, wife Anna, 19, and brother Simeon, 23, school teacher. Samuel died in early 1882, and his will entered probate in May of that year.

On 27 December 1888, Mark Blount, 35, son of Sebery Battle and Margaret Blount, married Annie Smith, 27, daughter of Louisa Bryant. F.O. Blount applied for the license on his brother’s behalf. The couple were married at the A.M.E. Zion church in the presence of F.O. Blount and their nephews S.H. and W.H. Vick.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: the widower Mark Blount, 38, a cook, and his children Coneva, 10, Dotsey, 9, and Theodore W., 6, were lodgers in the household of George Faggin, just a few households away from Samuel Vick.

Simms family portrait.

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Gertrude Simms Hoskins (1904-1988), Hannah Malinda Smith Simms (1876-1961), John Leslie Simms Jr. (1910-1982), Marcellus Simms (1900-1946), Jeanette Simms Bonner (1907-1999), John Leslie Simms (1867-1942), Rosetta Simms Campbell (1909-2001), Ashley Augustus Simms (1898-1977), Benjamin Frank Simms (1903-1980), circa 1910. 

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In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Caroline Simms, 38, and children Harriet, 14, and John, 4.

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Caroline Smith Simms (1832-1928).

On 25 January 1872, Warren Simms, son of Jack Anderson and Rebecca Simms, married Caroline Smith, daughter of Morton Smith and Charlotte Smith, at the Wilson County courthouse. [Note: Not uncommonly, Caroline used both Simms and Smith as maiden names. Her brother, Simon Simms, married Emeline Brooks on 16 January 1869 in Wilson County. His license lists his parents as Martin Simms and Charlotte Simms.]

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Warren Simms, 25, wife Caroline, 47, step-daughter Harriet, 20, step-son John, 12, and children Zanah Ann, 9, and Lucy, 1, plus [Caroline’s] grandsons Ellis, 4, and Amanuel, 2.

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.

On 4 December 1928, Carolina Simms died in Pine Level township, Johnston County. Her death certificate reports that she was born in 1822 to unknown parents in Johnston County.

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.

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.

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.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com member brianandrewbonner.

To cost not less than $100.

NORTH CAROLINA, WILSON COUNTY.

I, O.L.W. Smith, of the State and County aforesaid, being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of this my earthly existence, do make, publish and declare this my last Will and testament in manner and form following, to-wit:

FIRST: I direct that my Executor, hereinafter named, give my body a decent burial, suitable to the wishes of my friends and relatives, the interment to take place in my lot in the colored Masonic cemetery at Wilson, North Carolina. I direct that he place over my grave a tombstone to cost not less than ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($100.00) and not more than TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS ($200.00). I further direct that my said Executor from the first monies coming into his hands from my estate, pay my burial expenses and all of my just debts.

SECOND: My adopted son, Jesse Alexander Smith owes me about TREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS ($350.00), money that he has borrowed from me from time to time. I will that he shall be discharged of this obligation to my estate and shall receive nothing further from my estate than said discharge.

THIRD: I give, bequeath and devise to my step-daughter, Mary E. King, the wife of Clarence L. King of Goldsboro, N.C., all my personal property of every kind and condition and wheresoever situate, except hereinafter excepted. Also, I give and devise to her all my real estate of whatsoever kind and condition and wheresoever situate, subject only to the devise in the succeeding paragraph of this will.

FOURTH: I give and devise to Joannah Hall, who has been a faithful housekeeper, cook and wash woman to me and nurse during times of sickness, my house and lot on Pender Street in the Town of Wilson, Known as No. 122 Pender Street and my house and lot on Ashe Street, known as No. 137.

FIFTH: I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint Clarence King of Goldsboro, N.C. my Executor, to all intents and purposes to execute this my last will and testament and every part and clause thereof, hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, the said O.L.W. Smith, do hereby set my hand and affix my seal this the 6th day of November, 1924.    O.L.W. Smith

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said O.L.W. Smith to be his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.      Lula Whitehurst, F.D. Swindell : Witnesses.

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Rev. Owen L.W. Smith

On 31 March 1908, in Grifton, Pitt County, Owen L.W. Smith, 56, married Cynthia A. Isler, 43, daughter of Madison and Phyllis King. [She was his third wife.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister Owen W. Smith, 58, wife Lucy A., 45, son Jessy A. Smith, 27, daughter Carry E. Smith, 10, and step-children John H., 12, and Mary A. Isler, 10.

On 2 June 1911, Jesse A. Smith, 30, married Hattie M. Bailiff, 26, in Crossett, Ashley County, Arkansas. Six years later, Jesse Alexander Smith, born 12 February 1881, registered for the World War I draft. He reported that he lived at 246 Second Street, Crossett, Arkansas; worked as a teacher; and his nearest relative was Owen L.W. Smith of 129 N. Pender Street, Wilson, North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 129 Pender Street, Owen L. Smith, 68, wife Cynthia, 55, stepchild Mary E. Isler, roomer John H. Isler, and eight other roomers. The 1920 census of Wilson also reveals that Frederick D. Swindell was a white lawyer who lived on Nash Street, and Lula Whitehurst was a 25 year-old white stenographer who lived with her parents on Kenan Street.

On 4 June 1922, Clarence L. King, 24, son of James and Sarah King, married Mary E. Isler, 22, foster daughter of O.L.W. and Anna A. Smith, in Wilson at the A.M.E. Zion Church. Rev. B.P. Coward officiated, and J.D. Reid, C.S. Thomas, and W.T. Darden served as witnesses.

Joanna Hall appears in the 1925 city directory of Wilson as a laundress living at 200 Pender Street.

Owen Lum West Smith died in Wilson on 5 January 1926, a little over a year after he wrote out his will.

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This bit of page 31 of the 1922 Sanborn Insurance map of Wilson shows (A) O.L.W. Smith’s house at 200 North Pender Street (formerly 129); (B) the approximate location of his property at 137 Ashe Street (the numbering is confusing); and (C) the location of Saint John’s A.M.E. Zion Church.

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In the inventory prepared in 1986 for the application for historic district designation for East Wilson, 200 North Pender Street, built circa 1908, was described as “Owen L. Smith House; Queen Anne house with hip-roofed main block and gable-front wing with a lunette in the gable; deep wraparound porch; house has been brick veneered; Smith was a pastor and missionary [sic] to Africa in the early 20th century.”

Unfortunately, it’s now a vacant lot.

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North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; photo of Rev. Smith courtesy of Wilson County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Blog.

A different kind of Republican convention.

WA 5 17 1888

Wilson Advance, 17 May 1888.

6 27 1894 WM

Wilson Mirror, 27 June 1894.

  • A.D. Dawson — Alexander D. Dawson.
  • Daniel Vick
  • Gray Farmer 
  • James Bynum — Perhaps, farm worker James Bynum, 43, with wife Mary, 41, in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County.
  • W.H. VickWilliam Henry Vick.
  • B.R. WinsteadBraswell R. Winstead.
  • S.A. SmithSimeon A. Smith.
  • Gray Newsome — In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Gray Newsome died 3 September 1930 in Pine Level township, Johnston County. His death certificate notes that he was born about 1853 in Wilson County to Willie and Nancy Jenkins Newsome of Wilson County.
  • Honorable Geo. H. White — United States Congressman. See here and here.

Black Creek residents.

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Jimmie Jack Sims.

“Jimmie Jack was one of three sons of Mary Sims. Born and raised in Black Creek he moved north quite young where he became a chef. Later he returned here and worked in the W.C. and W.H. Privette homes and store until his death. He was a dependable messenger who pushed the mail in a two-wheel cart from the railroad station to the post office daily.

Lewis and Boots Sims, brothers of Jimmie Jack, were railroad section workers at a time when all work was manual. The ring of metal mallets on the steel spikes was a familiar sound. The rhythm of wielding the mallets required dexterity and perfect timing. The townspeople appreciated their labor under the watchful eye of the section foreman Mr. H.W. Ezzell, known to everyone as Captain Ezzell.”

In the 1910 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: on East Railroad Street, farm laborer James Sanders, 28, wife Mary, 36, and Lewis, 10, Jack, 9, Jesse, 5, George W., 4, and Jimmie S. Sanders, 2.

On 24 August 1913, Jim Saunders, 30, son of Allen and Classy Saunders, married Mary Simms, 34, daughter of Jack and Creasy Simms, at Mary Simms’ residence in Black Creek. [Note: per the marriage licenses of Mary’s siblings Reddick Simms and Frank Simms, her mother was in fact named Treasy.]

In the 1920 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer James L. Sanders, 37, wife Mary, and Louis, 22, Jack, 19, Jesse, 16, George, 12, and James L. Sanders Jr., 10, all farm laborers.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer James Saunders, 45, wife Mary, 54, an odd job laborer, and stepsons steam sawmill laborer Lewis, 34, farm laborer Jesse, 22, steam railroad laborer George, 20, and farm laborer James, 19.

Mary Sanders died 8 October 1954 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. She was a married resident of Black Creek and had been born 1 January 1873. Her father’s name was Jack Simms. She was buried in Black Creek cemetery.

Lewis Simms died 17 February 1967 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Salisbury, North Carolina, of cardiac arrest. He was born 1 May 1895 in Wilson County to Mary Simms. He was single and a veteran of World War I. He was buried in Black Creek cemetery.

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Rachel Smith with Chester and Lillie Lancaster.

Chester Lancaster was born in 1918, and his sister Lillie in 1919. This photo, then, was taken in early 1920.

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Tina Pleasants, housekeeping employee at Lee Woodard School.

— From Black Creek: The First One Hundred Years, published by the Black Creek Historical Society in 1984.

No. 2879.

From the records of the Freedmen’s Savings Bank, New Bern branch:

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When Hamilton Holmes of New Bern registered for an account at the local branch of the Freedmen’s Bank, he noted that his sister Tempe and her husband William Smith lived “at Wilson.”

Freedmen’s Bank Records, 1865-1871 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.