On the 111th anniversary of her birth, remembering my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks. This photo was snapped circa 1931 in East Wilson. I have not been able to identify the house. The same day, the photographer captured images of her oldest sons, Lucian and Jesse Henderson, her great-aunt Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver, and a friend, Sarah Lyles.
In the 1900 census of Falling Creek township, Lenoir County, N.C.: farmer John W. Best, 33; wife Nancey, 29; and children Florence, 10, Oscar, 9, and Lithey, 7.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: lumber mill laborer John W. Best, 43; wife Nannie, 43, laundress; and children Oscar, 19, lumber mill laborer, and Litha, 17, servant.
On 14 August 1910, Oscar Best, 21, of Cross Roads township, son of John W. and Nan Best, married Daisy Barnes, 20, of Cross Roads, daughter of Joe Barnes. Missionary Baptist minister William Baker performed the ceremony in the present of Will Bullock, James Coleman and [Rosa] Hinnant.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Best, 29; wife Daisy, 25; and children Seretha, 9, Mildred, 8, Hattie, 6, James, 4, Virginia, 2, and Nannie, 2 months.
Daisy Best died 9 May 1922 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 32 years old; was born in Wilson County to Joseph Barnes and Lillie Strickland; was married to Oscar Best; and was a tenant farmer for Fred Washington. Informant was Nan Best.
On 29 December 1925, Oscar Best, 33, son of John W. and Nan Best, married Viola Brown, 23, daughter of Neal and Patsy Brown, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister Wyatt Studiway performed the service in the presence of Samuel Austin, Lucius Studaway, and Nellie Thompson.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Harpers Road, farmer Oscar Best, 40; wife Viola, 28; and children Mildred, 17, Hattie, 14, Virginia, 12, James, 13, Andrew, 13, Mamie, 11, Jessie, 11, Oscar, 4, Corine, 3, and Joe Lizzie, 2.
In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Oscar Best, 50; wife Viola, 40; and children Buddie, 20, Oscar, 14, Corina, 12, Joe E., 12, Dollie Mae, 11, John, 10, J.D., 9, Herbert Lee, 4, Horace, 6, and William, 1.
In 1940, Buddy Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born October 1919 in Laurinburg, N.C.; lived at Route 3, Wilson; his contact was father Oscar Best; and he worked for W. Herbert Ellis.
In 1943, Oscar Junior Best registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1925 in Wilson County; lived at Route 3, Saratoga, Wilson County; and his contact and employer was Oscar Best.
Corine B. Woodard died 30 January 1953 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1928 in Wilson County to Oscar Best; was a laborer; was married; and lived at 1211 Wainwright Avenue. Informant was Walter Woodard.
James Best died 7 September 1958 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 December 1919 in Wilson County to Oscar and Daisy Best; was married to Rosa Best; lived in Portsmouth, Virginia; and worked as a metalsmith helper.
Viola Best died 27 June 1963 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1900 in Laurinburg, N.C. to Neal Brown and Patsy Pickett, was married to Oscar Best, and was a laborer.
Mildred Best Williams died 27 October 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 February 1912 on Wilson County to Oscar Best and Nannie Best; lived at 206 South Reid Street; and was married to Alvester Williams.
Oscar Best died 25 July 1976 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 December 1887 to John Best and Nannie Sutton; was married; and worked as a farmer. J.D. Best was informant.
Hattie Best Jones died 19 May 1980 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 January 1915 in Nash County to Oscar Best and Dazie Best; was a widower; and loved at 1110 Queen Street.
Oscar Best Jr. died 6 August 1886 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 August 1925 to Oscar Best Sr. and Viola Brown; was married to Mildred Jones Best; and worked as a carpenter for a container corporation.
Buddy Best died 6 April 1991 in Goldsboro, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 October 1917 in Wilson to Oscar Best and Viola Brown.
Roland Best died 8 February 1993 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 30 March 1921 to Oscar Best and Viola Brown; was a widower; and worked as a heavy equipment operator.
Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com user Portia Black.
In the 1880 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Peter High, 50; wife Mary, 50; sons Grant, 10, and John W., 9; and hireling William Young, 12.
On 1 October 1891, John High, 19, of Taylors township, son of Peter and Mary High, married Trecy Rowe, 17, of Taylors township, daughter of Samuel and Louisa Rowe, at Ellises Chapel, Taylors township. Noah Battle applied for the license, and Freewill Baptist minister Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of Hilliard Ellis, Joshua Bunn, and William Ray.
In the 1900 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer John High, 26; wife Treasy, 23; and Walter, 8, and Sam, 6.
On 8 September 1907, John High, 37, of Wilson married Flora Lucas, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Elbert and Rosa Lucas, at Ace Thompson’s house in Selma, Johnston County, N.C. Edward Battle of Wilson was a witness.
In the 1910 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer John High, 40; wife Florine, 19, farm laborer; and Lena M., 2.
In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John W. High, 55; wife Flore R., 34; and children Lizzie, 14, John Jr., 16, Rennie, 12, Perlia, 10, Minnie, 8, Gldyes, 7, Bessie M., 5, and Earnest T., 1; daughter Julia Wood, 20, and granddaughter Rasey M. Wood, 8 months.
In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C., John High Sr., 67, widower, is listed as a lodger in the household of James E. and Pauline Tyler.
Beulah Artis Exum Best (1909-1972), Helen Carter Greenfield (1916-1994), Margaret Artis Thompson (1910-1981), circa late 1930s.
Beulah and Margaret Artis were daughters of William M. and Etta Diggs Artis, and Helen was the granddaughter of their father’s sister Louvicey Artis Aldridge. Though William M. Artis and family lived primarily just south of Eureka in Wayne County, he owned property a few miles away in Stantonsburg, Wilson County.
Beulah Artis and her first husband, Leslie “Jake” Exum, lived in Wilson from the time they were married in December 1929 until he was killed in July 1934.
Ada Battle Atkinson (ca.1885-1971) and, perhaps, a grandchild.
On 27 January 1909, Mark Atkinson, 30, of Gardners township, son of Henry and Joannah Atkinson, married Ada Battle, 24, of Edgecombe County, in Gardners township, Wilson County.
In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Atkinson, 32; wife Ada, 26; and children Silvester, 6, Masy, 4, Emma, 2, and Henry, 4 months. Mark reported having been married twice.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Atkinson, 40; wife Ada, 35; and children Sylvester, 15, Henry, 10, Mark, 9, Joanna, 7, Bettie, 5, R. George, 3, and Frank, 1.
In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Atkinson, 52; wife Ada, 45; and children Sylvester, 25, Henry, 20, Mark, 18, Joanna, 16, Bettie, 15, George, 13, Frank, 11, Fannie, 10, Ophelia, 7, and Willie, 4, and nephew John H., 21.
In the 1940 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: widow Ada Atkinson, 55; children Betty, 25, George, 23, Frank, 21, Della, 21, Ophelia, 16, Willie, 14, and Geraldene, 9; grandchildren Cleo Atkinson, 9, Curtis Edwards, 8, and Thomas, 4, Minnie, 3, and Grey Atkinson, 2.
In 1940, George Rufus Adkinson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 November 1917 in Wilson; his contact was mother Ada Rebecca Adkinson; he resided on Route 2, Macclesfield, Edgecombe County; and he worked for Grady Skinner, Macclesfield.
In 1940, Frank Atkinson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 18 October 1918 in Wilson; his contact was mother Ada Atkinson; he resided on Route 1, Macclesfield, Wilson County; and he worked for G.R. Skinner, Macclesfield.
In 1944, Willie Mack Roy Atkinson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 5 March 1926 in Wilson County; his contact was mother Ada Atkinson; he resided on Route 1, Elm City; and he worked for Pattie Thorne, Elm City.
On 31 December 1945, George Atkinson, 29, single, of Wilson, born in Wilson County, son of Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle, married Laura Hines McCray, 24, widowed, of Wilson, born in Edgecombe County, daughter of David Hines and Maggie Station, in Emporia, Virginia.
Henry Atkinson died 21 January 1964 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 December 1910 in Wilson County to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; was married to Minnie Atkinson; lived at 116 Pender Street, Wilson; was a laborer; and was buried in Well Cemetery, Wilson County.
George Rufus Atkinson died 24 November 1968 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 November 1917 to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; was married to Laura Atkinson; and had worked as a laborer.
Ada Battle Atkinson died 17 December 1971 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born24 December 1889 to Joe Ellis and Bettie Battle; was a widow; had been a farmer; lived at 120 Narroway Street; and informant was Willie Atkinson. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.
Fannie Atkinson Wiggins died 18 July 1973 in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1920 in Edgecombe County to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; lived in Rocky Mount; and was a widow. Her daughter Frances Louise Wiggins was informant.
Sylvester Atkinson died 29 December 1985 in Emporia, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 July 1905 in North Carolina to Mark Atkinson and Ada Battle; was married to Annie Atkinson; and was a retired millworker.
Katherine Elks shared several incredible photographs from an old family album. They depictIsabel Taylor, born about 1847 in what was then Nash County. She, her mother Annis, and siblings were the property of Henry Flowers. After Henry’s death, Isabel, her mother, and her brother Alexander “Elick” passed to his daughter Charity Flowers Taylor. Isabel Taylor died in 1929, and this and the other snapshots must have been taken within a few years of her death.
I knew we were related somehow to the Sherrods, but I was in college before I figured out how. Of course, I then wanted to visit Josephine Artis Sherrod, who, it turned out, was both my great-great-grandmother’s half-sister and my great-great-grandfather’s niece. (Yes, it was complicated.) My father took me by the house on Viola Street one evening when I was home over the Christmas holidays. We knocked, the door opened, and I stared into baby-blue eyes set in a caramel-brown face. This was Solomon C. Sherrod Jr., who, though just a few years younger than my grandmother, was my great-grandfather’s first cousin. He ushered us into the front room, and I spent a delightful hour or so with Aunt Josephine.
I was in Wilson this past week. Before I left, I knocked on another door on Viola Street. Cousin Solomon’s youngest son answered, and I placed in his hands the scrapbook Rita Elsner found on a Maryland street three weeks ago. As promised, the Sherrod family’s legacy has returned home.
Here are more gems from Alliner Sherrod Davis Randall‘s scrapbook. If you can help me identify the men and women depicted, I’d be grateful.
Alliner and Henry Randall, probably not long after their marriage in 1946. They made their home in Durham, N.C.
Elmer Lee Sherrod (1929-2002), Josephine and Solomon Sherrod’s youngest son. On the reverse: “To Mr. & Mrs. Randall with Love, Elmer Sherrod, 1401 N. 18th St., Phila 21, Pa.”
Minnie Sherrod Parker (1916-1996). [Thank you, Barbara Williams Lewis!]
Studio portrait of unidentified young woman.
Alliner Randall (1908-1992) and dog.
Unidentified snapshot of older man and young girl. Is this Solomon Sherrod Sr. (ca.1880-1948)?
Betty Cooper Sherrod, who married Solomon Sherrod’s eldest son Earnest E. Sherrod. [Thank you, Bonita Sherrod!]
Scene at a graveside funeral service, possibly in the 1950s.
Alliner Sherrod Davis Randall‘s scrapbook contained two photos of her mother, Josephine Artis Sherrod (1887-1988). Though not taken on the same day, they were clearly taken within a short span of time and in the same place. They appear to date from the 1950s. (Was the occasion Mother’s Day? Her birthday? Both were in May.) I have not yet identified the two-story house in the background.
Handwritten in pencil on the back of this image: “To my baby, Love Mother.”