snapshot

Snaps, no. 101: Ella Goff Ward and Fannie Ward Dixon.

Mother and daughter Ella Jane Goff Ward (1892-1939) and Fannie Ward Dixon (1914-1942).

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In the 1900 census of Bayboro township, Horry County, South Carolina: farmer Alva G. Goff, 47, widower, and children Julius E., 18, Samuel D., 17, Wilbur C., 15, Isaiah S., 13, Ella J., 11, Lorenzo C., 9, Carrie A., 6, and McLaurin, 3.

In the 1910 census of Floyds township, Horry County: farmer Dave Ward, 25, and wife Ella, 23, farm laborer.

In the 1920 census of Tatums township, Columbus County, North Carolina: David, 29; wife Ella, 28; and children Mary F., 8, Fannie, 6, Willie, 4, Clarence H., 3, and Elloasar, 5 months.

In the 1930 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County, North Carolina : farmer Clarence D. Ward, 40; wife Ella, 35; children Mary, 18, Fannie, 16, Willie, 15, Clarence, 12, Ella J., 10, Goldie, 8, David V., 5; and nieces and nephew Ilene, 13, Hellen, 9, and James Lane, 6.

On 8 May 1933, Sylvester Dixon, 21, of Saratoga, son of Jodie Dixon, married Fannie Ward, 19, of Greene County, daughter of David and Ella J. Ward. A.M.E. Zion minister R.B. Taylor performed the ceremony at 536 East Nash Street, Wilson, in the presence of Joe H. Best, David Ward, and Ella Ward.

Ella J. Ward died 12 April 1939 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 47 years old; was born in South Carolina to Alsey Goff; was married to Clarence D. Ward; and lived at Route 3, Wilson.

Jene Arthur Ward died 29 January 1938 in Saratoga township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 January 1938 to Sylvester Dixon and Fannie Ward; lived at Allen Webb’s farm; and was buried in Ellis cemetery.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Silvester Dixon, 26; wife Annie, 26; and children Beatrice, 6, Ardelia, 4, Sylvester Jr., 2, and Annie P., 8 months; brother-in-law Jona L. Ward, 15; and cousin Jack Lane, 17.

In 1940, Sylvester Dixon registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 17 August 1913 in Wilson County; lived on R.F.D. 3, Wilson; his contact was wife Fannie Dixon; and he was a farmer.

This lovely photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user BlairGoff.

Snaps, no. 100: Johnnie and Mandy Anderson Spell.

This delightful snapshot of Johnnie and Mandy Anderson Spell was likely taken in the 1970s. 

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In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer James O. Spell, 28; wife Martha, 29, farm laborer; and children Marcellus, 8, Johnnie, 7, Rosetta, 5, and Lonnie, 3.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Bud Spell, 50; wife Martha, 48; and children Buck, 16, John, 15, Rosetta, 13, Lonnie, 11, Wilce, 9, May, 8, James, 6, Lena M., 3, Mattie, 2, and Walner, 1.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Anderson, 33; wife Lydia, 35; and children Sylvester, 18, Paul, 10, Manly [Mandy], 8; Virginia, 6; Mary, 3; and John Jr., 3 months.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Bud Spell, 54; wife Martha, 48; and children John, 25, Lonnie, 21, Wiley, 19, Mary L., 17, Jone, 15, Lena M., 14, Mattie, 12, Walter, 10, Daisy, 8, James, 18, Blue, 19, and Ami, 29.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Paul Anderson, 19; mother Lydia, 40; sisters Mandy, 18, Virginia, 16, and Mary, 14; and brothers John, 9, Ben, 6, and Robert L., 2.

On 2 February 1931, Johnnie Spell, 22, of Black Creek, son of Bud and Martha Spell, married Mandy Anderson, 18, of Black Creek, daughter of John and Litty Anderson, at Jonie [Jonah] Barnes‘ residence in Black Creek. “Minister of the Chrisson faith” J.H. Artis performed the ceremony in the presence of Jonie Barnes and F.E. Horn of Black Creek and James Tabrim [Tabron] of Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jonny Spell, 35; wife Mandy, 27; and children Robert Lee, 9, Alberta, 4, John Jr., 2, and Mandy D., 4 months.

In 1942, Johnnie Spell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 6 September 1904 in Wilson County; lived on Route 3, Wilson, Black Creek township, Wilson County, at Mrs. P.L. Woodard’s farm; his contact was Lydia Anderson, Black Creek; and he was employed by Charlie Bass, Route 3, Wilson.

In 1946, Robert Lee Spell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 August 1928 in Wilson County; lived in Stantonsburg, Wilson County; his contact was father Johnnie Spell; and he worked farming with his father on the W.L. Shelton farm, Stantonsburg.

In the 1950 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Johnny Spell, 45; wife Amanda, 39; and children Robert L., 21, Alberta, 14, Johnny Jr., 12, Amanda D., 11, Mary E., 6, Martha L., 5, Roy S., 2, and Charlie G., 2 months.

Liddie Anderson died 3 September 1963 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1896 in Wilson County to Robert Woodard and Linnie Taylor; and lived in Fremont, Wayne County, N.C. Amanda Spell, 204 Reid Street, Wilson, was informant.

Johnnie Spells Sr. died 18 September 1984 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 September 1902 in Wilson County to James Arthur Spells and Martha Harris; was married to Mandie Anderson; and was a tobacco worker. Mandie Spells, 900 East Nash Street, was informant.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 September 1984.

Mandy Anderson Spell died 9 December 2005.

My thanks to Roy S. Spell Jr. for sharing this photo of his grandparents.

Snaps, no. 99: Flora Thomas Knight.

Flora Thomas Knight (1892-1943).

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In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Alford Thomas, 36; wife Lou, 18; and children Sallie, 12, Florra, 9, and Mary T., 6 months; and servant Cora White, 17.

On 26 January 1908, Colonel Knight, 22, of Wayne County, son of George and Louisa Knight, married Flora Thomas, 18, of Wayne County, daughter of Alfred and Nelie Thomas, in Goldsboro, Wayne County.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Colonel Knight, 24; wife Flora, 20; and son Willie, 1.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Colonel Knight, 34; wife Flora, 28; and children Willie, 11, Nelia, 8, George, 7, Colonel, 4, and Percy, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Vance Street, Cullon Knight, 44; wife Flora, 37; and children Willie, 21, odd jobs laborer; George, 18, baker; Cullon Jr., 16, bakery delivery boy; Percy, 13; and Gladys, 9.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Connel Knight, 55, tobacco factory laborer; wife Flora, 48; and children Percy, 23, chauffeur; Neal, 29, tobacco factory laborer; and Gladys, 19, tobacco factory laborer; grandsons Rudolph Ward, 13, and Ben Sellers, 3; and lodger Sylvester Woodard, 33, meat market delivery man.

Flora Knight died 15 December 1943 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 January 1892 in Wilson County to Alfred Thomas and Nealie Hagans; was married to Colonel Knight; lived at 706 Stantonsburg Street; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Gladis Hines was informant.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user ______.

Snaps, no. 97: Carrie Walker Blackston.

Carrie Walker Blackston (1897-1972), standing in front of the Parker-Kerbo home at 104 Ash Street.

Jerilyn James Lee provided this photo of her maternal grandmother, Carrie Walker Blackston, who worked for decades at Lucille’s Bridal Shop in Wilson. Says Lee, Lucille’s “was the premier bridal shop for eastern North Carolina, and practically every white bride of social standing within a hundred miles bought their debutante and wedding dresses from Lucille’s. My grandmother Carrie was the head seamstress there for decades from the late ’40’s until the early ’70’s, not just for alterations and fittings, but she designed several dresses on her own. She had earned the right as an elder to be called Miss Carrie by young white customers in a time when that was uncommon. Sadly, it was also at a time in history when Black women could work there, but not shop there until the late 1960’s. She was always beautifully dressed herself, and sharp as nails….”
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On 18 July 1909, James Blackston, 24, of Johnston County, son of Pleasant A. and Charity Blackston, married Katie [sic] Walker, 21, of Wayne County, daughter of Nelson and Jane Walker, at Nelson Walker’s residence in Brogden township, Wayne County, North Carolina.
In 1918, James William Blackston registered for the World War I draft in Sampson County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 21 March 1885; lived at R.F.D. 1, Duplin County, North Carolina; was farming for himself in Piney Grove township, Sampson County; and his nearest relative was Kattie [sic] Bell Blackston.
In the 1920 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: on Smith Chapel and Faison Road, farmer Jim Blackston, 35; wife Katie [sic], 30; and children Lee, 12, Pleasant N., 10, Wiam, 6, James H., 4, Alfonso, 2, Ila, 1, and Christine, 4 months.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, James Blackston, 50; wife Katie B. [sic], 40; and children Pleasant N., 18, William J., 17, James H., 15, Alfonzer, 13, Ila M., 11, Christine, 9, Hilton [Hilda] R., 8, James Jr., 6, A.C., 4, and L.Z., 3.
In 1943, Albert Charles Blackston registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 20 February 1925 in Wilson; lived at 113 Narroway Street; his nearest relative was mother Carrie Walker Blackston, 113 Narroway; and he was unemployed.
In 1945, Louis Zebelon Blackston registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 1 December 1927 in Wilson; lived at 113 Narroway Street; his nearest relative was Carrie Blackston, 113 Narroway; and he worked for Mansfield Paper Company, Wilson.
Carrie Blackston died 9 October 1972 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 April 1897 to Nelson Walker and Jane Kornegay; was widowed; and lived at 406 South Daniel Street. Hilda B. Forbes was informant.

Thanks you, Jerilyn James Lee!

Snaps, no. 94: Isaac and Dorsey Ann Farmer Bynum.

Isaac and Dorsey Ann Farmer Bynum.

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In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Bynum, 41; wife Hagar, 41; and children Rose, 18, John, 17, Martha, 9, Gray, 7, and Isaac, 12.

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Green Farmer, 40; wife Jennie, 33; and children Jeneva, 14, Mammie L., 9, Hattie M., 8, Annie D., 6, John G., 4, Ella E., 2, and Jona, 6 months.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Gray Bynum, 52; wife Hagar, 54; and children Jonas, 19, and Isaac, 16.

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Green Farmer, 50, widower, and children Jennie, 24, Mamie, 18, Hattie, 16, Doracy, 15, John, 13, Jonah, 10, Ambrose, 6, and Nunnie, 4.

On 6 December 1911, Isaac Bynum, 19, of Saratoga township, son of Grey and Haga Bynum, married Dorsey Farmer, 18, of Gardners township, daughter of Green Farmer,  in Gardners township.

In 1917, Isaac Bynum registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 May 1882 in Wilson County; lived in Stantonsburg; farmed for Jack Watson; and had a wife and four children. He signed his card in a clear, strong hand.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Bynum, 28; wife Dorsey, 27; and children Martha, 7, Mamie, 6, Daisye, 6, Hagar, 3, and Mary, 1.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Isaac Bynum, 36; wife Dorsey, 36; and children Martha, 17, Mammie, 16, Daisy, 15, Hagar, 13, Mary, 11, William, 8, Essie M., 6, Hula G., 4, and Mavis G., 1.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm operator Isaac Bynum, 48; wife Dossie Ann, 45; children William G., 17, Essie Mae, 16, Hulda Gray, 14, Mavis Green, 11; and grandsons Ernest Burner Farmer, 5, and Dorsey E. Blackstone, 3.

Dossie Ann Farmer Bynum died 28 August 1967 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 4 November 1895 in Wilson County to Greene Farmer and Jennie Farmer; and was married to Isaac Bynum.

Isaac Bynum died 6 January 1986 in Newport News, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 May 1893 in North Carolina to Gray Bynum and Haggar Anderson; lived in Hampton, Virginia; was the widower of Dossie A. Bynum; and was retired. Informant was daughter Hula Atkinson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user vanessasmith0328.

Snaps, no. 93: Claude and Fannie Kent Patterson.

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 8.26.09 AM

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In the 1910 census of Clayton township, Johnston County, North Carolina: farm laborer Fisher Patterson, 36; wife Minnie B., 28; and children John L., 7, Claudius, 3, and Clee, 7 months; father Chester Patterson, 79; and nephew William Patterson, 9.

In the 1910 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Joseph Kent, 28; wife Minnie, 22; daughter Fannie, 1; and sister-in-law Rosa Bailey, 18.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Joe Kent, 38, farmer; wife Minnie, 30; and children Fannie, 11, Lillie, 9, Joe, 7, Elbert, 5, Ellic, 3, and Pauline, 5 months.

In the 1920 census of Clayton township, Johnston County: farmer Fisher Patterson, 49; wife Minnie, 39; children Leamon, 17, Claude, 14, Cleatho, 10, and Rubin, 4; sister India Cooper, 38, widow; and nephew Bill Cooper, 10.

On 22 December 1928, Claudie Patterson, 21, of Springhill township, married Fannie Kent, 20, of Springhill township, in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Claud Patterson, 22; wife Fannie, 21; and daughter Layeruth, 1.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Claude Patterson, 33; wife Fannie, 31; and children Ruth, 11, L.O., 6, Minnie, 5, and Alberta, 2.

In 1940, Claude Patterson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 1 August 1906 in Johnston County, N.C.; lived at R.F.D. #3, Kenly, Wilson County; his contact was wife Fannie Patterson; and he worked for Thelma Barnes, Kenly, Wilson County.

Claude Patterson died in 1984; Fannie K. Patterson died 26 May 2003.

Photograph courtesy of Bernard Patterson.

The life and times of Wilton M. Bethel, part 1.

Black Wide-Awake benefits from the largesse of so many, and J. Robert Boykin III is at the forefront of its benefactors. Recently, Bobby shared a box of photographs left in a sidewalk trash pile after the death of Wilton Maxwell Bethel in 1986. A native of the Bahamas, Bethel was a long-time salesman for North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, son-in-law of John H. Clark, and a devoted Episcopalian.

I pulled from the box several sleeves of loose sepia snapshots, several formal portraits mounted in cardboard folders, several large group photos, and a photo album. At first glance, no faces seemed familiar, but as I continue to sit with the box, it’s giving up its secrets. I’ll share them in groups, starting with the photo album.

Wilton M. Bethel’s photo album.

Five year-old Wilton M. Bethel arrived in the United States on 6 April 1911 with his mother Phillis E. Bethel, 33, described as a widowed washwoman; his eight year-old brother Alfred M. Bethel; and his four year-old niece Flosie L. Bethel. The family’s last residence was Eleuthera, Bahamas, and their “nationality” was British West Indies. Their nearest relative in their home country was Phillis Bethel’s sister Sarah J. Gardner, Cat Island, Bahamas. The Bethels’ final destination was listed as Eleuthera, which suggests a return trip home, but the family appears to have remained permanently in Miami, Florida. Phillis Bethel reported being in possession of ten U.S. dollars and stated that the family had not visited the country before. They were headed to visit her son George Bethel in Miami.

Detail of List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival.

In the 1920 census of Miami, Florida: at 630 2nd Street, Philis E. Bethel, 57; sons Arvis, 20, hotel bellman, Alfred, 18, aviation camp laborer, and Wilton, 15, jewelry store porter; and daughter Jessie, 19. All reported arriving in the U.S. in 1911 from the Bahamas and were “aliens.”

This photo broke the code. On the reverse:

It’s the young Wilton M. Bethel, “a pal indeed,” in January 1924, when he was 18. His mother ordered four copies, it appears.

Speaking of Phillis E. Bethel, this may be her image. The shotgun houses at rear, as the palm tree at right discloses, are not in Wilson. Rather, they are the type built by early Bahamian immigrants in Miami neighborhoods such as Coconut Grove.

Wilton Bethel at right at the beach with a man, a child, and a woman in a cloche, pearls, stockings, and high-heeled mary janes.

In 1924, Bethel arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, to enroll in the high school division of Saint Augustine’s College’s, which did not yet offer baccalaureate degrees. (Bethel was already 19 years old, but older students were not uncommon in an era in which childhood illness, family finances, and the scarcity of public high schools for Black students often delayed completion of secondary education.) He is listed in school catalogs from 1924-25 through 1928-29 as he progressed through four years of high school and a year in the College Department. His first two years, his hometown is listed as Miami; the latter three, as New York, N.Y.

Bethel’s scrapbook seems to span his late teens and early twenties, with most of the photos snapped at Saint Aug. The nearly one hundred pictures do not appear to be in chronological order, and none are labeled. Several, though, are stamped “Finished by Siddell Studio, Raleigh, N.C.,” and a handful bear inscriptions on the reverse. Bethel himself appears to have been the photographer for many.

Wilton Bethel sitting on a stump, holding a 3A Folding Pocket Kodak.

On the reverse: “With love Al.” Is this Bethel’s elder brother Alfred Bethel?

Bethel, top left, with pals, probably at Saint Augustine’s College in the late 1920s.

Unidentified woman.

Unidentified man skiing in tie and newsboy cap.

On the reverse: “Will arrives in Raleigh 5 40 Thurs after meet Train”

Around 1929, Bethel took a position as an insurance salesman with North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company and moved to Wilson, where he first lodged with the Noah Tate family.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Bethel Wilton M (c) slsmn N C Mut Life Ins Co h 307 Pender.

Flora Clark Bethel.

On 18 June 1930, Wilton M. Bethel, 21 [sic], of Wilson, son of Ernest and Phillis Bethel, married Flora Ruth Clark, 21 [sic], of Wilson, daughter of John H. and Ida R. Clark, in Wilson. Protestant Episcopal minister Eugene Leon Henderson performed the ceremony at Saint Mark’s in the presence of the Clarks and Percy Young. [Actually, Wilton Bethel was 24. Flora Clark Bethel was about 7 years older than her husband. She had also attended Saint Augustine’s College, graduating in 1924, when it was a junior college.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: John Clark, 76; wife Ida, 65; son-in-law Wilton Bethel, 33, insurance agent for N.C. Mutual, and daughter Flora, 30, teacher at Darden High School.

Wilton Maxwell Bethel registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 5 September 1906 in Miami, Florida; was an American citizen; lived at 706 East Nash Street, Wilson; his nearest relative was wife Flora C. Bethel; and he worked for N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company, Goldsboro, N.C.

Wilton M. Bethel died 14 January 1986 in Wilson.

Florida, Arriving and Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1898-1963, database on-line at http://www.ancestry.com.

Snaps, no. 89: John H. Lassiter and Ora Lassiter Covington.

John H. Lassiter and granddaughter Ora Lassiter, probably not long before his death in 1915.

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In the 1860 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Silas Lassiter, 38; wife Orpie, 34; children Sallie, 12, Mary, 11, James, 9, John, 7, Elizabeth, 5, Penina, 4, Hardy, 3, Silas, 1, and George, 2 months; and Delpha Simpson, 14.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: James Lassiter, 19, and John Lassiter, 18, farm laborers.

On 17 December 1874, John Lassiter, 21, married Lizzie Lunsford, 21, in Johnston County, North Carolina.

In the 1880 census of Pikeville township, Wayne County, North Carolina: John Lassiter, 28, farm hand.

On 26 October 1886, J.H. Lassiter, 34, of Wilson County, son of Silas and Orphy Lassiter, married Isabella Gear, 21, of Wilson County, in Wilson. Carline Vick, Martie Brooks, and John Vick were witnesses, and Baptist minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: drayman John Lassiter, 50; wife Isabella, 33, wash woman; and children and grandchildren Ida, 17, Henry G., 9, Marcellus, 7, Hardy, 5, and Ora, 7 months.

On 8 January 1908, John H. Lassiter, 50, of Wilson, son of S. and O. Lassiter, married Pattie D. Hunder, 29, of Richmond, Virginia, in Wilson. Joseph S. Jackson, A.M.E. Zion minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of Jim Watson, Harry Mercer and Rev. John Scarboro.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, John H. Lassiter, 57, and children and grandchildren Marcellious, 18, Hardie, 16, and Oeta, 14, all odd jobs laborers.

John Lassiter died 15 June 1915 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 63 years old; was born in Wilson County to Silas Lassiter and Ophie Simpson; and was married. Henry Lassiter was informant.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Lassiter Ora (c) dom h 512 Stantonsburg rd

On 5 May 1918, Albert Covington, 23, of Wilson, son of Noah and Sarah Covington of Harnett County, married Ora Lassiter, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Lizzie Lassiter, in Wilson.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 101 East Street, furniture store truck driver Albert Covington, 23; wife Ora, 20; son John, 4 months; roomer Will McNeal, 22, oil mill laborer; and brother-in-law Marcellus Lassiter, 24, tobacco company laborer.

In the 1928 Baltimore, Maryland, city directory: Covington Albert (Ora) chauf h 505 Robert

Detail of photo courtesy of Bernard Patterson.