Heavyweight boxer Harrison rolls up victories.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 May 1946.


Benjamin Harrison, 21, son of Luther and Elnora Harrison, married Lillie Mae Reaves, 23, daughter of Monroe and Fannie Reaves, in Nashville, North Carolina, on 15 October 1938.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 614 Spruce, paying $7/month rent, Benjamin Harrison, 22, cook in private home; wife Lillie Mae, 23; and son B. Frank, 1.

In 1940, Benjamin B. Harrison registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 20 August 1917 in Nash County, North Carolina; lived at 614 West Spruce Street, Wilson; his contact was wife Lillie Mae R. Harrison; he worked for R.T. Smith, 902 Broad Street, Wilson; and he was six foot six inches tall, 185 pounds [30 pounds less than his fighting weight].

In the 1950 census of Washington, D.C.: at 215 1/2 C Street, SW, Benjamin Harrison, 31, train repairman for railroad yard; wife Lillie May, 32; and children Benjamin F., 11, and Mary Ann, 6.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Cpl. Johnson drowned in the sinking of the Rohna.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 February 1944.

For more about the sinking of H.M.T. Rohna by a German glide bomb, see here.


In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widow Hattie Johnson, 36, and children Willie, 23, John W., 20, Herbert, 16, Clement, 11, and James, 10.



Studio shots, no. 190: Willie B. Hines.

Willie Benjamin Hines (1927-1990).


In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Hines, 51; wife Eliza, 50; and children Beatrice, 17, Tommie, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 12, Creasy, 11, Turner Jr., 8, Daisy L., 6, Willie B., 4, and Fred D., 3.

In the 1940 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Hines, 62, and children Rosetta, 23, Francis, 22, Lucretia, 21, Turner J., 18, Daisey, 17, Willie B., 13, Fred, 11, Freeman, 8, Ederene, 6, and Thelma D., 4.

In 1945, Willie Benjamin Hines registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration, he was born 17 February 1927 in Wilson County; lived at Route 4, Box 184, Wilson; his contact was father Turner Hines, 1001 East Vance Street, Wilson; and he worked for [brother-in-law] George Powell, Route 4, Box 184.

Photo courtesy of Roger Barron.

Pfc. Thomas writes his family.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 December 1918. 

Wilson Daily Times, 27 December 1918.


The Daily Times published a handful of letters from African-American soldiers written during World War I, including these from Elton Thomas and two from Arthur N. Darden.

Despite their hopes, Thomas and his buddies did not get home until March 1919. Dave Barnes suffered the effects of his gas attack the rest of his life. This history of Company H, 365th Infantry’s battles in France suggests that the date of injury was November 10, not the 18th.

This service card provides details of Thomas’ time in the Army.

North Carolina World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919,


  • Elton Thomas

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, printing office pressman; wife Sarah, 33; children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2; and lodgers Manse Wilson, 36, and Johnnie Lewis, 21, both carpenters.

In the 1908 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thomas Elton (c) lather h 616 E Green

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

In 1917, Elton Thomas registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 17 July 1889 in Wilson; lived at 616 East Green Street; was single; and worked as lathing contractor for Kittrell & Wilkins. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.

In the 1927, 1929, 1930, 1934, and 1942 Newark, New Jersey, city directories, Elton H. Thomas is listed at several addresses, including 117 Summer Avenue, 105 Somerset Avenue, and 109 Sherman Avenue.

In 1942, Elton Henry Thomas registered for the World War II draft in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1894 in Wilson; resided at 108 Sherman Road, Newark; his contact was Charles Thomas, 619 East Green Street, Wilson; and worked for Julius Rose, 327 Amherst Street, Orange, New Jersey. 

On 27 November 1947, Elton Thomas, 52, of Wilson, son of Charlie and Sarah Best Thomas, married Rebecca Williams, 44, of 804 East Vance Street, Wilson, daughter of Solomon and Lettie Kittrell in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister E.H. Cox performed the ceremony in the presence of Lillie J. Thomas, 715 East Green; Harold E. Gay, 623 East Green; and Louis Thomas Jr., 715 East Green.

Elton Thomas died 15 December 1970 in Goldsboro, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 July 1891 to Charlie Thomas and Sarah Best; was married to Rebecca Thomas; resided in Wilson; and had worked in lathing construction.

  • Miss Richardson
  • Rev. Coward — Bryant P. Coward, pastor of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church.


The boys of Company H.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1919.


Soldier kills soldier.

In November 1898, the Third North Carolina Infantry moved from Camp Poland near Knoxville, Tennessee, to a winter camp at Fort Haskell, Macon, Georgia. Just days before the regiment paraded in formation before President William McKinley, Private James Ellis shot and killed Private Robert Thomas in a dispute over money. Former tent mates, both men were from Wilson.


Macon Telegraph, 16 December 1898.

Per subsequent news reports, Ellis was found guilty, dishonorably discharged, and sentenced to imprisonment “for the term of his natural life” at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.