Snaps, no. 58: Artelia Spells Buchanan.

artelia spells.png

Artelia Spells Buchanan, at left.


In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 Lincoln Street, fertilizer plant laborer James Pender, 45; wife Lillie, 29; and children Artesia, 12, Mosses, 10, Ometa, 8, Farro M., 4, and Isaac, 1.

On 11 August 1937, Artelia Spell, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Ervin and Lillie Spell, married James Buchanan, 22, of Wilson County, son of James Luther and Annie Lee Buchanan, in Nash County. George Vick applied for the license.

In 1940, James Hardy Buchanan registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his draft card, he was born 25 September 1915 in Rennent, North Carolina; his contact was Mrs. Artelia Buchanan; he resided at 1002 Wainwright Avenue, Wilson; and he worked for R.E, Quinn & Co., Goldsboro Street, Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user kmiles65.


Snaps, no. 47: Lillie Edwards Spells Pender.

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Lillie Edwards Spells Pender (1894-1991).

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Mingo Edwards, 53; wife Martha, 45; and children Charley, 17, Leandis, 16, Bunk, 13, Callie, 12, Jacob, 10, Lula [Lillie], 8, Learer, 7, Mingo, 5, Emma, 3, Clara, 2, and Vandore, 1.

On 15 November 1916, Irvin Spell, 21, son of Hurl and Patsy Spell, married Lillie Edwards, 20, daughter of Mingo and Martha Edwards, in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister J.E. Brown performed the ceremony in the presence of Whit Lewis, Charlie Newkirk and Carrie Parker.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Irving Spell, 23, farm laborer, and wife Lilly Spell, 22.

On 16 June 1928, James Pender, 37, married Lillie Edwards, 28, in Wilson. Disciple minister W.W. Webb performed the ceremony in the presence of Bessie Harris, Ella Adams and Victoria Webb.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 Lincoln Street, fertilizer plant laborer James Pender, 45; wife Lillie, 29; and children Artesia, 12, Mosses, 10, Ometa, 8, Farro M., 4, and Isaac, 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 619 Lincoln Street, tobacco factory laborer James Pender, 55; wife Lillie, 39; tobacco factory laborer; children Isaac, 12, James, 9, Lillie M., 7; stepchildren Omeda, 18, and Vara Spells, 14; and nephews Albert, 10, and James McCoy, 15.

Lillie Edwards Pender died 7 September 1991 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1894 and was a widow.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user kmiles65.

204 North Pender Street.

The seventy-sixth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this house is: “ca. 1922; 2 story; John Spells house; L-plan cottage with patterned-tin roof; asphalt shingles.”

A 1905 plat of Pender Street property shows that John Spells (or Spell) owned this lot as early as 1905. The house has been demolished. In the photo above, Ash Street (parallel to Pender) and its elbow intersection with Darden Lane (formerly Darden’s Alley) are visible beyond the vacant lot at 204. The darker green area at left marks the former continuation of Darden Lane to Pender Street. Today, a foot path — just visible below the green house at far left — snakes diagonally to exit into Pender via the former driveway of 208 North Pender, the now-demolished Best house.

In the 1908 Wilson city directory,  Jno. S. Spell appears as a contractor living at 133 Pender Street. (133 was the earlier number of the lot now designated 204 North Pender. Whether the house surveyed for the nomination committee was the same house that earlier stood at 133 is not clear.)

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Pender Street, carpenter John E. Spell, 50, wife Martha A., 39, and son John E., Jr., 16.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory, the following are listed at 204 Pender Street: Jno. S. Spell, carpenter; Jno. S. Spell, Jr.; and Martha A. Spell, dressmaker.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Pender Street, building carpenter John L. Spell, 65, and wife Martha, 46, a seamstress. They owned the house, which was valued at $3000.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Pender Street, odd job laborer J.S. Spell, 74, born in Pitt County, and wife Martha, 65, an invalid born in Oxford. Grocery deliveryman Arthur Darden, 27, and his wife Bettie, 19, rented rooms in the house.

John Stephen Spell died 31 January 1946 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 204 Pender Street; was married to Martha Spell, age 61; was 80 years old; was born in Pitt County to Easter Spell; was a carpenter; and was buried in the Masonic cemetery. M.G. Spell was informant.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Spells Martha A h 204 Pender

In May 2018, the Wilson Times published this notice:




204 North Pender Street

The Public will take notice that the Board of Commissioners of Wilson County has received and proposes to accept an offer to purchase the property located at 204 North Pender Street, PIN# 3721-59-1516, in the amount of $1,000. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the County Manager’s Office, 252-399-2803, 2201 Miller Road South, PO Box 1728, Wilson, NC 27896-1728, http://www.wilson-co.com, or by email amparrish@wilson-co.com.

Any person may raise the bid within ten (10) days of this notice. The bid must be raised by at least 10% of the first $1,000 and 5% of the remainder. The raised bid must be delivered to the Clerk to the Board located in the County Manager’s office and must include a 5% bid deposit.

Raised bids will be advertised until no further qualifying upset bids are received.

The 1922 Sanborn map of Wilson, N.C., shows the original course of Darden Alley hard by the north edge of 204 North Pender. 204, 206 and 208 have been razed.

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps.

I cannot get any information from the negroes.


Ada Sauls – Mary Sauls my daughter. Died Sat. June 22; died in kitchen. I and grandchildren present. No one else present. Died about 1 o’clock; was in the kitchen when they – deceased – and Mary were there; Mary told one of the children to get her water; when I looked around she fell under the table; Sarah was in another room when Mary fell; they had no trouble during the day, had no trouble that could be seen from the road; After asking for water little girl began cry; ran to her and tried to get her up – hardly know what I did; say Gray Spell when he come; never told him that Mary and Sarah had been fighting; Mary and Sarah was continually scrapping about the children; Mary was continually complaining her heart; she was bloated ever since birth of her last child.

Gray Spell – I learned of this trouble June 22 12 o’clock; heard she was dead. I saw Mary laying on floor in dining room; Miss Farmer and the children was there; never saw Ada Sauls; Ada said they were eating, Mary and Sarah got to full, Ada wouldn’t let them fuss; Mary reached around to get something to hit Sarah with but she never arose; no licks passed; helped pick Mary up; put her on the bed; she was dead; never saw any blood or bruise.

Grace Farmer – I visited this house yesterday; heard her squalling; heard children say My poor mother is dead; when I got to the house she was on the floor dead; Estelle Sauls and her Mother was there; Sarah was on the outside; Evan Farmer Estelle & Ada Sauls helped to put her on the bed; heard Sarah say she didn’t believe Mary was dead; said God damn her she didn’t believe she was dead. She was obeying her mother by remaining on outside; I remained until late; assisted in shrouding; Sarah didn’t help; Never saw wounds except on her face; her hands were drawn.

Ada Sauls – 12 years old; was in room when mother died. She asked for water. I waited on her. Mother and Sarah was not mad; Aunt Sarah was not in room when Mother died; Mother fell backward; fell between bench & table; struck bench on one side. Sarah came in after death; no one told me what to say; I was looking at her when she fell; said nothing before falling.

Sarah Sauls – had no trouble with sister Saturday; Grace Farmer misunderstood me; I never cursed her; saw Grace when she got over fence; Never eat a mouthful for dinner; wasn’t in the room when she fell; wasn’t in room when mother was talking to Grace Spell; went in room after he fell; never saw any wounds on body; never held ill feeling against my sister. Only about children; Mary said Saturday morning, I feel like my heart will kill me.

Estell Sauls – Wasn’t in room when she died; Mary & Sarah to my knowing had not been fussing.

R.B. Etherid[g]e – Don’t know but little about affair; Gracie told me to send Dr. that Mary was foaming at mouth; didn’t know whether she was dead or not; asked her if there had been any trouble; nothing but few words fast. Went to depot and delivered message.

Jas. Bass – First I knew Spell came by me and said Mary Sauls was past speaking. Some one was fighting Mary & Jane.

John Hinnant – First heard of trouble between 12 & 1; heard she was dead; Spell told me she was dead; found Mary lying on the floor dead.


Black Creek NC, 6/23/07

Dear Doctor: —

Two negro women fighting yesterday at Jos. Horne’s place near the Branch farm blow struck one fell dead – sisters & I can’t get any information parties who saw body yesterday pm said blow on left eye little pierced hole above upper eyelid – Many People desire post mortem before burial at 4 pm I would suggest you come & bring such assistance as you deem sufficient.

Yours truly, H.M. Rowe


Black Creek NC, 6/23/07

D Sir:

I could not get any information from the negroes all of one family sisters at that I have written Coroner to come hold post mortem & that’s why I wired you.

Yours truly, H.M. Rowe


Sunday Afternoon, June 23, 1907,

We, the following jurors, summoned and duly sworn to enquire into the cause of death of Mary Sauls, find from the evidence adduced that the deceased came to her death from natural causes.  R.B. Evans, R.B. Ethridge, W.D. Ruffin, L.D. Tomlinson, Wiley Barnes, Jonathan Tomlinson, W.H. Anderson Coroner


  • Ada, Mary Ann, Sarah Jane, Estelle, and Ada Sauls — On 20 December 1869, Patrick Sauls married Ada Thompson in Wayne County, North Carolina. In the 1880 census of Saulston, Wayne County: Patrick Sauls, 28, wife Ada, 23, and children Walter, 9, Mary Ann, 7, Sarah J., 5, Hattie, 3, and Lee, 3 months. [Note: Lee Sauls swore, with an X, to an affidavit asserting his belief that his sister had died by criminal act. See above.] In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Patric Saul, 57, wife Ada, 47, and children and grandchildren Mary A., 22, Susan, 5, Ester, 3, Sarrah, 28, Dewey, 3, Lee, 16, Clyde, 13, Enniss, 11, and Estelle, 9. Ada Sauls died 16 October 1925 in Black Creek township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Parritt Sauls, born about 1853 in Green County, worked as a tenant farmer for Fred Carr. Dewey Sauls was informant. Sarah Sauls died 3 October 1961 in Wilson at her home at 102 N. East Street. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 May 1888 in Greene County to Patric Sauls and Ada Thomas and was buried in the femily cemetery in Black Creek. Bessie Sauls of 102 N. East Street was informant.
  • Gray Spell — in the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widowed farmer Chaney Spells, 55, sons James S., 19, Gray, 17, Walter, 16, and Charley, 13, grandchildren Unity, 14, Fannie, 10, Irvin, 7, and Chaney Farmer, 2, and boarder Harriet Killibrew, 45.
  • Grace Farmer


News & Observer (Raleigh), 25 June 1907.

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

“Have YOU got any mules to jerk?”

In which G.R. Jones shoots into a house and wounds four people after Patty Spell and her children curse him out.


Wilson Daily Times, 29 July 1910.


In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Morton Road, widow Patsie Spells, 33, with children Lula, 19, Johnnie, 14, and Effie, 11. Next door: Daniel Geer, 75, wife Sarah, 66, and children Mary E., 29, Chas., 21, James, 20, Frank, 18, Floyd, 12, Cora, 11, Clarra, 9, Thomas, 6, and William, 5. [Sidenote: on Christmas Eve 1918, Effie Spell, 18, daughter of Hugh and Patsey Spell, married Ashley Simms, 22, son of Needham and Jane Simms, all of Wilson County. This is not the same Ashley Simms pictured in a previous post.]

Amos Hayes appears in the 1910 census of Wilson township as a 55 year-old white farmer. Doc Hilliard and G.R. Jones are not found.