Stantonsburg township

Father and son killed in auto accident.


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Wilson Daily Times, 1 October 1934.


In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Luke Flemmons, 40; wife Emily, 45; and children James Flavius, 20, Willie, 15, Sarah, 12, Judge Thomas, 10, Henry, 6, Eddie, 4, Harriet, 3, and Mary E., 1.

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widow Emily Fleming, 60, and children Harriet, 24, Judge, 23, and Sam, 12.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Ellis Road, farmer Judge Fleming, 36; wife Mollie, 27; and children Lissie, 7, Sarah J., 3, Lula, 2 months, and Aaron, 6.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Judge Fleming, 49; wife Molly, 40; and children Lizzie, 18, Arron, 16, Sarah, 12, Lula, 10, Addie, 8, Jordan, 5, and John, 3.

In the 1930 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Judge Fleming, 57; wife Mollie, 47; and children Arron, 25, Sarah J., 21, Lula, 20, Judge, 15, Johnie, 14, and Mary L., 6.

Judge Fleming died 29 September 1934 in Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; married to Mollie Fleming; was a farmer; was born in Wayne County to Luther Fleming and an unknown mother. Informant was Mollie Fleming.

Johnnie Fleming died 29 September 1934 in Stantonsburg, Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 18 years old, single, and born in Wilson County to Judge Fleming of Wayne County and Mollie Sutton of Greene County. Informant was Mollie Fleming.


Mortality, no. 1.

Each of the United States federal censuses from 1850 to 1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating  individuals who had died in the previous year. Each entry noted family number in the population schedule, name, age, sex, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.

Here is the 1870 mortality schedule for Stantonsburg township, Wilson County:

  • Ward, No Name. Age 2 weeks, died in June, cholera infantum.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Nathan Ward, 46; wife Mariah, 26; and children Sarah, 15, Scott, 13, Waltin, 10, Larrence, 5, and Ida, 2; plus Lydia Moye, 58. Cholera infantum was a term for non-specific diarrhea and/or dysentery in children under age five.

  • Barnes, ____. Age 14, farm laborer, died in January, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Hardy Barnes, 50; wife Mary, 49; and children Alfred, 21, Riley, 24, Jacob, 22, Isaac, 19, Warren, 17, Lilly, 12, Mary, 9, and Wade, 6. Consumption is an archaic term for pulmonary tuberculosis.

  • Speight, Mary S. Age 1 month, died in October, cholera infantum.
  • Speight, Mary E. Age 2 months, died in November, cholera infantum.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Speight, 22, and wife Mary, 22; Penny Thomson, 48, and son Noah, 14; and Jane Speight, 2.

  • Donald, Sylvesta. Age 2, died in April, [illegible].

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lawson Donald, 23; wife Mariah, 20; and Ellic, 6, and Rufus, 1; and likely brother Hamilton, 12.

  • Ellis, No Name. Age 1 month, died March, cholera infantum.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, family number 67 is a Barnes family. Number 68, however, is: farm laborer Littleton Ellis, 30, wife Judah, 21, and children Bryant, 4, and Martha, 3.

  • Barnes, Jackson. Age 19, farm laborer, died in July, inflammation bowels.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Henry Barnes, 22, Nelly, 23, Mary J., 1, Henrietta, 2, Short, 9, Anaka, 50, Sherard, 16, Hilliard, 18, Clara, 40, Jason, 19, and William, 1.

  • Barefoot, No Name. Age 3 hours(?), died in January, asphyxia.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Stephen Moore, 23, wife Rodah, 23, and Lazarus, 8 months.

  • Lindsay, Susan. Age 1 month, died in April, pertussis.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Amos Ellis, 47; wife Mary, 40; children Adeline, 23, Authur, 19, Learh, 17, Mary, 15, Jane, 11, and Lewis, 10; and Authur Barnes, 60, and wife Betsey, 60.

  • Barnes, Mouring. Age 5, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Austin. Age 4, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Loyd. Age 2, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Richard. Age 1, died in May, pertussis.
  • Barnes, Mary. Age 9 months, died in April, pertussis.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Austin Barnes, 45; wife Cintha, 33; and their remaining children Fonser, 12, and Etna, 7. Remarks: “These children in this family (113) all died within a period of five weeks. The Physician attending says their deaths were due to filth as much as to the disease.” Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory disease.

  • Edmundson, No Name. Age 4 hours(?), died in September, asphyxia.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer John Edmondson, 27; wife Mary, 22; and children Richard, 2, and Kate, 10.

  • Thomson, Ally. Age 38, died in February, worked on farmer, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Ellis, 36; wife Milly, 35; and children John, 17, Daniel, 10, Adeline, 5, Mary, 3, and Martha, 1.

  • Peacock, Clara. Age 18, died in July, consumption.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Ellic Peacock, 51, and Elizabeth, 22, Soloman, 11, George W., 8, George L., 8, and Jason, 7.

  • Barnes, Redmond. Age 47, married, died in April, farm laborer, scrofula.

In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: George, 24, Dempsey, 23, Calvin, 22, Esther, 44, Alice, 18, Anna, 19, Robert, 20, and Jane Barnes, 19, all farm laborers except Esther. Scrofula is tuberculosis of the lymph nodes of the neck.

  • Stanton, Violet. Age 59, farm laborer, died in September, scrofula.

Remarks: “Stanton, Violet of no family. Living alone at time of death.”

Rufus Edmundson plantation.

The Rufus Edmundson House lies just two blocks off Stantonsburg’s main street, but at the very edge of town. Behind it stretch miles of fields and woodland.

“This antebellum house was built circa 1846 for Rufus Edmundson. … The house is similar to the William Barnes and Ward-Applewhite-Thompson Houses (both in Stantonsburg Township) and the Elias Barnes house (Saratoga township). It stands two stories high and the main block is capped with a shallow hipped roof. Unusual heavy dentils ornament the frieze and the three-bay facade was once sheltered by a double-gallery porch supported by square columns. Although the door leading to the second floor porch has been altered, the original trabeated entrance to the first floor is still intact. A single-story, hipped-roof porch with Doric columns replaced the earlier double-gallery porch in the early twentieth century. On the interior the house is divided by a wide central hall with two rooms to either side. Some original woodwork remains intact including a handsomely curved newel post.”  — Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981).


In the 1860 census of Saratoga township [which included Stantonsburg], Wilson County, Rufus Edmundson’s reported wealth comprised $15,000 in real property and $30,600 in personal property. The 1860 slave schedule parses Edmundson’s wealth — the $30,600  mostly took the form of 34 enslaved men, women and children, aged 1 through 38, who inhabited six dwellings on Edmundson’s farm and toiled for him.

The 1870 census was the first post-Emancipation enumeration. Next door to Rufus Edmundson were Margaret and Bailum Hall and their son John, 4 months. (Balaam Hall, son of James Woodard and Liza Hall, had married Margaret Edmundson, daughter of Proncey Edmundson, on 19 July 1870 in Wilson County.) Next to the Halls was a household comprised of members of several families, including Bertha Edmundson, 20, and Winnie, 12, and Gray Edmundson, 14, who were all listed as farmer’s apprentices. Though close proximity and shared surname, as well as indenture as apprenticed labor, do not guarantee that these young people had been enslaved by Rufus Edmundson, these facts are strong evidence.

William Barnes plantation.


“[T]he William Barnes house was built in a style which was popular in Wilson County between 1848 and 1860. Barnes was the brother of General Joshua Barnes, one of the most influential men in the area and a founder of Wilson County. Barnes was born in 1811. Like his brother, he was a planter, and by the time of his death he had accumulated over 1,000 acres. …The exterior of the Barnes house has remained basically unaltered except for the construction of a two-story portico with Doric columns which dates circa 1914. The William Barnes House is very similar stylistically to the house of his brother, General Joshua Barnes, which was built circa 1845. The exterior consists of a plain two-story box with a shallow hipped-roof and a three-bay facade. A wide trabeated entrance, surmounted by a smaller door on the second floor, is located in the central bay. The unusual six-panel door is similar to those found on the Daniel Whitley House (also in Stantonsburg Township). The interior plan is that of a wide center hall with two large rooms located on each side. Major alterations have been made on the interior. A large two-story packhorse and small gable-roof storage building, both contemporary with the house, exist on the grounds.” — Kate Ohno, Wilson County’s Architectural Heritage (1981).

The six-paneled door.


In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, 48 year-old farmer William Barnes’ listing notes that he owned real property valued at $35,000 and personal property at $89,000. The latter, of course, largely consisted of enslaved men and women, whose crucial role on his plantation went unmentioned in the description above. The 1860 slave schedule credits him as the owner outright of 79 men, women and children and in trust of an additional 26.

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Aerial shot of the Barnes House and outbuildings at the intersection of Fairfield Dairy Road and Highway 58.

Photograph of Barnes house taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2015; photo of door taken July 2017; aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Applewhite’s tenant houses.

Old Applewhite Farm Division

In 1918, the Atlantic Coast Realty Company commissioned this map of the “old Applewhite Farm” near Stantonsburg. Contentnea Creek runs along the western edge of much of the parcel, and a public road cuts across one end, creating a little pocket of land sandwiched between John Yelverton and Dr. S.H. Crocker’s holdings. The main dwelling faced the road near a ditch at a corner of the property. Across the way, encircled above, were the houses of Applewhite’s tenants, who were mostly (if not solely) African-American. Another cluster of tenant houses appears beyond a row of outbuildings on a farm road running parallel to the creek.

I have not been able to determine which Applewhite owned the property being subdivided, but based on a history of the property, it does not appear to have been William H. Applewhite.

Plat Book 1, page 72, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson County Courthouse.

Dick complains that I keep his sister’s children.

State of North Carolina }

Wilson County     }

I B.F. Briggs

The Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions hereby Certify that at October Term A.D. 1865 the Court apprenticed to Mrs Elizabeth Whitley seven children to wit – Drury age 10 years, George 16 years, Easter 14 years Turner 18 yrs Sophia 14 yrs Robert 12 yrs Adelade 16 years of age &c

Given under my hand and seal of office at office the 6th day of April A.D. 1867

B.F. Briggs, Clerk


Stantonsburg N.C. April 6th/67

[illegible] H.G. Norton

Goldsboro N.C.

Dear Sir

Yours of the 2 Int to hand contents noticed you stated that Dick Whitley (col) complains that I keep his sisters children without his consent & refuses to let the same return to him. I have not got the children nor have not had nothing to doe with them at all. My wife had the children bound to her at the time they were bound. We did not know whire Dick Whitley was and think that he had not been in the county for Several months, the children has in the neighbourhood, two uncles & grand mother & none of them has not complained at all in reguard to the children. Dick has not made any application for the children, nor does nothing for the support of his old helpless Mother, We are willing to doe any thing that is legal or right: in regard to them we send now a copy of the indentures, if you desire that I should come down inform me

Very Respectfully           /s/ Gray Whitley


Stantonsburg NC, Apr 22nd, 1867

Maj. N.D. Norton

Yours of April 20th is to hand regarding five children who are at present working with my wife. In reply I would State that your letter of April 2nd came duly to hand makeing inquiries about said children, and I wrote to you at one, acknowledgeing the receipt of said letter, but failed to address it to you officially in the envelope and suppose from this cause you have not received it. The children alluded to, are as you have been informed, orphans, having lost both parents. Their mother during her lifetime and while a slave belonged to my wife, and after the close of the war, they having no protector, my wife made application to the county court of Wilson and had them bound to her. In my former reply to your letter of April 2nd I give you a correct statement concerning the children and enclosed also the certificate of the county court clerk of Wilson to the effect that the said children had been bound to my wife, I regret that the letter and certificate have not reached you. If you desire it, I will obtain and forward to you another certificate from the clerk of the county; the children have been brought up by my wife from infancy and have living near them two uncles and two aunts, who seem to be willing that I should retain them, and theas I imagine should have some voice in the matter. They have never raised any objections to my keeping the children, and the children seem to be willing to remain with me. I think that as a majority of the living relatives of the children are willing that they should stay with my wife she having raised them and the children seems to be well contented thus far and I really think that we should be allowed to keep them. Dick has not been seen in this vicinity for 12 months which he has living near us an Old Mother almost helpless he does nothing for her nor seems to care nothing for her so I think if he had the children but little assistance they would get from [illegible] Hopeing to hear from you soon and also hope that the above explanation may be satisfactory I am

Yours truly, Gray Whitley


Farmer Gray Whitley, 55, and wife Bettie appear in the 1870 federal census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County. No black children are listed in their household, nor are any elsewhere with the names listed above.

Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices, 1863-1878 [database online],

Report of vaccinations, no. 3.

In the winter of 1902, doctors in Wilson County commenced a vaccination campaign to counter the spread of smallpox across North Carolina. Physicians in the county were paid ten cents per resident inoculated and sent in lists of patients to justify their fees. Dr. S.H. Crocker practiced in the Stantonsburg area. What follows is a list abstracting all patients he described as “colored.”

Moyton, N.C., _________190_

Jan. 10

Ann Mercer, female, age 60

Henrette Applewhite, female, age 31

Annie         “   , female, age 4

Marvin       “   , male, age 2

Jane Ellis, female, age 60

Henretta Ellis, female, age 18

Jemima   “    , female, age 16

Chery     “      , female, age 15

Norfleet   “     , male, age 10

Hardie     “      , male, age 9

Ed           “       , male, age 8

Kansas     “      , female age 22

Jan 11 1902

Jennett Barnes, female age 6

Amos Ellis, male, age 42

Cherry  “  , female, age 40

Lena     “     , female, age 8

Lizzie   “       , female, age 15

Mack   “        , male, age 6

Sam     “         , male, age 17

James  “        , male, age 9

Dick Hall, male, age 21

George Wynn, male, age 19

Jim Hall, male, age 19

Louis Barnes, male, age 16

Robt Barnes, male, age 13

Fannie McCowen, female, age 21

Elizo Barnes, male, age 18

Ivey     “       , male, age 14

Nora   “        , female, 8

Ed       “       , male, age 10

Mamie  “       , female, age 9

John     “         , male, age 19

Sarah   “          , female, age 42

Jan 12 190_

Emma Artis, female, 15

Hallie Artis, female, 11

Lillie Artis, female, 8

Marcellus Artis, male, 6

Ed Artis, male, 10

Jan 14 1902

Sherard Ellis, male, 29

Henry Falk , male, 35

Willie Ellis, male, 8

Robt     “     , male, 6

Lizzie “        , female, 4

Maggie    ”  , female, 3

John Mayo, male, 38

Jan 18 190_

Emma Sauls, female, 16

1/19 1902

Connie Artis, male, 5

Amond   “     , female, 30

Lucy Batts, female, 8

John Applewhite, male, 22

Henry Burnie, male, 40

1/25 1902

Charlie Ruffin, male, 23

Alma Lucas, female, 20

Ralf     “       , male, 5

Ed       “        , male, 1

Joe     “      , male, 25

Florance  “       , female, 20

Columbus  “      , male, 14

Elvin   “      , male, 1

Hannah Burrus, female, 48

Lillie Applewhite, female, 23

Robt. Farmer, male, 7

Ida       “     , female, age 13

Kattie    “   , female, age 11

Harriette   “  , female, age 9

Jan 28 [illegible] to Date

William Hall, male, age 51

1/31 1902

John Sherrod, male, age 26

Zillie Howard, female, age 9

Mary Jane Lane, female, age 24

Charlie       “      , male, age 6

Leoroy       “        , male, age 4


Cemeteries, no. 3: Bethel Church cemetery.

Like many small rural churches, the early members of Stantonsburg’s Bethel A.M.E. Zion were drawn largely from a group of related families. At their core was the large extended family of William Henry Hall, whose family plot in the church cemetery was profiled here.

The cemetery, about a mile from the present location of the church, is set along a slight rise above the cut of Peacock Bridge Road, just south of the Norfolk & Southern railroad. It is lovingly tended despite its isolation, with most of the graves lying in sandy bays extending back from the unpaved road. Foxgrape vines and sassafras saplings edge the clearings, and rose bushes have naturalized among the trees.

Besides William Hall, among the earliest marked burials are:


Dick Barnes married Quilla Joyner on 10 February 1870 in Wayne County, North Carolina. (The county line is just a few miles west of Stantonsburg.) In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, 38, wife Aqulla, 33, and children Edward C., 9, William H.M., 8, Lewis H., 6, Maryland, 5, and Corneleous, 4. In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, (second) wife Gracey, 23, and children Peter, 23, Cornelius, 21, Mary S., 18,  Geneva, 16, John H., 14, and Barnie, 7, and boarder Addison Fort, 17.


and William M. Hardy, who lived a few miles away over the Greene County line.


The Sauls sisters meet an alligator.

The November 2001 issue of Trees, the publication of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, ran a piece from Hugh B. Johnston’s files about Jane Sauls, her daughters and their encounter with an alligator on their farm. The Saulses likely lived just inside the Wayne County line, but they and their families were part of the nearby Stantonsburg community. William Woodard Sr., with whom Jane was apprenticed as a child, and Calvin Woodard Jr., whom her daughter Mary nursed, lived near White Oak Swamp in Wilson County.


Jane Lane Sauls was born circa 1842 in the Bullhead area of northwest Greene County, which borders Wilson County. She was one of several children of Sylvania Artis, a free woman of color, and her husband Guy Lane, an enslaved man, but is not found in the 1850 or 1860 censuses.

In the 1870 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, farm laborer John Sauls, 35, wife Jane, 27, and children Mary, 3, and Silvany, 1, are listed with Trecinda Barnes, 20, Jane Barnes, 7, and Edwin Barnes, 1. No marriage record for Jane and John has been located, and their relationship to the Barneses is unknown.

The 1880 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows farmer John Sauls, 45, wife Jane, 36, daughters Mary, 12, Silvany, 9, Anner, 7, and Lucy, 6, plus Jane’s sister [niece?] Fanny Lane, 14.

The 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows John Sauls, wife Jane, daughters Mary and Sylvania Sauls, and “grandchildren” Louvenia, Henry and John Lane. [In fact, these children were probably niece and nephews.]

The 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows John Sauls, 76, wife Jane, 56, Mary, 38, Sylvany, 36, Anna, 33, and Snobe, 10, plus niece Louvenia Lane, 23, and boarder Freeman Swinson, 14. Anna reported that she was divorced; “Snobe” — John B. Sauls, alias Snow B. Nobles — was her son. Freeman Swinson was the son of Jane’s sister Mariah Artis Swinson.

The 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County, shows Anna Sauls, 45, widowed, sharing a household with her sisters Sylvania, 46, and Mary, 49, widowed mother Jane, 76, and cousin Levenia Sauls, 28.

Jane Lane Sauls died 16 Dec 1928 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, of paralysis due to hypertension and cerebral hemorrhage.  Her death certificate reported that she was born in 1842 in Greene County NC to Guy Lane and Sylvania Artis, both of Greene County, and she was the widow of John Sauls. She was buried 17 December 1928 at Union Grove cemetery in Wayne County by C.E. Artis of Wilson NC.  (Columbus E. Artis was her cousin.)  The informant for her certificate was Anna Sauls, Route 6 Box 94, Stantonsburg.

Anna Sauls died 20 December 1950 in Stantonsburg township, Wayne County, of cerebral hemorrhage. Her death certificate reports that she was a widow and was born 1 January 1878 in Wayne County to John Sauls and Jane Lane. She was buried 23 December 1950 at Union Grove cemetery. The informant was Louvenia Sauls, Route 2 Box 300, Stantonsburg.

Sylvania Sauls died 23 October 1957 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, of cerebral hemorrhage.  Her death certificate reports that she was about 87 years old and was born in Wayne County to John Sauls and Jane Lane. She was buried 28 October 1957 in Union Grove cemetery.  The informant was Louvenia Sauls.

Mary Sauls died 29 December 1960 in Fremont township, Wayne County, of cerebral hemorrhage. Her death certificate reports that she was born 3 September 1861 in Wayne County to Johnnie Sauls and Jane Lane. (And thus was 4 years old when assigned to look after Calvin Woodard Jr.) Mary was buried 3 January 1961 at Union Grove cemetery.  The informant was Anna Ray, Route 2 Box 143, Fremont.