studio photograph

Studio shots, no. 15: Dardens and friends.

Lizzie Darden commemorating her high school graduation with Roderick Taylor (standing), her brother Camillus L. Darden (seated), and a friend (seated in Picture-Taking George W. Barnes‘ chair), circa 1903.

Photograph courtesy of N.J. and C. Darden, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine (1978).

Studio shots, no. 14: Jesse Adam Henderson.

Jesse A. Henderson, early 1940s.

Jesse A. Henderson, mid-1940s.

The photograph above of Jesse A. Henderson was taken in the same studio, and probably during the same visit, as that of his good buddy Thomas L. Peacock.

Jesse A. Henderson, mid-1940s.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1109 Queen Street, Hattie Henderson, 29, and children Lucian, 13, Jesse, 11, Redrick, 5, and Hattie M., 3.

Jesse Adam Henderson died 5 August 2005 in Washington, D.C.

Photos from the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks.

Studio shots, no. 13: David Creech.

 David and Ruby Holt Creech.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on New Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer Right Creech, 48; wife Sallie, 37; and children Willie, 19, James O., 17, Maomie, 18, Luther, 14, Lillie May, 11, Alex, 9, Elizabeth, 8, Beulah, 6, Gertrude, 3, and David, 1.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: farmer Wright Creech, 56; wife Sallie A., 47; and children Lillie M., 22, Elex, 20, Elizabeth, 18, Gertrude, 13, David, 11, Sallie, 8, Genava, 6, Addie L., 3.

In 1940, David Creech registered for the World War II draft in Washington, D.C. Per his registration card, he resided at 146 Randolph Place N.W.; had been born 10 July 1918 in Wilson, North Carolina; his contact was his mother, Sallie Ann Creech of Lucama, North Carolina; and he worked at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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David Creech.

Many thanks to Edith Garnett Jones for sharing these photographs of her uncle.

Studio shots, no. 12: Mamie Ellis Maryland.

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Mamie Ellis Maryland (1907-1944).

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on New Stantonsburg Road, farmer Sherrod Ellis, 49; wife Elizabeth, 44; and children Lillie, 18, Joe, 16, Mamie, 13, Mattie, 9, Oscar, 5, and Johnnie J., 2.

On 1 January 1925, Richard Maryland, of Gardners township, 21, son of John and Maggie Maryland, married Mamie Ellis, 17, of Gardners, daughter of Sherrod and Elizabeth Ellis, in Wilson. Sherrod Ellis applied for the license, and Rev. C. Barnes performed the ceremony in the presence of Ned Barnes, O.M. Ellis and Elliott Pope.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount and Town Creek Road, John Maryland, 58; wife Maggie, 49; son Richard R., 26; daughter-in-law Mamie, 23;  and grandchildren Dacey L., 6, and Willie C., 4.

In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Richard Maryland, 36; wife Mamie, 34; and children Dasie Lee, 14, and Willie C., 12.

Mamie Maryland died 8 March 1944 in Sharpsburg, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 7 June 1907 in Wilson County to Sherrod Ellis and Elizabeth Barnes; was married to Richard Maryland; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Sharpsburg cemetery.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry user El maryland. [The gloves, the telephone — what a fascinating image. — LYH]

Studio shots, no. 10: Martha Ratliff.

A name written across the back of this photograph is the only information I have about Martha Ratliff. It was probably taken in the 1940s.

Photograph in the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks, now in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.

[Update: Per Rederick C. Henderson, Ms. Ratliff lived in the 1200 block of Carolina Street in the 1940s.  — LYH, 21 July 2017]

Studio shots, no. 9: Mary E. Leach.

This photograph of Mary Edwards Leach (1910-1992) probably taken in the 1940s, is stamped “Baker’s Pictures. 520 E. Nash Street, Wilson, N.C.” and thus reveals the location of this shot and these. Leach was the daughter of Stephen and Charity Bullock Edwards of Wilson and Greene Counties.

The location of the studio on East Nash suggests that Baker was African-American, but no one by that name — black or white — is listed in Wilson in Stephen E. Massingill’s Photographers of North Carolina: The First Century, 1842-1941.

Photograph in the collection of Hattie Henderson Ricks, now in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Photographs by Winstead of Wilson.

These five photographs were taken at Francis M. Winstead’s studio in Wilson, most likely in the early 1890s. They are part of a trove of cartes de visite of African-Americans assembled by S.J. Reidhead, who graciously shared them with me. The images appear to have been part of one family’s collection, but I have been able to identify only a few of the subjects.

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On the reverse: “Compliments of Rev & Mrs L.J. Melton to Mr & Mrs G.T. Foster.” These are likely two of the Melton children.

  • Leavy J. Melton — Presbyterian minister Leavy J. Melton arrived in Wilson about 1891 and remained for seven years. In the 1900 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: minister L.J. Melton, 36; wife Rebeca, 29; and children Marion, 6, Hally, 4, Onna Bell, 2, and Robert J., 1.
  • Rebecca Canty Melton
  • Grant T. Foster — Grant T. Foster, 22, married Alice M. Daniel, 22, in Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina, on 19 May 1886. The couple apparently moved to Wilson within the next few years, and Alice Foster is likely the Mrs. who received the photo. On 11 June 1900, presumably after Alice’s death, Grant T. Foster, 27, of Oxford, North Carolina, married Maggie Ransom, 27, of Wilson, daughter of Annie Horne, in Emporia, Virginia.

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Based on his photo in A.B. Caldwell’s History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (see link above), I am fairly sure this depicts a young Rev. Melton.

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Are these African-American children? The children of a white friend of the Meltons in Wilson? The former seems more likely.

Studio shots, nos. 4 and 5: Unknown.

Both these portraits, found in a collection owned by Hattie Henderson Ricks, were shot in the same unidentified Wilson studio at which Mildred Obery had her photo taken. They likely date to the mid 1940s. The man, who may have been named Rudolph, worked in a tent and awning factory. I have no information about the woman in the South Seas outfit.

Studio shots, no. 3: Dock Jacobs.


Dock Davis Jacobs was born about 1890 in northern Sampson County to Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. and his first wife Sallie Bridges. In 1895, soon after Sallie’s death, Jesse married Sarah Henderson Jacobs, who reared Jesse’s children. The Jacobses moved from Dudley in southern Wayne County to Wilson circa 1905.

The 1908-09 Wilson city directory lists:


[106 is now numbered 303 Elba. The *, by the way, denoted a “colored” person.]

On 16 Nov 1923, Jesse A. Jacobs and wife Sara filed a deed filed for the sale of 303 Elba to Jesse’s children Carrie Blackwell, Jean Daniel Jacobs, Doc Jacobs, and Annie Bell Gay in consideration of $1. The Jacobses had purchased the property in 1908.

Jesse Jacobs died in July 1926, and Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver in January 1938. On 15 April 1938, Dock Jacobs filed a deed with Wilson County Register of Deeds office recording the sale for $20 of his undivided interest in the house to his informally adopted sister, known then as Hattie Jacobs (and later as Hattie Henderson Ricks.)

Dock Jacobs died 9 December 1944 at his home at 126 West 143rd Street, New York City.

Original photograph in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.