studio photograph

Studio shots, no. 40: Benjamin and Phereby Barnes Artis.

Benjamin and Phereby Artis, Winstead Studio, Wilson, circa 1895.

This photograph was published in a 1987 Daily Times article about the history of photographers in Wilson. The caption identified the subjects as Benjamin Artis Jr. and wife Phariby Woodard Artis. However, this identification is incorrect (if understandably so). Benjamin Artis Senior, born about 1824, married Phereby [Phariby, Ferebee, etc.] Woodard, daughter of London and Venus Woodard. Their son, Benjamin Artis Junior, born about 1849, married a woman with the same name as his mother, Phereby Barnes, daughter of Silas and Rose Barnes. The photograph above — whose subjects are middle-aged, rather than in their 70s — depicts Ben Artis Jr. and Phereby Barnes Artis.


For an earlier post about this photograph, please see here.

Photograph contributed by the late Wilson historian Hugh B. Johnston Jr. for “Say Cheese!,” Wilson Daily Times, 23 May 1987.


Studio shots, no. 28: Florence Howard Zimmerman.

This portrait of Florence Howard Zimmerman, likely taken circa 1920, is immediately identifiable as taken in the studio of African-American photographer George W. “Picture-Taking” Barnes.

Florence Howard Zimmerman.


In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Horne’s Road, farmer Zelius Howard Jr., 49; wife Nancy, 49; and children Albert, 17, Thomas, 15, Alvin, 13, Herman, 11, Tina, 9, Florence, 7, and Ella, 5.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Deal Howard, 56; wife Nancy, 60; and children Albert, 28, Herman, 22, Tiner, 19, and Florence, 17.

On 1 July 1920, Sheppard Zimmerman, 22, of Wilson, son of Caesar and Irene Zimmerman, married Florence Howard, 18, of Taylor township, daughter of Deal and Nancy Howard. Admire Zimmerman applied for the license, and a justice of the peace performed the ceremony at Wilson County Court House in the presence of David Woodard, B.E. Howard and Admire Zimmerman.


P.S. Here’s Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver with the same crossed feet sitting in the same one-armed chair in front of the same window at Barnes’ studio:

Many thanks to Europe A. Farmer for use of the photo of Florence H. Zimmerman. Photo of Sarah H.J. Silver in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

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 Edwards 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.