In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: brickmason Washington Sugg, 51, wife Esther, 38, and children Nicy, 21, Sarena, 17, Cator, 16, Molly, 12, Edmonia, 10, Juda, 5, and James, 3.
Harry Bryant, 21, of Wilson, son of Nestus and Ann Bryant, married Julia Suggs, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Washington and Easter Suggs, on 26 September 1895 at the Methodist church, Wilson. Richard Renfrow applied for the license, and Presbyterian minister L.J. Melton performed the ceremony in the presence of Mattie Harris, L.A. Moore and Lovet Freeman.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm laborer Harry Bryant, 34; wife Julia, 34; and sons Leonard, 14, and Leroy, 4.
In 1918, Harry Haywood Bryant registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his draft registration card, he was born 23 January 1873; lived at 132 Sugg Street; was married to Julia Bryant; and worked as a carpenter for Boyle-Robertson Company in Newport News, Virginia.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Suggs Street, Harry Bryant, 44, carpenter for construction company, and wife Julia, 41.
Julia Bryant died 27 January 1929 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 23 September 1874 in Wilson to Washington Sugg and Easter Best of Greene County; was married to Harry Bryant; and resided at 618 Sugg Street.
“All lots are splendidly located, naturally drained building locations suitable for business or residential property. Only 3-4 mile from the business section of the city and the same distance from the railroad stations. All lots approximately 25×110 feet in size, furnished with city electric lights. Colored graded school just across the street, many large manufacturing establishments nearby.
“Select the lots which you desire to purchase of those that remain in the old Washington Suggs Property. There were originally 109 lots in this subdivision and so great has been the demand for them that since June 10th all have been disposed of with the exception of 44. This is an opportunity well worth taking advantage of and an opportunity which will be lost after this sale on Saturday, October 30th. The terms have been arranged very easy, in fact, so easy that anyone who desires can purchase and hardly miss the payments as they become due monthly.
“THE BEAUTIFUL VICTROLA NO. 6 IS ON DISPLAY IN GRAHAM WINSTEAD’S MUSIC STORE WINDOW. THIS IS A MAHOGANY MACHINE AND HAS A GOOD TONE. IT WILL BE GIVEN AWAY SATURDAY OCT. 30, AT OUR SALE.”
Calvin Blount owned land adjacent to Washington Suggs and purchased his property even earlier than Suggs did.
In 1870, Washington Suggs purchased a lot adjacent to “the grave yard lot” and the African church, south of downtown between the railroad and what is now Pender Street. In the 1890s, the town of Wilson formally established a public cemetery for African-Americans in this area and called it Oakdale. The cemetery was active until the 1920s, though decreasingly so after Vick Cemetery was established in 1913 further from the center of town. In 1941, Wilson disinterred the graves at Oakdale and reburied them in Rest Haven Cemetery. Per Wilson’s Cemetery Commission, no records exist of the names of those whose remains were moved.
Pleasant D. Gold was an enterprising Primitive Baptist preacher who founded Zion’s Landmark, a long-running church newspaper, and later the Wilson Daily Times. Gold met his wife Julia Pipkin while serving as a Missionary Baptist minister in Goldsboro. They were married in 1863, when Washington Suggs was not so much employed as enslaved. Suggs reprised his role as butler when the Golds renewed their vows in January 1913. He died a year later, aged about 75.
Catalogue of Lincoln University, Chester County, Pennsylvania, for the Academical Year 1886-87 (1887).
On 4 May 1890, Willis Bryant, 26, son of Wiley Bryant and Louisa Branch, married Ida M. Webb, 22, in Marion County, Indiana.
As were many Lincoln alumni, Bryant was very active in the Presbyterian church and helped found Senate Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Indianapolis News, 20 June 1892.
In the 1900 census of Center township, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 808 Wyoming Street, coal dealer Willis Bryant, 36; wife Ida, 32; and children Ralph, 6, and Edna May, 1.
In September 1900, Wilson native Daniel C. Suggs, then teaching at Georgia State College, visited the Bryants in Indianapolis. Suggs was also a Lincoln graduate.
Indianapolis News, 7 September 1900.
Fifteen years after he graduated, Bryant and his wife returned to Pennsylvania to attend a Lincoln graduation, then made a round of East Coast cities.
Indianapolis News, 25 May 1901.
In 1901, Lucy Gay visited her uncle Willis Bryant in Indianapolis. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Sam Gay, 54; wife Alice, 50; and children Charlie C., 23, Edgar B., 25, Lucy, 17, Samuel, 14, Albert and Beatrice, 10, and Lily, 4. [Alice Gay was the 15 year-old Alice Ellis listed in the 1870 census above. When she married Samuel Gay, she gave her maiden name as Bryant.]
Indianapolis News, 28 December 1901.
In October 1904, the Indiana Recorder reprinted “His Trip West,” an article by Harry S. Cummings originally posted in the Afro-American Ledger. In the chronicle of his tour of Indiana cities, Cummings mentioned Wilson native Dr. Joseph H. Ward and Willis Bryant and his father-in-law Charles A. Webb’s transportation and hauling businesses.
Indianapolis News, 22 October 1904.
In 1907, Willis Bryant and other black businessmen formed a committee to assist the city’s Juvenile Court with finding employment for “delinquent colored boys and girls.”
Indianapolis Star, 24 April 1907.
In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 808 Wyoming Street, Willis Bryant, 44; wife Ida M., 42; and children Ottis R., 16, Edna, 11, and Hulda M., 3.
Indianapolis Recorder, 13 March 1915.
Willis Bryant died 19 March 1915, barely a week after celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary.
Indianapolis Recorder, 18 March 1916.
His widow, Ida Webb Bryant, outlived him by decades, and was featured in this 1963 Indianapolis Recorder piece.
One hundred thirty-three years ago, a Greensboro newspaper ran an article from the Wilson Mirror covering the visit to Wilson of “justly celebrated negro orator” Joseph C. Price. Price, a founder and first president of Livingstone College (in 1886 still known as Zion Wesley Institute), had taught in Wilson for four years at the start of his career. Regarded as one of great orators of his day — grudging recognition in this article notwithstanding — Price’s early death cut short a trajectory that might have vied with Booker T. Washington’s to lead African-Americans.
Samuel H. Vick read an essay to open the program. The writer of the article noted that his speech as “well-written” and “couched in good English,” as well it should have been given that the 23 year-old had a degree from Lincoln University and was principal of the colored graded school.