The popular (and peripatetic) Ed Mitchell.


Wilson Mirror, 18 January 1888.


Wilson Mirror, 7 May 1890.


Wilson Mirror, 30 July 1890.


Wilson Mirror, 25 February 1891.


Wilson Mirror, 20 May 1891.


Wilson Advance, 27 August 1891.


Wilson Advance, 14 January 1892.


Wilson Advance, 13 April 1893.


Democratic Banner (Dunn, N.C.), 31 December 1902.


Wilson Daily Times, 21 October 1910.


In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spring Street, washerwoman Susan Mitchell, 47, with children Lucy, 19, and Louiza, 15, both house servants, Eddy, 12, and Joseph, 9. On 18 October 1880, Lucy Mitchell, 19, married Mashal Powell, 18, at Susan Mitchell’s house. Witnesses were Small Blunt, Mary Blunt and Susan Mitchell.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widow Susiana Mitchel, 65, a “grannie,” and son Edd, 33, a barber. [A granny-woman was a midwife.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Susan Mitchell, 75, lived alone in a rented house on the N&S Railroad. In the 1910 census of Averasboro, Harnett County: on Wilmington & Magnolia Road, barber Edward Mitchell, 44, wife Allice M., 24, and daughter Loucile D., 6 months.

Edward Mitchell died 5 February 1918 in Dunn, Harnett County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born in Wilson to Ed and Susan Mitchell, was married, and worked as a barber. He was buried in Dunn.

In the 1920 census of Averasboro, Harnett County: at 311 Magnolia Avenue, widow Alice Mitchell, 33, with daughters Glydis, 10, and Doris, 9.

Edmonia and Carrie Taborn.

As noted here, free-born Lemon Taborn was a barber in the town of Wilson as early as 1860. A remembrance published in the Wilson Times in 1921 mentioned that Lemon’s first wife and child died around the time of the Civil War and were buried near Pender Street. I have not been able to discover their names.

WDT 12 30 1921 Taborn cemetery

Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1921.

On 18 July 1870, Lemon Tabourne, son of Hardy Taylor and Celey Tabourn, married Edmonia Barnes, daughter of Louisa Barnes, “in church.” Minister C.C. Doelson performed the ceremony.

In the 1870 census, in the town of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Lemon Taber, 28; wife Edmina, 17; and daughter Stella (by his first wife?), 5; plus domestic servant Tillman Blount, 13, and Terry Noble, 18, barber. Edmonia reported that she was born in Virginia. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County, the family is listed in a household on Tarboro Street.

Together Lemon and Edmonia Tabourn had at least seven children: Elma (1873), Carrie (1875), Lucy (1877), Joshua (1878), Lila (1884), Jacob Astor (1886) and Thomas Henry (1890), and possibly an eighth, Douglass.

Though Lemon lived until 1893, he may have been ill and unable to work regularly for several years before. As early as 1889, local newspapers were taking note of the presence in his shop of his wife Edmonia and, especially, teenaged daughter Carrie.

Mirror 5 11 1889

Wilson Mirror, 11 May 1889.

Mirror 8 7 1889

Wilson Mirror, 7 August 1889.

The Mirror was positively smitten. In verbiage usually exclusively reserved for white women, Carrie was described as “lady-like,” “graceful,” and — incredibly — possessed of “strokes as soft as the noiseless fall of silverest moonbeams upon the placid bosom of an unruffled lake.”

mirror 9 24 1890

Wilson Mirror, 24 September 1890.

Mirror 2 25 1891

Wilson Mirror, 25 February 1891.

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Wilson Mirror, 20 May 1891.

Nirror 7 29 1891 Carrie Taborn to DC

Wilson Mirror, 29 July 1891.

Even the Advance boasted, though it’s not clear who the third woman was.


Wilson Advance, 20 August 1891.

Perhaps to the dismay of the Mirror, on July 18, 1893, Carrie Taborn, 18, married Frank Sears, 21, of Wayne County, at the Presbyterian Church. David Wyatt, C.H. Bynum and S.H. Vick witnessed the ceremony. They settled in Goldsboro, where Sears was a barber, and Carrie apparently retired from the business.

Five months later, Lemon Taborn was dead. With her youngest child only 3 years old, Edmonia may have determined that she had better prospects in her hometown in Virginia. Before long though, she was back in Wilson, cutting hair for a former rival.

Mirror 8 8 1895

Wilson Mirror, 8 August 1895.

Edmonia resurrected the family business in short order, and, as they came of age, her sons Henry, Astor and Douglass (who may have been a grandson) took it over. [N.B.: This generation of the family adopted the spelling “Tabron.”]

WDT 3 3 1899

Wilson Daily Times, 3 March 1899.

Carrie Taborn Sears died 4 July 1903, apparently without children, and was buried in Goldsboro’s Elmwood cemetery. Edmonia Barnes Taborn died 13 July 1925.

Map of Wilson, 1872.

This is the first known map of Wilson, copied from a drawing made in 1872 by E.B. Mayo:


The orientation is odd, as the bottom of the page is north. (Or, more strictly speaking, northeast.) There, encircled at the edge, is the only reference to any of the African-Americans who made up just over a quarter of the town’s population in the early 1870s. It’s Lemon Taborn‘s barbershop.

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Here, roughly outlined, is that area of downtown Wilson today:

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Spring Street is now Douglas and Nash Street extends across the tracks (replacing “the Plank Road,”) but otherwise street names remain the same. There are, of course, no marl holes or wells or trees in the middle of roads. The railroad in the 1872 map is not angled enough; despite appearances, it does not parallel downtown streets. Today, Lemon Taborn’s location at Tarboro just past Vance Street is roughly the site of the Wesley Shelter, Wilson County’s domestic violence and sexual assault agency.

The obituary of Lemon Taborn, a good barber and most exemplary man.


Wilson Mirror, 15 November 1893.


Lemon Tabon, the barber so well known to all our people as a good barber and most exemplary man — quiet and orderly in his conduct, was attacked with paralysis on Tuesday Oct. 31, and died at his home in Wilson on the night of the 12th of November leaving as good name as that of any one white or black who has lived amongst us. He began his career at Wilson several years before the war, went as servant to Capt. J[acob] S. Barnes and remained in the 4th regiment till the close of the war — returning resumed his business as barber.


Lemon Taborn (later spelled Tabron) was born free about 1834 in Nash County, North Carolina, to Celia Taborn. He moved to the town of Wilson before 1860.


The Wilson Advance, 24 September 1880.