This tribute to Thomas Henry Tabron is an example the way in which even good works and praise were filtered through a racist lens.
On 16 May 1911, Thomas Henry Tabron, 21, of Wilson, son of Lemon and Edmonia Tabron, married Mattie Belle Smith, 19, of Fayetteville, N.C., daughter of Wm. and Sarah Smith, at Saint Joseph’s Rectory, Fayetteville, N.C.
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron Thos H (c) barber J A Tabron h Daniel nr N S R R
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron T Henry (c) T Bros barber h 509 Boykin ct nr Hines
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron Bros (T Henry & Jacob A) barbers 126 S Goldsboro
Henry Lee Tabron died 7 May 1918 in Macclesfield, Township 9, Edgecombe County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 8 May  in Wilson to Thomas Henry Tabron and Mattie Belle Smith; and resided on Tarboro Street, Wilson.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on West Walnut Street, barber Henry Tabron, 27; wife Mattie, 28; and children Elma, 8, William, 5, Edmonia, 3, and John, 6 months.
In the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron Henry (c) barber Reid Barber Shop h 306 South
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron Henry (c) barber Wilson Barber Shop h 306 E South
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron T Henry (c; Mattie B) barber h 306 South
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tabron Thos H (c; Mattie R) barber Wm C Reid h 700 E Vance
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Henry Tabron, 37; wife Mattie, 29, laundress; and children William, 15, shoe shop laborer, Edmonia, 14, Bill S., 11, Berkley, 9, and Donald, 7.
Thomas Henry Tabron died 19 April 1932 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 40 years; was married to Mattie Belle Tabron; lived at 304 South Street; was a barber; and was born in Wilson to Lemon Tabron of Nash County, N.C., and Edmonia Tabron, of Virginia.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 925 Atlantic Street, Henry Taborn, “dead”; wife Mattie, 45, cleaner at Thomas Yelverton, born in Maxton, N.C.; sons Bill, 21, Donnell, 17, and Berkley, 19, all born in Macclesfield, N.C.; daughter Elmer [Elma] Brodie, 29, cook at Woolworths, and her sons George, 8, Henry, 7,Robert, 3, and William, 5. [FYI: I have never seen a deceased person listed in a census record, much less one eight years deceased.]
Harry Dunston married Mary Stancil on 28 December 1897 on Oneal township, Johnston County.
In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Harry Dunston, 58, his wife of 6 years Livia A., 46, and children James, 10, Pearly, 7, Percy, 7, Alparada, 3, and Ollie, 1 1/2.
In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Harry Duncan [sic], 59; wife Livian, 39; and children Alparato, 11, Oliver W. 9, Bettie, 8, Clara, 7, Joseph, 6, Sidney, 5, Ruby and Ruth, 3, and Pearl and Percy, 15.
Livan Dunston died 29 April 1947 in Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 14 May 1885 in Wilson County to Best Taborn and Clara Locus; was married to Harry Dunston; and is buried at New Vester.
Harry Dunston died 10 August 1950 in Old Fields township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born December 1859 in Wake County to Ben Dunston and Harriett Hester; was a widower; was a farmer; and was buried at New Vester. Eliza Dunstan Hayes was informant.
Ruby Dunston Jones passed away 6 March 2016, just before her 100th birthday.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 700 East Vance Street, rented for $16/month, barber Henry Tabron, 37; wife Mattie B., 39, laundress; and children William, 15, shoe shop laborer, Edmonia, 14, Bill S., 11, Berkly, 9, and Donald, 7.
S/Sgt. Olin B. Tabron, 24, son of Henry Tabron and Mattie Smith Tabron, married LovieDancy, 24, daughter of Johnnie Dancy and Pennie Mills Dancy, on 24 December 1945 in Wilson in the presence of T.R. Uzzell, Elma Brodie and Pennie E. Nancy.
In 1945, Olin Berkley Tabron filled a World War II draft registration card (though he had already enlisted.) Per his card, he was born 1 January 1921 [actually, December 1920] in Edgecombe County, North Carolina; his nearest relative was sister Elma Broady, 909 Green Street, Wilson; and his discharge date was 8 November 1945.
In March 1906, Noah J. Tate, Walter S. Hines and Joshua L. Tabron executed a lease-purchase agreement with Richard Renfrow for the entire contents of a barber shop, including four “hydrantic” chairs, four mirrored cabinets, a barber pole and eight water bottles. These items were “packed in R.E. Hagan’s Shop on Barnes Street,” which Tate, Hines and Tabron had purchased. Renfrow agreed to pay three dollars a week, plus insurance and taxes on the property. After 132 payments, Renfrow would own the barber shop. He paid at an accelerated rate, and the debt was cancelled before the end of the year.
On Old Raleigh Road, just west of Interstate 95, lies the old Jones Hill Primitive Baptist church cemetery. The church itself is perhaps a half-mile down the road to the east. The cemetery has been so overgrown that I failed to locate it on two previous attempts, but appears to have been rough cut within the last couple of years. It contains, among others, the graves of several members of a large free family of color, the Joneses. Per Findagrave.com, there are at least 25 marked graves here, but because of dense weeds and underbrush, I missed several. (Including Julious Locus 1854-1922, Josiah Jones 1862-1925 and Benjamin Coley 1864-1921.)
The view from the road today:
Two views within the cemetery, which lies in a narrow strip of woodland sloping upward between two cultivated fields:
In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Allen Powell, 32, dipping turpentine, wife Charity, 22, and children Robert and Cena, 2.
In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Allen Powell, 42, wife Chana, 36, and children Robert 13, Seneori, 11, Eligah, 9, Thomas R., 6, and James L., 1.
On 30 January 1896, Elijah Powell, 26, of Old Fields, married Sarah Tabron, 19, of Taylors, in Taylors township.
In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farm laborer Elliga Powell, 29, wife Sarah, 22, children Roxie, 2, and Daisy, 6 months, sisters-in-law Maggie, 12, and Ida N. Batts, 8, niece Loutory Taborn, 14, widowed grandmother Sarah Williams, 70, and boarder Henry Barnes, 25.
In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Elijah Powell, 39, wife Sarah, 31, and children Roxie, 12, Daisy, 10, Emma L., 8, Bettie, 6, and Elijah, 3. Nearby: Dempsie, 30, Joe, 21, and widow Chanie Powell, 68.
In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on the Road to Horns Bridge, Elijah Powell, 51, wife Sarah, 45, and children Daisy, 19, Emma, 16, Bettie, 14, and Elijah Jr., 13.
In the 1930 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Elijah Powell, 60, wife Sarah Powell, 52, and Isaiah Farmer, 22, a roomer.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on 407 East Walnut, Elijah Powell, 71, and wife Sarah, 62.
Elijah Powell died 8 September 1948 at his home at 407 Walnut Street. Per his death certificate, he was 77 years old, married to Sarah Powell, born in Wilson County to Allen Powell and Channie Boykins, and buried in Jones Hill cemetery.
John H. Jones
On 25 June 1848, Jacob Jones married Milly Powell in Nash County.
In the 1850 census of Nash County: Jacob Jones, 25, wife Milly, 28, siblings Shade, 18, and Susan Jones, 21, plus Levi Worrel, 30.
In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: steam sawmill worker Jacob Jones, 43, wife Milley, 43, and children John H., 17, Stephen, 15, Joanna, 13, Josiah, 11, Nancy, 7, and Milly A., 3, plus Jesse, 21, and Eliza Jones, 21.
On 16 May 1872, John Jones, son of Jacob and Milly Jones, and Penny Locust, daughter of Gaines and Fanny Locust, at Gaines Locust’s.
In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: John H. Jacobs, 26, wife Penny, 22, and children Sallie Ann, 6, Frances, 4, and William H., 1.
In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer John H. Jones, 49, wife Pennie, 46, and children George, 18, Jacob, 15, Richard, 13, Elizabeth, 11, Willie, 9, Callie, 5, and Mattie and Hattie, 2.
In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer John H. Jones, 58, wife Penny, 57, and children Richard, 21, Chellie, 19, Willie, 17, Hattie and Mattie, 13, and Charlie Jones, 12.
In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Richard Jones, 33, and his widower father, John H. Jones, 66, both farmers.
In the 1870 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Ganes Locust, 40, wife Zana, 35, and children Penny, 15, Hasty, 12, James, 9, Julius, 5, Sarah, 4, and Amanda, 1.
She married John H. Jones in 1872. See above.
Thomas A. Jones and Kissiah Jones obtained a marriage license on 31 March 1888 in Wilson County, but did not return it.
In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: farmer Willis Jones, 50, wife Sarah, 42, and children Henry, 13, Alex, 10, Noel, 8, Kingsberry, 3, and Peyton, 9 months. Willis’ mother Thany Jones, 78, was next door.
In the 1860 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: Willis Jones, 62, black, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 51, mulatto; and children Henry, 20, Alexander, 17, Noel, 16, Willis, 12, Paton, 10, Burthany, 7, Sarah, 13, and James, 10. Also, Noel Jones, 15, making turpentine, with Gray Flowers, 28, white, also making turpentine.
On 12 July 1866, Noel Jones and Sarah Jones were married in Wilson County.
In the 1870 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farm laborer Noel Jones, 26, wife Sarah, 23, and children Josiah, 3, Charity, 1, and Edith, 4 months.
In the 1880 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: laborer Noel Jones, 34, wife Sarah, 32, and children Josiah, 13, Charity, 12, Edieth J., 10, and Noel J., 6.
In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Noel Jones, 68, wife Sarah, 66, daughter Pearly, 25, grandsons Eddie G., 15, and Earnest, 11, and brother Alexander Jones, 69 (who was described as “afflicted.”)
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.
Here, roughly outlined, is that area of downtown Wilson today:
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.
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.