The death of Mariah Dunston Talley.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 November 1913.


In the 1900 census of #12 Township, Cabarrus County, North Carolina: at Scotia Seminary, Mariah Dunston, 19, student.

In the 1910 census of High Point, Guilford County, North Carolina: at 102 Beaman Street, Marshall A. Tally, 32, state Sunday School missionary; wife Mariah E., 29; daughter Marshalle O., 21 months; and son “Baby,” 3 months.

Marshall Lee Tally died 28 April 1913 in Wilson, of measles. Per her birth certificate, she was born 3 March 1908, and was 4 years, 11 months old. She lived at 110 Pender Street. The informant, Dr. Frank S. Hargrave (or his proxy) did not spend much effort filling out the rest of the form, describing her mother as unknown and the birthplace of her father, Rev. M.A. Tally, as unknown.

Mariah E. Talley died 18 November 1913 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 September 1880 in Wake County to Calvin W. Dunston and Mary A. Mathews; was married; and lived at 201 Pender. M.A. Talley was informant. She was buried in Raleigh, N.C., [at Mount Hope Cemetery.]

Rev. Talley was remarried two years later to Fannie C. Anthony of Weldon, N.C.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

108 years ago this month …

Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church opened its iconic brick edifice at the corner of East Nash and Pender Streets. First Missionary Baptist’s pastor Rev. Marshall A. Talley welcomed a line-up of mostly local prominent guest speakers.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 August 1913.

John F. Bruton was the keynote speaker on opening day and delivered this strange and eye-poppingly (by today’s standards) offensive homily: “One thing you people cannot afford to stop, it is your native song. When you cut that off, you cut off your right hand. I remember my old mammy as she clasped me to her withered bosom singing ‘These bones shall rise again.’ Then I was taught the meaning of immortality, ‘when I can read my title clear,’ she sang. I knew that she was going to read her title in the skies. I do not know what heaven is, but I know she is there. As for me I’ll be content to spend the first thousand years there, listening to the angels singing, with that old mammy joining in the chorus, with her hand in mine leading me to my mother. That will be heaven for me. You can’t abandon those songs! When you do, you’d just as well turn this church into a moving picture show.”


Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

“Mary, Mary, Mary!”

News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 7 May 1907. 

The setting: the former plantation of Joshua Barnes, then three miles north of Wilson and now on the outskirts.

Several people gathered at Willie Barnes‘ home to go together to a dance in the neighborhood. Barnes was eating his evening meal, and his wife, children, and neighbors sat before the fire. Mary Talley suddenly rushed in. Moments later, her husband Robert Talley appeared in the doorway, cried “Mary, Mary, Mary!,” and emptied a shotgun barrel into his wife’s hip. Willie Barnes grabbed the gun, which discharged its other barrel into the ceiling. Mary Talley lost considerable blood, but the wound was judged not serious. A sheriff’s posse found Talley holed up in his residence with a loaded gun, but arrested him without incident.

I haven’t found anything further about this incident. However, Robert Talley went to prison, he didn’t stay long. He appears in the 1910 census of Wilson … with Mary Talley.


In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Robert Talley, 23, and wife Mary.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Robert Talley, 31, store janitor; wife Mary, 28, cook; and three boarders Lula Vick, 18, cook, Rachel Miller, 19, cook, and Buster Miller, 15 months.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tally Robert (c) lab 409 N Pine

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Talley Mary (c) dom h Young’s New Line nr Water Works rd

Mary M. Talley died 22 May 1945 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 57 years old; was born in Asheville, N.C., to Eleck Robinson and Dora Miller; was single; and lived at 200 West Lee Street. Rachel Ellis, 200 West Lee, was informant.