The transactions described in this deed are not entirely clear to me, but my best interpretation follows. At a sheriff sale in 1925, D.N. Hinton bought a tract of land owned by George Pender. Pender apparently redeemed the tract by paying off his tax bill, but the same property sold again in 1927, and Mike Taylor won the bid. In 1926, George Pender’s three-acre tract, inherited from his mother Elva Pender from “the old Abram Farmer land,” was also sold to Mike Taylor for nonpayment of taxes. Pender redeemed the tract by paying his tax bill, but it was listed again in 1927, and Mike Taylor bought it. By this deed, ownership of George Pender’s former property was conveyed officially to Taylor.
In the 1880 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Martin Pender, 45; wife Elva, 34; and children Abraham, 14, George, 11, Willie, 8, Charley, 4, and Mary, 1.
On 10 April 1887, Abraham Pender, 23, of Toisnot township, son of Martin and Elva Pender, married Priscilla Batts, 24, of Toisnot township, daughter of Orren and Mary Batts, in Toisnot township.
On 25 June 1891, George Pender, 20, of Wilson township, son of Martin and Elder Pender, married Ella Williams, 19, of Wilson township, daughter of Allice Williams. John Green Lassiter applied for the license, and Primitive Baptist minister William Woodard Sr. performed the ceremony at “Rountree place.”
Kettie Wynn — Katie L. Wynn. In the 1950 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Main Street, widow Katie Wynn, 55, grocery store sales clerk, and children Marie, 25, Herbert, 23, cab driver, Katie, 22, city school teacher, and Joyce, 14.
One Saturday evening in August 1911, 14 year-old Henrietta Faison tagged along with her sister Emma Faison to Walter F. Woodard’s house at the corner of North Goldsboro and Lee Streets. Emma Faison and an older woman, Fannie Rountree, were employed in the Woodards’ kitchen. Percy Jones, a farm hand employed by Woodard, was hanging around the back steps. Suddenly, he grabbed the girl and tried to force her to go off with him. She screamed.
Evidence presented to a county grand jury yielded this testimony, transcribed from court records:
“Henrietta Faison — I know Percy Jones; last Saturday night I was at Mr. Walter Woodards; Percy was sitting on back steps and he caught me by hands and said let’s go to the store; I told him to turn me loose; he put his arms around me and said I had to like he would me to, that he would give $5 or $10 to buy me a new dress; told him to turn me loose, that I would call Miss Fannie; I called Miss Fannie but she didn’t hear me; he asked me my age and went to pulling up my dress; he pulled me down to back part of Mr. Walter Woodard’s lot; he was on the out side of back gate, where he began to pull me; he told me if I hollered he would kill me, that he had a pistol in his pocket; he put his hand on my mouth and I tried to get it away when he slapped me in the face; when I began to holler he be tried to choke me; he turned me loose and jumped and run. After he began to run Sister Emma and Miss Fannie came out of the house. I then went to the house we were on the street where this took place. When he left me he went toward Mike Taylor‘s. He put his hand on known but clothes.
“Fannie Rountree — I saw Henrietta at Mr. Woodard’s Saturday night; I was in Mr. Woodard’s dining room and heard a scream; didn’t know who it was; sounded like it was on lawn; when I got out I heard it again saw Henrietta coming up toward steps; saw no one else. Asked her what was the matter; she said Percy snatched her out of gate and ran.She was screaming. Emma came out where we were. This was between 7 and 8 o’clock.
“Emma Faison — I am Henrietta’s sister; I was at Mr. Woodard’s last Saturday; I was washing dishes; heard some one screaming; it was Henrietta; said Percy had pulled her out of the yard, put his hand over her mouth and slapped her; that he had pulled up her clothes and asked her to go with him to the store; saw man running; don’t know who it was; her dress and waist was unfastened and her clothes was wrinkled; Percy had been working at Mr. Woodard’s. When I saw the man running he was half block away. Henrietta was crying when I got up with her.
“W.F. Woodard — I swore out warrant; I heard the screaming; my family was sitting on front porch — heard the screaming twice. Went on back porch, found Henrietta sobbing; asked her what was the matter; she said Percy had caught and dragged her down to back lot and told her if she hollered he would kill her; that he pulled her dress, put his hand on her mouth and she hollered. Phoned for officers, they came and I told them there the trouble. Didn’t notice condition of Henrietta’s clothes. This was a few minutes after 8.”
Jones was quickly caught and charged with assault with attempt to commit rape. He pled guilty to a lesser charge of simple assault and was sentenced to three months “on the roads,” i.e. working road maintenance on a chain gang.
A few weeks later, Jones’ lawyers, Daniels & Swindell, petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. Under recent state law, they claimed, absent aggravating circumstances, 30 days was the maximum sentence for simple assault. Percy Jones was transported to Raleigh for a hearing before the state Supreme Court.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 October 1911.
The wait for a decision was not long. Three days later, Percy Jones was a free man.
Wilson Daily Times, 13 October 1911.
Henrietta and Emma Faison
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vance Street, widow Ellar Fason, 49, laundress, and daughters Mary, 18, laundress, Emma, 16, cook, Henretta, 13, and Flory, 10.
On 3 March 1914, John Ellis, 22, of Wilson, married Henretta Faison, 18, at Mrs. Ellar Faison’s place in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Ed Cox and Roscoe Yelverton.
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, Ella Faison, Henrietta Faison, and Mary Faison are listed at 802 Viola. Ella and Mary Faison worked as laundresses.
On 3 July 1910, Percy Jones, 22, of Wilson, married Fannie Reid, 18, of Wilson, at the residence of Sam Miller in Wilson. Primitive Baptist minister Jonah Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of B.R. Winstead, Robert Talley, and Arthur Isom.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fannie Rountree, 40, widow, cook, living alone.
Fannie Rountree died 4 June 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 60 years old; was born in Wilson to Benjamin Rountree and Maria Dunston; was separated; lived at 710 East Vance; and worked as a cook for Mrs. Walter Woodard. Sarah Bell was informant.
In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, Mattie Taylor, 36, and children Gray, 14, Benjamin F., 8, Lee R., 7, Mary, 6, Annie, 2, and Hilliard, 6 months.
In 1917, Gray Taylor registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 1 December 1895 in Wilson County; lived in Stantonsburg, Wilson County; worked as a farm laborer for Albert Skinner; was single; and had gray eyes and light hair. He signed his card with an X.
On 30 April 1921, William Gray Taylor, 24, of Wilson County, son of Joe Pittman and Mattie Taylor, married Fannie Hardy, 19, of Wilson County, daughter of Allice Hardy, in Wilson. [Joseph J. Pittman (1875-1922) was a white farmer in the Saratoga area.]
In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Gray T. Taylor, 31; wife Fannie, 25; children Julias, 5, William, 3, Rebecca, 2, and Eunice, 2 months; and lodger Johnnie Bess, 20. [The family was erroneously listed as white.]
In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Gray Taylor, 42; wife Fannie, 26; and children Julias, 19, William A., 14, Rebetha, 12, Unice, 10, Russell, 8, William Irvin, 6, Bobbie G., 5, Bobbie Gene, 3, and Wallace, 7 months.
In the 1950 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Gardners Road, farmer Grey Taylor, 54; wife Fannie, 43; and children Eunice, 20, Russell, 17, William, 16, Bobby Grey, 14, Bobby Jean, 12, Helen, 10, Wallace, 8, and Grace Marie, 6; and Bernice, 8, lodger.
Fannie Taylor died 3 August 1961 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 27 August 1909 in Wilson County to Alice Hardy and was married to Gray Taylor.
Among the most rewarding aspects of researching for Black Wide-Awake are discovering, uncovering, and recovering lost family connections, both my own and others’. I was particularly excited to piece together the Taylor family puzzle, which linked three of my childhood friends. Wilson County is small enough that it’s not surprising that many of us share distant common ancestry, but just who those long-lost cousins are can be surprising indeed.
To stave off responsibility for caring for poor women and their children, unwed mothers were regularly brought before justices of the peace to answer sharp questions about their circumstances.
On 15 September 1866, Lucy Taylor admitted to Wilson County justice of the peace D.W. Barnes that she was pregnant and unmarried, and Amos Williams was her child’s father. Barnes ordered that Williams be arrested and taken to a justice to answer Taylor’s charge.
Amos Williams appeared with J.G. Williams and M.M. Williams to post a bond for his appearance at the next session of court.
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Benjamin Tillery, 27; wife Cherry; and daughter Jane, 3; Lucy Taylor, 23, and son Columbus, 8 months; and Daniel Sharp, 26, farm laborer. [Columbus Taylor is not the child that was the subject of the above bastardy action.]
Bastardy Bonds, 1866, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.
In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Calvin Sutton, 25; wife Silvania, 26; children Hattie, 3, and twins Joel B. and Josephin, 1; mother Dolly, 55; brothers Dallow, 18, and Henry, 16; and sister Mary, 12.
On 20 December 1899, Frank Taylor, 21, of Wayne County, son of Alfred and Pleasant Taylor, married Hattie Sutton, 22, daughter of Calvin and Sylvania Sutton, at Calvin Sutton‘s house in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the ceremony in the presence of R.R. Braswell, A.B. Braswell, and L.H. Horton.
In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Taylor, 19; wife Hattie, 23; and nephew Alfred, 7.
In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Upper Black Creek Road, farmer Calvin Sutton, 54; wife Sylvania, 58; daughter Hattie Taylor, 33; and grandchildren Olivia, 9, Viola, 7, Lillie M., 5, Georgiana, 4, and Mittie, 2; plus adopted grandson Frank McNeal, 16.
Olivia Barnes died 28 October 1918 in Cross Roads township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1899 in Wayne County, N.C., to Frank Taylor and Hattie Sutton; was married to Rossie Barnes; and was buried in Pate graveyard.
In the 1920 census of Selma township, Johnston County, N.C.: farmer Icm J. Joyner, 52; wife Hattie, 40; and children Viola D., 17, Lillie M., 15, George A., 14, Mittie L., 12, Lizzie, 7, Annie, 3, Zalista, 2, and James I., 5 months.
In the 1930 census of Beulah township, Johnston County: farmer James I. Joyner, 59; wife Hattie, 50; and children Lillie, 24, Lizzie, 18, Annie, 12, and James I., Jr., 10.
In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Isom Joyner, 67; wife Hattie, 61; daughter Annie, 23; son James, 20; daughter-in-law Victoria, 20; and granddaughter Lenis Atkinson, 5.
Isom Joyner died 3 June 1943 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 July 1875 in Wilson County to Mary Barnes; was married to Hattie Joyner; was a farmer; and was buried in Polly Watson.
Hattie Joyner died 4 August 1957 in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 26 January 1878 in Wilson County to Calvin Sutton and Sylvania Simmons; was the widow of Isom Joyner; was a retired farmer; and was buried in Polly Watson cemetery. Annie Edwards was informant.
On 20 December 1899, Frank Taylor, 21, of Wayne County, son of Alfred and Pleasant Taylor, married Hattie Sutton, 22, daughter of Calvin and Sylvania Sutton, at Calvin Sutton‘s house in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the ceremony in the presence of R.R. Braswell, A.B. Braswell, and L.H. Horton. [Note: Per family information, Frank Taylor’s biological father was not Alfred Taylor, but a white man.]
In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Taylor, 19; wife Hattie, 23; and nephew Alfred, 7.
This is not, strictly speaking, a studio shot, but it was taken by a studio photographer, Ray J. Dancy. Dancy made a house call to photograph Roderick Taylor Sr., Hattie Henderson, and their children in the front room of the Hendersons’ home at 1109 Queen Street, ca. 1944.