Town of Elm City

The only colored school with a domestic science class.

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Wilson Daily Times, 8 April 1921.

  • Elm City Colored Graded School
  • Prof. J.D. Reid — Reid was principal of the Wilson Colored Graded School.
  • Prof. W.S. Washington
  • Mary Howard — in the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on the Elm City and Wilson Road, farmer Junius Rosser, 59, wife Lizzie, 46, children Daniel, 14, Annie, 12, Bennie, 10, and Lizzie, 8, and boarder Mary Howard, 19, a teacher.

To lose a faithful servant is to lose a friend.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 July 1935.

J.T. Watson of Elm City eulogized two African-American men in this letter to the newspaper. Per Watson, Jim Green, age about 58, died 16 June 1935 at a hospital in Wilson. He came to Elm City from Wayne County about 1905. He worked first for Dr. E.G. Moore, then took a job with the town. He bought a lot on the south end of Parker Street and built two houses, one for himself and one to rent out.

Jim Williams died 25 June 1935. He came to Wilson County from the Dunbar farm in Edgecombe County in 1884 and bought Susan Cohn’s old house on East Nash Street in Elm City. Williams worked at manual labor as a young man and later as a handyman for J.W. Cox. His only son, Jim, and Jim’s children lived in northern cities.

Final rites for Aggie M. Williams.


Wilson Daily Times, 24 March 1951.

The Daily Times‘ editorial policy, apparently, provided that the most remarkable fact of the lives of men and woman who had been enslaved was that they had been enslaved. However, as set forth in detail here, Aggie Mercer Williams died possessed of a house and two lots in Elm City and two farms outside of town, which suggests a lifetime of notable achievement.

Studio shots, no. 67: Robert A. Johnson.

Robert A. Johnson served 30 years as the first African-American high school principal in the Elm City community. “Under his leadership, not only did Frederick Douglass [High School] receive high academic ratings, its superiority in co-curricular areas received state-wide recognition, particularly its band and basketball teams.”

A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Johnson received a B.A. from Ohio State University and, later a master’s degree from New York University.


Robert A. Johnson, 34, married Grace A. McNeil, 27, on 3 June 1939 in Forsyth County, North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 206 Reid Street, shoe shop owner James Mack, 41; wife Beualah, 40, born in Salisbury; and Robert Johnson, 34, teacher in Wilson County school, born in Winston-Salem.

In 1940, Robert Arthur Johnson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 19 October 1905 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; his contact was father William Johnson, 806 Stadium Drive, Winston-Salem; and his employer was Elm City Board of Trustees.

Robert Arthur Johnson died 14 March 1966 of a heart attack at Frederick Douglass High School, Elm City. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 October 1905 in Winston-Salem to William Johnson and Amie Williams; was married to Grace Johnson; and was employed as a principal by Wilson County Schools.

Text adapted from article in and photo courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).

Boy runs amuck, cuts principal.

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 18 January 1920.

  • Carl Lucas
  • Walter Washington — Probably this man: Walter T. Washington died 9 November 1968 in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 September 1896; resided at 811 East Edenton Street, Raleigh; was married to Verdie Parrish Washington; was the son of Hillary Washington and Georgianna Sasser; and was a retired schoolteacher. He was buried in National Cemetery, Raleigh.

The obituary of Willie Wynn.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 February 1940.

On 23 September 1886, Willie Winn, 27, and Jennie Hussey, 19, were married in Wayne County, North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Willie Winn, 50; wife Jennie, 23; and children Bessie, 18, Cora, 14, Charlie, 11, Annie, 10, John, 9, Ray, 7, Dortch, 4, Pinkie, 1, and Jessie, 17.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer William Winn, 59; wife Jennie, 48; and children Charley, 21, John, 19, Dorch, 13, Pink, 10, and Jeneva, 8.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: odd jobs laborer Willie Winn, 62; wife Jennie, 60; and children Roy, 23, and Pink, 20; and lodger Lula Ward, 45.

Willie Wynn Jr. died 11 February 1940. Per his death certificate, he died 11 February 1940 in Wilson; had been married to Jennie Wynn, but was a widower; resided at 1102 Atlantic Street, Wilson; worked as a laborer; was the son of Willie Wynn and Annie Williams. Geneva Dew, 1102 East Atlantic Street, was informant, and he was buried in Elm City.

  • Wynn’s Chapel
  • McKinley Whitley — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: church minister McKinley Whitley, 28, and wife Ruth, 28.

N.C.C.U. ’45.

From the 1945 edition of The Campus Echo Review, a yearbook of North Carolina College for Negroes [now North Carolina Central University.]

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Doris Gaston Rosemond (1924-2007).

In the 1930 census of Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: barber Dewey Gaston, 30; wife Mary, 20; and children Doris L., 5, and Victor H., 3.

In the 1940 census of Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: barber Dewey Gaston, 40; wife Mary, 38; and children Doris, 51, and Victor H., 13.

Johnson Chapel Baptist Church.


Johnson Chapel Baptist Church, Elm City, N.C.

Rev. B.J. Daniels, Pastor

Johnson Chapel Baptist Church was organized 1886, under the pastorate of the Reverend Croom, in a house in Wilson Street, in Elm City, North Carolina. This organization grew out of a prayer meeting held in this house by a group of Missionaries. Some of the pioneers were: Bro. Tom Drake and wife; Bro. Levi Loverette and wife; Bro. Ollyston Walters and wife; Sister Blessing Winstead, and others.

During the time of these prayer meetings, a revival was held. Several candidates were added to the membership. Among them were Sister Belle Loverette, Sister Sarah Loverette, Bro. Wells and others.

During the year 1888, or soon afterward, this building was moved from Wilson Street to Main Street (its present site) under the Rev. Johnson’s administration. The name Johnson was selected in honor of the first pastor of the church; thus Johnson Chapel Baptist Church of Elm City was born.

After Rev. Johnson’s administration, other ministers followed. There were: Rev. Cheek, Rev. L.W. Williams, Rev. T. Ceils, Rev. Bill Tucker, and Rev. Dunston. These ministers preceded Rev. John Watson, who became pastor in the year 1914 and served 34 years before his health failed him and he died.

During Rev. Watson’s administration the church expanded. The membership increased; and a “T” was added to the building (1925). During 1944, the church was remodeled and the “T” was removed by widening the building out to encompass the “T,” and a choir stand was built. In 1946, Rev. H. Hoskins served as pastor until the death of Rev. Watson (1948), and succeeded him as a fulltime pastor of the church.

In 1954, Rev. R.H. Johnson succeeded Rev. Hoskins as pastor and served the church for four years. During his ministry, Johnson Chapel saw many innovations in the church program taking place. Some of them are being used today (taking of the Lord’s Supper, etc.)

In 1958, Rev. Daniels, our present pastor, was elected. Under his leadership many improvements have been made, and many members have been added to the membership. Major improvements are: new ceiling, new windows, new heating system and the Pastor’s Lounge and rest room toilets installed. The cornerstone was laid, 1963. We have also built a kitchen, dining room, and several ante-rooms.

Early officers of the church (all deceased) were:

Bro. Tom Drake, Bro. Charlie Hunter, Bro. Robert Lucas, Bro. Thomas Broadie, Bro. Andrew Parker, Sister Blessing Winstead, and Sister Kate Walters, Mothers; and Bro. Dolphus Wilcher, Clerk.

Other officers that followed later were:

Brothers *P.P. Lindsey, *James Robbins, *Noah Dawson, Elisha Wells, *Howard Joyner, Joe Rountree, Jesse Lindsey, Johnny Parker, Governor Winstead, William Kelly, and Elvie Robbins, respectively; Mothers — *Eugenia Lindsey, *Christianna Coley, Flora Robbins, Jennie Dawson, Rosa Armstrong, Bluma Joyner, and Corine H. Winstead, respectively. Other Clerks — Sister Ruby Hargroves and Bro. Governor Winstead, respectively.

* — Denotes deceased members. Total Membership to date: approximately 200. Oldest living members: Bro. Elisha Wells and Sister Minnie Parker.

— Elm City Centennial Committee, Elm City North Carolina Centennial 1873-1973 (1973).


  • Blessing Winstead — in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Bryant Winstead, 49, and wife Blessing, 45, a farm laborer.
  • James Robbins (1897-1979) — in the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer J.R. Robbins, 38; wife Flora L., 40; daughter Nellie Ruth, 2; and grandson Elv., 6.
  • Howard Joyner — Howard Lee Joyner died 27 October 1954 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was resided in Elm City; was married; was a farmer; and was born 24 October 1912 to Bunion and Sarah Farmer Joyner. Blummer Joyner was informant.
  • Governor Winstead (1920-1986) — in 1942, Governor Winstead registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 September 1920, and his nearest relative and employer was Josh Winstead.
  • Elvie Robbins — see James Robbins, above.
  • Christianna Coley (1886-1956) — Christiner Coley died 22 September 1956 in Elm City. Per her death certificate, she was born in 20 August 1886 in Sampson County to Virgal Smith and Adline Merritt and was widowed. Carl Coley was informant.
  • Flora Robbins — wife of James Robbins, above.
  • Bluma Joyner (1916-1981) — on 28 December 1934, Howard Lee Joyner, 22, of Taylors township, married Bloomer Winstead, 19, of Toisnot township. Baptist minister Howard Farmer performed the ceremony in the presence of Henry WinsteadWilliam A. Farmer and  W.D. Wells.
  • Noah Dawson (1877-1962) — Noah Dawson died 1 August 1962 on East Nash Street in Elm City. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 February 1877 in Lenoir County to Rachel Sutton; was married; and worked as a railroad man. Informant was Lula Dawson.
  • Elisha Wells (1901-1992) — Elisha Wells, 25, of Toisnot, son of Dave and Sarah Wells, and Pearlie Brodie, 23, of Toisnot, daughter of Peyton and Julia Brodie, were married 17 January 1932 in Wilson.
  • Charlie Hunter — in the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Charlie Hunter, 45, and wife Eliza, 32.
  • Thomas Brodie — on 19 January 1918, Thomas Brodie, 32, of Nash County, son of Payton and Julia Brodie [and brother of Pearlie Brodie Wells, above], married Mary Ford, 37, of Taylors township, daughter of Swift and Mary Ford, at the courthouse in Wilson.
  • Andrew Parker — on 12 September 1918, Andrew Parker registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 1 February 1873; resided at R.F.D. #2, Elm City; worked as a farmer; and his nearest relative was wife Lou Conteser Parker.
  • Dolphus Wilcher — in the 1930 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: odd jobs laborer Dolpher Wilcher, 28; wife Clara, 26; and children Sylvesta, 10, Essie M., 5, Clarance, 4, and Clora M., 2. [The Wilchers were in Dodge County, Georgia, in the 1920 census, and in 1940, in Washington, D.C.]
  • Joe Rountree (1913-2001) — on 27 December 1933, Joe Rountree, 20, of Toisnot township, son of Freeman Rountree and Martha R. Williams, married Geneva Pitt, 20, of Toisnot, daughter of Arthur and Ollie Pitt. Arthur Pitt and Wiley Rountree applied for the license, and Baptist minister McKinley Whitley performed the ceremony in the presence of William Pitt, Elisha Webb, and Frank Webb, all of Elm City.
  • Jesse Lindsey (1914-1994) — on 8 January 1938, Jessie Lee Lindsey, 21, of Wilson County, son of P.P. and Lugenia Lindsey, married Emma Bulluck, 21, of Wilson County, daughter of Alfred and Mattie Bulluck, in Nashville, Nash County. P.P. Lindsey, W.R. Lucas and Virginia Lindsey were witnesses. [P.P. and Virginia wrote their surname as “Lenzy.”]
  • Eugenia Lindsey — Lugenia Lindsey died 25 August 1967 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 August 1889 in North Carolina to George Hawkins and an unnamed mother and her regular residence was Elm City. She was buried in William Chapel cemetery.
  • Minnie Parker — in the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Mack Parker, 33; wife Minnie, 20; and children Lula, 8, John, 7, and Mack, 6.
  • William Kelly (1919-1986)
  • Corine H. Winstead — Corine Hunter Winstead (1922-2012) was the wife of Governor Winstead, above. In the 1940 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Winstead, 59; wife Dora, 45; son Governor, 19; and daughter-in-law Corine, 17.

Dedicated to Jennie R. Shaffer.


Has Been Dedicated to


Who Was 100 Years Old on May 8, 1973


ELM CITY — Mrs. Jennie Ransome Shaffer of Elm City, who celebrates her 100th birthday today, was the honored guest of Elm City Sunday during Wilson’s Sunday in the Park festivities.

Mrs. Shaffer, who was born on May 8, 1873 in Enfield, moved to Elm City when she was town years old. She lives alone and still does all of her own cooking, washing and ironing. During her long life she  has been a farmer and a house cleaner. While her hearing is not what it used to be, her eyesight is still good, and she still walks without aid, but limits her walking to a half-mile area.

Elm City, celebrating its 100th birthday this year, sponsored a Centennial display in Wilson Sunday and featured an old covered wagon belonging to Grady Jackson. The background for the display was a red, white and blue sign reading “Elm City Centennial 1873-1973,” and was flanked by the American flag and North Carolina state flag.

The Dixie Land Band and the Elm City High School Band furnished music during the afternoon, while Mrs. Louise Winstead, Hester Tyson, Aquilla Parker, Nancy Mitchell, Nancy Johnson, Ruth Davis, Mary Lou Doles, Joyce Hawley and Pat Humphrey, all in Centennial dress, entertained with “Songs of Yesterday.”

Miss Ocie Batts, chairman of the Elm City Centennial, said that Police Chief Isaac Kirby, Commissioner Lynwood Sharpe and Lloyd Webb restored the covered wagon for the event.

— Elm City Centennial Committee,  Elm City North Carolina Centennial 1873-1973.


In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: laborer Joe Q. Shawfer, 35; wife  Jennie, 43, cook; son Howard,12; and daughter-in-law(?) Jennie, 8.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: house carpenter Quincey Shaffer,  45; wife Jennie, 43; and widowed mother Emma, 78.

In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: town laborer Quincy Shaffer, 55; wife Genney, 54; daughter Lena, 29; and boarder Mable Dison, 7.

John [Quincey] Shaffer died 19 May 1940 in Elm City. Per his death certificate, he was 67 years old; married to Jennie Shaffer; worked as laborer; and was born in Elm City to Emma Moore. He was buried in Elm City cemetery.

Jennie Ransome Shaffer died 9 January 1981 in Wilson, aged 107.