U.S. Army

Sgt. Bekay Thompson is killed in action in Korea.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 September 1950.

In September 1950, two Wilson families received bad news about a son serving in the Korean Conflict. Hattie Thompson‘s son, young Bekay Thompson, was killed in action in South Korea.


In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: on Main Street, widow Hattie Thompson, 37, servant; her children Hilda, 15, new worker, and B. Kay, 9; and lodger Ethel Edwards, 32, tobacco stemmer.

Hattie Thompson, 705 Cemetery Street, Wilson, applied for a military headstone for her son. 

A notation on Thompson’s application shows that he received a Purple Heart. Another, seemingly lightly erased, noted: “Remains not ret[urne]d as of 6-27-51.”

Military funeral for Cpl. Lonnie E. Farmer.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 April 1949.


In the 1920 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Farmer, 42; wife Mattie, 36; and children William A., 12, Luther, 9, Joshia W., 6, Warneda, 4, Lonnie D., 2, and Baby, 6 months.

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Farmer, 51; wife Mattie, 46; and children William A., 21, Josh W., 17, Waneta, 14, Lonnie D., 12, Robert, 10, Albert H., 6, and J.C., 3.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Jack Farmer, 57; wife Mattie, 55; and children Authur, 28, Jack Jr., 23, Robert, 20, Harry, 16, and J.C., 13; daughter Juanita Barnes, 22, and her children Mattie Lee, 3, and Marjorie, 1.

Lonnie Edward Farmer registered for the World War iI draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 26 August 1919 in Wilson; his contact was his mother Mattie Farmer; and he worked for J.T. Dew, Wilson.


Just three years before Cpl. Farmer’s death in the Phillipines, the Farmer family’s youngest son, J.C., also a World War II veteran, was murdered by law enforcement officers near Sims.

He is a Wilson negro and a bad one at that.

One hundred years ago today:

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The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 16 March 1919.

  • Kit Shaw
  • Luther Barbour — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 809 East Nash, John Barber, 27; wife Ethel, 26; mother Sallie, 59, teacher; and brother Luther, 32. Luther is described as single.