The passing of John Clarence Artis, age 100.

John Clarence Artis, 16 October 1922-13 June 2023.


John Clarence Artis was born 16 October 1922 in Wilson County to John Columbus Artis and Nancy Pearsall [Pender?]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Queen Street, widow Mary Pender, 45, laundress; daughter Nancy Artist, 23, laundress; grandsons John C., 7, and Willie, 5; son William H. Pender, 25, auto mechanic at garage; and lodger Maggie Edwards, 21, cook.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Simon Pope, 37; wife Nancy, 33; stepson John Artis, 17; lodger David Ward, 16; nephew James Harris, 10; and mother-in-law Mary Jane Pender, 56, widow.

In 1942, John Clarence Artis registered for the World War II draft in Portsmouth, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 16 October 1922 in Wilson; he lived at 1029 London Street, Portsmouth; his contact was Mary Pender, 206 Manchester Street, Wilson; and he worked at the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth.

On 19 July 1957, John C. Artis Jr., 34, of 641 Cemetery Street, Wilson, son of John C. Artis and Nancy Pender Artis, married Margie Dunston, 26, of Lucama, daughter of Aaron and Lenatha Thompson, in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of

Fitch reelected commander of Henry Ellis Post 17.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 June 1949.


  • Milton F. Fitch Sr. 

In the 1930 census of New Haven, Connecticut: at 67 Charles Street, mail carrier Collins Fitch, 47; wife Lulu, 45; and children Collins, 25, theatre porter, William, 19, drugstore porter, Harrison, 17, Leroy, 15, George, 12, Milton, 9, Jerome, 7, and Althea, 4.

In the 1940 census of New Haven, Connecticut: Collins Fitch, 56; wife Lula, 54; and children Harrison, 35, club janitor, Leroy, 23, insurance company messenger, George, 21, ring boxer, Milton, 19, new worker, Jerome, 17, janitor in retail clothing store, and Althea, 14.

In 1941, Milton Frederick Fitch registered for the World War II draft in New Haven. Connecticut. Per his registration card, he was born 25 June 1920 in New Haven; lived at 183 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven; his contact was Mrs. Collins L. Fitch; and he worked as a porter at the Winchester Club House, New Haven. 

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 516 Lodge, letter carrier Milton Fitch, 30; wife Cora, 31; children Jerome, 7, Milton, 3, Patricia, 2, and Ernestine and Christine, born the previous December; father-in-law Walter Whitted, 58; and mother-in-law Helen Whitted, 56, 6th grade school teacher. 

The obituary of Willie Gay.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1940.

Willie Gay‘s headstone is one of only two military markers found in Odd Fellows Cemetery — and the only one that is definitely it the head of a grave. Gay was a Spanish-American War veteran.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2023.

The obituary of Pfc. James F. Ward.

Wilson Daily Times, 9 February 1949.

Pfc. James F. Ward died while on active duty in the Pacific in October 1945. Three-and-a-half years later, his body was brought home for burial in Bethel A.M.E. Zion’s cemetery just south of Stantonsburg.


In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Frank Ward, 46, lumber piler at lumber factory; wife Pearl, 40, washerwoman; and children Viola and Virginia, 14, James F., 10, Mandy, 8, and Tom P., 4.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Frank Ward, 56, sawmill laborer; wife Dora, 39, washerwoman; and children Virginia, 24, James F., 10, Amanda, 18, Thomas P., 15, Arleine, 4, and Leaonia, 1.

Jerry Borden, Co. C., 14th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

We met Jerry Borden here and here and here. A veteran of the Civil War, Borden filed repeatedly for a pension, claiming disability stemming from being “mashed by a bale of hay which affected his side and leg.” Finally, in 1906, he was awarded eight dollars a month for a partial disability.

Documents in Borden’s pension file firmly establish his Wilson County roots. In the document below, he attested that he was born in “Wilson county Black creek Depot N.C.” and lived in Black Creek before he enlisted. (Another document set out his birthdate as 10 May 1841.) Borden confirmed he had been enslaved and said his owner at the time of his enlistment was “Arter Borden [Arthur Barden] and at the date of Enlistment John Borden [Barden] (his son).”

In an earlier document, Jerry Borden identified his wife, Mary Eliza Mumford Borden, and children, Christaner (1869), Marria (1870), Sarah (1872), Ester (1875), Isaiah (1877), Henry (1879), John (1881), Willie (1883), and George (1886). With no formal record of his marriage, Borden needed to provide several witnesses to establish its validity.

Borden’s pension payment increased over several years, reaching $27 dollars per month in 1912.

Jerry Borden died 20 August 1914 and was buried in New Bern National Cemetery.

His widow, Mary Mumford Borden, applied for and was awarded a widow’s pension. She died in 1927.

File #506587, Application of Jerry Borden for Pension; File #1097940, Application of Mary Borden for Widow’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

The obituary of John Parker Battle, World War I veteran.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 December 1945.


In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: moulder Parker Battle, 45, wife Ella L., 38, children Mamie P., 19, James A., 17, Sallie R., 14, Sudie E., 12, and John T. [sic], 9, plus mother-in-law Roberta A. Outlaw, 49.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: foundry laborer Parker Battle, 54, wife Ella, and children Roberta, 24, a teacher, Grace, 22, a factory laborer, and John, 19.

In 1917, John Parker Battle registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 20 October 1889 in Wilson; lived at 332 Spring Street, Wilson; worked brick laying for Bill McGowan; and was single.

John P. Battle’s service card.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 332 South Spring, widow Ella Battle, 52, and her children Grace [Glace], 27, teacher Roberta, 29, tobacco worker John, 25, and Olga Battle, 11, shared their home with boarders Georgia Burks, 25, a Georgia-born teacher, and chauffeur Theodore Speight, 17; and roomers William Phillips, 35, a dentist, and his wife Jewel, 23.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 322 South Spring Street, owned and valued at $8000, cooper John Battle, 39; wife Gladis, 26; and children Grace G., 3, and Parker, 1; also, blacksmith Timothy Black, 23; wife Grace, 30; relative Olga L. [Battle], 22, public school teacher.

In 1942, John P. Battle registered for the World War II draft in Kecoughtan, Elizabeth City County, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 20 October 1891 in Wilson; his contact Roberta Johnson, 1108 East Nash Street, Wilson; and was “totally blind.”

John P. Battle‘s headstone, Masonic Cemetery, Wilson.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson; North Carolina World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919,