Twenty-five year-old Samuel H. Vick had been teacher and principal at the Colored Graded School since shortly after his graduation from Lincoln University. A year after this graduation, he was appointed by President William H. Harrison to his first stint as Wilson postmaster, a highly sought-after political patronage position. Vick hired his old friend Braswell R. Winstead, with whom he had attended high school and college and taught at the Graded School, as assistant postmaster. Teacher A. Wilson Jones was married to Vick’s sister Nettie Vick Jones — and murdered her in 1897. Annie Washington was about 18 years old when this article was published. She and Samuel Vick married almost exactly four years later.
This broken concrete headstone is lying atop the square marble base of a grave marker that has gone completely missing. The legible part of the broken stone reads: DIED APR 2 192 and MAY THE RESURRECTION FIND THEE ON THE BOSOM OF THY GOD.
A search of Wilson County death certificates filed in the 1920s reveals this possible identification of the deceased. Aaron Washington died 2 April 1923 in Wilson. (The bottom curve of the last digit in the year, above, is consistent with a 3.) Per his death certificate, he was born 21 February 1866 in Freemont [Fremont, Wayne County], N.C., to Gray Washington and Julie Sharp; was married to Stella Washington; worked as a drayman; and lived on Waynewright [Wainwright] Street.
Aaron Washington’s mother Julia Sharpe Washington and son Alexander Washington died in 1913 and 1918, respectively. If the marker above is in fact Aaron’s, it is likely that his family members were buried near him.
Twelve year-old Alexander Washington died of appendicitis in March 1918, a not uncommon outcome in an era of clumsy surgery and few antibiotics. Compounding the sadness of his young death is the realization that he was already a full-time working man when he was struck down.
Washington’s death certificate notes that he was a servant in a boarding house and employed by Mrs. Lillie Barnes. Astonishingly, in 1916, when he was 11, he was listed as a butler in the Wilson city directory. I have not been able to identify with certainty Lillie Barnes or the boarding house. The inclusion of the honorific “Mrs.” implies that Lillie Barnes was white. However, there was only one Lillie Barnes listed in the 1912 and 1916 city directories, and she was “colored.” In 1916, Lillie Barnes was listed with no occupation and living at 612 East Nash Street. The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals a small shotgun, or “endway,” house at this address, not a dwelling large enough to have been a boarding house requiring a full-time servant.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Spruce Street, Aaron Washington, 46, drayman; wife Stella, 36, laundress; and children Clee, 17, cook, Ora, 12, cook, Grey A., 10, Hattie, 8, Alex, 6, Beatrice, 5, Lillie R., 2, and James W., 1.
In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Washington Alex (c) butler h Wainwright av nr S Reid. Also: Washington Aaron (c) drayman h Wainwright av nr S Reid; Washington Hattie (c) dom h Wainwright av nr S Reid; Washington Ora M (c) dom h Wainwright av nr S Reid.
[Note: The informant on Alexander Washington’s death certificate was his paternal grandmother, Judia [Julia] Washington. She correctly named Alex’s father, Aaron Washington, but when asked “maiden name of mother,” she gave her own maiden name — Judia Sharpe. It was a surprisingly common mistake. Alex Washington’s mother was Estella Simms Washington.]
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: blacksmith Jerry Washington, 42; wife Jane, 29; and children Georgiana, 14, Joshua, 12, William, 11, George H., 7, Andrew, 5, and Samuel, 2.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: blacksmith Jerry Washington, 52; wife Jane, 40; and children George H., 17, works in blacksmith shop, Andrew, 14, Samuel, 12, Anna Maria, 8, Paul, 6, Sarah Jane, 3, and Mary Cathren, 11 months.
On 15 August 1901, George Henry Washington, 38, of Wilson, son of Jerry and Jane Washington, married Cora Miller, 25, of Wilson, daughter of Cynthia Miller, at the bride’s residence on Green Street. A.M.E. Zion minister C.L. Alexander performed the service in the presence of Sallie M. Barbour and Alice F. Moore. [George Washington was the brother of Samuel H. Vick‘s wife, Annie Washington Vick. She is the “Anna Vicks” erroneously listed as George’s daughter in the obituary.]
In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana: Marie Smith, 35, single, laundress, born in Kentucky, and George H. Washington, 50, widower, railroad company coach cleaner, born in North Carolina.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed cook Lou Miller; her daughter Cora Washington, 34, a widowed school teacher; her grandchildren Irene, 7, James, 4, and Cora Washington, 1; and two boarders, Mary Hadley, 20, cook, and Mary Pender, 60, widowed servant. [Obviously, neither George nor Cora Washington was, in fact, a widower. They had been either separated (most likely) or divorced since George H. Washington had taken up residence in Indiana in 1903.]
In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana: Emma Lilly, 49, widow, laundress, born in Kentucky, and George Washington, 30 [sic], married, railroad employee, born in North Carolina.
George H. Washington died 28 April 1936 in Indianapolis, Center township, Marion County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1856 in Wilson County, North Carolina, to Jerry Washington; was the widower of Cora Washington; was a laborer; and lived at 802 1/2 Indiana Avenue.
Julia Washington of Wiggins Street, Wilson, died of gastritis on 29 June 1913. Her son Aaron Washington provided the information used to complete her death certificate. At 62, Julia had been born about 1851. Aaron knew Julia’s father was Sam Barnes and her mother was named Patience. However, he did not know Patience’s maiden name because he did not “know who she belonged too.”
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.
This Indenture made the twenty ninth day of December in the year one thousand eight hundred & sixty six (1866) between Richard H Blount of the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina of the first part & Jerry Washington of the Town of Goldsboro of the County of Wayne & State of North Carolina of the second part. Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for & in consideration of one hundred dollars $100 lawful money of the United States to himself paid before the delivery hereof, hath bargained, sold & by these presents doth grant & convey to the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns forever all of a certain piece or parcel of land lying & being in the county of Wilson & State of North Carolina which is known & described as follows to Wit beginning at the line of Arthur D Farmer in the County road to Goldsboro near the Town of Wilson & running with the line of said road seventy yards to a corner thence at a right angle from said corner directly back one hundred & forty yards to a corner thence again forming another right angle & running in a straight line with parallel with the aforesaid Goldsboro Road to the aforesaid Arthur D Farmers line Thence with street line back to the beginning forming a parallelogram in figure & containing by estimate ten acres, together with all the appurtenances & all the estate, title & interest of the said party of the first part therein, and the said party of the first part doth hereby covenant & agree with the said party of the second part that at the time of the delivery thereof, the said party the first parties ts the lawful owner of the premises above granted & seized thereof in fee simple absolute & that hw will warrant & defend the above granted premises in the quiet & peaceable possession of the said party of the second part his heirs & assigns forever. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal This 29th day of December one Thousand eight hundred & sixty six R.H. Blount
Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of C. Lee Parker, Henry E. Benton
Newly freed Jerry Washington and Jane Washington registered their four-year cohabitation in Wayne County in 1866. Just before the year ended, Jerry Washington bought ten acres of land just outside Wilson town limits and moved his family 25 miles north.
Six years later, Washington paid $1000 for another ten acres on the south side of town.
Deed book 2, page 238, Register of Deeds office, Wilson.
Know all men by these presents that for and Consideration of the sum of one Thousand Dollars to me in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant bargain sold and conveyed and doth hereby bargain and sell and by these presents convey unto Jerry Washington his heirs administrators and assigns all that certain piece or parcel of land situate in the State of North Carolina & County of Wilson, near the Town of Wilson and bounded as follows Beginning at a stake on the Barefoot roads and street leading from the African Church to said Road thence with said Road to Jerry Washingtons corner thence with said Washington line Four hundred and twenty feet to a stake thence Two hundred and ten Feet to R.W. Taylors line Thence with said Taylors line to the line of the W&W R.R. Line thence with said R.R. line to Allen Tyson Corner thence with said Tysons line to Washington Suggs Corner thence with said Suggs line to the street Thence with said street to the beginning said to Contain Ten acres Be the same more or less to have and to hold the same forever and I do hereby warrant and defend the title to my whole Interest in said piece or parcel fo land to the said Jerry Washington his heirs and assigns against the claims of any and all persons whatsoever In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this the 11th day of Oct 1872 W.M. Gay, Mary Gay
This deed, the second filed in Wilson County by Samuel H. Vick‘s future father-in-law, Jerry Washington, is notable for its reference to “the African Church.” Though Barefoot Road has not been definitely identified the reference to the church and to the Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road suggest that this parcel was located near modern Hines and Pender Streets.
Deed book 23, page 486, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.
In the 1900 census of Philadelphia, Darlington County, South Carolina: farmer Ceasar Zimmerman, 28; wife Irene, 23; and children Leila, 7, Admire, 3, Lillie A., 1, and George, 2 months.
In the 1910 census of Lamar, Darlington County, South Carolina: farmer Cesare Zimmerman, 38; wife Rena, 33; and children Leila, 17, Admire, 12, Lily, 11, Shepherd, 9, Eulis, 7, Charlie, 6, Caesar, 4, Grant, 2, and N. Efether, 11 months.
On 1 July 1920, Sheppard Zimmerman, 22, of Wilson, son of Caesar and Irene Zimmerman, married Florence Howard, 18, of Taylor township, daughter of Deal and Nancy Howard. Admire Zimmerman applied for the license, and a justice of the peace performed the ceremony at Wilson County Court House in the presence of David Woodard, B.E. Howard and Admire Zimmerman.
On 10 July 1920, Admire Zimmerman, 23, of Elm City, son of Caesar and Irene Zimmerman, married Viola Wilson [Williams], 24, of Wilson, daughter of Richard and Martha Jane Williams, in Elm City. Witnesses were David Woodard, J.A. Anderson, and Sid Laws.
On 28 July 1927, Admire Zimmerman, 27, married Alma Dock, 18, in Wilson. Jim Dock, Lillie Dock and G.W. Kinlaw witnessed.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: pubic service laborer Admire Zimmerman, 47; wife Kattie, 37; and children Junior, 14, Mary, 12, and Shirley, 3. The family had lived in Richmond, Virginia, in 1935. Next door: Baptist preacher Ceasar Zimmerman, 68, and wife Irene, 65.
On 5 April 1956, Admire Zimmerman, 63, son of Cecil and Irene Zimmerman, married Ava Gardner, 66, daughter of Stephen and Hattie Roberson Owens, in Wilson.
Admire Zimmerman died 23 February 1962 at 616 Manchester Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 May 1896 in Darlington, S.C., to Ceasar Zimmerman and Irene Jarrell; was a widower; and was a laborer. Informant was Caesar Zimmerman, 900 Woodard Avenue, Washington, D.C.
Jack Washington died 23 November 1962 at his 1109 Woodard Street Extension residence. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 August 1884 in Tampa, Florida, to George Washington and Cecil (last name unknown); was married to Daisy Washington; and was a laborer.
Cutt Davis died 9 August 1952 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 28 September 1888 in South Carolina to Berry Davis; worked as a shoemaker; resided at 803 East Nash Street; and was buried at Rest Haven. Informant was Thomas F. Davis of Washington, D.C.
Ned Barnes died 14 November 1960 at 1608 Washington Street Extension, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 18 February 1896 in Wilson County to Jessie R. and Sary Barnes; resided at Route 4, Wilson; was a plasterer; and was a widower. Frank Barnes, 308 Ward Boulevard, was informant.
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.