Watson

With his willing strength he bore her gently into the house.

This notice of the events surrounding the death of Eliza Lewis, a hard-working farm wife in Old Fields township, includes details of the actions of her African-American neighbor, Essec C. Watson, to assist the stricken woman and her family. (You will note that, though praised, Watson is not given the honorific “Mr.” and is referred to by his first name later in the piece.)

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Wilson Times, 18 November 1910.

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Esec Watson, 21, of Springhill township, son of Mary Stancil, married Mary Ann Locust, 18, of Old Fields township, daughter of John and Millie Locust, on 5 May 1895 at Jno. P. Locust’s residence.

In the 1900 census of Smithfield township, Johnston County: school teacher E.C. Watson, 34; wife Mary, 25; and children Laurena, 8, Pieneta, 5, Rica, 4, and Sister, 5 months.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Esic C. Watson, 34; wife Mary, 32; children Pieneta, 14, Eureka, 12, Ila, 10, Ola, 8, and Edgar, 6; and hired man Cordie Lucas, 26.

On 24 November 1912, Peter Jones, 21, of Nash County, married Nettie Watson, 18, of Old Fields township, Wilson County, in Wilson County.

On 20 December 1914, Miley Bailey, 22, of Old Fields township, son of Will Hart and Polly Bailey, married Ila Watson, 18, of Old Fields, daughter of Essec and Mary Watson at Original Free Will Baptist minister B.H. Boykin’s place.

On 21 March 1915, Edmund Earp, 18, of Old Fields township, son of W.G. and Lucy Earp, married Ricker Watson, 17, of Old Fields, daughter of Essec and Mary Watson at  S.T. Boykin’s place.

On 23 January 1916, Walter Robinson, 21, of Old Fields township, son of Bill and Sissie Robinson, married Ola Watson, 16, of Old Fields, daughter of Essec and Mary Watson at Original Free Will Baptist minister B.H. Boykin’s place.

Pinettie Jones died 19 December 1973 in Norfolk, Virginia. Per her death certificate, she was born 26 July 1895 in North Carolina to Esse Watson and Mary [last name unknown], and was the widow of James P. Jones. Christine Shoulders was informant.

 

“Is Mama dead? Let me know at once.”

In this interview, Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001) spoke of how she received news of the sudden death of her great-aunt, who was also her adoptive mother:

“Mama didn’t know she had a bad heart until two weeks before she died.  She was always sick, sick all the time.  She’d go to the doctor, and the doctor would tell her it was indigestion and for her not to eat no pork and different things she couldn’t eat.  ‘Cause Mama was fat.  She weighed 200.  She wasn’t too short.  She was just broad.  Well, she was five-feet-four, I think.  Something like that.

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Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver, circa 1931.

“And so, but she loved pork, and she’d try to eat some anyhow ‘cause we always had a hog, growing up.  All the time.  So after they said she couldn’t, she tried not to eat no pork, much.  Fish and chicken, we eat it all the time.  But she was so tired of chicken until she didn’t know what to do.  And I was, too. But Papa loved all pork, so he’d always get a whole half a shoulder or a ham or something and cook it, and she’d eat some.  But when she went to the doctor, and her pressure was up so high, and he told her, ‘By all means, don’t you eat no pork.  It’s dangerous to eat pork when your pressure is too high.’ And then that’s when she stopped eating pork.

“Well, it didn’t help none, I don’t reckon. She had that little bag.  A little basket.  A little, old basket ‘bout that tall with a handle on it.  She had all kinds of medicine in there to take. She was going up to Mamie’s, and Mr. Silver told her, said, ‘Well, you just take your medicine bag.’  She’d been married to him a good while.  He said, ‘Well, you shouldn’t go up there by yourself. Since I’m down here—’  See, she’d go up and stay with him a little while, and then he’d come back to Wilson and stay a while.  So he said, ‘You just take your little basket there with your medicine in it.’  So, he said, ‘Well, I’ll go with you up there and then I’ll come back on to Enfield.’  So he went with her down there to the station.  He was picking up the bags to go up there, told her to walk on up to the station and wait for the train.  And he got a cab — C.E. Artis. Not C.E. Artis, not undertaker Artis but a Artis that drove a cab. This was another set of Artises.

“So, she went up there to the station in Wilson and got on the train. And she’d done told me to send her insurance and everything to Greensboro, ‘cause she won’t never coming back to Wilson no more.  Because she’d done seen, the Lord showed her if she stayed in Wilson, she wouldn’t live.  If she went ‘way from there, she could get well.  So she was going to Mamie’s.  And when she got off at Selma to change trains –- she’d just got to the station door.  And she collapsed right there.  And by happen they had a wheelchair, a luggage thing or something.  The guy out there, he got to her, and he called the coroner or somebody, but he was some time getting there.  But anyway, they picked her up and sat her in the wheelchair.  They didn’t want her to be out ‘cause everybody was out looking and carrying on, so they just pushed her ‘round there to the baggage room.

“And so when the coroner got there, he said, ‘This woman’s dead.’  So they called Albert Gay, and he was working for Artis then.  Undertaker Artis.  And Jimbo Barnes.  And called them and told them that she was dead.  So, Mr. Silver couldn’t even tell them who to notify.  He had Mamie living in Thelma, North Carolina, on McCullough Street, but didn’t know what the number of the house was. He was so upset.  So they had to call the police for the police to go find Mamie Holt.  On McCullough Street.  And her mother, they said, her mother died.  Well, she did die.  But they said it was, I think, Thelma.  Not Selma, but Thelma.  ‘Well, where is Thelma?  It can’t be my mother. ‘Cause my mother don’t live in no Thelma.  I never heard of that place.  She live in Wilson.’  But, see, it was Selma.  They got it wrong.

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Selma Union Depot today, Selma, North Carolina

“So then Mamie went down to Smitty’s house and had Miss Smitty send a telegram to me.  On the phone.  Charge it to her bill, and she’d pay her: ‘IS MAMA DEAD LET ME KNOW AT ONCE’  She asked me if Mama was dead.  And when I got that telegram, Annie Miriam and all them, a bunch of kids was out there on the porch, and so at that time, Jimbo or one of ‘em come up.  And when I saw them, I knowed something.  I had just got the telegram.  Hadn’t even really got time to read it. And he said, ‘Well, you done got the news.’  And I said, ‘The news?  Well, I got a old, crazy telegram here from my sister, asking me is Mama dead, let her know at once.’  He said, ‘Yeah, we just, we brought her back from Selma.’  I said, ‘What in the – ‘  Well, I went to crying.  And Albert Gay or some of the children was ‘round there, and they was running. Everybody in the whole street almost was out in the yard – the children got the news and gone!  That Mama had dropped dead in Selma.  So I said, well, by getting that telegram, I said, that’s what threw me, honey.  I wasn’t ready for that. I’d been saying I reckon Mamie’ll think Mama was a ghost when she come walking in there tonight. Not knowing she was dead right at the same time.”

—–

  • Mamie — Mamie Henderson Holt, sister of Hattie Henderson Ricks.
  • Mr. Silver — Rev. Joseph Silver Sr. helped establish the Holiness denomination in eastern North Carolina, founding Plumbline United Holy Church in Halifax County in 1893. Rev. Silver married Sarah Henderson Jacobs, herself an evangelist, in Wilson on 31 August 1933. The couple alternated between his home in Enfield and hers in Wilson.

  • C.E. Artis — Columbus E. Artis.
  • Jimbo Barnes — probably James “Jimbo” Watson Jr., whose 30 November 1974 obituary in the Wilson Daily Times noted that he was a former Artis Funeral Home employee.
  • Albert Gay — Albert S. Gay Jr., son of Albert and Annie Bell Jacobs Gay and grandson of Sarah Silver’s first husband Jesse A. Jacobs.
  • Annie Miriam — Annie Marian Gay, daughter of Albert and Annie Bell Jacobs Gay.

Interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved; photo of Sarah H.J. Silver in personal collection of Lisa Y. Henderson; photo of Rev. Silver courtesy of Ancestry.com user lexxee52.

1008 Carolina Street.

The eighty-second in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “circa 1930; 1 story; bungalow with gable roof and double-pile plan.”

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In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Carolina Street, paying $20/month rent, widow Ella Barnes, 72; her daughter Lucy Watson, 48, laundress; son-in-law James Watson, 46, farm laborer; grandchildren Sylvester, 23, taxi chauffeur, Margrette, 20, James, 19, dairy laborer, and Pauline Watson, 14; and lodger James H. Barnes, 19, drugstore clerk.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Carolina Street, paying $14/month rent, widow Hattie Winstead, 60, laundress, born in Fayetteville; her son Edward, 19, tobacco factory laborer, born in Nash County; and her daughter Edna Lewis, 18, cook, born in Saratoga. Also, paying $7/month rent, tobacco factory driver Frank J. Ward, 23; wife Louise, 19, tobacco factory stemmer, and daughter Martha, 4.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Graham Henry (c; Alice) cook County Tuberculosis Sanatorium h 1008 Carolina

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Graham Henry (c; Alice) h 1008 Carolina

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

 

 

 

Studio shots, no. 72: Virginia Sharp Pendergrass.

Virginia Sharp Pendergrass (1915-1948).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 417 Railroad Street, widowed tobacco factory worker Mary Watson, 36, and children Willie, 12, Virginia, 6, Charlie, 4, and Martha, 16.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Woodard Street, tobacco factory stemmer Mary Watson 34, divorced; with children Willie, 18, tobacco factory laborer, Virginia, 17, Charlie, 14, and granddaughter Dorothy, 22 months.

On 17 February 1934, Virginia Watson, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Herbert Watson and Mary Pool, married Leland Pendergrass, 24, of Lake City, South Carolina, son of Rodis Pendergrass and Ella Fulton, in Greensville County, Virginia.

In the 1940 census of Sharpsburg, Rocky Mount township, Nash County: on ACL railroad, Leland Pendergrass, 24, section laborer for railroad company; wife Virginia, 27, hand stemmer at tobacco factory; and children Dorothy, 11, and Robert, 2.

In 1940, Leland Pendergrass registered for the World War II draft in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 127 March 1905 in Kingstree, South Carolina; was married to Virginia Pendergrass; lived in Sharpsburg; and worked at the Atlantic Coastline Shops, Sharpsburg.

Virginia Sharp Pendergrass died 5 November 1948 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 June 1915 in Wilson to Walter Sharp and Mary Poole of Wilson County; was married to Leland Pendergrass; and was buried in Rountree cemetery, Wilson.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user scottywms60.

Studio shots, no. 71: Mary Poole Watson.

Mary Poole Watson (ca. 1888-1973).

Dempsey Pool married Gracie Bynum on 24 December 1874 in Edgecombe County.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: laborer Dempsy Pool, 30; wife Gracy, 25; and children James, 30, Easter, 2, and Dempsey, 1.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer Dempsey Poole, 50; wife Gracy, 45; and children Easter, 22, Elizebeth, 20, Dempsey Jr., 18, Charlie, 17, Annie, 14, Ella, 13, Mary, 11, Alice, 9, Haly, 8, Minnie, 5, and Richard, 2.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 417 Railroad Street, widowed tobacco factory worker Mary Watson, 36, and children Willie, 12, Virginia, 6, Charlie, 4, and Martha, 16.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Woodard Street, tobacco factory stemmer Mary Watson 34, divorced; with children Willie, 18, tobacco factory laborer, Virginia, 17, Charlie, 14, and granddaughter Dorothy, 22 months.

Gracie Poole died 4 March 1939 in Wilson township. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was 69 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to James Bynum and Rhodia Bynum; and was a farmer. Annie Knight, Route 1, Wilson, was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mary Watson, 42, tobacco factory laborer, and children Charlie, 21, Robert (adopted), 2, and Willie, 23, tobacco factory laborer.

In 1940, Charlie Watson registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he lived at 413 Murray [Maury] Street; was born 8 November 1914 in Wilson; his contact was mother Mary Watson, 413 Murray [Maury]; and he worked for his mother as a cook.

Mary Poole Watson died 4 June 1973 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 May 1892 to Grace Poole; was a widow; resided at 413 Maury Street; and was a tobacco worker. Informant was Charlie Watson, 411 Maury.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user scottywms60.

A systemic coterie of dispensers of the ardent; or, his dive is a tough place.

Another blind tiger makes the news:

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Wilson Daily Times, 12 December 1911.

  • Jim Watson
  • Cyndia Watson
  • Coot Robbins — on 18 March 1912, Coot Robbins, 29, married Hennie Harris, 27, in Wilson.
  • Junius Peacock — in the 1912 Wilson city directory: Peacock Junius cook h[ome] Chestnut
  • Mark Sharpe — likely, in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Road, tobacco factory laborer Mack Sharpe, 43, wife Katie, 29, and children Harvey, 12, Willard C., 10, Earnest, 8, Samson, 6, Nellie B., 3, and Elexander, 1. In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Savage Mack butler h[ome w Nash ne Lucas av

 

The last will and testament of Ephraim Watson.

In the Name of God amen I Ephraim Watson of the County of Johnston in the State of North Carolina being of sound and perfect mind and memory thanks be to almighty God for the same and calling to mind the mortality of my body and the uncertainty of this transitory life

Do make and ordain this my last Will and testament in manner and form following that is to say

I lend to my beloved wife Nanny Watson two hundred and thirty Acres of Land including the plantation whereon I now live bounded by James Watsons, Jesse Sillevents, Jacob Barnes’s and Stephen Watson’s lines and also by the fence of the plantation where I formerly lived which runs a North and South course from the Swamp to the Myrtle Branch continues the course to during her natural life or widowhood and at her second marriage or decease I give the said land and premises unto my son Amos Watson.

I also lend to said wife one Mare with foal the colt I give to to my son Amos if it comes living also two Cows and one feather bed and furniture also one Negro Woman named Becky and one Negro boy named Bobb ten year old hogs four head of sheep also all my household and kitchen furniture, except three feather beds with their furniture, and all my Plantation Tools, which property I lend during the natural life of my sd wife or widow hood as aforesaid and at her decease or marriage I give the above mentioned Negros to my Daughter Patsey and the remainder of the above mentioned property I give to be Equally divided between my Daughter Beady and my son Jesse and my son Amos and my Daughter Patsey

Item I give to my son Stephen Watson one Negro girl named Pheribey and one shot gun

Item I give to my Daughter Priscilia Sillivent one Negro girl named Sarah

Item I give to my Daughter Beady Watson one Negro boy named Jerry one three years old heifer and two head of sheep one feather Bed and furniture

Item I give to my son Jesse Watson one Negro Woman named Hannah my will is that the first living child said Hannah has should belong to my son Amos Watson I also give to my said son Jesse one hundred and fifty three Acres of including the old plantation where I formerly lived it being the remainder of my land one two year old colt one three year old heifer of a red colour no horns two head of sheep and one sow and pigs and one feather Bed and furniture

Item I give to my son Amos Watson one four year old heifer and one yearling two head of sheep one feather Bed and furniture one sow and Pigs

Item I give to my Daughter Patsey Watson one Cow one three year old Heifer and one two year old steer

Item I give to my grand son Willis Watson twenty dollars and one cow which Stephen Watson has now in stock

Item I leave one Bay Horse to be sold to the highest bidder and the value thereof to be equally Divided amongs all my living Children

Item I give to my two sons Jesse and Amos one pair of Mill Stones

And all the remainder of my property which I have not above mentioned I Desire should be Equally divided amongst all my Children that is living at this time

And I do hereby Constitute and appoint my trusty friends Henry Sasser and my Son Stephen Watson Executors to this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking disanuling and making voyed all former Wills and requests by me made and declaring this only to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 25th day of December in the year of our Lord 1815      Ephraim (his mark “G”) Watson {Seal}

Signed Sealed in presents of us James (X) Watson, Amos Watson, Tobias (X) Watson

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Ephraim Watson’s land was in what is now southwestern Wilson County.

North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.

Dr. William Arthur Mitchner.

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WA Mitchner

A.B. Caldwell, ed., History of the American Negro and His Institutions, North Carolina Edition (1921).

Dr. William A. Mitchner apparently moved to Wilson very shortly after graduating Leonard Medical School. In June 1910, he married Mattie Louise Maultsby, daughter of Daniel L. and Smithey C. Maultsby (who seem to have been natives of Pitt County.) Camillus L. Darden applied for the license on their behalf, and they were married at Saint John A.M.E. Zion church.

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In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County, at 534 E. Nash Street: Wm. A Mitchner, 40, son Wm. M., 8, mother Lucy, 60, and nephew Hubert Mitchner, 23, a barber.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, at 604 E. Green Street: Dr. W. A. Mitchner, 53, born Johnston County; wife Marie, 40, born Wake County; and mother Lucy Mitchner, 80, born in Johnston County.

The East Wilson Historic District Nomination Report describes 604 E. Green, built circa 1913, as an “L-plan Queen Anne structure with cutaway front-facing bay.” The house has since been demolished.

Dr. Mitchner died 5 November 1941.

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Wilson Daily Times, 20 October 1911.

Will Jenkins, in fact, survived his wounds. In 1917, he registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. He noted that he was born in 1893 in Edgecombe County, that he was married and lived at 672 Viola Street, and that he was a lumber yard laborer.

Where did they go?: Tennessee death certificates.

Death certificates for residents of Tennessee born in Wilson, North Carolina:

  • Mamie Lee King, Chattanooga

33113_257902-00213In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farm worker Samuel Gay, 29; wife Allice, 25; and children Blanch, 9, Louizah, 7, Edgar, 4, Charlie, 2, and Mamie, 1 month.

  • Minnie Carey, Knoxville

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  • Maluel Coleman, Collinsville, Shelby County

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  • James Watson, Davidson County

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  • Charlie James Barnes, Memphis

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Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.