Wayne County NC

Studio shots, no. 199: Frank Taylor.

Frank Taylor (ca. 1880-??).

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On 20 December 1899, Frank Taylor, 21, of Wayne County, son of Alfred and Pleasant Taylor, married Hattie Sutton, 22, daughter of Calvin and Sylvania Sutton, at Calvin Sutton‘s house in Spring Hill township, Wilson County. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the ceremony in the presence of R.R. Braswell, A.B. Braswell, and L.H. Horton. [Note: Per family information, Frank Taylor’s biological father was not Alfred Taylor, but a white man.]

In the 1900 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Frank Taylor, 19;  wife Hattie, 23; and nephew Alfred, 7.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Regan Crump.

Studio shots, no. 197: Sylvania Simmons Sutton.

Sylvania Simmons Sutton (1853-1916).

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In the 1860 census of Indian Springs district, Wayne County: cooper George Simmons, 40; wife Axey J., 38; and children Riley B., 19, Simon, 15, Susan A., 17, Zach, 10, Silvania, 9, Bryant, 7, H.B., 5, and Gen. Washington, 2.

In the 1870 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: farmer Geo. Simmons, 52; wife Annie, 47; and children George, 24, shoemaking shoes, Zachariah, 22, Silavant, 20, Bryant C., 18, Hillary B., 16, and Washington, 12.

On 23 December 1875, Calvin Sutton, 21, married Sylvania Simmons, 22, in Wayne County.

In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Calvin Sutton, 25; wife Silvania, 26; children Hattie, 3, and twins Joel B. and Josephin, 1; mother Dolly, 55; brothers Dallow, 18, and Henry, 16; and sister Mary, 12.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Calvin Sutton, 45; wife Silvania, 49; and children George, 18, Walter, 16, Mary, 13, and Roscoe, 10.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Upper Black Creek Road, farmer Calvin Sutton, 54; wife Sylvania, 58; daughter Hattie Taylor, 33; and grandchildren Olivia, 9, Viola, 7, Lillie M., 5, Georgiana, 4, and Mittie, 2; plus adopted grandson Frank McNeal, 16.

Sylvania Sutton died 4 August 1916 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was about 65 years old; was married; her father was George Simmons; and she was buried in Watson graveyard.

Detail of portrait, courtesy of Ancestry user cjjsinc.

Cpl. John J. Braswell is stationed in the Pacific.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 May 1945.

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In the 1930 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, North Carolina: Arthur Braswell, 38; wife Julia, 31; and children John, 10, Mary J., 11, and Charles L., 7.

In 1940, John Junior Braswell registered for the World War II draft in Wayne County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 6 November 1917 in Wayne County; lived in Fremont, N.C.; his contact was father Arthur Braswell; and he worked for his father.

News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 21 April 1988.

The obituary of Jordan Sauls, farmer and nonagenarian.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 May 1940.

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On 17 September 1873, Jordan Sauls married Serena Fort in Wayne County.

In the 1880 census of Saulston township, Wayne County: farmer Jordan Sauls, 27; wife Serena, 33; and children Elizabeth, 13, Ichabod, 10, and James Fort, 7; Emma, 6, Dortch, 5, and Isabel, 9 months; and Loumiser Sauls, 21, and [her?] children Oda, 5, and Anna, 1.

In the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jordan Sauls, 50, widower.

On 25 December 1906, Jordan Sauls, 52, of Wayne County, son of Charles and Smithy Sauls, marred Mary Davis, 39, of Wayne County, daughter of Ellis and Hester Fort, at Mary Davis’ in Nahunta, Wayne County.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: Jorden Sauls, 53; wife Mary, 45; children Hester, 19, Betsey, 17, Thomas, 15, George, 10, Eliza, 8, Pearly, 6, Ben, 4, Blossey, 9 months, and Ellis, 21; and grandchildren Emma, 4, and Rena Davis, 2.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on Black Creek and Stantonsburg Road, farmer Jordan Sauls, 74; wife Mary, 47; and children Lina, 18, Ben, 15, Blossie, 19, and George, 5.

On 10 January 1925, John Tyson, 23, son of Red and Alberta Tyson, married Lizzie Sauls, 20, daughter of Jordan and Mary Sauls, in Wilson County.

On 21 September 1925, Herbert Tyson, 23, son of Ed and Mell T. Tyson, married Blossie Sauls, 16, daughter of Jordan and Mary Sauls, in Wilson County. 

In January 1926, Benjamin Sauls, 20, son of Jordan and Mary Sauls, married Janetta Sutton, 18, daughter of John and Penna Sutton, in Wilson County.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jerdan Sauls, 82; wife Mae, 65, farm laborer; daughter Lossie Tyson, 22, cook; and grandchildren Jerdan Jr., 3, and Zebedee Tyson, 1.

In the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: John Tyson, 35, farm laborer; wife Lizzie, 38; father-in-law Jordan Sauls, 99; mother-in-law Mary Sauls, 78; and Frank Strickling, 9, “adopted.”

Lizzie Tyson died 19 July 1943 in Bullhead township, Greene County. Per her death certificate, she was born 5 May 1903 in Wayne County to Jurdan Sauls and Mary Davis and was married to John Tyson.

Blossie S. Powell died 2 June 1979 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 August 1909 in Wayne County to Jordan Sauls and Mary Fort; was a widow; and lived at 1200 East Nash Street.

The life of William S. Hagans.

Back in February, I sat down (virtually) with Tyler Mink, Historic Interpreter at Wayne County, North Carolina’s Governor Charles B. Aycock Birthplace State Historic Site, to talk about William S. Hagans, an Aycock contemporary. William S. Hagans was not a Wilson County native, but his mother Apsilla Ward Hagans was, and he grew up on a farm on Aycock Swamp just below the Wayne-Wilson county line. I have published here a series of transcripts of testimony about a land dispute that directly involved Hagans and pulled in as witnesses several men with Wilson County links.

William S. Hagans, his brother Henry E. Hagans, and their father Napoleon Hagans were contemporaries of Daniel Vick, William H. Vick, and Samuel H. Vick and other African-American Wilsonians in late nineteenth-century Republican politics, and I share this video to illuminate the world in which they all lived.

Coley v. Artis, pt. 8: They call me Tom Pig.

The eighth in a series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908. The dispute centered on 30 acres of land. Thomas “Tom Pig” Artis began renting the property in 1881 from William J. Exum, a wealthy white farmer. In 1892, Exum’s widow Mary sold the land to Napoleon Hagans. Hagans died in 1896, and the land passed to his sons Henry and William S. Hagans. In 1899, Henry sold his interest to his brother William, who sold the 30 acres in 1908 to J. Frank Coley, a young white farmer. Tom Artis laid claim to the property, arguing that Napoleon Hagans had sold it to him. Coley filed suit and, after hearing the testimony of more than a dozen witnesses, the court decided in his favor. (Paragraph breaks and some punctuation have been inserted for better readability.)

Defendant introduces TOM ARTIS, who being duly sworn, testifies:

My name is Tom Artis. They call me Tom Pig. I own some land, 30 acres. (Plaintiff objects.) I have been living on the 30 acre tract of land 25 years, except one year. I mortgaged this land to Mr. [William J.] Exum. (Plaintiff objects.) I don’t know about how long it was. About 25 or 30 years. (Plaintiff objects.) I don’t know what became of that mortgage. I got [Napoleon] Hagans to take it up. (Plaintiff objects.) I don’t know who was present when I got Hagans to take it up. When Hagans agreed to take it up, Mrs. Exum, Hagans and myself were present. I own the 30 acre tract and lived on the tract adjoining. After Hagans took up the papers, he told me that I could build on that place, or on the 24 acre piece. He said he thought it best for me to build on mine, he might die sometime, and there might be some trouble about me holding the house. I did so. He furnished the lumber, and I did the work. I decided to build on his side. After I built there I had been paying the 800 lb. of lint cotton year in and year out. (Plaintiff objects to each and every statement of the foregoing evidence.) The 800 lb. of cotton was to keep up the taxes and the interest of the money. (Plaintiff objects.) I have been paying this 800 lb. of cotton all the time. (Plaintiff objects.) I left that place one year. I left because my house got in such a bad fix, and I couldn’t stay there and run my business like I wanted to, and I went over to Mr. Jones’. I rented the land. I rented it to Simon Exum. He gave me 950 lb. for the 30 acre place. I rented the Calv[in Artis] Place and the Adam Artis place. I moved back after one year at Mr. Jones’ place. I built on the Hagans place. Since then I built the piaza and shed room, to my own expense. Borrowed money from Hagans. I paid him back. He didn’t pay for the repairing of it. He furnished some shingles. Got 1/4 covered. I never asked W.S. Hagans to sell the 30 acre tract of land. I never said to Hagans in the presence of [Henry S.] Reid or anybody else that I wanted him to sell it. I never asked anybody to buy the 30 acre tract of Hagans. Not the 30 acre tract. I had a conversation with Mr. [J. Frank] Coley with reference to buying that land. I was talking about the Calv place. My land wasn’t brought in. The Calv place is the place I rented and lived on. That’s the land I spoke to Mr. Coley about buying from Hagans. He said if Mr. Cook and Hagans didn’t trade to send him a note. I told Hagans, he said tell him Coley, if his hands were not tied. I remember going over to Mr. Coley’s mill with Hagans. I didn’t hear any conversation between Hagans and Coley with reference to buying this tract of land. They were off from me. I didn’t know what they were talking about. I heard them say when they came back to the buggy, Hagans said that he would see him again shortly. I don’t know if he said what day. Next I heard after that was that Hagans had sold it all to Mr. Coley, mine and all. I never rented the 30 acre tract of land. I know Jno. Rountree. I never asked him to go to Will Hagans and ask him to give me an opportunity of buying the 30 acre piece of land. I never said to Will Hagans, Jno. Rountree or Henry Reid, or anybody that I wanted Hagans to give me the opportunity of seeing my boys in Norfolk, so I could buy the 30 acre piece. I asked Hagans what he would take for the acre back of my house, of the Calv place. I told him I would buy that. His answer was, “Can you find a buyer for the other part of the Calv place.” I told him I didn’t know. He walked about his buggy house door. He said, “Uncle Tom, I can’t take what that mortgage calls for for your land, land is so much more valuable now than it was when yours was given.” It passed off at that. Next I heard he had sold it to Coley.

The last will and testament of Hardy Horn.

On 25 January 1830, Hardy Horn of Wayne County dictated a will that included these provisions:

  • sell one Negro boy by the name of Arnold
  • to his wife Edah “nine Negros LigePatienceFannyWarrenDinahJimWinnyAbram & linnet” and their future children until his daughter Sally reached age 15
  • at that time, half of the named enslaved people were to be divided among his daughters Nancy Barnes and Sally, Zilly, and Rebeckah Barnes, and half their increase were to remain with his wife Edah during her lifetime
  • at Edah’s death those enslaved people were to be divided among the children as she saw fit

Horn’s estate entered probate in Wayne County Fall County 1839. After setting aside two-eighths of the enslaved for later distribution to two children born after Horn made his will, on 14 April 1840 commissioners divided the group as follows:

  • widow Edah received Lije ($850); Linnet ($650); Patience and child Hilard ($750); Will ($300); Litha ($350); and Jeffrey ($125)
  • Rebecca Horne received Jim ($800); Jonathan Barnes and wife Nancy Horne Barnes, Warren ($650); James Newsom and wife Sally Horn Newsom, Fanny and child Henry ($750); and Zilla Horn, Pearcy ($350); and Jo ($300)

In a separate transaction the same day, Horn’s youngest children, Mary Ann and Elizabeth, received their joint share — Abram ($750), Diner ($400), Esther ($400), and Hester ($375).

Horn lived between Great Cabin Branch and Black Creek in what is now Wilson County.

Estate of Hardy Horn, Wayne County, North Carolina Estate Files 1883-1979, http://www.familysearch.org.

Coley v. Artis, pt. 7: A home for his lifetime.

The seventh in a series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908. The dispute centered on 30 acres of land. Thomas “Tom Pig” Artis began renting the property in 1881 from William J. Exum, a wealthy white farmer. In 1892, Exum’s widow Mary sold the land to Napoleon Hagans. Hagans died in 1896, and the land passed to his sons Henry and William S. Hagans. In 1899, Henry sold his interest to his brother William, who sold the 30 acres in 1908 to J. Frank Coley, a young white farmer. Tom Artis laid claim to the property, arguing that Napoleon Hagans had sold it to him. Coley filed suit and, after hearing the testimony of more than a dozen witnesses, the court decided in his favor. (Paragraph breaks and some punctuation have been inserted for better readability.)

Defendant introduces JESSE ARTIS who being duly sworn, testified:

I had a conversation with Tom Artis and [Napoleon] Hagans about this land. I was working there for Hagans (Plaintiff objects) as carpenter. Tom Artis was working with me. The old man Hagans was talking to Tom about the claim which Mrs. Exum had on his land, and was telling him that he had some money at that time, and was would take it up if he wanted to, and give him a home for his lifetime. He left us, and Tom talked to me. I told him he did not know whether he would have a home all his life or not. I advised Tom to let Hagans take up the papers, and Tom did so. Hagans told me next day that if Tom should pay him 800 lb. of cotton he should stay there his life time. When he paid him his money back, the place was his. I don’t know that Tom and I are any kin. Just by marriage. We are not a member of the same Church.

CROSS EXAMINED.

When I was a carpenter ‘Pole told me all about this on his place. He took me into his confidence. I don’t know whether he told me all. He told me a good deal.

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Jesse Artis was a brother of Adam T. Artis, Jonah Williams, and Tom Artis’ wife Loumiza Artis Artis.

Coley v. Artis, pt. 6: He was rejoicing at the opportunity.

The sixth in a series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908. The dispute centered on 30 acres of land. Thomas “Tom Pig” Artis began renting the property in 1881 from William J. Exum, a wealthy white farmer. In 1892, Exum’s widow Mary sold the land to Napoleon Hagans. Hagans died in 1896, and the land passed to his sons Henry and William S. Hagans. In 1899, Henry sold his interest to his brother William, who sold the 30 acres in 1908 to J. Frank Coley, a young white farmer. Tom Artis laid claim to the property, arguing that Napoleon Hagans had sold it to him. Coley filed suit and, after hearing the testimony of more than a dozen witnesses, the court decided in his favor. (Paragraph breaks and some punctuation have been inserted for better readability.)

Defendant introduces JONAH WILLIAMS:

I have had a conversation about this land. All I know is what Hagans and Tom told me. The first talk was with Napoleon Hagans. (Defendant objects.) Best I remember I went to him to borrow some money to open my brick yard in the Spring. He referred to this deal and some other deal. Tom wanted to take up some papers, and had done so, and I remarked to Hagans how much better off than he was before. He said he was rejoicing at the opportunity. He promised to give 800 lb. of cotton until he could work a advance to him. He said if Tom did that he would never disturb him his life time. I asked Hagans to have it in a written contract, that his heirs might dissent from it. He replied that 800 lb. was a good interest on his money, and his heirs would probably be satisfied. I had a conversation with Tom. I saw him two or three weeks after that. (Plaintiff objects.) I spoke to him about Hagans taking up the Exum paper. He told me Hagans had ***** to take that up. Hagans had given him a chance to pay the debt off. Whenever he paid anything on the principal, he would not have to pay the 800 lb., but simply a lawful interest on the money. I advised Tom to do his best and pay some in on his principal.

CROSS EXAMINED.

He said that he had taken up the mortgage; had it transferred. He said “claim,” I might have said “mortgage.” I don’t say ‘Pole Hagans told me all his business, but I knew about as much as anybody. Said he was going to let him (Tom) pay 800 lb. of cotton until he could pay the principal. Mortgage given in 1881 to Mrs. Exum. This conversation about 12 or maybe 14 years ago. Don’t know whether it was as late as 1890. Began brick business in 1893. I can’t tell whether it was in 1880 or ’90. ‘Pole Hagans died about two or three years before this took place. Tom married my sister. He is not a member of my church. I turned him out. He is a Primitive Baptist. I preached Napoleon Hagans’ funeral.

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Jonah Williams’ church was Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist, just north of Eureka in Wayne County, but he helped establish a string of Primitive Baptist congregations in Wilson and Edgecombe Counties. His daughter Clarissa Williams served as principal of Wilson’s Colored Graded School after the boycott, and several of his brother Adam T. Artis’ children settled in Wilson County.

Coley v. Artis, pt. 5: Maybe he might redeem it.

The fifth in a series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908. The dispute centered on 30 acres of land. Thomas “Tom Pig” Artis began renting the property in 1881 from William J. Exum, a wealthy white farmer. In 1892, Exum’s widow Mary sold the land to Napoleon Hagans. Hagans died in 1896, and the land passed to his sons Henry and William S. Hagans. In 1899, Henry sold his interest to his brother William, who sold the 30 acres in 1908 to J. Frank Coley, a young white farmer. Tom Artis laid claim to the property, arguing that Napoleon Hagans had sold it to him. Coley filed suit and, after hearing the testimony of more than a dozen witnesses, the court decided in his favor. (Paragraph breaks and some punctuation have been inserted for better readability.)

Defendant introduces T.F. Jones, who being duly sworn, testifies:

I had a conversation with Napoleon Hagans about this land, the 30 acre piece. (Plaintiff objects to question and answer.) I got after Uncle ‘Pole to see me the land. I told him if he would give me a deed for both places, the Calv Pig, that is the 24 acre piece, and the Tom Pig place, the 30 acre piece, I would take them. He told me he would sell me the Calv Pig place, but the Tom Pig place he had promised to let Tom stay on that as long as he lived, that maybe he might redeem it. That about ended the conversation with us. I bought some timber off this land from Tom. Off of the 30 acre piece. I suppose Hagans knew about it. (Plaintiff objects.) I couldn’t say that Hagans saw me hauling the timber, I guess he saw me. (Plaintiff objects.) Hagans never made any objection. I had a conversation with Tom about this land along during that time, when Uncle ‘Pole Hagans first got rid of that Calv Pig place, about 15 years ago. I asked him if he wouldn’t sell his part, and what would he ask for it, (Plaintiff objects). He said he didn’t want to sell it, he expected to redeem it sometime. Last Fall I told him if he expected to get that mortgage he had better attend to it. He said he had boys in Norfolk, who would take it up; that he had confidence in Will Hagans. That if his boys let it slip out after he died, they could. (Plaintiff objects.)

CROSS EXAMINED.

Mr. W.J. Exum died about 1885. Tom is known as Pig. I don’t know why he was called Pig. I think they got “Pig” from “Diggs”. Some of his people ‘way back there, were named “Diggs”, and they got to calling it “Pig” for short. I remember when Napoleon Hagans died. I was down the Country. I left here in ’94, and came back in 1900. He died during that time. I got this timber 20 years ago. I was buying all I could, I don’t know how much I got. I got it by the tree. I went in 1881 and milled ’till 1890. Either ’81 or ’82. I bought the timber about that time. I didn’t know that the deed from Mrs. Exum to Hagans was executed before 1892.

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Jones’ guess about the origins of Tom Artis’ nickname is unsatisfying. “Pig” from “Diggs”? In fact, Thomas and Calvin Artis took their nickname from their father, an enslaved man, who was called “Simon Pig.” Artis was the surname of their mother Celia, a free woman of color. (Tom Artis was not a Diggs, but his niece Frances Artis married Wilson (or William) Diggs in 1868 in Wayne County.) I have found no other record of manumission, but Simon Pig Artis is listed as the head of his household in the 1860 census of Davis township, Wayne County. He reported (or was attributed with) $800 of real property and $430 of personal property. The land was almost surely his wife Celia’s; she is one of the earliest free colored property owners appearing in Wayne County deed books.

1860 census, Davis district, Wayne County, North Carolina.

Several Diggs descendants settled in or owned property in Wilson County; see here and here and here.