Wayne County NC

Sukey’s journey, part 1.

Recd. of Jas. B. Woodard a negro girl Sucky in his possession as Execr. of Obedience Brownrigg decd., the legacy of Alfred Brownrigg which said girl was sold by Alfred Brownrigg to Edwin Brownrigg in as good health & Condition as he recd. her under the will of Mrs. Brownrigg, and obligates to hold him the sd. Woodard harmless in Event any difficulty should rise from the delivery of sd. negro.    Feby. 14th 1842  Jno. Wright for Edwin Brownrigg

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Waynesboro, N.C., 15 Feb. 1842

Edwin Barnes, Esq., Tosnot Depot

Dr Sir, You will please hand Mr. Barnes the above receipt for Sucky. If it does not suit him, write out any thing to give him such as will satisfy him. I am under many obligations to you for the trouble I have put you to in this and other matters of mine. I am much in hopes yr health will speedily return.

Yours Truly, Jno. Wright

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This note and receipt are transcribed in The Past Speaks from Old Letters, a copy of the working papers found in the files of Hugh B. Johnston, Jr., acquired in the course of his lifelong avocation as a professional genealogist and local historian, republished by Wilson County Genealogical Society in 2003. What is going on here?

Obedience Thomas Tartt Brownrigg died in 1840, likely on her plantation near White Oak Swamp in what was then Edgecombe County. She had drafted a will in April 1839, and among its many bequests were these:

  • to daughter Maria Burden [Borden] — “Tom Penny Dennis & William & Maria & Jim & Ellick
  • to son Alfred Brownrigg — “one negro girl by the name of Susan”
  • to daughter Obedience Wright — “one boy Henry one boy Lonor one negroe woman named Winny one boy Bryant one boy John also one girl named Angy & Anscy
  • also to daughter Obedience Wright — “one negro woman named Cloy one negro man named Joe and all my Table & Tea Spoons it it my Will and desire that the labor of Joe Shall Support the Old Woman Cloy her life time then Joe to Obedience Wright”

Obedience Brownrigg’s first husband was Elnathan Tartt, who died in 1796. As shown here, he bequeathed his wife an enslaved woman named Cloe [Chloe], who is surely the Cloy named above, and man named Ellic, who is probably Ellick.

Obedience’s second husband was George Brownrigg, who died without a will in 1821. An inventory of his estate included enslaved people Ellick, Chloe, Joe, Jem, Tom, Penny, Drury, Tom, Annie, Matilda, Suckey, Clara, Fereba, Sarah, Clarky, Anthony, Rachel, Mary, Nelson, Emily, Julia and Abram, and several others unnamed in a petition for division of negroes filed by his heirs in 1825. Ellick and Chloe surely are the man and woman Obedience brought to the marriage. I have not found evidence of the distribution of George Brownrigg’s enslaved property, but Joe, Tom, Penny and Susan seem to have passed to his wife Obedience. (Suckey, pronounced “Sooky,” was a common nickname for Susan.)

So, back to the receipt.

George Brownrigg bequeathed Susan “Sukey” to his widow Obedience about 1821. Obedience Brownrigg in turn left Sukey to her son Alfred Brownrigg. Alfred Brownrigg quickly sold Sukey to his brother Edwin Barnes Brownrigg. On 15 February 1842, Edwin’s representative John Wright took possession of Sukey from James B. Woodard, Obedience Brownrigg’s executor. Wright was married to Eliza Obedience Brownrigg Wright, daughter to Obedience Brownrigg and sister to Alfred and Edwin.

The note is less clear. Wright, who lived in Waynesborough (once the Wayne County seat, now long defunct) is asking someone (the unnamed “sir”) to deliver the receipt to Edwin Barnes of Toisnot Depot (now Wilson.) There were several Edwin Barneses in southeast Edgecombe (to become Wilson) County at that time.  And Edwin Brownrigg’s middle name was Barnes. Are Edwin Barnes and Edwin Brownrigg the same man, whose name was misgiven in one or the documents? In other words, should the receipt have been made out instead to the Edwin Barnes mentioned in the note? If this were the case, the note would make immediate sense. As to Sukey, I’ll explore a possible twist to her story in another post.]

Estate Records of Obedience Brownrigg, Estate Records of George Brownrigg, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

Apprentices.

Under laws authorizing the involuntary apprenticeship of poor orphans and the children of unmarried parents, county courts in antebellum North Carolina removed thousands of children from the homes to be bound to serve their neighbors. Hundreds of indentures dot the pages of Wayne County court minute books, and free children of color were disproportionately pulled into the system. Apprenticeship created an inexpensive, long-term and tractable labor supply for white yeoman farmers, many of whom could not (or could not yet) afford to purchase enslaved people.

Wayne County lost its northern tip to the newly created Wilson County in 1855. By pinpointing the locations of the farms of the men (and rare women) to whom they were indentured, we are able to identify the following free children of color as residents of the area that would become Wilson County’s Black Creek township and parts of Crossroads township.

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William Ayers, 13, was bound to Fred Hollomon in 1843.

William Ayers, 13, was (re-)bound to Enos Rose in 1843.

  • In the 1860 census of Black Creek district, Wilson County: William Ayres, 30, farm laborer, in the household of Stephen Privett, farmer. In the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer William Ayers, 46.

Betsey Morris, 9, was bound to Thomas Horn in 1842.

  • In the 1850 census of North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Elizabeth Morris, 17, is listed in the household of Thomas Horn, farmer.
  • In the 1860 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Martha Morris, 60; probable daughter Elizabeth, 25, and granddaughter Martha, 2. Next door, in the household of farmer John Saunders: Zillah Morris, 4, likely a second-generation apprentice. (Martha was white; Elizabeth and her daughters, mulatto.)
  • In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: domestic servant Elizabeth Morris, 33, and children Zilla A., 17, Martha, 13, Henry, 7, and Elizabeth, 1; all mulatto.
  • Possibly, in the 1900 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer William Morris, 47; wife Martha, 42; children Mattie, 16, Buddie, 6, and Frank, 1; and mother Elizab. Morris, 70; all white. (Elizabeth Morris and Martha Morris are approximately the right age to be Elizabeth and daughter above, but death certificates show Martha Morris’ maiden name to be Peele.)

Apprentice Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives; federal censuses.

 

Stephen Woodard’s apprentices.

Under laws authorizing the involuntary apprenticeship of poor orphans and the children of unmarried parents, county courts in antebellum North Carolina removed thousands of children from their homes to be bound to serve their neighbors. Hundreds of indentures dot the pages of Wayne County court minute books, and free children of color were disproportionately pulled into the system. Involuntary apprenticeship created an inexpensive, long-term and tractable labor supply for white yeoman farmers, many of whom could not (or could not yet) afford to purchase enslaved people.

Wayne County lost its northern tip to the newly created Wilson County in 1855. By pinpointing the locations of the farms of the men (and rare women) to whom they were indentured, we are able to identify a few free children of color as residents of the area that would become Wilson County’s Black Creek township and part of Crossroads township.

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Stephen Woodard was born about 1790 and died in 1864. He was a wealthy farmer whose last will and testament named 75 enslaved people. In the 1850 census of North of the Neuse River district, Wayne County, Woodard’s household included 40 year-old farmhand Sollomon Woodard, who was a free man of color. In the 1860 census of Woodard’s household, then in Black Creek township, Wilson County, the same man, now known as Solomon Andrews, 50, carpenter, is listed.

The Black Creek Rural Historic District was nominated as a National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and listed in 1986. The nomination form described the residences in the district, including Stephen Woodard’s, as “a rare survivor of antebellum architecture and … excellent examples of early farmsteads in Wilson County.” Per the nomination form, Woodard built a “modest coastal cottage” between 1810 and 1820. In 1821, he inherited additional land from his father John Woodard.

Stephen Woodard Sr.’s coastal cottage, at left, attached by breezeway to a two-story, frame I-house later built for his son, Dr. Stephen Woodard Jr., possibly by carpenter Solomon Andrews. Photo courtesy of the nomination form for Black Creek Rural Historic District.

Over the span of 1820 to 1831, as he began to expand his wealth, Stephen Woodard indentured at least eight children of color:

  • Welthy [no last name given, possibly Artis], age 15, and Ned [no last name given, possibly Artis], age 4, in 1820.
  • Kinnard Samson, age 7, Liza Samson, age 12, and Jere Samson, age 2, in 1820.

Possibly, in the 1850 census of North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Jesse Sampson, 35, day laborer, with wife Mary, 30, and children Caswell, 10, Martha, 8, Elizabeth, 6, Temda, 4, and Gabriel, 6 months.

  • William Artis, age 7, in 1822.
  • David Artist, age 15, as a farmer in 1829.

In the 1840 census of Boswells district, Wayne County, David Artis is listed as head of household consisting of two free people of color. In 1850, North Side of Neuse district, Wayne County: David Artis, 40, day laborer, wife Siry, 40, and Lafayet Artis, 3. In 1860, Nahunta, Wayne County: David Artis, 50, turpentine hand, and wife Elizabeth, 35.

  • Willie Hagans, age 9, in 1831.

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The indenture of four year-old Ned.

Apprentice Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives; federal censuses.

They are non-residents of this state.

Hardy Lassiter died about 1853 in a section of Edgecombe County that two years later became part of the newly created Wilson County. During the probate of his estate, the court ordered this ad placed in an attempt to locate his daughter Sally Lassiter Artis and her husband, Morrison Artis.

The Tarborough Southerner, 24 September 1853.

Where were the Artises?  Indiana.

Morrison Artis, son of Micajah and Bedie Powell Artis, was born about 1822 in or near what would become Wilson County. His father Micajah is listed as a head of household in the 1830 census of Taylor district, Nash County, and the 1840 census of Davis district, Wayne County. Morrison Artis married Sarah “Sally” Lassiter circa 1845. Born about 1827 in what was then Edgecombe County, she was the daughter of Hardy and Obedience Lassiter. Morrison and Sally’s first child, Benjamin F. Artis, was born in 1847, and within a year or so the family struck out for Indiana with Morrison’s family.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Morrison Artis, 24, farmer; wife Sarah, 21; and children Benjamin, 3, and Rachel, 6 months. All except Rachel were born in North Carolina.

In the 1850 census of District 85, Parke County, Indiana: Micajah Artis, 50, farmer; wife Bedy, 40; and children Arcada, 17, Eliza, 14, Burket, 4, and Henriette, 1. All but Henriette were born in North Carolina.

In the 1860 census of Reserve township, Parke County, Indiana: farmer Morrison Artis, 35; wife Sally, 33; and children Benjamin, 13, Rachel. 10, and Martha, 5. Morrison reported owning $1000 in real property and $465 in personal property.

In the 1860 census of Adam township, Parke County, Indiana: Micajah Artis, 58, farmer; wife Beda, 50; and children Birket, 16, Henrietta, 10, Elmeda, 8, and Benson, 7.

Per Early Black Settlements by County, indianahistory.org, “During the 1850s, the Bassett, Artis and Ellis families left Parke County, Indiana, and established a settlement in Ervin Township. (The Bassett and Artis families were free African Americans who came to Indiana from North Carolina.)  At least 11 families lived in this area that became a small farming community of blacks sometime known as the Bassett Settlement or the Bassett and Ellis Settlement.  They had a school, church, cemetery (located at 950 W.), general store, blacksmith shop and a post office.  Some of the other surnames associated with the settlement include Canady, Griggs, Jones, Kirby, Mosely, and Wilson.

“Zachariah and Richard Bassett served as ministers at the Free Union Baptist Church in Howard County.  The 1870 census list Bassetts, Artis, and Ellis as farmers.  Richard had land valued at $8,400 and Morrison Artis’s land was valued at $2,800.  In 1892, Richard Bassett became the third black person to be elected to the Indiana state legislature.”

The heart of the Bassett Settlement as shown in this 1877 plat map. Two parcels are labeled M. Artis — one, perhaps, Micajah and the other Morrison. A small cross is visible at the center of the image in a parcel marked R. Bassett; it marks the community cemetery in which the older Artises were buried. [For an account of my visit to Bassett cemetery and a family connection to this place, see here and here.]

In the 1870 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: Morrison Artis, 46; wife Sarah, 40; and children Benjamin, 23, Martha, 16, and William, 1. Morrison reported owning $2800 in real property and $500 in personal property.

In the 1870 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: Macajah Artis, 65, farmer; wife Bedea, 65; and children Henrietta, 22, Almedia, 20, and Benson 17. Morrison reported owning $700 in real property and $100 in personal property.

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Indianapolis Leader, 30 August 1879.

In the 1880 census of Ervin township, Howard County, Indiana: farmer Morrison Artis, 57; wife Sarah, 55; children Benjamin, 33, Martha, 26, and William M., 11; and grandson Melvin, 8.

In 1891, Morrison Artis was nearly swindled from his life’s accumulation in a fraudulent land transaction.

Kokomo Saturday Tribune, 12 May 1891.

Morrison Artis died in April 1896 after terrible head injuries sustained when his spooked horse threw him, then fell on him.

Kokomo Daily Tribune, 9 April 1896.

Benjamin F. Artis died 8 September 1910 in Coopers Grove, Howard County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1947 in North Carolina to Morrison Artis and Sarah Lassiter; was married to Caroline Artis; and was a retired laborer.

Melvina Bassett died 7 April 1917 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. Per her death certificate, she was born April 1839 in North Carolina to Micajah Artis and Bedie Powell; was the widow of John Bassett; and was buried in Bassett cemetery. William Bassett was informant.

Benson Artis died 17 April 1919 in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana. Per his death certificate, he was 56 years old; was born in Indiana to M. Artis and an unknown mother; was single; lived at 145 Western Avenue, Kokomo.

William M. Artis died 27 August 1920 in Indianapolis. Per his death certificate, he was born 26 February 1869 in Indiana to Morrison Artis and an unknown mother; was married to Lula Artis; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Kokomo.

U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

The obituary of Larry Artis, 99.

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When I’ve gone the last mile of the way,
I will rest at the close of the day;
And I know there are joys that await me,
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.

Mr. Larry Artis, 99, of 100 A St., departed this earthly life on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at his home in the North End Section of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Larry was born on March 03, 1918 to John Eddie and Alneda Artis in Wilson, North Carolina.

Larry joined the Army in Apr 1941 and served in World War II. Mr. Artis served in the US Army from April 2, 1941 to August 31, 1945 in the East Indies, Papua and New Guinea in a all Negro Construction Battalion. While in the US Army He was decorated with the WW II Victory Medal; Asiatic Pacific Theatre Campaign Medal with 3 bronze service stars; the American Defense Service Medical and the Distinguished Unit Emblem. He was honorably discharged August 31, 1945. He did his basic training at Fort Bragg and was then shipped over to the Pacific. He was a See Bee (Construction Battalion). He was decorated with an Asiatic Pacific Theatre Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars; an American Defense Service Medal; a Distinguished Unit Emblem and a WW II Victory Medal. When he was there, he visited Australia when they were given leave. He was honorably discharged in October 31, 1944.

He was a member of St. James Holiness Church of Stantonsburg, North Carolina where he sung in the choir. On November 1, 1953, Larry married the former Lillie Frazier of Central Heights. To this union two sons was born, Nelson and Michael. Nelson has since passed away.

Mr. Artis was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lillie F. Artis; his son and daughter-in-law, Nelson Frazier and Jewel Frazier; his grandson, Nelson Frazier, Jr.; his siblings, Jesse Artis, Eddie Artis, Henry Artis, Mammy Artis, Clyda Newsome, Carrie Lee Newsome, Mary McCoy and Lizzie Mae Thomas. Larry leaves to cherish his lifelong memories; one son, Michael (Dawn) Artis; two sisters, Avris Jean White and Maggie Diamond; grandchildren, Savonnah Re’ Artis, Stephanie Davis, Tony Atkinson, Sharon Atkinson; great grandchildren, Greg Davis, Jr. and Kim Davis; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Please remember the Artis family in your prayer time as they have entrusted their Final Services of Love and Compassionate Care to Serenity Memorial Funeral Home & Cremations, LLC.

——

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, John Ed Artis, 31, tenant farmer; wife Maggie, 32; and children Jessie, 9, Rosa, 7, Henry, 5, Claud, 2, Lyra, 2, and Ella, 6 months.

In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: John E. Artis, 41, farmer, widower, and children Jesse, 19, Rosa, 18, Henry, 15, Claud, 13, Larry, 12, Mary, 10, Eddie, 8, Mamie, 6, Carry L., 4, and Maggie, 2.

In the 1940 census of Indian Springs township, Wayne County: farmer Earnest Thomas, 31; wife Lizzie Mae, 25; and children Earnesteen, 9, Doris, 8, and Louise, 6; and lodger Lara Artist, 21, farm laborer.

In 1940, Larry Artis registered for the World War II draft in Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 3 March 1919 in Evansdale, Wilson County; resided at R.F.D. #1, Dudley, Wayne County; his contact was brother-in-law Ernest Thomas; and he was engaged infarming.

On 1 November 1953, Larry Artis, 34, of Goldsboro, son of John Eddie Artis and Mattie Clay Artis, married Lillie M. Frazier, 34, of Goldsboro, daughter of Wright Frazier and Nettie Hines Frazier. Holiness minister W.H. Holiday performed the ceremony at Saint James Holiness Church in Stantonsburg, Wilson County, in the presence of Johnie Newsome, Hackney Artis and Henry Artis.

Snaps, no. 6: Jack Henderson.

Like many, Jesse “Jack” Henderson, a Wayne County native, was drawn to Wilson in the booming years after the establishment of the city’s tobacco markets. His uncle and aunt, Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs, had preceded him, and he joined their household on Elba Street in East Wilson.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Jesse Jacob,  53, deliveryman for stable; wife Sarah, 35; daughter Annie Belle, 15; and boarders Jesse Henderson, 17, Herbert Jones, 23, both stable laborers, and Nina Fasin, 32, a housemaid.

jack-henderson-w-dog

Jack Henderson, right, with a friend and dog, around 1910.

On 3 Dec 1914, Solomon Ward applied for a marriage license for Jesse Henderson of Wilson, age 21, son of Jesse Jacobs and Sarah Jacobs, both dead, and Pauline Artis of Wilson, age 18, daughter of Alice Artis.  On the same day, Fred M. Davis, Baptist minister, performed the ceremony at his residence before Mary Barnes, Annie Hines, and Willie Cromartie, all of Wilson.  [Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs, who were very much alive, reared Jesse, who was the son of Sarah’s sister.]

The 1916-17 Wilson city directory lists: Henderson Jack lab h 219 1/2 Pender.

Jessie Henderson registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917.  Per his registration card, he was born 1893 in Mount Olive, North Carolina; resided at Pender Street, Wilson; and worked as a transfer driver for Sam Vick, Wilson.  He had a wife and 2 children and was described as tall and slender with brown eyes and black hair.  He signed with an X.

The 1918 Wilson city directory lists: Henderson Jack chauffeur ZF Gill h 217 Pender.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 217 Pender Street, Jesse Henderson with wife Pauline, daughter Bessie, and mother-in-law Alice Artis.  Jesse worked as a truck driver for a woodyard. Alice was a cook for a private family.

Jessie Henderson Jr. died 15 April 1929 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 5 months old; was born in Wilson to Jessie Henderson Sr. of Dudley, N.C., and Pauline Artis of Johnson County, N.C.; and lived at 318 Pender Street. Pauline Henderson was informant.

Archie Henderson died 11 May 1930 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 4 years old; was born in Wilson to Jessie Henderson of Wayne County, N.C., and Pauline Artis of Johnson County, N.C.; and lived at 318 Pender Street. Alice Artis was informant.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory: Jack Henderson, a driver, and wife Pauline, were listed at 318 Pender Street. Around this time, he posed with his oldest daughters, Bessie (1917-1996) and Alice (1920), for this photograph.

bessie-jack-alice-henderson

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 318 Pender Street, Jack Henderson, 38, wife Pauline, 31, and children Bessie, 12, Alic, 10, Joice, 7, Mildred, 6, and Archy, 4, mother-in-law Alic Artis, 49, paying $18/month rent.  Alice worked as a cook for a private family, and Jack as a truck driver.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco factory laborer Jack Henderson, 47, and lodger Pattie Barnes, 30.

Per her headstone at Rest Haven cemetery, Pauline Artis Henderson died in 1950.

Pattie Barnes Henderson died 13 October 1957 at her home at 900 Robinson [Robeson] Street. Per her death certificate: she was born in 1910 in Wilson to Tip Barnes and an unknown mother and was married to Jack Henderson.

Jack Henderson died 29 April 1970 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 April 1898 to an unknown father and “Lucy (?) Henderson;” had worked as a laborer; and resided at 1214 East Queen Street, Wilson.  He was buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.  Informant was Mildred Hall.

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Jack Henderson wearing his driving gloves, probably in the 1940s. He worked many years transporting tobacco from Wilson’s markets.

Photographs in personal collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

The Reid family.

State of North Carolina, Wayne County

I Roday Reed of said county as this 16th day of Sept 1863 make and declare this to be my last Will & testament in manor & form following (Viz)

I lend to my daughter Patsey Hall all my lands & all my other property of all kind my money & debts all that I may have at death after my just debts & burying Expense are paid provided the the said Patsey Hall takes her Two sisters in with her Say Bytha & Vina to be supported on the land & this property sepperate & apart from their husbands at the death of the last one of my before named daughters say Bytha & Vina & Patsey I give my mare Dobie to Edmond Hall my grandson & I give all the rest of above named property to my grand children Edmund Hall & Eveline Hall to them & their heirs forever to be Eaqually divided be tween them.  I also give it so my will for my husband David to be supported out of the above named property during his life.  Lastly I nominate my beloved son Washington Reed to Execute this my last will & testament to all interests declaring this & no other to be my will, I or witness whereof I have unto set my hand & seal    Roda X Reed

Signed & acknowledged  W Thompson John Read

——

Rhoda Reid was a prosperous free woman of color born about 1795, most likely in southern Edgecombe or northeastern Wayne County.  She and her sister Tabitha Reid married enslaved men whom they informally manumitted.  Rhoda, who recorded her first deed in 1821, amassed considerable property in the Nahunta area of Wayne County north of present-day Eureka.  Rhoda and David Reid’s children included Tabitha “Bitha” (born circa 1811), Melvina “Vina” Reid Artis, alias Sampson (circa 1813), Zion (circa 1815), Washington (circa 1818), Martha “Patsey” Reid Hall (circa 1824), John (circa 1826), Isaac (circa 1828) and Benjamin (circa 1831).

By the late 1800s, Rhoda’s grandchildren and great-children had begun to spread north from Wayne County into Wilson County. Several established themselves as skilled tradesmen in Wilson, and two of Washington Reid‘s sons — veterinary surgeon Elijah L. Reid and principal/hospital administrator/banker J.D. Reid — joined Wilson’s African-American elite. The town’s 1916 city directory reflects their settlement on the east side:

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Members of the Reid family who have previously appeared in this blog include Washington’s son Henry S. Reid (and here); Washington’s grandsons James D. and Herbert O. Reid; and John’s great-grandson Allen T. Reid.

4-25-1911

Wilson Daily Times, 25 April 1911.