A little cocaine to make you crazy; or, Julius Webb’s secret to success.

“Blind tigers” were a pressing concern in Wilson in 1911, as we see here and here and here and here. Descriptions of the operations of these joints inevitably came wrapped in the purplest prose.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 December 1911.

“With one gallon of liquor which costs $2.00, some red pepper steeped over night, the addition of a gallon of water, a little sweetening to make it mellow, a little cocaine to make you crazy and you have a good fighting fluid which yields a hundred per cent profit but goes to the lawyer who defends the seller, places the seller on the road and the consumer in the lockup, from $7.50 to $15.00 in the city treasury and later the consumer in his coffin if he keeps it up.”

The Knox Brothers, William and Wilton, operated a general store at 214 South Goldsboro Street. The 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows a restaurant at 214, with a grocery at 216, which both perhaps were Knox businesses.

I have not been able to trace the enterprising Julius Webb.

The estate of Hiram Forbes (1861).

We have read Hiram Forbes’ 1861 will here, in which he made arrangements for the distribution of enslaved people Mary Ann, Tony, Gatsy, Mace, Silvey, Tobey, Jim, Hannah and Minna.

Forbes died shortly after, and his estate file reveals more about the people he held in bondage.

On 15 September 1861, Dempsey Webb acknowledged receipt of fifty cents from Forbes’ executor, James Barnes, in payment for work Webb’s enslaved man Abram performed.

This undated receipt details hire arrangements for seven enslaved people for the year ending 1 July 1863. Forbes’ widow Milly Harrell Forbes paid the estate $50 to hire woman Mariam [Mary Ann], man Tony, girls Macy and Silvy, and man Jim. Britton Forbes hired woman Gatsey for $53, and Rufus Forbes leased boy Toby’s services for $61. (Where were Hannah and Minna?)

The bulk of Hiram Forbes’ personal property went to auction on 5 February 1862. That day, between sales of 50 bushels of cotton seed and four stacks of fodder, John T. Barnes bought a boy named Hector.

On 3 January 1863, of nine enslaved people, Milly Forbes hired all but Toby, who went to John Carter. Macy and Silvey are not named, but likely were two of the young children attached to Mariam and Gatsey, who also were likely the mothers of babies born during the previous year.

The five dollars paid to Polly Walston in 1863 for “Services rendered on attendance to negro woman” may have been for the birth of one of these babies.

Emancipation interrupted the final distribution of Hiram Forbes’ enslaved people.


I traced forward Hiram Forbes’ enslaved people in the post about his will, but here is one update.

An August 1867 marriage record reveals that Abram Webb was the father of Toby Forbes, who, with his mother Macy, was enslaved by Hiram Forbes. However, on 20 August 1866, Abram Webb and Marion Forbes registered their 34-year cohabitation with an Edgecombe County justice of the peace.

in the 1870 census of Otter Creek township, Edgecombe County: Abram Webb, 65; wife Miriam, 54; Hector, 18, and Hannah, 12. This appears to be Mariam, Hector that was sold to John T. Barnes, and Hannah mentioned in the will.

In the 1880 census of Auters Creek township, Edgecombe County: Abraham Webb, 75; wife Mary, 65; daughter Hannah, 25; and granddaughter Patsy Procythe, 25.

Estate File of Hiram Atkinson (1861), Wilson County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, http://www.familysearch.org

The last will and testament of Long John Webb.

“Long” John Webb, so-called because his height distinguished him from several contemporaries of the same name, lived in a section of southwest Edgecombe County that is now northeast Wilson County. His will, drafted in 1845, entered probate in August 1853 and included these provisions:

“I, John Webb, of the State of North Carolina and County of Edgecombe, being of sound mind and perfect memory blessed be God do this 19th day of October in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Five, make and publish this my last will and testament in the following manner:

“First:  I give and bequeath to my son John Webb one Negro man by the name of Prussian; also one by the name of Jim and a Negro woman by the name of Maci and one by the name of Anaky and a Negro boy the name of Peter.

“Second:  I give and bequeath unto my son David Webb one Negro girl by the name of Bet and one Negro boy by the name of Harry, one Negro boy by the name of Elie.

“Third:  I give an bequeath unto my son Nathan Webb one Negro woman by the name of Nance and her daughter Silvy, and one other by the name of Mary Lettie, her child.

“Fourth:  I give and bequeath to my son Orman Webb one Negro boy by the name of Tom, also one Negro boy by the name of Ephraim.

“Fifth:  I give and bequeath to my son Willis Webb one Negro boy by the name of Dennis, also one Negro girl named Gatsy.

“Sixth:  I also give and bequeath unto my daughter Anna Webb one Negro boy by the name of Miles and one Negro girl by the name of Anna.

Seventeenth:  And lastly I do hereby make and ordain my worthy friend David Williams my executor to this my last will and testament, revoking all other wills by me made or cause to be made.


Will transcribed at ncgenweb.us.

The obituary of Frances Webb.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 December 1935.

On Christmas Day 1902, Amos Webb, 21, of Gardners township, son of John Webb, married Frances Woodard, 19, of Gardners township, daughter of Joyner and Lou Woodard, at James Lewis’ in Gardners.

In the 1910 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Amos Webb, 30; wife Frances, 28; children William M., 6, and Elnora, 2; and Pinky Woodard, 21.

Amos Webb Jr. died 12 August 1918 in Taylors township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 July 1918 in Wilson County to Amos Webb of Wilson County and Frances Woodard of Nash County.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Amos Webb, 40; wife Fannie, 38; children William, 16, Elnora, 12, Louise, 9, Ruth, 5, Jason, 4, and Paul, 3 months; and laborer Jack Williams, 85.

Jason Webb died 10 July 1958 in Newport News, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 January 1916 in Wilson, N.C., to Amos Webb and Fannie Edwards; worked as a laborer for the city of Newport News News; and was married to Laura Webb.

Francis Webb died 13 December 1935 in Gardners township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 50 years old; was married to Amos Webb; worked in farming; and was born in Nash County to Johnie and Louiseana Woodard.