Wellington

Memories of Hattie Daniels’ Golden Rule kindergarten.

Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid shares this excerpt, adapted for Black Wide-Awake, from her My Neighborhood Legacy Series: A Salute to the Educational Leadership of Rev. Hattie Louvenia Owens Daniels, Founder and Director of the Golden Rule Kindergarten 1944-1972 Wilson, NC.” Though it recalls a period after BWA’s focus, it offers a close look at the warm, rich experience that would have been familiar to children who attended Golden Rule earlier.

Dr. Rashid’s parents, Levi and Cora Greene Wellington, lived on Manchester Street from 1946 to 1978. Between 1957 and 1966, she and two of her siblings attended Rev. Hattie Daniels‘ Golden Rule Kindergarten at 908 Wainwright Street, just a block from their home. 

Each morning, a family member dropped the children off at the front door of the house. As they entered the living room, Rev. Daniels and her daughter Deborah Ruth Daniels, greeted each child by name with a warm and welcoming “Good morning!” Once all the children had arrived, they stood together and responded in song — “Good morning to you!, Good morning to you!, We’re all in our places, with bright shiny faces, and how do you do? How do you do?” The Danielses asked each child how they were doing and if they had eaten breakfast. If they had not eaten at home, they were fed at no charge. The children then lined up as a group and marched out the back door to the school, a long building located to the left rear of the backyard. The remaining yard was the playground. Everything they learned was recited in song and rhyme — the alphabet, numbers, sight words, etc.  Rev. Daniels rang a big hand bell to begin their daily recitations of the lessons they learned, to get their attention,  or to signal a change in activity.

Throughout the school day, children formed a neat line for everything, including forays into the public. They marched everywhere, always staying in a neat line and looking straight ahead. Golden Rule’s children took field trips to sing on a local radio program, to the county fair, and the Wilson Christmas parade. Each year, they walked from the school to downtown Wilson to sing Christmas carols on the county courthouse steps.  Rev. Daniels led the line of students while her daughter walked behind. Rev. Daniels’ students were known to have manners.

Judy Wellington Rashid graduated from Wilson’s R.L. Fike High School in 1970, completed college, and became a teacher. During her first few years teaching, she began to reflect on the invaluable academic lessons, respect for education, and order and discipline she received at the Golden Rule kindergarten. Shortly becoming a principal in 1977, she visited Rev. Daniels in her home. The old school building was still standing but not usable. Dr. Rashid went to thank Rev. Daniels for the great foundation that she had provided her in kindergarten. She also wanted to know if Rev. Daniels still had a book that she had used to teach her students, and indeed she did.

Rev. Hattie Daniels with a copy of Lillian Moore’s A Child’s First Picture Dictionary, first published in 1948.

On a 2004 visit to Wilson, Dr. Rashid noticed Deborah Daniels and another woman sitting on the porch of 908 Wainwright. Daniels recognized her, and they shared laughter over seeing each other again after so many years. Lillian Francis Lucas introduced herself and said she moved from Wiggins Street to the house next door to 908 Wainwright “when the highway came through.” She said she had come over to clean house and “wait on” Rev. Daniels. She remembered that “there were 60 students at the school at one time or the other,” aged three to five years.  She also remembered that the school day would start around 5 or 6 A.M. and last until 5 or 6 P.M. 

Rev. Daniels’ Wainwright Street home at left, a rental property she owned at middle, and the church she pastored at right.

Deborah Daniels’ chimed in: “my mother housed, clothed, fed, and took care of me from Elvie School, Catholic School, Sallie Barbour School, to Darden High School”.  Dr. Rashid closes: “May God forever bless the educational legacy of Rev. Hattie Daniels and her daughter Deborah Ruth Daniels.”

Golden Rule kindergarten in 1964. The Wilson Daily Times printed the photo, submitted by James Boyette, in its 9 July 2002 edition.

Photos courtesy of Judy Wellington Rashid.

A Sallie Barbour student remembers.

Cora and Levi Wellington reared seven children on Manchester Street, first in a three-room endway house at 313 and then a four-room house at 402. Cora Wellington, now Dawson, is now 92 years old and has vivid memories of her East Wilson school days: 

From Charles L. Coon, The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24.

Cora Ruth Greene Wellington Dawson attended Sallie Barbour School from 1934 to 1937.  Eleanor P. Reid was principal. Mrs. Dawson recalls that Mrs. Reid rang a big bell when school started (and everyone had to be seated), at lunch time, and at the end of the day. She remembers eating peanut butter with jelly sandwiches and homemade soup at school everyday – at no charge. She remembers huge swings and merry go rounds in the playground and outside toilets. Some of the teachers at the school were Mrs. Georgia Dupree, Mrs. Addie Butterfield (who taught 4th grade), and Mrs. Celie Norwood.  Mrs. Norwood, who taught Mrs. Dawson’s first husband Levi Wellington in third grade, lived in a two-story house on Pender Street. The house, which has been demolished, stood behind Calvary Presbyterian Church, which then faced Green Street.  Many of the teachers, who were always sharply dressed in heels and suits, walked down Wainwright Street to the school.

Sallie Barbour School was located across from Cemetery Street near the present location of cinderblock apartments. Mrs. Dawson recalled that students entered the school on the Stantonsburg Street side, now known as Pender Street. The back of the school faced Manchester Street. This section of Wilson is often referred to as “the school yard” long after Sallie Barbour School is gone. The school building was all wood. The front porch, where everyone entered the building, was very large. The principal’s office, located in the front of the building, faced Stantonsburg Street, and children had to pass Mrs. Reid’s office and walk down a long hall way to their classes. Though she was just six years old, Mrs. Dawson remembers having to take her younger brother to school with her because she was his babysitter. She would go downstairs to the girls’ toilet outside to change his diaper, and the teacher would make a place for him to take a nap behind the big blackboard in the back of the classroom.

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 9.51.13 PM.png

Cora Green Wellington Dawson in 2018.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, public service laborer Henry Green, 47; wife Lottie, 40, cook; and children Cora, 12, Fred, 9, Henry Jr., 7, Edward, 2, and James, no age given.

Cora Green married Levi Wellington on 28 September 1944.

Levi Wellington- student at Sallie Barbour School in 1934

Levi Wellington.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Highway 42, farmer Haywood Willieston, 35; wife Lonie, 30; and children Haywood, 12, Leavay, 10, Sudie, 6, Mary, 8, Magline, 4, Raymond, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, public service laborer Haywood Wellington, 46; wife Lona, 40; and children Levi, 20, grocery store delivery, Sudie, 16, Magerlean, 14, Raymon, 12, Helen, 7, and Gereldean, 4.

In 1940, Levi Wellington registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 16 September 1919 in Greene County, North Carolina; lived at 409 Grace Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Lona Wellington, same address; and he worked for Barnes-Graves Grocery Company.

Levi Wellington died 13 November 1978 in Wilson.

Levi and Cora Wellington in the 1960s at 402 Manchester St..jpg

Cora and Levi Wellington at their house on Manchester Street, 1960s.

Many thanks to Dr. Judy Wellington Rashid for sharing her mother’s memories of the Sallie Barbour School and photographs of her family.

Pvt. Frank Worthington, alias Wellington.

Frank Worthington, alias Wellington, is the sole African-American veteran with a Civil War Memorial headstone in Wilson’s Maplewood cemetery. (He is not actually buried there. Until relatively recently, Maplewood was a segregated cemetery.)

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 2.48.09 PM

Worthington, who ran away from a Pitt County slaveowner to join the Army, seems not to have actually lived in Wilson County. However, at least one of his children did. Charlie Wellington died 16 June 1958 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 September 1887 in Greene County to Frank Wellington and Fabie Atkinson; was married to Lovie Wellington; and was a farmer. He was buried in Red Hill cemetery, Wilson County.

Photograph courtesy of www.findagrave.com.