Notice of intention to disinter.

On sequential weeks in April and May 2006, the Wilson Daily Times ran this Notice of Intention to Disinter, Remove and Reinter Graves.


Notice is hereby given to the known and unknown relatives of those persons buried in The Wilder Family Cemetery located in Springhill Township, Wilson County North Carolina and being described as follows: BEING all Tract No. 1 containing 130.94 (C/L of Creek & Branches); Tract No. 2 containing 24.84 acres (C/L/ of Road & Branch); Tract No. 3 containing 11.17 acres (to C/L of Road); and Tract No. 4 containing 4.20 acres (to C/L of Road), as shown on a map entitled “Survey for Kemit David Brame, Jr., Property of Charles B. Brame, Jr., et al,” which map is recorded in Plat Book 27, page 204, Wilson County Registry; for reference see Deeds recorded in Book 125, page 583, Book 249, page 313, Book 249, page 322, Book 290, page 306, Book 381, page 37, and Book 419, page 218, Wilson County Registry. Being better described as approximately 500′ northwest of the intersection of NC#42 Highway and Neal Road (SR #1198).


There are 2 marked graves said cemetery, Josiah Wilder DOB – April 5, 1866, DOD – April 22, 1919; Elizabeth Wilder Barnes, DOB October 5 1898, DOD – July 23, 1928.


There are approximately 8-10 unknown (unmarked) graves in said cemetery; that all of the graves will be relocated and reentered in the Rocky Creek United Church of Christ Cemetery, located on NC #581 Highway, Kenly, North Carolina. Also the grave of Chestiney Earp Wilder, DOB – July 11, 1869, DOD – January 10 1957 will be relocated from the southeast corner of the cemetery to the northwest corner of the cemetery. Then a complete record of where these deceased person will be reentered will be on file with the Wilson County Registry of Deeds, Wilson, North Carolina. You are further notified that the graves are being moved under the provisions of North Carolina General Statute #65-13, and that the removals will not begin until this notice has been published four (4) successive times in The Wilson Daily Times, Wilson, North Carolina and until approval to do so has been given by the Wilson City Council, Wilson, North Carolina. This the 3rd day of April, 2006.    R. Ward Sutton [address omitted] ***


Here is the rough map of the site attached to the Removal of Graves Certificate and filed with the Wilson County Registry of Deeds: 

The Certificate gives two reasons as “basis for removal” — (1) to give perpetual care, (2) subdivision development. This Google Maps aerial view of the former Josiah Wilder property clearly shows the subdivision that now covers the former site of his family’s cemetery:

As shown in this photograph posted to Findagrave.com, the Wilder family’s new plot at Rocky Branch cemetery is marked with an explanatory headstone:


Neighborhood legend.

The Brutal Death of a Neighborhood Legend.

by Thomas Bell, Washington Post, 26 April 1990.

Seth Wilder, 88, was one of those old men who become neighborhood legends.

People saw him every day on his afternoon strolls or under the tree in front of his house, the same tree he planted when he moved his family here from a North Carolina farm 40 years ago.

Usually a friend would sit with him, and people would stop by and say hello. That’s the way he was — always making friends.

It’s also why his wife, Lillie Mae Wilder, didn’t think twice when he brought a stranger into their Capitol Hill Northeast home two weeks ago. The man she had never seen before followed her husband up the stairs to his bedroom.

There, he robbed Seth Wilder — and broke his neck, police and hospital officials say.

Seth Wilder, who would have turned 89 next month, died Tuesday, his big, six-foot frame strapped to a hospital bed.

For 12 days he could only blink his eyes. Doctors told the family that his chances for survival were a million to one, but his wife wouldn’t let the doctors shut off the machines that kept her husband alive. They had been married for 59 years.

Police say they have several suspects but have made no arrests in the case. They also say it was one of the most vicious attacks on an elderly person they have ever seen.

“It was an act of total brutality,” said 5th District Capt. Maralyn Hershey. “This man was defenseless and could offer no resistance.”

The crime has outraged the neighborhood, a changing middle-class community of longtime residents and young professionals. Elderly residents especially have been living in fear ever since the assault, said James Lawlor, who heads the local community association in Northeast.

He said one of Seth Wilder’s longtime friends has been walking around the street with a hammer “looking for the man who hurt his buddy.”

At a community meeting last week, Fred Raines, deputy chief of the 5th District, one of the busiest stations in the city, pledged to a crowd of 50 residents that he would find the man.

Police have interviewed dozens of neighborhood residents, including the men who live and work in a shelter for the homeless five houses away from the Wilder home on Maryland Avenue NE.

Wilder withdrew $500 in cash from a bank less than two blocks from his home early in the afternoon of April 13, according to bank records obtained by police. It was money he needed to buy a couple pairs of glasses, said his daughter, Callon Jacobs.

Police said the man followed Wilder home from that errand. His wife said she heard him and the man talking in hushed voices outside the front door. The stranger followed him inside and introduced himself. She doesn’t remember his name or what he looked like. The two men went upstairs, she said.

A few minutes later she saw the man leave “walking hard as he could,” she said.

Even then, Lillie Mae Wilder said, she didn’t think anything was wrong. About three hours later, their daughter came home and was chatting with her mother when she heard her father’s faint cry for help. She rushed up the stairs and found him on the foor, his head cocked down to the side.

“I said, ‘What happened, Daddy, did you fall?’

“He said, ‘No.’

“I said, ‘What happened?’

“He said, ‘A man came up here and choked me and took my money.’ ”

Jacobs said her father asked her to take off his shoes.

She said he never spoke a word after that.

“I don’t know what happened in that room,” she said. “That’s the thing I can’t deal with — what happened before and how afraid he must have been.”


Seth Wilder Sr. and Jr., Washington, D.C.

Many thanks to Eunice F., who posted a comment on a yesterday’s post about Seth Wilder reminding us that her uncle’s life was not defined by a single careless incident with tragic consequences. The Wilders relocated to Washington, D.C., after Seth Wilder’s release from prison. He became a fixture on his Capitol Hill street, and his 1990 murder shocked his neighborhood. In less than a week, a homeless man was arrested and charged with killing Wilder, but was released without indictment after spending eight months in jail.

Photo courtesy of Edith Jones Garnett.

Store owner convicted in accidental shooting.

An act of self-defense at a small Springhill store ended in the death of an innocent bystander:


Wilson Daily Times, 12 October 1948.

Asheville Cit Times 1 9 1949.png

Asheville Citizen Times, 9 January 1949.


In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Raleigh Road, Joseph Wilder, 44; wife Chestina, 40; and children Almita O., 15, Elizabeth, 11, Seth B., 8, Sidney, 6, and Luther, 4.

In the 1920 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Old Raleigh Road, widow Chestiney Wilder, 51, and children Elizabeth, 21, Seth, 17, Sidney, 15, and Luther, 13.

On 28 December 1924, Seth Wilder, 22, married Aldonia Ruffin, 20, in Johnston County.

Aldonia Wilder died 24 July 1929 in Springhill township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 24 years old, born in Wilson County to Charlie Ruffin of Johnston County and Sarah Jane O’Neil of Wilson County; was married to Seth Wilder; and was buried in Barnes cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: Mc. Coward Tucker, 47; wife Bella, 34; and children Mildred, 18, Albert, 17, Eddie, 14, Charles, 11, Martha, 8, Joe, 4, and James, 1.

On 14 January 1931, Seth Wilder, 31, son of Josiah and Chestinie Wilder, married Lillie Mae Creech, 24, daughter of Wright and Sallie Creech, in Smithfield, Johnson County.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Seth Wilder, 37; wife Lillie Mae, 32; and children Willie May, 2, and Seth, 1; Chestiney Wilder, 72; Sally Creech, 57, and her children Sally, 18, Geneava, 16, and Addie Lee Creech, 13; and Waltie Monque, 26.

In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Dowell Tucker, 71; wife Isebell, 47; and children Charles, 21, Bennie, 17, Martha, 15, Joe B., 13, James, 10, Dove, 8, Joe Lewis, 5, and daughter-in-law Mamie Ree, 14.

Seth Wilder registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 6 May 1902 in Wilson County; resided at Route 1, Box 261, Lucama; was self-employed; and his contact was R.H. Neal.

Seth Wilder died 2 May 1990 in Washington, D.C.


A colored man has him.

In 1909, Edna Newsome Wilder hired a lawyer to help her get custody of her grandson, 12 year-old Purley Newsome. Purley’s mother was dead, and his father absent and uninterested. A colored man named Willie Woodard, who was “of no kin” and lived in Black Creek township, had the boy and was ill-treating him.

Judge Charles M. Cooke heard the application for writ of habeas corpus. In a somewhat enigmatically worded Order, Cooke declared that it was “inadvisable” to make a final decision at the time and that Purley’s best interests were served by remaining with Woodard for a year. Edna Wilder and her sons — the boy’s uncles — were permitted to visit him at Woodard’s, and the boy was permitted to visit his grandmother once every three months. The hearing was postponed until September term of court, 1910, and Wilder ordered to pay costs.

I have not been able to identify Purley Newsome or Willie Woodard.

On 31 January 1900, Edna Newsome, 55, married Ishmael Wilder, 60, son of Ben and Clarissa Wilder, at Edna Newsome’s house in Cross Roads township. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the service in the presence of Grant Farmer, W.T. Barnes and L.H. Newsome.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Ishmael Wilder, 63; wife Edney, 55; and daughter Clora, 26.

The Wilders’ marriage, the second for both, did not last long. Ishmael Wilder is listed in the 1910 census of Springhill township as a divorced farmer, living alone. Edna Wilder is not found.

Writ of Habeas Corpus to End Child Abuse, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The last will and testament of Ishmael Wilder.

In the name of God, I Ishmael Wilder of the County of Wilson and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory and in feeble health and considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence and the certainty of death do make and declare this my last will and testament in the manner and form following

First that executors hereinafter named shall out of the first money coming into their hands as a part of my estate pay all my funeral expenses together with my just debts wheresoever and to whomsoever owing.

Item 1. I lend to my son Josiah Wilder 60 acres of land to be cut off of the east side of my tract of land so as to include my present residence but not to include the place where he formally lived to him during his natural life and at his death I give and bequeath it to his bodily heirs if any and if none to return to my estate.

Item 2. I lend to my son H.G. Wilder 60 acres of land to be cut off next to my son Josiah Wilder’s piece so as to include the house where Josiah Wilder formally lived and not to include the house on the road where Joe Barnes now lives; to him during his natural life and at his death I give and bequeath it to his bodily heirs if any and if none to return to my estate.

Item 3. I lend to my daughter Laura A. Reed 59 1/2 acres the remainder of my land to include the house where Joe Barnes now lives to her during her natural life and at her death I give and bequeath it to her bodily heirs if any and if none to return to my estate.

Item 4. I give and bequeath to the six children of my deceased son Hinton Wilder One Hundred and Seventy Five dollars each in money.

Item 5. I give and bequeath to the two children of my deceased daughter Victoria Hinnant Three Hundred dollars in money.

Now I have some insurance and some personal property which I desire sold and used in the payment of the items above mentioned and if there be a deficiency which I think there may be it is my will and my desire that my two sons Josiah Wilder and H.G. Wilder and my daughter Laura A. Reed shall pay the deficiency each of them paying one third of said deficiency so that my grandchildren may have what I have bequeathed to them and I make this a first lien of the lands devised to them until they have paid said deficiency.

Lastly I hereby appoint my two sons Josiah Wilder and H.G. Wilder my lawful executors to execute this my last will and testament and I hereby revoke and declare void all other wills and testaments and I hereunto set my hand and seal this the 16th day of October 1913.  /s/ Ishmael Wilder

Made and declared by Ishmael Wilder to be his last will and testament and at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other we sign the same as witnesses thereto. This October the 26th 1913.  Witnesses R.T. Barnes, S.C. [Simon C.] Barnes


J.T. Revell surveyed and divided Ishmael Wilder’s land in Springhill township among his heirs on 21 April 1920. A map of the division is found on page 390 of Will Book 5-6, housed in the Wilson County Register of Deeds office.

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This was not the end of the matter.

Laura Wilder Reid and her husband, Henry S. Reid, contracted to sell Oscar Neal her 59 1/2 acre portion of her father’s estate for $10,000. Reid contended that she had title to the land in fee simple, but Neal questioned her ability to convey the land to him under the terms of Ishmael Wilder’s will. On 19 October 1921, the Reids filed suit to clarify the matter. A trial judge found in their favor, and Neal appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Here is the statement of facts and initial judgment in Reid v. Neal, 182 N.C. 192 (1921).

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Five dense pages of legalese later, the Supreme Court concluded that Laura Reid had only a life estate in her father’s property and thus could not sell it. Judgment reversed.


On 27 August 1866, Ishmal Wilder and Sarah Richards registered their cohabitation before a justice of the peace in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census, Springhill township, Wilson County: Ishmael Wilder, 41, wife Sarah 38, and children Hinton, 6, Josiah, 4, and James, 2.

In the 1880 census, Springhill township, Ishmal Wilder, 44, his mother Classey, 65, his wife Sarah, 36, and children Hinton, 15, Josiah, 13, James, 12, Lorrian, 9, Guilford, 8, Clarian, 7, Henry, 5, and Nancy An, 3.

On 11 November 1893, H.G. Wilder, 21, son of Ishmael and Sarah Wilder, married Francy Earp, 19, daughter of Sidney and Nancy Earp, in Oldfields township, Wilson County.

On 6 January 1894, Josiah Wilder, 27, son of Ishmael and Sarah Wilder, married Christina M. Earp, 25, daughter of Sidney and Nancy Earp, in Oldfields township, Wilson County.

On 22 October 1895, Laura Wilder, 25, daughter of Ishmael and Sarah Wilder, married Henry S. Reid, 34, son of Washington and Penina Reid of Wayne County. Samuel H. Vick applied for the couple’s license. (Henry was a brother of veterinarian Elijah Reid and principal J.D. Reid.)

On 31 January 1900, Ishmael Wilder, 60, son of Ben and Clarisa Wilder, married Edna Newsom, 55, in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Ishmael Wilder, 63, wife Edney, 55, and daughter Clara, 26.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson & Raleigh Branch Road, Ishmael Wilder, 74, divorced, living alone. Next door, the “Joe Barnes” mentioned in his will: Joseph Barnes, 57, wife Chana, 51, children Elijah, 16, Joseph, 13, and Sarah Barnes, 10, and granddaughter Fletchie L. Williams, 6. Joseph reported that he was renting the land he farmed; he was Ishmael’s tenant.

Ishmael Wilder died 10 February 1917.


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