Williams

620 Viola Street.

The one hundred sixty-seventh in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1950; 1 story; two-room, gable-roofed cottage.” This house appears to have replaced an earlier building on the site that dated from the mid-1920s. (The lot was empty at the time of the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.)

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In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Picott Wm (c; Annie) pntr h 620 Viola

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Williams Chas (c; Ellen) lab h 620 Viola

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 620 Viola, rented for $9/month, Charlie Williams, 25, body plant laborer; wife Elandor, 28; and stepson Dav S. Shaw, 12.  

On 17 September 1938, the Wilson Daily Times listed the property among those subject to auction for delinquent taxes. The owners were the heirs of Della Barnes.

In 1940, Lester Dew registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his draft registration card, he was born 7 February 1911 in Wilson County; lived at 620 Viola; his contact was wife Grace Dew; and he worked for Southern Tobacco Company, Wilson.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 610 Viola, Lester Dew, 29, tobacco packer, and wife Grace, 26, tobacco hanger.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Dew Lester E (c; Grace) lab h 620 Viola

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, the house was listed as vacant.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022.

F-L-T.

We have seen here that Wilson’s Hannibal Lodge #1552 was not the only Odd Fellows lodge in Wilson County.

The three links engraved on the headstones of Gray Williams and Henderson Parker in William Chapel cemetery suggest an Odd Fellows lodge in Taylor township in far northwest Wilson County.

On 27 February 1900, the trustees of the Colored Odd Fellows paid Caswell F. and Eliza J. Finch $12.50 for a one-acre lot in Taylors township on the east side of the Wilson and Nash Road adjacent to the colored school lot. The deed was recorded on 10 March 1900 in Wilson County Register of Deeds in Deed Book 54, page 314. The Wilson and Nash Road was today’s N.C. Highway 58, and “the colored school lot” is probably a reference to Farmers Colored School, which was located just north of modern-day Silver Lake.

Gray Williams Oct 3 1882 Jul 12 1925 Lula Williams Born 1878 Jan 21 1923 Gone But Not Forgotten

Henderson Parker July 5, 1878 Sept 6, 1919

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022. 

The obituary of Tom Williams.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 March 1941.

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In the 1910 census of Lake Creek township, Bladen County, North Carolina: Quincy Williams, 29; wife Lulu Jane, 20; and children Thomas G., 3, Annie M., 2, and Rufus A., 8 months.

In the 1920 census of Lake Creek township, Bladen County, North Carolina: John Q. Williams, 38; wife Lula, 32; and children Thomas, 14, Annie M., 12, Rufus A., 10, and Jeremiah, 7; and niece Rossie Johnson, 16.

In 1940, Thomas Gleans Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 12 September 1905 in Ivanhoe, N.C.; his contact was mother Lula Evans Williams, Ivanhoe, Bladen County; and he worked for W.E. Barnes at Cherry Hospital. The card is marked “Cancelled Dead 7-7-41.”

Thomas Williams died 10 March 1941 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 September 1905 in Ivehoe, N.C., to John Williams and Lula Johnson; was single; lived at 415 East Green Street; worked as a laborer; and was buried in Rountree cemetery, Wilson.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Where we worked: J.Y. Buchanan, blacksmith.

In 1942, Fletcher Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he worked for “J.Y. Buchanan, Blacksmith Alley, back of Old Quinn Store” in “Alley between Clark Fac. & Old Quinn Furn. Sto.” Two years earlier, Williams had reported to a census taker that he was a blacksmith; he was likely one of the last African-Americans to ply that trade in Wilson.

Virginia native James Younger Buchanan arrived in Wilson circa 1910. He practiced horseshoeing at various stables downtown before establishing his own blacksmithing and horseshoeing business with a sideline in welding and general machine repair. Buchanan died in 1949.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 August 1918.

The encircled building on this detail of the 1922 Wilson, N.C., Sanborn fire insurance map is marked BL. SM. and appears to be the location of J.Y. Buchanan’s shop. Today, it would stand directly behind Casita Brewing Company. “Old Quinn Store,” i.e. R.E. Quinn & Company, was at 231-233 South Goldsboro Street, at top left in this image. “Clark Fac.” was W.T. Clark & Company Tobacco Re-Drying Factory, whose location is now a large municipal parking lot.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 February 1928.

902 Washington Street.

The one hundred-fifty-fifth in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Presumably, this house is under renovation. Here, the original cedar shakes in the front gable are visible under an overlay of vinyl siding.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; bungalow with gable-end form and recessed entry.”

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Murphy Geo (c; Lucinda) lab h 902 Washington

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 902 Washington, rented for $16/month, George Murphey, 34, town laborer; wife Lucile, 33, laundress; and children Willie, 15, and Pearl, 13.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Fletcher Williams, 49, blacksmith at J.Y. Buchanan’s; wife Esther, 38, Carolina Laundry worker; and children Armina, 12, Gladys, 19, Virginia, 9, Fletcher Jr., 13, and Charles, 15. All were born in Goldsboro, N.C.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Williams Fletcher (c; Esther; 5) blksmith h 902 Washington

Wilson Daily Times, 16 January 1941.

In 1942, Fletcher Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 24 August 1900 in Goldsboro, N.C.; lived at 902 Washington Street; his contact was sister Minnie Williams, Viola Street near High School; and he worked for “J.Y. Buchanan, Blacksmith Alley, back of Old Quinn Store” in “Alley between Clark Fac. & Old Quinn Furn. Sto.”

In 1942, Fletcher Williams Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 6 November 1925 in Goldsboro, N.C.; lived at 902 Washington Street; his contact was mother Esther Lee Williams, 902 Washington; and he had “been going to school.”

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Felman Walter C (c; Velma) lab h 902 Washington

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.

The average negro will drive a car exactly like he drives a horse.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 December 1916.

Though this whole opinion piece is cast in racialized terms, the writer (the Times editor? so nearly killed? if so, his writing is atrocious) slips and admits that bad driving cut across caste — “some white drivers will do the same thing.” 

Only in the second paragraph does he turn to the matter of correcting the previous day’s factual errors — Pearlie Hodges, not Cliff Williams, was driving the car that struck Mr. Oettinger’s car (only white people received the honorific Mr., Mrs. or Miss by the journalistic standards of the day), and Ernest Brown wasn’t there at all.

Fatal auto accident on the road to Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 November 1918.

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While trying to pass a wagon on the road from Black Creek to Wilson (probably today’s Black Creek and Frank Price Church Roads), Johnnie Williams smashed his automobile into a telegraph pole, killing Washington Joyner and injuring Coot Robbins and Hiram Faulkner.

  • Johnnie Williams
  • Washington Joyner — George Washington Joyner.
  • Coot Robbins
  • Hiram Faulkner — probably, Hiram Faulkland.

Williams killed in South Wilson.

More articles about the mysterious circumstances under which Joe Gaffney (or Goffney) shot and killed his girlfriend Blanche Williams in September 1921.

The breaking news:

Wilmington Morning Star, 26 September 1921.

The Daily Times‘ edition, published the same day, gave a blow-by-blow of the testimony adduced at the preliminary hearing. Both Gaffney and Williams were married to other people, but were in a relationship. Williams had come to Wilson from Goldsboro to work in domestic service. Gaffney and Williams were at the home of a woman named Joe Lee (or Joe Brodie) when Clifton Johnson brought in a gun. While Gaffney was examining it, he accidentally shot Williams. However, witnesses claimed they overheard Gaffney say, “If you go with that man I will kill you.” When Williams stepped in the house, Gaffney shot her, then threatened everyone else in the house before he fled.

In December 1921, Joe Gaffney was convicted of Williams’ manslaughter. He drew a twelve-month sentence “to be hired out to pay costs.”

Wilson Daily Times, 23 December 1921.

Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1921.

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  • Joe Gaffney

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Lemon Barnes, 51; wife Dollie Ann, 51; children Ida, 26, Lemon Jr., 20, Mattie, 17, Charlie, 15, and Howard, 12; and stepsons Cornelius Neal, 12, Paul Goffney, 17, and Joseph Goffney, 15.

  • Blanche Williams

Blanch Williams died 24 September 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 24 years old; was single; was born in Wayne County to Wash Smith and Laura Williams; and worked as a common laborer. Selina Craig of Goldsboro, N.C., was informant.

Cause of death: “Revolver wound of head (probably accidental)”

The obituary of Eugene Williams of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indianapolis News, 11 August 1959.

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In the 1900 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 1110-12th Street, janitoress Margaret Puryear, 38, widow; daughter Mary, 13; and cousin Eugene Williams, 25; all born in North Carolina.

Eugene Hummons Williams was born 24 February 1908 in Indianapolis to Eugene Williams, 23, foundry man, born in North Carolina, resides at 915 Paca Street, and Janie Isom, 33, born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, resides at 915 Paca Street.

In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 803 West Pratt, Eugene Williams, 35, steel works machinist; wife Jane, 25; son Eugene, 2; and sister-in-law Roberta Morse, 15.

Eugene Williams registered for the World War I draft in Indianapolis in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 9 May 1874; lived at 805 West Pratt; was a fireman for C. & A. Potts & Company; and his nearest relative was Janie Williams.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 805 West Pratt, Eugene Williams, 46, steel works machinist; wife Jane, 36; and children Eugene, 11, Don C., 4, and Harlan, 6 months.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 918 Fayette Street, owned and valued at $4000, foundry laborer Eugene H. Williams, 53; wife Jane, 46; and sons Eugene Jr., 20, Don C., 14, and Harland D., 10.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: at 918 Fayette Street, steel plant fireman Eugene Williams, 56; wife Jane, 54; and son Harlan, 20.

Eugene Williams registered for the World War II draft in Indianapolis in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 9 May 1878 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 918 Fayette Street, Indianapolis; his contact was Jannie Williams; and he worked for Heteren & Burner & Co., Indianapolis.

Eugene Williams died 9 August 1959 in Indianapolis. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 May 1876 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Moses Williams and Mary [last name unknown]; lived at 918 Fayette Street; was retired from Hetherington Steel Structure; and was married to Jane Williams.