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.
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.
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.
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.
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)”
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.
The victim, in fact, was named Cora Lee Carr. I have not found more about her terrible death.
Cora Lee Carr died 21 April 1924 in Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was about 24 years old; was married to Earnest Carr; and was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Willie Williams was informant. Cause of death: “Crushed scull with axe Homicide Instant death.”
In 1940, principal Malcolm D. Williams submitted a summary of Vick Elementary School’s end-of-year activities, which included a dress-up “Old Fashion School Closing” at the Darden school auditorium and standardized testing.
Wiley Williams‘ wife Carrie died of post-influenza pneumonia when the flu pandemic swept through Wilson County in late 1918. Perhaps overwhelmed by grief, Williams took his own life seven months later. Nicodemus Patterson, from whom Williams had rented farmland, stepped in to arrange the sale of Williams’ belongings for the benefit of his three teenaged children.
On 8 March 1899, Wiley Williams, 21, of Wilson County, son of Harriett Williams, married Carrie Sessoms, 22, of Wilson County, daughter of Claude Sessoms, in Gardners township, Wilson County.
In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Wiley Williams, 30; wife Carrie, 40; and children Arthur, 10, Ivor M., 7, and Lizzie, 4.
Wiley Williams registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his draft registration card, he was born 28 October 1878; lived at R.F.D. 4, Elm City; was a tenant farmer for Nick Patterson; and his nearest relative was wife Carrie Williams. He signed his name with an X.
Carrie Williams died 3 November 1918 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her birth certificate, she was about 47 years old; was born to Claude and Betsy Sessoms; was married to Wiley Williams and was a farm laborer for N.D. Patterson. G.W. Williams was informant.
Wiley Williams died 11 June 1919 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was about 41 years old; was a widower; was born in Wilson County to Duck Barnes and Harritt Williams; and was a tenant farmer. G.W. Williams was informant.
On 16 June 1919, N.D. Patterson filed for letters of administration in Wiley Williams’ estate, identifying his heirs as Arthur V., Lizzie, and Ivah Williams, all minors, and valuing his estate at about $500.
Arthur Williams died 28 January 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his death certificate, he was born 25 February 1900 in North Carolina to Wylie Williams and Carrie Session; was married to Della Williams; and worked as a laborer. Daughter Clementine Wormsley was informant.
N.C. Mutual Life Insurance affiliate Home Development Company was a major player in East Wilson real estate in the mid-twentieth, buying and selling distressed properties by the dozens. Below, a plat map the company recorded in 1944 for two lots on Viola Street between C.E. Artis at 308 North Pender and Sadie Joyner at 609 Viola.
The house at 607 Viola Street was demolished in the early 1980s. There has never been a house on the second lot.
Plat book 4, page 13.
In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Church Alton (c; Hattie) lab h 607 Viola; Church Helen (c) maid Cherry Hotel H 607 Viola.
In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Clark Saml (c; Cath) h 607 Viola; Clark Martha (c) dom h 607 Viola.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Viola, at $16/month rent, Catherine Clark, 42, born in S.C., hospital cook; husband Sam, 52, born in Georgia; granddaughter Martha Clark, 15, born in S.C.; grandson Willie McGill, 6, born in N.C.; and two roomers, Talmage Smith, 21, and Roy Maze, 26, both orchestra musicians. [Orchestra musicians?]
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 Viola, at $6/month, Nora Farmer, 28, tobacco factory hanger, and lodgers Maggie Smith, 23, also a hanger, and Lester Parker, 28, highway laborer. Also, at $8/month, Charlie Williams, 42, service station attendant; wife Ellen, 38, laundress; son David, 23, tobacco factory laborer; and niece Eloise Tarboro, 18, servant.
In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city director: Williams Chas (c; Ellen) porter G Duke Ricks h 607 Viola
In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Williams Edgar (c) lab h 213 Spruce; Williams Jane(c) lab h 213 Spruce
In 1917, Edgar Williams registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 3 January 1896 in Mount Olive [Wayne County, N.C.]; lived at 213 Spruce Street; was single; and worked as a laborer at Wilson Country Club. He was described as short, of medium build, with brown eyes and balding black hair. He signed his name on the card.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 213 Spruce Street, Jane Williams, 46, and son Edgar, 24, both tobacco factory workers.
Edgar Williams, 24, of Wilson County, son of Jane Williams, married Anna McKay, 22, of Wilson, on 16 December 1920 in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister A.L.E. Weeks performed the ceremony in the presence of F.F. Battle, Almer Pouncey, and Annie E. Weeks.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 Mercer Street, Echo Williams, 33, Imperial Tobacco Company office boy; wife Anna, 28; and roomer Ora Sanders, 26.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 511 South Mercer, paying $6/month rent, office janitor at retrying plant Edgar Williams, 44, and wife Anna, 39, hanger at reducing plant. The Williamses shared what was likely a double shotgun house with Arthur Dunnington, 39, “lines out hogsheads” at redrying plant, and wife Anna, 42, sweeper and hanger at redrying plant.
Anna Williams died 27 August 1941 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 15 April 1901 in Bennettsville, South Carolina, to Frank Washington and Lula McKay; was married to Edgar Williams; lived at 511 South Mercer; worked as a domestic; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.
Jannie Williams died 25 November 1944 in Wilson. She was 68 years old; was born in Mount Olive to Isaac and Adline Spells; was a widow; lived at 207 Spruce Street; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.
Edgar Williams died 18 January 1949 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 June 1896 in Wilson to Jane Spells; worked as a tobacco factory day laborer; lived at 511 Mercer Street; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Inez Watson, 113 Pender Street, was informant.