Williams

408 North Reid Street.

The seventy-fourth 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 house is: “1934; 2 stories; Oscar Woodard house; locally unique house with front-facing entry gable suggesting vernacular Tudor Revival style; end chimney includes decorative glazed tile; contributing stuccoed-concrete block wall, frame garage, and three storage sheds; Woodard was a chauffeur and handyman.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Reid, rented at $16/month, barber Oscar Williams, 31, wife Lula, 23, son William, 1, and sister-in-law Mena Jones, 20.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 408 Reid, rented for $14/month, taxi driver Essie Smith, 28, born in Red Springs, N.C.; wife Alice, 26, maid at Woodard-Herring; and daughter Aggie Nora, 2; plus Annie McCohan, 50, widow, also from Red Springs.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, two entries: Smith Essie (c; Alice; 1) taxi driver h 408(2) N Reid; and Woodard Oscar (c; Katie J) janitor Branch Banking & Tr Co h 408 (407) N Reid

Photo taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, 2016.

Final rites for Aggie M. Williams.

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 March 1951.

The Daily Times‘ editorial policy, apparently, provided that the most remarkable fact of the lives of men and woman who had been enslaved was that they had been enslaved. However, as set forth in detail here, Aggie Mercer Williams died possessed of a house and two lots in Elm City and two farms outside of town, which suggests a lifetime of notable achievement.

“Wide A-wa-ake Lo-ove!” — the Wilson County roots of Tupac Shakur.

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Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-1996).

Via his maternal grandfather, Tupac Amaru Shakur had roots in Wilson County. He and his mother, Afeni Shakur, were descendants of Jack and Cassey Exum Sherrod, whose homestead was profiled here. Jack and Cassey Sherrod’s daughter Fannie married George Washington Powell, a native of northern Nash County. The couple and their children were tenant farmers or sharecroppers and moved often among the counties surrounding Wilson. Fannie and George Powell’s daughter Lena B. Powell married a Greene County native, Walter L. Williams, and this family also appear to have been sharecroppers in Wilson and bordering counties. Walter L. Williams Jr. married Rossie Bell McLellan of Robeson County, North Carolina, in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1944. The couple returned to North Carolina, where the future Afeni Shakur was born Alice Faye Williams in 1947.

——

In the 1870 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jack Sherard, 26, wife Cassey, 25, and daughter Fanny, 4.

In the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: farmer Jack Sherod, 37; wife Cassey, 28; and children Fanny, 12, William, 9, Ida, 7, Marcy, 2, John, 5, and Benny, 11 months.

On 18 October 1893, George Powell, 24, of Town of Wilson, son of Lawson and Lany Powell of Nash County, married Fannie Sherrod, 23, of Town of Wilson, daughter of Jack and Cassa Sherrod of Wilson County. A.M.E. Zion minister L.B. Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of Rev. L.J. Melton, Rev. Fred M. Davis, and S.A. Smith.

In the 1900 census of North Whitakers township, Nash County: farmer George Powell, 33; wife Fannie, 20; and sons Earnest, 4, Sylvester, 3, and James C., 1.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer George W. Powell, 42; wife Fannie, 40; and children Earnest, 14, Sylvester, 12, Carter, 9, Lena, 8, Burser, 5, Ida, 3, and Bruss M., 2.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer George Powell, 51; wife Fannie, 51; and children Silvester, 22, Cartis, 20, Lena, 18, Bertha, 16, Ida, 14, and Fannie, 12.

On 31 March 1920, Carter Powell, 21, of Green County, son of George and Fannie Powell, married Anna Barnes, 18, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Harry and Rena Barnes, in Stantonsburg, Wilson County. George Powell witnessed the ceremony.

On 12 June 1921, Lena B. Powell, 21, of Saratoga, daughter of G.W. and Fannie Powell, married Walter Williams, 28, of Greene County, son of Henry and Sarah Williams, in Saratoga. Rev. E.H. Cox of U.A.F.W. church presided, and John Williams of Saratoga, H.T. Dillard of Wilson, and Mable Speight of Saratoga witnessed.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer George Powell, 60; wife Fannie, 60, washer woman; and children Bruce, 21, and Fannie, 16.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn Road, farmer Walter L. Williams, 37; wife Lena B., 29; and children Walter Jr., 8, Ernest H., 6, Lafaett, 3, Hattie M., 1, Ada G., 1, and sister-in-law Fannie I. Powell, 16.

George Powell died 18 August 1930 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1869 in Nash County to Lawson Powell and Lannie Taylor; was a farmer; was married to Fannie Powell. Informant was Robert Powell, Stantonsburg.

In the 1940 census of Great Swamp township, Wayne County: farmer Walter Williams, 48; wife Lena, 39; and children Walter Jr., 18, Ernest Hubert, 16, Lafayette, 14, Hettie May, 12, Ada Gold, 10, Juanita, 8, Sharon, 6, and Charles Ray, 9 months.

In 1942, Walter Williams Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Goldsboro, Wayne County. Per his registration card, he was born 2 April 1922 in Walstonburg, North Carolina; resided at 505 East Chapel Street, Goldsboro; his contact was mother Lena B. Williams, Route 1, Fremont, North Carolina; and his employer was Ossie Wiggs, Route 1, Goldsboro.

On 26 July 1944, Walter Williams Jr., 23, of Walstonburg, North Carolina, son of Walter Williams Sr. and Lena B. Powell, resident of Norfolk, married Rosabella McLellan, 26, of Rowland, North Carolina, daughter of Kenny McLellan and Rosa Lee Powell, resident of Portsmouth, in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Alice Faye Williams [later, Afeni Shakur] was born 10 January 1947 in Robeson County, North Carolina, to Rossie Bell McLelland and Walter Williams Jr.

Joseph Sylvester Powell died 13 July 1958 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1896 in Wayne County  to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; was unemployed; was married to Minnie Powell; lived at 108 Powell Street. Informant was Bertha Reid, Wilson.

Bertha Powell Reid died 6 June 1970 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 January 1904 to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; and resided at 118 Irma Street. Mrs. Fannie Burgess, 404 East Banks Street, Wilson, was informant.

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born 16 June 1971 in New York City. [His birth name was Lesane Crooks.]

Bruce Powell died 5 October 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 21 December 1906 to George Powell and Fannie Sherrod; was a farmer; was married to Blonnie Sauls; and resided at 108 Powell Street.

Rev. Walter Larry Williams died 6 November 1973 in Kenly, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1893 to Henry and Sarah Williams. Informant was Mrs. Ada Jones, Kenly.

James Carter Powell died 13 October 1980 in Wilson Per his death certificate, he was born 4 January 1900 in Nash County to G.W. Powell and Fannie Sherrod; worked as a butler; and was a widower.

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Afeni Shakur (1947-2016).

Many thanks to Edith Lee Harris for bringing this connection to my attention.

Image of Tupac Shakur courtesy allhiphop.com, copyright holder unknown; image of Afeni Shakur (c) Associated Press, 2016.

 

 

703 East Green Street.

The fifty-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: “ca. 1913; 1 story; Lewis Pitt house; hip-roofed, double-pile cottage with bracketed porch posts; Pitt was a laborer.” [In fact, Lewis Pitt lived at 633/704 East Green, across the street.]

Robert C. Bainbridge and Kate Ohno’s Wilson, North Carolina: Historic Buildings Survey, originally published by the City of Wilson in 1980 and updated and republished in 2010 under the auspices of the Wilson County Genealogical Society, provides additional details about the house: “Typical of turn of the century architecture in Wilson, this cottage boats handsome banded chimneys and a porch with interestingly scrolled sawnwork brackets and turned columns.”

703 East Green Street was formerly numbered 632.

The corner of Green and Elba Streets as shown in the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson. 701 East Green, not then built, has since been demolished. 303 Elba, 700 East Green, 702 East Green and 703 East Green remain, though only one is currently inhabited.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Vick Caroline, h 623 Green; Vick Elva, h 623 Green. [Was this Samuel and Annie Vick’s daughter Elba, who was about 15 in 1912? If so, why was living with Carolina Vick across the street from her parents? Was Carolina’s deceased husband Robert Vick a relative of Sam Vick?]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed laundress Caroline Vick, 60, and grandson Madison Perry, 17.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Vick Caroline, midwife h 623 Green; Vick Elba, music tchr h 623 Green; Cooper Becky h 623 Green.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 623 Green, widowed midwife Caroline Vick, 90; Nancy Dawson, 45, widowed cook; Becky Cooper, 85, widow; daughter Alice Heath, 35, widowed factory laborer; and son-in-law Isom Perry, 45, farm laborer.

Allace Heath died 16 April 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 43 years old; was born in Franklin [County], North Carolina, to Norflick Dunson and Carolina Williamson; was a widow; was a laborer; and resided at 703 East Green. Carolina Vick was informant.

Isham Perry died 10 July 1921 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 55 years old; was born in Halifax County to Isham Perry and Mollie Alston; was a tenant farmer; was a widower; and resided at 703 East Green. Nancy Dawson was informant.

Carolina Vick died 16 July 1925 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 78 years old; widowed; a midwife; and born in Newton County, Georgia, to Marner and Cheney Williamston. Nancy Dawson, 703 East Green was informant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 East Green, rented for $21/month, Nancy Dawson, 60, widowed laundress, with two roomers, Oscar Ratliff, 36, and wife Nellie, 27; also renting for $21/month, Charlie Davis, 61, butler, wife Mattie, 50, laundress, and son Willie, 24, farm laborer.

Nancy Dawson died 17 January 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she was born 12 October 1869 in Edgecombe County to Millie Adkisson; resided at 703 Greene; and was widowed. John Bynum was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 703 Green Street, renting for $8/month, service station attendant Paul Dunison, 27, and wife Dossie M., 27; also, renting for $8/month, Mary Farmer, 57, laundress, and daughter Vivian, 32, a household servant.

In the 1941 Wilson city directory: Williams Malcolm D (c; Rosa, 1) librarian Sam Vick Sch h 703 E Green; Williams Rosa (c) tchr Chas H Darden High Smh h 703 E Green

In 1942, Malcolm Demothenese Williams registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 26 September 1909 in Warsaw, N.C.; he resided at 703 East Green; his phone number was 2330; his contact was wife Rosa Lee Williams; and he was employed by superintendent S.J. Chappel, Wilson City Board of Education, at Vick School, North Reid Street, Wilson.

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2017.

 

 

120 North Pender Street.

The thirty-second 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.

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As described in the nomination form for East Wilson Historic District: “ca. 1913; John Barnes house; Queen Anne house with high hip-roofed main block and clipped-gable cross wings; wraparound porch; aluminum sided; Barnes was a brick mason.”

In the 1912 Hill’s city directory, John M. Barnes, bricklayer, is listed at 121 Pender Street (across from Saint John A.M.E. Zion.) The 1913 Sanborn map shows that 121 Pender was not the same house as the Queen Anne depicted above. Rather, it was a one-story dwelling on an adjacent lot.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Wilson, N.C. (1913).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 123 Pender Street, Georgia Akin, 45, widow, livery stable manager; brother Alexander Crockett, 47, stable salesman; and roomers John Norfleet, 30, and Mose Parker, 32, both laborers. [Per the 1913 Sanborn insurance map, the lot now occupied by this house was numbered 123, and the house was a simpler and somewhat smaller two-story building. Georgia’s husband John H. Aiken had been a partner with Crockett in Crockett & Aiken, a livery, transfer and house-moving outfit. 123 was a small house next door, to the south, of 120. The Aikens family moved into 120 within a few years of the census.]

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Wilson, N.C. (1922).

In the 1925 Wilson city directory: Georgia Akins, matron, 120 Pender.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 120 Pender, school teacher George C. Akin, 52; stepbrother James Crockett, 60, drayman; and lodgers Rogers Odom, 21, warehouse laborer, and Clarance Pierce, 20, barber.

Georgia Crockett Aikens died 17 August 1939 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 67 years old, born in Wayne County to William Crockett and Rachel Powell, resided at 120 Pender Street in Wilson, and was the widow of John Aikens. Rachel Williams, New York City, was informant.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Philadelphia-born widow Rachel Williams, 44, dress factory presser; club hostess Eleanor Rogers, 22; cook Rosa Mae Rogers, 30; Daniel B[illegible]. 27, attendant to sick invalid; and Prince Cunningham, 38, tobacco factory laborer.

The 1941 Hill’s Wilson city directory lists Rachel Williams and Oralee Pender as residents of 120 Pender.

The 1962 Hill’s Wilson city directory lists Rachel C. Williams at 120 North Pender.

Photograph taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2017.

Studio shots, no. 17: Loudella Williams.

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Written on the reverse: “Loudella Williams.”

That’s the one lived in the house next door to me where Miz Reid was staying. And she moved in there. She and her husband. Johnnie … Williams. And her name is what? What is her name? And we was best of friends. We’d go to movies together, go all downtown, go shopping. — Hattie Henderson Ricks

This photograph appears to date from the late 1930s-early 1940s. I have been unable to document Loudella Williams’ life in Wilson.

Photograph in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Thursday night drunk.

Coroner’s report of the Inquest held over Dennis Williams (Col.), Dec. 19th, 1899

North Carolina, Wilson County  }

Record of the examination of witnesses at the Inquest over the dead body of Dennis Williams (col)

The examination of W.D. Crocker M.D., Arch’d Robinson, W.M. Mumford, Edmund Williamson, John Henry, Horton Wells, Jason Wells (col), Alfred Moore taken before the undersigned, Coroner of said County, this 18th day of December 1899 at the Court House in Wilson, upon the body of Dennis Williams then lying dead, to-wit Archibald Robinson, being duly sworn says:

I went down to Mr. Moore’s Thursday night a little after dark. Mr. Moore not at home, but stayed there until a little after eight, went out and hurried towards home, just as I got close to the grave yard I heard a noise sound like some one struggling, I thought at first some one was trying to scare me heard noise about 100 years from Mr. Mumfords house. Saw man laying beside road, just a got against him I turned to left but walked by his feet and look down to see if I knew him, but made no stop. I met Edmund WmSon between where man was lying and Mr. Mumfords house. Just as I crossed the bridge I met him he spoke and I spoke and I stop after I passed him to see if he could recognize him and he stop and called to me that here is a man that seemed to be drunk or hurt come back and see if we can see what is to matter with him. I came back to injured man and found that Edmond knew him and found that he was injured. I and Mr. Mumford went to the depot and let some of the [illegible] Dr. W.D. Crocker went to see him. They took him up and carried him over to a vacant house about 350 years away where the doctor dressed his wounds. The man was total unconscience and stayed so, as far as I heard. Don’t know anything more about it.    Archibald (X) Robinson

Edmund Williamson being duly sworn says:

I was acquainted with Dennis Williams. Did not recognize him that night at first, but did afterwards. There was right much blood on ground, where he was found. Do not know why he was there.   Edmund (X) Williamson.

Wash Mumford, being duly sworn says:

Dennis came up to my house drunk, Thursday night drunk, like he always came, have learn him for 20 years, came to my gate, but Dago wouldn’t let him in. I was out in yard cutting out my beef. I forbid him to come in my yard for he was drunk, he walked off to one side, leaning up against walling. About 8 or 10 minutes, talking to him self. Had some words and he walked away cursing. He was not very offensive and went off as soon as I told him to go. Went off in direction to where he was afterwards found. Heard that he was hurt about 15 minutes after he left my house. I heard him meet some one, and heard him curve some one, and heard other party say he would kill him if he cursed him, and almost immediately afterwards heard blows. Mr. Wells and my son was with me. After I found out he was hurt, took my cart, and help them carry him off and dress his would. Found a bar rail and a fence rail where he was hurt, was blood, and hair on rails.  Wash (X) Mumford

Horton Wells, being duly sworn says:

I was at Mr. Mumford, when Dennis same to his house Thursday night. I heard nothing more than Mr. Mumford testified to.  /s/ J.H. Wells

Jason Wells, being duly sworn, says:

I am barber, my business is at Lucama. Went home a little early Thursday night. I saw Dennis at depot Thursday. He was drunk. I saw him between sun set and dark, didn’t see him after I went home. Didn’t see him have any money, but heard him say he had some. I took a drink with him, some time in the day he was not drunk then. Never saw him after he was hurt.   Jason (X) Wells

Alferd Moore, being duly sworn, says:

The man was found dead about a half miles from my house.   /s/ Alfred Moore

Dr. W.D. Crocker, being duly sworn says:

I practice medicine at Lucama I saw Dennis Williams in Lucama Thursday about sun down very drunk and he spoke to me, did not know him at that time. Had him searched next morning, did n’t find any thing except some candy, When I saw him at about half past ten he was unconscience, and had one cut on head near 6 in in length, cut to skull. I couldn’t detect any fracture in skull. He had both arms broken about five in from wrist, one bone in each arm. I think the cause of his death was from the two wounds on the head. I think the wounds were made by a rail.  He was never conscience, and his pulse was very week. His folks took him home Friday and he died the next day. He also had a bruise on back of his head.  /s/ W.D. Crocker

John Henry Battle, being duly sworn, says:

I live in Lucama, work with Mr. J.L. Hays. I saw Dennis Williams, about dark Thursday night, didnt see him during day. He was going out of town, with a man called Black Jack, coming out towards Barnes cross roads. I thought Dennis was drunk. Black Jack didn’t seem to be as drunk as Dennis, but I though he was drinking, Dennis wanted to go out in the country, and Black Jack didn’t want to go. Don’t know whether he went or no, both seemed to be in good humor. Didn’t see Dennis any more until he was found hurt, and haven’t see Black Jack since.  /s/ John Henry Battle

John K. Ruffin, Coroner

——

  • Dennis Williams
  • Jason Wells — Jason Wells, 47, of Cross Roads, married Rena Reaves, 22, of Cross Roads, on 19 October 1897 in Lucama. Witnesses were Henry Odham, Joseph Newsom, and Linsey Wells. In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: day laborer Jason Wells, 51, wife Arrena, 30, and children Joseph E., 16, Johnie H., 11, Shelly, 2, and Carlton, 9 months. Jason Wells died 18 October 1934 in Cross Roads township. Per his death certificate: he was born in 1851 in Nash County to Dennis and Nellie Wells; was married to Rena Reaves Wells; worked as a farmer until 1931; and was buried in Lamms cemetery. Rena Reaves Wells was informant.
  • Edmund Williamson — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Edmund Williamson, 50, wife Thaney, 44, and children William, 25, Nicie, 23, Eliza, 22, Eddie, 21, Ally, 19, Pollina, 17, Dolly Ann, 15, Isaac, 12, and Raiford, 7.
  • John Henry Battle — in the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: day laborer Columbus Battle, 24, wife Minnie, 20, and brother, John H., 23, also a day laborer.

Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

A continuation of the bad feelings.

This article captures the apparent exasperation of Wilson school officials with the sizable “element” of the African-American community that refused to send its children to public school after Superintendent Charles Coon slapped a black teacher. The “Anti-Reidies” appointed local pastors Robert N. Perry and Spurgeon D. Davis to head their new schools at such time as they were able to open. (An occasion the health department was doing its part to thwart.) The basis of black opposition to J.D. Reid is sorely understated here, and the Reidites claim of public dislike of successor Clarissa Williams misses a larger problem with Reid himself. (Reid rebounded from this setback with a key role in the establishment of Wilson’s only black-owned bank, only to fall again spectacularly.) See here for a fuller account of the Mary Euell incident and its aftermath.

The Independent School (one, not two) in fact opened a week after this article ran and operated for the next ten years.

no-10-7-1918

News & Observer (Raleigh), 7 October 1918.