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.


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. 2: Loudella Williams.


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.


News & Observer (Raleigh), 7 October 1918.

The last will and testament of Aggie Mercer Williams.

Aggie M. Williams of Elm City dictated her will on 15 July 1914 in the presence of W.G. Britt Jr. and W.F. Cuddington.


The details:

  • to daughter Mary Eliza Nicholson and her children, 45 acres from her farm located about three miles from Elm City (and, specifically, the 45 acres must come from the middle of the farm, running north and south); remainder of household and kitchen furniture; house and lot on which she lived;
  • to daughter Cora C. Lucas, 20 acres to the north of Mary Eliza’s 45; two pair of bleaching sheets and a portion of her wearing apparel; any other personal property not mentioned to be split with Mary Eliza;
  • to Alice Marie Nicholson, the bedroom suite upstairs in the front room;
  • to Albert Thomas Lucas, the oak suite upstairs in the back room;
  • to Horace Lucas, a single bed;
  • Rev. C[larence] Dillard of Goldsboro, North Carolina, appointed executor.

Toward the end of her life, Williams made a codicil, dated 15 September 1949:

  • To her three grandsons Clarence E. Nicholson, Charles B. Nicholson, and Alonzo G. Nicholson Sr., jointly, with some restrictions, her property on East Main Street opposite the Jesse Wynn store in Elm City, consisting of a lot and two frame structures.


Aggy Mercer, 17, married Thos. Williams, 21, on 5 February 1876 at Toisnot township, Wilson County.

In the 1880 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Thomas Williams, 24, wife Aggie, 21, and daughters Clara, 3, and Mattie, 1.

On 31 May 1899, Thomas H. Nicholson, 24, of Halifax County, son of Zach Nicholson, married Clara Williams, 23, of Wilson County, daughter of Tom and Aggie Williams, at Elm City in Toisnot township.

In the 1900 census of the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: widow Aggie Williams, 41, dress maker; and her children, nurse Cora, 18, and day laborer Burtas, 14.

On 2 January 1901, Haywood Lucas, 22, of Rocky Mount, married Cora Williams, 20, of Toisnot, at 1st Baptist Church in Elm City. Witnesses were J.C. Ellis, Preston Faison and H.W. Hunter.

In 1910 in the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: Aggie Williams, 59, lived alone in a house she owned on Main Street. Also on Main Street: Hayward Lucas, 30, farm laborer, wife Cora, 29, laundress, and children Aggie, 9, Jessie M., 6, Albert Thomas, 4, Elias S., 2, and Hayward C., 6 months. On Wilson Street: tenant farmer Thomas H. Nicholson, 34, wife Clara, 33, and children Alonzo, 7, and Alice M., 4 months.

In 1920 in the Town of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: Aggie Williams, 51, dress maker, lived alone in a house she owned on Main Street.

Thomas Harrison Nicholson died 19 April 1923 in Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 May 1876 in Halifax County to Zackerie Nickolson and Nettie Lee, was a farmer, and died of pulmonary tuberculosis. Wife Clarra M. Nickolson was informant.

In the 1930 census of Washington, D.C.: at 1608 – 15th Street, N.W., lodgers Alonzo G. Nicholson, 26, barber, and wife Alice E., 19. Alonzo was born in North Carolina.

In the 1930 census of Elm City, Toisnot township, Wilson County: Cora Lucas, 46, laundress, divorced, with sons Elias T., 20, a filling station repairman, and Horace, 18. Both young men were described as “absent.” Cora owned her house and reported its value at $1500.

In 1940 in the Town of Elm City, Toisnot, Wilson County: Aggie Williams, 81, lived alone in a house she owned on Main Street. Daughter Cora lived next door.

In the 1940 census of Washington, D.C.: at 2603 J Street, N.W., Alonzo G. Nicholson, 36, janitor, wife Alice E., 29, son Alonzo G. Nicholson, 8, and a lodger.

Aggie M. Williams died 21 March 1951 in Elm City. Her death certificate records her birth as 14 February 1859 in Edgecombe County to Jessie and Fannie Mercer. The informant was Cora C. Lucas, her daughter.

On 22 August 1952, Clara M. Nicholson made out her will in the presence of Priscilla M. Gaston and Nannie Gaston of Elm City and Alma L. Guess of Raleigh. She left her “home place” on Branch Street in Elm City to her four children in the noted proportions: Alice Nicholson Spivey (1/2), sons Alonzo, Charles and Clarence (1/2 jointly). She also left Alice her piano. Her three sons were to divide four bedsheets, with Alice to receive the remainder of her linens. Other household furnishings they were to divide equally. In other property was devised to Alice (2/5 share) and her sons (1/5 each). Alice was named executor.

Clara Mary Nicholson died 1 February 1953 at her home on Branch Street in Elm City. Per her death certificate, she was born 25 October 1876 in Wilson County to Thomas Williams and Aggie M. Mercer. Informant was Alice Spivey.

Cora Christine Lucas died 22 March 1963 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Per her death certificate, she was born 23 September 1880 in Wilson County to Thomas Williams and Aggie Mercer, and was the widow of Haywood Lucas. She was buried in Elm City cemetery.

North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Establishing a graded school.

From “The Graded School Bill: An Act to Establish a Graded School in Wilson township, Wilson County,” as published in the Wilson Advance. The North Carolina legislature ratified the bill on 27 February 1883.


Wilson Advance, 23 March 1883.

  • E.C. Simms. Edward Cicero Simms was a teacher. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: school teacher Edward C. Simms, 23, wife Nicy, 26, and son Edward, 7 months. By 1891, the Simms family had moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where Edward is listed in the city directory. By 1897, Edward was an ordained A.M.E. Zion minister, as shown in this 9 May 1897 edition of the Norfolk Virginian:


  • G.A. Farmer. Probably, Gray Farmer, a carpenter and constable.
  • Peter Rountree was a shoemaker.
  • Charles Battle was a blacksmith.
  • Jerry Washington. Jeremiah Washington was a blacksmith. His daughter Annie Maria married Samuel H. Vick.
  • C.M. Jones
  • Daniel Vick, carpenter, farmer and politician, was the father of Samuel H. Vick.
  • Samuel Williams was a baker, then grocer. In the 1870 census of Wilson, Wilson County: baker Samuel Williams, 30, with carpenter Daniel Vick, 25, wife Fanny, 24, and children Samuel, 8, Earnest, 3, Netta M., 5, and Violet Drake, 52. On 24 September 1870, Samuel Williams, parents unknown, married Ann Scarbro, daughter of Jack and Zaly Adams, in Wilson. In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Samuel Williams, 38, wife Ann, 47, and daughter Anna, 9. In the 1900 census, grocer Samuel Williams, 58, with lodgers William Jackson, 36, and William Allen, 25, both tobacco graders.
  • C.H. Darden. Charles H. Darden was a blacksmith and, later, undertaker. In 1938, Wilson’s high school for African-American children would be named for Darden.

Wilson items.


Raleigh Gazette, 18 September 1897.

  • Clarissa Williams, a Wayne County native, briefly served as principal of the colored graded school after the teacher-slapping scandal.
  • S.H. Vick — Samuel H. Vick‘s sister Nettie Vick Jones was murdered in August 1897. His daughter Viola Leroy Vick died in September of that year.
  • Dr. George Williams was perhaps Wilson’s first black physician.
  • J.W. Rogers — Per the city directory, in 1922, John Wesley Rogers lived at 548 East Nash Street and worked as a porter at Oettinger’s department store. His wife,  a native of Johnston County, was Mary Elizabeth Thomas Rogers (1878-1950). Rogers was born in Durham County in 1870 and died in Wilson in 1951.
  • Mrs. A.V.C. Hunt — Annie V. Collins Hunt owned a grocery on Goldboro Street.
  • J.W. Williams
  • B.J.W. Moore — Pullman porter Benjamin J.W. Moore settled briefly in Wilson, his wife’s hometown, to run a grocery.
  • Mr. Moore — perhaps Andrew J.C. Moore, a teacher-cum-grocer.

The best people buy the best pianos.


In the very long “partial list of Ivers & Pond purchasers”:


Charlotte Daily Observer, 15 August 1909.

  • A.J.C. Moore — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: retail grocer Andrew Moore, 51, wife Robetta, 39, and children Evyln, 17, Omia, 16, and Willie, 1. Moore also worked as a teacher.
  • Clarissa Williams

Where did they go?: Indiana death certificates, no. 3.

Death certificates of Wilson County natives who died in Indiana.

  • Jack Sims


In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County: Isaac Simms, 32, wife Elvy, 33, and children Lucy, 12, Lilly, 10, Jack, 6, Isaac, 5, and unnamed 10 day-old twins, a boy and a girl.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: North Carolina-born Jack Sims, 69, was a lodger in a household on 17th Street.

  • Ella Farmer Suggs


In the 1940 census of Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana: hotel night porter Adock Thompson, 68, wife Hattie, 55, and widowed sister-in-law Ella Suggs, 68. Ella indicated that she had been living in Indianapolis in 1935.

  • Joseph Levi Sutton


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Wiggins Street, Joseph Sutton, 31, wife Maryliza, 30, and children Lula M., 9, Collie L., 6, Amanda, 4, and Bessie E., 1.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: on Finch Mill Road, Joseph B. Sutton, 40, wife Malissa, 40, and children Lula May, 19, Carrol Lee, 16, Senoa, 13, Bessie, 11, Rosa Belle, 9, Beatrice, 7, James W., 5, Frederick C., 2, and Levi J., 10 months.

In the 1930 census of Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: at 329 Front Street, Joseph B. Sutton, 50, wife Malissa G., 53, and children Beatrice, 17, James W., 15, Frederick, 13, Joseph L., 11, Bruce, 9, Beulah, 9, and Mable E., 7.

On 22 May 1940, in Emporia, Greensville County, Virginia, Joseph L. Sutton, 21, of Petersburg, Virginia, married Josie Mae Kenney, 18, of Wilson, North Carolina. Joseph, son of Joseph B. Sutton and Melissa G. Thaggard, reported that he was born in Sussex County, Virginia. Josie, daughter of Frank Kenney and Ida Barnes, reported that she was born in Baltimore, Maryland.

On 16 October 1940, Joseph Levi Sutton registered for the World War II draft. His registration card notes that he was born 19 May 1919 in Wilson County, that he resided at 534 East Nash Street in Wilson, that he worked for Southern Tobacco Company, and that his nearest relative was Malissie Gray Sutton of 716 East Green Street.

Malissie Gray Sutton died 17 May 1964 at her daughter’s home at 1200 Carolina Street in Wilson. Her death certificate states that she was born 15 May 1880 in Cumberland County to Andrew Thaggard and Annie Edwards. Informant was Lula Hayes of 1200 Carolina.

  • Eliza Patterson Venable


In the 1910 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 27 West 10th Street, widow Eliza Venable, 53, laundress, and daughter Fannie Patterson, 30, domestic.

In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 913 Camp Street, Edward Thompkins, 47, wife Fannie, 36, daughter Elizabeth, 4, and widowed mother-in-law Eliza Venable, 63.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 2846 Shriver Street, Edward Tompkins, 56, wife Fannie, 44, daughter Elizabeth, 15, and mother-in-law Eliza Venable, 73. Edward worked as a stock clerk in an electric shop and Fannie as a church secretary.

  • Eleanor Bynum Whitlock


  • Eugene Williams


In 1942, Eugene Williams of 918 Fayette Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, registered for the World War II draft. His draft card reports that he was born 9 May 1878 in Wilson County, North Carolina, that his contact was Jannie Williams, and that he worked for Heteren & Burner & Co.

  • John A. Woodard


In the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 1146 West 26th Street, North Carolina-born laborer John Woodard, 46, and Ohio-born wife Belle, 44.

In the 1930 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 1146 West 27th Street, owned and valued at $2500, John Woodard, 56,  wife Belle, 54, and son Frederick, 7. John worked as a janitor in a business building.

In the 1940 census of Indianapolis, Indiana: at 104 Geisendorf Street, laborer John Woodard, 66, and wife Belle, 65.