Woodard

Thirteenth violation.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 April 1939.

Like many who operated “cabarets” — Negro or not — Herbert Woodard supplied adult beverages to clients who sought them. Wilson was a dry county, however, and “liquor by the drink” was unlawful.

[Illegal or not, corrupt police “allowed” liquor sales by a handful of bootleggers who were expected to pay for the privilege. Herbert Woodard’s repeated arrests suggest that he was either unwilling to make payoffs or was not among the chosen few.]

 

A closer look at the Simon and Penninah Woodard Barnes family.

As previously explored here, on 14 February 1970, the Wilson Daily Times published a full-page article by local historian Hugh B. Johnston, Jr., detailing the life of London Woodard, founder of London’s Primitive Baptist Church. Near the end of the piece, Johnston outlined the family of London and Penny Lassiter Woodard‘s daughter Penninah Woodard, who married Simon Barnes.

In February of this year, I undertook an unsuccessful search for the Barnes-Woodard cemetery with Bernard Patterson, a descendant. Below, please find Johnston’s notes about the family (with a few of my annotations.)

“Pennina Woodard was born on January 30, 1859, and died on February 24, 1919. On January 1, 1877, she married Simon Barnes, son of Silas Barnes and wife Rosetta (Rose) Farmer. He was born September 11, 1848, and died on April 15, 1923. His mother was born in March of 1831 and died on August 1, 1921. The exact date was not given, but her position on the roll of members of old Toisnot Baptist Church indicates that she was received about 1861. “Big Simon” Barnes was an industrious and highly respected citizen of the western section of Gardners township, and he and his good wife reared a large and commendable family on the farm that she had inherited after the death of her three brothers.

  • Rosetta Barnes married 1st Henry Pleasant and 2nd the Rev. John Dillahunt. [John Washington Dillahunt was a native of New Bern, N.C.]
  • James Walter (Bud) Barnes was born in 1878 and died August 18, 1931. He married Adeline Pitt but had no children. In addition to a farming operation, he had quite a widespread reputation as an “herb doctor.” The writer of this article also remembers that as late as 1919 he operated a cane press and vat which he transported from farm to farm at the end of the summer in order to make the molasses that in those days was considered a great delicacy by a great many people in Wilson and Wilson County
  • Hardy Barnes died October 11, 1954. He married 1st Martha Ann Pitt and 2nd Maggie Barnes [Maggie Bullock].
  • Chaney Barnes was born October 28, 1882. She married Frank Barnes, son of Silas Barnes and wife Mary Coleman. She lives with a daughter, Mrs. Jesse T. McPhail [Minnie Barnes McPhail] of 1316 Carolina Street, whose husband is a retired post office employee and friend of the writer.
  • Penny Barnes died on November 27, 1923. She married Turner Hines.
  • Leonard Barnes was born on June 26, 1888, and died on November 19, 1952. He served in World War I. His wife was Adelaide White.

Wilson Daily Times, 24 November 1952.

  • Silas Barnes died on February 2, 1945. He married Gertrude and lived in Richmond, Va.
  • Priscilla Barnes was born in 1891 and died on October 24, 1919. She married the Rev. Ed [Zeb] Hardy.
  • Simon Barnes, Jr., was born on October 15, 1895. On September 14, 1921, he married Roselee McCoy who was born on January 26, 1904. He served in World War I and now owns and occupies part of the farm that his maternal grandmother purchased prior to the Civil War. He is a lifelong and esteemed friend of the writer of this article as he was of my father before me.

Simon Grove Holiness Church was named in honor of Simon Barnes Jr., who donated the land upon which the church, to which his wife belonged, was built. This land, on N.C. Highway 42 East, is part of the acreage Penny Lassiter Woodard accumulated as a free woman of color.

  • Mary Eliza Barnes was born in April of 1896 and died on May 19, 1931. She was the second wife of Turner Hines above.
  • Treacy Barnes was born on June 4, 1900, and died on December 23, 1954. She married Calvin Atkinson.
  • Amy Barnes was born on August 25, 1904. On February 11, 1926, she married Luther Petway, son of Joe Petway. They reside at 1209 Queen Street and her husband is an old friend of the writer.”

Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1971.

Thanks to Bernard Patterson for information regarding the history of Simon Grove; photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, May 2019.

Heritage.

While in Wilson recently, I visited Eyes on Main Street Photography Festival‘s pop-up Children’s Gallery to view images shot by local children under the tutelage of EOMS’ fantastic staff. As ever, I was stunned by the beauty and lyricism these novice photographers captured in communities that some might think of as “gritty.” Each image was labeled with the name of its photographer, and I was arrested by this one: LONDYN WOODARD.

Wilson County is a place in which natives can still be readily identified by their surnames. Black or white, except for the ubiquitous Barneses, you can even make a good guess at the part of the county from which a family’s deep roots spring. Farmer, Ellis, Armstrong, Joyner, Bynum, Boykin, Rountree, Dew, all “Wilson names” — as is Woodard.

Most African-American Woodards in Wilson County descend from ancestors formerly enslaved by one of several white Woodard farmers who lived in the eastern half of the county. The most prominent African-American Woodard of the nineteenth century, whose name is memorialized in a 150 year-old church, was Primitive Baptist elder London Woodard. I don’t know if Londyn Woodard the young photographer is a descendant of London Woodard the preacher, but I smiled to see that his name, in variant, lives on in Black Wide-Awake.

 

Cemeteries, no. 24: the Barnes family.

We pulled over on the side of the highway here, got out and started trudging along the treeline. The ground was saturated from heavy winter rains, and I had not worn the right shoes. Nonetheless, we traipsed back and forth, looking for the Simon and Penninah Woodard Barnes cemetery.

Barnes/Woodard/Lassiter descendant Bernard Patterson had graciously offered to help me find it. However, the land is no longer family-owned, and he had not been there in many years. We did our best, but a thick growth of broomsedge, prickly smilax vines, and young trees prevented us from locating it.

Penninah was the daughter of London and Penelope Lassiter Woodard. She married Simon Barnes on 1 January 1877 in Wilson County, and they and several generations of their descendants are buried in a family graveyard located off what is now N.C. Highway 42. The photo of Pennie Barnes’ grave, below, was taken during a period in which the plot was cleared. Eastern North Carolina’s climate makes rural cemetery maintenance a serious challenge, especially when graves are located on private property far from paved roads and the cemetery is not in active use for burials.

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Thanks again to Bernard Patterson. Top photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2019; bottom photo courtesy of Roger Barron.

 

The obituary of Frances Webb.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 December 1935.

On Christmas Day 1902, Amos Webb, 21, of Gardners township, son of John Webb, married Frances Woodard, 19, of Gardners township, daughter of Joyner and Lou Woodard, at James Lewis’ in Gardners.

In the 1910 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: Amos Webb, 30; wife Frances, 28; children William M., 6, and Elnora, 2; and Pinky Woodard, 21.

Amos Webb Jr. died 12 August 1918 in Taylors township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 July 1918 in Wilson County to Amos Webb of Wilson County and Frances Woodard of Nash County.

In the 1920 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: tenant farmer Amos Webb, 40; wife Fannie, 38; children William, 16, Elnora, 12, Louise, 9, Ruth, 5, Jason, 4, and Paul, 3 months; and laborer Jack Williams, 85.

Jason Webb died 10 July 1958 in Newport News, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 January 1916 in Wilson, N.C., to Amos Webb and Fannie Edwards; worked as a laborer for the city of Newport News News; and was married to Laura Webb.

Francis Webb died 13 December 1935 in Gardners township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 50 years old; was married to Amos Webb; worked in farming; and was born in Nash County to Johnie and Louiseana Woodard.

Studio shots, no. 99: Harry and Luetta Brooks Ellis.

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Harry and Luetta Brooks Ellis.

In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Daniel Ellis, 40; wife Celia, 24; and children Lena, 10, William, 7, Mary E., 6, Sampson, 2, and Harry, 10 months.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, farmer Daniel Ellis, 50; wife Celia, 35; and children Maeliza, 13, Willie, 14, Samson, 11, Harry, 10, Robert, 7, and Jackson, 8.

On 18 May 1921, Harry Ellis, son of Daniel Ellis and Celia Ellis, married Luretta Brooks, daughter of Coy Brooks and Maggie Woodard, in Stantonsburg. Rev. E.H. Cox of the U.A.F.W. Baptist Church performed the ceremony in the presence of Henry Dillard of Wilson and John Artis and Pearl Donald of Stantonsburg.

In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ellis Harry (c; Louetta) mill hand h 631 Lincoln

Nathaniel Ellis died 1 July 1929 of bronchopneumonia at his home at 801 Everlyn[?], Wilson. He was a year and eight months old; was born in Wilson to Harry Ellis of Stantonsburg and Louetta Brooks of Wilson County; and was born in Rountree cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Harry Ellis, 28, farm laborer; wife Luetta, 24; and children Lenora, 6, Harry, 4, and Ruth, 3 months.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Harry Ellis, 38, farmer; wife Luetta, 34; children Lenora, 15, Harry L., 13, Ruth L., 11; stepmother Maggie Ellis, 55, widow; and sister Mattie Ellis, 15.

In 1944, Harry Lee Ellis registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 15 January 1926 in Wilson County; his contact was Harry Ellis; he lived at Route 3, Box 269, Wilson; and he worked as a helper on the farm of W.A. Batts.

Louetta Ellis died 14 August 1983, and Harry Ellis died 28 December 1988, both in Wilson.

Harry Ellis, probably in the mid-1980s. (Sidenote: I love everything about this photo.)

Photos courtesy of Ancestry user Nortonsapple.

200 North East Street.

The eighty-sixth 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: “circa 1930; 1 story; four-room square cottage with inset porch and bungalow type details.”

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 East, renting at $12/month, Henriata Woodard, 40, and daughter Mattie, 24, both laundresses.

Henretta Woodard died 4 June 1935 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 47 years old; the widow of John Woodard; resided at 200 North East Street; and was born in Wilson County to Washington Cox of Faison, N.C., and Julia Ann Cane of Wayne County, N.C. Informant was Eddie H. Cox, 625 East Green Street.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 East Street, renting at $6/month, William Fields, 40, laborer at Wilson Veneering, and wife Liza, 40, tobacco factory stemmer; and, also renting for $6/month, tobacco factory stemmer Mattie Woodard, 35, and her children Margaret, 18, and Eugene Ward, 17, retail grocery delivery boy.

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Woodard Mattie (c) tob wkr h 200 N East

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Fields Wm H (c) lab Wilson Veneer h 200 N East

Photograph by Lisa Y. Henderson, October 2018.

 

John A. Woodard, seaman.

John A. Woodard applied for a Seaman’s Protection Certificate in December 1917. American seamen carried the document as proof of citizenship in foreign ports. Per his application, Woodard was born 15 April 1867 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided at 512 Canal Street, New York City; had been a seaman since 1906; and had last worked as a waiter on the S.S. Montgomery en route from New York to Savannah, Georgia. He was 5’9 3/4″, 179 pounds, with colored complexion, brown eyes, and black hair and a slight scar under his right eye.

“The Ocean Steamship Company of Savannah, generally known as the Savannah Line, was founded in 1872 to assume the operation of the Empire Line of steamships from William R. Garrison to operate passenger and cargo steamships between Savannah and New York. The newly founded company took over six steamers from the Empire Line to start the service. The company was to provide a major travel link over the next 70 years moving passengers, agricultural products, principally cotton and fruit from Georgia and Alabama to New York and Boston. … Two new passenger ships built by Newport News in 1910, the CITY OF ST. LOUIS and the CITY OF MONTGOMERY, were delivered to the company.”

U.S. Applications for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; original document at Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificates, 1916-1940, Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1774-1982, Record Group 41, National Archives, Washington, D.C; 

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.

She is proud of her name.

Wilson Advance, 7 May 1891.

In 1891, the Advance and the Tarboro Southerner ran a contest for longest name. In this round, the Advance proffered that of an eight year-old girl living on James Woodard’s large farm — Nina Ann Elizabeth Sarah Eliza Jane Monora Carrie Mabel Virginia Bethella Woodard.

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Perhaps: on 3 June 1917, Nina Woodard, 30, of Saratoga, daughter of Louis Brooks and Sue Woodard, married Adam Carter, 21, of Saratoga, son of Stephen and Hattie Carter. H.H. Sanders, Missionary Baptist minister performed the ceremony at “the church in Saratoga” in the presence of Ernest May and Jessie Darden of Saratoga and William Pierce of Wilson.