Woodard

Studio shots, no. 145: James and Jenny F. Woodard.

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 7.05.48 PM.png

James and Jenny Farmer Woodard.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jack Woodard, 25; wife Cherry, 24, farm laborer; and daughter Martha, 2.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Jason Farmer, 33; wife Candas, 29; and children Florance, 9, Isaih, 6, and George, 4.

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Jack Woodard, 36; wife Cherry, 36; and children Martha, 13, Mattie, 8, James, 6, Mary, 4, Fannie, 3, and Nicey, 5 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Jason Farmer, 43; wife Candas, 44; and children Florrence, 17, Isaiah, 13, Geo. W., 11, Jessie, 9, Jason, 6, Jennie, 4, and Mayland, 2.

On 13 January 1897, James Woodard, 22, married Jennie Farmer, 21, at the residence of Jason Farmer in Wilson County.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Woodard, 25; wife Jennie, 26; and children Dophin, 3, Mary, 2, and Rosa, 1.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Woodard, 35; wife Gennie, 34; and children Dorthy Lee and Mary, 11, Rosa, 10, Minnie, 6, James Jr., 5, Walter, 3, Jonie, 2, and George D., 10 months; and niece Athena Adkins, 15.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, James Woodard, 45; wife Jennie, 44; and children Rosa, 19, Mary, 21, Minnie, 16, James Jr., 14, Walter, 13, John, 12, George D., 10, Cherry, 8, Saphronnia, 7, Ed, 5, Jennie Lee, 3, and Martha, 1.

Jannie Woodard died 22 September 1922 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 May 1874 in Wilson to Jaison and Candas Farmer and was a farmer on her own land.

James Woodard died 4 February 1937 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 63 years old; was a widower; was a farmer; and was born in Wilson County to Jack and Charity Woodard.

Minnie Woodard, 22, of Wilson County, [daughter of James and Jennie Farmer Woodard,] married James Ellis, 22, of Wilson County, [son of William and Sarah Barnes Ellis,] on 22 March 1928 in Wilson County. Missionary Baptist minister Geo. Cooper performed the ceremony.

This post honors Minnie Doris Ellis Cummings, born in 1931 to James C. and Minnie Virginia Woodard Ellis. Mrs. Cummings, who passed away 22 March 2020, was one of the mothers of my childhood village. Rest in peace.

Top photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user ziggazigga; photo of Mrs. Cummings courtesy of Edwards Funeral Home, Wilson.

Tell them I want to see them.

Camp Near Orange Court House VA., November the 16, 1863

Mrs. Mary J. Edwards, Wilson P.O., Wilson County, N.C.

Dear Sister,

I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time and hoping you the same.  Bunyan, I want to hear from you. Let me hear from you, and let me know how you are getting along. Bunyan, I want you to let me know how everything is getting along, and write me all the news. I heard that you have been having chills. I want to know whether it was you who shot your thumb, or not.  Tell Mary Gray to write to me every time she can. Tell Sister Betty to write to me, for I want to hear from her. Tell Nanney also to write to me.  Tell Aunt Penny I want to see her. Tell Uncle London I want to  see him very badly. I have nothing to write, only very hard times here.  We are expecting to have to march every minute. I must come to a close by saying I remain your dear brother until death.  Excuse my bad writing.       George Woodard

——

George Washington Woodard, son of James Bullock Woodard and wife Sallie Peele, enlisted in April 1862 as a private in Company A, 55th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Debilitated by chronic diarrhea, Woodard died 23 March 1864, at a military hospital in Gordonsville, Virginia. On 2 September 1950, in the column “Looking Backward,” the Wilson Daily Times published Hugh B. Johnston’s transcription and notes about letters George W. Woodard sent home from war, including the one above.

“Aunt Penny” and “Uncle London” were, of course, Penny Lassiter Woodard, a free woman of color, and London Woodard, her enslaved husband. Penny Lassiter had reared George W. Woodard after his mother’s death. George’s father J.B Woodard had purchased London Woodard from another Woodard family member and sold him to Penny Lassiter in 1856.

Update: James Woodard’s father, Amos.

A few days ago, the blog of the North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History Center posted an article on James Woodard, whose Wilson County connection I shared here. This article explores the identity of James Woodard’s father Amos, who is recorded in family lore as having been sold away. Identifying two Amos Woodards from Wilson County who enlisted in regiments of the United States Colored Troops, researcher Cheri Todd Molter speculates that Amos’ sudden departure was due to his having run away to join the Army, rather than being sold away.

The records below offer descriptions of both men. Further research is required to determine which, if either, was James Woodard’s father, and if either were related to London Woodard.

Amos Woodard enlisted in Company M, 14 Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, on 24 April 1865 in New Bern, North Carolina. He was 18 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with black eyes, hair and complexion. He deserted on 13 July 1865 at Fort Macon, N.C.

m1818_279-0140.jpg

Amos Woodard enlisted in Company I, 14 Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, on 4 April 1865 in New Bern, North Carolina. He was 18 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with black eyes and hair and yellow complexion. He deserted on 10 June 1865 at Morehead City, N.C., and returned to duty in August.

m1818_279-0123.jpg

Black River.

Dr. Algeania Freeman recently published Black River, a narrative of the life of her great-grandfather James Woodard. Accordingly to family lore and research, James Woodard was born enslaved in what is now Wilson County about 1850. After his father Amos was sold at auction and his mother died, Woodard ran away, eventually settling in Cumberland County. Dr. Freeman believes she may be descended from or otherwise related to London and Venus Woodard and is searching for proof of that connection. Her family has beaten the odds by maintaining a detailed oral tradition through several generations. Genetic genealogy may hold the key to recovering their Wilson County connection.

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 8.15.38 PM.png

The estate of William Woodard.

Having “sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God,” on 10 December 1851, three commissioners met at Elizabeth Woodard’s house to divide William Woodard’s enslaved property — consisting of 55 men, women and children — among his heirs.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 8.40.37 PM.png

Lot no. 1, drawn by Elizabeth Woodard — Amy $500, Liz $150, Lewis $250, Mary $350, Harry $400, Dennis $100, Plas [Pleasant] $400, Jim $500, Sarah $450, Siller $50, and Mintus $75.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 8.43.14 PM.png

Lot no. 2, drawn by Patience Woodard — Esther $200, Mandy $350, Thain $350, Randol $100, Rachel $500, Tom $700, Ned $450, Nancy $500, Sal [$0] and Richard [$0].

Lot no. 3, drawn by William Woodard — Piety $550, Charlot $550, Ben $700, Jenny $150, Mariah $300, Hiliard $300, Mintus Jr. $100, Jonathan $500, and Edy $350.

Lot no. 4, drawn by Warren Woodard — Bont [Blount] $800, Peggy $500, Vinus $125, Alford $600, John $400, Cherry $500, and Jessy $400.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 8.42.33 PM.png

Lot no. 5, drawn by James Woodard — Morris $700, Gray $400, George $650, Silva $500, Rody $550, Amos $125, London $150, and Harriet $100.

Lot no. 6, drawn by Calvin Woodard — Rose Jr. $200, Rose Sr. $200, Elizer $500, Arch $750, Liberty $700, Dark $500, Beck $200, Phereby $200, Ned $100, and Simon $100.

——

The houses of William Woodard and his extended family today form the Woodard Family Rural Historic District. As noted here, the 55 enslaved people listed in William Woodard’s inventory did not include all the family’s slaves. Also, though some of the lots may have included groupings of mothers with young children, it is clear that some small children were separated from their nuclear families. Most adults were married to spouses enslaved by a different owner.

Here are the families I have been able to identify among William Woodard’s enslaved and their whereabouts in the years after Emancipation.

  • Rose Woodard Artis and her children John, Jesse, Gray, Ned and Tamar

Rose Woodard was allotted to Calvin Woodard; her free husband Arch Artis is listed as a member of that household in 1860. Evidence concerning this family was set forth here. Based on her age, Rose likely had more than the five children I have identified. Ned, who was about 5, was allotted to Calvin Woodard as well. John and Jesse, who were likely a few years older, went to Warren Woodard, and Gray, to James Woodard. Tamar Woodard, then about 4, is not listed in the distribution.

  • Pleasant Woodard and sons Lewis and Harry

Pleasant Woodard and her sons were allotted to Elizabeth Woodard.

On 7 December 1867, Lewis Woodard, son of Louis Shallington and Pleasant Woodard, married Bathsheba Tyson, daughter of Blount Petteway and Netty Ellis, at Saint Timothy’s in Wilson.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Lewis Woodard, 25; wife Tebetha [Bathsheba], 24; and son Henry, 6.

On an unspecified date in 1867, Harry Woodard, son of Lewis Shalington and Pleasant Woodard, married Dellah Woodard, daughter of Ben Woodard and Phereba Woodard, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer

  • Easter Woodard and daughter Peggy

Easter Woodard was allotted to Patience Woodard; her daughter Peggy Woodard to Warren Woodard.

On 13 March 1870, Peggy Woodard, daughter of Easter Woodard, married Ebenezer McGowan, at Warren Woodard’s in Wilson County.

  • Mintus Woodard

The designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. I have no evidence of the relationship between Mintus Jr. and the Mintus distributed to Elizabeth Woodard (who was either very young or very old, judging by his assigned value).

On 29 December 1866, Mentus Woodard married Sarah Barnes in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mentus Woodard, 22; wife Sarah, 20; and children John, 2, and Lawyer, 2 months. (William Woodard Jr. was next door.)

In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Permentus Woodard, 31; wife Sarah, 31; and children John, 12, Lawyer, 8, Cora, 6, London, James, and George, .

  • Hilliard Woodard

On 11 January 1868, Hillard Woodard, son of Mose Barnes and Winney Woodard, to Rose Ellis, daughter of Benjamin Bynum and Netty Bynum, at William Woodard’s.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Hilliard Woodard, 25, and wife Rose, 20.

  • Jonathan Woodard

Jonathan Woodard and Margrett Woodard registered their 10-year cohabitation on 15 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Johnathan Woodard, 38; wife Margarett, 27; and children Everett, 9, Gray, 7, Sarah, 6, Amos, 3, Emma, 2, and Minnie, 2 months.

  • Rhoda Woodard and children Amos, London and Harriet

Rhoda Woodard and her children Amos, London, aged about 4, and Harriet, about 1, were allotted to James Woodard. Rhoda married Howell Woodard, son of famed Primitive Baptist preacher London Woodard and his first wife, Venus.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.

On 19 January 1872, Amos Woodard, son of Howell and Rhoda Woodard, married Fanny Barnes in the Town of Wilson.

  • Morrison Woodard

Morrison Woodard and Martha Thorn registered their 16-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: carpenter Morrison Woodard, 47, wife Martha, 32, and children Nancy, 18, Arche, 17, Cherry, 15, Rosa, 13, Frances, 8, Jane, 7, John, 4, Martha, 1, and Mary, 2 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township (south of the Plank Road), Wilson County: farmer Morrison Woodard, 56, wife Martha, 45, and children Frances, 17, Jane, 15, John, 13, Martha, 11, Fena, 8, and Maggie, 3.

  • Blount Woodard

Blount Woodard and Dilcy Ruffin registered their 20-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 8 August 1866.

In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Blount Woodard, 43, farm laborer; wife Dilsey, 60; and children Webster, 15, Nelly, 19, and Alice Woodard, 13; plus Eliza, 19, Haywood, 9, George, 4, Alice, 6, Willie, 1, Bettie, 7 months, and Lucy Ruffin, 2 months.

  • Rachel Woodard

Rachel Woodard and Harry Newsom registered their 10-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 31 August 1866.

  • Liberty Woodard

In the 1870 census of California township, Pitt County: Lib Woodard, farmhand; wife Charlotte, 35; and children Nancy, 17, Lorenda, 16, Lucinda, 6, Buck, 4, and Puss, 1 month.

On 24 June 1882, Liberty Woodard, age illegible, son of Liberty Woodard and [mother’s first name illegible] Woodard, married Rosa Dilda, age illegible, daughter of Curtis Cotten and Ann Scarborg, in Falkland township, Pitt County.

  • Charlotte Woodard

On 28 March 1866, Charlotte Woodard married Haywood Bynum in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Haywood Bynum, 35; wife Charlotte, 39; and daughter Virginia, 17.

  • Rose Woodard Jr.

As noted above, the designation “Jr.” in this list seems to have meant “younger” rather than a parent-child relationship. At this point, I have no evidence that Rose Jr. was the daughter of Rose Sr., above. I had believed Rose Jr. to be the Rose Woodard, 19, (daughter of Morrison and Martha Woodard), who married Arch Harris, 23, on 19 October 1876 in Wilson County and whose children are listed in the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township as James, 3, Martha, 1, and Morrison, 2 months. However, Rose Woodard Harris was born about 1857, much too late to have been included in William Woodard’s property distribution.

Estate Records of William Woodard, North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Arch Artis, a free man of color.

8301952.png

In the 30 August 1952 edition of his Daily Times column “Looking Backward,” Hugh B. Johnston transcribed a will executed in 1849 by Arch Artice, a free man of color. The will is not included in Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org databases, and I have found no evidence that it ever entered probate. Artis (the more common spelling) is not to be confused with Archibald Artis Sr. (or Jr.) of Johnston County, who was his rough contemporary, and here’s what we know of him:

In the 1850 census of Edgecombe County, Arch Artis is listed as a 55 year-old “mulatto free” and described as blind. Elisha Vick, a 48 year-old white laborer, and Elizabeth Woodard, 46, who witnessed his will, were Artis’ close neighbors.

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 7.19.31 PM.png

1850 federal census of Edgecombe County, N.C.

In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County, Arch Artis, 65, blind, is listed in the household of white farmer Calvin Woodard, a 32 year-old white farmer who reported owning $17,225 in personal property (which would have been mostly in the form of enslaved people. Calvin Woodard was the son of Elizabeth Simms Woodard, above, and William Woodard Sr., who died about 1850.)

On 31 October 1869, Puss Artice, daughter of Arch and Rosa Artice, married George Bynum, son of Thos. Drake and Eliza Bynum, at Arch Artice’s. [“Puss” was the nickname of Tamar Artis Bynum.]

On 6 January 1870, Jessie Woodard, son of Arch and Rosa Artice, married Pennie Bess, daughter of Harry Ellis and Selvey Bess, in Wilson County.

In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Archabald Artis, 70; wife Rosa, 34; Tamer Bynum, 23, and [her husband] George, 25. Though they did not register their cohabitation, this record strongly suggests that Arch Artis had a relationship spanning several decades with a woman named Rosa, who was enslaved. She, with her and Arch’s children, had belonged to members of  William Woodard Sr.’s family. (Details to come in a later post.)

Arch Artis seems to have died between 1870 and 1880.

John Artist, son of Arch and Rosa Artis, married Hannah Ellis, daughter of Jack and Margaret Ellis, on 29 February 1872 in Wilson County. (This was his second marriage. On 9 April 1867, John Artice married Pricilla Woodard in Wilson County.)

Ned Artis died 21 October 1917 in Falkland township, Pitt County, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 1831 in Wilson County to Arch Artis and Rose Artis; was single; was buried in Wilson County; undertaker was Jesse Artis; and informant was Joe Artis, Falkland, N.C.

Gray Artis, 72, of Chicod township, Pitt County, son of Arch and Rosa Artis, married Caroline Howard, 66, of Chicod township, daughter of Emily Nobles, on 22 April 1918 in Chicod township, Pitt County.

Tamar Bynum died 25 February 1923 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was 77 years old; was born in Wilson County to Arch and Rosa Artis; was the widow of George Bynum; and had farmed. Rosa Bynum was informant.

Thirteenth violation.

201812122017531702

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.