World War II

American Legion Post 17 groundbreaking.

On 25 March 1978, the Wilson Daily Times published this photo with a long caption about the groundbreaking ceremony for a new headquarters on New Bern Street for Henry Ellis Post 17 of the American Legion.

The veterans depicted are (front row):

  • James C. Bess, post commander — Rev. Bess (1915-2002) was a World War II veteran.
  • George C. Alexander, post adjutant — George Caswell Alexander (1911-1986) was a World War II veteran.
  • E.L. Joyner, finance officer — Eddie Lee Joyner (1895-1989) was a World War I veteran.
  • Bennie Sanders, “a World War I veteran who is one of the oldest members of the local post” — Bennie Saunders (1894-1980).

On the back row:

  • Milton Lucas, member — Milton Lucas was a World War II veteran.
  • Nelson Farmer, service officer — Nelson Thomas Farmer Jr. (1925-2005) was a World War II veteran.
  • S.J. Satchell, membership chairman — Spencer J. Satchell Jr. (1910-1986) was a World War II veteran.
  • Ernest Bridges, member — Ernest Bridgers (1921-2000) was a World War II veteran.
  • Raleigh Williams, member — Raleigh Ferguson Williams (1909-1992) was a World War II veteran.

T/5 Whitehead’s remains returned for burial.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1948.

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In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on S.H. Crocker Farm Road, tenant farmer, John Whitehead, 37; wife Nellie, 36; children E.K., 16, William H., 13, Anna V.O., 7, Anna Nula, 5, and J.B., 4; and great-uncle[?] Josh Whitehead.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, express laborer [no first name] Whitehead, 49; wife Ella, 45; and children Anna V., 17, Nora, 16, John, 14, and William, 24. All were born in Georgia except Ella [Nellie], who was born in North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widow Nellie Whitehead, 56; son J.B., 24, truck driver for a contractor; daughter Anna Hagans, 27, tobacco company stemmer; son-in-law Henry Hagans, 32, town garbage remover; and daughter Elnora Whitehead, 26.

John Baptist Whitehead registered for the World War II draft in Wilson in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 25 December 1915 in Chester, Georgia; lived at Route 4, Box 39, Wilson; worked for Imperial Tobacco, Barnes Street; and his contact was his mother, Nellie Whitehead.

Darden’s veterans club.

World War II interrupted high school for many veterans, and they returned to earn their diplomas at war’s end. The Veterans Accelerated Club took this photo standing on the front steps of Darden High School.

The Trojan (1948), the yearbook of C.H. Darden High School.

The veteran-students’ instructors were John E. Dixon, Cora M. Washington, Mamie E. Whitehead, and Frissell W. Jones. The veteran-students: Walter Roberts, Paul L. Stevens, Henry Tune Jr., Ernest Edwards, Robert L. Murphy, Jesse B. Barnes, Jimmy L. Woodard, George W. Hines, Bennie Atkinson, Carlton Baker, Leo M. Bowens, Wilbert Currie, Frank Durham, Nelson T. Farmer, Nathaniel Ferguson, Henry Green, Jimmie Hines, Cle Arthur Jones, Nevalon Mitchell, Jesse Reynolds, Willie Townsend, Leon Williams, and Daniel Wright.

Pvt. Ford killed in Christmas Eve car accident.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 December 1944.

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In the 1930 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farm laborer Rosco Ford, 48; wife Mary J., 37; and children Roxy L., 19, Iola, 17, Beatrice, 16, David, 14, Gestine, 13, John D., 11, Rosetta, 8, Virginia, 7, Horris C., 6, Ester J., 4, Mary L., 3, and Henry C., newborn.

In the 1940 census of Taylors township, Wilson County: farmer Roscoe Ford, 55; wife Mary, 48; children Beatrice, 25, David Lee, 24, J.D., 21, Rose Esther, 19, Virgina, 17, Harries, 15, Esther, 14, Mary, 13, Henry Clay, 10, and Willie Clinton, 9; and grandchildren John Beregs, 4, and and Odain McKennon, 1.

Horace Clee Ford registered for the World War II draft in June 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 28 January 1924 in Wilson County; lived on Route 1, Elm City; his contact was Roscoe G. Ford; and he worked for Walter Pridgen, Elm City.

Horace C. Ford died 24 December 1944 in rural Wilson township, Wilson County “3 mi N of Wilson.” Per his death certificate, he was born 24 January 1924 in Wilson County to Roscoe Ford and Mary Jane Simms; was single; was a soldier in the U.S. Army; and was buried in William Chapel cemetery.

Employee of the Robinson minstrel show.

In 1940, 29 year-old Langstard Miller registered for the Word War II draft in Wilson County. A native of Saint Louis, Missouri, Miller listed his address as 700 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson, the home of his friend Betsy Freeman. [Was this actually his permanent address or just a mailing address?] Miller listed his employer as Dr. C.S. Robinson Minstrel Show, based on Wilmington, North Carolina.

I have found very little on Miller and nothing else to link him to Wilson. However, on 11 July 1932, Gurnie Langstard Miller, 25, son of Joe Miller and Mattie Langstard, married Annie Amelia Evans, 21, daughter of John Evans and Ida Ash, on 11 July 1932 in Northampton County, Virginia.

Betsy Freeman was not living at 700 Stantonsburg Street when the census enumerator arrived in 1940. Rather, the censustaker found City of Wilson laborer George Freeman, 56; wife Effie, 45, tobacco factory laborer; son James, 26, tobacco factory laborer; and grandchildren Edward, 13, and Doris Evans, 11. The latter were the children of Bessie [sic] Freeman and James Evans, whom she had married in Wilson on 23 June 1925. [Was Betsy/Bessie Freeman also a minstrel show employee?]

Robinson’s Silver Minstrels were a white-owned tent show that featured African-American performers. The “Repertoire-Tent Shows” section of the 21 November 1942 issue of The Billboard magazine featured this short piece:

A few months later, in the 27 February 1943 Billboard, Robinson’s Silver Minstrels advertised for “colored performers and musicians, girl musicians OK; trumpets, saxophones, piano player, chorus girls, novelty acts.” The company promised the “highest salaries on road today” and a “long, sure season.” “All performers who have worked for me in past, write” to the show’s Clinton, N.C., address.

Where did they go?: Michigan World War II draft registrations, no. 3.

  • Southen Jones

In the 1940 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: on East Canfield, renting for $50/month, Southern Jones, 33, born in North Carolina, general work-W.P.A. project. He reported that he had been living in the same place in 1935.

Southen Jones registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 26 December 1906 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1971 East Canfield, Detroit; his contact was friend Walter Dale; and he worked for W.P.A. He was described as Negro, 5’7″, 140 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, dark brown skin, and a scar above his left eye.

  • Alphonza Jackson

Alphonza Jackson registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 9 June 1906 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 996 Ferry Avenue, Detroit; his contact was common-law wife Pearl Jackson; and he was unemployed. He was described as Negro, 5’9″, 184 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark skin.

  • Walter Dortch Hines

Walter Dortch Hines registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 17 July 1909 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 7068 Michigan, Detroit; his contact was mother Sara Elizabeth Hines, 617 East Green, Wilson; and he was a self-employed medical doctor. He was described as Negro, 5’10”, 154 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, dark skin, and a scar on “dorsal aspect of left hand.”

  • Sead Abdulla (formerly Lonnie Bailey)

In the 1910 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer John D. Bailey, 42; wife Jeneva, 33; and children Rhoda, 15, Pearlie, 12, Mary L., 9, Lonnie, 8, Ora, 6, John T., 5, William H., 4, Melton P., 2, and Richard E., 1.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farm laborer Gilbert Vick, 29; wife Pearlie, 22; daughter Carrie Belle, 5; and brother-in-law Lonnie Bailey, 17.

Lonnie Bailey registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 26 January 1902 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1023 Illinois, Detroit; his contact was friend Geneva Bailey, 516 Church Street, Wilson; and he worked for Linwood Coal Company, Detroit. He was described as Negro, 5’9″, 165 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, dark brown skin, and a scar on his left wrist. Via Probate Court, Bailey formally changed his name to Sead Abdulla on 1 June 1944. [His apparent conversion to Islam is the first I have seen for a Wilson County native, and it is reasonable to assume that he was a member of the Nation of Islam, founded in Detroit.]

Sead Abdullah died in February 1968 in Detroit.

  • Clifton Ray Hines

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Walter Hines, 50, wife Sarah, 48, and children Elizabeth, 21, Walter, 20, Carl W., 16, and Clifton R., 7.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 617 East Green, Walter S. Hines, 60; wife Sarah E., 58; son Carl W., 24, teacher; son’s wife Ruth, 23, teacher; and son Ray W. [sic], 17.

Clifton Ray Hines registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 24 December 1922 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 7068 Michigan, Detroit [his brother Walter D. Hines’ home, see above]; his contact was mother Sarah Hines, 617 East Green Street, Wilson; and he worked for “Wayne Co. Rd. Comm. Traffic Census.” He was described as Negro, 5’7″, 140 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, dark skin, and a scar on his left cheek.

Clifton Ray Hines died 11 September 1993 in Mayfield Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 

Where did they go?: Michigan World War II draft registrations, no. 2.

  • Nelson Perry

In the 1930 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: in an apartment at 432 Leland rented for $47.50/month, Pullman porter Nelson Perry, 30; wife Gertrude, 29; son Nelson Jr., 10; and mother-in-law Mildred Richardson, 55, widow, all born in North Carolina.

On 25 July 1937 in Detroit, Nelson Perry Jr., 20, born in North Carolina to Nelson Perry and Gertrude Richardson, married Mildred Brakefield, 18, white, born in Georgia. Ernest Winn was a witness to the ceremony.

Nelson Perry Jr. registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his card, he was born 7 June 1919 in Wilson, N.C.; he lived at 4614 John R Road, Detroit; his contact was mother Gertrude Perry, 5610-23rd Street, Detroit; and he worked for Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. He was described as Negro, 6’3″, 185 pounds, with black eyes, black hair, and dark brown skin.

Mildred Perry filed for a divorce from Nelson Perry Jr. on 11 February 1944, which was granted 15 June 1944.

On 13 October 1945 in Bowling Green, Ohio, Nelson Perry Jr., 26, born in Wilson, N.C. to Nelson Perry and Gertrude Richardson, divorced and a resident of Detroit, married Hazel Blackman, 28, born in Mobile, Alabama, resident of Detroit.

  • Absalom Moore

Absalom Moore registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his card, he was born 11 February 1903 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 234 Alfred, Detroit; his contact was Herman Brown; and he worked for Chrysler Corporation, Dodge Main. He was described as Negro, 5’8″, 240 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, black skin, and a “scar — left cheek — face.”

  • John Edward Mayo

In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: widow Martha Barnes, 68, “local doctor;” son Wiley, 29, tenant farmer; daughter-in-law Annie, 19; and grandchildren Lula, 3, and an unnamed one-month-old; public school teacher John A. Mayo, 48, son-in-law; daughter Hattie L., 39; and grandchildren John E., 8, and Joseph C. Mayo, 5, and Adeline Ellis, 13.

In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: on Winstead Road, John A. Mayo, 56, farmer; wife Hattie L., 48; and sons John E., 18, and Joseph C., 14.

John Edward Mayo registered for the World War II draft in 1942. He was described as a Negro, 6′, 170 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark skin.

Hattie Lee Mayo died 15 December 1958 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 19 December 1869 in Wilson County to Redmond Barnes and Martha Wilkins; was married to John A. Mayo, deceased; and was a retired school teacher and housewife. Joseph Carlton Mayo was informant.

  • Horace McCullers

In the 1910 census of Cleveland township, Johnston County: farm laborer John McCullers, 26; wife Mahaley, 23; and children Gladdis, 4, Horrice, 3, Narcissis, 1, and Kittie, 1 month.

In the 1920 census of Cleveland township, Johnston County: John McCullers, 36; wife Mahaley, 33; and children Gladys, 14, Horrace, 12, Narcissus, 10, Kittie, 9, and Rosa, 5.

On 19 May 1928, Horace McCullers, 21, married Goldie Jones, 17, in Johnston County, N.C.

In the 1930 census of Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania: lodgers in the household of Samuel Dolman, Horace McCulleres, 23, Goldie, 18, and Narassia McCulleres, 21.

Horace McCullers registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his card, he was born 16 March 1907 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 5620 Cashmere, Detroit; his contact was wife Goldi McCullers; and her worked for Consolidated Construction Company. He was described as Negro, 6′, 180 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair, dark brown skin, and “scars left side of forehead & over bridge of nose.”

On 18 July 1942 in Lucas County, Ohio, Horace McCullers, 37, of Detroit, born in North Carolina to Johnnie McCullers and Mahaley Farmer, married Mattie Lang, 30, of Detroit.

  • James Walter Lindsey

James Walter Lindsey registered for the World War II draft in 1940. Per his card, he was born 25 March 1913 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 9048 Cardonia, Detroit; his contact was brother Roy John Lindsey; and he worked for Murray Corporation. He was described as Negro, 5’7″, 165 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and dark brown skin.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Military funeral for Cpl. Lonnie E. Farmer.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 April 1949.

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In the 1920 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Farmer, 42; wife Mattie, 36; and children William A., 12, Luther, 9, Joshia W., 6, Warneda, 4, Lonnie D., 2, and Baby, 6 months.

In the 1930 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Josh Farmer, 51; wife Mattie, 46; and children William A., 21, Josh W., 17, Waneta, 14, Lonnie D., 12, Robert, 10, Albert H., 6, and J.C., 3.

In the 1940 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Jack Farmer, 57; wife Mattie, 55; and children Authur, 28, Jack Jr., 23, Robert, 20, Harry, 16, and J.C., 13; daughter Juanita Barnes, 22, and her children Mattie Lee, 3, and Marjorie, 1.

Lonnie Edward Farmer registered for the World War iI draft in 1940. Per his registration card, he was born 26 August 1919 in Wilson; his contact was his mother Mattie Farmer; and he worked for J.T. Dew, Wilson.

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Just three years before Cpl. Farmer’s death in the Phillipines, the Farmer family’s youngest son, J.C., also a World War II veteran, was murdered by law enforcement officers near Sims.

Where did they go?: Michigan World War II draft registrations, no. 1.

  • Rader Cone

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Willis Cone, 62; wife Sarah, 49; and children Willie M., 23, Lillie, 17, Jamerson, 13, Romane(?), 11, Aven, 9, Armencia, 5, and Rada, 1.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on County Line Road, farmer Willis C. Cone, 75; wife Sarah A., 61; and children Avon, 17, Amincy, 13, and Rader, 11.

Rader Cone registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 23 September 1899; lived at R.F.D #4, Wilson; farmed for Willis Cone; and his nearest relative was Sarah Cone. 

On 21 September 1925, Rader Corne, 25, married Victoria Hall, 21, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister John A. Mebane performed the ceremony in the presence of James W. Coleman, Sylvia Best and J.H. Moore.

Rader Cone registered for the World War II draft in Detroit in 1942. Per his card, he was born 20 September 1898 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 929 Montcalm Street, Detroit; his contact was Fannie May Turner; and he worked at Cadillac Ginger Ale Company, Detroit. He was described as Negro,  6’1″, 204 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair and dark brown skin.

On 9 September 1943, Rader Cohen, 43, son of Willis Cohen and Sarah Glover, married Fannie Mae Turner Smith, 43, in Lucas County, Ohio.

Rader Cohen died 1 February 1989 in Detroit.

  • Jesse Winn

In the 1920 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: Alice Wynn, 56; daughters Myrtle, 21, and Alice, 18; and grandchildren Ernest, 3, Jesse, 2, and Mildred, 11 months. 

In the 1930 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: at 6321 Stanford, auto factory laborer Ernest Winn, 35; wife Almena, 37; children Ernest Jr., 14, Jesse, 13, and Mildred, 11; and lodgers Leslie, 28, auto factory laborer, and Ada Hinckle, 26, and George Griffin, 22, auto factory laborer.

In the 1940 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: at 5726 Vancourt, garage attendant Jessie Winn, 23, wife Agnes, 16, and daughter Betty Mae, 5 months, were lodgers in the household of Rev. Joseph Hankerson, 55, a Georgia-born barber.

Jesse Winn registered for the World War II draft in Detroit in 1940. Per his card, he was born 13 July 1917 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 5610 – 23rd Street, Detroit; his contact was sister Mildred Perry, 3741 Moore Place, Detroit; and he worked for Detroit Waste Works. He was described as Negro,  5’8 1/2″, 160 pounds, with black hair and eyes and dark brown skin.

Jesse Winn died in Detroit 20 January 1981.

  • Ernest Carlos Winn Jr.

In the 1920 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: Alice Wynn, 56; daughters Myrtle, 21, and Alice, 18; and grandchildren Ernest, 3, Jesse, 2, and Mildred, 11 months. 

In the 1930 census of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan: at 6321 Stanford, auto factory laborer Ernest Winn, 35; wife Almena, 37; children Ernest Jr., 14, Jesse, 13, and Mildred, 11; and lodgers Leslie, 28, auto factory laborer, and Ada Hinckle, 26, and George Griffin, 22, auto factory laborer.

On 26 June 1937, Ernest Winn Jr., 20, born in North Carolina to Ernest Winn and Anna May Richardson, occupied at factory work, married Mary B. Wilson, 18, born in Ohio to Robert and Rick Hicks Wilson, in Detroit.

In the 1940 census of Detroit, Wayne County: Ernest Winn, 23, crane man in auto factory; wife Mary, 18, born in Ohio; and sons Ernest III, 2, and Robert A., 6 months.

Ernest Carlos Winn registered for the World War II draft in Detroit in 1940. Per his card, he was born 26 March 1916 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 527 Erskine Street, Detroit; his contact was wife Mary B. Winn; and he worked for Briggs Manufacturing. He was described as Negro, 6’1″, 168 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and light skin, with a scar on his forehead.

Robert Winn died 4 January 1943 in Detroit of suffocation after inhaling smoke in a house fire. Per his death certificate, he was born 17 February 1940 in Detroit to Ernest Winn and Mary Wilson and lived at 616 Erskine.

Mary Winn filed a divorce petition on 14 August 1944, and she and Ernest Winn were divorced 6 November 1944 in Detroit.

Ernest Winn died in February 1980.

  • Moses Taylor

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on an improved dirt road, farmer Hillard Taylor, 53; wife Annie, 48; and sons Walter, 24, and Moses, 14.

Moses Taylor registered for the World War II draft in Detroit in 1940. Per his card, he was born 4 January 1916 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 2149 East Canfield, Detroit; his contact was mother Annie Vanleer, 1360 East Willis, Detroit; and he worked for E&B. He was described as Negro, 5’8″, 136 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and light brown skin.

  • John Walter Richardson

In the 1900 census of Mannings township, Nash County: day laborer Gid Richardson, 44; wife Milbra, 30; and children Josh, 8, John, 3, and Mary, 5 months.

John Walter Richardson registered for the World War I draft in 1918 while in the Ohio State Reformatory. Per his registration card, he was born 3 April 1898; his permanent address was Wilson, N.C.; and his contact was Mildred Richardson, Wilson.

John Walter Richardson registered for the World War II draft in Detroit in 1942. Per his card, he was born 3 April 1897 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 742 Ionia Avenue S.W., Grand Rapids, Michigan; his contact was daughter Johnnie Mae Benney, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and he was an unemployed crane operator. He was described as Negro, 5’11 1/2″, 170 pounds, with brown eyes, black eye, dark brown skin, and a bent finger on each hand.

On 21 October 1942, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, John Walter Richardson, 46, crane operator, born in Wheeling [sic], N.C. to Gid Richardson and Mary Moore, married Sadie Mae Woods, 42, born in Chandler, Oklahoma.

Sadie Richardson filed a divorce petition on 20 April 1944, and she and John Richardson were divorced 25 July 1944 in Grand Rapids.

John Richardson died 3 June 1950 in Detroit.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Corporal Artis arrives at hospital.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 September 1944.

Columbus Esdella Artis registered for the World War II draft in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1940. Per his draft registration card, he was born 9 June 1918 in Black Creek, North Carolina; lived at 859 Landing Street, Norfolk (updated to Rt. 2 Box 335, Stantonsburg, N.C., then 1423 R Street N.W., Washington, D.C.); his contact was mother Laurine Artis, Stantonsburg; and he worked for Mr. Ferbee, Dependable Company, 617 Boush Street, Norfolk.

[SIdenote: Artis was named for his paternal uncle, undertaker Columbus E. Artis.]