yearbook

Tuskegee Institute annual catalogues.

Alfred L. Moore is listed as a junior in the 1903-04 Tuskegee Institute Annual Catalogue.

Oliver N. Freeman is listed in the B Middle Class in the 1903-04 catalogue, A Middle Class in 1904-05, and a senior in 1905-06.

Artelia M. Darden is listed in A Preparatory Class in the 1905-06 catalogue.

Henry Howard is listed in B Preparatory Class in the 1905-06 catalogue. In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer James Howard, 33, widower, and children Henry, 14, Mirantha, 9, Lela Ann, 7, Kinzey, 5, and Cleo, 4; plus boarders Mary Jane, 24, and David Battle, 2. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Road, Jeasee Howard, 45; wife Zillar, 40; and children Henry, 25, Marenda, 19, Lena, 17, Kensey, 15, Leaola, 13, and Jessee Jr., 16 months.

J. Burton Harper, Lincoln ’00.

Lincoln University‘s 1900 yearbook listed Wilson, N.C., as Joseph Burton Harper‘s permanent address.

His senior bio, however, listed his birthplace as Hookerton, in Greene County, and I’ve found no other records that place him as a Wilson County resident. We’ll claim him though.

In the 1880 census of Hookerton township, Greene County: laborer Stephen Harper, 48; wife D.A., 44; and children Edna, 17, John C., 13, Joseph B., 3, and Herbert C., 2.

In the 1900 census of Hookerton township, Greene County: farmer Stephen Harper, 57; wife Dilsey, 58; and children Edney, 37, Joseph B., 23, and Herbert C., 22; plus niece Sarah Edwards, 17.

In the 1910 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: at 408 East Goldleaf, Presbyterian clergyman and teacher Joseph B. Harper, 32, and wife Olive S., 28, music teacher.

In 1918, Joseph Burton Harper registered for the World War I draft in Edgecombe County. Per his registration card, he was born 10 September 1877; lived at 606 Gold Leaf, Rocky Mount; was a minister and teacher; and his nearest relative was Olive Sagerna Harper.

In the 1920 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: at 606 East Goldleaf, Presbyterian minister Joseph Burton Harper, 41; wife Olive, 39; and daughter Stella, 11.

In the 1930 census of Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County: at 810 Holly Street, Presbyterian minister Joseph B. Harper, 51; wife Olive, 49; and children Stella, 11 [sic: 21], and Robert, 9, plus several lodgers.

Rev. Joseph Burton Harper died 19 April 1940 at his home at 810 Holly Street, Rocky Mount. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 September 1878 in Hookerton, N.C. to Stephen Harper; was married to Olive Sagerna Harper; was a minister and teacher. He was buried in Hookerton.

Ernest L. Artis Jr., Atlantic City ’45, Lincoln ’49.

The Herald, the yearbook of Atlantic City High School, Atlantic City, N.J., 1945.

Born in Wilson in 1928, Ernest Lee Artis Jr. and his parents Ernest and Louise Artis joined the Great Migration during the early years of the Depression.

——

On 13 June 1923, Ernest Artis, 21, of Fountain, son of Joe and Ella Artis, married Louise McNair, 18, of Plymouth, N.C., daughter of Rufus and Louise McNair, at Louise McNair’s resident at Plymouth, Washington County, N.C.

In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Artis Ernest L (c; Louise) (Service Barber Shop), h 404 N Vick

In the 1940 census of Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New Jersey: at 700 Ohio Avenue, Ernest Artis, 36, barber; wife Louise, 35, storekeeper; and son Ernest, 12. All were born in North Carolina.

Ernest Lee Artis registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic City in 1946. Per his registration card, he was 27 September 1905 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 720 North Ohio Avenue, Atlantic City; his contact was wife Louise Artis; and he was self-employed at 135 North Penn, Atlantic City.

Ernest Artis Jr. registered for the World War II draft in Atlantic City in 1946. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1928 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 720 North Ohio Avenue; his contact was friend Anna Butler, 705 North Ohio; and he was a student at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

The Lion, the yearbook of Lincoln University, 1949.

Shaw ’49.

From the 1949 edition of The Bear, the yearbook of Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina:

  • Helen Jean Harrison

In the 1930 census of Bailey township, Nash County: farmer Ellie W. Harris, 45; wife Rosa A., 44; and children Carrie L.,21, William E., 19, Ojetta, 18, Lila M., 16, Ethel M., 14, Mattie E., 13, Robert H., 10, Jessie L., 10, Beatrice, 8, George L., 6, and Hellin J., 2. Ellie, Rosa, and their four oldest children were born in South Carolina; Ethel in Virginia; and the remaining in North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 303 Lane Street, Eli Harrison, 56, mechanic helper in “carpentering”; wife Rosa, 54, tobacco factory laborer; and children Ethel, 23, Jessie, 19, Beatrix, 17, Leroy, 16, and Helen, 12. Eli, Rosa and Ethel Harrison was South Carolina-born; the others, North Carolina.

  • Claretha Jones

Dark side of the campus.

There’s a small liberal arts college in Wilson, once known as Atlantic Christian College, now as Barton. It was founded in 1902 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on a campus just southeast of Grabneck. The actress Ava Gardner attended the school, but did not graduate. In her era, and into my lifetime, Atlantic Christian admitted only white students. Those students produced a yearbook called The Pine Knot, filled each year with cheerful images of the people and events deemed most memorable. In the 1935 edition, the editors saw fit to insert between the campus athletes and the advertisements this page, labeled “Dark Side of the Campus”:

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The men and women depicted are not named or otherwise commented upon. They are, presumably, the housekeepers and custodians, cooks and gardeners, mechanics and porters who kept Atlantic Christian College running and eased life for its merry undergraduates. I cannot identify them, but I can honor their service and memory by recognizing them individually. If you know any of these Depression-era employees of A.C.C., please let me know.

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Elaine A. DuBissette, Howard ’30.

1930

From The Bison, the yearbook of Howard University, 1930.

Elaine A. Du Bissette graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1930 with a degree in education. Per her yearbook entry, she was a native of Grenada, British West Indies, and graduated Wilson High School [sic] in Wilson. As shown here, she received her high school diploma in 1926.

Du Bissette was clearly a close relative of Dr. Michael E. Dubissette, but their exact relationship is not clear. Was she his niece? Younger sister? Child from a previous marriage? (This seems unlikely, as he did not declare on his naturalization application.)

Hat tip to S.A. Stevens for pointing out this yearbook entry.

Snaps, no. 31: Tenner Anderson Pleasant.

The 1960 Panther’s Paw, the yearbook of all-white Lee Woodard High School in Black Creek, carried this photograph:

The photo changed in the following year’s edition, but the caption was nearly identical — “Aunt Tena” Pleasant keeps our building nice and clean.”:

——

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Benjamin Anderson, 33; wife Amanda, 25, farm laborer; and children Johnnie, 11, farm laborer, Tenna, 10, Jonas, 9, Annie, 6, Charlie, 3, and Bettie, 3 months.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, WIlson County: laborer Ben Anderson, 45; [second] wife Jane, 35; and children Elbert, 18, Annie, 13, Charlie, 11, Bettie, 10, and Martha, 8; plus boarder Lafyette Locus, 19.

On 25 August 1910, Walter Pleasant, 26, of Black Creek, son of George Pleasant, married Tena Anderson, 22, of Black Creek, daughter of Ben Anderson, in Black Creek.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: on the road east from Black Creek to Wilson, farmer Walter Pleasant, 36, wife Tenie, 27, farm laborer, and daughter Lillie, 4.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Walter Plesent, 45; wife Tina, 40; and children Lillie, 14, Maud, 9, and Arthur, 7; nephew Robert Best, 14; and widowed aunt Hattie Smith, 60.

In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farm laborer Walter Pleasant, 53; wife Tenner, 55, school dormitory cook; father-in-law Ben Anderson, 75; nephew Arthur L. Bennett, 20, farm laborer; niece Maude E. Dunn, 18, cook; and nice Tenner L. Dunn, 13.

Walter Pleasant died 9 January 1945 in Black Creek township, Wilson County, Per his death certificate, he was born 12 October 1883 in Wilson County to George Pleasant of Richmond, Virginia, and Adeline Smith of Edgecombe County. Wife Teenie Pleasant was informant, and he was buried in Black Creek.

Tennie (Tener) Pleasant died 1 February 1962 at her home at 1218 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 April 1891 in WIlson County to Ben Anderson and Mandy Brooks; was a widow; and was buried in Black Creek cemetery. Informant was Tenner Wiggins, 1427 Avenue C, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

William Hines shows up.

The 1926 Winoca, the yearbook of Wilson High School:

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This ad, placed by William Hines Barber Shop, is the sole evidence that there were any black people at all in Wilson.

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[In the 1920s and early ’30s, Wilson’s two high schools were Wilson High School and Wilson Colored High School. By the end of the latter decade, they were Charles L. Coon High School — named for the teacher-slapping superintendent who spurred a school boycott by black parents — and Charles H. Darden High School.]

Yearbook courtesy of Wilson County Public Library.