Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina, Oral History, Other Documents, Photographs, Vocation

His name was Golar, and we called him “Doc.”

My grandmother:  He had a brother that was a barber. His name was Golar, and we called him “Doc.” Papa had him in there. Papa had a chair, and Doc had the second chair, and Walker had the third chair. 

Harvey Golar Tomlin was the only one of Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart‘s second set of children to see the twentieth century. Harriet and Abner Tomlin had as many as six children together, but I only know the names of three — Milas, Lena and Harvey Golar.

After Ab’s death about 1899, and perhaps Lena’s around that time, too, Harriet packed up her youngest son and took him to Charlotte, where they are found in the 1900 census living at 611 East Stonewall with Harriet’s half-brother William H. Nicholson. This photo may have been taken there:

NICHOLSON -- Doc Tomlin

They did not stay long. In 1902, Harriet gave birth to Bertha Mae Hart, whose father Alonzo she married in 1904. By 1910, Harvey Golar, called “Doc,” had left his mother and stepfather’s household and was living in the Wallacetown neighborhood of Statesville with his half-brother and family: Lon W. Colvert, a barber, wife Caroline, and children Mattie, Gola, Walker, Louise, and Margaret (my grandmother). He trained under Lon and went to work in his shop. In the photo below, which can be dated to 1917 by another taken at the same time and showing a calendar, Doc appears with Lon’s son Walker and a client.

COLVERT -- Barbershop 1

On 11 Jan 1917, H.G. Tomlin sold a parcel of land to L.W. Colvert and wife Carrie Colvert for $10.  In a deed filed at Iredell County Courthouse, the land was described as “Beginning at a stake at a post oak, Ramsour’s old corner, running North 88 W. 16 1/2 poles to a stake on road East of the track of the A.T. & O. R.R.; thence S. 8 W. 9 1/2 poles to a stake Pearson’s corner; thence S. 88 E. 16 1/2 poles to a stake; thence N. 8 E. 9 1/2 poles to the beginning, containing one acre more or less and being the identical lands conveyed by William Pearson and wife to Abb. Tomlin by deed, dated 19th day of June, 1891 and recorded in deed Book No. 17 at page 101 of the Records of Deeds of Iredell County.”  Doc apparently had inherited the property from his deceased father, though I’ve found no estate file.

Doc was possibly liquidating his assets as he pulled up stakes in Iredell County. Five months later, he registered for the World War I draft in Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky. (Middlesboro, Kentucky? What was the pull? The push?) Though he was prime age and had no infirmities, I have no evidence that he ever served in the military.

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In any case, Doc seems not to have stayed gone for long. On 7 September 1918, Harvey Golar Tomlin applied for a marriage license for himself, of Iredell County, age 24, colored, son of Ab Tomlin (dead) and Hattie Hart (living), and Flossie M. Stockton of Iredell County, age 24, colored, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stockton, both dead.  L.W. Colvert witnessed the application, and W.O. Carrington, minister of the A.M.E. Zion Church, married the parties on 8 September 1918 before L.W. Colvert, N.S. Allison, and Eugene Stockton.  (Flossie was the sister of Dillard and Eugene Stockton, both of whom married Lon Colvert’s half-sister Ida Mae Colvert.)

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The couple’s only child, Annie Lavaughn Tomlin, was born 9 August 1919 in Statesville. At least part of that year, however, Doc was in Louisville, Kentucky, as shown in the city’s 1919 directory:

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The 1920 census shows the family in the north Statesville suburbs: Jessie Stockton, age 28; his sister Flossie Tomlin, age 25, a public school teacher; niece Anna L. Tomlin, 4 month; and brother-in-law Havey Tomlin, age 26, barber. Doc’s last-place listing in the household is telling. Was he really there? Or tacked on as an afterthought because, after all, he was Flossie’s husband?

There are clues. Both Flossie and Doc were enumerated twice in the 1920 census. On Garfield Street in Statesville, public schoolteacher Flossie Tomlin and her daughter Annie L. appear in the household of Flossie’s brother Eugene Stockton, his sister-in-law (technically, but in reality his common law wife) Ida M., and their four children. The enumerator recorded this household in January 6, 1920. Seven or eight days later, however, 200 miles away in Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky, another censustaker recorded 26 year-old North Carolina-born barber Harvie Tomlin as a roomer in the household of barbershop manager Alex R. Simpson and his wife, Lina. Then on March 3, Flossie and Annie were recorded in Jesse’s house, above. I’d bet money that Doc was actually in Kentucky.

I don’t know where Doc spent the 1920s, but it was more likely that he drifted around the Appalachian Plateau than returned to Statesville. There are glimpses.

For example, in the 1925 Dayton, Ohio, city directory:

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And then the 1926 Portsmouth, Ohio, city directory:

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Doc did not stay long at the Play House. On 19 May 1927, the barbershop ran an ad in an announcement of the grand re-opening of the Play House building and its businesses. Harvey G. Tomlin is not among the barbers listed:

Portsmouth_Daily_Times_Thu__May_19__1927_

The 1930 census found barber Harvey Tomlin in Carnegie, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, living at 205 Broadway in the household of Sabry Goldsmith, a 35 year-old Florida-born barbershop proprietor. He was described as single.

Perhaps he was.

The 1932 city directory of Cincinnati, Ohio, shows Doc living in a boarding house on Wade Street:

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However, on 6 July 1933, in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky, Harvy G. Tomlin, 40, colored, divorced, born in North Carolina to Ab and Harriett Tomlin and a resident of “Cin. O.” married Lena R. Simpson, 49, colored, widowed, born in Kentucky to John and Elizabeth [no last name reported]. Thomas Hanly, J.P., performed the ceremony before Helen Peddiford and Helen Byers. The couple had applied for the license in neighboring Kenyon County, Kentucky. Lena Simpson, you may recall, was married to Doc’s employer and landlord at the time of the 1920 census.

The 1936 Cincinnati city directory shows Doc living in a house, presumably having found SROs unsuitable to married life:

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In the 1940 census of Cincinnati, Hamilton township, in a rented two-family house at 943 Monastery Road, the census taker encountered Harvey G. Tomlin, 48, and Lena R. Tomlin, 58. Harvey apparently had put down his barbering tools and worked as a butler for a private family. The couple are erroneously described as white, and their birthplaces are reversed. (Harvey’s is listed as Kentucky; Lena’s, as North Carolina.)

Two years later, despite a negligible chance of being called up, Harvey Golar Tomlin registered for the World War II draft in Cincinnati.

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The back of the card noted that he was 5’4″ tall and weighed 198 pounds and that he had brown eyes, black hair and dark skin.

The following year, Doc returned to Statesville to obtain a so-called delayed birth certificate. It was filed on 31 July 1943, showing that Harvey Golar Tomlin was born 12 May 1894 in Statesville, that his birth was attended by Dr. Long, and that his parents were Abb Tomlin, colored, born 1852 in Iredell County, and Harriet Nicholson, colored, born 1862 in Iredell County NC.

I lose sight of Doc for more than a decade until the Statesville Record & Landmark posted a brief article on 8 June 1955 mentioning that Bertha Hart Murdock had left half-interests in a lot to her brother “Harry” G. Tomlin and niece LaVaughn Schuyler.

Lena Tomlin died 17 July 1959 in Cincinnati. Doc did not grieve long for he was back in Statesville getting married six months later. In another small-world, keep-it-in-the-family moment, Doc’s third wife, Mary Bell Frink, was the widow of William Luther McNeely, whose sister Caroline married Doc’s brother Lon Colvert.

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It was a short-lived union. On 8 May 1961, Harvey G. Tomlin, son of Abbe Tomlin and Harriet last-name-unknown, died in Statesville of coronary thrombosis. He had been living at 229 Garfield Street (Ida Colvert Stockton lived at 214 Garfield) and working as a butler.

I’ve been able to find very little about Doc’s only child. Social Security records indicate that Lavaughn Tomlin married a Scruggs in about 1943 and a Schuyler about 1953. She lived in Jamestown, New York, in the 1940s and died 30 May 1997 in Salisbury, North Carolina. An abstract of her death certificate reveals that she had worked as a registered nurse. She was my grandmother’s first cousin. Did she know her at all?

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Education, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Signature Saturday, no. 4: Harriet Hart’s men.

Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart was not an educated woman. She did not lack for ambitious, though, and made sure that both her sons could.

The bold, instantly recognizable signature of Lon W. Colvert (1876-1930), on a marriage license:

LW Colvert Sig

The somewhat shakier signature of his half-brother Harvey Golar Tomlin (1894-1961):

HG Tomlin Sig

Her last husband, Thomas Lonzo Hart (1866-1929), may have been trained as a lawyer, and his business acumen was recognized throughout his community. He had the practiced hand of a literate man and, in fact, taught Harriet how to read and write:

TL Hart Sig

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Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Country roads, Nahunta.

This is a section of a 1904 topographical map of parts of Wilson and Wayne Counties, North Carolina. I am amazed at how much of the blueprint, so to speak, of Nahunta, is the same. More than one hundred years ago, kinfolk traveling from Wilson to Eureka or Fremont would have taken the same roads that I drive now. Today these roads are paved, but the paths they cut over branches and through fields across the countryside have otherwise changed little.

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1. Turner Swamp Road runs from the crossroads at the center of Eureka northwest to dead-end at Davis Mill Road (9). Jonah Williams‘ church is on this road, and his brother Richard Artis’ family were among early members.

2. Reidtown Road arcs to connect Highway 222 and Turner Swamp Road. It is named for the community formed by the Reid family, free people of color who settled here as early as the 1830s and intermarried with Artises.

3. Napoleon Road, a spur off Reidtown Road, now cuts across Aycock Swamp to meet Davis Mill Road. It remains unpaved, and the only house standing on it is the one Napoleon Hagans built in the 1870s or ’80s. I believe the speck to the left of the road’s end on this map is Hagans’ house.

4. NC 111, which runs with NC 222 northeast to NC 58 at Stantonsburg in Wilson County.

5. NC 222.

6. Black Creek Road connects Fremont (via its Old Black Creek Road spur) and the town of Black Creek in Wilson County. (Black Creek was once the northernmost section of Wayne.) The road is called Frank Price Church Road in Wilson County.

7. Lindell Road runs from Faro Road (8), just south of Eureka, east into Greene County’s Bullhead district. Much of Adam Artis‘ land lay between NC 111 and Lindell Road.

8. Faro Road, the continuation of Turner Swamp Road, runs south from Eureka toward the unincorporated community of Faro, famous as the site where two hydrogen bombs dropped when a B-52 broke up in flight in 1961.

9. Davis Mill Road arcs from Fremont as the northernmost east-west artery across Nahunta.

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Births Deaths Marriages, DNA, Maternal Kin, Virginia

Lineage no. 34.

Back in April, after I connected the dots between my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr. and Edward C. Harrison, I ran all my information by respected genetic genealogist Angie Bush. She agreed that autosomal DNA testing indicated a very close relationship between my mother and A.B. and that triangulation pointed directly to Edward as their common great-grandfather, but recommended another test that would absolutely eliminate some other line of patrilineal descent. I asked if my uncle would be willing to submit a sample for a Y-DNA analysis, which would show if he, via his father and grandfather, descended from a male Harrison forebear. He agreed without hesitation.

Here’s how it works: The Y chromosome passes down virtually unchanged from father to son. Occasionally, mistakes (or “mutations”) occur in the copying process, and these mutations can be compared to estimate the time frame in which two men share a most recent common ancestor (“MRCA.”) If their test results are a perfect or nearly perfect match, they are related within a traceable timeframe. Per Family Tree DNA, “Paternal line DNA testing uses STR markers. STR markers are places where your genetic code has a variable number of repeated parts. STR marker values change slowly from one generation to the next. Testing multiple markers gives us distinctive result sets. These sets form signatures for a paternal lineage. We compare your set of results to those of other men in our database.”

My uncle sent in his kit in early May, and his results posted a few days ago. The first thing I looked for was FTDNA’s designation of my uncle’s Y-haplogroup. 23andme had assigned him R1b1b2a1a1, which had given me pause because I’d seen the James River Harrisons’ Y-haplogroup listed as R1b1a2. FTDNA’s designation is regarded as more authoritative than 23andme’s, however, so I was anxious to see if the apparent discrepancy remained. It does not. The James City Harrisons’ haplogroup has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date naming conventions and is now R-M269. As is my uncle’s.

I next checked his matches. My uncle took the Y-67 test, which examined markers at four levels, 1-12, 13-25, 26-37, 38-67. I had matches at each level. Here’s 67:Upon Angie Bush’s advice, I sent emails to two of my top matches inquiring into their line of descent. I haven’t yet heard back from either of them, but that’s all right.

They, as are five of the seven top matches, are either named Harrison or Bassett:

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When I referred to the Harrison Y-DNA Project, I saw that lineage #34 (James River & Presidential Harrisons) contained two kits. One (H-4) traced descent to William Henry Harrison, born 1773 in Charles City County, and the other (H-99) to William Henry Bassett, born 1795. Harrison_Project_Lineage_34 (An explanatory note below stated: “According to family lore, William Henry Bassett b. 1795 was raised by Elizabeth Harrison Rickman, daughter of Benjamin Harrison IV, “The Signer,” and Elizabeth Bassett. William Bassett’s Y-DNA does not match any of the other known Bassett family’s; however, his descendant has a 63/67 match to the James River Harrison line DNA … indicating that in addition to being raised by the Harrison family, William Bassett was likely the son of one of the James River Harrisons.”)

The row of numbers along the top are the STR markers described above. Men whose markers match at 62/67 (or better) share a common ancestor and are grouped into a lineage. The image above only shows 24 markers, but there are actually 67. With H-4, the Presidential line, my uncle matches 63/67. With H-99, the Bassett line, he matches 65/67! John C. Allen Sr. and his patrilineal progeny, then, are members of Lineage 34. Specifically, they descend, in reverse order, from Edward Cunningham Harrison (1847-1908), William Mortimer Harrison (1817-1865), Thomas Randolph Harrison (1791-1833), Peyton Randolph Harrison (1759-1839), Carter Henry Harrison (1729-1796) [the younger brother of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and uncle of President William Henry Harrison], and Benjamin Harrison IV (1696-1744).

JCA HRH

Half-brothers John C. Allen Sr. (1876-1953) and Hugh T. Harrison Sr. (1886-1970), sons of Edward C. Harrison.

Many thanks to all who helped solve this 138 year-old mystery — my mother, my uncle, A.B. and her sister M.H., T.N., and the expert analysis and advice of Angie Bush.

me and andy

My second cousin once removed A.B. and me, May 2015.

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Education, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Football squad.

From the 1949 yearbook of Johnson C. Smith University, the Bull:

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At the end of the sixth row, my grandmother’s first cousin Army-veteran-turned-scholar Eugene Stockton Jr., son of Eugene and Ida Mae Colvert Stockton.

From the university’s 1956 yearbook, another gridiron star:

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On the top row, my mother’s first cousin, No. 20, Hayden Bently “Benny” Renwick, son of Lewis C. and Louise Colvert Renwick.

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Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Greene County Artises.

By the early antebellum period, dozens of Artis families had drifted down from southern Virginia to form a large node in Wayne County. The 1840 census lists more than 40 Artis heads of household in that county. By contrast, there were never more than a handful of Artises recorded in neighboring Greene County in the antebellum era, and none at all before 1850. (This, of course, does not mean they were not there. Only that they did not qualify as heads of household.) Were the Greene County Artises an off-shoot of one of the many Wayne County Artis lines? Are they a single extended family? Were they all free prior to the Civil War? Or were some of them freedmen who adopted the surname of their free-born kin?

I’ve begun to pull together all sources of information about antebellum Artises in Greene County to try to find answers.

CENSUS RECORDS

In 1850, clustered:

  • at #429, Vicy Artess, 40, and her children Zilpha, 22, Louis, 8, Jonah, 7, Jethro, 5, and Richard, 1.  Vicey Artis with her oldest daughter and youngest children.
  • at #431, Sylvany Artess, 36, and children Daniel, 7, Mitchel, 5, Meriah, 4, Gui, 2, and Penny, 3 months.  As detailed here, I believe Vicey and Sylvania Artis were sisters. White farmer John Lane, who likely apprenticed Sylvania’s children and enslaved their father Guy, was listed at #430.

In 1860, in Bull Head district:

  • at #25, James, 16, and Jetherroe Artis, 14, farmhands, with Silas Bryant.  These boys appear to be Vicey’s sons Jonah and Jethro and have followed their siblings into service as Bryant’s. Vicey herself is listed a few miles over the line in Wayne County with daughter Charity and Charity’s children, an unnamed one year-old “infant” and 8 year-old son Jethro.
  • at #26, Dannel, 17, Mike, 13, Penney, 12, Dyner, 9, Juley, 7, and Washington Artis, 5, with John Lane. These children, of course, are Sylvania’s younger children. Sylvania (“Silvano”) herself is living next door to her sister Vicey in Wayne County with a one year-old boy named Hiram Artis.
  • at #36, Mary Artis, 27, servant in the household of Richard Baker. Who is Mary Artis, and where was she in 1850?

And in Tyson’s Marsh district:

  • Nancy, 17, Aron, 13, Richard, 11, Calvin, 9, and Rebecker Artes, 5, in the household of G.S. Peacock. Where had the oldest children been in 1850? In 1870, Calvin Artis, 20, is a farmhand in the household of Sarah Wooten, Snow Hill township, Green County. In 1880 Snow Hill township: Richard Artis, 29, Charlotte, 24, Hattie, 3, and Jessee Artis, 1. On 9 March 1876, Calvin Artis applied for a marriage license for Richard Artis, 24, son of Isom Heath and Matilda Artis, and Charlotte Ellis, 21. Matilda was said to be living at that time. Where was she in 1850 and 1860 then?
  • at #161, servant Percy Artes, 25, and her children Henry C., 1, and Thomas, 5, in the household of Murrhyer Best. In 1850, Persey Artice and Rufus Artice, both 17, were listed in the household of Martin Sauls in North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County. In 1870, Snow Hill, Greene County, Prissy Artice, 35, and son Thomas, 14.

DEATH RECORDS

Margaret Artis. Died 4 March 1920, Carrs township, Greene County, North Carolina. Age 70. Widow of Ed Artis. Born Greene County to Penny Speight. Buried Carr’s Farm. Informant, Tom Speight. Not found in census or other records.

Thomas Artis. Died 30 July 1941, Bullhead township, Greene County, North Carolina. Widower of Mary Artis. Born 21 December 1853 in Wayne County to John and Leathy Artis. Buried family cemetery, by C.E. Artis. Informant, F[illegible] Exum. In the 1860 census of Davis district, Wayne County: John Artis, 39, wife Lethy, 40, and children Sarah J., 13, Zachary, 11, Millie, 9, Wm. T., 7, and Betsey Artis, 4. He was the grandson of Celia Artis.

Fillis Artis. Died 28 October 1916, Ormondsville township, Greene County, North Carolina. Married. Born 1853 in Greene County to Charity Edwards. Informant, W.H. Phillips. Phyllis Artis was not free-born, but married a man whose parents were. Phyllis Lee, age 35, daughter of Jerry Edwards and Charity Coward, married Rom Artis, 27, son of Jordan Artis and Arley [Olive] Artis, in Greene County on 11 January 1897. (Romilus was born about 1868, perhaps in Lenoir County. Census records show that his father lived in Wayne.) In the 1900 census of Contentnea township, Pitt County: Rom Artis (born 1868); wife Filliss (born 1860); four sons-in-law [stepsons?] John (1885), Allen (1886), Milton (1889) and Charley Leary (1891); son-in-law(?) William Artis (1893); daughter-in-law(?) Mande Artis (1895); and mother Ollie Artis (1840.)

Henry Artis. Died 10 January 1935 in Paris, Edgar County, Illinois. Barber. Resided 437 East Court. Born 21 March 1835, Snow Hill [Greene County], North Carolina to Louis Artis and Elizabeth Bass. Widower of Gabreil Artis. In the 1870 census of Otter Creek, Vigo County, Indiana: Lewis Artis, 39, Elizabeth, 38, Lucy A., 33, Elie, 20, Peggy, 14, Thomas, 8, John, 5, and William Artis, 4 months; the first three born in North Carolina. In the 1880 census of Charleston, Coles County, Indiana: North Carolina-born Henry Artis, 41, Ohio-born Ellen Artis, 43, and others.

CEMETERY RECORDS

Olive Artis. 1832-22 May 1904, Artis cemetery, Artis Cemetery Road, Greene County.

Phillis Artis. Wife of Rom Artis. 12 March 1861-28 October 1916, Artis cemetery, Artis Cemetery Road, Greene County. See Fillis Artis, above.

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