North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin

Papa’s sons.

Jesse Jacobs Jr.’s first wife, Sarah “Sally” Bridgers, died shortly after the birth of their youngest child, Annie Bell in 1895.  A year later, he married Sarah Daisy Henderson, who reared Sally’s children alongside her own daughter and her sister’s two children. Jesse’s sons, James Daniel Jacobs (1881-1952), Dock Davis Jacobs (circa1888-1944), and Reddick Jacobs (1889-1921), were grown by time my grandmother came to live with Jesse and Sarah.  They were not her blood kin, but were family nonetheless.

Jim Daniel.  Jim Daniel Jacobs.  He and Roxie lived down in Clinton down there, and he come to Wilson when they got married, before they had a family.  I remember that.  They talked about me coming to visit, but he used to come up to bring tobacco.  I remember, “Why in the world he had to come all the way to Wilson …?” I just do remember him, by him – lots of times they would come by the house, see Papa, wanted to know how he was doing, and whatever.  They didn’t stay no time, had to get back and see what time they was gon sell tobacco.  So, I don’t know whatever became of him.  Now, Mamie went down when Jim Daniel got married.  He married Roxie, a girl named Roxie, and they was still down there in Clinton, wherever, somewhere down …  anyway, I know it wasn’t Mount Olive, and so when Roxie got pregnant, then Jim Daniel wanted Mamie to come down there and stay with his wife.  He said, “I’ll pay for her to look after her, stay with her in the house,” ‘cause he was working down in the field and needed some one to look after her.  So Mamie went down there to stay.  Didn’t stay, but …  I never did go down there.  I never did see ‘em, after Jim Daniel brought up some corn one time to see Papa ‘cause he was sick.


James D. and Roxie Simmons Jacobs.

Dock, now he married a lady named Nettie.  I met her.  She was brown-skinned, small, brown-skinned lady, and they had about six, seven children.  He met her, they got married up there in New York and had all these children, and I think, I think they had a falling out, and he went to stay with somebody else.  I don’t know.  Yeah.  I went to their house.  Nettie, I saw her one time.  And her hair was ‘bout like that, I reckon.  ‘Cause it looked like it was plaited.  She tucked it under.  But she was very pretty and nice….  Well, she wont pretty to me.  But I remember where she was a very sweet and nice person.

Dock, like his siblings Carrie and Reddick, migrated to New York City. In 1923, Jesse and Sarah H. Jacobs deeded their house at 303 Elba Street, Wilson, to Jesse’s surviving children Carrie, Jim Daniel, Dock and Annie Bell.  On 15 Apr 1938, Dock filed a deed for the sale for $20 of his undivided interest in the house to my grandmother (then called Hattie Jacobs). He used the money to buy a train ticket back to New York, and my grandmother used the deed to claim a share in the sale of the only home she’d ever known.


Dock Jacobs.

The other brother, the younger one.  Reddick.  He was one that got shot in the café.  He was getting ready to leave, and say him and another fellow got to arguing, and the man shot him.  Well, they brought him home.  Papa was living then.  They brought him home, and they had to bring the body up to the house.  And me and Mamie had to go examine it, you know.  But I didn’t put my hands on him.  I went in there and looked at him, and I said, “Well, where did he get shot?”  After he was all dressed up, laying out there in the casket.  And so Mamie said, she said, “Girl, don’t you see?  They shot him right in his face.  Right there.”  And I said, “I don’t see nothing.”  And then she had to put her finger right in his eye.  And it was in his left eye.  It went right in through there and come out the back of his head.  He was sitting at the restaurant, and a fellow shot him.


Congregational Church cemetery, Dudley NC


Photograph of James and Roxie Jacobs courtesy of Carla Carter Jacobs. Original photograph of Dock Jacobs in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson. Photograph of gravestone taken by Lisa Y. Henderson in March 2013. Interviews of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.

Maternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia

Speaking of Aunt Julia …

Here she is.

ImagePretty much the way I remember her, though this photograph probably dates from the mid to late 1950s, ten to fifteen years before I knew her.  Her hair was always in pincurls behind the ears with a curly fluff of bang bunched up front. She always wore cotton print dresses, often with a bibbed apron. Her skin was a uniform pale, pale yellow, marshmallow soft on cheeks and upper arms, and smelling of … what? Powder? Faint perfume? My memory fails me; my mother will know.

I spent much of a summer with her when I was two, which I don’t at all recall but later Aunt Julia told me this: It is lunch time, and she has placed a biscuit on a plate before me, and as she bustles about to serve Uncle Bobby, I lay my cheek on this tiny warm pillow and fall straight into sleep.

My grandfather died long before I was born, and of his sisters and brother who lived into my childhood, she was the only one I knew. The return home from every visit to my grandmother in Newport News began with a slight jog to the left, a turn down Marshall Avenue to see Aunt Julia before we got on the road.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Eureka, no. 1.

In an old notebook, I found this comment scribbled in 1988:

“Polly Ann Price married Lewis Martin at Calvin Dail’s house. Calvin Dail’s wife was Susan Price. Polly and Susan were near enough in age to be sisters.”

Lewis H. Martin and Polly Ann Price‘s son was Joseph “Buck” Martin, father of my great-grandmother Bessie and her brother Jack Henderson. I have not given them much thought over the years, it is true.  Tapping into the research of others, I have long been able to extend Lewis Martin’s lines back a few generations into Caseys, Lewises, Grants, Utleys and Selfs. Polly Ann’s parentage was a mystery, though, a full stop, and I never got beyond wondering if Susan Dail was a key.

Five minutes on the internet today — searching for Susan Price Dail — and, voila, she and Mary “Polly” Ann were indeed sisters, and their parents were James Price (1805-circa1870) and Margaret Herring (1809-1898). Several family trees claim the couple, but posit differing — and occasionally impossible — individuals as their parents. I’ll examine the possibilities soon. (And hope a revelation comes in fewer than 25 years!)

Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs

One of those McNeely girls.

This is a surely a McNeely sister, but which one?

ImageMy grandmother wasn’t sure, but knew it wasn’t her mother Carrie, or Aunt Emma, or Aunts Minnie or Janie. Nor, she thought, was it Aunt Lizzie or Aunt Elethea. Which leaves Addie, but she nixed her, too. Not to second-guess my grandmother — or, well, to second-guess her, but in the most respectful way — I’d put my money on Addie, who died when my grandmother was about 9 years old.

Photograph in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

North Carolina death certificates: ALDRIDGE, part 1.

North Carolina did not require death certificates until 1914. The following abstracts relate to the first three generations of Aldridges whose deaths were recorded by law.

Wife of Robert Aldridge (1819-1899):

Eliza Aldridge.  Died 29 Jan 1824, Brogden, Wayne County, of influenza. Colored. Widow of Robert Aldridge.  Born 29 February 1829, Duplin County, to unknown father and “Nancy ?” Buried near Dudley.  Informant, Joseph Aldridge.

Children of George W. Aldridge (1851-??), son of Robert and Eliza Balkcum Aldridge:

Prince Albert Aldridge.  Died 15 May 1953, Wilson, of terminal uremia. Negro. Married. Plasterer. Born 11 January 1902, Wayne County, to George Aldridge and Dora Green. Buried family cemetery, Wilson County. Informant, Mrs. Annie Aldridge.

Blanchard Aldridge.  Died 4 February 1965, Fremont, Wayne County, of organic brain syndrome. Negro. Never married. Barber.  World War I veteran. Born 1 July 1897 in NC to George Aldridge and Dora Green. Buried Fremont. Informant, Reka Morrisey.

Wife and children of John W. Aldridge (1853-1910), son of Robert and Eliza Balkcum Aldridge:

Vicy Aldrich.  Died 13 Feb 1927 at 8:30 a.m.  Doctor noted “Only saw her one time, the day before she died.  Probably apoplexy.”  Colored.  Born 30 Sep 1862 in Eureka, Wayne County, to Adam T. Artis and Frances Hagans of Wayne County NC.  Widow of John Aldrich.  Buried 14 Feb 1927, Aldrich cemetery, Dudley NC.  Undertaker: Artis & Freeman, Wilson NC.   Informant,  John J. Aldridge.

Amanda Newsome.  Died 6 November 1918, Great Swamp, Wayne County, of influenza and pneumonia “contributing pregnancy & childbirth.” Colored. Married. Born 23 December 1891, Wayne County, to John Aldridge and Vicy Aldridge. Buried Dudley. Informant, Lonnie Newsome.

Lulu Aldridge.  Died 16 November 1919, Brogden, of “exhaustion from mania.” Colored. Single. Born 1884. Worked “on farm of her father.” Born Brogden township to J.W. Aldridge and Vici Artis. Buried Dudley. Informant, J.J. Aldridge.

John Aldridge.  Died 13 April 1964, Goldsboro, of acute myocardial infarction. Indian. Widower of Ora Aldridge. Retired farmer. Born 14 December 1887, Wayne County, to J.W. Aldridge and Vicy Artis. Buried Congregational cemetery. Informant, Cecelia Saunders.

Ora Bell Adridge. Died 26 April 1961, Goldsboro, of cerebral thrombosis “secondary to removal of infected gallbladder.” Colored. Married to John Aldridge. Born 22 February 1895, Wayne County, to James L. Mozingo and Bettie Johnson. Buried, church cemetery. Informant, John Aldridge.

Francis Newsome.  Died 14 March 1961, Dudley, of cerebral hemorrhage. Negro. Widow of Lonnie Newsome. Born 14 May 1887, Wayne County, to John Aldridge and Luvicey Artis. Buried New Aldridge cemetery near Gold Park Lake. Informant, Mrs. Lenora Henderson.

Lenora Christine Henderson. Died 29 November 1961, Goldsboro, of cerebral embolism. Resided Dudley. Negro. Widow of Henry L. Henderson. Born 22 August 1903, Wayne County, to John William Aldridge and Luevicey Artis. Buried Congregational cemetery. Informant, H.B. Henderson.

Matthew Aldridge (1857-1920), son of Robert and Eliza Balkcum Aldridge, and children:

Mathew Aldridge.  Died 6 May 1920, Goldsboro, of cerebral apoplexy. Colored. Married to Fanny Aldridge. Age 64 years, 2 months, 28 days. Merchant “for his own benefit.” Born Goldsboro NC to Robert Aldridge and Liazzy Borkins, both of Wayne County. Buried Elmwood cemetery. Informant, Levi Kennedy.

Daisy Williams Couch.  Died 2 Jan 1954, at home at 63 Madison Avenue, Asheville NC, of coronary thrombosis due to myocardial infarct (chronic nephritis contributing).  Negro. Married to J.C. Couch.  Born 28 Sep 1890, Goldsboro NC, to Matthew Aldridge and Fannie Kennedy.  Buried Goldsboro NC.

Children of Amanda Aldridge Artis (1860-1899), daughter of Robert and Eliza Balkcum Aldridge:

Annie Deliah Sauls. Died 1 October 1957, Stantonsburg, Wayne County, of “evidently a heart attack – had been having trouble for past twelve months with angina – she worked all day slipped off of chair and was dead when I got there.” Negro. Married to William Sauls. Born 19 July 1897, Wayne County, to Adam T. Artis Sr. and Mandy Aldridge. Buried Forte cemetery, Wayne County. Informant, Adam T. Artis.

Columbus Estelle Artis. Died 18 March 1973, Wilson, of generalized arteriosclerosis. Negro. Married to Ruby Barber. Retired undertaker. Resided 611 E. Green Street. Birn 28 August 1886 to Adam T. Artis and Manda Aldridge. Buried Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson. Informant, Mrs. Ruby B. Artis.

Lillie B. Pridgen.  Died 27 May 1935, Jason, Greene County NC, “acute dilatation of heart” secondary to “old heart disease, mittral stenosis, pregnancy, acute nephritis.”  Spouse of Chester Pridgen.  Residence, R#1, Lagrange NC.  “Housework in own home.”  Born 10 Feb 1894, Wayne County NC to Adam Artis and Amanda Aldridge.  Informant, Chester Pridgen.  Buried Greene County 29 May 1935.

June Scott Artis. Died 2 June 1973, Stantonsburg, Wilson County, of chronic myocarditis. Farmer. Black. Married to Ethel Becton. Born 23 November 1895 to Adam Artis and Mandy Aldridge. Buried Artis cemetery, Wayne County. Informant, Mrs. Ethel B. Artis.

Robert Aldridge Jr. (1866-1940), son of Robert and Eliza Balkcum Aldridge, his wife and children:

Robert Aldridge.  Died 29 August 1940, Dudley, Wayne County, or “uremia chronic nephritis.” Colored. Widower of Polly Aldridge. Age 70. Farmer on his land. Born Wayne County to Robert Aldridge of Sampson County and Eliza Baucam of Wayne County. Buried Brogden township. Informant, Paul Aldridge.

Polly Aldridge. Died 12 March 1928. Brogden, Wayne County, of arterial hypertension and valvular heart disease. Colored. Married to Robert Aldridge. Age 58. Born Wayne County to Neddham Grantham and Lucy Grantham, both of Wayne County. Buried Augustus Chapel. Informant, Robert Aldridge.

Paul Aldridge. Died 8 June 1947, Brogden, Wayne County, of pulmonary congestion and tuberculosis. Colored. Married to Eliza Aldridge. Farmer. Born 16 May 1913, Wayne County, to Robert Aldridge and Pollie Aldridge, both of Wayne County. Buried Aldridge cemetery, Wayne County. Informant, Mrs. Eliza Aldridge.

Lula Aldridge Smith.  Died 8 Apr 1966, cerebral vascular accident, NC Memorial Hospital, Chapel Hill, Orange County NC.  Resided 205 Caldwell Street, Chapel Hill NC.  Born 20 Feb 1895, Wayne County NC to Robert Aldridge and Polly Grantham.  Married to James Smith.  Buried 11 Apr 1866, Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery.

Joseph Aldridge (1869-1934), son of Robert and Eliza Balkcum Aldridge, and children:

Joseph Aldridge.  Died 6 September 1934, Goldsboro, of cardiovascular renal disease. Resided 208 Bright Street, Goldsboro. Colored. Married to Martha Aldridge. Farmer. Age 64. Born Wayne County to Robert Aldridge of Wayne County and Eliza Barkins of Sampson County. Buried Brogden township. Informant, Allen Aldridge.

Allen Aldridge.  Died 21 November 1969, Goldsboro, of cerebrovascular thrombosis. Negro. Married to Ida Bell Evans. Resided 509 Bunche Drive. Chef. Born 2 September 1908 to Joseph Aldridge and Luberta Manley. Buried Aldridge cemetery. Informant, Mrs. Ida Bell Aldridge.


Maternal Kin, Other Documents, Photographs, Virginia

Julia Holmes Jackson.

In the late 1980s, when I was in the early clutches of my genealogical addiction, I often made copies of old pictures by photographing them through a microfilter screwed onto my Canon AE1. I spent an afternoon at my great-aunt Julia Allen Maclin’s house, sifting through a box of faded sepia-toned prints and gasping with delight as she identified Holmeses and Allens. Two of the many I copied that day were small oval portraits of the same woman. In one, she faces the camera nearly head-on, her hair puffed into bouffant tied with a dark bow. In the second, she has donned a great fluffy disk of a hat and tilts her head to the right. Strong side-lighting revealed a tiny feature I recognized immediately – an epicanthic fold at the corner of her left eye. My grandfather (her nephew) had them, and my mother does, and I do, too, though mine are a mere suggestion of her prominent flaps. This was Julia Ellen Holmes, my great-grandmother’s sister and the woman for whom my great-aunt was named.



I don’t know a lot about Julia. Though just a child at the time, she is not listed in her parents’ household in the 1880 census of Charles City County, Virginia.  The first record of her that I’ve found is a deed of transfer filed 30 December 1899, at Charles City County Courthouse, from the estate of Jasper Holmes to Mary H. Allen and her husband John C. Allen and Martha H. Smith and her husband Jesse Smith, all of Newport News VA, and Julia E. Holmes, unmarried, of Charles City County, Jasper’s heirs at law.

Just months later, Julia (or a woman that appears to be her) is listed in the 1900 census of Manhattan, New York City, at 208 W. 72nd Street. There, Virginia-born Julia Holmes (born February 1880, which is not accurate if this is the right woman) lived in a boarding house that included three other servants, two waiters and a cook.  Headed by 39 year-old Mary A. Phillips, the tenants included blacks, whites, southerners, northerners, a Cuban and an Irishman.

(Or is this my Julia? In the 1900 census of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: Julia Holmes, 17, Virginia-born servant, in the household of ice company treasurer Josiah A. McKee at 1838 Mount Vernon Avenue.)

The Holmes sisters sold off their father’s property over the next ten years, filing deeds of sale in 1905 and 1910. In the final transaction, on 10 Jan 1910, Mary Allen of Newport News and Julia Holmes of the City of New York, children and only heirs of Jasper Holmes (Martha Holmes Smith had died) filed a deed of transfer for property sold to James Clark for $300.

In the 1910 census of Manhattan, on Washington Square (North), Virginia-born Julia Holmes is listed as a servant in the household of Philo Hager, who worked in wholesale dry goods. By 1920, she had moved across the river to East Orange, which is where my great-aunt remembered her living. The censustaker found Julia Holmes at 1 Waters Avenue, listed as a servant in the household of B.C. Fenwick.  Her birthplace is given as New Jersey; her parents’ as Virginia; her age as 29. Only the middle statistic is correct.

I have not found Julia Holmes in either the 1930 or 1940 censuses and assumed that she died sometime before World War II. Certainly, my great-aunt never spoke of her as if she had lived a long time.


When I found my great-grandmother’s obituary in a March 1961 edition of the Daily Press, there, among the survivors, was “sister, Mrs. Julia Jackson of Orange NJ.” And then, when my cousin M., daughter of my great-aunt Nita Allen Wilkerson, sent me scans of a bunch of photos she found in an album that had belonged to Julia Allen Maclin, I found this:

Julia E Holmes?

I can’t see the flaps, but I’m certain: great-GREAT-aunt Julia.

(So, when, in fact, did she die? Where was she buried? Who was Mr. Jackson? Did she have children?)

Enslaved People, Land, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Where we lived: north of Wilson, near the railroad.

Thanks to Marion “Monk” Moore and Joan Howell Waddell, I’ve been able to identify the approximate locations of several of the white farmer-landowners listed near Willis and Cherry Battle Barnes in the 1870 census.  If the family remained in the general area in which they had been enslaved, Hugh B. Johnston’s speculation is correct.


Toisnot Reservoir, a dammed stretch of Toisnot Swamp, today lies on the northern edge of the city of Wilson.  Joshua Barnes, Alpheus Branch, Ceborn Farmer, Isaac Farmer and Jesse Farmer’s farms all lay north of the swamp and south of present-day Elm City in a corridor now defined by London Church Road, the CSX Railroad (then the Wilmington & Weldon) and US Highway 301. The Barneses lived somewhere in this area. In the photo above, the diagonal running top to bottom is the railroad, London Church Road bows to the left, and numbers mark the approximate locations of farms and modern landmarks: (1) Isaac Farmer land; (2) Seborn Farmer land; (3) Alpheus Branch land; (4) Joshua Barnes land; (5) Toisnot Reservoir; and (6) the Bridgestone-Firestone tire plant.


In a letter dated 11 January 2007, Waddell included a map of Wilson County with the above properties marked. Many thanks to her and Monk Moore.


Update, 23 June 2015: Joshua Barnes’ house is not only still standing, it’s been continuously occupied since the 1840s and was on the market just a few years ago. It’s located at 3415 London Church Road.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 10.17.53 PM