James N. Guess operated a funeral home that served Goldsboro, North Carolina’s black community for at least 40 years. (He also ran a barbershop for a half-century and, in the early years, a billiards and pool hall.) Guess’s father Matthew Guess, father-in-law Isham Smith, nephew Kennon Guess and son James N. Guess Jr. worked for or with him to build his business.
Not surprisingly, Guess provided services to members of the extended family of his wife, Annie Smith Guess, daughter of Isham and Nancy Henderson Smith. Among those he buried were:
James N. Guess was born 2 May 1882 in Goldsboro to Matthew and Martha Guess. He died 28 November 1957 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, after a lengthy illness.