Education, Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin

Higher learning.

A running list of pioneers in education among my maternal and paternal kin.

Cain D. Sauls, Tuskegee Institute?

Henry E. Hagans, Howard University, prep.; Shaw University, BA 1890.

William S. Hagans, Howard University, prep. 1889; college division, 1893; BA, law department, 1898.

Julia B. Morton Hagans, Howard University, Normal School, 1888.

Mack D. Coley, Hampton Institute, prep. 1890; Lincoln University, BA 1895.

Joseph H. Ward, Physico-Medical College, MD 1897; Indiana Medical College, MD 1900.

Vera L. Baker Holt, Scotia Seminary; Freedmen’s Hospital Training School, 1902.

Diana A. Adams Artis, Saint Agnes Hospital Training School, circa 1913.

Golar Colvert Bradshaw, Saint Augustine’s School, prep., circa 1913.

Harriet Colvert, Saint Agnes Hospital Training School; Good Samaritan Hospital Nursing School, 1915.

J. Thomas Aldridge [Aldrich], Shaw University, prep., BS ’17; Meharry Medical College, MD ’20.

Benjamin A. Harris Sr., Tuskegee Institute ’17.

Worth A. Williams, Biddle University [Johnson C. Smith University], prep., BS ’17; Howard University Dental College, ’21.

Hugh Jennings Williams, Biddle University, prep. (died 1913).

Oscar Randall, University of Illinois, BS Civil Engineering ’20.

Marion Allen Lomans, Saint Pauls College?

Arnetta Randall, Howard University, BA ’25.

Mary Louise Colvert Renwick.

Lena P. Jeffress Allen, Hampton Institute, prep., Ed. ’28; Virginia Union University.

Charles C. Coley, Howard University, BS ’30.

J. Maxwell Allen, Virginia Theological Seminary & College, BA; Howard University Dental College, ’34.

Margaret Colvert Allen, Hampton Institute, prep. ’30; Winston-Salem Teacher’s College, ’31.

John C. Allen Jr., Hampton Institute ’30.

Erskine G. Roberts, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS, MS ’32.

Mary Roena Ward Roberts, Tuskegee Institute; University of Denver, BA ’34.

Irvin L. McCaine, Howard University, BS ’34; DDS, ’38?

William N. Hagans, Howard University; Virginia State College, BA ’35.

Frances McCampbell Hagans, Virginia State College, BA ’35.

Frances Sykes Goodman, Bennett College, BA ’35.

Leon M. Braswell Sr., Lincoln University, BS; Meharry Medical College, MD ’36.

Nita Allen Meyers Wilkerson, Hampton Institute, Nursing School, 1930s.

Leroy T. Barnes, University of Pennsylvania, BS ’39, MD ’43.

Frederick R. Randall, Howard University, BS ’42; Howard University Medical School, MD, 1940s.

Leland Newsome, Johnson C. Smith University, BA 1940s.

Azzalee Mallette Hines, Fayetteville State Teachers College, 1944.

Eugene Derricotte, University of Michigan, BS ’48.

Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Oral History, Photographs, Virginia

Jasper Maxwell Allen.

My mother tells a story: the War was on, and her father had been sent overseas to serve. His older brother had come to Newport News for a visit, and the family gathered at her grandparents’ house. “We were in Grandma’s kitchen. I must have been about 5,” she says. “I remember it like yesterday. Of course, I knew he was a dentist, but to me he was just Uncle Mac. And I was telling everybody that I had a loose tooth, and he said, ‘Oh, let me see it.’ He put his hand by my mouth, and when he pulled it away, he opened his palm, and the tooth was in it! And I cried and I cried,” she says, laughing. “It didn’t hurt. I didn’t even feel it. But I guess I was so surprised!”


Jasper Maxwell Allen, the oldest son and second child of John C. and Mary Agnes Holmes Allen, was born in 1904 in Newport News, Virginia. Though he was named “Jasper” after his maternal grandfather, he was always known as “Maxwell” or “Mac.”

The 1910 census of Newport News shows the Allens at 748 21st Street.  John Allen, a painter at the shipyard, headed a household consisting of wife Mary and six children — Marion, Maxwell, Julia, John jr., Edith and Willie Allen — as well as an adopted son Jesse Jefferson (who was Agnes’ deceased sister Emma’s son.)

By the 1920 census, the family was living at 2107 Marshall Avenue in Newport News: John C. Allen, longshoreman on piers, with wife Mary, and children Marian, Maxwell, Julia, John, Willie, Edith and Nita.

Maxwell attended local elementary schools and graduated either John Marshall or Huntington High School in Newport News. He attended college at Virginia Theological Seminary and College.

In 1929, The Southern Workman, a journal published by Hampton Institute for more than 50 years, announced that on August 29 Lena P. Jeffress, who received a diploma in Education in ’28, married Mr. Maxwell Jasper Allen [sic]. Lena Poole Jeffress was the daughter of J. Murray and Lena Poole Jeffress of Charlotte Courthouse, Virginia. Presumably, Lena and Maxwell met during one of his visits home from school in Lynchburg.

A year later, the 1930 censustaker found the couple living in Washington, DC, at 3027 Sherman Avenue NW, where they boarded in the household of David Spencer.  Maxwell worked as a waiter in a restaurant and Lena as a clerk in an insurance office. It is likely that Maxwell had recently begun his studies at Howard University Dental College; he graduated in the Class of 1932.

On 2 June 1932, the Pittsburgh Courier‘s society page mentioned that a Danville couple had entertained members of a drama troupe from Virginia Theological Seminary and College. One of the performers in the play “A Servant in the House” was Maxwell Allen. [Is this the same Maxwell? I thought he was in dental school by then.]

On 16 June 1934, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the Virginia State Board of Dental Examiners had announced that 34 candidates, including J. Maxwell Allen, had passed the examinations to practice dentistry in the state.

A 1934 issue of Howard’s The Dentoscope journal announced:


Allen’s arrival was heralded in the local newspaper : “Colored Dentist’s Office at Charlotte Courthouse.”

On 1 August 1937, the Richmond Times-Dispatch covered the 67th anniversary celebration of Morrison Grove Baptist Church, “The oldest church for Negroes in Charlotte County.” After a brief history of the church, the article noted that “[t]he Central Sunday School convention with convene at Morrison Grove Wednesday and Thursday. Member schools will have charge of the program Wednesday. Dr. J. Maxwell Allen will lead a discussion on “Training the Youths for Christian Services” and Rev. W.C. Currin will preach Wednesday night.”

On 22 August 1939, the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran a short article concerning the alleged disappearance of Maxwell Allen, “Negro dentist,” following a visit to his wife at Virginia Union University. He had been carrying a significant amount of money, and the family feared foul play. Apparently, Maxwell resurfaced without incident, and the brouhaha died down. (My mother has never heard anything about this.)

The 1940 census of Charlotte Court House lists doctor of dentistry Maxwell J. Allen, 35; wife Lena P., a public school teacher, 35; and sons Maxwell J., Jr., 8, and Cameron L., 2; as well as Margarette Brown, 8, niece. Apparently, however, Maxwell tried out a practice in Lynchburg for a few years during this stretch. In Stickley and Amowitz’ The Lynchburg Dental Society Presents One Hundred Forty-Three Years of Dentistry: 1820-1963, published in 1964: “Dr. J. Maxwell Allen was a graduate of Howard University School of Dentristry. He practiced in Lynchburg at 912 Fifth Street in 1940 and 1941, moving from here to Charlotte Court House, Virginia.”

Maxwell Sr. and Maxwell Jr.(1938) 001

 Uncle Maxwell and younger son, Cameron, circa 1939.

On 23 February 1950, in a column in the Charlotte Gazette called “News of Interest of Colored Readers”: In observance of Negro History Week, the Rev. F.L. Patterson, pastor of Morrison Grove Church, arranged a very interesting meeting. Miss Betty Smith presided. Mrs. Charles G. Blackwell spoke on “The Negro in Education.” Other speakers were Mr. G. H. Binford, on the subject “The Negro in Politics and Economics”; Rev. F.L. Patterson, on “The Negro in Religion”; Dr. J. Maxwell Allen, on “The Negro in Fraternals and Dentistry.”

On 18 Aug 1959, Newport News’ Daily Press reported: “Dr. J. Maxwell Allen Sr., Negro, a former resident of Newport News, died early Sunday in a Lynchburg hospital following a short illness.  He is the son of Mrs. Mary H. Allen and the late J.C. Allen Sr., of Newport News. Surviving, in addition to his mother, are his wife, Lena P. Allen of Charlotte Court House; two sons, Maxwell Allen Jr. and Cameron Allen of New York City; a brother, William J. Allen, Newport News; three sisters, Mrs. Julia A. Maclin, Newport News, Mrs. Edith A. Anderson, Jetersville, and Mrs. Nita A. Wilkerson, Washington; a foster brother, Jesse H. Jefferson of Baltimore; and several nieces and nephews.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete.”

Per his death certificate, Uncle Maxwell died of cancer after a twelve-day stay in a Lynchburg hospital. He would have turned 56 the day after his death.  He was buried in Charlotte Court House in Union Cemetery, just down the road from his house and office. His wife Lena joined him there in 1998.

Education, Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin, Vocation

Registered nurses.

Many thanks to Renate Yarborough Sanders for bringing to my attention to “Early African American Registered Nurses in NC,” The page lists all known African-American nurses in the state, including my grandmother’s paternal aunt Henrietta Colvert and three other relatives.

The number presumably refers to the nurse’s license and the date to the date she was certified or registered. Henrietta Colvert was from Statesville, not Wilson, but moved to that eastern town by the early 1920s. I knew she trained at Saint Agnes, but was not aware that she also trained at Good Samaritan, a large African-American hospital in Charlotte.

#7794. Diana Ada Adams Artis. Wilson NC. October 13. Saint Agnes Hospital. 1926.

Diana Adams Artis was born in 1891 in Brooks County, Georgia. She married Columbus E. Artis, son of Adam T. and Amanda Aldridge Artis in 1914 in Washington DC, but later settled in Wilson. I assume that she worked at Mercy Hospital.

#7123. Henrietta Colvert. Wilson NC. April 15. Good Samaritan. 1925.

#11,104. Gwendolyn Sykes. Goldsboro NC. October 26. Lincoln Hospital. 1931.

Gwendolyn Sykes Carney, born 1909 in Goldsboro, North Carolina, was the daughter of William O’Berry Sykes and step-daughter of Gertrude Wynn Sykes.

Vera L. Baker. Graduate 1902, Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington DC. State Hospital, Goldsboro.

Vera L. Baker Holt, born 1879 in Dudley, North Carolina, was the daughter of John F. and Mary Ann Aldridge Baker.



Agriculture, Births Deaths Marriages, Business, Education, Land, Migration, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs, Politics

William Scarlett Hagans.

William Scarlett Hagans, born about 1869, was the second of Napoleon and Appie Ward Hagans‘ sons. He is first found as “Snowbee” in the 1870 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, North Carolina, in a household headed by “Poland Hagans” with wife Apcilla.  (Next door was Jonah Williams, brother of Adam Artis.  Artis married Napoleon’s half-sister Frances Seaberry; they were my great-great-great-grandparents.) Two years later the censustaker reported Napoleon’s stepfather, Aaron Seaberry, with the family.

William and older brother Henry E. Hagans attended primary  school in Goldsboro. William then departed for Howard University in Washington, DC, where he completed the preparatory division in 1889, the college department in 1893 (when he was one of six graduates), and the Law Department in 1898 (from whence he received a Bachelor of Arts degree.)

In a glimpse at young William’s social life, here’s a brief from the 20 October 1888 edition of the Washington Bee: “A company of young ladies and gentlemen, composed of Misses Mamie Jones, Ella Perry, Mary Dabney, Emma Ingrim, Louise Chapman, Mamie Dorster and Messrs. St. Clairlind, E. Williston, W.S. Hagans, Benjamin Henderson, J.W. Whiteman, James Usher, H.L. Hyman, L.A. Leftwich, spent an evening of pleasure at Miss E. Alley Thornton’s residence with her uncle, Rev. W.H. Howard, No. 77 Defrees street northwest.”

On 27 September 1894, the Goldsboro Daily Argus printed an article about the confused state of affairs among Wayne County’s Republicans, noting that “old-line leaders” like Napoleon Hagans, Rev. C. Dillard and E.E. Smith opposed “fusion” with Populists. The piece also noted that Will S. Hagans had been nominated to “legislature.”

The 1895-96 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction included a report from A.L. Sumner, principal of the State Normal School at Goldsboro, who noted that the school enrolled 172 students from 13 counties. “The Dorr Lyceum [a mandatory Friday evening lecture] was placed under the supervision of Prof. W.S. Hagans. In this association the students were taught to appreciate, write and speak the masterpieces of our literature, to write essays and debate, and were made acquainted with the meanderings of parliamentary usage.” The school’s catalogue for that year listed as faculty Sumner, Miss L.S. Dorr, and W.S. Hagans, who taught Classical Latin, Natural Philosophy, Theory and Practice of Teaching, Arithmetic, North Carolina History, etc. [Sumner was also editor of the Headlight, a Baptist-affiliated newspaper that published wherever Sumner moved for work.]

Per the 21 May 1896 issue of the Mecklenburg Times, at the state Republican convention, W.S. Hagans was elected alternate delegate to the national convention.

On 20 March 1897, the Raleigh Gazette, in an article about a reception in Goldsboro for African-American state senator W. Lee Person of Hickory, noted that Professor W.S. Hagans “spoke in high terms of commendation and praise of the Senator and his colleagues, and assured them that the colored people of Goldsboro were wedded to them, and would ever honor them for the record made for their race in the General Assembly of the State.”

On 5 June 1897, the Raleigh Gazette commented: “We certainly regret to hear that our friend, Prof. W.S. Hagans of Goldsboro, was not endorsed for the postmastership there. He certainly is worthy of the place. We hope to see him appointed to some good salaried place in Washington yet.”

On 27 June 1898, William S. Hagans, 27, married Lizzie E. Burnett, 23, in Nahunta, probably at the Hagans house. Presbyterian minister Clarence Dillard officiated and neighbor J.D. Reid, brother H.E. Hagans, and sister-in-law J.B. Hagans witnessed. Burnett was a member of the large and locally prominent Burnett family, but her parentage is not clear.

BURNETT -- Lizzie Burnett Hagans

Lizzie E. Burnett Hagans

Lizzie Burnett Hagans gave birth to a daughter Daisy in about 1898. She died in infancy.

The 19 January 1899 edition of the Washington Evening Star ran a breathless review of the season’s judicial reception at the Taft White House. The lengthy recitation of invited guests included Mr. W.S. Hagans.

On 21 March 1899, Henry Hagans and William S. Hagans received proceeds from the partition of about 476 acres in Nahunta township, Wayne County, belonging to the estate of the late Napoleon Hagans.

William and Lizzie Hagans welcomed a daughter, Susan A., in September 1899. The child was named for Lizzie’s mother. (And the A perhaps was for “Apsilla,” William’s mother.)

On 11 October 1899, William purchased from Minnie and Effie Morgan a lot on Oak Street in Goldsboro adjoining that of Lizzie E. Hagans.

On 28 October 1899, the Colored American noted that William S. Hagans “has returned from Goldsboro, where he attended the funeral of a relative. Mrs. Hagans accompanied her husband here, and apartments have been taken at No. 1524 O street northwest.” (Whose funeral?!?!)

On 9 December 1899, in a short article titled “Mr. White as Host,” The Colored American informed all that “Thanksgiving tide was made more joyous by the genial and whole-souled hospitality dispensed on Thursday evening of last week by Congressman George H. White at his handsome home, 1418 18th street northwest. … Those who sat at the festal board were Register [of U.S. Treasury] J.W. Lyons, Recorder H.P. Cheatham, Ex-Senator John P. Green, Major Charles R. Douglass, Messrs. John H. Hannon, Henry Y. Arnett [clerk to Cheatham], S.E. Lacy, W.S. Hagans, Lewis H. Douglass and R.W. Thompson.”

A month later, on 13 January 1900, the Colored American announced that “Mr. W.S. Hagans has returned from a holiday visit to his home at Goldsboro NC.  The great prominence of Congressman White and the voluminous mail occasioned by it, is keeping Mr. Secretary quite busy these days.”

On 24 February 1900, the Washington Bee ran “A Pen and Pencil Club: Washington’s Literati Form an Organization for Mutual Improvement and Promotion of Good Fellowship” a “brilliant coterie of journalists and writers” met at the Southern Hotel and organized the nucleus of  the Pen and Pencil Club. Editor T. Thomas Fortune was placed on the honorary roll, reserved for “prominent out-of-town scholars and penman.” Active members L.H. Douglass [Lewis Henry Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass and Civil War Union officer], J.W. Cromwell [John Welsey Cromwell, educator, lawyer, journalist], C.R. Douglass [Charles Remond Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass], C.A. Fleetwood [Christian A. Fleetwood, major, U.S. Colored Troops], E.L. Thornton, T.J. Calloway [Thomas J. Calloway, journalist], E.E. Cooper [Edward E. Cooper, editor, Colored American], W. Calvin Chase [William Calvin Chase, lawyer, editor of the Washington Bee], A.L. Manly, Paul H. Bray, S.E. Lacy, F.G. Manly, J.N. Goins [journalist], J.G. Clayton, J.H. Wills, W.L. Pollard, John T. Haskins, W.M. Wilson, W.O. Lee, A.O. Stafford [Alphonso O. Stafford, folklorist, teacher], W. Bruce Evans [physician and educator], W.L. Houston [William L. Houston, attorney], Lucien H. White [music critic, editor], H.P. Slaughter, Kelly Miller [mathematician, “The Bard of the Potomac”], C.W. Williams, J.H. Paynter [John H. Paynter, journalist/author], W.C. Payne [vice-presidential candidate, National Liberty Party, 1904], W.S. Hagans, R.H. Terrell [Robert Herberton Terrell, lawyer, teacher and later judge] and others.

In the 1900 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County, the censustaker recorded William B. Hagins (November 1872), wife Lizzie E. (April 1874), and daughter Susan (August 1898).  William is listed as white; his wife and daughter as black.

On 3 May 1900,  in an article titled “Hagan’s Win Out,” the Goldsboro Weekly Argus noted that Will S. Hagans had been elected to the Republican district executive committee and his brother Henry E. Hagans as a delegate to the national convention.

In 1902, W.S. Hagans, age 34, registered to vote in Wayne County under the state’s grandfather clause. He named “Dr. Ward” as his qualifying ancestor. David G.W. Ward, a physician in Wilson County, was William’s maternal grandfather. William could have named his father Napoleon (as did his brother Henry), and I am certain the choice was deliberate.

On 7 October 1902, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that “leading negroes have issued a call for a negro convention to be held on October 16 in Raleigh to put out a ticket against the Republicans. The call expresses indignation at the treatment negroes are receiving at the hands of Republicans and heaps abuse on Senator [Jeter C.] Pritchard, who, they declare, must be defeated at all hazards. The following negroes sign the call: Jas. E. O’Hara, Scotland Harris, H.P. Cheatham, W. Lee Pearson, R.W.H. Leak, W.S. Hagans, S.G. Newsom, W.F. Young.”

Daughter Eva Mae Hagans was born 1 January 1903 in Goldsboro.

On 31 January 1903, the Colored American shone a spotlight on Goldsboro, “a progressive little town of 8000 inhabitants. It is historic,” it claimed, “for the peaceful relations existing between the races. The chief occupation of its people is trucking. Yet we have negroes who are rapidly forging their way to the front along all industrial lines. Our people own thousands of acres of forming land, as well as excellent city property…. Prof. H.E. Hagans, the principal of our State Normal School and also a farmer, is worth $20,000. Mr. W.S. Hagans, who is one of the most successful agriculturalists, is worth $20,000. …”

On 9 May 1903, The Colored American reported “Mr. W.S. Hagans, who has made a host of friends among Washingtonians by his genial bearing and sterling qualities, will indulge in an extensive hunting expedition in and about his North Carolina home during the Xmas holidays.  He will have as his guests Congressman White and Recorder Cheatham.”

Wm S Hagans in Goldsboro with dogs

William S. Hagans, perhaps with hunting dogs, Goldsboro.

On 13 January 1904, William S. Hagans purchased 38 acres in Wayne County from J.D. Reed [sic] and wife. Reid grew up with William near Fremont, had been a witness at his wedding, and was principal of the Colored Graded School in the nearby town of Wilson.

On 20 January 1904, W.S. Hagans and wife Lizzie deeded 25 acres to J.W. Johnson. This land had been purchased by Napoleon Hagans in 1883 from J.W. Aycock and wife Emma, B.F. Aycock and wife Sallie, and O.L. Yelverton and wife Susan G. for $270. The property was located on the “public road leading from Sauls Crossroads to Bull Head.”

On 9 June 1904, West Virginia’s Charleston Advocate ran an editorial by R.H. Thompson titled “In the National Field/ The Lily-White Situation in The South as Viewed through Northern Glasses.” In it, he decried the state of the Republican Party.  “… The action of the North Carolina republican convention was a crime. The summary turning-down administered to such war-horses as John C. Dancy, Henry P. Cheatham, James E. Shepard, Samuel H. Vick, J.E. Taylor, Isaac Smith, W.S. Hagans and others has been an outrage that requires an emphatic prefix to fittingly characterize it. Not a solitary colored man of all of North Carolina’s able gallery of political lights was chosen as a delegate to the national convention. Time was when the race’s political sun set in the piney woods and moonshining camps in the Blue Ridge mountains, but the ill-fated ascendancy of Jeter C. Pritchard and his coterie of lily-whites has gradually dimmed the luster of the Tar Heel Negro constellation, now there are few so poor to do it reverence. George H. White was wise in moving his lares and penates to the hospitable shores of New Jersey, and it is a mercy that the tired frame of John Hannon went over to its lasting place ere his failing eyes witnessed the downfall of the house of cards he and his faithful allies had created as so ruinous a cost. …”

Daughter Flora Irene Hagans was born in 1904, and Rosalie Lorene Hagans in 1907.

On 16 May 1907, William S. Hagans contributed a lengthy column to the Washington Post entitled (and subtitled): “At Issue with Adams/ Goldsboro Man Reviews Politics in North Carolina/ Hopeless for Republicans/ ‘Lily White’ Faction Arraigned for Treatment of Colored Vote – Conventions Held on Trains to Trick the Negroes – Ingratitude Alleged – 20,000 Colored Votes Will Not Submit.” Which pretty much sums up the article, which is aimed at rebutting comments made in an interview with Judge Spencer B. Adams of North Carolina. “Where you find the negro voting at all, he is doing as he has always done — voting the Republican ticket or the ticket that goes by that name. He is just as much a Republican in this State to-day as every, but that he is not so enthusiastic cannot be denied. This can be easily explained. It has been the custom in this State ever since the enfranchisement of the negro for him to follow the lead of a few white men calling themselves Republicans. He expected and got this leadership before the adoption of the Constitutional amendment in 1900, which disfranchised a large majority of colored citizens. Those who happened to be spared from the operations of this new law still looked for this same leadership but found it not — a clear case of being left in outer darkness.”

At the heart of Wayne County Superior Court proceedings stemming from the suit in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis (1908) was a dispute over 30 acres of land.  Thomas “Tom Pig” Artis began renting the property in 1881 from W.J. Exum.  In 1892, Exum’s widow Mary sold it to Napoleon “Pole” Hagans.  In 1896, after Napoleon’s death, the land passed to his sons Henry and William S. Hagans.  In 1899, Henry sold his interest to his brother.  In 1908, William S. Hagans sold the 30 acres to J.F. Coley.  Coley filed suit when Tom Artis laid claim to it, arguing that Napoleon had sold it to him.  Tom claimed the 800 lbs. of cotton he tendered to Napoleon (and later, son William S. Hagans) was interest on a mortgage, but William Hagans and other witnesses maintained the payment was rent.  William Hagans testified that his father was in feeble health in 1896 when he called his sons together “under the cart shelter” to tell them he would not live long and did not know to whom the land would fall.  William testified that Pole asked them to let “Pig” stay on as long as he paid rent, and they promised to do so.  The court found for Coley and against Artis.

On 4 February 1909, the Goldsboro Weekly Argus announced that Will S. Hagans, “one of our best-known and most reputable colored citizens and who owns one of the best farms in the county, has been invited by the inaugural authorities at Washington to officiate as a marshal at the inauguration of President-elect Taft.” The article noted that the selection was particularly significant as Hagans had been “squelched” the local Republican chairman who selected “lily-white” delegates to the convention.

On 17 April 1909, the Indianapolis Freeman printed a nice, but erroneous, article lauding well-educated negro farmers and citing as prime example William S. Hagans, a Harvard graduate. William, of course, was no such thing. He was a proud graduate of Howard University. [Might his half-brother, Indianapolis physician Joseph H. Ward, have commented upon this mistake?]

On 19 May 1909, the Charleston (West Virginia) Evening Chronicle announced that Prof. William S. Hagans of Goldsboro would address the exercises of the Agricultural Literary Society during the tenth annual commencement at North Carolina Agricultural & Mechanical College for colored youth in Greensboro May 23-27.

On 3 June 1909, the New York Age reported that W.S. Hagans of Goldsboro had delivered the principal address at the exercises of the Agricultural Literary Society. Hagans was “one of the most successful and prosperous farmers” in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: W.S. Higgins [sic], 38, wife Mrs. W.S., 36, and children Sussie A., 11, Eva, 9, Flora, 6, and Loraine, 3.  All are listed as white.

Son William Napoleon Hagans was born 16 May 1910.

On 14 December 1911, the Greensboro Daily News covered a meeting of 750 members of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. A.M. “Prominent negroes” attending included Archdeacon H.B. Delaney, Prof. W.S. Hagans, C.C. Spaulding and ex-Congressman H.P. Cheatham.

On 7 August 1912, Will S. Hagans was listed on page 9 of the “List of Coloed [sic] Pole Tax paid by May the first for Nahunta Township,” which is now found in Wayne County Voting Records at the North Carolina State Archives.

Sometime during 1913, William Hagans moved his family from Goldsboro to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They settled in a rowhouse at 650 North 35th Street, and William entered the real estate business. Lizzie was probably already pregnant with their seventh child, but neither she nor the boy would live to know their new city. On January 11, 1914, Lizzie gave birth to a stillborn son, whom she and William named Henry Edward, after William’s brother. Eleven days later, Lizzie died of double pneumonia and nephritis, conditions brought on or exacerbated by her having carried a dead fetus for five weeks. She and little Henry were buried in the same grave in Eden Cemetery, just outside Philadelphia.

On 25 November 1914, the Weekly Argus ran a lengthy letter to the editor from “one of Wayne County’s best known colored citizens and properous land owners, as was his father before him” — none other than Will S. Hagans. After a self-effacing reference to “looking after his little affairs,” William gave a number of flattering nods to prominent citizens and to “the magnificent new court house.” He proclaimed his fondness for Goldsboro and asserted that only a desire to give his children the “very best school advantages” had compelled his move North. (One suspects, however, that much more in the state’s tense political climate was at play.)

Gboro_Weekly_Argus_11_25_1914 WS Hagans Good Citizen

On 26 January 1916, William Hagans sold his first cousin William M. Artis and wife Hannah two tracts on Turner Swamp in Nahunta township totaling 68 acres.

In the 1920 census of Philadephia, Pennsylvania, at 643 North 34th [sic, should read 33rd] Street, 49 year-old widowed real estate broker William S. Hagans and his children Eva M., 17, Flora I., 15, Rosalie L., 12, and William N., 9, all described as mulatto and born in NC.  Hagans owned this home, a three-story rowhouse in the Mantua neighborhood that is still standing.

William Hagans' children after 1913

William’s children Rosalie, Eva, Susan, Flora and William, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, circa 1916.

The 10 November 1921 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Court of Common Pleas awarded $750 to Lillian Wolfersberger, who sued William S. Hagans for injuries received at 36th and Powelton. Wolfersberger, who was blind, was being led across the street when she was struck by Hagans’ vehicle.

In its 29 December 1925 issue, the Pittsburgh Courier announced that William S. Hagans was elected president of the Citizens’ Republican Club with no opposition. “Mr. Hagans is popular and competent and a banner year is anticipated by the Citizens.” He was reelected to the office several times.

On 16 March 1929, according to the Pittsburgh Courier, the Citizens’ Republican Club president William S. Hagans appointed a committee to discuss ways to form a “Big Brother movement” in Philadelphia. “The need for such an organization is apparent because the white society have no provision for handling Negro cases.”

In the 1930 census of Philadelphia, at 643 N. 33rd Street, widowed real estate broker William S. Hagans, 59, and children Flora I., 26, public school teacher; Lorena,23, real estate stenographer; and William N., 19, all described as white.  All born in NC, but children’s mother’s birthplace listed as NY.  The house was valued at $8000.  The Haganses were the only “white” family on the block.  All others were Negro.

On 18 January 1930, the Pittsburgh Courier ran an article lauding the Citizens’ Republican Club’s hosting a “fanfest and fed” for “varsity football players of color” from Philadelphia high schools. Dr. Charles Lewis, “father of the Howard-Lincoln classic … for the first time

In 1930, Alfred Gordon, M.D. published an essay titled “Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School” in a slender volume called Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre. After setting forth the history of the hospital, Gordon named W.S. Hagans as a member of its Board of Managers.

The Scranton Republican on 15 October 1931 reported that Governor Pinchot had announced the termination of 43 employees in an reorganization of the department of labor and industry. Among them: William S. Hagans, special investigator, Philadelphia, whose salary was $1000.

On 18 January 1932, the Delaware County Daily Times reported that a special committee of the Pennsylvania State Negro Council had presented to the state superintendent of public schools a resolution calling for the establishment of a vocational school in Philadelphia. William S. Hagans, president of the Citizens Republican Club was a committee member.

On 27 September 1932, the Harrisburg Telegraph reported that the Republican state chairman had appointed a Colored Voters Advisory Committee for the current campaign. Members included William S. Hagans of Philadelphia.

In 1933 in Philadelphia, William married Emma L. Titus. The Great Depression dealt the couple crippling blows, and William lost his home and other holdings. In the 1940 census of Philadelphia, at 650 – 57th Street, realtor William Hagans, 65, was renting an apartment for $40/week with wife Emma, 40, a public school teacher, and mother-in-law Ellen Titus, 70. (Assuming this address is North 57th, William’s final home was a flat in a three-story rowhouse just two blocks from the house my grandmother later owned at Wyalusing and North 56th.)

William Scarlett Hagans died in 1946 in Philadelphia.

Wm Scarlett Hagans portrait

William S. Hagans.

Personal photographs courtesy of W.E. Hagans and W.M. Moseley. Other sources as cited.

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

To my ….

Abstracts of wills filed in Wayne County Superior Court, Goldsboro, North Carolina:

Lizzie E. Hagans — (1) to my beloved husband Will S. Hagans and his heirs in fee simple my house and lot in the town of Goldsboro, situated on Oak Street between West Center and James Streets and known as 104 West Oak Street; (2) to my husband $5000 with all benefits from life insurance policy #190279, Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company; (3) Will S. Hagans appointed executor. Signed 5 August 1904 in the presence of H[enry] S. Reid and J.A. Dees.

On 2 May 1917, C[larence] Dillard and J. Peele swore that they were knew Lizzie Hagans for a number of years, were well-acquainted with her handwriting and verified her signature. Henry S. Reid also swore that he witnessed the will, which was recorded and filed on 3 May 1917.

HAGANS -- Lizzie Hagans Death Cert

She had inherited Oak Street house from her (probable) uncle, William Burnett. Lizzie Hagans died shortly after William S. Hagans moved his family from Goldsboro to Philadelphia. 


Adam T. Artis — (1) S.S. Strother appointed executor; (2) a decent burial suitable to the wishes of my family and friends; (3) to my wife Katie Artis, all of the Thompson tract on which I now live, about 18 acres, all household and kitchen furniture and personal property; (4) to son Pinkney Artis, $100; (5) to son June Scott Artis, $10; (6) to son Henry Artis, $10: (7) to son Columbus Artis, $10; (8) to son William Artis, $5; (9) to son Walter Artis, $5; (10) to daughter Josephine A. Sherard, $15; (11) to son Robert Artis, $5; (12) sell the balance of my land to pay out the above, then divide the remaining in equal shares among my children Vicey Aldridge, Liza Evert, Augustus K. Artis, Georgana Reid, Mary Jane Artis, Emma D. Locus, Ida Reid, Lillie Thompson, Napoleon Artis, Haywood Artis, Addie Artis, Annie Artis, Alberta Artis, and Jesse Artis, and, at Katie’s death, property to be divided among the twelve heirs above whose gifts are not limited. Signed with an X in the presence of W.F. Lewis, J.J. Coley and J.E. Exum. Codicil: (13) to son Noah Artis, $10.

Recorded and filed 1 May 1919.

Adam Artis’ will includes the names of 23 of his children. Emma’s name is crossed out because she died before the terms of the will could be carried out. Known children whose names do not appear include Cain Artis, who died in 1917; Caroline Artis Coley and Louetta Artis, who presumably died before the will was made; Adam Artis Jr., who seems to have been very much alive in Washington DC. (Was the omission of his name inadvertent, as with Noah?) Despite newspaper reports claiming that Adam  fathered 47 “legitimate” children, these 27 are all I have been able to identify. Though there were doubtless others who died in childhood, I doubt there were 20 of them, and I am fairly certain that no other children reached adulthood.


Mathew Aldridge — (1) to daughters Fannie B. Randolph and Mamie J. Aldridge, 1/2 undivided interest in my dwelling house and lot on Pine Street. Signed 27 August 1919 in the presence of N.D. White and Ida Darden.

Recorded and filed 18 May 1920. Fannie Aldridge was qualified as administratrix.

record-image-24 copy

Hmmm. Mathew Aldridge’s will provided for neither his wife, Fannie Kennedy Aldridge, nor his oldest daughter, Daisy Aldridge Williams. Perhaps he had settled property upon them prior to making his will.


Lucian Henderson — to John Wesley Carter, all my real estate known as my home place, 8 acres, provided that John W. Carter care for me and my wife Susan Henderson, otherwise null and void. My trusty friend John W. Carter appointed executor. Signed with an X in the presence of Everest Lewis and R.E. Simmons.

Lucian Henderson died 22 June 1934 and his will was recorded and filed 27 June 1934.

Lucian and Susan Henderson’s only child, Cora Q., died in 1907. For more re his friendship with John W. Carter, nephew of his sister Sarah’s husband Jesse A. Jacobs, see here.


Joseph Aldridge — (1) a decent burial; (2) to my wife Martha C. Aldridge, all my real and personal property during her lifetime or widowhood; (3) to my sons Allen Aldridge, Daniel Aldridge, William Aldridge and Milford Aldridge, $1 each, to my son Joseph Aldridge, my watch, to my son George Aldridge, my clock; (4) after Martha’s death, all my personal property to be divided between my sons Joseph and George and my daughters Mary Aldridge, Luella Aldridge and Lillie Mae Aldridge; as tenants i common, Mary, Luella and Lillie Mae to receive 12 acres to be laid out of the someplace on the east side of the old stagecoach road; to Joseph and George, all the remainder of the land between what I received from the estate of my father Robert and my brothers George and Dave. Signed 5 May 1934.

Recorded and filed 12 September 1934.

Martha Hawkins Henderson Aldridge remarried in 1940, triggering the terms of paragraph 4 of the will. As set forth here, she remained close to Joseph Aldridge’s children the remainder of her life. Also, a small clue I hadn’t noticed before: Joseph indicated that he received land from the estate of his brother Dave. As noted here, I had lost sight of David Sloan Aldridge after 1904, but now know that he died before 1934.


Agriculture, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Crop liens & chattel mortgages.

The following abstracts are taken from agreements recorded at the Wayne County Register of Deeds office in Goldsboro, North Carolina:

Ira Henderson (1885-1946) was the son of James H. and Frances Sauls Henderson. On 11 March 1922, to secure payment of a $200 loan from B.W. Southerland Company of Duplin County, due 15 June 1922, Ira pledged: one bay mare about 8 years old known as the Parker mare; one mouse-colored mare mule about 8 years old; a one-horse Hackney wagon; one top-end spring buggy (red running gear); one set of harnesses; 9 red jersey shoats waighing about 50 pounds each; also, his entire interest in all his crops of cotton, corn, tobacco and all truck crops of every kind grown in 1922 on the lands of Nancy Winn near Mount Olive or any other land he cultivated. Signed with an X.

John J. Aldridge (1881-1964) was the son of John W. and Louvicey Artis Aldridge. On 29 January 1923, he conveyed an interest in all his crops to Seminole Phosphate Company to secure a $200.71 loan for fertilizer “used on my lands in Brogden township.” Terms required that he repay the loan with 6% interest on or before 1 October 1923.  Signed J.J. Aldridge

Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

They fear he met with foul play.

75 years ago today, this brief article appeared on the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Richmond Times Dispatch 8 22 1939

Richmond Times-Dispatch, 22 August 1939.

What the –?

My great-uncle J. Maxwell Allen survived this incident, but what in the world happened? (If anything.) I can’t find any foolw-up in newspaper archives, and no one in my family has ever mentioned the disappearance of Uncle Mac.