North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

June Scott Artis.

My cousin Adam just celebrated a birthday, but gave me a present. He is the latest in a line of at least nine Adams named in honor of our common ancestor, Adam Toussaint Artis. I am descended from Adam’s daughter Louvicey Artis Aldridge, and Adam, from his son June Scott Artis. (Actually, we’re double cousins, as June’s mother was Amanda Aldridge, sister of Louvicey’s husband John W. Aldridge. Yes — Adam married his daughter’s sister-in-law.)

The gift was this photo, which must have been taken very close to end of June Artis’ life and depicts him and his wife Ethel Becton Artis. Though Adam had dozens of children, photos of relatively few survive. I recognize in June’s face the “peak-ed” nose that my grandmother attributed to his half-sister Vicey and full sister Josephine Artis Sherrod.

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In the 1900 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County:  Adam Artice, 68, a widowed farmer,  with children Louetta, 18, Robert, 16, Columbus, 14, Josephfene, 13, Jun S., 10, Lillie B., 9, Henry B., 6, Annie, 3, Walter, 26, and William Artis, 24.

In the 1910 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Columbus Artis, 24, grocery storekeeper, with brothers June Scott, 20, and Henry J., 16, box factory laborers,plus two lodgers, John Newsome, 30, and Eliza Diggs, 24 (who were relatives of their brother William’s wife Etta Diggs Artis.)

J.S. Artis married Ethel Becton on 29 January 1912 in Wayne County.

June Scott registered for the World War I draft in Wayne County. He reported that he had been born 23 November 1889 near Eureka, Wayne County and resided on RFD 1, Fremont.  He farmed for himself near Eureka and was described as being tall and slender with dark brown eyes and black hair.  He signed his name “June Cott Artis” on 5 June 1917.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, farm manager June S. Artis, 30, wife Ethel, 26, and children James, 7, Edgar, 7, Manda Bell, 3, and farm laborer Edgar Exum.

In the 1930 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 40, wife Ethel P., 34, and children James B., 17, Edgar J., 15, Amanda B., 14, and Gladys L. Artis, 5.

In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer June S. Artis, 50, wife Ethel, 46, and children James Brodie, 25, Edger, 23, and Gladys, 16.

June Scott Artis died 2 June 1973 in Stantonsburg of chronic myocarditis, secondary to chronic nephritis.  His death certificate reports that he was married to Ethel Becton and was born 23 November 1895 to Adam Artis and Mandy Aldridge.  He was buried 7 June 1973 at Artis Cemetery in Wayne County.

Ethel Becton Artis died 14 October 1994, days after her 102nd birthday.

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Military, Newspaper Articles, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Cpl. Adam Artis, 366th Infantry.

I recently received an email from James Pratt, whose father, Charles A. Pratt, was in the Army’s 366th Infantry from the time it was organized at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, in 1941 until it disbanded in Italy in 1945. Pratt is retired and has devoted considerable time to researching the 366th.

“I had the opportunity to spend two days in Tuscany,” he wrote, “where the 366th is still remembered fondly by the citizens. In Sommocolonia, the townspeople have started a small museum about the ŒBuffalo soldiers. I went to the American cemeteries in Florence and Nettuno and took photos of all the grave markers for the nearly 120 men of the 366th who are buried in Italy.”  Pratt is trying to match the markers with photos of the soldiers and wants to do the same for the more than 130 soldiers of the 366th who were buried across the United States.

Gibbs-Ithaca Journal-reduced

Ithaca Journal, 19 December 2015.

One of the 366th soldiers was Adam Artis, who enlisted in New Jersey, but was born in North Carolina. “Adam … lost his life while training in the U.S. He died on January 1, 1943.” Pratt is trying to find additional information about Adam Artis. He believes he had a son, Adam Artis Jr., who graduated from High School in East Orange, New Jersey, but has not been able to locate him.

The Artis branch of my family tree holds at least seven Adam Artises, including our patriarch Adam Toussaint Artis (1831-1919). If 366th Adam is one of ours, he is likely Adam, son of Adam T.’s son Robert E. Artis and his wife, Christana Simmons Artis. That Adam was born in 1913 near Black Creek, Wilson County. He appears in his parents’ household in the 1920 and 1930 censuses of Wilson County, but not thereafter. On 16 April 1941, Adam Artis, born in 1913 in North Carolina, enlisted in the Army in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey. (His brother Robert Arzell Artis, born 1908, appears in the 1940 census of Newark as an unmarried restaurant cook.) That Adam is buried in Glendale cemetery in Bloomfield, Essex County.

AArtis grave

If this Adam had a son Adam Artis Jr., he may be the one born in 1942 whose senior portrait appears in the 1960 East Orange High School yearbook.

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He is listed as a student in the 1961 Boston, Massachusetts, city directory and in later directories as a teacher in Cambridge and Boston city schools. Here he is in a booklet titled “The Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools,” published in 1989.

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This blog about William Monroe Trotter Elementary School mentions that it was the second magnet school in the U.S., and a comment enthuses about the plays Adam Artis produced. His impact also shines through in a testimonial posted by a former student on the blog, http://www.myblackteacher.net. Adam Artis Jr. is surely retired by now, but it is not clear to me whether he is still living. If he is, perhaps Scuffalong will reach him.

U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Opposes race suicide. (Har! Har!)

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The Wilmington Messenger, 3 January 1906.

The Statesville Record & Landmark, 9 January 1906.

The Raleigh Enterprise, 11 January 1906.

The Union Republic (Winston-Salem), 11 January 1906.

The Dispatch (Lexington), 17 January 1906.

The Alamance Gleaner, 18 January 1906.

The Salisbury Evening Post, 20 January 1906.

This exaggerated, casually racist account was published in no fewer than seven North Carolina newspapers in January 1906. (Adam Artis was my great-great-great-grandfather, and he actually had more like 25 children.)

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Free People of Color, Letters, Migration, Paternal Kin, Virginia

An Artis founding story.

A cousin sent me this undated letter a few days ago, asking if I knew anything about it. She is descended from my great-great-great-grandfather Adam Artis‘ brother Richard Artis. Her Richard is not one of the Richards listed to in the document. (There were several contemporaneous Richard Artises just in the Wayne-Greene-Wilson County corner, none of whom I can link to one another.) The family history recounted in the letter smacks of the apocryphal, but it is interesting, and I will try to follow up on it.

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Business, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

C.D. Sauls, influential colored man of Snow Hill, invests.

In 1897, cousin Cain D. Sauls was one of two African-American members of a five-man delegation that traveled eastern North Carolina advocating for the “Snow Hill Railroad.”

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Goldsboro Weekly Argus, 15 April 1897.

A little over a year later, North Carolina’s secretary of state approved the incorporation of the Great Eastern Railway Company, which planned to build and operate a 130+ mile railroad passing through Johnston, Wayne, Greene, Pitt, Beaufort and Hyde Counties. Among the 25 stockholders incorporating the railroad? C.D. Sauls!

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Raleigh Morning Post, 15 October 1898.

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

The baby boy, found. (Sort of.)

When you’re not looking for something, there it is.

The story I’d heard was that Adam T. Artis‘ youngest child, Pinkney Alphonso Artis, had run away to Baltimore as a young man (or maybe even teenager) and refused to return. I believed it; I certainly had not been able to find much trace of him. He was listed as a child with his parents in the 1910 census, then disappeared from that set of records. I found his Social Security application, filed in Washington DC on 29 May 1939, which told me that “Alfonso Artis” lived at 70 Eye Street, SW; was married to Essie Moore; was employed by WPA; and had been born 16 Apr 1903, Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Adam Artis and Katie Pettiford.

AP Artis SSN App

Just over a year later, in June 1940, his mother died, and “Pinkney Artis” of Washington DC was listed as the informant on her death certificate. And that was it. That was all I knew about Pinkney.

Until the other day, when I stumbled upon this, hidden in plain sight:

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The 1940 census, Nahunta township, Wayne County: Adam’s notorious last wife, the remarried Katie A. “Cain” (her death certificate says “King”), son “Pinkny” A. Artis and daughter-in-law Ester Artis. Pinkney reported that he had been living in the same place five years earlier. (His wife had been in DC in 1935. What a transition that must have been.) They were surrounded on all sides by Artises. At #28, Richard Baker, his wife Odessa (daughter of Pinkney’s half-brother Henry J.B. Artis) and their daughter Daisy; at #29, Simon Exum (son of Simon Exum and Pinkney’s aunt Delilah Williams Exum) and his family; and at #31, J.B. Artis himself with wife Laurina and two children.

So, then, not only have I found no trace of Pinkney in Baltimore in his early years, but there is evidence that he was in Wayne County during at least the mid-1930s. He did come home. But where was he all that time?

I still have not found Pinkney in the 1920 or 1920 censuses, but here he is in the 1932 city directory of Richmond, Virginia:

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Did he and Essie marry in Richmond? In DC? I don’t know. How long did they live there? I don’t know that either. But these finds add some texture and definition to Pinkney’s life, and I’ll continue to search.

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Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Rights

No damages.

More times than I might have imagined, see here and here and here and here and here, members of my extended family have figured in litigation that made its way to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Here’s another such case:

William Hooks v. William T. Perkins, 44 NC 21 (1852).

In 1845, the Wayne County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions bound brothers Rufus Artis and Thomas Artis to William Hooks to serve as apprentices until age 21. At the time of their indentures, Rufus’ age was reported as 7 and Thomas’ as 18. In 1849, after the court determined that Thomas was, in fact, only 15 when apprenticed, a judge ordered his indenture amended to correct his true age. Hooks, apparently, never got around to it.  Meanwhile, William Perkins hired Thomas. Deprived of the young man’s labor, Hooks attempted to enforce the court order, and Perkins took up Thomas’ cause.  Arguing that Thomas was bound to serve him until his true age of 21 — regardless of the age listed on his indenture — Hooks sued Perkins for damages for the period from November 1848 to February 1849 during which Perkins would not turn Thomas over.  The state Supreme Court held that Hooks should have amended Thomas’ indenture to reflect his actual age at the time it expired, per the court order.  Having failed to do so, Hooks was not Thomas’ master when Perkins hired him and was not entitled to damages.

Notwithstanding the court’s findings, Rufus, 11, and Thomas Artis, 20, were listed in the household of farmer William Hooks, along with another apprentice, W.H. Hagins, 15, in the 1850 census of North Side of the Neuse, Wayne County. (William Perkins does not appear in the county’s census at all.)  Worse, by 1860, Rufus Artis had lost ground, as the census of Nahunta, Wayne County, lists him as a 17 year-old — rather than the 21 or 22 year-old he actually was — in Hooks’ household, along with Polly Hagans, 15, and Ezekiel Hagans, 13.  In other words, what Hooks could not get out of Thomas Artis, he appears to have extracted from his younger brother.

Rufus Artis eluded the census taker in 1870, but he was around. On Christmas Eve 1874, he married Harriet Farmer in Wayne County. The family appears in the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County: Rufus Artis, 46, wife Harriet, 30, and daughters Hannah, 13, and Pennina, 9. The family lived very near a cluster of three other sets of extended Artis families descended from Vicey Artis, Celia Artis, and Vincent Artis, none of whom were not known to have been related. (Or, at least, not closely so.) In the 1900 census of Nahunta, Rufus and Harriet, their children grown and gone, shared their home with Harriet’s mother, 73 year-old Chanie Farmer. Daughter Pennina had married Curry Thompson, son of Edie Thompson, on 11 October 1893 in Wayne County. They had two daughters, Harriet (1895) and Appie (1896). On 10 January 1917, Harriet Thompson married John Henry Artis, born 1896 to Richard Artis and Susannah Yelverton Artis. Richard, of course, was the son of Solomon Williams and Vicey Artis, and the brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis.

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