Business, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Demanded possession of the body.

Wilson_Daily_Times__8_12_1921 Batts & Artis

Wilson Daily Times, 12 August 1921.

This terrible dispute over the body of a dead 12 year-old girl took place in the early days of C.E. Artis‘ first undertaking business, Batts & Artis. The death certificate of Martha Lucas, who died of peritonitis, shows that Darden & Son prevailed.


Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin, Vocation

Where we worked: morticians and embalmers.

Isham Smith, Goldsboro NC – husband of Nancy Henderson Smith; undertaker, circa 1900-1914.

William T. Abrams Jr., Union SC — husband of Mamie Aldridge Abrams Rochelle; undertaker in family business, circa 1930.

William J. Allen, Newport News VA – embalmer, 1930s-1970s?

James N. Guess Sr., Goldsboro NC —  husband of Annie Smith Guess; owner and operator of funeral home, Pine between James and Center Streets, 1910s-1950s.

Guess Fun Hom 6 22 1940 Af Am

The Afro-American, 22 June 1940.

James N. Guess, Jr., Goldsboro NC – worked for father’s funeral business.

Columbus E. Artis, Wilson NC – owner and operator of Artis & Freeman Funeral Home, 1920s; C.E. Artis Funeral Home, 1920s-1950s.

Concord Daily Tribune 5 24 1921

Concord Daily Tribune, 24 May 1921.

The twelfth in an occasional series exploring the ways in which my kinfolk made their livings in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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

Keeping it in the family.

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.

ImageGoldsboro City Directory, 1916-17. 

Image Hill’s Directory of Goldsboro, NC, 1950-51.

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:

Baby Wooten 2

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.