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.

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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.

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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.

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