North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Fremont in the forties.

In the early 1940s, Fremont on, say, a Saturday morning, would have been awash with my relatives. Artises in particular, but also the descendants of Elias L. Henderson, George W. Aldridge, and John W. Aldridge‘s daughter Correna Aldridge Newsome. I don’t know that any are captured in this smudgy footage, but it’s a fascinating glimpse nonetheless at the by-gone busy life of this small Wayne County town.

Per Youtube, “Fremont businessman Oscar Turlington took fantastic home movies of his hometown that document life in rural Wayne County.” This film was “[s]hared with the Wayne County Public Library by the Leon Mooring Family.” Many thanks to Marty Tschetter, Local History and Reference Librarian at Wayne County Public Library, Goldsboro.

North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

The Alex Henderson branch.

One of the highlights of my family reunion was reconnecting after many years with members of the Alex Henderson branch of the family. One of Alex’s granddaughters had displayed photos of members of this branch at the first reunion back in 1990, and I’ve been trying to get copies ever since. Many thanks to cousin E.B.H., who brought them to the meet-and-greet Friday evening and allowed me to make copies.

The 1860 census of Westbrooks, Sampson County, North Carolina lists my great-great-great-great-grandfather James Henderson, 52, carpenter, with his second wife Eliza, 25, and children Anna J., 8, Susan, 6, Hepsie, 4, and Alexander, 1. By the 1870 census, the family had moved about ten miles southeast to Faisons township, Duplin County: James Henderson, 52, farmer, wife Eliza and children Ann, 17, Susan, 16, Hepsey, 14, Aleck, 13, John H., 11, Nancy, 6, and Betty, 3, plus James’ son (by his first “wife”) James, 27, and boarders James Ammons and Thomas Cox.  In the 1880 census of Faisons, Duplin County: James Henderson, 62, wife Eliza, and children Alexander, John, Nancy, Julia, Edward, and Lewellen.

On 19 March 1884, Alex married Mary Odom in Faison, Duplin County. The marriage register lists him as a resident of Wayne County, a few miles north. Witnesses to the ceremony included Isham R. Smith, who had married Alex’s younger sister Nancy in 1881, and James Henderson. (His father or his brother?)

AH marr

Alex and Mary settled in Mount Olive, Wayne County, where they are found in the 1900 census: Alex Henderson, 39, farmer; wife Mary, 35; children Willie, 17, Mary J., 11, Theo., 9, and Connie, 6; a lodger and three boarders. However, Alex was set to become the only one of James Henderson’s sons to leave farming, and the 1906 Goldsboro city directory lists him and his oldest son Will Henderson as laborers living at 615 North George Street.

Will had married Susan “Sudie” or “Susie” Budd, daughter of John and Alice Budd, on 26 December 1903. His sister Mary Jane was the next of Alex’ children to marry, tying the knot with Robert Wooten of Lenoir County on 24 February 1906 at her father’s house. A “Holy preacher” performed the ceremony and her first cousin Oscar Smith, son of Nancy Henderson Smith, were witnesses. (Another witness, John H. Smith, may have been Nancy’s son Johnnie.)

By 1910, Alex and his three-generation family had settled into a house at 762 North James, just inside Goldsboro’s northern city limits. The census of that year shows Alex Henderson, 50, laborer on city streets;  wife Mary, 44; son William, 23, felt factory laborer; William’s wife Susie, 23, laundress; daughter Mary Jane Henderson, 21, and her husband Robert, 27, hostler, and son Percy, 3 [this family’s last name was actually Wooten]; William’s sons Johnnie, 5, and William, 2; Alex’ son Theodore, 18, laborer at Goldsboro Buggy Company), and daughter Carnie, 16, nurse for a private family), plus five male boarders. [Oddly, as shown in this image from the 191x Sanborn map of Goldsboro, 760 and 762 North James were located between 704 and 712 and across from 709. The house is no longer standing, and the area is now primarily light industrial. Saint Stephen Baptist Church, however, has moved a few blocks north and is still attended by Henderson family members.] Later that summer, Mary Jane and Robert’s unnamed six-day-old infant died of convulsions. Mary’s aunt Nancy’s husband Isham Smith, an undertaker, buried the baby.

1912 Sanborn

The 1911-12 Goldsboro city directory shows that Alexander, Connie, Theodore and William Henderson continued to share the house on North James Street, by then renumbered as 708.

In October 1911, Connie Henderson gave birth to her only child, Roland Alexander Smith. Just before Christmas, 1913, Connie married Roland’s father John A. Smith, 21, son of Jacob and Cora Smith, at the Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro. Reverend Clarence Dillard performed the ceremony, and one of the witnesses was Connie’s in-law James Guess, an undertaker who was married to her cousin Annie Smith Guess, daughter of Isham and Nancy Henderson Smith.

In February 1916, Alex’ younger son Theodore, 22, married Bettie Hargrove, 20. Four months later, on 13 June, Alex Henderson was dead. Nephew-in-law James Guess buried him in Elmwood, Goldsboro’s African-American cemetery.

In the 1920 census of Goldsboro, Wayne County: at 710 James Street, widow Mary Henderson, 54; son-in-law Robert Wooten, 40; daughter Mary Wooten, 30; their children Leroy, 12, George, 7, and Joseph, 2; grandson Roland Smith, 8; and four roomers. Little Roland was listed again in the home of his parents John and Connie Smith at 346 Thompson Street. Will had finally moved his family out of the “home house,” and he, Susie, and children John, Willie and Mary Alice are found at 219 East Vine Street in Goldsboro. Theodore is not listed in the census that year.

Mary J. Odom Henderson died 7 September 1926 in a hospital in Goldsboro after undergoing surgery for a strangulated hernia. Her death certificate reports that she was 60 years old and born in “Simpson” County. Her son Will Henderson was informant, and her husband’s nephew-in-law James Guess buried her in Elmwood.

At some point before 1930, the Smith family cast off into the Great Migration, fetching up in New Britain, Connecticut. In the census that year, John A. Smith, 39, wife Constance (“Connie,” no longer), 34, and son Roland, 17, shared a home at 311 East Enoch Street with another family, paying $18 a month. John worked as a laborer in a garage. Back in Goldsboro, Robert Wooten, 42, wife Mary Jane, 39, and their children Leroy, 22, George R., 18, Joseph, 13, Harrell, 7, Cleveland, 4, Mary E., 5, and Ruth A., 11 months, shared their household with three boarders, one of whom was the peripatetic “Rowland” Smith, 19, Connie’s son. Theodore Henderson was living in Goldsboro at 210 Brazil Street with a wife named Sudie, rather than the Bettie he married in 1916. He worked in cotton storage. William’s family seems to have been passed over by enumerators in 1930.

Connie & Roland Smith

Connie H. Smith and son Roland A. Smith, n.d.

Theodore Henderson was the first of Will and Susie’s children to pass away. He died of knife wounds on 15 November 1936 at the age of 45. His death certificate states that he was born in Duplin County to Elex Henderson and Mary Odom, both of Wayne, and married to Bettie Henderson. Cousin James Guess buried him in Elmwood cemetery.

The 1940 census found Will and Susie Henderson and their daughter Margaret trying their fortunes further afield. They appear in Danville, Virginia, renting a house at 625 Upper Street. Will had found work cleaning machines at a mattress factory and reported to the enumerator that the family had been living in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1935. The Smiths remained in New Britain, Connecticut, one of a handful of African-American families on Oak Street. The family occupied a second-floor apartment at #55, and John worked as a molders helper at an electrical factory while Roland was a garage handyman and Constance tended to matters at home. Robert and Mary Jane Wooten were still in Goldsboro, living at 908 North Centre Street with their children Harold, Mary E., Cleveland, and Angeline.

Rev. William H. Henderson died 6 December 1959 at his home at 712 North John Street, Goldsboro, of cerebral apoplexy.  His death certificate notes that he was born 1 December 1878 to Alaxander Henderson and Mary Odom and was married to Susie B. Henderson. The informant was his daughter Margaret Brown of 826 North Center, Goldsboro. He was buried in Lightner cemetery, just south of Goldsboro in the Mar-Mac community. (James Guess had died two years earlier and thus ended his long years of service to his wife’s extended family.)


Will Henderson, 1937.

Susie Budd Henderson died 20 November 1964 at her daughter Margaret’s home at 826 North Centre Street. Her death certificate reports that she was born 20 June 1891 to John Budd and Alice Jones. She was buried 22 November 1964 at Lightner cemetery.


Susie Budd Henderson, 1937.



R.W.B., only living grandchild of Alex and Mary Odom Henderson, July 2016.

Many thanks to Will and Susie Henderson’s granddaughter E.B.H. for copies of old photos of Alex’ descendants. I took the photo of Cousin R. last week at our family reunion. — LYH

North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Front porch, 1957.


This image is EVERYTHING.

Reverend William H. Henderson and his wife Susie, 1957, Goldsboro, North Carolina.

The composition. The chiaroscuro.

Cousin Will’s hat and folded hands.

Cousin Susie’s pearls and busted shoes.

And that fan.

The rail with no balusters. The tongue-and-groove.

Fifty-four years married. Wont nobody playin’.


Many thanks to E.H., Will and Susie’s granddaughter, for this photo.

DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

DNA Definites, no. 23.


Joseph Buckner Martin (1868-1928) is said to have been the father of my great-grandmother Bessie Henderson and her brother Jesse “Jack” Henderson. Does DNA back this up?

Sort of.

One of Bessie’s descendants (me) and three of Jack’s (J.E., L.H. and M.C.) have tested with Ancestry DNA. I match each of them as expected. But whom do we match?

Buck Martin was the son of Lewis H. and Mary Ann “Polly” Price Martin. Though Lewis and Polly had ten children, so far I have not identified matches for any of us with descendants of any of them.

Let’s back up a generation though. Lewis H. Martin was one of 11 children of Waitman G. and Eliza Lewis Martin. My close cousins J.E. and L.H. match G.A., who is descended from Lewis’ brother Henderson N. Martin.

Eliza Lewis Martin (1813-??) was the oldest child of Urban Lewis and Susan Casey Lewis. Her siblings: John Lewis, Fannie Lewis Denmark, Joel Lewis, Bethany Lewis Martin, Susan Marinda Lewis Potts, Patience Lewis Denmark, William Lewis, Elizabeth Lewis, and Mary Ann Lewis Martin. My close cousins and/or I match descendants of at least two of them, John (J.K., K.P.) and Susan (E.P., B.P.). (My father also has matches to Susan’s descendants E.G.P. and B.A.P. at Gedmatch and D.P. at FTDNA.) In addition, J.E. and L.H. match B.T., a descendant of Urban Lewis’ brother Laban Lewis. And over at 23andme, my father’s first cousin J.H. matches A.L., an Urban and Susan Casey Lewis descendant, and K.C.K., a descendant of one of Susan Casey Lewis’ siblings.

Polly Price Martin was the daughter of James and Margaret Herring Price. Polly had  sisters Margaret “Peggy” Price Williams and Susan Price Dail. M.C., J.E. and/or I match a descendant of Susan Dail and five descendants of Peggy’s great-grandson Merle Williams.

So, while we do not have matches with any of Buck’s siblings’ descendants, we do have matches to all four of his grandparents’ line — Martin, Lewis, Price and Herring. This does not exclusively establish Buck Martin as my ancestor, but it goes a long way.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Born this day: 1 January.

Name — Susan Casey Lewis.

Birth — 1 January 1787, Wayne County, North Carolina.

Parents — Micajah Casey and Sarah Herring Casey.

Spouse — Urban Lewis.

Death — 10 October 1860, Wayne County, North Carolina.

Relationship to me — Paternal great-great-great-great-great-grandmother.

[Hat tip to Hollie Ann Henke,]

North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Signature Saturday, no. 7: John Henry Henderson’s sons and grandsons.

John Henry Henderson (1861-1924) was the youngest of James Henderson‘s sons to reach adulthood. He married Sarah Simmons, daughter of Bryant and Elizabeth Wynn Simmons, in 1886 near Dudley, Wayne County. Census records suggest that Sarah gave birth to as many as twelve children, but only three survived — Frances “Frankie,” Charles Henry and John Henry. I have found no record of John H. Henderson’s signature, but here are those of his sons and grandsons.

John & Sarah Henderson Colorized

John and Sarah Simmons Henderson, perhaps the 1910s.

Charles H. Henderson, born about 1893, is something of a mystery. In 1900, he appears as “Charley” in the census of Dudley, Wayne County, with father John, mother Sarah and sister Frankie. There’s some uncertainty about the children’s identification, but this is a photo John and Sarah circa 1895. My best guess is that the image depicts Frankie and Charley.

John Sarah Henderson family

Charles was not living in his parents’ home in 1910, however. Nor can I find him elsewhere. In 1917, however, he registered for the World War I draft in Richmond, Virginia. He reported that he was born 21 July 1893 in Dudley; resided at 114 E. Leigh Street, Richmond; and worked as a self-employed barber. He was of medium height with a slender build, brown hair and eyes and was slightly bald. (His signature is from this draft card.) In the 1920 census of Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, at 614 Baker Street, in Lee Ward, Charles H. Henderson, 32, and wife Maria R., 32, with Maria’s parents Henry and Mary B. Stockes, sharing a household headed by Eddie Seigel.  Charles worked as a barber and was recorded as being born in Virginia. (This and his age — he was actually about 27 — are erroneous.) It’s the last record I have for Charles Henderson.

Charles H Henderson Sig

Eight years after Charles was born, Sarah Simmons Henderson gave birth to her last child, son Henry Lee (1901-1942). Henry married Christine Lenora Aldridge while both were still in their teens. I’ve written of their sons here, and samples of their signatures (all from World War II draft cards) are shown below Henry’s.

Henry Henderson

Henry Lee Henderson, perhaps the very early 1940s.

Henry L Henderson Sig

Horace B Henderson Sig

Aaron Henderson Sig

Johnnie D Henderson Sig

On Christmas Day 1911, Frances Ann “Frankie” Henderson (1891-1985) married her first cousin, Israel Henderson Wynn (1890-1967), son of Washington “Frank” and Hepsey Henderson Wynn. I have no sample of Frankie’s handwriting, and Israel was unable to read or write. (At least, as a young man.) He signed his World War I draft registration card with an X.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.02.38 PM

Frankie and Israel (called “H”) had at least 11 children, including sons John Franklin (1915-1981), George Roosevelt (1918-1986), Henderson B. (1924-1981), and Lawrence (1925-??), whose World War II draft card marks or signatures are shown:

John F. Wynn DRaft

Roosevelt Wynn

HB Wynn

Lawrence Wynn