African American Doctors of World War I


WWI docsI was just sitting at my desk and up came an amazing couple, W. Douglas Fisher and Joann H. Buckley, bearing me a gift.  That gift was their new book, African American Doctors of World War I: The Lives of 104 Volunteers (2016).  And on the top right of the cover was Wilson’s own Maj. Joseph Henry Ward (1872-1956).  Also included in  the book is a doctor who practiced in Wilson, Dr. Thomas Clinton Tinsley.  Doug and Joann split their time between Washington DC and Florida and Wilson is right on their route, so they wanted to stop by.

And not only did they give me a book, they also want to do a program on WWI in November on their return trip to Florida!

Metal Detecting for Artifacts in Wilson County

metal detect

Elton likes to do his detecting at abandoned plantations in the county that didn’t survive into the era of aluminum cans, the bane of metal detecting. One of his favorite spots is the Tart family plantation.

metal detector

On the left side are Union buttons  and on the right are Confederate ones. From these examples I would have to say that the Union won the war of the coolest buttons.

Last night Elton Franks, local insurance agent,  genealogist and metal detectorist, gave an engaging presentation on his 20 years of metal detecting in Wilson County.

His grandmother lived next door to the famed local historian Hugh Johnston and he credits the old sage as the spark that lit his enthusiasm for metal detecting.  Elton has been quite successful in uncovering a wide range of relics from the county’s time immemorial, including: thimbles, buckets of civil war minie balls (even ones that were carved into fishing weights and dice), coins that date back to the mid 18th century- along with a half of a Spanish piece of eight, Confederate and Union buttons, jewelery, pocket watches, horse tack, parasol parts and a slew of other vestiges of bygone eras.

Happy National Bookmobile Day!



It really is National Bookmobile Day, which is nestled right in the middle of National Library Week.  I unfortunately do not know who the people in these photos are, but it is sometime after or during 1973.  I discerned the date by looking up the book that is featured on the wall of the bookmobile, The Home Run Trick,  which was first published in 1973.  Also, the clothes are screaming 1970’s.

Eyes on Main Street 2016

eyes on main street

This years Eyes on Main Street Wilson Outdoor Photo Festival starts on April 9th and goes through July 16th.

During my after-lunch constitutionals on Nash Street, downtown, I have gazed on some spectacular display window-sized photos for the festival from all over the world, making Wilson look quite cosmopolitan.  But you don’t have to go alone and uncurated, for artistic director, Jerome DePerlinghi, will be leading many walking tours during the several months of the festival.

1915 South Carolina Birth Certificates are now Online

Nell Welsh BC

This is my grandmother’s sister’s birth certificate. I guess her parents had not thought up a name for her yet. Some copies, like this one are a bit light. I can’t even read her mother’s name, which should be Alice Hilton.

Nell Welsh

Here is where she added her name to the the blank birth certificate in 1966.

This is awesome- South Carolina birth certificates for the year 1915, the first year they were issued, are now online at South Carolina Electronic Records Archive.

South Carolina had cut the funding for their Department of Archives and History so much in the past decade that they could hardly staff the place, and I knew several people who had lost their jobs.  Well they must have somebody over there because last month they released this digital bombshell.

Thanks to the Dead Librarian at the Richland Library in Columbia, SC, for the heads up.

Perry Como and Guy Cox in Wilson, 1948

Cox_Como_1948Found this way cool photo of Perry Como and local photographer extraordinaire, Guy Cox, from 1948.  They were both at Fleming Stadium during the annual tobacco festival.  I assume that Mr. Como was just about to croon the heck out of the place, (or had just finished and everyone was in a daze).

Wilson Barbecue 1934

bbq 1936

Look at that pit! They don’t dig them like that anymore.

Found this priceless barbecue relic in the 1934 booklet Facts About Wilson published by the Wilson Chamber of Commerce.  I’m not sure how long it was in business (I will have to check the city directories) but my 60ish year old friend said that his father used to talk about it.  There is still a Dixie Inn Road just outside of town.

facts about wilson