Financial Ledger for the Wilson County Negro Library now Online


ledger july 1953

Page from July, 1953

A stark reminder of the segregation era in North Carolina, the Wilson County Negro Library ledger can now be perused online at DigitalNC.  It is an informative window into the  sometimes separate economy that existed during that period.

Here is what it contains (as listed in the metadata):

Categories include checks, bank (deposits and checks), general ledger, salaries, income tax, social security, N.C. Department of Revenue, books, periodicals, binding, audio visuals, library supplies, furniture & equipment, rent & building maintenance, insurance, bookmobile operation, travel, postage, miscellaneous, book processing charge, and cast surplus.

Black Wide Awake: The Roots of Wilson’s African American Community

Black Wide Awake Wilson Program 4

Burn the date, Tuesday, February 9, 2016, into your brains because there is going to be a sublime program here at WCPL with a powerhouse of eastern NC, African American history and genealogy by the name of Lisa Y. Henderson.  That was a long sentence.

A Local Man’s Extensive History Collection



About a quarter of the historical objects are on the ceiling!

IMG_20150928_102735397 IMG_20150928_102709356_HDR IMG_20150928_102615038 IMG_20150928_102558472 IMG_20150928_102044056_HDR IMG_20150928_101859830_HDR IMG_20150928_101853291 IMG_20150928_101848395_HDR

Monday I had the chance to stop by and visit Lewis Neal and his collection of Wilson County historical artifacts in his garage turned history museum. There I was fascinated by the breadth and depth of his collection as well as taken in by the hospitality and pleasant conversation with Lewis and his wife Tina. We talked about everything from segregation to Joshua Barnes (a founder of Wilson) to Elvis to college football (his grandson plays football for LSU and Lewis had just returned the day before from a game in New York).

Lewis was on his on at the age of thirteen and survived by picking cotton and tobacco while staying with any acquaintance that would give him a place to sleep. Eventually he became a successful truck driver, married and raised several children. All the while his natural curiosity was fed through collecting historical artifacts from all over the area that dealt with any aspect of Wilson County History.  These artifacts fill his garage, but it isn’t cluttered, the place is curated like a museum. Most every object has a label with a title or a description. Newspaper articles are framed on the wall or on the ground in giant poster frames separated by subject. There are also a great many binders filled with articles and documents on every Wilson County subject you can imagine.

Mr. Neal’s collection is a hidden, cultural treasure of Wilson County.

Crossing the Tracks an Oral History of East and West Wilson


Oliver Nestus Freeman Roundhouse Museum in East Wilson

I am pleased to announce that the Wilson County Local History and Genealogy room is collaborating with Barton College on an oral history project about East and West Wilson.  The director of Barton College’s Hackney Library, George Loveland, describes the project:

Crossing the Tracks: An Oral History of East and West Wilson is a partnership between the Round House Museum, Barton College’s History Department, and Hackney Library. In the spring of 2013, Barton College students began interviewing Wilson residents about social, cultural, political, and economic relations between residents of East and West Wilson, and how these have changed over the past sixty to seventy years.

Students involved in the project will use our local history resources as references for the written portion of the project.  This week a student perused our Wilson high school yearbook collection for participants in the project (he found some).  I also helped him pin down the date (1969-1970) for the extension of Hines Street into East Wilson.  The extension impacted many houses in the area including houses lived in by project participants.

Check out information about the project and listen to recorded interviews at this link