Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

History of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) online

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ance Co. Mr. Rogers is a native of Wake Co., having been
born about ten miles from Raleigh on Oct. 28, 1860. His
father, Marcellus Rogers, was a son of James Rogers. His
mother's name was Margaret.

Mr. Rogers was married on Jan. 22, 1885, to Mrs. Hattie
Jeffries of Raleigh, who was a native of Craven Co. They
have five children: Dr. C. A. Rogers of Bluefield, West Va.,
a practicing physician; Prof. Fred J. of Shaw University,
Raleigh; Leroy C. Rogers, now (1919) a dental student at
Meharry College, Nashville, Tenn., Harold Rogers of Colum-
bus, Ohio, and Miss Anna Eliza Rogers, who died at the
age of eight years.

The subject of this biography grew up on the farm. He
became of school age just after the close of the war when
public schools were at a low ebb. He made the best of
such opportunities as he had, however, and when ready for


college went to Shaw University for four years and then
to Lincoln University for two years.

He began is work as a teacher in Wake Co. in 1882
and with various charges continued to teach for sixteen
years. He has seen many of the boys and girls whom he
first taught in the public schools grow up and take their
place in the community as successful men and women. He
traveled one year for the Raleigh Gazette and was in the
office of the Clerk of the Superior Court for another year.
In 1899 he was appointed Deputy Collector in the office of
the Collector of Internal Revenue, which position he held
continuously for fifteen years. In the fall of 1913, he made
connection with the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance
Company. It is a splendid endorsement of both his char-
acter and ability to state that, although he had no previous
experience in insurance work, he was placed at the head
of the district where the work has steadily grown under
his management.

Mr. Rogers is a Republican in politics and has been
more or less active in the organization. He is an active
member of the Baptist church, being assistant clerk and
Supt. of the Sunday School in his local church. He is also
prominent in the State Sunday School Convention. For
fifteen years he has been manager of the Sunday School
Supply department, which has been a success, and is now
Treasurer of the Baptist State Sunday School Convention.
He belongs to the Masons and is the treasurer of his lodge.
Speaking from years of practical experience, he believes that
so far as material things are concerned, the race needs
training along industrial as well as professional lines. His
property interests are at Raleigh.

Irvin Alfred Scales

The man who measures success by money or who looks
on life merely as an opportunity to get gain" would hardly
turn to the teaching profession.



Especially is this true among the colored people of
the South, where equipment is poor and salaries small.
No other field of endeavor, however, offers a better oppor-
tunity for that sort of unselfish service which makes itself
felt in the lives of others, and tends to promote intelligence
and uplift the race. It is fortunate for the race and for
the nation that some of the choice young men of the race
are nobly responding to the call for intelligent leadership
and with singleness of purpose are. devoting themselves to
the work of teaching.

Among these must be mentioned Professor Irvin Al-
fred Scales of Sanford, Lee Co. As he was born on June
23, 1894, he is still in his early twenties. His boyhood home
was at Mt. Airy, and his parents are William and Isabella
Scales, both of whom are living (1920).

On October 4, 1917, Prof. Scales was married to Miss
Lessie Mclver of Sanford, a daughter of Alvis and Sallie
Mclver. Mrs. Scales was educated at Kittrell College. They
have one child, Willie Helen Barbara Scales.

Beginning as a small boy, young Scales, attended the
Mt. Airy public schools and later entered the Slater Nor-
mal and Industrial School at Winston Salem, where he
studied for four years. He passed from there to Kittrell
College where he remained for five years, completing his
course in 1916. He went to Kittrell the first year on a
scholarship, and his summer vacations were spent in hotel

At the outbreak of the war he enlisted and was in
training at Camp Green as a non-commissioned officer when
the armistice was signed. While in school he was active
in athletics and was coach for the baseball team for four

In 1919 he was called to the principalship of the graded
school of the growing town of Sanford, where he is highly

He is a member of the A .M. E. church, but is not iden-


tified with the secret orders nor has he been active in poli-
tics. He looks to the schools and churches for the perma-
nent worth while progress of the race.

Robert Taylor

During the dark days of the sixties there was born,
near the historic old town of Oxford in the county of Gran-
ville, a Negro boy. His parents were John and Amy Taylor
and they named their son Robert. As his mother passed
away when the baby was only three weeks old, he of course
has no memory of her. His father was killed in the war.
The exact date of Robert's birth is not known, but it was
in January, 1864. His mother was a daughter of Job and
Sallie Taylor and they reared Robert.

Young Taylor went to school until he was sixteen years
of age and enjoys the distinction of never having had a col-
ored teacher.

On February 22, 1882, he was married to Miss Dilsey
Emma Herndon, also of Oxford. She was a daughter of
Charles and Eliza Herndon. They have no children.

The little Taylor boy was converted at the age of nine
and joined the A. M. E. Zion church. He worked about
from place to place until he got into the tobacco business.
Later he secured a job on the railroad and taught school
for two years. After he had grown to maturity and after
he had married, he felt called to take up the work of the
ministry. He laid down his business affairs and has since
devoted himself to preaching the Gospel. He joined the
Conference in 1899 at Concord under the late Bishop Q. W.
Hood, and for more than twenty years has gone in and out
before his people, breaking to them the Dread of life. His
first appointment was to his old home circuit, which he
served one year. He began the erection of a church at
Franklinton and the next year went to the Troy circuit,
which he served for six years. On this charge he built two



churches and remodeled two and went from Troy to Wax-
haw, where he preached for one year. At this point he
paid off a church debt and repaired the house. His next
appointment was the Siler City circuit, which he served
for three years and where he remodeled both the church and
the parsonage. From Fayetteville he was sent to the pros-
perous little town of Sanford, where he is now in his third
year. On coming to Sanford the church was remodeled but
with the growth of the congregation it was necessary to
put under way plans for the building of a new house of

Mr. Taylor is a vigorous, active man, who brings
things to pass where he goes. He is a prominent figure in
denominational gatherings and was a delegate to the gen-
eral conferences at Philadelphia and Louisville and Knox-

When asked what he believed the most helpful influ-
ence in shaping his life, he summed that up in a few words,
giving credit to his good grandparents who reared him and
to the Christian white people with whom he had come in

As a young man he took considerable interest in poli-
tics, but in recent years has not given much attention to
party affairs. He is a Republican and among the secret
orders is identified with the Odd Fellows and the Household
of Ruth. He owns property at Troy and in Montgomery
Co. Although beginning the work of the ministry rather
late in life, he has already made for himself a large place
in his denomination and is held in high esteem both by
his own people and by the best white people in those com-
munities where he has worked.

Charles Hendrick Williamson

"Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall
stand before kings. He shall not stand before mean men."


The above quotation from the sacred writer has been
almost literally fulfilled in the life and experience of the
Rev. Charles Hendrick Williamson, a prominent Baptist
minister and educator now (1919) at the head of the Shiloh
Institute near Norlina, N. C. Though still as active and en-
ergetic as a man of thirty, Dr. Williamson is more than
fifty years old and is a native of Franklin Co. His par-
ents were Solomon and Morning Williamson. His paternal
grandparents were Jim and Dilsey Williamson. His mater-
nal grandmother was Dollie Perry.

On December 31, 1917, he was married to Miss Laura
J. Merimon of Henderson, a woman of fine culture and
special accomplishments as a teacher of music. She has en-
tered heartily into the work of her distinguished husband
and is popular with the student body. Her literary train-
ing was secured at Washington, D. C, but she attended the
Boston Conservatory for her music.

As a young boy, Williamson attended the public schools
of Franklin Co. and later went to the State Normal. He
did his college work, however, at Shaw University, where
he won his A. B. degree in 1891, and took the theological
course at the same institution. From early youth he has
been of a religious turn of mind and dates his conversion
and identity with the church from about the age of twelve.
Even before that, as a very small boy, he felt that his work
in life was to be that of the ministry. In fact, he hardly
remembers a time when he did not think of himself as a
preacher. He was ordained to the full work of the min-
istry at the Tupper Memorial Baptist church, Raleigh, N. C,
in 1889, and if he had done nothing more than what he
has accomplished as a Baptist preacher and pastor he might
well be considered a success. His first pastorate was the
Tupper Memorial church at Raleigh, which he served for
four years. After that he pastored the Oberlin Baptist
church five years, and then later went to the Friendship
church at Charlotte, where he spent about nine years of
earnest service and during his pastorate a splendid new
brick house of worship was erected. While there he was




principal of the Girl's Training School. He resigned the
work at Friendship to become a state missionary and Sun-
day School colporteur, following this calling for seven years
and touching in a very intimate and personal sort of way
the lives of many of his people during that period. He was
secretary of the State Sunday School convention for six
years and went back to Tupper Memorial for a second pas-
torate of three years. He is now pastor of the First Bap-
tist church at Warrenton, which he has served since 1915.
He has had a fruitful ministry, both as to numbers brought
into the church and in material results, such as the building
and repairing of church property.

In 1906 Dr. Williamson was appointed Commissioner
General of the Jamestown Exposition in charge of the Ne-
gro exhibits. A legislative appropriation of $5,000 from
the North Carolina Legislature, 1907, was secured and Dr.
Williamson traveled over practically the whole country in
the interests of his exposition work. He was stationed at
Washington for six months, making a study of expositions
and exposition methods and was identified with that work
until February, 1908. This brought him into contact with
leaders, not only of his race, but with white men of na-
tional and international reputation. He has had to his
credit a number of interviews with different Presidents of
the United States, including Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson.
He has had the pleasure of introducing Presidents and Gov-
ernors to his people on various occasions and has made for
himself a record of handling interracial matters in such a
way as to win the confidence of both races. He was a
prominent figure at the 1919 Race Conference called by
the State School Superintendent of Public Instruction and
his ideas with reference to race conditions are embodied
in reports of that meeting.

For ten years Dr. Williamson was editor of the Baptist
"Sentinel," the organ of the Baptist denomination in North
Carolina at the time when race feeling was running high
in the State. He tried always to make his paper square
with the Gospel which he preached on the Sabbath day,


and sought to make it serve not only the best interests of
his denomintaion but of the race as a whole.

Brought up on the farm, trained in the rural
schools, working his way through college, speaking and
teaching and preaching for his people in every part of the
country, writing to them and for them week after week,
there grew up in the mind of Dr. Williamson the opinion
that education should stand for something more than
merely the intellectual. He would make it Christian first
and keep it so. Thus it comes to pass that at Shiloh Insti-
tute at Norlina, over which he presides, begins and closes
each day with the Bible. It is not enough, however, he
thinks, to make education simply Christian. It must also
be productive, so on a farm fifty-six acres surrounding the
school building he is teaching the boys and girls of his
race both how to live and how to make a living. He has
surrounded himself with a capable Board of Trustees and
has the hearty and cordial support and backing of the Shiloh
Association and of the adjacent territory. This, however,
is by no means his first effort as an educator. For three
years he was a successful conductor and teacher of the
Franklin Co. Summer Teacher's Institute and for a number
of years made an unsurpassed record as a rural school
teacher in Franklin, Johnson, Wake, Vance and Granville
Counties. He has always been devoted to rural work and
when he came back to Shiloh Institute in 1915, it was felt
that he was the right man in the right place. Under his
administration it has become one of the most important
schools in that part of North Carolina. The highest enrol-
ment up to the present time (1919) has been 292. He has a
faculty of several teachers and the whole place is gradually
but definitely being fitted up and equipped for the splendid
work which Dr. Williamson and his co-workers are capable.
He has never sought primarily to make money for
himself and yet he has handled his business matters in
such a way as to accumulate considerable property.

James William Wood

One of the successful ministers of the great Baptist
denomination in North Carolina, who has been able to utilize
and apply to his religious work the sort of efficiency which
wins in the business world, is Rev. James Wood, D. D., of

Dr. Wood was born March 10, 1865, just before emanci-
pation became an accomplished fact ; so it will be sesn that
he has to his credit one month of slavery and a life-time of
freedom and usefulness. His father, Alfred Wood, was a
farmer and James grew up on the farm, where he developed
that vigorous, robust physique which has been able to
stand well the strain of the years. Alfred Wood was a.
son of David Bowden and Patience Wood. Dr. Wood's
mother, before her marriage, was Miss Lucy Sills, a daugh-
ter of Harry Huff and Cynthia Sills. Harry Huff was a
Baptist preacher.

Dr. Wood was married on January 15th, 1896, to Miss
Eldorado Rand, a daughter of William and Arretta Rand.
She was a student at Hampton Institute and Shaw Univer-
sity. They have one child, Arretta Lucile Ward. She was
educated at Elizabeth City State Normal, class of 1921,
and has great musical talent.

Growing up in Franklin Co., young Wood attended the
public school and later went to Shiloh Institute and Garys-
burg High School, finishing at Garysburg in 1895. He then
went to Howard University for such college work as he was.
able to do. Just emerging from slavery, his parents were,
of course, poor, and unable to assist him financially, so it
was necessary for young Wood to make his own way in
school. After entering the ministry, he took a corres-
pondence course in theology through the American School
of Correspondence at Washington, D. C, from which he
has the D. D. degree. His early life, as well as his later
years, was characterized by push, honesty and plain dealing..



In fact, it is to these attributes that he owes his success as
a man and as a minister. Dr. Wood has traveled rather ex-
tensively in the States and in Canada and is a well informed
man. Out of his experience and observation, he believes
that the real progress of the race depends on religiou educa-
tion, the development of a high moral standard and the
acquiring of property. He himself is a striking example
of what these things will do for a man no matter how
humble his birth.

Dr. Wood was converted when about sixteen years of
age and was licensed to preach by the Castalia Baptist
church in 1888. In 1889 he was ordained to the full work
of the ministry. His first pastorate was the Macedonia
Baptist church, which he served for thirteen years. He has
.■also pastored Elizabeth, St. Petersburg, White Oak, Harts-
boro, Red Oak Grove, Roanoke Rapids and Mount Hope Bap-
tist churches. At the present time (1920) he has charge of
the Baptist church at Gaston, Cool Springs, St. Paul and
Battleboro. Neat houses of worship have been erected un-
der his administration at Gaston, Cool Spring, St. Paul and
Battleboro. He has built ten church houses.

Dr. Wood has given a great deal of attention to evan-
gelistic work and has had an extremely fruitful ministry,
having added to the churches which he has served a total
of 5,497, and married 397 couples. He is a prominent figure
at the denominational gatherings in his part of North Caro-

Among the secret orders he is identified with the Pyth-
ians and Masons. He has been more or less active in poli-
tics and was a delegate to the National Republican Conven-
tion at Chicago which nominated Warren G. Harding for
President. In 1910 he was census enumerator for Weldon
township. He is a forceful and effective speaker and draws
large crowds ; it is never necessary for Dr. Wood to preach
to empty pews.

He is now president of the Neuse River Association,


the largest in the State of North Carolina. Member of the
Education Board of National Baptist Convention U. S. Also
a member of the trustee board of Neuse River Institute,
near Weldon, N. C.

John Thomas Barber

Conspicuous among the educators of Eastern North
Carolina must be mentioned Prof. John Thomas Barber of
New Bern, whose meritorious work has won for him the
principalship of the New Bern Public Schools. Prof. Bar-
ber is a native of the town of Trenton in Jones Co., where
he was born on Jan. 6, 1872. He came to New Bern at an
early age and it was in the public schools of that historic
town that he laid the foundation of his education. Much
progress has been made in the public schools of the city
since his student clays and much of that must be credited
to Prof. Barber.

When a boy of sixteen he began riding the Star Route
from New Bern to Trenton and was thus employed for
several years, off and on. It was in this way he made his
living and saved money to go to college. The example and
the instructions of his teachers had begotten in the boy a
desire for a higher education. Along with this there grew
with the years a desire to be of some use in the world. Ac-
cordingly he entered Shaw University, where he remained
for four years. The way was not easy, as he had no out-
side help.

His first work as a teacher was in his native county of
Jones, where he taught half a dozen or more terms. As
his work as a teacher became known, his services were in
demand and he taught several terms in the public schools
of Craven Co. For twenty-one years he has been identified
with the New Bern City Schools, and for fourteen years of
that time as Principal. As he began teaching young, he has
had the gratification of seeing the boys and girls who went



to him as a young teacher grow up and has seen some of
them enter the professions while others have gone into busi-
ness pursuits. The success of a teacher's students is one of
the most enduring satisfactions of his life. Prof. Barbzr
is a Republican in politics. He is a member of the K
pal Church and belongs to the Masons. His interests and
activities are by no means confined to his educational work.
Like the good citizen that he is, Ik takes an active part in
all organizations which seek to promote the best interests
of his people. He is Vice-President of the Commercial As-
sociation and Treasurer of the local Red Cross. At one time
he edited a school journal, The Planet.

In Sept., 1900, Prof. Barber was married to Miss Mag-
gie W. Fisher, a daughter of Jerry and Ella Fisher. They
have four children: Mary F., Thomas F., Maggie Li, and
Ethel L. Barber.

Prof. Barber's investments are in and around New
Bern, consisting of both city and farm property. He be-
lieves that the boys should be encouraged to get an educa-
tion and to equip themselves for some trade or profession.

Plummer Peter Eaton

Writers of history and biography have long been inter-
ested in the large number of city pastorates and business
positions which are filled by men from the farms, or at least
by men who were brought up on the farm. Rev. Plummer
Peter Eaton, pastor of the Corner Stone Baptist church
of Elizabeth City, is just another illustration of the success
of the farmer boy. He was born and reared on a farm
in Granville Co., the date of his birth being November 16,
1887. His father, P. P. Eaton, who is still living (1920) is
a son of Peter Eaton. Dr. Eaton's mother was, before he>-
marriage, Miss Fannie Wyche, a daughter of John and
Frances Wyche.

Our subject laid the foundations of his education in the



public schools of Durham and Wake Counties, but did his
literary work at the National Training School of Durham,
where he completed the course in 1911. He did his theologi-
cal work also at the same institution.

Dr. Eaton was converted in 1901 and definitely conse-
scrated himself to the ministry. Four years later he was
licensed to preach by the Ledge Rock Baptist church and
in 1911 was ordained to the full work of the ministry by
the same church.

His first active pastorate was the Mt. Gilead church
at Durham, which he served for less than a year. He went
from there to Concord, where he preached for three years
and built a parsonage. While there, he organized the City
League, paid off a debt of $600 and had a good growth in
membership in his church. Corner Stone Baptist church,
of Elizabeth City, was looking for a competent and ener-
.getic young man for pastor, about that time; so, in 1918, he
■accepted the call to come to his present charge, which is
one of the most prosperous in eastern North Carolina.
Since coming to Elizabeth City, a new parsonage has been
•erected and the various departments of the work thoroughly

Dr. Eaton is a forceful and logical speaker, pleasing in
.-address, with the happy faculty of making friends wherever
he goes. While in school he was a lover of baseball and
"was one of the champion tennis players. His favorite read-
ing, next after the Bible and his theological literature, is
Tiistory. Although he has been in eastern North Carolina
out a short while, he is already recognized as one of the
Baptist leaders in that part of the State and is a member
of the important Board of Foreign Missions of the Roanoke
Baptist Association.

In politics, he is a Republican but has not been activ«.
He participated in all the war drives and campaigns.
Among the secret orders he belongs to the Pythians, Masons
and the order of St. Luke. He is a friend and supporter of
^education and looks to the right sort of training for the
progress of his people.


Walter Parsley Evans

The historic old town of Wilmington, N. C, has con-
tributed a large number of men to the leadership 01
race in various lines of activity. Some of the leading
of North Carolina and adjacent States spent their bo;,
days in the old town. Not a few of the most progres- ve
business men, as well as the professional men, grew u] at

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 44 of 48)