Healthy Plains Church property sold for $1.50 in 1892

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Andrew J. Barefoot made his will in Wilson County on Sept. 15, 1873, and it was probated on Sept. 22, 1873: (1) wife Zilpha, use of a third of 500 acres south of Contentnea Creek adjoining Stephen Privett’s heirs, Simon Boswell and Ezekiel Smith’s heirs; (2) Margaret Barnes, $75 annually “so long as she takes care of her four youngest children, to wit, Edwin, Ella, Charity and Andrew J. and does not charge them an unreasonable amount for board and attention; (3) Edwin, Ella, Charity and Andrew J. Barnes, 550 acres or the money for same if Jesse Barnes completes the proposed purchase, south of Contentnea Creek adjoining the properties mentioned above; (4) after all expenses are paid, rest of the estate to my brother and executor George W. Barefoot; and (5) witnesses B.H. Bardin and L.D. Tomlinson.

On Sept. 22, 1873, George W. Barefoot stated for the court that his twin brother left land worth $7,000, insurance $25,000 and miscellaneous business affairs $20,000: total $52,000.

In the Edgecombe County Census of 1850 (Andrew) Jackson Barefoot was listed as a farmer, born in 1824, with wife Zilpha (born in 1810), Betsy (born in 1842) and Leny (born in 1845). In the Wilson County Census of 1860, it was indicated that he was born in 1823, Zilpha in 1812 and Delany in 1846. They were then worth $25,200. Betsy had apparently died in the preceding decade.

Children of Andrew and Zilpha Barefoot:

1. Elizabeth “Betsy” Barefoot was born in 1842 and apparently died before 1860.

2. Delanah “Lany” Barefoot was born in 1845 and died in her youth.


Many of the deeds to the lots in Maplewood Cemetery were recorded in the Register of Deeds Office, while others are not on record there. The deeds were issued by the town commissioners. In the older part of the cemetery there are over 40 lots that have never had a body placed on them; the purchasers of many of them are dead or removed, and their heirs are unaware of the existence of the lots which are very desirable and have a solid cash value. 

There are other lots that have had one or more burials, but without tombstones and so long ago that the exact location of the graves is now unknown, although they could be discovered by digging about three shallow trenches across the lot. (One of my own great-great-grandfathers is buried on one of these “obscure” lots.

Here is the abstract of an early deed to a lot in Maplewood Cemetery: On Dec. 11, 1880, Town Commissioners S.M. Warren, J.W. Thorne, G.W. Blount, B.H. Tyson and Sam B. Waters sold J.T. Gardner for $15 Lots 19-20 on A and B Streets, East Section, witnessed by Peter E. Hines, mayor.


On July 6, 1897, James T. and Ella G. Wiggins sold David Daniel for $5,100 a tract of 300 acres beginning at Emil Rosenthal’s corner on the mill pond and running along the Wilson Road, Contentnea Creek, G.P. Paul, Black Creek Road, L.G.W. Barefoot, Smithfield Road, V.F. Moss, across the bridge, and along the pond to the beginning “together with the mill property and the easements necessary to a full use and enjoyment of the same, including hereunder and intending to convey hereby the mill pond and the lands covered by the waters thereof to the high water mark; also all machinery, fixed and movable, tools incident thereto, and any connected with the saw mill and grist mill, situated on the above described lands, three mules, two log carts, two two-horse wagons, one mowing machine and rake, one peanut planter, all flues and tobacco sticks now in use on the above described tract of land, corn in the cribs and all hay on hand...Saving and excepting the land now under cultivation, which said lands are to be turned over to him on or before the first day of.


On Feb. 16, 1888, Charles A. Young of Wilson deeded to James E. Rountree, A.J. Simms, W.J. Gay, S.P. Clark and Jones W. Crowell, “trustees of the Methodist Church south of said town, county and state” for $2,500 a quarter-acre (bought from William Murray) beginning on Greene Street at Annie Wainwright’s corner, with her line to W.D. Hackney, with his line to R.T. Stevens (formerly the residence of William Murray), with him to Greene Street and then to the beginning, “In trust that said premises shall be held, kept, maintained and disposed of as a place of residence for the use and occupancy of the preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, who may from time to time be appointed in said place subject to the usage and discipline of said church as from time to time authorized and declared by the general conference of said church and by the annual conference within whose bounds the said premises are situated,” witnessed by A.B. Deans.


On Aug. 13, 1892, Bennett and Harriett Bullock deeded to William Ricks, J.B. Smith and W.M. Boykin for $1.50 one acre in Old Fields Township for the use of the Healthy Plains Church, beginning at the northwest corner of the lot deeded by Hilliard Boykin, running parallel with the road, then to the northeast corner of the original lot, and to the beginning “to be used exclusively by the Primitive Baptist as a place for worshipping God in such manner as may seem right and proper to them,” witnessed by J.W. Parker and Josiah Coleman.


On June 18, 1868, John J. Sharp of Wilson County sold the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Company for $440 a tract of 19 acres south of Town Creek, witnessed by George W. Robbins. (This tract lay on both sides of the road south of the creek and contained the major portion of the original quarry site.)

Hugh Johnston was a Wilson County historian who wrote these historical capsules that previously appeared in The Wilson Daily Times. They are reprinted from a volume of his “Looking Backward” series of books available at the Wilson County Public Library.