Roosevelt Warner was a brick mason, contractor, entrepreneur, community volunteer, and local politician that built or assisted in the building of many structures in Orange and Durham counties.
He was born January 15, 1905 in Carthage, North Carolina. His parents were Henry and Emma (Dowdy) Warner.
Roosevelt was orphaned at age three, along with several other siblings after his parents died; the 1920 federal census lists him as living at the Oxford Colored Orphan Asylum. He learned the masonry trade while at the orphanage.
He moved to Hillsborough in 1922, and began working for M. Webb Thompson, a Durham contractor.
Roosevelt married Fannie Chavious (b.1906, d.1984) on November 27, 1929.
He started his own contracting business at some point. He also was a landlord, owning apartments, a motel, a soda shop ("Warner's Soda Shop"), and several cleaners/laundries/washeterias. He also served on the Central High School Advisory Council, on the Hillsborough Town Board (the first African-American to do so), was the coach for the pony league Hillsboro Junior All-Stars, with the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, and other local organizations.
1963 Durham ad
Roosevelt Warner, date unknown (from The News of Orange, via Rosetta Austin Moore)
Roosevelt Warner died at the age of 85 on 25 November 1990, in Hillsborough, and is buried in the Hillsborough Town Cemetery. See www.findagrave.com/memorial/214865691/roosevelt-james-warner
Roosevelt Warner's death certificate (via Jon Pauley, 2020)