Bedford Inn was listed in the Green Book as “Bedford Inn—203 Moore St.” under “Hotels” in 1938, as “Bedford Inn—203 Moore St.” under “Hotels” and “Taverns” from 1939 - 1941 and 1947 - 1952, and as “Bedford Inn—203 Moore Street” under “Taverns” in 1953. The inn was located in Fayetteville.1
The Bedford Inn opened in Fayetteville in the 1930s. Its first known owner was John T. Smith, a mail carrier and WWI veteran. John married Ocia Memorial Melchor, an accomplished musician and composer, in 1922. The couple settled in a home at 207 Chatham Street and welcomed three children (Henriette, Pauline, and Carrie) by 1930.2
The inn was open as early as 1937; the city directory listed Bedford Inn at 209 Moore Street and Bedford Inn Annex at 203 Moore. The Smith family lived at 209 Moore Street. John T. Smith died in 1939; Ocia continued to reside at the Inn until 1941, when she moved to 427 S. Cool Spring Street. She passed away in 1966.3
The two buildings that made up the Bedford Inn and Annex were a large wooden house and a large brick house, both located near where the First Baptist Church parking lot is today. In a 2019 article in The Fayetteville Observer, John and Ocia Smith’s grandchildren shared that soldiers and musicians like Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie stayed at the inn. John and Ocia are remembered locally as prominent community members; Ocia, in particular, is remembered for her dedication to teaching children how to play the piano.4
William and Hattie L. Dixon, who lived next door to Ocia Smith at 203 Moore, took over the business around 1941. Hattie Dixon continued to host lodgers in her home through at least 1950, though the part of the Inn located at 203 Moore was no longer listed by name in the city directory after 1946. 209 Moore became a private residence occupied by Daniel A. Williams around 1943.5
Essay by Brandie K. Ragghianti, 2022
- Victor Green, 1938 Green Book, 14; Victor Green, 1939 Green Book, 32l Green, 1940 Green Book, 35; Green, 1941 Green Book, 35; Green, 1947 Green Book, 64; Green, 1948 Green Book, 62; Green, 1949 Green Book, 56; Green, 1950 Green Book, 62; Green, 1951 Green Book, 53; Green, 1952 Green Book, 53; Victor Green, 1953 Green Book, 53.
- Hill’s 1937 Fayetteville City Directory, 34, 244, 330, 374; Hill’s 1939 Fayetteville City Directory, 38, 242, 244, 318, 376; “Fayetteville, NC,” The New York Age (New York, New York), July 15, 1922, 7, accessed from www.newspapers.com; 1930 United States Federal Census, 207 Chatham Street, Ward 6, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina, digital image s.v. “John T. Smith,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; John T. Smith, August 6, 1939, Cross Creek Cemetery, Application for Headstone, US Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925 - 1970, accessed from www.ancestry.com; John T. Smith served in the American Expeditionary Forces infantry (Army) during WWI.
- Hill’s 1937 Fayetteville City Directory, 34, 244, 330, 374; Hill’s 1939 Fayetteville City Directory, 38, 242, 244, 318, 376; “Fayetteville, NC,” The New York Age (New York, New York), July 15, 1922, 7, accessed from www.newspapers.com; Hill's 1941 Fayetteville City Directory, 49 (alphabetical listing); Ocia Memorial Smith, February 27, 1966, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina, US Death Certificates, 1909-1976, accessed from www.ancestry.com. Ocia was a member of the Melchor-Quick family; for more information, see the website for the Melchor-Quick Meeting House: https://melchor-quick.org.
- Myron B. Pitts, “Residents remember Fayetteville’s Green Book Stops,” The Fayetteville Observer, June 26, 2019, accessed from https://www.fayobserver.com/story/opinion/columns/2019/06/26/pitts-faye…; Don Bennett, Jr. email correspondence to Lisa Withers (NC Green Book Project), May 11, 2019; Myron Pitts, “Pitts: During the Jim Crow era, Green Books were More Than Just Travel Guides,” The Fayetteville Observer, February 25, 2019, https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20190225/pitts-during-jim-crow-era-gre…; Debra Harris, in conversation with Lisa R. Withers, July 19, 2019.
- Hill's 1943 Fayetteville City Directory, 47 (alphabetical listing), 724 (street listing); Hill's 1946 Fayetteville City Directory, 700 (street listing); Hill's 1948-1949 Fayetteville City Directory, 775 (street listing); 1950 United States Federal Census, 203 Moore Street, Ward 4, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina, digital image s.v. “Hattie L. Dixon,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; Hill's 1951 Fayetteville City Directory, 100 (street listing); 1940 United States Federal Census, 203 Moore Street, Ward 6, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina, digital image s.v. “Hattie Dixon” and “William Dixon,” accessed from www.ancestry.com. Willie L. Dixon also worked as a barber at Deluxe Barber Shop, another Green Book business in Fayetteville.