Newspaper photograph of William D. Polite in a dining room
William Darnell Polite (1867-1953) was born in Charleston to slave parents. He worked as a headwaiter at some of the finest hotels in the south, including the Wilmington and the Orton in Wilmington. In 1911 he began manufacturing Polite's Pepper Sauce, which was a successful company until WWI disrupted the availability of cans and bottles for business use and the company closed. It did reopen in 1924. In 1906 while he was headwaiter at the Orton he ran a restaurant in the basement of a building on Princess Street. He was a devotee of gun sports, and in 1917 he invented and patented an automatic pivot aircraft gun. In 1922 he became chef for Dr. Jame Sprunt. He is buried in Pine Forest Cemetery.
"Strength Through Struggle" by Bill Reaves, New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, North Carolina
Donated to the New Hanover County Public Library by Bill Reaves in 1999
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