Military

He is a Wilson negro and a bad one at that.

One hundred years ago today:

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The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 16 March 1919.

  • Kit Shaw
  • Luther Barbour — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 809 East Nash, John Barber, 27; wife Ethel, 26; mother Sallie, 59, teacher; and brother Luther, 32. Luther is described as single.

Mrs. Johnson seeks a pension.

In March 1933, Lula Johnson applied to the North Carolina Confederate Pension Board for a widow’s pension.

Johnson’s application noted that she was 60+ years of age; resided at 608 East Nash Street, Wilson; and her late husband was John Streeter, also known as John Johnson. She did not know when or where Streeter/Johnson enlisted, but claimed he was a member of “Company H, 14 W.S. Colord Heavy Artillery.” The couple had married in 1922, and Streeter/Johnson died in June 1932, three years after he had begun to draw a pension. Arthur N. Darden and Darcey C. Yancey were witnesses to her application, which Yancey stamped as notary public.

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Lula Johnson’s application was denied. She was “not eligible” (underscored) for a pension. (To boot, she was “Negro,” underscored four times.) Though the Pension Board did not set forth a reason for denying Johnson’s claim, there is a glaringly obvious one. The 14th Regiment, Colored Heavy Artillery, were United States Army troops, not Confederate. The regiment — comprised of runaway enslaved men and free men of color — was organized in New Bern and Morehead City, North Carolina, in March 1864; primarily served garrison duty in New Bern and other points along the coast; and mustered out in December 1865.

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Here is a record of the military service of John Streeter, alias Johnson. He was born in Greene County about 1846 and had enlisted in the Army in New Bern in 1865. Three months later, he was promoted to corporal. John Johnson had served his country honorably, which did not entitle his widow to Confederate benefits.

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I did not find any evidence that the Johnsons actually lived in Wilson County. The address Lula Johnson listed as her own was that of C.H. Darden & Sons Funeral Home, the family business at which Arthur Darden worked. Was she (or her husband) related to the Dardens? Census records show John Johnson and his wife Mary in Leflore County, Mississippi, in 1900 and 1910, but Mary Moore Johnson died in Farmville, Pitt County, in 1913.

John Johnson died in Farmville, Pitt County, North Carolina, on 8 June 1932. Per his death certificate, he was about 90 years old; was married to Lula Johnson; had been a preacher; and was born in Greene County to Ned and Manervie Johnson. He was buried in Farmville, and Darden & Sons handled the funeral. (Charles H. Darden was also a Greene County native. )

Act of 1901 Pension Applications, Office of the State Auditor, North Carolina State Archives [online]; U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865  [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Corporal Tillery racks up.

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Pittsburgh Courier, 23 December 1944.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 909 Mercer, owned and valued at $1500, farmer John Tillery, 51; wife Conielia, 45; and children Jessie, 20, cook; Ashley L., 18, helper on truck farm; Raymond, 16, helper on truck farm; Adelia, 14; Johny L., 11; Elnora, 7; and Clyde, 5.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 911 South Mercer, John H. Tillery, 66, “hires out & plows” in agriculture; wife Cornelia, 56, stemmer at redrying plant; children Nelora, 17, and Clyde, 15, “cleans up yards;” and daughter Jessie Williams, 30, “cooks & cleans,” and her children Alice Raschelle, 4, and Barbara Anna Williams, 2.

Clyde Tillery registered for the World War II draft in 1940 in Wilson County.

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A Christmas invitation for Negro soldiers.

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Wilson Daily Times, 23 December 1942.

The obituary of Dr. Joseph H. Ward.

The Indianapolis Star, 13 December 1956.

Wilson native Dr. Joseph H. Ward passed away in Indianapolis in December 1956. Read more about him here and here.

A letter in which W.E.B. DuBois expresses his support of the selection of Dr. Ward to receive the Spingarn Medal in 1933. (It instead went to Y.M.C.A. missionary Max Yeargan.)

Iconic photograph of Major (later Colonel) Joseph H. Ward during his World War I service, from Emmett J. Scott’s The American Negro in the World War (1919).

Document courtesy of Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. Memorandum from W. E. B. Du Bois to Spingarn Medal Award Committee, January 2, 1933. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Over there!, no. 3.

The following men departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored).

  • Jonah Artis, whose next of kin was his wife Mary Artis of Stantonsburg.

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  • Aaron Barnes, whose next of kin was wife Lucy Barnes of Elm City.

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  • William Davis, whose next of kin was wife Ida Davis of Wilson.

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  • Van Edwards, whose next of kin was mother Martha Edwards of Wilson.

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  • Willie Hockaday, whose next of kin was sister Vallie Ward of Elm City.

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Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938 and Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938; U.S. Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com.

The 135th.

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Wilson County Public Library will present a lecture on the little-known 135th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops on November 15, 2018. The 135th mustered in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in March 1865 near the end of the Civil War. Approximately 200 of the 1200 soldiers in this regiment were from North Carolina. Though none are known to have been born in Wilson County, some of the many Wayne County enlistees likely had family connections across the county line, including Jack Sherrod.

 

Studio shots, no. 97: Albert Howard, soldier.

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Albert Howard (1892-1956).

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Deal Howard, 39; wife Nancy, 39; and children John, 16, Christian, 14, Oscar, 11, Ettie, 10, Albert, 7, Thomas, 5, Alvin, 3, Herman, 1, and Tiner, 0.

In the 1910 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: on Horne’s Road, farmer Zelius Howard Jr., 49; wife Nancy, 49; and children Albert, 17, Thomas, 15, Alvin, 13, Herman, 11, Tina, 9, Florence, 7, and Ella, 5.

In 1917, Albert Howard registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born in 1892 in Wilson; was single; and farmed for himself.

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Deal Howard, 58; wife Nancy, 60; and Albert, 28, Herman, 22, Tiner, 19, and Florence, 17.

In the 1930 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: Albert Howard, 35, farmer; mother Nancy, 75; and James, 11, and Tommie Howard, 9.

Albert Howard died 3 August 1956 in Taylors township. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 February 1890 in Wilson County to Dill Howard and Nancy Black; was married to Ida Howard; was a farm laborer; was a World War I veteran; and was buried in Howard cemetery, Wilson County.

Photograph courtesy of Europe A. Farmer.