Military

Attention colored soldiers and sailors.

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Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1919.

The Henry Ellis Post of the American Legion remains active.

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Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 1919.

  • Sgt. A.N. Darden — Arthur N. Darden.
  • Corp. C.H. Toler — Claude H. Toler. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: butler Claude Toler, 24, and wife Mildred, 20.
  • Moses Parker — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 123 Pender Street, Georgia Akin, 45, widow, livery stable manager; brother Alexander Crockett, 47, stable salesman; and roomers John Norfleet, 30, and Mose Parker, 32, both laborers.
  • D.H. Coley — David H. Coley.

The sixteenth to fall.

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Wilson Daily Times, 3 December 1918.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Raleigh Road, farmer Simon Horne, 53; wife Nancy, 43; children Louisa, 22, Matha, 18, Benjamin, 17, Minnie, 14, Annie B., 12, Darling, 10, Thomas, 8, William, 6, and Tobe, 4; grandson Freeman, 4 months; and mother-in-law Bunny Barnes, 78, widow.

Front of Benjamin Horne’s draft registration card.

Army transport passenger list.

U.S. Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com.

You have never known the cruelties of these people.

Three months after the Confederacy surrendered, the Goldsboro field office of the Freedmen’s Bureau received this shocking letter from an African-American resident of Wilson. Austin F. Flood poured his anguish and anger into four pages detailing the outrages of authorities against freedmen in the county. Though some of the perpetrators of violence were former Confederates, Flood pointed a steady finger at so-called Union men who also terrorized and abused formerly enslaved men and women.

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Wilson July the 16 to 1865

Dear Sir

I take the opportunity of writeing you these few lines because I under stand you to be the head ruler ove this Steate in Millitary act. And this I write to you secretly in feare of my life. For in the present condision we can not helpe our Selves. Because thes people has every advantege of us and they are makeing use of it. The free men are under very good beheaveior here; And yet they cant see any peace at all. The rebes is about take the Town because we cant help our Selves Because we are without any thing to Protect us. For they sent the cunstable around to every free man s houses and taken all the wepons they said by General Schorfield. they were com manded to do it. And thuse we gave them up because we thought it was demanded of us by him. And not with Standing I thought at the Same time in a certain [illegible] that he was giveing them

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a Stick not only to breake my head But also his even the heads of all the Northren People whom I love as my Self. Yea I say more then love them. Therefore I look to them for protection. Why am I keept from my libberties Because you have never known the cruilties of these People Who says they are Union men when they are not. For am I acquainted with bot Heavenly an National union and it is as much imposible to mix union and secess as it is to mix Oil an Water. Ive been watching them for twenty-eight months and there is but three union principles about the place and that is Wilie Daniel an Lawyer Langston — T.C. Christmond. These are all that I can look opond as Such. And if these officers be Union men Why do they keep all your ordinances conceiled frome us And try so harde to place a Yoke of thiere own opond us when this is not your Militry rules. They receives your commans and make thiere own laws. Taken down the free men an striping them without liefe or licens. Carring them to Jail and Whiping them [illegible]

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The cunsable Thom Hadly a few days a go or rather at neight took a man at his work And carid him to his house and Striped him with out Law And this thing are going continuely in the Country Wm Batts stroped two this Weak and gave them a bige dink I surpose not to say anything about it. Johnathan Bullock discharging two loads after a yonge man to make him go home to his Master to work. The Cunstable are ruled more by the rebs then he is by the officers as they so call in nam. But not in principle. They say that have every thing in thiere hands to do as they please. And a Negro shall not be equill with him. Before he shall they will kill him. And this they have stated to do. We have to pay taxes and yet we have no priverledge. We dar to walk almost after night without being put in Jail. And the rebs going where he pleases. And they have gon so far that we are almost a fraide to Stay in the house after night Last Friday night the town was in a larm with the cry of a free [illegible] Men who disguised them Selves

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And wente to the house wher he staid and routed him. And as he jumped out the window. A pistol was fired on him. And by the time he tuched the grown one struck him with a gun. And by that time there four on him Choping with sabers an beating on him with greate stick. And hollowing murder an help nor man could go to him. Willie Dannel atempted to go to him And they threatened his life for they had sentenals out to keepe others off. Ben Lanston and the Cunstaple: Sid Clark Van Winman and Rube Winman. And they have almost ruin him. And it never will be no better untill you send men here and put this place to rights. And this is what has never been done. For the men that was sent here worked every thing to our disadvantage and I’m [in] the faviour of these People. I writ you these things secretly. Please send to our releife for we are here in this place And I will more then thank you.  Yours, A.F. Flood

——

  • General Schorfield — Gen. John McAlister Schofield,
  • Wilie Daniel — Willie Daniel (1820-1897), wealthy planter and merchant, owner of 18 enslaved people as reported in the 1860 slave schedule of Wilson County, neutral during the Civil War
  • Lawyer Lanston
  • T.C. Christmond — not Thomas F. Christman, who died in 1861.
  • Thom. Hadly — Thomas Jefferson Hadley IV (1838-1917), Confederate captain.
  • Wm. Batts
  • Johnathan Bullock — Jonathan Bullock (1822-??), farmer.
  • Ben Lanston
  • Sid Clark — Sidney Phineas Clark (1841-1896), born in Connecticut, Confederate captain.
  • Van Winman — Van Buren Winbourn (1838-1889), Confederate private.
  • Rube Winman — Reuben Winborne (1832-??), brother of Van, Confederate private.
  • A.F. Flood — I’ve been able to find little about Austin F. Flood, a Missionary Baptist minister who was born in slavery, probably in Pitt County, North Carolina. His letter indicates that he had been observing conditions in Wilson for 28 months, which would put his arrival in about March 1863. A year and two days after penning this letter, he filed a petition with the Bureau seeking an officer to arrest a “villain” in Greenville. Shortly after, he and Frances Delany registered their 16-year cohabitation with a Pitt County justice. In the 1870 census of Greenville, Pitt County: Austin Flood, 47; wife Francis, 35; children Della, 18, John, 16, Warren, 15, Louisa, 13, Josaphine, 8, Netta, 2, and Hetta, 5 months; and Dorey Paten, 17, hosler. Flood remained in Greenville the rest of his life. He was active in local Republican politics and Baptist leadership, helping establish several churches in the Pitt County area.

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872, Goldsboro (subassistant commissioner), Roll 16, Unregistered Letters Received Aug 1865-Feb 1868, http://www.familysearch.org

The Singing Engineers.

“Billy Rowe’s Note Book” was a regular music column published in the Pittsburgh Courier. In late summer 1943, Edgar T. Rouseau filled in for the vacationing Rowe. Rouseau, with the American Allied Forces “somewhere in the Mediterranean,” shined a spotlight on “sepia bands” whose members were soldiers, including that of the famous Singing Engineers of the all-black 41st Engineer Regiment.

 

Pittsburgh Courier, 11 September 1943.

William Coleman, of Wilson, N.C., plays the alto sax. He is an experienced player who was formerly with Snookum Russell’s Min[illegible], the Frank H. Young Shows and the Carolina Stompers.”

The “colored” who gave all.

The walls of the narrow entryway into the Wilson County Court House are lined with large bronze plaques commemorating the county’s war dead. Look carefully at the World War I and World War II/Korean Conflict plaques. The areas containing veterans’ names are lighter than the surrounding surfaces; the names are picked out in a shinier paint. Why?

The names are embossed on plates secured to the plaques at each corner by small rosettes disguising bolts. These plates are replacements. The originals contained segregated lists. In other words, “colored” men “who gave the last full measure of devotion” were listed separately from their white counterparts.

A 10 April 1976 Wilson Daily Times article about the installation of a Vietnam vets plaque reveals photographs of the original plaques for the earlier wars:

The colored: Henry Ellis, killed 6 October 1918 (Wilson’s African-American post of the American Legion was named for Ellis); Benjamin Horne, died 10 October 1918; Pharaoh Coleman, died 17 October 1918; Luther Harris, died 17 October 1918; Strat Barnes, died 5 December 1918; West Vick, died 11 March 1919; Charles Barnes, died 28 July 1919; and Charles Samuel Clay, died 17 August 1919.

The colored: Levi Adger, Robert E. Ashford, Norman Gilliam, Victor Emanuel Hayes, Less Hinnant, Bobby H. Hyman, James Johnson, Thomas Jones Jr., Claude Kenan Jr., Willie J. Lassiter, Charles Leak, William R. Robinson, Thomas J. Rutland, Herbert L. Simms, Bekay Thompson and Mayo Ward.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, August 2019.

Studio shots, no. 115: Charles Eugene Freeman.

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Charles Eugene Freeman (1926-1960), probably in the 1940s. 

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In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 Washington Street, owned and valued at $3000, brickmason Julious F. Freman, 42; wife Hattie [Pattie], 31; and children Julious, 10, Doloris, 9, Robert P. and Richard P., 8, John C., 6, Charles E., 4, Patricia E., 3, Mary E., 1, and Rubey, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1114 Washington Street, owned and valued at $3000, brick mason Julius Freeman, 52; wife Pattie, 40; and children Julius L., 20, Doris, 19, Robert and Richard, 18, John, 16, Charles, 14, Eunice, 12, Mary, 11, Ruby, 10, Tom, 9, Dan, 8, Lillian, 6, and Henry, 2.

Charles Eugene Freeman registered for the World War II draft in 1944:

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On 20 April 1944, Charles Freeman, 18, son of Julius and Pattie Hagans Freeman, married Carrie Lee Hardy, 15, daughter of Cornelius and Carrie Hardy, in Wilson.

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Wilson Daily Times, 21 March 1960.

As a World War II veteran, Charles E. Freeman received a military headstone. His mother, Pattie H. Freeman, submitted the application for the marker.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry user Delwyn Eugene Caniglia; Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line], Ancestry.com.

Randall James’ many hats.

In the early 1940s, Randall Roland James Jr., grandson of Charles H. and Dinah Scarborough Darden, supplemented his duties as an undertaker in the family business with gigs as a federal censustaker and registrar for Local Draft Board 1. (James’ uncle, Arthur N. Darden, had been appointed an enumerator for the 1920 census.)

John G. Thomas’ quasi-gossip column, “Wilsonia,” noted the appointment of Robert E. Vick and James:

Wilson Daily Times, 2 April 1940.

Reverse side of the registration card of Luther Jones, Wilson, N.C., signed by James as registrar on 16 February 1942.

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In the 1920 census of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey: at 188 McWhorter Street, Randall James, 30, born in Texas; wife Elizabeth, 31, born in North Carolina; and sons Charles, 5, born in Alabama, and Randall, 3, born in North Carolina.

In 1940, Randall Roland James registered for the World War II in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 10 June 1916 In Wilson; resided at 111 Pender Street; his contact was wife Ruth Vashti James; and he worked for C.H. Darden & Sons, 608 East Nash.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 111 Pender Street, Elizabeth James, 45, nursery school cook; son Randle James, 23, assistant undertaker at Darden Funeral, his wife Ruth, 22, and their daughter Dianne, 1; son Charles, 26, undertaker at Darden Funeral; cousin Eugene Tennessee, 22, field agent for Darden Funeral; and brother Arthur Darden, 40, [occupation illegible.]

Randall R. James Jr. died 9 June 1981 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Randall R. James Jr., Wilson Daily Times, 15 August 1952.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

Where did they go?: Arkansas World War II draft registrations, no. 2.

In the 1880s and ’90s, thousands of African-Americans left North Carolina for Arkansas, seeking better fortune. Many settled in the east-central part of the state, including the families of these World War II draft registrants.

  • Edward Adams

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  • Fred Barnes

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In the 1930 census of Johnson township, Saint Francis County, Arkansas: cotton and corn farmer Fred Barnes, 39; wife Rosy, 24; and son Edward, 8.

  • Sidney Watson Cooper

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In the 1900 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: Smithee Baker, 44, day laborer, and sons George, 22, Sidny, 19, and Bruce Cooper, 9, all born in North Carolina.

In the 1920 census of Melton township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: widower Sidney Cooper, 40, farmer.

  • William Henry Daniels

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In the 1900 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 1013 West 8th Avenue, Henry Daniels, 55; wife Elizabeth, 46; and children William H. 17, Matilda A., 15, Mary J., 13, and Rice B., 4. Only Rice was born in Arkansas.

In the 1940 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: steam railway laborer Wm. H. Daniel, 56; wife Willie M., 52, laundress; children Dorotha, 19, Wm. Henry Jr., Zereta, 14, Floyd, 13, Eloise, 11, and Robert 9; and father[-in-law] William Floyd, 83.

  • Eli Farmer

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In the 1900 census of Cold Water township, Cross County, Arkansas: farmer Peter Farmer, 73; wife Mariah, 51; children John Farmer, 28, widow Margaret Bunn, 21, and Isaac, 18, Eley, 17, and Louisa Farmer, 15; and grandchildren Sanders, 6, and Theodrick Bunn, 5. All but the grandchildren were born in North Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Wappanocca township, Crittenden County, Arkansas: widower Eli Farmer, 58, farm operator, and widowed sister Maggie Newson, 60, both born in North Carolina.

  • Henry Horn

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In the 1940 census of Dermott township, Chicot County, Arkansas: Nazzie Horn, 43; North Carolina-born husband Henry, 52; and widowed sister Sallie Garman, 64.

  • Hardy William Lassiter

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In the 1930 census of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas: at 910 East 19th Avenue, Hardy Lassiter, 40, sealer of cars for freight office; wife Ruby, 37; and widowed mother-in-law Ella Epperson, 56, washerwoman. Per Find-A-Grave.com, Hardy Lassiter, born 31 January 1887 and died 26 November 1976, was buried in Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.

  • Will Lewis

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In the 1900 census of Spring Creek township, Lee County, Arkansas: farmer Kention Lewis, 50; daughter Cora, 23; and sons John, 22, Bill, 17, and Arthur, 15. The sons were born in Arkansas.

  • Luther Lucas

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In the 1900 census of Searcy township, Cross County, Arkansas: farmer Ephram Lucas, 44; wife Annie, 34; and children Luther, 11, Annie, 5, Rezella, 4, and Etta, 1. Luther and his parents were born in North Carolina, Annie in Mississippi, and the youngest children in Arkansas.

  • Charley McDowell

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In the 1940 census of Pennington, Bradley County, Arkansas: North Carolina-born Charlie McDowell, 46, contract lumber stacker at saw mill; wife Minny, 37; and children Herbert, 21, Floyd C., 18, James L., 16, Edward, 13, and Don A[illegible], 1.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

T/5 Jones killed in New Guinea.

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Rocky Mount Telegraph, 21 March 1944.

Technician Fifth Grade Thomas Jones Jr. died in an automobile accident in New Guinea in March 1944.

Jones registered for the draft in 1942 in Cambridge, Maryland. Per his registration card, he was born 25 December 1923 in Wilson; he lived at various locations in Cambridge and Dorchester, Maryland; his contact was Henrietta Whitlock; and he was employed by E.T. Webb, Jamesville, Virginia.

His body was returned to Wilson for burial. Howard M. Fitts Sr. handled arrangements for a military headstone to mark Jones grave in Rest Haven cemetery.

Though a corrected birth date is penciled in on the application, Jones’ stone was delivered with an incorrect date. This photo is found at www.findagrave.com.