Military

The obituary of Johnny Farmer.

Wilson Daily Times, 31 March 1944. 

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In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: George Farmer, 60, teamster; wife Bettie, 62, laundress; and children George N., 21, teamster, Miner, 19, Aulander, 18, drayman, Willie, 17, farm laborer, Johney, 15, farm laborer, and daughter Emma, 12.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Finchs Mills Road, George Farmer, 78, livery stable laborer; wife Bettie, 62, laundress; son John, 18, butler; and daughter Emma, 16, nurse.

In 1917, Johnie Farmer registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 4 February 1895 in Wilson; lived on Finch Mill Road; worked as a butler for Mrs. F.S. Davis, Wilson; and was unmarried.

On 25 July 1919, Johnnie Farmer sailed with Company C, 348th Service Battalion, from Brest, France, to the Port of New York abroad the U.S.S. Finland.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Bynum Street, Bettie Farmer, 56, widow, and children Emma, 23, cook, and Johnnie, 25, butler.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 714 Stronach Avenue, paying $10/month in rent, cook Johnny Farmer, 50, and his mother Betty, 85, widow.

Johnie Farmer died 30 March 1944 after 912 days at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Kecoughtan, Elizabeth City County, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1893 in Wilson, N.C., to George Farmer and Betsey Crowell [Crumell]; was single; was a cook; was a World War I veteran; and ordinarily lived at 714 Stronach Alley, Wilson. His body was returned to Wilson for burial.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III; Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing Passenger Lists 1910-1939, http://www.ancestry.com.

Ship’s Cook Carl Dudley is somewhere in the South Pacific.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 May 1945.

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In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: carpenter John Dudley, 32; wife Della, 27; children Carl D., 7, James H., 5, and Minnie, 2; and niece Fanie Farmer, 22.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: carpenter Henry Dudley, 42; wife Della, 38, housekeeper; and children Carl, 17, delivery boy for grocery store; James, 14, Minnie, 12, and Robert, 9.

Carl Douglas Dudley registered for the World War II draft in 1942.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Private Frank Barnes has died.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 December 1919.

Ten Wilson County men named Frank Barnes registered for the World War I draft in 1917-1918; six were Black. One, born 2 April 1895, was the son of Andrew and Stella Williams Barnes. This Frank Barnes was severely injured during his service in France, but absolutely did not die of disease during the war.

This Frank Barnes’ service card shows he was discharged on 12 March 1919. He is listed with his family in the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County and, in fact, lived to 1981.

Who, then, was the Frank Barnes, son of Stella Barnes, who died while in service during World War I?

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III; North Carolina World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919, http://www.ancestry.com.

Israel Hardy, Co. C, 14th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

Israel Hardy enrolled in Company C, 14th United Stated Colored Heavy Artillery, on 18 May 1864 in New Bern, North Carolina. He reported that he was born in Wilson County, N.C., about 1842 and worked as a laborer. After less than five months of service, Hardy contracted yellow fever, but recovered and returned to duty in November 1864. He was discharged in December 1865.

Israel Hardy returned to New Bern after the war. Within a few years, he moved east into Pamlico County, where he remained the rest of his life.

United States Freedmen’s Bureau records show that Israel Hardy received a $200 bounty for his military service in February 1868.

In the 1870 census of Township #4, Craven County, North Carolina: farm laborer Israel Hardy, 27; wife Mahala, 23; children William, 2, and Henry, 5; and Edward Hardy, 18, farm laborer. Israel Hardy reported that he owned $300 worth of real property and $160 in personal property.

In the 1880 census of Township #2, Pamlico County, North Carolina: farmer Iserel Hardy, 40; wife Mabelle, 29; children Henry, 16, Mabelle, 8, Josie, 10, Susan, 6, Caroline, 3, and Jessy, 2; and boarders Annie, 24, and Henrietta, 10.

On 24 April 1889, Henry Hardy, 24, married Sidney Oden, 21, in Pamlico County.

On 11 August 1892, Samuel Roberts, 21, of #3 Township, Pamlico County, son of John and Tempy Roberts, married Caroline Hardy, 18, of Vandemere, daughter of Israel and Mahala Hardy, at Mahala Hardy’s residence in Pamlico County.

On 29 August 1892, Henry Jones, 24, of Vandemere, son of Simbo Jones and Margaret Washington, married Susan Hardy, 18, of Vandemere, daughter of Isreal and Mahala Hardy.

On 17 October 1894, Edward McCotter, 33, of Pamlico County, son of Barney and Joana McCotter, married Sarah F. Hardy, 22, of Vandemere, daughter of Isral and Mahala Hardy, in Pamlico County.

On 19 March 1898, Israel Hardy, 50, of Pamlico County, son of Peter and Venis Beckton, married Zenia Gibson [or Gibbs], 29, of Pamlico County, daughter of Adam and Rachel Gibson [or Gibbs].

Jessie Hardy died 27 December 1946 in New Bern, Craven County. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1885 in Vandemere, Pamlico County, to Israel Hardy and Mahaliah Hardy, both of Hyde County, N.C.; was married; resided in Vandemere; and worked as a “fishman.” He was buried in Marabelle [Maribel] Cemetery, Pamlico County.

Carrie Roberts died 5 October 1948 in Collier, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Per her death certificate, she was born 13 September 1873 in Bay River, N.C., to Israel Hardy and Mahalia (last name unknown); was the widow of Samuel Roberts; and resided at 4533 Webster Avenue, Pittsburgh.

File #1,071,351, Application of Israel Hardy for Invalid’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

Lewis Bass, Co. C, 14th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

“Birthplace, Wilson, N.C.; age, 66 years; height 5 ft. 11 in; weight 175 pounds; complexion, dark; color of eyes, Black; color of hair, Black; occupation, farmer.”

Relationships forged during slavery complicated the pension claims of Lewis Bass and his widow Frances Hassell Wiggins Bass.

Lewis Bass was born enslaved in Wilson County around 1835. Prior to the Civil War, he married a woman (who is not named in his pension file) and had a daughter named Benzona (whom I have not been able to identify in records). Bass never returned to Wilson County after the war, settling instead in Pamlico County, North Carolina. As Frances Bass told it in her pension application: “Lewis Bass told me that he had a woman in slave days. He did not tell me her name but told me he had a child by her; said his child’s name was Benzona. Lewis Bass said he never saw his slave wife after he left for the army as he never went back to that locality; said as soon as he was discharged he came right down here ….”

About 1866, Lewis Bass married Martin County, N.C., native Frances Hassel Wiggins, who had been married to Isaac Wiggins during slavery. Like Bass, Wiggins enlisted in the United States Colored Troops — Company F, 1st U.S.C.T., in his case — and never returned home. (“We were married so long before the war that we had a son who was large enough to go in the army. His name was Daniel Wiggins and he was a flag bearer in his father’s company so I heard. I have never laid eyes on either my husband or son since they left me to join the army.”) Frances assumed he was dead and went on with her life. She initially applied for Wiggins’ widow’s pension and swore — per lawyers’ advice, she said — that she had never remarried. applied for Bass’ widow’s pension, however, the question had to be settled — was she Bass’ widow or Wiggins’?

File #728893, Application of Lewis Bass for Pension, File #766477, Application of Frances Wiggins for Widow’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.

White personnel make way for Dr. Ward and staff.

Wilson Daily Times, 13 March 1924.

In early 1924, Wilson native Dr. Joseph H. Ward, a major in the Army Medical Corps and a pioneering physician in Indianapolis, was appointed first African-American chief surgeon and medical director of a Veterans Administration hospital. The appointment was poorly received by many in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the displacement of former personnel by a nearly all-Black staff was initially stiffly resisted.

Thomas Deans, Co. H, United States Colored Heavy Artillery.

On 4 February 1901, in Norfolk, Virginia, Thomas Deans gave a sworn statement in support of his claim for a Union soldier’s pension.

I am about 57 years of age; my post office address is 117 Green St., Portsmouth, Va. Laborer.

My full and correct name is Thomas Deans. I was never known by any name other than Thomas Deans. I was a slave and belonged to Wiley Deans, who resides 10 miles from Wilson, N.C.

My fathers name was Harry Newsom. My mothers name was Rena Deans. I had two brothers and two sisters. Rose and Charity. Rose resides somewhere in Miss[issippi] and Charity is dead. Jacob Woodard and Jordan Woodard are my brothers. Jacob died soon after the close of the War. I have not seen or heard of Jordan for 40 years. He was sold away before the war. When these boys were born my fathers owner was Woodard — Stephen Woodard. I was only six weeks old when i was sold by Woodard to Deans.

I was born in Wilson Co. N.C. and when 18 or 19 I enlisted at Newberne N.C. in Co. H — 14th U.S.C.H.A. for three years but did not serve that long. I do not know whether I was in the service two years. I can’t tell how long I did serve. I enlisted about “shad” time, early spring, and discharged in winter, at Fort Macon, N.C.

I had no other service.

Poor was Col. Hopkins was St. and Capt. They changed so after that I do not remember the names of all the Sts. George Taylor, Samuel Boykin was my tent mates. Freeman Harvey William Jones, Alfred Dixon was in my Co. I was detailed at Morehead City loading and unloading goods. Any [illegible] for 4 months. I was in Hospital at Morehead for three months with fever. I never knew the name of the fever My Regt was not in any engagement. We were at Newbern Fort Macon and Morehead all the time.

I did not incur any disability in the service. There were no [illegible] results of the fever.

I never applied for pension until the new law was passed.

Since discharge I have resided at Wilson, Goldsboro, and Wilmington N.C. and Newberne N.C. and Norfolk, Va. I have resided in Norfolk since Feb 1900.

I have been employed at the Norfolk Navy Yard for one year, in the capacity of laborer and have received the same wages as other laborers, $1.52 per day.

Dr. Love Wilmington N.C.

Dr. Whitley Newberne N.C. have treated me, at times, in recent years.

Thomas X Deans

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The National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers were established following the Civil War to provide living space for disabled American soldiers and sailors. Deans entered the home at Hampton, Virginia, a few months before his death in 1911.

The hospital’s registry shows that Deans enlisted on 8 March 1865 at Fort Macon, North Carolina, and served as a private in Company H, 14th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. He was discharged 11 December 1865 at Fort Macon. His disabilities included a right inguinal hernia, rheumatism, impaired vision, and cardiac hypertrophy.

Deans was born in North Carolina; was 67 years old; was five foot seven inches tall; had a black complexion, black eyes, and black hair; could not read or write; had worked as a laborer; had lived in Phoebus, Virginia; was married; and his nearest relative was his wife Catherine Deans.

Deans’ rate of pension was 13.50 [dollars per …?], and he was admitted to the hospital on 24 March 1908 with pericarditis. At the time his personal effects were valued at fifty-five cents.

Thomas Deans died 21 February 1914 and was buried in Hampton National Cemetery, Hampton, Virginia. Per the cemetery’s burial registry, he was buried in grave 10553 and had been a member of Company H, 14th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery.

Deans’ wife Catherine was awarded a widow’s pension of twelve dollars per month.

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  • Thomas Deans

In the 1900 census of Norfolk, Virginia: on Caledonia Street, laborer Thomas Deans, 59; wife Catherine, 30; and mother-in-law Julia Joyner, 73; all born in North Carolina.

In the 1910 census of Phoebus, Elizabeth City County [Hampton], Virginia: Thomas Deans, 70, and wife Catherine, 41, washerwoman.

  • Harry Newsom
  • Rena Deans — on 3 August 1867, Jacob Woodard, son of Gabriel Woodard and Rena Deans, married Anna Tyson, daughter of Jack Tyson and Diana Tyson, at the residence of A.G. Brooks, justice of the peace. [This appears to be Thomas Deans’ brother Jacob and mother Rena.]
  • Jacob Woodard — see above. Also, on 5 September 1870, G.W. Blount, J.S. Woodard, and J.W. Blount filed letters of administration for Jacob Woodard. [Was this Thomas Deans’ brother? His death date is consistent with Deans’ testimony that his brother died “soon after the close of the War.”]
  • Joshua Woodard
  • Wiley Deans — son of Bartley Deans Sr., a large slaveowner in Oldfields township, Wilson County.
  • Stephen Woodard — most likely Stephen Woodard Sr., but possibly physician Stephen Woodard Jr.

Files #849,635, Application of Thomas Deans for Invalid’s Pension; #1,029,598, Application of Catherine Deans for Widow’s Pension; National Archives and Records Administration.

If you are out of work.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 February 1932.

As the Great Depression deepened, Henry Ellis Post No. 17, American Legion, collected names of unemployed workers and sought employers willing to hire.

  • Thomas Cook — Per his World War I service card, Thomas Cook, 619 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson, was born 18 May 1894 in Wilson and inducted into military service on 19 July 1918. He served in Companies A and B of the 147th Labor Battalion and was discharged on 31 May 1919.
  • Nathan Haskins
  • J.W. Pitt — John W. Pitt (or Pitts) registered for the World War I draft in 1917 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 4 August 1891 in Newberry, South Carolina; lived on Vance Street, Wilson; and worked as a carpenter in Wilson for “Mr. Lassiter of Rocky Mount.”
  • Dr. G.S. Butterfield — Dr. George K. Butterfield.
  • H.M. Fitts — Howard M. Fitts.
  • A.N. Darden — Arthur N. Darden.
  • Henry Ellis Post No. 17

North Carolina World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919, http://www.ancestry.com