Military

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.

 

Jesse Pender, veteran and chef.

In 2011, a Palm Springs, California, news reporter interviewed Wilson native Jesse D. Pender Sr., then 96, about his World War II service, his early work for a brothel keeper, and his years cooking for a president.

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The Desert Sun, 4 December 2011.

In the 1920 census of Goldsboro township, Wayne County: farmer Joseph Pender, 49; wife Ella L., 42; amd children Edward D., 14, Maggie, 9, Ernest, 12, Alonzo, 7, Jesse, 4, Georgiana, 3, and Josephine, 1.

On 29 December 1937, Jesse Pender, 23, of Wilson County, son of Joe and Ella Pender of Wilson County married Erma Dean Hines, 18, daughter of Louis and Martha Hines of Wilson County, in Nashville, Nash County.

In 1940, Jesse David Powell registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Note his employer.

Betty Powell and Mallie Paul, Depression-era Wilson’s most notorious white madams, ran neighboring brothels on Jones and South Streets. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County, Georgia native Bettie Powell, 46, is listed without occupation, and her three lodgers, all white women in their early 20s, were occupied as “companion-private home.”

Betty Powell made out her will in March 1945. After disposing of bonds, bank accounts, real property and jewelry, she bequeathed “all the residue of my estate to Jesse Pender and all of the girls including my maids, that may be residing with me at my death, to share and share alike.” She died just over a year later.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 May 1946.

Pender’s workplace before Betty Powell hired him to drive. Advertisement, Facts About Wilson North Carolina, Wilson Chamber of Commerce (1934).

Pender at age 102. Photo courtesy of “A Flowery Tribute in Palm Springs as Warplanes Fly in Formation in Memorial Day Salute,” The Desert Sun, 29 May 2017.

Thanks to my frequent collaborator S.M. Stevens (and her grandmother Willia Jones Turner) for forwarding this clipping. North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

 

Barnes wounded at war.

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Wilson Daily Times, 18 February 1919.

Though this injury may have been slight, David Barnes Jr. returned from World War I a disabled veteran.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: hotel porter Dave Barnes, 40; wife Della; and children Walter, 20, William, 15, Lucy, 13, Dave, 5, and Viola, 11. [Walter, William, and Lucy were, in fact, Hineses — Della Hines Barnes’ children, and Viola Barnes was Dave Barnes by a previous marriage.]

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: hotel servant Dave Barnes, 50; wife Della, 50; and children William, 25, barber, Lucy, 23, Dave, 15, Bosey, 8, Mary, 7, John, 5, Sam, 3, and Carry, 1 month.

David Barnes registered for the World War I draft in 1917 in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 3 March 1895 in Wilson; was a barber for Tate & Hines; lived at 612 East Green; and was short, of medium build, with blue eyes and black hair.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 612 East Green, widow Della Barnes, 50; Cleveland Chick, 25, barber, and Dasy Chick, 23, both of South Carolina; and Della’s sons Dave, 24, and Otha, 17.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 613 East Green, valued at $8000, widow Della Barnes, 71, and sons Boysie, 26, and Dav., 35, barber.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 610 East Green, Minnie Nelson, 54, tobacco factory stemmer, and sons Marion, 23, odd jobs house cleaner, Styles, 23, waiter at the English Tavern, and James Edward, 22, dress shop delivery boy, all natives of Fayetteville, North Carolina; and roomer David Barnes, 40, a war veteran.

David Barnes registered for the World War II draft in 1942. Per his registration card, he was born 3 March 1898 in Wilson; was a disabled veteran; and lived at 610 East Green.

David Barnes died 12 May 1966 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 19 March 1897 in Wilson County to David Barnes and Della Hines; never married; had worked as a barber; and was a World War I veteran.