Military

Memorial Day salute in Stantonsburg.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Jose A. Rivera Jr., a police officer in Stantonsburg. Officer Rivera is a relative newcomer to Wilson County and his patrols led him past a small cemetery on the edge of town. He is a veteran and was particularly interested in the military headstones he found. He also saw a marker for William H. Hall. The cemetery is badly overgrown in areas, and Officer Rivera and his chief of police wished to clean it up and place flags on the graves of these veterans that are laid to rest there.

Officer Rivera came across Black Wide-Awake while searching for more information about the cemetery and learned that it is owned by Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church. My cousins’ family, descended from William Hall, have been members for generations, and I was able to provide him a contact information for a church member.

This morning, Officer Rivera emailed me again: “In observance of Memorial Day, our Police Department placed a flag at each of the military headstones that we found at the Bethel AME Zion Church Cemetery.” And he attached photos. (Where available, I’ve added the applications for these markers.)

  • Pvt. Oscar Isler, World War I

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  • M. Sgt. James B. Newsome, World War II and Korea

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  • Milton Winstead, World War II

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  • Robert Farmer, World War I

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  • Sgt. Booker Tarrant, World War I

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  • Leroy Ellis

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  • PFC James F. Ward, World War II

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  • Pvt. Council T. Reid, World War I

  • SFC Willie L. Speight, World War II

I look forward to seeing the results of Stantonsburg Police Department’s collaboration with Bethel A.M.E. Zion to clear this historic cemetery.

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Officer Rivera pays his respects.

Photos courtesy of Jose A. Rivera Jr.; Headstone Applications for Military Veterans 1925-1963, ancestry.com.

Soldier kills soldier.

In November 1898, the Third North Carolina Infantry moved from Camp Poland near Knoxville, Tennessee, to a winter camp at Fort Haskell, Macon, Georgia. Just days before the regiment paraded in formation before President William McKinley, Private James Ellis shot and killed Private Robert Thomas in a dispute over money. Former tent mates, both men were from Wilson.

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Macon Telegraph, 16 December 1898.

Per subsequent news reports, Ellis was found guilty, dishonorably discharged, and sentenced to imprisonment “for the term of his natural life” at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Volunteers in the Spanish-American War.

The Third North Carolina Volunteer Infantry was a black regiment formed for service in the Spanish-American War. The officers and one thousand enlisted men of the regiment included these residents of Wilson, North Carolina.

In Company A, formed in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; mustered into service 12 May 12 1898, at Fort Macon, North Carolina; mustered out of service 2 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia:

  • Barnes, Spencer — enlisted and mustered into service 23 June 23rd 1898; mustered out of service 2 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [In the 1880 census of Wilson, North Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Mark Barnes, 31; wife Annie, 30, a hotel cook; and nephews Peter, 10, and Spencer Barnes, 8, who shared a household with Esther Taylor, 65, and her nephew Iredel Taylor, 16.]

In Company H, formed in Franklin County; mustered into service 14 July 1898 at Fort Macon, North Carolina; mustered out of service 4 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia:

  • Hahn, Joseph — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 4 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [Was “Hahn” actually Hines?]

In Company I, formed in Cumberland County; mustered into service 14 July 1898 at Fort Macon, North Carolina; mustered out of service on 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia:

  • Allen, James I., 2nd Lt. — commissioned 23 June 1898; mustered into service as Second Lieutenant 14 July 1898 at Fort Macon, North Carolina; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer West Allen, 33; wife Harriet, 33; children Boston, 15, Susan, 12, Cornelius, 10, James I., 7, John, 6, Lettice, 3, and Effie, 1 month; and mother Harriet, 65.]
  • Clayton, Patrick C. — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [In 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: tobacco stemmer Patrick Clayton, 47; wife Sarrah, 37, washing; and children Ellex, 15, tobacco stemmer, Tom, 11, tobacco stemmer, and Georgia, 9. Patrick C. Clayton died 6 September 1929 at National Soldiers Home, Elizabeth City County, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; married to Lela Clark Clayton; was a laborer; and his birthplace and parents were unknown. He was buried in Hampton National Cemetery.]

Patrick C. Clayton, like Willie Gay, died in the veterans’ hospital in Hampton, Virginia. He was buried at Hampton National Cemetery.

  • Cross, Joseph — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Currin, Thomas — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Daniel, William — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Ellis, James — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899, at Macon, Georgia.
  • Gay, Willie, Corporal — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service as a corporal 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899, at Macon, Georgia.
  • Hart, Duncan — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Jackson, Benjamin F. — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899, at Macon, Georgia. [Perhaps: Ben Jackson, 22, married Rena Brinkley, 19, at the residence of James Ellis in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister C. Best performed the ceremony in the presence of H.T. Phillips, G.W. Joyner, and Edgar Gay.]
  • Jones, Peter — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Killibrew, William — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Lewis, Edward — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Mack, William — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.
  • Moore, Alexander — enlisted on 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [Perhaps: on 13 September 1894, Alex Moore, 23, married Martha Barnes, 18, at the A.M.E.Z. church in Wilson. L.B. Williams performed the ceremony in the presence of S.H. Vick, A.C. Smith, and S.A. Smith. Alex Moore died 28 December 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 60 years old; was a widower; lived at 108 Manchester; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Wilson to John and Sallie Ann Moore of New Bern, N.C. Charles Moore was informant.]
  • Thomas, Charles — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [This was most likely, newspaper employee Charles Thomas, born in Wilson to Sarah Thomas, not barber/insurance agent Charles S. Thomas.]
  • Thomas, Robert — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; killed 15 December 1898 at Macon, Georgia. [Two members of the 3rd N.C. were shot and killed in Macon. I am searching for additional details.]

Wilmington Morning Star, 16 December 1898.

  • Utley, Turner –enlisted on 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia. [On 12 September 1901, Turner Utley, 22, married Mariah Williams, 24, at J.W. Rodgers’ residence in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Irene Miller, Minnie Rogers, and Bettie Davis. Turner H. Utley died 20 July 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 52 years old; was born in Wake County to Ellen Utley; was married to Mariah Utley; worked as a cook; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.]
  • Warren, Lewis — enlisted 23 June 1898; mustered into service 14 July 1898; mustered out of service 8 February 1899 at Macon, Georgia.

A Roster of the 3rd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry, http://www.spanamwar.com; U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms 1928-1962, ancestry.com.

Willie Gay’s headstone found in Odd Fellows cemetery.

Jeff Barefoot had read my blog and was passing through Wilson. Curious about Rountree, Odd Fellows and Vick cemeteries, he stopped by, poked around in the woods a bit, and hit the jackpot — the headstone of Willie Gay! Not only had I missed Gay’s marker on my forays into Odd Fellows, his is the only one I’ve seen for a Spanish-American War veteran in these cemeteries.

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WILLIE GAY  CORP.  3 N.C. INF.  SP.AM.WAR

——

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Emma Gay, 35; children Charlie, 15, a steam-mill worker, Mary, 11, Etheldred, 8, and Willie, 6; plus a boarder Fannie Thompson, 19, cook.

On 8 January 1894, Willie Gay, 18, and Mary Bunn, 21, were married at the groom’s house in Wilson. Presbyterian minister L.J. Melton performed the ceremony in the presence of W.T. Phillips, L.A. Moore, and C.C. Williams.

In the 1900 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: day laborer William Gay, 26, widower, living alone.

On 29 October 1902, Willie Gay, 27, son of Charles Gay and Emma Rountree, married Mary Johnson, 22, daughter of Edmund Johnson and Bertha Johnson, at Henry Johnson‘s. H.S. Phillips applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Cain Artis, Charles S. Thomas, and Robert E. Artis.

On 23 March 1906, William Gay, 33, son of Charles and Emma Gay, married Augustus McNeil, 30, daughter of Peter and Emily Patterson, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of J.E. Farmer, Robert Strickland, and Charlie Farmer.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: railroad laborer Will Gay, 34; wife Susia, 34, cook; children Paul, 17, railroad laborer, Charlie, 10, Emma, 4, and Georgia, 2; brother-in-law Peter Johnson, 20, hotel waiter; nephew Jessie Lewis, 22, boarding house proprietor; and lodger Nathan Jenkins, 30, oil mill laborer.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Stantonsburg Street, railroad brakeman William Gay, 48; wife Gertrude, 43; and roomer Oscar Magotte, 26.

In the 1920 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Gay William grocer 717 Stantonsburg Rd

On 27 December 1922, William Gay, 52, son of Charlie and Emma Gay, married Gertrude Magette, 45, daughter of Jerry and Lucy Magette, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minster A.L.E. Weeks performed the ceremony in the presence of J.A. Parker, 211 East Spruce Street; Mary L. Moore, 314 South Stantonsburg Street; and Annie E. Weeks, 500 Hadley Street.

In the 1940 census of Kecoughtan, Elizabeth City County, Virginia: at the Veterans Administration facility, Willie Gay, 66, born in North Carolina.

Willie Gay died 25 May 1940 at the Veterans Administration hospital in Kecoughtan, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 February 1874 in Wilson, N.C., to Charles Gay and Emma Byrum, both of Greene County, N.C.; was divorced; was a veteran of the Spanish American War; was a railroad worker; and lived at 526 Smith Street, Wilson.

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On 13 June 1940, Howard M. Fitts applied for a military headstone for Willie Gay. The application for an upright marker noted that Gay had served from 23 June 1898 to 8 February 1899 in Company I, 3rd N.C. Infantry; and achieved the rank of corporal. Gay was to be buried in Rountree (actually, Odd Fellows) Cemetery in Wilson.

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Photo of Gay’s marker courtesy of Jeff Barefoot and published at Findagrave.com. Thank you!

The remains of West Vick, a colored soldier, return.

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Wilson Daily Times, 18 March 1919.

In the 1900 census of Stony Creek township, Nash County: farm laborer John Vick, 45; wife Hanna, 40; and children Tassey, 21, Clara, 19, Johnnie, 17, Berry, 15, Elisha, 13, Joseph, 10, Westray, 9, Paul 3, and Baby, 1.

Wesley Vick, 21, son of John and Hannah Vick, married Sarah Locus, 20, daughter of Jesse and Florida Locus, on 25 May 1912, in Wilson.

Thomas Kerney, old soldier.

Though Thomas Kerney‘s death certificate describes him as an “old solder,” he appears to have been too young to have served during the Civil War. Nor have I found any military record for him. Thomas and Silvey Kerney are not listed in Wilson County census records.

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UPDATE: 20 January 2020. Obviously, I didn’t look hard enough. Thomas Kearney enlisted in the United States Army in 1881 and served nearly till the end of his life.

On 15 August 1881, Thomas Kearney enlisted in Charleston, South Carolina. Per the enlistment register, he was 21 years old; was born in Tarboro, North Carolina; was a laborer; had brown eyes, hair and complexion; was 5’5 3/4″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, Company M; and was discharged 14 August 1886 in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, as a private.

On 4 December 1886, Thomas Kearney enlisted in Washington, D.C. Per the enlistment register, he was 26 years, 5 months old; was born in Tarboro, North Carolina; was a soldier; had brown eyes, hair and complexion; was 5’5 1/2″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, Company I; and was discharged 3 December 1891 in Fort Robinson, Nebraska, as a private.

On 16 December 1891, Thomas Kearney enlisted in Washington, D.C. Per the enlistment register, he was 31 years old; was born in Tarboro, North Carolina; was a soldier; had dark brown eyes, black hair and brown complexion; was 5’5 1/2″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, Company I; and was discharged 15 December 1896 in Fort Robinson, Nebraska, as a private.

On 23 December 1896, Thomas Kearney enlisted in Charleston, South Carolina. Per the enlistment register, he was 26 years old; was born in Tarboro, North Carolina; was a laborer; had brown eyes, hair and complexion; was 5’5 3/4″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, Company M; and was discharged 14 August 1886 in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, as a private.

On 23 December 1899, Thomas Kearney enlisted in Fort Apache, Arizona. Per the enlistment register, he was 39 years, 7 months old; was born in Tarboro, North Carolina; was a soldier; had brown eyes, black hair and black complexion; was 5’5 1/2″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry; and was discharged 22 December 1902 in Monterey, California, as a private.

In the 1900 Military and Naval Population Schedule, Philippine Islands, 9th Cavalry: Kearney, Thomas, colored, 39, born in Tarboro, North Carolina.

On 13 January 1903, Thomas Kearney enlisted in San Francisco, California. Per the enlistment register, he was 42 years, 6 months old; was born in Tabor, North Carolina; was a soldier; had brown eyes, black hair and dark complexion; was 5’5 1/2″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, Company C; and was discharged 12 January 1906 in Fort Riley, Kansas, as a private.

On 19 January 1906, Thomas Kearney enlisted in Kansas City, Missouri. Per the enlistment register, he was 45 years, 6 months old; was born in Tarboro, North Carolina; was a soldier; had brown eyes, black hair and complexion; was 5’5 1/2″; enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, Company M; and was discharged 9 January 1908 at Presidio, San Francisco, California, as a private.

U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, http://www.ancestry.com.

The Borden “brothers” enlist.

On 25 April 1864, four Wilson County men — Dennis, Edward, Henry and Jerry Borden — presented themselves in New Bern, North Carolina, to enlist in Company C, 1st Regiment, North Carolina Colored Heavy Artillery of the United States Colored Troops (which was later known as Company C, 14th Regiment, Heavy Artillery). All bore the same surname, which was likely a mishearing of “Bardin” or “Barden,” and may have escaped from the same owner, but they were not brothers.

Here is Jerry Bardin‘s volunteer enlistment record:

And a muster record for Dennis Borden:

In 1872, Lydia Borden opened an account with the Freedmen’s Bank branch in New Bern. Per her account card, her husband was “Edward Borden (soldier) — d. of smallpox (1865?)” If this is the same Edward, freedom was short-lived.

Henry Borden was admitted to a military hospital in Hampton, Virginia, in April 1911. He was described as 85 years old; a resident of Bertie County, N.C.; and married to Cora Borden. He died 19 August 1911 in Windsor, Bertie County.

14th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Service Records Who served with the United States Colored Troops, http://www.fold3.com; U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865, http://www.ancestry.com; Freedmen’s Bank Records, 1865-1871, http://www.ancestry.com; Register no. 19392-20891, Hampton, Virginia, United States National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938, http://www.familysearch.org.

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.