Cpl. Johnson drowned in the sinking of the Rohna.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 February 1944.

For more about the sinking of H.M.T. Rohna by a German glide bomb, see here.


In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: widow Hattie Johnson, 36, and children Willie, 23, John W., 20, Herbert, 16, Clement, 11, and James, 10.



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,

Pfc. Simms’ remains returned.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 June 1948.

Five years after his death in India, Herbert Lee Simms‘ body was returned to Wilson for burial.


In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Marcella [Marcellus] Simms, 30; wife Tempie, 30; and children Annie M., 7, Herbert L., 5, and Guthra [Gertrude] M., 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: cotton oil company truck driver Marcellaus Simms, 40; wife Tempie, 41; and children Annie Mae, 17, Herbert Lee, 15, Gertrude, 12, Doris O., 9, Robert L., 7, Roland, 4, and Willie Jr., 7 months.

Herbert Lee Simms registered for the World War I draft in 1941. Per his registration card, he was born 12 March 1923 in Wilson County; lived at Route 4, Box 39, Wilson; his contact was mother Tempie Simms; and he was unemployed.

The application for Herbert L. Simms’ military headstone.

This Memorial Day: who was Henry T. Ellis?

On 3 June 1919, the Daily Times published a list of Wilson County soldiers who died during World War I. The list is segregated. First in the Colored List is Henry Ellis, who was killed 6 October 1918 and in whose honor Wilson County’s African-American post of the American Legion was named.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 June 1919.

The Daily Times had commemorated Ellis’ death when it received word in December 1918:

“Private Henry Ellis Son of Mrs. Mary J. Howard, Route 1, Wilson, N.C. Died of wounds received in action while fighting for his country and oppressed humanity.” Wilson Daily Times, 4 December 1918.


In the 1870 census of Chesterfield township, Nash County, N.C.: farmer Martin Lucus, 52; wife Eliza, 42; and children Irvin, 19, Neverson, 16, Sidney, 13, Eliza, 7, Westray, 6, Anne, 4, and Mary, 2.

In the 1880 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Nelson Eatmon, 66, wife Eliza Eatmon, 50, daughters Amanda Locus, 18, and Mary J. Locus, 14, “son-in-law” Asa Locus, 10, and “daughter-in-law” Lougene Locus, 4, Margaret Howard, 21, and Harriet Howard, 2. [Nelson Eatmon married Eliza Locust on 28 January 1880 in Wilson County. The Locuses’ relationship designations are obviously erroneous; they were Nelson Eatmon’s stepchildren.]

On 6 February 1887, Warren Ellis, 19, of Wilson County, married Mary Jane Locust, 19, of Wilson County, in Wilson County. Phillis Ellis was one of the witnesses.

In the 1900 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary J. Ellis, 34, widow, and children Willis, 12, Walter, 9, William, 8, Henry, 5, and Lou, 4.

In the 1910 census of Jackson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Mary Jane Ellis, 44, and children Henry, 16, Louise, 13, and Charles, 6; and brother Neverson Lucas, 56.

Henry Ellis registered for the World War I draft in Nash County, N.C, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 November 1895 in Wilson County; lived at Route 2, Bailey; was a tenant farmer for Elijah Griffin; and was single. He signed his card in a neat, well-practiced hand: “Henry T. Ellis.”

In the 1920 census of Taylor township, Wilson County: farmer Mary Howard, 52, widow; son Charlie Ellis, 17; and sister Luginer Colman, 45, widow.

Mary J. Howard died 20 June 1936 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was the widow of Manuel Howard; was 65 years old; and was born in Wilson County to Martin Locus and Louisa Brantley. Gray Ellis was informant.

Henry T. Ellis, then, was the son of Warren Ellis and Mary Jane Locus Ellis and stepson of Manuel Howard. He was descended (or connected) on his mother’s side from several free families of color with deep roots in the area of western Wilson County — Locuses, Brantleys, Eatmons, Howards — and on his father’s from Hilliard and Faribee Ellis, a formerly enslaved couple who established a prosperous farm in the New Hope area shortly after the Civil War.

I have seen no evidence that Ellis’ body was returned to Wilson County for burial. His parents, grandparents, and siblings are buried in Hilliard Ellis cemetery, but there is no marked grave for him there.

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.


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.

[Though not so described, James F. Scott was also African-American.]

Buffalo soldier; or the colored man in the fight.

WDT 4 11 1917 WW1 soldier Farrior

Wilson Daily Times, 11 April 1917.


Rev. Owen L.W. Smith was a teacher, pastor of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church, and United States consul general in Liberia.

In the 1900 census of Lisbon township, Sampson County, North Carolina: Virginia-born preacher Hennry Farrior, 39, wife Izzy, 37, children Lillie, 17, Dallas, 15, and Diane, 5, and divorced brother-in-law Richard Robinson, 50. Dallas and Richard worked as farm laborers. [Henry W. Farrior was an A.M.E. Zion minister.]

It appears that soon thereafter Dalley tried his luck up North and, on 4 October 1903, this tiny ad appeared in the classified ads of the Philadelphia Inquirer:


On 15 May 1905, in Manhattan, New York City, William H.D. Farrior [Dalley’s full name] married Florence Seel.

Before long, though, he returned to North Carolina. In the 1910 census of Lisbon township, Sampson County, North Carolina: house carpenter Dalley Farrior, 26, wife Florance, 22, and children James, 3, and Florance (Jr.), 1. [I have not found a marriage license for Dalley and Florence. Their daughters Florence Elizabeth, born 15 January 1909, and Sadie Carolina, born 6 November 1910, filed delayed birth certificates in Cumberland and Sampson Counties, respectively.]

At an unknown date, Dally Farrior enlisted in the United States Army’s Tenth Cavalry Regiment, a segregated unit that was one of the original regiments of Buffalo Soldiers. His role in the Army’s Mexican Expedition would garner him a measure of recognition and probably helped him secure government employment.

As adapted from Wikipedia: the Punitive Expedition, officially known in the United States as the Mexican Expedition, was an abortive military operation conducted by the United States Army against the paramilitary forces of Francisco “Pancho” Villa from 1916 to 1917. The expedition was retaliation for Villa’s invasion of the United States and attack on the village of Columbus, New Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. More than 5,000 U.S. troops under General John J. Pershing, including elements of the 7th Cavalry and the 10th Cavalry Regiment, entered Mexico in hot pursuit of Villa. The campaign consisted primarily of dozens of minor skirmishes with small bands of insurgents. On 21 June 1916, two troops of the 10th, totaling 92 troopers, attacked Mexican Federal Army troops in the Battle of Carrizal, Chihuahua. Twelve U.S. troops were killed and 23 taken prisoner; 45 Federales were casualties, including the Mexican general Gomez. The engagement nearly precipitated open war with Venustiano Carranza’s Mexican government, but both governments immediately moved to lessen tensions and open negotiations for U.S. withdrawal, preventing war. The Carrancista government repatriated the American prisoners at El Paso, Texas.


Washington Post, 1 July 1916.

Dalley was one of the highest-ranking enlisted men in the Tenth Cavalry and, as an escapee from the bloodshed, was called upon to testify to the debacle. He gave the affidavit below to then Major Charles Young, the African-American commander of the Tenth Cavalry’s Second Squadron.*


State of Chihuahua, Camp U.S. Troops, Colonia Dublan, Mex.  }  ss.

Personally appeared before me the undersigned authority, one Dalley Farrior, Q.M. Sergeant, Troop C, 10th Cavalry, who being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says, concerning the engagement between American troops commanded by Capt. Charles R. Boyd, 10th cavalry, and Carranza troops near Ahumada, Mexico, on June 21st, 1916, that “when we arrived near Carrizal, the Captain had us load our rifles and pistols. We halted and sent a messenger in to ask permission to pass thru the town. When the messenger returned several Mexicans came with him, and they [illegible] our point. The Captain went forward and talked to them. He returned to us and said that “It looked favorable, but we could only go north.” He said that his orders were to go east, and he meant to go that way. By this time the general of the Carranza troops had come out and the Captain went forward to talk to him. When he returned he said the general had given us permission to go thru the town, but we could go thru as foragers. As we formed line of foragers, the general called him back again. When he returned he said he would execute fight on foot and advance in that formation. We did this and ordered no man to fire until fired upon. As we moved forward K Troop was on the right and C on the left. The Captain cautioned Sergeant Winrow, who organized the right of C Troop to keep his men on a zigzag line. The Mexicans during this time had formed a line out front about 200 yards away and opened fire on us. We laid down and fired back. Then we advanced by rushes. As to the second rush I was wounded in the right arm, and staid where I was. The line I had been on kept moving forward. On their third rush they reached the Mexican’s front line of defense, where there were two machine guns. By this time Captain Boyd had been shot in the hand and shoulder. Sergeant Winrow had been wounded in the leg and [illegible] Wilhoit had also been wounded in the knee. The Captain tried to get K Troop, which was in our rear, to move up to us. He was shot and killed at this time. Lieut. Adair had gone with his man and was out of sight. Captain Morey said to assemble K Troop on him and we would all surrender. But several men in K Troop remonstrated with Capt. Morey and induced him to make towards an adobe house on our left rear, where we could possibly make a stand. Capt. Morey was very weak from loss of blood and fainted once. From there I finally made my way to the Santa Domingo ranch. From here I finally reached the 11th Cavalry about [illegible] miles west of San Luis.

Further deponent sayeth not,  /s/ Dalley Farrior, Q.M. Sergeant, Troop C, 10th Cavalry.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27 day of June 1916. /s/ Chas. Young, Major, 10th Cavalry, Summary Court.

A year later, on 15 June 1917, in the Nashville Globe‘s “News of the Nation’s Capital”:


Dalley Farrior registered for the World War I draft in Washington, D.C. on 12 September 1918. His draft card reports that he resided at 1830 – 9th Street N.W.; was born 3 September 1984; and worked as a messenger for the federal government at 4 1/2 & Missouri Avenue, S.W., Aircraft Production Division. His nearest relative was Isia Farrior, 11 Winter Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The card also reveals that he was more seriously injured at Carrizal than the Post reported — “gunshot wound in right forearm, hand almost totally paralyzed, in action with US troops in Mexico.”

On 9 January 1918, this tiny listing appeared in the Washington Post:


It appears to be notice of a suit for maintenance by Dalley’s wife Florence Farrior, and William H. Dalley Farrior seems to have been his full name.

Two days later, on 11 January, the Washington Herald ran this brief:


Two months later, Dalley threw down the gauntlet with a legal notice naming as defendants his wife and three men, presumably those with whom Dalley believed she had committed adultery.


Washington Post, 20 March 1918. 

The suit was successful. In the 1920 census of Washington, D.C.: boarders Dalley Farrior, 25, divorced, messenger for War Department; and son James Farrior, 12.

Dalley’s father Henry W. Farrior appeared in Wilson city directories as early as 1916 and throughout the 1920s. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Christian Church minister Henry W. Farrior, 60, and wife Aria, 60, with boarders tobacco factory stemmer Earnest Bulluck, 35, his wife Lena, 30, and children Earnest Jr., 12, Paul T., 8, and Lee, 7.

Henry William Farrior died 6 March 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate: he was born 12 August 1859 in Powhatan, Virginia, to Henry and Sylvia Farrior; resided at 203 Pender Street, Wilson; was married Isiebell Farrior; and was a preacher. Dalley Farrior was informant.

In 1942, Dalley Farrior registered for the World War II draft. His draft card reports that he resided at 2319 Druid Hills Avenue, Baltimore; was born 10 April 1884 in Garland, North Carolina; was employed by Samuel Plato, Turner’s Station, Baltimore; and his nearest relative was Pearl Farrior.

Per the Social Security Death Index, Dalley Farrior died in Baltimore on 7 May 1971. He was survived by daughters Florence E. Farrior and Sadie Farrior Izquierdo. Sadie died in 1995. Florence died 14 October 2015 in New York City at the age of 106.

*A copy of this affidavit is included in the draft of Ann T. Gustavson’s The Question of Pershing’s Verbal Orders: Carrizal 1916, published at The original is held by the National Archives and Records Administration.