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.
Many of the men who enlisted in the Union Army after escaping bondage in Wilson County joined the 14th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops, Heavy Artillery, at Fort Macon, south of Morehead City, North Carolina. Prior to its federal designation, this militia unit was organized as the 1st North Carolina Colored Heavy Artillery.
Worthington, who ran away from a Pitt County slaveowner to join the Army, seems not to have actually lived in Wilson County. However, at least one of his children did. Charlie Wellington died 16 June 1958 in Stantonsburg township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 September 1887 in Greene County to Frank Wellington and Fabie Atkinson; was married to Lovie Wellington; and was a farmer. He was buried in Red Hill cemetery, Wilson County.
Documents from the pension application file of Lizzie Woodard, daughter of Union army veteran London Woodard of Wilson County:
On 22 August 1933, Lizzie Woodard of 119 Ashe Street, Wilson, filed a Declaration for Pension for Children Under Sixteen Years of Age, claiming benefits for herself and her sister Mamie Woodard as children of London Woodard. The declaration noted that London Woodard enlisted 10 July 1861 at Wilson, North Carolina, in the “Col. Army.” London was not wounded in service and was discharged 11 November 1865. He died 10 February 1931. Lizzie Woodard was 37 years old; her sister, 35. Their mother, Grace Woodard, had been London’s second wife when they married 30 November 1886. The first, whom he married in 1874, died without issue. Paul Bunch of Black Creek and Martha Allen of Wilson witnessed Lizzie’s signature.
Unfortunately, in January 1934, the Pension Authority summarily rejected the Woodards’ application “on the ground that the children of the alleged soldier were over 16 years of age at the date of his death.”
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Howell Woodard, 52; wife Rodah, 40; and children London, 23, Harriet, 20, Venus, 19, Ferebee, 17, Virginia, 17, Mary, 14, Sarah, 13, Penelope, 12, Rodah, 10, Puss, 6, John, 8, Kenny, 5, Fanny, 1, and Martha, 1 month.
In 22 November 1877, London Woodard, 30, married Margaret Guest, 24, at RichardHaggans’ house. G.T. Daniel, Ned Barnes and Jim Bynum witnessed.
In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: London Woodard, 34; wife Margaret, 26; and children James G., 9, and Alley, 7. (The children were likely Margaret’s from a previous relationship.)
On 27 November 1895, London Woodard, 47, married Nancy Webb, 23, in Gardners township at the bride’s parents’ home. Adella E. Barnes, Jane R. Farmer and MarthaWoodard witnessed.
In the 1900 census of Town of Wilson, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, age unknown; wife Nancy, 28; children Lizzie, 3, and Mamie, 1; brother-in-law Joseph Webb, 17, and sister-in-law Rhodie Webb, 13.
In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, 62, divorced.
Nancy, however, did not report their divorce to the enumerator. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Nancy Woodard, 33, widow, and children Lizzie, 14, Mamie, 11, Hubbard, 4, and David, 2. (Apparently, “Hubbard” — in fact, Herbert — and David were not London’s children, as they were not parties to the pension application.)
Though she applied for benefits using her maiden name, Lizzie Woodard, 20, daughter of Lum and Nancy Woodard, married Dock Barnes, 24, son of Rhodes and Frances Barnes, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on 1 November 1913.
In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer London Woodard, 75, widower.
In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Lipscomb Road, wagon factory laborer James Barnes, 29; wife Lizzie, 23; children Estelle, 11, and Lenard, 5; sister-in-law Mamie Woodard, 21; and boarders John Hollins, 22, Rose Barnes, 18, Pete Barnes, 19, and Tom Outlaw, 21.
Mamie Woodard, 29, married Thomas Outlaw, 29, on 19 November 1929. Witnesses were W.I. Barnes, John A. Barnes Jr., and Elisha L. Webb.
Lizzie Woodard Barnes died 26 November 1959 in Wilson.
Mamie Woodard Outlaw died 28 December 1988 in Beaufort, Washington County, North Carolina.
File #1,734,955, Application of Lizzie Woodard et al. for Children’s Pension, National Archives and Records Administration.
On 12 June 1866, Richard Pate married Rebecca Daniel in Wayne County.
In the 1870 census of Goldsboro township, Wayne County: farm laborer Richard Pate, 37, wife Becky, 32, and daughter Polly, 12. [Next door was a household headed by white farmer Brtant Pate, 48, and nearby were other white Pates. Perhaps Richard’s former owner was one.]
In the 1880 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: Richard Pate, 36, wife Rebecca, 36, and daughter(?) Trecinda, 3.
In the 1900 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Pate, 59, and wife Rebecca, 57.
In the 1910 census of Crossroads township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Pate, 74, wife Rebecca, 72, and grandchildren Louis Daniel, 30, Roscoe Barnes, 12, and Leanne Barnes, 10.
Richard Pate died 21 March 1915 in Crossroads township. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1855, worked as a farmer, and was buried in the Pete Daniels graveyard. William H. Pate was informant.
Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1919.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: printing office laborer Charlie Thomas, 49, wife Sarah, 44, and children Elton, 20, hack driver, Lizzie, 18, carpenter (?), Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 18 months. Elton Thomas died 15 December 1970 in Goldsboro, aged 79.
John Parker Battle was the son of Parker and Ella Burston Battle. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: foundry laborer Parker Battle, 54, wife Ella, and children Roberta, 24, a teacher, Grace, 22, a factory laborer, and John, 19.
Charlie Austin was, in fact, Charles Alston. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer James H. Alston, 29, wife Martha, 28, and children Eula Lee, 6, and Charley, 4. Charles S. Alston eventually migrated to Newark, New Jersey, where he was living when he registered for the draft of World War II.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Richard Parker, 73, wife Lottie, 71, daughter Elizabeth, 27, son David, 28, and grandchildren Moses, 10, and William Henry, 8.
World War I draft registration card of Moses Parker.
News & Observer (Raleigh), 2 August 1919.
Charles Barnes was the son of Wesley and Ella Mercer Barnes. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on the N.&S. Railroad, drayman West Barnes, 22, wife Ella, 47, laundress, and children Sylvester, 17, drayman, Viola, 15, cook, and Charlie, 13, laborer at wholesale store, plus son-in-law James Watson, 23, drayman, wife Lucy, 22, cook, and children West, 4, and Lucy, 3 months. Charlie Barnes died of tuberculosis at an Army hospital in Asheville.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: filling station attendant Herman Gilliam, 20; his widowed mother Annie, 48, a cook in a private home; and brothers Charles, 28, a waiter at Cherry Hotel, Stanley, 26, a teacher, and George, 22, a janitor at Carolina Theatre.
World War II draft registration card of Matthew S. Gilliam.
M.S. Gilliam died of a heart attack at a Veterans Administration hospital in Petersburg, Virginia, on 7 March 1978. He was 64 years old.
Just two months before the war ended, 18 year-old Thomas Dean, likely a runaway from a Wilson County farm, enlisted at New Bern, North Carolina, in Company H, 14th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery.
On 14 November 1863, General John Schofield, commander of the Department of Missouri, issued General Order 135 authorizing provost marshals in the department to recruit and enlist black soldiers to serve the Union as U.S. Colored Troops. The Ancestry.com database United States Descriptive Lists of Colored Volunteer Army Soldiers, 1864, contains enlistment and muster rolls for colored troops who enlisted in Kentucky.
There is one entry, for Henry Jones, lists a Wilson County birthplace. Jones was 25 years old and had worked as a laborer (i.e. enslaved fieldhand). He enlisted on 29 May 1865 at Piketon, Kentucky, in 1st Lt. George C. Clapp’s Company E, 121st United States Colored Infantry. Jones was 5’9 1/2″ with dark eyes, hair and skin. And “name of owner of a slave”: Jefferson Higginbotham.
Higginbotham is not a Wilson County name. Jefferson Higginbotham may have been the Thos. J. Higginbotham, 21, listed in the 1860 census of Verona, Boone County, Kentucky, in the household of Abram Wellman. If so, he was fighting for the Confederacy even as his former chattel joined up with the Union Army. In any case, it is likely that Henry Jones ended up in Kentucky after being sold away from his birthplace in Wilson. (Had he been a runaway, he would have reported a Wilson County owner.)
156 years ago today, 18 year-old Hendy Barnes, undoubtedly a runaway from a Wilson County slaveholder, enlisted in Company C, 14th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery. Less than a month later, he died at a regimental hospital in Morehead City, North Carolina.