A Christmas invitation for Negro soldiers.


Wilson Daily Times, 23 December 1942.

Ready to take the field.

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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.

Men who marched under the flag above included Hendy Barnes and Jeremiah Barden of Company C; Lawyer Maree (alias Lawyer Barnes) of Company F; Sampson Bailey and Thomas Dean of Company H; and Amos Hinnant of Company K.

Many thanks to Jerilyn James Lee for sharing this image.

Studio shots, no. 43: Alvin Howard, a soldier.


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.

Alvin Howard registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 15 November 1896 in Wilson County; worked as a farmer for John Ba[illegible]; and was single.


In the 1940 census of Oldfields township, Wilson County: farmer Dock Eatmon, 63; wife Sallie, 63; son Clifton, 19; brother Peedie, 50; and lodger Alvin Howard, 44.

Alvin Howard died 15 August 1974 near Sims, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 March 1903 to Deil Howard and Nancy Blackwell; was a retired laborer; never married; and was buried in Howard cemetery. Mary Eatman was informant.

Photograph courtesy of Europe A. Farmer.

Shaw badly wounded.

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Wilson Daily Times, 15 October 1918.

In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Spencer Shaw, 40, wife Tabitha, 41, and children George A., 17, James R., 11, Hattie, 9, Joeseph G., 6, Seth T., 5, and Albert S., 2.

In the 1910 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Wilson and Raleigh Branch Road, Spencer Shaw, 51, wife Bitha, 49, and children James R., 21, Joseph T., 16, Seth T.,14, Albert S., 11, Merlin S., 9, Willie H., 7, and Alice M., 5.

In 1918, Seth Thomas Shaw registered for the World War I draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Per his registration card, he resided at 3631 Warren Street, Philadelphia, and worked for Eddystone Ammunition Company, Eddystone, Pennsylvania.


Seth T. Shaw’s military discharge card.


Seth T. Shaw’s application for a Victory Medal, filed 20 June 1921.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: on Buckhorn [illegible] Road, Spencer S. Shaw, 70, wife Bytha J., 70, sons William H., 24, and Seth T., 34, daughter-in-law Georgeanna, 24, and grandchildren Alice M., 4, Seth T., 2, and Franklin S., 6 months.

In 1934, Shaw applied for veteran’s compensation for war injuries resulting from a gunshot wound to the arm suffered in fighting in the Vosges Mountains of France. (Note that pharmacist Darcey C. Yancey notarized his application.)


In the 1940 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Seth T. Shaw, 44, wife Georgiana, 34, mother Bitha, 79, and children Alice M., 14, Seth T., 12, Franklin G., 10, George C., 7, Daisy May, 5, and James C., 3.

Seth T. Shaw died 22 December 1981 at a Veterans Administration hospital in Salem, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 November 1895 in North Carolina in Spencer Shaw and Bitha Richardson; was married to Georgia Shaw; and worked as a farmer.

Pennsylvania WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948,; 


He knows nothing of the death of his wife.


Wilson Daily Times, 25 October 1918.

Lucy Barnes‘ death certificate:

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Ransom Ruffin, 30; wife Maggie, 33; and children Claudius, 7, Floyd, 6, and Selia Ruffin, 3; plus “son-in-law” William Barnes, 17, and “daughters-in-law” Lucy, 15, and Bertha Barnes, 13. [The Barneses were Ransom Ruffin’s step-children rather than his in-laws. Allen Barnes, presumably, had died, and Ruffin was Maggie’s second husband.]

On 2 December 1903, Lucy Barnes, 21, daughter of Allen Barnes and Maggie Ruffin, married Amos Bynum, 23, son of Joe and Hagar Bynum, in Wilson County. Ransom Ruffin, R.M. Joyner and Pattie Williams were witnesses. [Why, then, was Lucy a Barnes on her death certificate?]

In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: on Plank Road, farmer Amos Bynum, 31; wife Lucy, 25; and daughters Clyde, 8, and Penny, 4 months. [The article describes three small children. Clyde was probably the daughter who stepped in to care for her younger siblings, including Penny and a son Amos Bynum Jr. (Lucy and Amos are listed on his 1946 marriage license and his death certificate.)]

Volunteered to serve as a soldier.


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.


U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line],