World War I

Pfc. Thomas writes his family.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 December 1918. 

Wilson Daily Times, 27 December 1918.

——

The Daily Times published a handful of letters from African-American soldiers written during World War I, including these from Elton Thomas and two from Arthur N. Darden.

Despite their hopes, Thomas and his buddies did not get home until March 1919. Dave Barnes suffered the effects of his gas attack the rest of his life. This history of Company H, 365th Infantry’s battles in France suggests that the date of injury was November 10, not the 18th.

This service card provides details of Thomas’ time in the Army.

North Carolina World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919, www.ancestry.com

——

  • Elton Thomas

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, printing office pressman; wife Sarah, 33; children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2; and lodgers Manse Wilson, 36, and Johnnie Lewis, 21, both carpenters.

In the 1908 Wilson, N.C., city directory: Thomas Elton (c) lather h 616 E Green

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

In 1917, Elton Thomas registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 17 July 1889 in Wilson; lived at 616 East Green Street; was single; and worked as lathing contractor for Kittrell & Wilkins. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Clarence Dawson, 23, barber; wife Elizabeth, 22; and daughter Eris, 2; widower father-in-law Charley Thomas, 59; brother-in-law Clifton Venters, 24, his wife Hattie, 20; and in-laws Elton, 29, Marie, 15, Sarah, 10, and Beatrice Thomas, 8.

In the 1927, 1929, 1930, 1934, and 1942 Newark, New Jersey, city directories, Elton H. Thomas is listed at several addresses, including 117 Summer Avenue, 105 Somerset Avenue, and 109 Sherman Avenue.

In 1942, Elton Henry Thomas registered for the World War II draft in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1894 in Wilson; resided at 108 Sherman Road, Newark; his contact was Charles Thomas, 619 East Green Street, Wilson; and worked for Julius Rose, 327 Amherst Street, Orange, New Jersey. 

On 27 November 1947, Elton Thomas, 52, of Wilson, son of Charlie and Sarah Best Thomas, married Rebecca Williams, 44, of 804 East Vance Street, Wilson, daughter of Solomon and Lettie Kittrell in Wilson. Free Will Baptist minister E.H. Cox performed the ceremony in the presence of Lillie J. Thomas, 715 East Green; Harold E. Gay, 623 East Green; and Louis Thomas Jr., 715 East Green.

Elton Thomas died 15 December 1970 in Goldsboro, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 July 1891 to Charlie Thomas and Sarah Best; was married to Rebecca Thomas; resided in Wilson; and had worked in lathing construction.

  • Miss Richardson
  • Rev. Coward — Bryant P. Coward, pastor of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church.

 

Colored boys and girls in the corn and canning clubs.

Without comment, on 7 June 1917, the Wilson Daily Times published a lengthy list of names and addresses of children who were members of corn (for boys) and canning (girls) clubs in Wilson, Lucama, and Stantonsburg. The groups, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, were the precursors to 4-H Clubs.

Given the canning club membership requirements, it’s astonishing that so many town girls were involved. Per Farm Life Readers, Book 5 (Bryan, Evans & Duncan, 1916, page 38): “Any girl between the ages of nine and eighteen in the county, where the work is organized may become a member. She must plant one-tenth of an acre to tomatoes, and must do all the work connected with her garden except preparing the soil for her plants. Prizes are offered for the largest yield, the largest net gain, the best display in glass jars, best history of garden work, the largest tomato, the most perfect tomato, the largest, neatest best collection of tomato recipes.”

Cover of notebook created by North Carolina canning club girl, 1915. Wilson County girls would have been required to create such a document. Jane Simpson McKimmon Papers (PC 234), State of Archives of North Carolina.

Below, the lists of children consolidated and alphabetized:

Lucama

  • Allen, Rose, Route 2
  • Atkinson, Addie, Route 2
  • Atkinson, Mattie, Route 2
  • Barnes, Fletcher, Route 3 Box 68
  • Barnes, Joseph, Route 3 Box 68
  • Barnes, Sarah, Route 3 Box 68
  • Battle, Jason
  • Battle, Mamie
  • Battle, Redmond (son of Columbus and Sallie R. Battle)
  • Bethea, Lillie, Box 77
  • Boykin, Ida, Route 3 Box 76 (daughter of William T. and Sarah Boykin)
  • Boykin, Katie, Route 3 Box 76 (daughter of William T. and Sarah Boykin)
  • Cherry, Eldora, Route 2 (granddaughter of Arch and Martha M. Atkinson)
  • Creech, Daisy, Route 3 Box 74 (daughter of Troy and Martha Creech)
  • Creech, Dorsey, Route 3 Box 74 (son of Troy and Martha Creech)
  • Creech, James, Route 3 Box 14
  • Creech, Naomi, Route 3 Box 14
  • Creech, William, Route 3 Box 14
  • Dew, Joseph, Box 92 (son of Cornelius D. and Cora L. Dew)
  • Dew, Martha, Box 92 (daughter of Cornelius D. and Cora L. Dew)
  • Ellis, Allman, Route 3 Box 14
  • Dupree, Smithie, Route 3 Box 96 (daughter of Moses and Henrietta S. Dupree)
  • Forsythe, Isabella, Route 3
  • Forsythe, Lena, Route 3 (daughter of Mac and Mary Forsythe)
  • Forsythe, William, Route 3
  • Harris, Alvester (son of Andrew J. and Henrietta Harris)
  • Kent, Elijah (son of Rufus and Maggie Kent)
  • Murchison, Johnnie, Route 3 (John J., son of Samuel A. and Martha Murchison)
  • Newsome, Adam, Route 1 (son of Larry and Louetta Artis Newsome)
  • Newsome, Genatus, Route 1 (William Genatus, Larry and Louetta Artis Newsome)
  • Pate, Alvestor, Route 3 Box 75 (son of James G. and Heterow Pate)
  • Pate, Daisy, Route 3 Box 75-A (daughter of James G. and Heterow Pate)
  • Proctor, Bessie, Route 1 Box 15 (daughter of Charlie and Dorita Proctor)
  • Thomas [Thompson], Addie, Box 11 (daughter of Nelson and Melvina Thompson)
  • Thompson, Lillie, Box 11 (daughter of Nelson and Melvina Thompson)
  • Thompson, Nettie, Box 11 (daughter of Nelson and Melvina Thompson)
  • Westley, Mattie (daughter of John A. Wesley)
  • Whitley, Clarence, Route 1 Box 61-B (son of James and India Whitley)
  • Williams, Beatrice, Route 1 Box 95
  • Williams, Essie, Route 3 Box 68
  • Williams, James, Route 1 Box 95
  • Williams, Martha, Route 1 Box 61
  • Williams, Minnie, Route 3 Box 68
  • Williams, Odessa, Route 3 Box __
  • Williamson, Eliza, Route 3 Box 68

Wilson

  • Adkinson, Viola, 649 East Green Street
  • Allen, Lema [Lena], Raleigh Road (daughter of John and Martha Allen)
  • Bagley, Herman, 609 Viola Street (son of Edward and Effie Newsome Bagley)
  • Barefoot, Martha, 103 Viola Street (son of Wiley and Maggie Barefoot)
  • Barnes, Alena, 504 East Green Street
  • Barnes, Alma, Atlanta [Atlantic] Street (daughter of Lemon and Lizzie Barnes)
  • Barnes, Anna, 103 Wiggins Street
  • Barnes, Annie, 211 Manchester Street
  • Barnes, Annie, 213 Pender Street
  • Barnes, Antelia [Artelia], 121 Pender Street (daughter of John M. and Annie Darden Barnes)
  • Barnes, Ardenia, 563 [East] Nash Street (daughter of Jesse and Sarah Barnes Barnes)
  • Barnes, Boisey, 612 East Green Street (son of Dave and Della Hines Barnes)
  • Barnes, Edward, Atlanta [Atlantic] Street (son of Lemon and Lizzie Barnes)
  • Barnes, Frank, 106 East Nash Street
  • Barnes, Gretchen, Nash and Reid Street
  • Barnes, Jessie, 561 East Green Street
  • Barnes, Joseph, 312 Manchester Street
  • Barnes, Lizzie, Route 3 Box 82
  • Barnes, Lucinda, Grabneck
  • Barnes, Mable, 504 East Green Street
  • Barnes, Margaret, Mason Street
  • Barnes, Rosa, 14 Harper Street
  • Barnes, Thelma, Leigh [Lee] Street
  • Barnes, Victoria, Route 1, Box 126
  • Barnes, Wearland, Leigh [Lee] Street (son of William I. and Madie Taylor Barnes)
  • Battle, Annie, 628 East Nash Street
  • Battle, Annie, 135 Sugg Street
  • Battle, Effie, Suggs Street
  • Bess, Suprema, 1105 East Nash Street (granddaughter of Benjamin and Eliza Ellis Best)
  • Best, Laura, West Nash Street (daughter of Noah and Sarah Best)
  • Best, Mattie, 631 East _____
  • Blount, Joseph, Cemetery Street (son of Daniel and Susana Blount)
  • Blount, Walter, 206 Pender Street (son of John and Mary J. Blount)
  • Boykin, Mabel, 700 Viola Street
  • Brannick, Bessie, 139 Ash Street
  • Bullock, Rachel, 412 Lodge Street (daughter of Richard and Lucretia Beal Bullock)
  • Bynum, Agusta, 143 Sugg Street (daughter of Charlie and Sarah Barnes Bynum)
  • Bynum, Cathrin, 541 [East] Nash Street (daughter of Mack and Victoria Bullock Bynum)
  • Bynum, Irene, 140 Suggs Street (daughter of Archibald and Lillie Woodard Bynum)
  • Bynum, Leah, 541 East Nash Street (daughter of Mack and Victoria Bullock Bynum)
  • Cannon, Ethel, 616 East Nash Street (daughter of John and Florence Cannon)
  • Carroll, Mary, 507 Vicks Alley
  • Chapman, Delzelle, 206 Stantonsburg Street
  • Crawford, Willard, 705 Spring Street (son of Joe and Annie Crawford)
  • Cox, Minnie, 109 Green Street (daughter of Floyd and Lula Cox)
  • Dawson, Almedo, 505 East Vance Street
  • Dupree, Nancy, Vick Street (daughter of Wiley and Victoria Woodard Dupree)
  • Edwards, Jonathan, 609 Robinson Street (son of Henry Edwards)
  • Ellis, Charles, 665 Carolina Street
  • Ellis, Florence, 157 Atlanta [Atlantic] Street
  • Ennis, Freeman, 401 Pine Street (son of Samuel and Maggie Barnes Ennis)
  • Farmer, Clara, Mason Street
  • Farmer, Gladys, Barnes Street (daughter of Jason and Bessie Farmer)
  • Faulk, Marie, 210 Pender Street (daughter of Hiram and Arzulia Mitchell Faulk)
  • Gaston, Lorenzo, 120 Manchester Street
  • Grantham, John E., 205 Reid Street
  • Green, Ida, 628 Green Street
  • Green, William, 1208 Pender Street
  • Griffis, Hazel, Vick Street
  • Hall, Flora, 607 Sunshine Street
  • Hargreaves, Willie, 663 East Carolina Street
  • Harper, Mary, 141 _____
  • Harris, Georgia, 617 Stantonsburg Street
  • Haskins, Estelle, 505 West _____
  • Haskins, Mandy, 303 Varn [Barnes] Street
  • Haskins, Marie, 631 East Green Street
  • Holden, Carrie, 305 John Street
  • Holman, Thelma, 503 East Vance Street
  • Holt, Maggie, 113 Pender Street
  • Hooper, Ruther, 656 Viola Street
  • Howard, Mary, 110 Pender Street
  • Howard, Ophelia, 627 East Green Street
  • Hunt, Lulu, County Road
  • [H]ussey, Rhoda, 634 [East] Nash Street
  • Jackson, Joseph, 619 East Green Street (son of Joseph and Annie Horton Jackson)
  • Jackson, Paul, 619 East Green Street (son of Joseph and Annie Horton Jackson)
  • Jeffreys, Luvinia, 702 Daniel Street
  • Johnson, Maizie Lee, 151 Sugg Street
  • Johnson, Winona, 418 East Nash Street
  • Jones, Alice, 825 Stantonsburg Street (daughter of Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones)
  • Jones, Margaret, 400 Washington Street
  • Jones, Julia, 700 Tarboro Street
  • Kittrell, Rosalie, 637 East Green Street
  • Lane, Archer, 7084 Green Street
  • Lane, Esther, 704 East Green Street
  • Langley, Harriet, 800 Viola Street
  • Lewis, John, 411 Vick Street
  • Lonze, Willis, 619 Vance Street
  • Lude, Martha, 119 Pender Street
  • Marshall, Inez, 315 Jones Street
  • McCoy, Henry, 23 Carolina Street
  • McPhail, Mary, 313 Vick Street
  • Melton, Maggie, 648 Mercer Street
  • Miller, Rebecca, 313 Goldsboro Street
  • Mimms, ___sie, Grabneck Street
  • Mitchell, Lester, 549 East Green Street
  • Moore, Samuel, 406 Wiggins Street
  • Morgan, Ella, 706 Green Street
  • Myselle, Mary, 307 Walnut Street
  • Norfleet, Ruth, 213 Lee Street
  • Norwood, Eliza, Route 4, Box 14-A
  • Oates, Rosa, 542 Narrow Way Street
  • [O’]Kelley, Gladys, 633 East Green Street
  • Palmer, Beatrice, 608 Viola Street
  • Parker, Maggie, 111 Ash Street
  • Parker, Marie, 901 _____
  • Pearce, Almira, 806 East Vance Street
  • Pitt, Elizabeth, 804 East Vance Street
  • Pur___, Alma, 413 Stantonsburg Street
  • Reed, Bruce, 601 East Green Street (son of J.D. and Eleanor Frederick Reid)
  • Rodgers, Alphonza, 607 Lodge Street
  • Sanders, Amelia, 143 East Street
  • Savage, Bedford, 623 Darehis [Dardens] Alley (daughter of Frank and Serena Woodard Savage)
  • Scarborough, Lucile, 1109 East Nash Street (daughter of Festus and Mary Parker Scarborough)
  • Scott, Mary, near Colored Gra. School
  • Scott, Sarah, Woodard Avenue
  • Selman, Francis, West Hines Street
  • Shaw, Willie, 209 Hackney Street
  • Simms, Essie, 509 Mercey [Mercer] Street
  • Speight, Bessie, 627 East Green Street (daughter of Jake and Rebecca Speight)
  • Spells, John, 133 Pender Street (son of John S. and Martha A. Gordon Spell)
  • Stephen, Elsie, 151 Lee Street
  • Stevens, Josephine, Lodge Street
  • Taylor, Gladys, Robinson [Robeson] and Reid Streets
  • Taylor, Mae, 9_6 Carolina Street
  • Taylor, Tilly, 515 East Green Street
  • Thigpen, Amanda, 603 East Elba Street
  • Thomas, Marie, 616 East Green Street (daughter of Charles and Sarah Best Thomas)
  • Utley, George, 39 East Green Street
  • Vick, George, 623 East Green Street (son of Samuel H. and Annie Washington Vick)
  • Washington, _____, 630 East Green Street (child of George and Cora Miller Washington)
  • Washington, James, 630 East Green Street (son of George and Cora Miller Washington)
  • Weeks, Marie, 131 Pender Street (daughter of Rev. Alfred and Annie E. Weeks)
  • White, Patsy, Grabneck Street
  • Wilkins, Hattie, 414 East Lodge Street (daughter of Redden S. and Mary Hines Wilkins)
  • Williams, Dorthea, Rountree Street
  • Williams, Helen, 411 [South] Goldsboro Street
  • Williams, Mattie, 204 Wiggins Street
  • Williams, Nettie, Stantonsburg Road
  • Woodard, Almira, 119 Ash Street
  • Woodard, Herbert, 22 Harper Street

Stantonsburg

  • Applewhite, Alberta
  • Applewhite, Cherry (daughter of George and Jane Edmundson Applewhite)
  • Artis, Estelle
  • Artis, Nora
  • Barnes, Bessie
  • Barnes, Cora
  • Barnes, Hattie
  • Barnes, James
  • Batts, Ada
  • Foster, Mamie
  • Hagans, Luvinia (daughter of Dave and Almeta Ellis Hagans)
  • Hall, Oliver (son of James and Henrietta Hall)
  • Jones, Agnes
  • Jones, Albert
  • Jones, Ernest
  • Jones, Roscoe
  • Locus, Naomi
  • Lucus, Emma
  • Miller, Sarah
  • Newsome, Valdena
  • Reid, Loumiza (daughter of William and Bettie Wilson Reid)
  • Ward, James
  • Ward, Sarah
  • Whitley, Beatrice (daughter of Titus and Ida Whitley)
  • Whitley, Benjamin (son of Titus and Ida Whitley)
  • Winstead, Isaac (son of James Woodard and Annie Liza Winstead)
  • Winstead, Camuel [Samuel?]
  • Winstead, Mena (daughter of Mandy Winstead)
  • Yelverton, Ada (daughter of Ivory and Annie Taylor Yelverton)
  • Yelverton, Albert
  • Yelverton, Claude (son of Ivory and Annie Taylor Yelverton)
  • Yelverton, Henry (son of Ivory and Annie Taylor Yelverton)

The boys of Company H.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 March 1919.

——

Burial plots for World War I soldiers.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 August 1920.

In August 1920, James Dempsey Bullock penned a letter to the newspaper urging the city to establish burial plots for World War I soldiers who had died at war in France and whose remains were just then being repatriated. “… [S]ome one should see to it that a beautiful plat in Maplewood cemetery should be set aside for the interment of those whose parents wish them buried there and one in Oakwood for the colored.”

Oakwood, also known as Oakdale and Oaklawn, was Wilson’s first (or maybe second) public cemetery for African-Americans. If the city established a plat for returning soldiers, it is lost. Oakwood had already fallen out of favor as a burial ground by 1920, as families opted for private cemeteries like Rountree, Odd Fellows, or Masonic, or for the city’s newer public cemetery, now known as Vick. Oakwood was essentially abandoned just a few years later, though the city did not move its graves until 1941.

Six African-American Wilson County menHenry T. Ellis, Benjamin Horne, Luther Harris, Pharaoh Coleman, Frank Barnes, and Vert Vick — were recorded as having died or been killed in service during World War I. It is not clear to which soldier’s body Bullock was referring as expected to arrive in New York.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Hoo hoo!! Too too!! You you!!

Wilson Daily Times, 30 August 1919.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what World Glory-peace Organization was about other than it appealed to World War I veterans and was organized by businessmen and ministers of several denominations.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Applications for military headstones, no. 4: Rountree Cemetery.

None of these veterans’ headstones have yet been found in Rountree, Odd Fellows, or Vick Cemeteries, the cemeteries collectively known as “Rountree.” 

  • David McPhail

Dave McPhail registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born April 1896 in Wade, N.C.; lived in Darden’s Alley; worked as an auto mechanic for S.H. Vick; and was single.

David McPhail died 6 March 1936 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 December 1899 in Cumberland County to Raford and Laura McPhail; lived at 208 South Vick; was married to Juanita McPhail; and worked as a mechanic.

  • Jessie Oliver 

Jessie Oliver registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 24 December 1890 in Waynesboro, Georgia; lived in Black Creek; worked as a laborer for M.B. Aycock; and was single. 

Jessie Oliver died 12 February 1938 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 48 years old; was born in Georgia; was divorced; and worked as a laborer. Mary Jones was informant.

  • Robert Reaves

Robert Reaves died 7 December 1932 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 37 years old; was born in Orangeburg, S.C., to Robert and Luella Reaves; was married to Daisy Reaves; lived at 510 Smith Street; and worked as a mechanic for a cement finisher.

  • Doc Richardson

Doc Richardson registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1887 in Johnston County, N.C.; lived at 523 Lodge Street, Wilson; and worked as a railroad section hand for J.B. Hooks.

Doc Richardson died 5 March 1937 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 March 1889 to David and Vicey Ann Richardson; was single; worked as a laborer; and lived at 713 Viola Street. Lee Richardson was informant.

  • Dock Royall

Dock Royall died 31 March 1938 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 September 1898 in Sampson County, N.C., to Samuel and Rachel Royall; was married to Ossie Mae Royall; lived at 310 Hackney Street; worked as a mechanic for Hackney Body Company. George W. Royall of Clinton was informant.

  • Plummer Williams

Plummer Williams registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Pitt County, N.C.; lived at Route 6, Wilson; worked as a farm hand for W.F. Williams, Wilson; and was single.

Plummer Williams died 11 December 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 44 years old; was married to Annie Williams; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Falkland [Pitt County], N.C., to Haywood Williams and Francis Barnes.

In honor of soldiers, sailors, marines and nurses.

O. Nestus Freeman built the massive stone base of this World War I memorial.

It stands at the entrance to the Wilson County Fairgrounds (and, formerly, stockcar race track) on 301 South. A June 27 Daily Times article announcing the Fourth of July 1935 unveiling of the monument describes the base as: “a shaft or pyramid of stone 20 by twelve feet, sixteen feet high, containing 86 tons of Wilson county granite surmounted by thirty-four foot flag staff ….” No mention of Freeman.

I don’t know stone masonry technique, but this knife-edge crease, rendered in igneous rock, is pretty amazing. 

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2021. 

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.

American Legion Post 17’s memorial services.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 May 1921.

Poppy Day.

Wilson Daily Times, 20 May 1930.