World War I

Applications for military headstones, no. 3: Rountree Cemetery.

As here, the applications below were made for military headstones to be installed in “Rountree Cemetery,” i.e. Rountree, Odd Fellows, or Vick Cemeteries. Of these, only James F. Scott’s grave marker has been found. (Another is now in Rest Haven, presumably the result of an exhumation and reburial.) The number of missing military headstones provides scale to the total loss of monuments in these cemeteries. 

  • James Franklin Scott

The gravestones of James F. Scott and his father, the Rev. John H. Scott, have been located in Odd Fellows Cemetery. (Rev. Scott applied for his son’s gravestone.) However, they were found piled and stacked with more than a dozen other markers, and the location of the actual graves is not known.

Frank Scott’s headstone. Interestingly, the marker is engraved with after-market text — a birthdate and an epitaph, “Who is now with the Lord.” 

  • Larry Barnes

Howard M. Fitts applied for the marker on Barnes’ behalf, as he did for many veterans.

  • Marcellus Lassiter

Marcellus Lassiter died 4 July 1947 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 April 1897 in Wilson County to John Lassiter and Isabell Gear; worked as a laborer; was a World War I veteran; was the widower of Mamie Lassiter; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Informant was Hardy Lassiter of Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Hubert Romaine Mitchener

Hubert Mitchener’s gravestone now stands in Rest Haven cemetery.

  • Sam Nash

Sam Nash registered for the World War I draft in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 20 February 1890 in Wilson, N.C.; lived at 1069 West Lexington Street, Baltimore; and worked as a laborer for B. & O. Railroad.

Minnie Nash of Baltimore submitted the application and requested that the headstone be shipped to Rosa Battle, 913 Washington Street, Wilson.

  • John W. Pitts

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 904 East Vance Street, John W. Pitts, carpenter, 53, born in South Carolina; wife Penina, 52, hotel maid; and son Junius, 20, farm laborer.

  • Nathan Austin

Nathan Austin died 22 July 1948 at a Veterans Hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1893 in Wilson County to Marshall Ingram and Louise Ingram Austin; was a widower; lived at 610 Taylor Street, Wilson; and was unemployed.

  • Robert E. Ashford

[This is not the Robert Edward Ashford born 23 November 1918 in Wilson, who was white.]

Robert Edward Ashford registered for the World War II draft in 1942 in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 23 July 1923 in Wilson; lived at 614 East Green Street, Wilson; his contact was mother Rosa Ashford; and he worked at the Marine Base in Jacksonville, N.C.

Rosa L. Ashford submitted the application.

  • Fred Hyman

Fred Hyman registered for the World War I draft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1887 in Tarboro, North Carolina; lived at 1323 South Markoe Street, Philadelphia; was a farmer for “Dougherty” in Haddonfield, New Jersey; and was married.

Fred Hyman died 23 August 1947 at a Veterans Hospital in Kecoughtan, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 September 1888 in Tarboro; was separated from Magnolia Hyman; lived at 1233 South 47th Street, Philadelphia. His body was shipped to Wilson, N.C., to the care of C.H. Darden & Sons Undertakers.

Sam Hyman, 816 Mercy [Mercer] Street, Wilson, submitted the application.

  • John Henry Jackson

John H. Jackson died 7 April 1946 at the Veterans Hospital in Asheville, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 September 1872 in Surry County, N.C., to Tom Jackson; was married to Ida Mae Jackson; worked as a laborer; lived at 1201 East Washington Street; and was a veteran of the Spanish American War.

  • Henry Hines

Henry Hines died 11 March 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 October 1892 in Wilson County to Mary Hines; was married to Lela Hines; lived at 808 Suggs Street; and was a day laborer for Farmers Oil Mill. 

  • Will Dixon

Will Dixon registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Farmville, North Carolina; lived on Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was a laborer for W.L. Russell Box Company, Wilson; and was single.

Lenora Dixon applied for his headstone.

U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1970, http://www.ancestry.com.

Men ordered to report, no. 5.

On 27 April 1918, the Wilson County Draft Board inducted these 26 African-American men into military service and ordered them sent to Camp Grant, Illinois, for basic training.

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  • William Dorsey Shaw registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 21 August 1894 in Wake County, N.C.; resided 209 Hackney Street, Wilson; was a hostler for the Town of Wilson; and was married. He was tall and stout, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • William H. Billbry registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 8 January 1892 in Tarboro, N.C.; resided on Goldsboro Street, Wilson (crossed through and “New Bern, N.C.” entered); was a laborer for M. Popkin, Wilson; and had a wife and one child under twelve. He was tall and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Jessie Oliver registered for the draft on [5 June 1917.] Per his registration card, he was born in 24 December 1890 in Waynesboro, Georgia; resided in Black Creek, Wilson County; was a laborer for M.B. Aycock, Black Creek; and was single. He was of medium height and medium height, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Wade Brooks registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1895 in Black Creek, Wilson; resided in Wilson; was a self-employed farmer in Black Creek; and was single. He was of medium height and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • McKinley Justice registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 15 March 1896 in Edgecombe County, N.C.; resided on Route 1, Elm City; was a farmer for Frank Williams, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and slender, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Winsor Darden registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in September 1895 in Wilson County; resided in Wilson; was a self-employed farmer in Wilson County; and was single. He was of medium height and stout, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Walter Applewhite registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 8 February 1896 in Saratoga, N.C.; resided near Walstonburg, Wilson; was a laborer at a sawmill for R.R. Shackleford; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Nathan Dunnican registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1892 in Wilson, N.C.; resided in Wilson County, N.C.; was a farmer for S.J. Watson, Route 2, Wilson; and was single. He was short and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Albert Howard registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born about 1896 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided in Wilson, N.C.; was a self-employed farmer; and was single. He was short and of medium build, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X. [See Albert Howard in uniform here.]
  • Junius Lucas registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 18 July 1890 in Nash County, N.C.; resided in Wilson, N.C.; was a self-employed farmer; and was single. He was tall and of medium build, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Roy Evans registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 17 September 1895 in Nash County, N.C.; resided at 404 East Green Street, Wilson; was a butler for Jonus Oettinger, Wilson; was single; and had an injured back. He was tall and slender, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Fred Woodard registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1893 in Black Creek, N.C.; resided in Stantonsburg, N.C.; was a farmer forFred Washington; and was single. He was of medium height and slender, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Matthew Whitehurst registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born October 1889 in Martin County, N.C.; resided on Route 1, Elm City, N.C.; was a farmer for George A. Barnes near Elm City; and was single. He was tall and of medium build, with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Edd Taylor registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born August 1896 in Elm City, N.C.; resided in Elm City, N.C.; was a farmer for Miles Pierce, Elm City; and was single. He was of medium height and build, with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Orlando Williams registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in August 1891 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided on Route 6, Wilson, N.C.; was a farmer for Sallie Graves, Stantonsburg; and was single. He was of medium height and build, with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Jim Woodard registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 8 April 1890 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided in Elm City, N.C.; was a farmer; and was single. He was short and of medium build with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Sam Bunn registered for the draft on 27 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born July 1895 in Elm City, N.C.; resided in Elm City, N.C.; was a farm laborer for father Amos Bunn; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with dark blue eyes and black hair, that was slightly balding. He signed his card with an X.
  • James Thomas Revell registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 9 July 1893 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided on Route 4, Kenly, N.C.; was a self-employed farmer on Route 1, Lucama; and was single. He was tall and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Charlie Jones registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 20 August 1893 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided in Wilson County, N.C.; was a farmer for J.S Jones, Sims, N.C.; and was single. He was medium height, with dark eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Larry Clay registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 15 May 1895 in Oxford, N.C.; resided in Black Creek, N.C.; was a farm laborer for John Clay, Black Creek; and was single. He was tall and of medium build, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Two African-American men named William Thomas registered for the draft on 5 June 1917 in Wilson County. One was born about 1896 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided in Elm City, N.C.; was a farmer for E.R. Brinkley, Toisnot township; and was single. He was of medium height and build, with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card “Will Thomas.” The second was born in 1895 in Augusta, Georgia; resided in Neverson, N.C.; worked as a laborer at a rock quarry for Harris Granite Company; and had a wife and two children. He was tall and of medium build and had black eyes and hair. He signed his name with an X.
  • Robert Lee Mitchell registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 17 April 1896 in Elm City, N.C.; resided in Elm City, N.C.; was a farmer for J.G. Mitchell, Toisnot township; and was single. He was tall and slender, with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • James Johnson registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 10 June 1895 in Kenly, N.C.; resided in Wilson, N.C.; was a self-employed farmer in Black Creek township; and was single. He was tall and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with his full name.
  • Several African-American men named Frank Barnes registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. The man inducted here was most likely one of two. The first was born 2 April 1895 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided in Wilson County, N.C.; was a farmhand for Drew Barnes, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and build, with dark eyes and dark hair. He signed his card with his full name. The second was born 25 August 1892 in Wilson County, N.C.; resided at 618 Lodge Street, Wilson; worked as a laborer at Farmers Oil Mill; and was single. He was of medium height and build, with dark brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.

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.

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.

The “colored” who gave all.

The walls of the narrow entryway into the Wilson County Court House are lined with large bronze plaques commemorating the county’s war dead. Look carefully at the World War I and World War II/Korean Conflict plaques. The areas containing veterans’ names are lighter than the surrounding surfaces; the names are picked out in a shinier paint. Why?

The names are embossed on plates secured to the plaques at each corner by small rosettes disguising bolts. These plates are replacements. The originals contained segregated lists. In other words, “colored” men “who gave the last full measure of devotion” were listed separately from their white counterparts.

A 10 April 1976 Wilson Daily Times article about the installation of a Vietnam vets plaque reveals photographs of the original plaques for the earlier wars:

The colored: Henry Ellis, killed 6 October 1918 (Wilson’s African-American post of the American Legion was named for Ellis); Benjamin Horne, died 10 October 1918; Pharaoh Coleman, died 17 October 1918; Luther Harris, died 17 October 1918; Strat Barnes, died 5 December 1918; West Vick, died 11 March 1919; Charles Barnes, died 28 July 1919; and Charles Samuel Clay, died 17 August 1919.

The colored: Levi Adger, Robert E. Ashford, Norman Gilliam, Victor Emanuel Hayes, Less Hinnant, Bobby H. Hyman, James Johnson, Thomas Jones Jr., Claude Kenan Jr., Willie J. Lassiter, Charles Leak, William R. Robinson, Thomas J. Rutland, Herbert L. Simms, Bekay Thompson and Mayo Ward.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, August 2019.

On the occasion of his historical marker dedication, another account of Dr. Ward’s appointment.

This weekend, with his granddaughter and great-grandchildren in attendance, the Indiana Historical Bureau, the American Legion, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History will dedicate a historical marker commemorating the lifetime achievements of Wilson native Dr. Joseph H. Ward. Though I’ve blogged about him here and here and here and here, this seemed an appropriate time to feature yet another long newspaper article detailing Dr. Ward’s accomplishments.

 

——

“The appointment of Dr. [Joseph H.] Ward to this position marks a decided step forward for the race. In many respects this may be regarded as the highest office to which a Negro has ever been appointed, certainly the most responsible.”

Topeka Plaindealer, 25 July 1924.

Photos courtesy of L. Bates.