World War I

Dr. T.C. Tinsley.

Five years ago, I was forwarded an email from a researcher looking for information about Dr. Thomas C. Tinsley for a book on African-American physicians who served during World War I. Dr. Tinsley, he said, had lived and worked in Wilson in the 1920s. I had never heard of him.

Doug Buckley and Joanne Fisher published African-American Doctors of World War I: The Lives of 104 Volunteers in 2015. Today, I stumbled across a reference to Dr. Tinsley in a Wilson record — the first I’ve seen. On 5 April 1926, at his office at 525 East Nash Street, he signed the death certificate of Caroline Brown, who had died the day before.

Dr. Thomas Clinton Tinsley was born in Henderson, Vance County, North Carolina in 1887. He received a bachelor’s degree from Shaw University. In 1910, he graduated from University of West Tennessee College of Medicine and Surgery. a defunct black medical school founded in 1900, and shortly after set up practice in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Asheville Gazette-News, 20 July 1912.

Tinsley quickly moved on, however, and on 13 November 1913, Scotland Neck’s The Commonwealth published a welcome to Dr. Tinsley and his wife, Lois Hoffman Tinsley.

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By 1917, however, Tinsley had returned to Henderson and from there volunteered for military service. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Reserve Corps; trained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa; and served in France. Tinsley was awarded the Croix de Guerre and was honorably discharged in 1919.

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“Ridgewood, N.J.,” New York Age, 22 June 1918.

In 1920, Tinsley briefly took a position in Mexico with Atlantic Refining Company. When he returned to the U.S. the next year, he established a practice in Durham, North Carolina, where he became a charter member and officer of the Durham alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

By 1925, Tinsley was in Wilson. On April 25, the Pittsburgh Courier reported that Dr. T.C. Tinsley of Wilson delivered a lecture on “Sinuses and Focal Infection as Effecting Dentists and Physicians” at the Old North State Dental Association convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The peripatetic Tinsley had moved on by 1930, however.

The photo accompanying Dr. Tinsley’s 1920 passport application. He had taken a job in Mexico.

Dr. Thomas C. Tinsley died in 1954 in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was buried in Henderson, North Carolina.

U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line], http://www.Ancestry.com.

Alvin Howard.

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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.

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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.

Over there!, no. 2.

The following men departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored).

  • Hayes Boatman, whose next of kin was his mother Carolina Boatman of Wilson.

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  • Amos Brooks, whose next of kin was his mother Eliza Brooks of Wilson.

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  • Arthur Darring, whose next of kin was his mother Cora Darring of Wilson.

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  • William Davis, whose next of kin was his wife Ida Davis of Wilson.

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  • Van Edwards, whose next of kin was his mother Martha Edwards of Wilson.

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  • Jesse Farmer, Orlando Farmer and Robert Farmer, whose nexts of kin were mother Blanche Farmer, wife Marsha Farmer and sister Nealie Edwards. (Charles Farmer appears to have been struck from the manifest due to hospitalization.)

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Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938 and Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938; U.S. Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com. 

 

Over there!, no. 1.

  • Charles S. Alston departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 10 June 1918 aboard the Agamemnon with Company H, 365th Infantry. His sister Eula Locust of Wilson was his next of kin.

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  • Charles S. Alston departed Brest, France, on 17 February 1919 aboard the Olympic and arrived in New York on 24 February 1919.

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  • Herman Alston departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). His mother Mary Alston of Simms was his next of kin.

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  • John Arrington departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). His mother Sue Arrington of Wilson was his next of kin.

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  • John Artis departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). His mother Pattsie Ann Artis of Wilson was his next of kin.

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  • Nathan Austin departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). His mother Lue Austin of Elm City was his next of kin.

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  • Larry Barnes and Will Barnes departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). Larry’s mother Lucy D. Barnes and Will’s uncle Short Barnes, both of Wilson, were next of kin.

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  • George Batts departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). His father John Batts were next of kin.

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  • Tobe Bellman and James Walter Bennett departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 8 May 1919 aboard the George Washington with 5th Company Camp Grant Reenforcement Draft Labor Battalion (Colored). Tobe’s wife Mary Bellman and James’ mother Rosa Bennett, both of Wilson, were next of kin.

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Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938 and Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938; U.S. Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, database on-line, http://www.ancestry.com.

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 Jr. 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.

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Seth T. Shaw’s military discharge card.

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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, www.ancestry.com; 

 

He knows nothing of the death of his wife.

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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.)]

Letter from a colored soldier.

Pages from WDT articles

Wilson Daily Times, 4 June 1918.

  • Tate — Most likely, barber Noah J. Tate.
  • Walter Hines – Barber Walter S. Hines.
  • Dr. Bess
  • J.F. Freeman — Julius F. Freeman Jr. was among scores of Wilson County men ordered to report for military duty in the spring of 1918.
  • Robert Best — Robert Best registered for the draft in June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 17 July 1895 in Wilson and worked as bellhop at the Yarmouth Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He signed his name “J. Robert Bess.” (In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: house carpenter Orange Best, 67; wife Hansy, 60, laundress; son Oscar, a widowed grocery owner; daughters Roberta, 22, laundress, and Bethena, 19; son Robert, 17, laborer; and granddaughter Sarah, 8.
  • “Old Dr.”
  • Mike — perhaps Roderick “Mike” Taylor.
  • Floyd — perhaps Floyd A. Mitchell.
  • Faulk — probably Hiram Abiff Faulk, who registered for the draft in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 11 April 1918, worked as a barber for Tate & Hines, lived at 210 Pender, and his nearest kin was Azurlia Faulk.
  • Milton
  • Arthur — Perhaps Arthur Darring or, more likely, Arthur N. Darden, both of whom were called up in March 1918.

Men ordered to report, no. 4.

On 30 March 1918, the Wilson County Draft Board inducted these 24 African-American men into military service and ordered them sent to Camp Grant, Illinois, for basic training.

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  • Will McNeill registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1895 near Denver, Colorado; resided on Sugg Street, Wilson; was a laborer for R.G. Lassiter & Company, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Zion Powell registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 4 April 1889 in Newport News, Virginia; resided in Wilson; was a laborer for Jake Matthews, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Alexander B. Joyner registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 5 June 1896, Wilson; resided at 616 Viola Street, Wilson; was a chair pusher (?) for Shill Company, Atlantic City; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘A.B. Joyner.’
  • Willis Hackaday
  • Samies Simpson registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 11 May 1896 in Rocky Point, North Carolina; resided at 525 Bank Street, Wilson; was a laborer for W.T. Russel Box Company, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Samie Simpson.’
  • Abert Robert Lee Bullock registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 19 February 1895 in Wilson; resided at 410 North Pine Street, Wilson; was a cook at the New Briggs Hotel in Wilson; and was single. He was short and medium build, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Abert Robert Lee Bullock.’
  • Columbus Stewart registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 25 December 1895 in Feuquay Springs, North Carolina; resided in Wilson; was a convict in Wilson County; and was married. He was of medium height and weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Columbus Stewart.’
  • Waverly Murfey registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Mount Olive, North Carolina; resided in Wilson; was a prisoner on Wayne County Public Roads; and was single. He was tall and of medium build, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Solister Coleman registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 30 April 1894 in Nichols, South Carolina; resided at 517 East Nash Street, Wilson; worked as an express laborer for Saw[?] Express, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Solister Coleman.’
  • Two African-American men named Will Barnes registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per their registration cards, the first was born 6 January 1890 in Wilson County; resided on East Street, Wilson; was a cook for C.E. Artis in Wilson; and was single. He was tall and of medium weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Will Barnes.’ The second was born 13 August 1892 in Wilson; resided at 310 Kenan Street, Wilson; was a laborer for John Dew, Wilson; was married with a child. He was tall and of medium weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his name with an X.
  • Raston Williams
  • George Hawkins registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born on an unspecified date in Wilson County; resided in Wilson, care of Wiley Corbett; was a stable boy for Ed Dillard, Wilson; and was single. He was tall and stout, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Ernest Hines registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born on 24 December 1895 in Elm City; resided in Elm City; was a farm laborer for Geo. Gaston in Elm City; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X. The card carried this notation: “Registered by order of U.S. Marshal.”
  • Five African-American men named Henry Williams registered for the draft in Wilson County. This is most likely the Henry Williams born 1 January 1895 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Per his registration card, he resided in Wilson; worked on the roads of Wilson County; and was single. He was short and slender, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Floyd Pender registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 14 March 1896 in Wilson County; resided in Wilson; was a bootblack for Tate & Hines in Wilson; and was single. He was short and medium weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Floyd Pender.’
  • Stacey Edwards
  • Three African-American men named John Artis registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. This was most likely either John Ed Artis born 31 March 1889 in Stantonsburg or John Artis born 16 March 1894 in Wilson County. Per his registration card, the elder John Artis worked as a farmer for E.B. Graves of Wilson; was married with four children; medium height and weight, with dark eyes and hair. He signed his card with the X. The younger John Artis resided on East Green Street, Wilson; was a porter at Hotel Briggs, Wilson; and was single. He was short and of medium weight, with black eyes and hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Lonnie Jackson registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 12 September 1895 in Beaufort County, North Carolina; resided at 217 Railroad Street, Wilson; was a laborer for Wilson Cotton Mill; and was single. He was short and of medium weight, with brown eyes and black hair. Notation: “Hand has been injured.” He signed his card with an X.
  • Burley Brooks registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 7 April 1896 in Greene County, North Carolina; resided at 615 Robinson Street, Wilson; worked repairing machinery for C.H. Darden in Wilson; and was single. He was tall and stout, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Burly Brooks.’
  • Earnest Chester Byrd registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 17 March 1896 in Harnett County, Nirth Carolina; resided at 404 Goldsboro Street, Wilson; was a butler for Mrs. Ed. Woodard, Wilson; and was single. He was tall and of medium weight, with brown eyes and black hair. He signed his card ‘Earnest C. Byrd.’
  • Strat Barnes registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1895 in resided in Wilson; was a laborer for R.G. Lassiter & Company, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with black eyes and black hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Amos Brooks registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Black Creek; resided in Wilson; was a farm laborer for P.S. Horne, Black Creek township; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with black eyes and hair. He signed his card with an X.
  • Plummer Williams registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Pitt County, North Carolina; resided on R.F.D. 6, Wilson; was a farming hand for W.F. Woodard, Wilson; and was single. He was of medium height and weight, with dark eyes and hair. He signed his card with an X.

U.S. Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917-1918, [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com; U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.