Everett Ray Altizer (1894-1981)

By Cilisa Irvin

Everett Ray Altizer was born on April 17th, 1894 in Christiansburg, Virginia on a Farm with his Parents Lula and Rufus Altizer and younger brother Harold. According to 1910 U.S. Census, Rufus Altizer owned a local general store in the city of Christiansburg. Everett Altizer attended elementary school and graduated from Christiansburg High Cchool in 1913. After graduation, he enrolled at the Medical College of Virginia a division of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. In 1917, Altizer completed his medical degree and began his occupation as a physician at his own private practice located on Sunnywaters Street in Norfolk.

In February 16th, 1918 he enlisted in the national army as a 1st lieutenant in the Medical Corp division in Richmond Virginia. He served as a physician and was assigned to Evacuation Hospital 59. He began his training at Camp Greenleaf, Georgia on January 5th, 1919 and completed it on August 1st, 1918, then transferred to Base Hospital 104 on August 1st, 1918  and lastly Euree Hospital Group from September 1st, 1918 until December 29th, 1918. After completion of his service, he returned to Camp Greenleaf where he was discharged on January 5th, 1919 due to unknown circumstances.

After being discharged in 1919 he returned to his private practice and later married Henri Lillian Fortune of Lynchburg, Virginia according to the United States 1930 Census. The couple had two children. He continued his career as a medical physician until his retirement.

On October 29th, 1981 he passed away from pulmonary cancer complication at the age of 87, he was buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia



Findagrave.com/Memorial47404868/Everett-ray-Wilson. Accessed 7/13/2018

United States Census 1880-1940

First Annual Announcement of Medical College of Virginia 1913-1914

U.S. City directories 1822-1995/Ancestry.com Accessed on 7/10/2018

U.S. Yearbooks, 1900-1990/Ancestry.com Accessed on 7/6/2018

Wilson Elliott Driver (1870-1951)

By Cilisa Irvin

Wilson Elliot Driver (1870-1951)

Wilson Elliot Driver was born on October 16th, 1870 in the Nansemond area of Suffolk Virginia to Jefferson and Mary Ann Driver. As part of the prominent and wealthy families in the community, he was well educated, first in public school and then at Hargrove Academy where he was provided private tutors. Upon completion, he attended Eastman’s Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York and medical college at the University of Maryland. In 1892, he completed his medical degree.  After receiving his degree, he worked as an intern at the University of Maryland he stayed for numerous years and then went into practice with Dr. Chisholm in the city of Baltimore, Maryland for two years. After being in practice for a few years he decided to further develop his skills in the specialty of ears, nose, and throat back in Norfolk, Virginia. As he increased his skills he became a prominent specialist in this field and provided services to the Norfolk community. Wilson Driver was a staple of his community and demonstrated that by being a member of the Triple Island Gun Club, the Norfolk Board of Trade and Fellow of the College of American Surgeons.

On November 5th, 1896 Wilson Driver married Lucy W. Bailey and later had three children: Virginia, born on May 2nd, 1898; Wilson E. Driver Jr., born on February 5th, 1900; and Robert, born on September 11th, 1903. As one of the prominent physicians in the community he offered his medical services on August 29th, 1917 to the United States Military.

Wilson E. Driver enlisted in Norfolk, Virginia and received the rank of a Captain for the Medical Corp division in the Regular Army. He received training at Fort Oglethorpe, GA from October 20th, 1917 to December 30th, 1917. During his time in Georgia he was promoted from Captain to Major after completion of training he was then transferred for additional training at Rockefeller Institute where he received a brief training from January 1, 1918 through January 15th in New York and finally he transferred to Fort McHenry and trained from January 16th, 1918 until February 11th, 1918. Later he was transferred again to division command (COMD) and again on April 29th, 1918 for the 22nd engineers Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, Alabama. Finally, after months of training, he received an assignment to sail from New York to Brest, France. Upon arrival on September 15th, 1918 he traveled to Sorcey, France arriving October 5th, 1918 where he served until an injury occurred. He obtained medical care from Base Hospital 116 in Bazoilles, Franc from January 1st, 1919 until January 15th he was not permanently injured and returned to service until his discharge on August 18th, 1919 in Washington D.C.

After arriving back home to Norfolk, Virginia he continued his career as a specialist. In 1928 his wife passed away from a long-term illness, he did not remarry following her death. Eventually, he retired as a medical physician and remained in the city of Norfolk. On October 14th, 1951 he passed away as well from coronary artery insufficiency and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.


United States Census, 1880-1940

Encyclopedia Virginia Biography Vol 4-27, pg.263

World War I history Commission Questionnaire “ Wilson Elliott Driver”

Findagrave.com/memorial/80731392/Wilson-elliott-driver. Accessed 7/13/2018

Lomax Gwathney (1869-1954)

By Cilisa Irvin

Lomax Gwathney was born on November 5th, 1869 to parents William Watts Gwathney and Mary T. Gwathney in Norfolk, Virginia where he lived with his 5 siblings. W.W. Gwathney worked as a Com Merchant and his mother kept house. According to the 1870 United States Census, the family lived within Ward 3 in Norfolk, Virginia in a home their father owned. Lomax Gwathney’s father was able to provide a substantial education for him as he attended Norfolk Academy and studied medicine at the University of Virginia in 1889 and then Columbia University in New York City where he completed his medical degree in 1890. During his time as a student, he was inducted to Beta Theta Phi and Mystic Seven fraternities. While studying medicine, he served as a house physician at the Bellevue Hospital in New York City.  He also studied overseas at universities in Heidelberg, Germany and Vienna, Italy for his post-graduate work. After returning home he began a medical and surgical practice located at 220 St. Christopher Clinic in Norfolk, Virginia. The practice also included other physicians and became a large practice in the city. In 1892 he withdrew from the practice to pursue his surgical work. 1892 also marked the year he became head of St. Christopher Hospital. Prior to his military service, he served as on the Norfolk County Medical Association, The Seaboard Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association. To assist his country with his medical and surgical skills, Gwathney enlisted in the army in August 1918.

Lomax Gwathney enlisted in Norfolk, Virginia and received a rank of captain in the Medical Reserve Corp. (MRC). He trained in several different sites first at Rockefeller Institute in New York City, then Camp Green, North Carolina where he trained for 3 months, afterward he traveled to surgical school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and lastly Camp Sevier, South Carolina for 3 months as well. Prior to leaving for Europe, he was promoted from captain to major and the following year he left from New York to Glasgow, Scotland onboard the USS Scotian. Once he arrived he was stationed at St. Denis, France. Due to a shell wound injury on November 2nd, he was under medical care at Evaluation Hospitals 4, 7, and 41 until December 17, 1918. Fortunately, there were no permanent injuries. In May 1919 he was cited for unusually meritorious and conspicuous service and was discharged on January 17th, 1919 at Camp Lee, Virginia.

Lomax Gwathney returned home to his surgical career, and according to a directory published in 1920 for the city of Norfolk, he returned to St. Christopher Clinic. He married much later in life to Annette V. Vail according to the 1940 Census. Lomax Gwathney died of cancer on March 22nd, 1954 and was buried Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.



United States Census, 1880-1940

Virginia Biography, pg. 717

Findagrave.com/memorial/10267786 Accessed 7/13/2018

Virginia Medical Monthly (1918-)., Volume 47., April 1920 pg. 179

Officers and Graduates of Columbia University, General Catalogue 1754-1900 pg. 572

World War I History Commission Questionnaire, Library of Congress



Arthur James Wells (1888-1969)

By Cilisa Irvin


Arthur James Wells was born one of four children on May 16th, 1888 to James and Fannie Wells. James Wells worked as a salesman on a streamer to provide for his four children Rufus, Adella Timothy and Arthur James Wells in the Tanner Creek and wards corner areas of Norfolk, Virginia. Arthur J. Wells was well educated although prior to serving in WWI his occupation was a bricklayer. Wells attended Henderson Normal institute a division within Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia and Ferris Institute in Michigan, later Wells attended and graduated from Northwestern in Chicago Illinois. Wells also received training at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia.

Wells enlisted on October 1st, 1917 as private medical reserve S.A.T.C (Student Army Training Corps) in Chicago Illinois while still attending Northwestern University as a dental student. Wells did not travel during his service but did serve his community as a Dentist in his private dental practice.

After returning home to Norfolk, Virginia in 1922 at the age of 32 Wells married Susie Geneva Wells from Norfolk, Virginia. From their marriage, three children were born Geneva Wells, Juanita Elizabeth Wells, and Arthur J. Wells Jr. At age 53 in 1942 Wells again enlisted in WWII as a dentist. Wells again returned home to Norfolk, Virginia and continued worked in his dental office until his death on December 2, 1969, from colon cancer. Wells was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.


“Arthur James Wells” World War I History Commission Questionnaire, Library of Virginia

United States Census, 1900-1940

“Arthur James Wells” Virginia, Death record, 1912-2014 

“Arthur James Wells” U.S., World War I Draft registration cards, 1917-1918

“Arthur James Wells”U.S., World War II Draft registration cards,1942



Clarence Carlyle Bailey (1895-1931)

Clarence C. Bailey, c. 1917. Image courtesy of Sargent Memorial Collection, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA. SMC-MSS-0000-182-ind-c-039a.

Clarence Carlyle Bailey was born on January 19, 1895 in Norfolk, Virginia to parents William J. Bailey, who worked as a porter, and Lula, who worked as a laundress. He had two sisters, Bessie and Zenobia. The Baileys lived in the Tanner Creek neighborhood of Norfolk Virginia.  Bailey furthered his education at Norfolk Mission College and later completed junior college as well as the dental school at Howard University in Washington, DC. After graduating from dental school, Bailey passed the Maryland Dental examination in 1916 and began to serve the Norfolk community. Bailey married Caroline Carleen of Wilmington, NC on August 1, 1917, in Hampton, VA. The following year they had a child, Elizabeth M. Bailey on March 10, 1918.

Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Bailey enlisted on March 24, 1918, and went to basic training at Camp Meade, Maryland until June 12th, 1918. Bailey was a 1st Lieutenant of the 368 the Infantry 92nd Division Dental. Bailey served his military tour in France as a dentist from June 27th, 1918 until July 21st, 1919. Before being discharged from service Bailey would applied to the dental reserve corps. Bailey was committed to helping his county and stated he would always be available to help his country in its time of need. On July 31st Bailey arrived in Newport News, VA on the USS Eten and was later discharged on August 21, 1919, at Camp Lee, VA.

Clarence C. Bailey, c. 1917. Image courtesy of Sargent Memorial Collection, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA. SMC-MSS-0000-182-ind-c-040a

Bailey returned to his previous occupation as a dentist until his death on March 31th, 1931. Bailey was buried in the Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.


The Dentoscope Vol 14 Issue 2 1931 available online: http://dh.howard.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=dentoscope

World War I commission Questionaire

United States Census 1910

“Y.C.W.A”  New [Norfolk] Journal and Guide December 5, 1916

U.S National Cemetery interment control forms 1928-1962 available online: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2590/40479_2421406272_0448-05143?pid=2143994&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D2590%26h%3D2143994%26tid%3D%26pid%3D%26usePUB%3Dtrue%26_phsrc%3DVCa175%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=VCa175&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true

Cilisa Irvin is a history major at Norfolk State University.