John L. Cheatham (1895-1979)

John Langston Cheatham was born on January 27, 1895 at Sport Spring, Appomattox, Virginia. His father’s name was Alford Cheatham, and he was born in the United States, as was his mother named Mattie Davenport. He had two older brothers, Manuel and Alfred, and he grew up next door to his maternal grandparents. His parents and grandparents farmed while he and his siblings went to school. The Cheatham family moved to Norfolk between 1900 and 1910, and they lived at 59 Chapel Street, with another single woman and her boarder. He had earned a sixth grade education and worked as an hostler at the U.S. Port Storage Yard before the war.

On July 18, 1918 he was inducted into the service. He was a private in the Quartermaster Corps and was assigned to the 407th Regiment. He served at Camp Lee VA, while there, his eyesight permanently became weakened from the flu. He was discharged only as a private. He didn’t get the opportunity to do much as he didn’t even get a chance to rank up in the military. When asked about his attitude towards military service in general and towards his call in particular he talked about how he was fond of military service. He thought that the United States had to have a good army to back up the country as he felt like they were needed to protect their people. Cheatham seemed to be the kind of person to always keep himself in a good mood no matter what life threw at him.

Cheatham married Buelah Beck on July 3, 1919. The young couple started out living with John’s brother Herman, and John worked at the Navy Yard. Beulah died in 1970. He died November 23, 1979 at Norfolk Medical Center of a cardiopulmonary infarction and other heart disease. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Norfolk.

Experiences in life can either weaken or boost your morals. When asked about the subject of what effects his experiences had on his religious belief, he answered with the belief that it made him stronger towards God. So in the case of John L Cheatham the experiences that he went through caused him to have a stronger faith in god. To me that is nice to see as I hope serving has the same effect on me. Cheatham was a hopeful, Christian man who saw the good in things. Not coming from a lot, he appreciated everything he had. His life was full of setbacks and hard times, but people like Cheatham paved the way for the new generation to hopefully have a better chance at a better life, thanks to their sacrifices.

Sources:

“United States Census, 1900”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMFD-KPJ : 22 January 2022), John L Cheatham in entry for Agnes Cheatham, 1900.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPLW-7CY : accessed 5 May 2022), John L Cheatam in household of Alfred Cheatam, Norfolk Ward 1, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 19, sheet 5A, family 110, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,375,650.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7Z43-GLZM : 25 December 2021), John L Cheatham, 1917-1918.

“Spanish Flu.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu.

“1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Mar. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html.

“Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:8WJP-HDPZ : 21 January 2022), John L Cheatham, 3 Jul 1919; citing Marriage Registration, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, Virginia State Library and Archives, Richmond.

“United States Census, 1920”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJJ7-K7V : 4 February 2021), John Cheaton in entry for Herman Cheaton, 1920.

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVYG-SZYF : 16 August 2019), John L Cheatham in entry for Buelah Cheatham, 19 Oct 1970; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Norfolk, , Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVY2-TPPW : 16 August 2019), John Langston Cheatham, 23 Nov 1979; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Norfolk, , Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

Ernest Edwards (1887/88-

by Tajah Worthy

Ernest Edwards was an African American soldier born June 10th, 1887/88, to parents Millie Tynes and Jerry Edwards in Suffolk, Virginia. Ernest grew up poor as his parents were still affected by slavery. He spent most of his life on his family’s farm and was a freight and vegetable handler on the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad before joining the National Army as a cook. Before the war, he lived at 347 Queen Street.

 Edwards was assigned to the 304 Company C, 335th Battalion, Stevedores Regiment, a regiment specifically for colored soldiers. This unit was located in France. Edwards was most likely involved in the Second Battle of the Marne and the Battles of the Meuse-Argonne. This is based on when America entered France, June, 1917. The possible battles that he was involved in were major turning points in the war. During the Second Battle of Marne German troops were forced to retreat after the allied forces successful defense. The Battles of the Meuse-Argonne took place in the Argonne Forrest and was one of the deadliest battles resulting in 120,000 casualties.

Despite what he may have faced he continued on with his life once the war was over. On June 9th, 1919 he would go on to marry Virginia Britt. He worked as a shucker in an oyster house and the couple lived at 632 Chapel St. While much is not known about his death based on research of the average life expectancy it is safe to assume he has passed and does not have any predecessors.

Sources:

“First U.S. Troops Arrive in France .” History.com. A&E Television Networks, November 16, 2009. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-u-s-troops-arrive-in-france

“Fold3 Search.” Fold3. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://www.fold3.com/search?keywords=E.%2BEdwards&military.conflict=World%2BWar%2BI

“France.” New Articles RSS. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/france#:~:text=In%201914%2C%20the%20war%20began,behind%2Dthe%2Dlines%20France

FromThePage.com. “Edwards, Earnest.” FromThePage. Accessed May 4, 2022. https://fromthepage.com/lva/norfolk-va/edwards-earnest

History.com Editors. “World War I Battles: Timeline.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, April 8, 2021. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/world-war-i-battles-timeline.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6ZQ-PM9 : 23 December 2021), Earnest Willie Edwards, 1917-1918.

“United States Census, 1920”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJJ7-K88 : 4 February 2021), Ernest Edwards, 1920.

John Robert Carter (1889-1950)

by Tomeka Fauntleroy

John Robert Carter was born on February 3, 1889 in Nottoway, VA. His father Charles Carter was a farmer, and his mother was Sarah Fowlker, sometimes spelled at Fultz, Carter. John Carter had one older sister and 9 younger siblings. Their names were Aldena, Blanche, Herbert, Helen, Eugene, Maude, Ledyre, Dennis, Bertha, and Charles. 

Prior to this John Carter was inducted into military services on April 15, 1918, On his draft card he listed hie occupation as a labor and that he was a caretaker of his parents. When asked about his services after WWI, Private John Robert Carter said he felt it was his duty to fight for his county. 

After enlisted Private John Carter trained for two and a half months in New Jerey before being shipped out to Liverpool, England. From there John Carters company, Company “B” 540 Engineers went to Camp Standard, France. John Carter later said that he never had a sick day in camp or had his faith shaken by the war. When John traveled to and from on the SS Leviathan. Private John Carter was not married and used his sister Helen as his emergency contact while aboard the Leviathan. 

Private John Carter died April 20, 1950 due to complications from high blood pressure. He was never married or had children. He was laid to rest in the family cemetery.  He was buried in Burkeville, Virginia when a flat military headstone was requested for him. 

Sources:

“Carter, John Robert.” World War I Questionnaires, Virginia War History Commission, Library of Virginia.

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVR8-5JMD : 16 August 2019), John Robert Carter, 20 Apr 1950; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Burkeville, Nottoway, Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

Ellis Duncan (1894-

by Tyriq Smith

Ellis Duncan was born August 1st, 1894, in Princess Ann County, Virginia. He was the son of Sarah Dozier and Daniel Duncan and was raised as a Methodist. His father Daniel was from North Carolina but moved north to Norfolk where he met Mrs. Dozier. Ellis was the youngest child of three. He never attended college that was documented and went into the workforce at an incredibly early age. At 16, he was working as a laborer at a barrel factory with his two older siblings. His mother and aunt ran a laundry service out of their home at 11 Landing Street, and his father was a street laborer. Before enlistment, a young Ellis worked as a steamboat cook. Documents show that he worked for New York/ Philadelphia Incorporated and Norfolk Railroad Services and for the Norfolk Warehouse Association until his enlistment.

 He enlisted as a private in the National Army on July 17th   1918 in Norfolk, Virgina. When he enlisted, he was assigned to Part of Company C 340th Service Battalion 1st Platoon, Quartermaster Corps. He was trained at Camp Lee in Virginia where he would eventually be deployed. He embarked from Newport News, Virginia headed for Breast, France . Other than as a private it is not made clear what role he served exactly. He is said to have never fought in the war though his time overseas was a wonderful experience. When explaining his time in the military he said to have learned a lot and gained profound knowledge both physically and mentally. 

   He was discharged from the army on July 18th, 1919, in Norfolk at the same base he trained at. It is unknown exactly why he was discharged but it was a year to the day of his enlistment. Though he never received any promotions he enjoyed his time and learned a lot. After he left the Army, he then began work as a Longshoreman. He never had any kids though he did get married to Ruby/Ruth Mae Porter. He lived a modest life in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he continued his work. On July 10th, 1975, at the age of 80 he succumbed at Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Hampton, Virginia to an illness called Myocardial Infraction. The illness is described as a blockage of blood flow to the heart. He also suffered from several aliments at the time acromegaly and diffuse arteriosclerosis. He was buried at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Chesapeake, Virgina. Though his time in the military was brief he made the most. He never had to fight at war but served his country with pride every day that he was enlisted and took extraordinary pride in it.

Sources:

“United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940,” database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPRH-NRSW : 3 September 2021), Ellis Duncan, 18 Jul 1919; citing Military Service, NARA microfilm publication 76193916 (St. Louis: National Archives and Records Administration, 1985), various roll numbers.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPL4-7QX : accessed 5 May 2022), Ellis Duncan in household of Daniel Duncan, Norfolk Ward 4, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 41, sheet 14A, family 277, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,375,650.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7HS2-XRPZ : 25 December 2021), Ellis Duncan, 1917-1918.

“Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:8WQP-MQ2M : 21 January 2022), Ellis Duncan, 8 Nov; citing Marriage Registration, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, Virginia State Library and Archives, Richmond.

“United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VMY4-KJ7 : 8 January 2021), Ellis Duncan, Jul 1975; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRZ-G4WZ : 16 August 2019), Ellis Duncan, 20 Jul 1975; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Hampton, , Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

David Henry Edwards (1892-

by Jordan E. Thomas

David Henry Edwards was born on 29th July 1892 in Norfolk, Virginia, U.SA. He was a son of E. G. Edwards and Jennette Rodgers, both citizens of the U.S.A by birth. He had one older brother, Joseph, who was ten years his senior. Edwards was a staunch Christian and a strong member of the Baptist church. They lived at 732 Edwards attended Booker T. Washington High School for four years before he was enrolled in military service. 

David Henry Edwards has a good war record. He was first inducted into service on 18th January 1917 at Norfolk, Va. He was ranked at Mess Att. 3rd Class in the Navy section when he was first listed. Edwards received a series of promotions in his ranking in the service. On 8th November 1917, barely 10 months after his enlistment into the service, he was promoted from Mess Att. 3rd. O1. to Mess Att. 1st. 01. He was later promoted to 2nd, 01. Petty officer in ships cooks branch or S.C. 2nd Class.

The veteran recorded positive effects of his camp experience in the United States, both mentally and physically. The experience in the Camp improved his health and intellect. His religious beliefs were not affected in any way. The experience Edwards obtained from the war made him a more determined citizen for the good of the U.SA. 

After the war, David Henry Edwards became a student of law and economics at Howard University. He completed his law degree in 1923, after passing the bar in the middle of the school year. He married Theresa Irene Rodgers, in 1919 in Norfolk, Va. They had one son, David H. Jr. who was born while Edwards was in law school. He was a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He opened a law office in Norfolk after graduation and defended local men in several high-profile cases. He moved to Washington, DC around 1930, and was arrested for embezzlement from one of his clients 1933. He was paroled and made to repay the funds. Afterwards, he moved to Philadelphia. Edwards died on September 10, 1969 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Norfolk, VA

Sources:

“United States Census, 1900”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMNK-7R4 : 11 March 2022), David H Edwards in entry for Green Edwards, 1900.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7HHK-X4N2 : 25 December 2021), David Henry Edwards, 1917-1918.

“David Henry Edwards” FindAGrave.com Available Online: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/102587003/david-henry-edwards

“Norfolk Boy, Howard Student, Sets Record: Passes Va. Bar Examination in Middle of Senior Year at Law School” New Journal and Guide (1916-) Norfolk, Va. 23 Dec. 1922: 1.

“David Edwards Held for U.S. Grant Jury: Former Norfolk Att’y Arrested in Washington Recently.” New Journal and Guide (1916-) Norfolk, Va. 18 March 1933: 1.

David Edwards is Indicted for Embezzlement: Paroled; Given 5 Years to Make Restitution of Funds.” New Journal and Guide (1916-) Norfolk, Va. 06 May 1933: A1.

James H. Duke (1890-

by Eric Ross, Jr.

James Hambold Duke was an Army veteran that was born in Norfolk, Virginia on November 6th, 1890. He grew up on 72 Newton Street. His mother, Lucy Shorter was born in Washington, D.C., and was 30 years old at the time of James Duke’s birth. His father George R. Duke was born in Petersburg, Virginia, and was 32 at the time of James H Duke’s birth. James H. Duke had three brothers and two sisters. His brothers’ names were Theopolis Duke, John Duke, and Herman Duke. His sisters’ names were Beulah Duke, and Jenatte Duke. The family also kept boarders, including a woman named Maggie Stokes. His father George earned a living cutting hair as a barber at the shop he owned.

James H. Duke worked as a common laborer before entering the service, and he worked at the Hog Island Ship Yard. He lived at 516 Cumberland Street. He was drafted into the Army on August 5th, 1917, Duke was attached to the 540 Engineers service battalion and worked as a cook. On October 18th, he embarked from Hoboken to Liverpool on the SS Leviathan. Next, he traveled from Le Mons to Camp Standard. He was a Catholic man who believed that his service strengthened his faith if anything and had no regrets about serving this great country. He wrote that “One thing I hate about it [the war] is that we did not take Germany and bring the Kaiser to Norfolk and have him for a show.”

Upon returning from the war, he returned to 516 Cumberland Street in Norfolk, but his life after the war is difficult to document. His father died in 1930 and he and one of his sisters published an obituary in the Journal and Guide.

Sources:

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6ZQ-G5P : 23 December 2021), James Hambold Duke, 1917-1918.

“United States Census, 1900”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:66ND-78F1 : 23 January 2022), James H Duke in entry for George R Duke, 1900.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPLW-KVL : accessed 5 May 2022), James Duke in household of George Duke, Norfolk Ward 2, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 28, sheet 3A, family 69, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,375,650.

“Obituary” New Journal and Guide (1916-); Norfolk, Va. [Norfolk, Va]. 22 Sep 1923: 5.

Punius/Purvis J. Chesson (1891-1961)

by Ashley Flewellen

Purvis John Chesson was born in the south of Plymouth, North Carolina on February 23, 1891 and was a citizen. Chesson’s mom’s name was Laura Chesson, and his father’s name was Henry Chesson. Purvis was Methodist, and he was a good citizen who voted as well. The Chesson family moved to Norfolk sometime between 1900 and 1910 and lived at 27 Pulaski Street. Purvis was the third of seven children, and his eldest sister Arline lived with their parents with her son, Cleon. Purvis worked as a laborer at a factory as a young man.

Purvis attended high school and started college, but only remained enrolled for a year before the war. He attended Howard University in Washington D.C. Chesson joined a popular fraternal order called Stl St. Marks Mutual Aid Society which is church-based group that made help communities. He also was married, and no children were found while doing research on him .The organization seem to be developed in churches international but popular in Methodist, Catholics, and Episcopal churches.

Before Purvis joined the war, he worked a as carpenter for the Porter Brothers construction company. During that time this was considered a good paying job and to have one year of college was looked good upon as well. He enlisted in the services July 17, 1918 and served in the Quartermaster Corps, which deals with logistics. Purvis was stationed and trained as private at Camp Lee in Virginia from July 18, 1918 through January 28 ,1919. He said that his service was good for his body, but not his mind. When discharged, he returned to Norfolk.

After his return to Virginia, he married Florence L. Lomax on March 29, 1923, whom he met while finishing his degree at Hampton University. He graduated from Hampton in 1923. The couple settled into a home on Hale Street in Norfolk. He worked as a teacher and then principal for Norfolk Public Schools until he retired in 1959. His career and work for Norfolk Public Schools is well documented in the Journal and Guide. He is most well known for helping to found the Norfolk Teachers’ Credit Union and for working for pay parity for Virginia teachers. He died of carcinoma of the liver at the VA Hospital in Hampton, Virginia on February 13, 1961. His wife, Florence, who also worked in the Norfolk Public School system, passed in 1987.

Sources:

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPLH-34Y : accessed 5 May 2022), Purvis Chesson in household of Henry Chesson, Norfolk Ward 4, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 38, sheet 5A, family 108, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,375,650.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7HJZ-YV3Z : 25 December 2021), Purvis John Chesson, 1917-1918.

“Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940”, database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRMV-5DQ : 29 January 2020), Purnis John Chesson, 1923.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VTM3-WFS: accessed 5 May 2022), Purvis J. Chesson

“P. J. Chesson: Veteran Principal to Retire after 35 Years” New Journal and Guide (1916-); Norfolk, Va.[Norfolk, Va]. 30 May 1959: 6. 

The Minerva: 1922. Howard University Yearbooks, Howard University. Available online: https://dh.howard.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1190&context=bison_yearbooks

Benjamin Cicero Dancy (1895/97/90-1919)

by Charles Nicholas III

Benjamin Cicero Dancy was born on December 18, 1895 in Driver, Virginia. His parents were Cicero Dancy, Sr. and Annie Dancy. He had two brothers, Jessie and Cicero Jr. The family lived in Sleepy Hole, Virginia while he was growing up. Both Benjamin and his father worked as laborers on a truck (vegetable) farm. A year before enlisting (1917) into the Army, he married his fiancé Mrs. Olivia Lewis. A year later he was sent to France in response of the war effort. Before the war, he worked at the Portsmouth Navy Yard and supported his wife and mother in their home at 914 Salter St., Norfolk.

Dancy enlisted in the National Army in 1917. While initially serving with the 540th Combat Engineer Regiment, Charlie company, Dancy was an infantryman during his time served. On October 27, 1918, Dancy embarked on a voyage from New Jersey to England on the USS Leviathan. From England, he then proceeded to Cherbourg, France. While abroad he was either trained or station in Abbeville, France from November 15, 1918, to August of 1919. 

His military career and time in France were cut short due to reasons unknown. There could have been several reasons as the war escalated at that time. Sickness, war, and or disease from war injuries could have taken his life as these things were and still are undocumented. On February 20, 1919, Dancy died in a Gorgenoort, France hospital. He only spent one day being treated in the hospital. Private Dancy was to be buried in an American soldier cemetery in France. 

It is very unfortunate that as a soldier who gave their freedoms away to fight for the freedoms of others doesn’t have proper documentation after their death. Dancy left behind his wife as beneficiary with no known children. His cousin, Rosa Williams completed the questionnaire about his service. This happened to many soldiers, sailors, and airmen at the time of war. As the influx of individuals joined the fight for humanity, many of them became lost and forgotten about in the system of war. Benjamin C. Dancy a young man who fraught for his country will now be forever remembered. 

Sources:

“Cicero Dancy” United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.” Available online: FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6Z3-YBB : 23 December 2021).

“United States, World War I American Expeditionary Forces Deaths, 1917-1919”, database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPH4-KJKP : 3 December 2019).

“United States Census, 1900”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMNV-FRH : 11 March 2022), Benjamin Dancy in entry for Simon Dancy, 1900.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPGS-6RM : accessed 5 May 2022), Ben James Dancy in household of Cicero Dancy Sr., Sleepy Hole, Nansemond, Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 16, sheet 4A, family 65, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1636; FHL microfilm 1,375,649.

Clarence Bullock (1897-1960)

by D’Angelo Darby

Clarence Bullock born to Carrie and Peter Bullock on June 30th, 1897 served in the military during World War I. He served out of Norfolk, Va enlisting in the Naval Reserve on June 5th, 1917. Before he enlisted, he worked as a bus boy after he left active duty he worked for the military as a civilian at a U.S. Army Base. A command he served under was the USS Legonia II. Prior to its commissioning for military use, the Legonia was a yacht built in Delaware. The U.S. Navy purchased it in 1917 and utilized it as a messenger, escort, and guard ship. Records show that he also spent time aboard the USS Fish Hawk a Fish Commission boat. Its Chief Boatswain volunteered her for patrol and inspection duty in an informal agreement. Although the U.S. Navy officially took her on loan and reassigned her to New London, Connecticut.

Bullock served as a Mess Attendant 3rd class within the U.S Navy. Blacks were only allowed to serve in menial roles in the Navy. They were not allowed to serve at all in the Marines. However, in the Army they could serve in any capacity that was not in aviation. So it is not surprising that as a sailor he would have been a Mess Attendant. After the war, he returned home to Norfolk, Va.

Clarence Bullock had a son who became a prominent black artist.  His son enrolled in what is now known as North Carolina A&T. After graduating, he moved to Philadephia, PA and worked as a substitute teacher. While working he attended night courses and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s degree in oil painting. He was commissioned to create a portrait of John F. Kennedy.

Unfortunately, Clarence Senior had a stroke causing temporary paralysis in the right side of his body due to a brain abscess. He died August 9th, 1960 due to complications associated with hypertension. He was be survived by his wife Susie Bullock and son Clarence C. Bullock of Norfolk, Va.

Sources:

“Meeting with Mr. Kennedy: That’s Artist’s Goal: To Present President’s Portrait Clarence Bullock Overcame Obstacles to Score in Art.” New Journal and Guide (1916-), Dec 15, 1962, pp. 1. ProQuesthttp://0-search.proquest.com.library.nsu.edu/historical-newspapers/meeting-with-mr-kennedy-thats-artists-goal/docview/568678296/se-2?accountid=28204

“African-American Participation during World War I.” Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs – State of Delaware, 13 Apr. 2021, https://history.delaware.gov/world-war-i/african-americans-ww1/. 

Civilian Ships–Legonia II (Steam Yacht, 1909), https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/sh-civil/civsh-l/legonia2.htm.

Fish Hawk, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/f/fish-hawk.html.

Abram Hayman Buck (1895-1965)

by Patrica Brown

Dr. Abram Hayman Buck was a World War I veteran and physician. He was born March 5th 1895, in Marion, South Carolina to Maggie Hamilton and Abram Buck, both South Carolina natives. He was a Methodist and completed 4 years of high school. Along with Abram H., Maggie and Abram had four other children, Theodore Buck, Ivado Buck, Isdore Buck, and Christable Buck. They went on to give Abram more 12 nieces and nephews combined. Due to the lack of accurate record keeping, it is difficult to gather an exact number. 

He married his wife Margaret Theresa (Luke) Buck. Her birth date is estimated to be around November 1876/1878 or October 4th, 1900, and she passed away April 2nd 1971. The couple had three children, Loretta Marie (Buck) Duverney, Margaret Frances Buck Saunders, and Abram Hayman Buck Jr. Together, they gave the couple over 10 grandchildren. 

While residing in Norfolk, VA, Abram Hayman Buck enlisted in the National Army on June 20th, 1918, and was discharged March 8th, 1919. He was an Infantry Private while stationed at Company 45, 12 BN, 155, D.B. Camp Lee, VA. Eventually he transferred to Company 13, 4 BN, 155, D.B, Camp Lee, VA, and was promoted to the rank of Corporal. 

After returning from the war, Dr. Buck attended and graduated from Meharry Medical College, a historically black college, in 1927. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, National Medical Association, and Old Dominion Medical Association. He was also the founder of Royal Social Club and Hiawatha Social and Savings club. Along with all these accomplishments, he was also elected to the Board as a member of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company. 

Dr. Abram Buck passed away July 29th, 1965, at the age of 70 in the Hampton VA hospital from Myocardial infarction due to coronary occlusion within one week. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Norfolk VA next to his wife with a shared headstone.