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.
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“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.