Floyd Bishop (1892-1952)

by Andrew Tucker

Floyd Bishop was born on July 4, 1892 in Mapleton, Hereford County, North Carolina. His mother was Margaret Gadden, and his father was Richard Bishop. Floyd was an African-American Man, a United States Citizen, and a registered voter. Growing up, Floyd’s denomination was with the Baptist Church. Bishop remained in school until reaching the fourth grade, his highest level of education achieved. Prior to his military service, Floyd’s occupation was a chef, working for the Merchants and Miner Steamship Company. At the outbreak of World War I, and the United States involvement in the conflict, Floyd chose to enlist into the United States Army.

Floyd’s own motivations for choosing to enlist, were that he as a United States Citizen, was entitled to serve in the armed forces, as would any other citizen. His own words were “so long as my country needed me, I was willing to serve”, thus, he chose to serve. Another motivation as to why he chose to serve his country, was not only to fight for his country, but to fight for colored people’s democracy. Floyd believed strongly in doing his part to achieve honor and respect for African-Americans throughout the United States. Floyd mentions that what he had to endure during his time in training was detrimental to his physical and mental health, as he felt such training actually undermined his strength. His Military occupational specialty( MOS) was combat engineer. Floyd reported to his first duty station shortly after his enlistment, and per his respective MOS, he was assigned to Bravo Company, 540th Engineer Regiment. Bravo Company deployed in support of U. S. Operations in Europe, arriving in France. Neither Bravo Company, nor Floyd, engaged in direct combat operations. Despite not experiencing combat, Floyd still felt strongly that he would have a difficult time recovering from both the physical and mental hardship brought about by military life in World War I. A notable achievement during his service was the award of the Victory Service Medal.

Floyd was discharged as a Private First Class(E-2), from active duty at Camp Lee, VA following the end of WWI. He moved to Norfolk, VA and resided at 205 East Bute Street Norfolk, VA. After moving to Norfolk, he met a woman by the name of Estelle Rogers. He married Estelle after some time, and they married on January 21, 1932. They divorced on March 21, 1938, in Norfolk.

He died at the age of 60 In the City of Norfolk on Dec 10,1952 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Norfolk.

Works Cited

Floyd Bishop (1892-1952) – find a Grave Memorial. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/189664880/floyd-bishop

Floyd Bishop -Vital • Virginia Marriages. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2021, from https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRMR-KNT

FromThePage.com. (n.d.). Bishop, Floyd. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://fromthepage.com/lva/norfolk-va/bishop-floyd/display/644996

FromThePage.com. (n.d.). 4-Floyd Bishop. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://fromthepage.com/lva/norfolk-va/bishop-floyd/display/644999

Arthur Ives (1890 – 1934)

by Willie Bright

Arthur Ives was born to Noah Ives and Fannie Lewis on June 30th, 1890. He was an African American man born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. A short man with black hair and brown eyes. He has a medium build. Arthur Ives was a Baptist. He had a son named Arthur Ives, Jr. with an African American Woman named Annie Flora. Arthur Ives Jr. was born November 2nd, 1915 in Norfolk, VA.

Arthur Ives was a woodworker in Berkley, Norfolk before he enlisted in the army. Arthur Ives also worked as a laborer for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. He lived at 45 Lanee Row, S Norfolk, VA.

Arthur Ives joined the army on July 8th, 1918 at camp Lee, VA. He served in the Infantry, Labor Battalion, 338 “D” Co. 92nd Division. Arthur Ives was willing to do his part while in the army. He underwent mental and physical experiences at camp. It strengthened his faith in Christianity.

Arthur Ives later traveled to France. However, he did not take part in the fighting. He returned to the US on July 21, 1919, from Marseilles, France. The Army discharged Arthur Ives on July 23, 1919, as a Private 1st class. Once discharged he returned to his occupation as a woodworker for the rest of his life.

He died at the Age 43, June 1st, 1934, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia. Arthur Ives cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage. He rests at Mount Calvary.


“World War I Questionnaires, Ives, Arthur” Fromthepage.com (https://fromthepage.com/lva/norfolk-va/ives-arthur) 29 April, 2021.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YTP-7XS?cc=1968530&wc=9F44-BZ9%3A928355001%2C928686901 : 24 August 2019), Virginia > Norfolk County; Hopkins, George E.-V > image 166 of 5724; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

“United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS1G-37XZ?cc=2968245 : 14 January 2019), > image 1 of 1; citing NARA microfilm publication 76193916 (St. Louis: National Archives and Records Administration, 1985).

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVR4-46ZS : 16 August 2019), Arther Ives, 01 Jun 1934; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

“Virginia, Marriage Certificates, 1936-1988,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVBB-R7RM : 20 February 2021), Arthur Ives in entry for Arthur Ives and Hazel Irving, 30 Apr 1938; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing , South Norfolk, Virginia, United States, certificate 8526, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

George Washington Armstrong (1892-1957)

By Monteau Jones 

George Washington Armstrong was born on April 24th, 1892 in Winfall, North Carolina to his mother Emma Armstrong and father Bill White. In North Carolina, Armstrong was a colored man raised in a Baptist religion.

On July 18th, 1918 Armstrong enlisted into the National Army. He started as a private in Norfolk, Virginia. His original Assignment was Company D, 338th S.O.S., Q.M.C. Division. Embarked from Newport News, Virginia on the Lutishu and arrived. Before and after the enlistment, his occupation was being a laborer. Armstrong was discharged from the National Army on July 5th, 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey. He left as a Private First Class. 

George Washington Armstrong married Emma Molben and they had two children: Virginia and Lloyd. The family lived on Maltby Avenue and sometimes their niece, Alberta Malbon, stayed with them.

George died May 26, 1957 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery. His wife died four years later and is buried next to him.




Willie Hunter (1892-1929)

By: Caroline Benavides

Willie Hunter was born May 31st, 1892 in Norfolk, Virginia to Martha and George Hunter. He grew up a family of 10 including himself, with 4 sisters, 3 brothers, and 2 nephews in Norfolk. By age 17, Willie was the man of the house, working as a longshoreman at Old Dominion S.S. Co. Around October 18th, 1918 Willie enlisted into the Navy, where he served food to officers and crew as a 3rd class Mess Attendant at Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA. Willie got married to Earletta Wilson who was 16 years old, on April 8, 1919 and was then discharged on July 17, 1919, and continued to be a longshoreman. Around his 30’s Willie worked as a dock laborer at stevedoring until his death at 37. Willie died on November 7th, 1929 because of an abscess of the left upper lung. No records shown of Earletta Hunter remarried.


“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPL4-CTW : accessed 3 May 2021), Willie Hunter in household of Martha Hunter, Norfolk Ward 4, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 45, sheet 11A, family 297, 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://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYT2-9HXW?cc=1968530&wc=9F47-7M9%3A928355001%2C1071496102 : 22 October 2019), Virginia > Norfolk City no 1; Barnes Robert D.-M > image 4328 of 5843; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

“Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XR97-XC5 : 29 January 2020), Willie Hunter, 1919.

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89GL-18PW?cc=2377565&wc=H9HJ-5LT%3A1505091601%2C1506098102 : 20 August 2018), Norfolk County > 1929 > image 2863 of 3413; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

Jim Bolden (1897)

By Chealsea Wickline

Jim Bolden was born March 18th, 1897 in Lucy, Tennessee. His father was Berden Bolden, and mother was Nancy Underwood. 

Prior to his military service, Jim Bolden lived at 502 Queen St, Norfolk Virginia where he worked as government laborer for Pig Point Ordnance Depot, where they focused on munitions storage, shipment, reconditioning, loading, and destruction.  Working as a laborer for the United States government, Jim Bolden had gained military understanding through his work with weapons as a laborer.  

On August 12, Jim Bolden became a private in the US Army infantry at Fort Lee, VA where he was stationed in Company A, 88th Regiment, 109th division. Shortly after, Front Lambarts Point, Norfolk Virginia on the ship Susquehanna, Jim headed to Berlin for World War I. 

After the war, Jim Bolden returned to Norfolk, Virginia where he continued working as a government laborer. 


Bolden, Jim. War History Commission State of Virginia Military Service RecordFrom The Page. Library of Virginia, n.d. https://fromthepage.com/lva/norfolk-va/bolden-jim/display/645000. 

United States Census, 1940; https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9MR-Q34P?cc=2000219&wc=QZXG-ZJ4%3A794217401%2C800993201%2C801062101%2C801075201

Rakus, Kelly, and Brian Poe . “The United States Environmental Protection Agency.” FORMER NANSEMOND ORDNANCE DEPOT SUFFOLK, VA, n.d. Accessed May 10, 2021. 

Bolden, Jim. War RecordFrom This Page. Library in Virginia, 11AD. 

Obey Elliot Armfield (1891-1973)

Obey Elliott Armfield was born June 23, 1891 in Norfolk, Virginia to James Armfield and Mandy Wells. Armfield was a chauffeur for L.W. Machen while he lived on 866 Preston St. in Norfolk. Before being enlisted into the service on July 17, 1917 he had gotten married to his wife Hattie Lovitt in December of 1917.

He then served in World War 1 in Engineers, within the U.S. Army. Company “G” regiment 504th in Camp Lee, Va. Until he was discharged April 9, 1919. Obey Elliott finished as a Pvt 14 Co 4th Bn. When Armfield was in service he felt as if more could have been done for him once he left. Being that he took care of himself along with his wife, Hattie Lovitt, they had no children. His wife, Hattie, passed away in 1942 due to an aortic aneurysm.  Elliot passed away at the age of 82 on October 28, 1973 in Hampton, Virginia.


FamilySearch.org. (n.d.). https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRZ-D8FY.

FromThePage.com. (n.d.). Norfolk (Va.). FromThePage. https://fromthepage.com/paged_search?action=search&authenticity_token=1v92fWSyBJO6cEqE8JRlele4qc1na80QFfCTVpeqTAKW65qFppGcgdrs6nPgSH7a91ClliJn6ZPCoxiB4uoxNw%3D%3D&button=&collection_id=norfolk-va&controller=display&search_string=Obey%2BElliot%2B.

sites.rootsweb.com. (n.d.). http://sites.rootsweb.com/~vanorfol/ww1aa.html.

ww1-a.html. (n.d.). http://usgwarchives.net/va/norfolkcity/military/ww1-a.html.

ww1-a.html. (n.d.). http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/norfolkcity/military/ww1-a.html

John “Johnnie” Washington King (1899-1949)

by Rajanae Hopkins

John Washington King was born on 15th December 1899 in Carrsville, Virginia. His mother’s name as Matila Herron, and his father’ name was George King. His parents who were both born in Carrsville, Virginia. He was a Baptist of African American origin. He did not attain any University or College degrees.

By the time he registered for the draft in 1917, he and his widowed mother had moved to Norfolk and he worked for the Old Bay Line. He worked for City Gas Co. before joining the military and after joining he worked at Baltimore Steam Pack Co. He was enlisted in the Army on 5th July 1918 at Armory Hall as a Private-1st Class e where he received his first assignment in Company 144. He didn’t go abroad. He was discharged on 26th Dec 1918 at Camp Alexander, Virginia while he was still serving in the Private rank.

King returned home to his wife Jennie Gates. He worked for the Baltimore Steam Packet Company and appears on the census report of the Freight Boat Quantico in 1920 as a messmate. The couple had one daughter, Rosa Lee, born in 1930. King worked as a longshoreman after his daughter was born.

King died October 31, 1949 of a cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Burnett Ashford (1896-?)

by Zaria’ Love 

Burnett Ashford was born in Clinton, Samson County, North Carolina USA on 28th August 1896. His father’s name was W. A. Ashford and his mother’s name was Rosa Beamon. Other characteristics of his personal life were that he was a Methodist, he lived on 523 Nicholson St., Norfolk, Virginia and he had no fraternal orders, college fraternities, or previous training for military service. He also had no college or university degrees because the highest level of education that he attained was the Preparatory level. Before he began his service in the military, he was a laborer who was employed by George W. Taylor Company. 

He joined military service on 23rd June 1918, at Camp Humphreys, Virginia and served in the rank of a Private in the National Army’s casual section after being originally assigned to Co. A. His identification number was 2610777. After some time, he was transferred to Camp Lee, Va, where he served in the Overseas Casual Division in Co. #565. He served in the military because he was convinced that he had a duty to serve his country. 

According to him, his camp experiences had a good impact on his mental and physical state. He did not go into action, and there is no record of him suffering from any diseases, wounds or injuries that would have necessitated his discharge from military service due to disabilities associated with the war. He did not receive any decorations, honors, or citations on account of any exploits made during his time of service. His experiences did not affect his religious experiences in any manner. He served in the Overseas Casual Division until his return to civil life as a laborer. He filled this questionnaire in Norfolk, Va, on 21st May 1920.

After his mother passed on, he lived with his father and brother in South Clinton, NC in 1910. In 1920 he lived with his aunt Jamie McDonald. He married Manda Webster on Oct 13, 1924 and they had a son named Leon. By 1930, he was imprisoned at the Virginia State Farm. According to the Journal and Guide, he was imprisoned for highway robbery with Will Howard. His wife and son Leon lived with his mother and stepfather. He joined the Jay Gees in 1955.


United State Census, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

“Two Alleged Highwaymen Under Arrest,” New Journal and Guide. Norfolk, VA, 22 May 1926, 1.

“New Jay-Gee Members” New Journal and Guide. Norfolk, VA, 3 December 1955, 14.

Ruffin Paige Boulding (1895-1976)

By Edward Hopson

Ruffin Paige Boulding was born on January 4th, 1895 to Benjamin and Florence Boulding in Norfolk, Virginia. He was the oldest of three children, with a brother Benjamin Boulding, Jr. and sister Dorothy Boulding. In his early life, Boulding attended four years of high school before attending a commercial college special course. He then took his talents to the U.S. Navy Yard, now known as the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, as a typist.

With WWI raging in Europe, Boulding decided that the best thing for him to do was to serve his country in a military setting. He enlisted into the Army on September 18th, 1918 and attended training at Camp Pike in Arkansas as a part of the Infantry Central Officers’ Training School. When asked why he joined the military, he said “I prefer to volunteer than to be called.”  Boulding was placed in the 1st Colored Company as a Private Infantryman. Two short months later on November 11th, 1918, Germany surrendered bringing WWI to an end. On December 6th, 1918, Ruffin Boulding was discharged from the U.S. Army and returned to Norfolk retaining his job as a typist.

Boulding then spent the next few years in Norfolk, VA before ultimately moving to Charlotte, N.C. to start a life for himself. It was around this time that he met Mrs. Julia I. Wyche and they were happily married on August 11th, 1927. Little is known as to why, but he and Julia soon after moved to Wewoka, Oklahoma. It is a possibility that he had been chasing a profit in striking oil himself as the land in this county was said to be rich with oil.

Little is known about his later life as he moved back to a suburb of Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina where he would live for the remainder of his life. Ruffin Paige Boulding died on May 31st, 1976 at the age of 80 years old.


FamilySearch.org: Census 1910, Census 1930, NC Marriage Records 1762-1979, United States WWI Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918, United States Veterans Administration Master Index 1917-1940, North Carolina Deaths 1931-1994

WWI Commission Files: Ruffin P. Boulding pgs. 1-4

John Anderson (1886-1972)

by Tamia Houston

“I know that I was an American citizen and [I] was willing to help and defend my country.[I] was not anything [more than] excit[ed] when my country called me; [I] was only glad to go.”

Those were the words of John Anderson, an African American veteran of World War I. John Anderson was born September 8, 1886 in Harrington, Kent County, Delaware to Letitia Webb and John H. Anderson of Maryland. He was a sibling to three brothers and one sister, Walter Anderson, James Anderson, Joseph Anderson, and Edna Jones. Anderson was one who had no education but was a talented musician. Even with his service in WWI, Anderson was a musician before and after the war.

When asked about his attitude towards military service, Anderson states that “there was nothing for [him] to consider, only go with a will and mind to do all that was in [his] power to do, when [his] country called, to help defend the U.S.A.” Anderson provided his service through the U.S. Army. He enlisted on August 5, 1918 in Norfolk, Virginia as a musician in the Engineers Battalion. He was a part of the Company C, 540 Battalion. Anderson’s training took place in Camp Humphreys, Virginia from August 5,1918 to October 23, 1918. Anderson says that “the effects of camp experience was very good, in regard to health and the physical exercise that was a part of the discipline, were simply grand, and helpful.” After his training at Camp Humphreys, Virginia, Anderson was transferred to the Spec, Cas. CO. 5447 in St. Aignan, France. Anderson was embarked from Hoboken, New Jersey on October 27, 1918 via the Leviathan and arrived at Liverpool, England on November 3, 1918. From that point on, Anderson toured England from Liverpool to Winchester, to Southampton, and lastly to Cherbourg with his tour ending on November 11,1918. He then trained in Abensville, France up until June of 1919. Anderson says his touring experience “was so great,that [he] can’t explain, but [it] was wonderful.”

On June 27, 1919 Anderson arrived in New York on the Armenia from Marseilles, France. He was discharged from service at Camp Mills, Long Island on July 8, 1919 as a bugler (musician). John’s belief after the war was that “God, our Father, won this World War.”

After his discharge, Anderson spent a portion of his life in Norfolk, Virginia with his wife Mattie Kemp. Anderson worked as a driver for The Wood Yard while his wife did housework. The couple did not have any children. On February 14, 1924, his wife, Mattie Kemp passed away. Eventually after the death of his wife, Anderson returned to Delaware. He never remarried or had any children; he worked as paper hanger and painter. On February 7, 1972, John Anderson passed away from prostate cancer.


World War I Questionnaire. Anderson, John. Retrieved April 29, 2021, from https://fromthepage.com/lva/norfolk-va/anderson-john

“Obituary of John H. Anderson” Familysearch.org. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2021, from https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q53R-2ZX2

United States Census, 1920,

“Death Certificate of John Anderson” FamilySearch. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2021, from https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS3B-WSM5-F?cc=1447341&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3AQGNR-RVHX

“Death Certificate of Mattie Kemp Anderson” FamilySearch. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2021, from https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9GL-T26F?i=351&cc=2377565