James Albert Kettrell (1895/6-1921)

James Albert Kettrell
James Albert Kettrell c. 1917. Image courtesy of Sargent Memorial Collection, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA. SMC-MSS-000-182-ind-c-032a.

James Albert Kettrell was born May 8, 1895 or 1896 in Princess Anne County, Virginia now the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia. James A. Kettrell’s parents were, Frank Kettrell a farmer and Lu Ella/Ella Kettrell a home maker. The Kettrell family, including James and his five brothers and sisters (Daniel, Iona, Frank J., Ella, and Palmer), lived on Salem Road near the intersection of Stumpy Lake Road. The Kettrells’ had seventh child who died before 1900. James Kettrell received an only elementary school education in Princess Anne County, since the county made no previsions for secondary education of African Americans.  James worked as a farm hand and general laborer before the war.

He lived at 1018 Dunbar Street, Norfolk, Virginia. when he was inducted into the Army on July 18. 1918. James Kettrell was sent to Camp Lee, Virginia for his army training, On October 28, 1918, he was assigned to Company B, 446 Regiment at Camp Mills, Long Island, New York. He was sent back to Camp Lee, Virginia for discharge June 6, 1919.

After being discharged from the Army, James worked at the Naval Base as a laborer. James lived with his older sister Ella and her husband in Norfolk, Virginia while working at the Naval Base. James Kettrell died on May 8, 1921, at 138 Lexington Street Norfolk, Virginia, He died of Phthisis Pulmonalis or Tuberculosis at the age of 25. James Albert Kettrell was buried in Princess Anne County, Virginia


“James Albert Kettrell,” United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1895-1896. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.

United States Census, 1900, 1920.

Two students worked on this biography. Waverly Williams is a history major and Brittney Belcher is an AROTC cadet at Norfolk State University