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.


“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.