James Henry Baskerville (1894-1969)

by Georgina Taylor

James Henry Baskerville was born to Egbert and Nannie Baskerville on June 24, 1894. Baskerville had 6 sisters, 3 older and 3 younger. Their names were Matilda, Alice, Lilly, Emma, Hattie, and Virginia. His paternal grandmother’s name was Mary and according to the 1900 census, she lived with them. Their family lived in Norfolk, VA, was Methodist, and was able to provide James with a 4th grade education. Prior to service, Baskerville lived at 820 Charlotte St., Norfolk, VA. In July of 1917 James Baskerville was married to Cora Lee Beasley and worked as a Laborer for Lambert’s Point Coal Pier, N. & W. R’wy Co. The two had no children together and it is unclear how long they remained married. However, on July 13, 1918 Baskerville enlisted at the age of 24 into the National Army and served 5 months before being discharged at the end of the war. 

While active, James held the rank of Private in the 9th Training Battalion section of the U.S. National Army; 45thcompany, 14th Development Battalion regiment at Camp Meade, Maryland. Due to the short period of time served in the National Army, Baskerville’s job in the Military is unclear and it is unknown if he saw battle due to his discharge order. He was recorded in the Veterans Administration master index in 1918 as well. After the war, he remained in Norfolk residing at 1556 45th St. Norfolk, VA and returned at his pre-war job as a Laborer for Lambert’s Point Coal Pier, N. & W. R’wy Co. James Baskerville married Mary Harris on October 7, 1923. The couple divorced in 1928 due to cruelty and desertion. In 1940, James was working as a longshoreman on the shipping piers, working 40 hours per week making $500 per year. Baskerville also rented a home located at 721 Mariner Ave., Norfolk, VA for $1 per month.

On June 10, 1966, Baskerville remarried. His new wife, Mary Etta Jones Magett was thirteen years his junior. His marriage license indicates that he was widowed.

He died on November 6, 1969 at Peidmont State Hospital of cerebrovascular disease caused by tuberculosis and is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Norfolk, VA.