John Langston Cheatham was born on January 27, 1895 at Sport Spring, Appomattox, Virginia. His father’s name was Alford Cheatham, and he was born in the United States, as was his mother named Mattie Davenport. He had two older brothers, Manuel and Alfred, and he grew up next door to his maternal grandparents. His parents and grandparents farmed while he and his siblings went to school. The Cheatham family moved to Norfolk between 1900 and 1910, and they lived at 59 Chapel Street, with another single woman and her boarder. He had earned a sixth grade education and worked as an hostler at the U.S. Port Storage Yard before the war.
On July 18, 1918 he was inducted into the service. He was a private in the Quartermaster Corps and was assigned to the 407th Regiment. He served at Camp Lee VA, while there, his eyesight permanently became weakened from the flu. He was discharged only as a private. He didn’t get the opportunity to do much as he didn’t even get a chance to rank up in the military. When asked about his attitude towards military service in general and towards his call in particular he talked about how he was fond of military service. He thought that the United States had to have a good army to back up the country as he felt like they were needed to protect their people. Cheatham seemed to be the kind of person to always keep himself in a good mood no matter what life threw at him.
Cheatham married Buelah Beck on July 3, 1919. The young couple started out living with John’s brother Herman, and John worked at the Navy Yard. Beulah died in 1970. He died November 23, 1979 at Norfolk Medical Center of a cardiopulmonary infarction and other heart disease. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Norfolk.
Experiences in life can either weaken or boost your morals. When asked about the subject of what effects his experiences had on his religious belief, he answered with the belief that it made him stronger towards God. So in the case of John L Cheatham the experiences that he went through caused him to have a stronger faith in god. To me that is nice to see as I hope serving has the same effect on me. Cheatham was a hopeful, Christian man who saw the good in things. Not coming from a lot, he appreciated everything he had. His life was full of setbacks and hard times, but people like Cheatham paved the way for the new generation to hopefully have a better chance at a better life, thanks to their sacrifices.
“United States Census, 1900”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMFD-KPJ : 22 January 2022), John L Cheatham in entry for Agnes Cheatham, 1900.
“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPLW-7CY : accessed 5 May 2022), John L Cheatam in household of Alfred Cheatam, Norfolk Ward 1, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 19, sheet 5A, family 110, 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://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7Z43-GLZM : 25 December 2021), John L Cheatham, 1917-1918.
“Spanish Flu.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu.
“1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Mar. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html.
“Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:8WJP-HDPZ : 21 January 2022), John L Cheatham, 3 Jul 1919; citing Marriage Registration, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, Virginia State Library and Archives, Richmond.
“United States Census, 1920”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJJ7-K7V : 4 February 2021), John Cheaton in entry for Herman Cheaton, 1920.
“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVYG-SZYF : 16 August 2019), John L Cheatham in entry for Buelah Cheatham, 19 Oct 1970; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Norfolk, , Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.
“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVY2-TPPW : 16 August 2019), John Langston Cheatham, 23 Nov 1979; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Norfolk, , Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.