The following excerpt is from an article (with photographs) published in 1919 in The National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race:

“Calhoun Colored School is located at Calhoun, in the agricultural County of Lowndes, southern Alabama, 27 miles south of Montgomery, on the main line of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Eighty five per cent of the people of the County are Colored, 95 per cent of the precinct.

“The School was founded in 1892 by Miss Mabel W. Dillingham and Miss Charlotte R. Thorn, Northern white workers at Hampton Institute. Shortly before nearly forty Negroes of the vicinity had lost their lives in a race conflict. After this catastrophe the people held religious services for two weeks, praying for a school from the North.

“Among the original trustees were Booker T. Washington, who continued in that office until his death, John Bigelow, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who was succeeded by Richard P. Hallowell. General Armstrong, though in failing health, gave invaluable endorsement and counsel.

“Lowndes and the adjacent Counties south and west were of the most neglected regions of the South. There was almost no Negro ownership of land. The crop lien tenancy conditions were unusually repressive. The cabins lacked even the crudest sanitary equipment. The meager public school funds of Lowndes County were divided between White and Colored in the ratio of thirteen to one per child.

“Conditions at once shaped the work into the following departments: First, the school centre for a limited number of boarding pupils, with farm and industries; second, instruction of pupils from the cabins; third, community work; fourth extension work into the County and gradually beyond.

“Miss Dillingham survived only two years of Calhoun’s early toils and hardships. Miss Thorn is still principal.”

The complete article is available at Internet Archive.
[What was the “race conflict” noted above? — Leslie]

See also: The Calhoun School Principal’s House is on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). An excerpt from the nomination form on NRHP website notes:

“The campus of Calhoun School consists of approximately ten acres and some seven structures. Unfortunately, most of the structures associated with the school’s early history have been torn down and replaced by contemporary buildings. These older structures include a dispensary, a teacher’s bungalow, and Hampton Cottage, all built between 1900-1930. The only building of historic nature from the earlier founding period is Hampton Cottage, the present principal’s residence. Originally built as one of the six teacher’s cottages, it has been used by the principals since 1947 when the founder’s residence, Thorn Cottage, burned.”
The complete nomination form is at Calhoun School, Lowndes County, Alabama, National Digital Assets, National Register of Historic Places.

**Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated 1891-1892. Last week’s post included research notes for documents dated 1868-1888.

The widow’s former enslaver offered testimony about the widow’s age, her children’s ages, the year of purchase, and the year he moved “his people” from Hampton, Virginia to Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Pension benefit applications from the widow and the guardian dragged on for more than 20 years and were eventually denied.

Widow — 425,390 / —–, Margaret Washington
Guardian — 162,426 / —–, Albert Portlock

Widow’s Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension, Margaret Washington, 16 November 1891
about 50 years old; post-office address, Hampton, Va.
[She married the soldier Isom Portlock] on the 1st day of October A.D. 1856 by Rev. Rich’d Parker at Norfolk, Va. … Claimant re-married … 1867 … [the soldier’s] legitimate children
Georgiana born November 1st 1859
Cyrus born September 15th, 1861
“Also personally appeared Lee Price, residing at Hampton, Va. and Annika [Amanda?] Robinson residing at same.”

Declaration for Original Pension of a Widow — Child or Children under Sixteen Years of age surviving, Margaret Washington, 10 December 1891
46 years old; residence, Hampton, Va.; post-office address, Hampton, Va.
“She was married under the name of Margaret Young to said Isom Portlock … 1856 by consent of former owners … names and dates of birth of all his legitimate children yet surviving who were under sixteen years of age at the father’s death,
Georgia Portlock, born Oct 1, 1859
Cyrus Portlock, born Sept 15, 1859
“Also personally appeared L.C. Williams, residing at No. 19 in Jefferson street, in Norfolk, Va. and Cyrus Portlock residing in Atlantic City, Norfolk, Va.
[Note: There are discrepancies in the reported birthdates — Leslie]

Names and P.O. addresses of officers and comrades of Co. F. 1st Reg’t U.S. Col. Cav., 31 March 1892

NameRankPresent P.O. Address
Jno. Walker2d Sgt.Elizabeth City, Pasquotank Co., NC
Beverly WestSgt.22 Cleveland St., Norfolk, Va.
Cuffy EmmersonPvt.Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
Wm. FullerPvt.Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
Henry SivillsPvt.Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
Edw. W. WhithersPvt.c/o J.F. Dezendorf, Norfolk, Va.
Isaac DeansPvt.Barboursville, Orange Co., Va.
Edw. ProctorPvt.South Mills, Camden Co., NC

Report from Special Examiner, Eastville, Virginia, to the Commissioner or Pensions, Washington, DC, 22 November 1892
“p.o. addresses are respectively: Georgiana until the Spring of 1893, Calhoun Colored School, Calhoun, Lowndes Co., Ala. After the Spring of 1893, Normal School, Hampton, Va., Cyrus, Atlantic City, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va. … Wm. B.F. Hudgins, who was the last owner of the mother and who appears to be a highly intelligent gentleman and to have a good memory, states that he bought the mother in 1858 and that she had two children then … Wm. Hudgins, moved his slaves off from Hampton to Dinwiddie, Va. in July 1861 … the soldier ‘kept company’ with one Jennie Selden after the mother of the minors was sold and sent away in 1858, that he ‘kept company’ with Jennie when his company was stationed in Norfolk for 7 [or 9?] months during service and that when his regiment was sent to Texas after the war ‘Jennie’ accompanied the soldier and occupied a tent with him there as his wife and was known by his surname although it is stated that they were not married and did not live together after service and that afterwards ‘Jennie’ would not have anything more to do with him.”

National Register of Historic Places — Final Nomination Form — Lambert’s Point Knitting Mill — #122-0934 reads in part:

“One of Norfolk’s most significant remaining historic industrial buildings from the late 19th century, Lambert’s Point Knitting Mill, built around 1895 to process cotton into cloth by carding, spinning, and knitting the fiber, was situated close to the Norfolk and Western Railway for easy transportation of raw materials and finished products. The mill featured the latest technology available, including steam heat, electric lights, and an automatic sprinkler system. In the early 20th century, there were at least 23 mill facilities in the Norfolk area, an indication of the city’s vitality as a port where shipping, manufacturing, and storage long dominated the waterfront and the city’s commercial thoroughfares. Lambert’s Point Knitting Mill is the sole survivor of those manufacturing facilities. With glass-block windows and a smooth concrete stucco exterior, the building is highlighted by a four-story tower on its south elevation. By 1910, the mill served as a woodworking and wood-processing facility.”

*Today’s post includes research notes from documents dated 1868-1888. Next week’s post will include research notes from documents dated 1891-1892.

The widow’s former enslaver offered testimony about the widow’s age, her children’s ages, the year of purchase, and the year he moved “his people” from Hampton, Virginia to Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Pension benefit applications from the widow and the guardian dragged on for more than 20 years and were eventually denied.


Widow — 425,390 / —–, Margaret Washington
Minor — 162,426 / —–, Albert Portlock (Gdn.)

Application of Guardian of Minor Children in order to Obtain Army Pension, Act July 14, 1862, Albert Portlock, 18 May 1868
42 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va. “Declaration as Guardian of the minor children of Isom Portlock… guardian of Georgiana Portlock & Cyrus Portlock …[Isom Portlock] died in Norfolk City, Virginia … [August 1897] ; that his death was caused by phthisis pulmonalis … dates of birth are Georgiana Portlock born July 1856, Cyrus Portlock born October 1859 … parents of said wards were married in Norfolk City, Virginia on the 2d day of October [1855] by Rev. Richard ParkerChas. C. Brown, Claim Agent, Norfolk, Va.
“Also personally appeared Rev. Pete Shepperd and Jacob Reddick, residents of Norfolk City, County of Norfolk, State of Virginia”

Handwritten letter from Cyrus Portlock, Norfolk, Virginia to Hon. John C. Black, Pension Bureau, 9 January 1888
“Dear Sir — Having put in my claim some time ago I write for information concerning it. I am the son of the late Isom Portlock, Co. F, U.S. Infantry. I wish you would let me know something concerning it whether pro or con in my favor.
Cyrus Portlock
Knitting Mills
Norfolk, Va.
c/o Eda Cowper [sp?]
[Note: The soldier’s son incorrectly reported that his father served in the infantry — Leslie]
[Note: There were several knitting mills in Norfolk. More research to determine which one this one is.– Leslie]

Sworn Statement, James Brooks, 27 December 1888
45 years old; residence, 255 Queen St. “That he was a corporal of Co. F…. he was well acquainted with Sergt. Isom Portlock … contracted a heavy cold at Fort Monroe about the months of Jan and February … layed [sic] for at least four weeks without tents on the cold ground in the snow, frost, and rain … great many soldiers caught their death of cold and Portlock was one of the victims. He lingered all through the army up to his discharge on the 4th of Feby 1866. … he died the immediate cause of his death was consumption he contracted in the service … he died on the 8th Dec 1867 … he had but little acquaintance with his family”

Sworn Statement, Cyrus Young and Frank Young, 27 December 1888
[C. Young] 58 years old; residence [illegible] Queen St., [Norfolk, Va.]
[F. Young] 55 years old; residence, [illegible] Queen St., [Norfolk, Va.]
“Each of them well acquainted with the claimant Margaret Portlock … now the wife of Cornelius Washington that they knew Isom Portlock before the war … they resided near neighbor to the claimant and claimant’s husband at that time … [Cyrus Young] says they served together up to discharge … each of them were present in the City of Norfolk when the soldier died. They cannot say whether the soldier had any doctor to treat him after being home. They heard from his wife Margaret one Doctor Crowder treated the soldier but … they are sure is deceased and the soldier lived but a short while”

Sworn Statement, Margaret Portlock, 27 December 1888
about 50 years old; residence, Norfolk Co., Va.;
“Ida born 15 day of July 1857 and she died Sept 1862 at Hampton, Va. and Georgeana born 1 day of Nov. 1859 still surviving and Cyrus born on 15 day of Sept 1861 … the soldier her husband died Dec 8th 1867 at Norfolk, Va. … she was married with the said Cornelius Washington on the 22 day of Jan 1870 at Dinwiddy [sic] County, Va., that the ceremony was read to her and Cornelius Washington but had no license, her marriage to the said Washington was witnessed by the white people known as the Wishburns of said county, she further states that her said first husband Portlock never were previous married till the marriage to her … the guardian known as Albert Portlock of said minors he is deceased some five years now … She has been informed by good authorities both of the surgeons of his regiment are deceased Dr. Samuel S. Manily died at Portsmouth, NY seven years ago. Dr. William B. Grey died at N. Orleans June 1873. … treated by one doctor name Crowder who are deceased now three years”

Sworn Statement, Barbara Vann, 28 December 1888
60 years old; “That she was well acquainted with the claimant Margaret Portlock now Margaret Washington before the war of 1861, that the claimant was married to Isom Portlock the year of 1856 in the City of Norfolk, Va. by the consent of her former owner, the claimant is the mother of three children by her said husband … Ida born 15 day of July 1857 and died Sept 1862 at Hampton, Va. Georgana born 1 day of Nov 1859 and Cyrus born 15 day of Sept 1861, she further states the soldier died Dec. 8th 1867 at Norfolk, Va. … after the death of the soldier the claimant married one Cornelius Washington on the 22 day of Jan 1870 at Dinwiddy [sic] … she was to both marriages of the claimant and births of the children and also present at the death of the soldier”

Due to technical difficulties I wasn’t able to announce this sooner.
I’m giving two presentations at the AAHGS Virtual Conference.
Details about the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society and the conference are on the website.

My session this afternoon (4:00 – 5:00pm) was “Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Research: Going Beyond the Pension Application.”
Tomorrow afternoon’s session (4:00 – 5:00pm) is “‘In the beginning, all America was Virginia'”: Research in the Old Dominion.”
Attendees will have access to all sessions for several weeks.

“Under pressure from the black community, in 1873 the City of Norfolk designated an area of the city specifically for African American burials. Black city councilman and Union war veteran James E. Fuller proposed it be named West Point Cemetery in 1885, and asked the city council to dedicate a section of the cemetery to his fellow black Civil War veterans. This resulted in the cemetery’s most distinguished feature, as well as a prominent example of African Americans exercising newfound political power during Reconstruction: a grouping of 58 headstones of African American Union Civil War soldiers and sailors, and a monument dedicated to their service. It took over 30 years for the money to be raised for the monument, which was completed in 1920, one of only a few similar known monuments in the South. The model for the soldier featured atop it was Norfolk native Sgt. William H. Carney. The 14-acre cemetery also contains a Potter’s Field, or burying ground for the indigent, of 55 headstones that predate the formal establishment of West Point by 30 years; an 1876 mausoleum for a local mason; and several family plots.”

Donna Bluemink and Tim Bonney created a database of West Point Cemetery burials. Their sources included the City of Norfolk Register of Deaths, 1852-1897, St. Mary’s Parish Records, and obituaries.

National Register of Historic Places — Final Nomination Form — West Point Cemetery — #122-5181
includes these facts:
“When federal policy allowed the Union army to enlist blacks, Norfolk was one of the few major cities in the South where blacks could be recruited because the area had been re-occupied by Union forces. After the Conscription Act of 1863 went into effect, northern recruiters flocked to Norfolk and offered bonuses of $300 to blacks who were willing to serve as substitutes for white draftees. The large amount of money that local blacks received led to the establishment of a bank for freedmen in Norfolk and it served as a model for freedmen’s banks in other cities.1 In addition to local blacks serving in northern units, they enlisted in the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Regiments on the peninsula, and the 36th, 37th, and 38th Infantry
Regiments which were organized in Norfolk and Portsmouth. About 1200 local blacks served. They distinguished themselves at the battles of Chaffin Farms, New Market Heights, Fair Oaks, Dutch Gap, and the sieges of Petersburg and Richmond. Many were cited for bravery and awarded medals.”

This infantryman and his brother Andrew Nimmer, Company B, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry both survived the war. The death certificate said that William is buried in West Point Cemetery, a cemetery for African American military in Norfolk, Virginia. Many of the witnesses — neighbors and comrades-in arms — had known the couple since childhood, attended their wedding, and their funerals. They knew their three children and commented on their birth dates and so on.

Invalid — 829,253 / 634,457
Widow — 544,554 / —–, Susan Nimmer
Minor — 594,683 / 441,730, Andrew Nimmer
, Gdn.

Marriage License [copy], William Nimmer and Susan Brock, 18 January 1871
Norfolk, Virginia. Marriage took place on 19 January 1871. Groom, 29 years old; bride, twenty-one years old. Both were single and resided in Norfolk, Virginia. Husband was born in Kempsville, Princess Anne Co., Va. to William Nimmo and Hannah Nimmo. Bride was born in Princess Anne Co., Va. to Sam. Brock and Penny Brock. Groom’s occupation was lighterman. Officiated by Rev. Wm. Lewis.

Declaration for Invalid Pension, William Nimmer, 23 July 1890
49 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, 92 Smith St., Norfolk Co., Virginia
“was honorably discharged in Key West, Fla. on the 5 day of January, 1866. That he is now unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of effect of eyesight and rheumatism in the back.”
“He hereby appoints, with full power of substitution and revocation, Josephine Miller & Co. [?] of Norfolk, state of Virginia.”
“Also personally appeared Joseph D. Miller, residing at Norfolk and D.B. Robinson, residing at Norfolk … their acquaintance with him for 6 years and 3 years, respectively.”

Transcript from the record of death, William Nimmer, 18 March 1892
Date of death: March 12, 1892; Age: 51 years; Color, sex, social condition, occupation: Colored, male, married, marketman; Birthplace: Virginia; Length of residence: All his life; Cause of death: Pneumonia phthisis and general debility; Place of death: 92 Smith St., Norfolk, Va.; Duration of last sickness: Several months; Place of burial, West Point Cemetery, Norfolk, Va.; Medical Attendant: Hy Smith, M.D. ; Undertaker: Jas. N. Jones
[Note — William Nimmer isn’t included in the database of burials for West Point Cemetery — Leslie]

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Susan Nimmer, 19 March 1892 [date stamped by Pension Office]
43 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.;
Three children born to Susan and William Nimmer were:
Samuel Nimmer, born 2d day of October 1878
Mary Louisa Nimmer, born 30th day of July 1882
Martha Ann Nimmer, born 30th day of September 1886

General Affidavit, Isaac White, 26 March 1892
51 years old; post-office address, 19 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va.
“That on 19 day of Jany 1871 he waited on William Nimmer as groomsman when he married claimant (Susan Brook was her maiden name. The ceremony was performed by Rev. William Lewis who is now dead on or about the above date. The reason the affiant is certain as to date of marriage is for the reason he has a private record of the same event … and further stated that this event occurred in the city of Norfolk.”

General Affidavit, Mrs. Ella Holoday and Hester A. Cross, 2 April 1892
[Holoday] 40 years old; post-office address, Norfolk, Va.
[Cross] 56 years old; post-office address, 86 Smith St., Norfolk, Va.
“That claimant is the widow of the late soldier who died on the 12th of March 1893, left the said widow in destitute circumstances with three small children, Samuel, Mary Louisa, and Martha Ann. The said widow’s physical condition disables her so much that she is greatly dependent upon charity as she has no means of support except manual labor…we [ae] intimate neighbors and see one another almost daily”

General Affidavit, Elizabeth Hunter, 2 April 1892
80 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Hull Street, Norfolk, Va.
“That she was the midwife employed by claimant when she gave birth to Samuel Oct 2nd 1878, to Mary Louisa on July 30th 1882, and to Martha Ann, Sept 30th 1886. The reason date is remembered is become the same is taken from family record and she attended claimant as doctor during the above event. Further states that claimant needs immediate assistance as she is left without any income or means of support except what she can earn by working when physically able.”

General Affidavit, Daniel Langley, 8 April 1892
46 years old;
“That [the soldier became ill] from exposure at Fort Taylor and Ships Island, Fla. about Feby, Mch, and April 1864. as well as by drinking bad water … was prostrated with the bone fever … saw him daily while in service and was in same organization therefore often on duty together and since his discharge saw almost daily and lived in proximity to each other”
Dr. Hy Smith treated him since his discharge and know that often gotten drugs from different apothecaries for said disabilities.”

General Affidavit, Susan Nimmer, 28 October 1892 [date stamped by Pension Office]
“That I am physically disable to do any work about 2/3 of my time consequently cannot earn sufficient money to meet daily wants. That I have three small children to care for making my circumstances distressing. That I have no means of support other than manual labor. That I have to be dependent upon others who are not legally bound to support me or my family.”

Declaration for Children Under Sixteen Years of Age, Andrew Nimmer, 19 April 1894
57 years old; “Samuel Nimmer, born October 2d, 1878; Mary Louise Nimmer, born July 30th, 1882; Martha Ann Nimmer, born Sept. 30th, 1886”
[Note: The word “dead” is written in pencil next to Samuel’s name — Leslie]

General Affidavit, Richard Williams, 16 June 1894
67 years old; Lee Avenue, Barbourville, Norfolk, Va.
“I knew the mother of the children … from when she was a little child and saw her often up to the day of her death. That I also was present at her marriage….I visited the family at least once week and was very intimate with them.”

Affidavits for Neighbors and General Purpose, Daniel Langley, 27 June 1894
49 years old; post-office address, 204 Queen St., Norfolk, Va. “That I was well acquainted with the late soldier William Nimmer and his wife. I know when he died with the disease commonly called consumption on Smith No. 92”

General Affidavit, Edmund Dozier, 3 July 1894
56 years old; residence, 138 Chapel St., Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That I was well acquainted with [the soldier and his wife] for many years and knew them prior their marriage to each other … that I was present at the funeral of the late soldier and often time I visited him during his last sickness which seemed to be a heavy cold and he suffered very much”

General Affidavit, Andrew Nimmer, 5 July 1894
“That the children for whom pension is claimed are Samuel, Mary L. and Martha and are now living with me …all of these children were under sixteen at the filing of the claim … Samuel is now over sixteen.”

Affidavit of Claimant, Elizabeth Hunter, 13 July 1894
post-office address, 31 Hull St., Norfolk, Va.
“I was midwife for each one of the children … I attended Susan Nimmer …during her confinement and at the time she gave birth”

General Affidavit, Daniel Langley and Edward M. Gould, 18 November 1895
[Langley] 50 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 143 Charlotte St., Norfolk, Va.
[Gould] 36 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 94 Smith Str., Norfolk, Va.
“Our acquaintance with the soldier and the mother of the minor children … has been many years previous to their deaths. Lived within a short distance to them both during their life-time. The mother … died Sept 19th 1893 on Smith St., Norfolk, Va. … surviving children are still living with their uncle Andrew Nimmo, without any means of support, whatever. As to the spelling of of the name ‘Nimmer’ it must have been done by the persons who prepared the papers in this claim. The name is spelled in this section ‘Nimmo’ by all who are familiar with the name.”

General Affidavit, Charles A. Proctor, 30 March 1896
50 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 118 Water St., Norfolk, Va.; “The affiant was well acquainted with both the soldier and his wife upwards of 40 years. Was present at their marriage which took place on Church St. near Queen St. in the city of Norfolk, Va. … [their son Samuel] has since died Feb’y 26th 1895 [the date the claim was filed]”

Letter from Geo. R. Gornto, Norfolk, Va. to Hon. D.C. Murphy, 31 July 1896
“Charles A. Proctor, Daniel Langley and Edward Gould they are all close friends of the family”

General Affidavit, Andrew Nimmo, 1 August 1896
60 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, corner Goff and Chapel Sts. Norfolk, Va.
“As guardian of the minor children of the late Wm. Nimmo. The affiant testifies that Samuel died on the 26th day of February 1895 at my house in the County of Norfolk, Va…. The children now living are Mary Louisa and Martha… As to the correct spelling of the soldier’s name I can only say that it is always spelt ‘Nimmo’ by all the old residents of this section. By the name being spelled in different ways must be due to the writers who prepare the affidavits.”

General Affidavit, Geo. R. Gornto, 1 March 1897
53 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 415 Church St., Norfolk, Va.
“The children she left by his wife whose name was Susan were Mary Louisa & Martha and Samuel. The last named died since the filing claim April 23rd 1894. Mary Louisa & Martha are still living with their Uncle Andrew Nimmo in Norfolk Co., Va. The affiants were well-acquainted with the soldier & wife many years.”

Photograph by John Bragg at Freedom’s Jubilee: An African American Journey

Charles City County, Virginia hosts a website Freedom’s Jubilee: An African American Journey. An excerpt from the section called “Fort Pocahontas: Black Troops Tested” states:
“At the war’s end Fort Pocahontas became a headquarters for the New Kent–Charles City subdistrict of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Assistant Superintendant [sic] for the district approved labor contracts, observed criminal proceedings, issued marriage licenses, organized schools, registered voters, helped unite families and provided relief to destitute elderly freedmen. The Assistant Superintendant [sic] also sought (unsuccessfully) to promote temperance. The agent resided at the Wilson house which was located within the fort and used as officer’s quarters. The house pictured here was moved from Southampton County to the fort during the fort’s restoration because of its similarity to the Wilson house.”

For more information about Record Group 105, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (BRFAL):

African American Records: Freedmen’s Bureau — a description is on the National Archives website.

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for State of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869 — a finding aid produced by the National Museum of African American History & Culture. The finding aid refers to National Archives Micropublication M1048 (67 rolls). The microfilm has been digitized and is available on several platforms.

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 — the National Archives descriptive pamphlet that serves as a finding aid for the Micropublication M1913 (203 rolls). The microfilm’s been digitized and is available on several platforms.

Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau — an interactive website that includes Freedmen’s Bureau offices as well as “the branches of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, Freedmen Schools, contraband camps, and even the location of battle sites where men who were in the US Colored Troops fought.”

*** Become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and join the Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project ***

Fort Pocahontas

This image of Fort Pocahontas is on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website.

Here’s an excerpt from the description on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website:
“Fort Pocahontas, a Civil War fort on the James River, is the best-preserved site in Virginia associated with African American Federal troops in combat. The United States Colored Troops (USCT) constructed the fort in 1864 under Brigadier General Edward Wild….Their defense of Fort Pocahontas ensured security for U.S. vessels on the James and the flow of supplies to Federal troops. The fort is a crescent-shaped, earthen fort with both flanks anchored on the river.”

National Register of Historic Places – Final Nomination Form — Fort Pocahontas – #018-5001 describes the site’s history, its significance, details about the participation of the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry and 2nd U.S. Colored Cavalry, and maps.

The soldier was killed in action at Fort Pocahontas, Virginia. His wife re-married and her second husband was appointed guardian of the soldier’s son, his only surviving child.

Widow – 105,405 / 84,935, Nancy Young
Minor -158,406 / 116,387, Rufus Young

Oath of Allegiance, Nancy Young, 1 December 1865
“I, Nancy Young, do solemnly swear in the presence of God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of States thereunder, that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing Rebellion with reference to the emancipation of of slaves so help me God.”
“Nancy Young — a resident of Norfolk County … aged 28 years … doth on her oath … in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress appeared July 14, 1862, that she is the widow of Nelson Young who killed on picket duty on Wilson’s Landing on James River on or about … Sept 1864 … she was married … January 1864 by the Rev. William Knott a regular minister of the Gospel of the MP Church and has had five children … whose names and ages are as follows: Claudius, dead; Mary Anne age dead; Angenetta dead; Rufus aged five years; Elton dead … [Nelson Young] was a free person at the time of enlisting … and had been free … of his being freeborn … I hereby constitute and appoint Leopold C.P. Cowper of Portsmouth, Va. as my true and lawful attorney.”
“And personally appeared Southall Bass and Mary Bass residents of Portsmouth … they were personally acquainted with Nancy Young … they have known the said applicant and her said husband for 20 years”

Sworn Statement, Southall Bass and Alinzo Elliott, 31 December 1866
“they have known Nancy Young … for more than twenty years … they lived within five miles of [Nelson and Nancy Young] for twenty years … [Rufus Young] is now living with his mother in Norfolk County, Virginia … that said child is now is his 7th year being born in 1859 Nov … they have often been to to their house and seen the mother since said child was an infant.”

Sworn Statement, Nancy Ridgeway, 5 September 1867
“mother of Rufus Young, only surviving orphan child of Nelson Young … born on the 18th day of November 1860”
“Also personally came before me Mary Bass aged twenty seven years and Susan Elliott aged fourteen years, residents of Norfolk County, … they knew well the late Nelson Young and Nancy … that they lived within two miles of them … they saw the mother and child in its first infancy, that they often have seen the mother and said child within a few days after its birth

Sworn Statement, Thomas Ridgeway, 28 February 1868
residence, Norfolk County, Virginia
“that he is the legal guardian of Rufus Young his ward whose father Nelson Young now deceased … guardian of the minor child of Nelson Young who died at Wilson’s Landing, Va. being killed on picket on James River while on duty … Nancy Young [soldier’s widow] and mother of the child aforesaid, Rufus Young, again married being now the wife of the said Thomas Ridgeway … the parents of his ward Rufus Young were married at the home of Jesse Watts in the county of Norfolk, Virginia on or about … Jany 1855 by the Rev. William Knott, a minister of the M.E. Church and that I do constitute and appoint Leopold C. P. Corprew of Portsmouth, Virginia my attorney”
“Also personally appeared Alonzo Elliott and Josiah Elliott, residents of Norfolk County, State of Virginia … that they were personally and intimately …. Nancy Young widow of the said Nelson Young did on the 9th day of January 1867 intermarry with one Thomas Ridgway … now the legal guardian of said Rufus Young, that they were present and witnesseth the said marriage … [the couple] were married by the Rev. Jeremiah Thomas, a minister of the [illegible] Church in the County of Norfolk, State of Va. “
“Also personally appeared before me the Rev. William Knott, a minister of the [illegible] Church”

Court Decree, County Court of Norfolk County, Virginia, 3 March 1868
“The Court doth appoint Thomas Ridgeway, Guardian to Rufus Young orphan of Nelson Young dec’d: and thereupon the said Thomas Ridgeway, appeared in court and together with Wm. H. Elliott and Josiah Elliott his securities, who justified on oath as to their sufficiency, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of One Thousand Dollars with condition according to law, which bond is ordered to be recorded.”

Sworn Statement, Nancy Ridgeway, 22 April 1868
“Her child Rufus Young was never baptized, that the children of colored persons were never submitted to this rite as she knows or believes.”
“Also personally appeared Venus Bivins by calling a midwife, aged fifty-five and Elizabeth Elliott, aged thirty-five years, residents of Norfolk County, Virginia … that they both were present at the time of the birth of and delivery of the above named Nancy Ridgeway when she was Nancy Young and the legal wife of Nelson Young … in the 18 day of Nov 1860 of her child Rufus Young”

Memorandum by Thomas M. Vincent, Assistant Adjutant General, 23 March 1868
“He is reported ‘Killed in action when on a search near Fort Pocahontas, Va. Augt. 1864. On Muster Roll dated Feby 4/66. ‘xx Was killed while skirmishing Augt. 28/64, where not known.’ Original Statements on file in this Office signed by the Co., Capt. He is reported ‘Killed August 18, 1864”

Sworn Statement, Dempsey Nash, Court Clerk, 13 July 1868
“It appears from the record in my office that on the 5th day of January 1867 a license was issued according to law to solemnize the marriage of Thomas Ridgeway and Nancy Young, a widow, both colored, and it further appears from the said record and the return of J.R.V. Thomas, a minister of the Gospel that he did on the 10th day of January 1867 duly celebrates the wrights [sic] matrimony.”

Declaration of Guardian of Minor Children for Increase Pension Under Act of July 25, 1866, 9 December 1876
“Thomas Ridgeway, aged about 45 years … mother of the child has remarried and that the date of birth of said ward is as follows 17th Nov 1860 … the maiden name of his mother was Nancy Elliott.”
“Also personally appeared Southall Bass and Thomas Riddick, residents of Portsmouth”
[Note: The word “increase” was handwritten and inserted before the word “pension” — Leslie]

Sworn Statement, Thomas Ridgeway, 30 June 1888
“Thomas Ridgeway, guardian to Rufus Young, orphan of Nelson Young … says that his post-office address is Portsmouth, Virginia”
“Also personally appeared Venus Bivins and Elizabeth Elliott”

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