Norfolk’s Growth


Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was established as a town in 1682, became a borough in 1736, and was incorporated as a city in 1845. Norfolk grew by annexation from 1887 through 1959.

Click on the map to the right or on Finding Aid: List of Norfolk & Portsmouth City Annexations (accessed 2 December 2018) for a larger image and a timeline that describe the city’s growth through annexation.


Nelson Tynes, Company B

After the war, Nelson Tynes settled in Berkley, an incorporated town in Norfolk County. It was annexed by the City of Norfolk in 1906.


Invalid – 652,523 / 497,048

Deposition, Thomas Brooks, 12 July 1890
50 years old, shoemaker, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known Nelson Tynes, the claimant since in the early part of the year 1866. … We have been neighbors most of the time.”


Deposition, Nelson Portlock, 12 July 1890
51 years old, farmer, post-office address Great Bridge, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known the claimant Nelson Tynes since my earliest recollection.  We were reared in the same neighborhood … he hurt his back while on fatigue duty unloading commissary stores.  I was not on the detail with him at the time but was on camp guard at the time and heard of it at once and that evening.”


Deposition, Stephen Riddick, 12 July 1890
55 years old, laborer, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known Nelson Tynes for the past thirty or more years…and since service for the past nineteen years we have lived continuously within hailing distance of each other and we have frequently worked together … he hurt his back while at Brazos Santiago Texas, in August 1865.”


Deposition, Anthony Bearman, 14 July 1890
46 years old, laborer, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … I have known the claimant, Nelson Tynes from my earliest recollection.  We were reared boys together in the same immediate neighborhood and associated together as play boys and as fellow laborers up to the date of his enlistment in the US Army … When he returned from the army in March 1866 we became neighbors and have been neighbors continuously ever since, and we have worked together at times.”


Deposition, John Coy, 14 July 1890
61 years old, farmer, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known the claimant Nelson Tynes for the pass [sic] thirty years and I served with him … a lot of us was detailed [sic] to store up barrels of flour.”


Deposition, Frank Sewall, 14 July 1890
60 years old, brick mason, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known and associated with the claimant Nelson Tynes, as a fellow laborer and neighbor continuously for the past sixteen years.”




West Lodge, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC, circa 1898

The Government Hospital for the Insane (now known as St. Elizabeth’s Hospital) was established in 1855. Though the hospital was at capacity with the mentally ill, a significant amount of space was made available for sick and wounded soldiers. The Navy also had personnel who were patients at the hospital.

The West Lodge for African American male patients was originally built in the 1850s. This photograph shows it as it was expanded in size circa 1898. The building was demolished in the 1960s.

See St. Elizabeth’s Hospital: A History by Thomas Otto for a complete history of the hospital. You might be especially interested in “Chapter 3: The Civil War Comes to St. Elizabeth’s.”


Thomas Land, Company A

Many soldiers were ravaged by chronic ailments stemming from their military service. Thomas Land was treated at the National Soldiers Home in Hampton, Virginia and at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC. The circumstances surrounding his move to the District of Columbia require investigation. 


Invalid – 1, 023,460 / 1,000,889
C – 2,563,239

Deposition, Thomas Land, 14 June 1893
56 years old; laborer; residence and post-office address, 112 Nicholson Street … “I first applied for pension about April 1891 with W.R. Drury. Jacob Odum and Lafayette White went with me to be my witnesses to identify me as they had been in my company. W.R. Drury was the only white man in the office that day. Mr. Drury wrote out my application for me and I signed it by touching the pen and Odum and White signed my paper in the same way.


Deposition, Jacob Odum, 14 June 1893
about 50 years old; laborer; 51 Fox Lane, Norfolk, Va. … “I have known Thomas Land ever since we were together in the Army and I was a witness for him when he applied for pension with W.R. Drury. I went there with Land that day to identify and Lafayette White went along to be his other witness. W.R. Drury was the only white man there that day. I touched the pen to Land’s application and we were then sworn by W.R. Drury. I am certain that W.R. Drury swore us as he was the only white man there at that time. I did not see anyone put the seal on the application.”


Deposition, Lafayette White, 14 June 1893
60 years old; laborer; residence and post-office address 133 St. Paul St, Norfolk, Va.
“I have known Thomas Land ever since we served together in the Army and I was a witness for him when he applied for pension at W.R. Drury’s office. Jacob Odum went along to be the other witness. W.R. Drury was the only white man there that day We all three signed Land’s application by touching the pen and we were then all sworn by W.R. Drury by holding up on hands. I am certain that W.R. Drury swore us as he was the only white man there.”


General Affidavit, Thomas Land, 20 February 1895
58 years old, post-office address is 112 Nicholson St., Norfolk


Questionnaire, Thomas Land, 6 August 1898
[Married?] Widower, Alice Way, Alice Land … died Aug 1880
[When, where, by whom] 1871, Norfolk, Rev. Tucker
[Record exists] Marriage register, Norfolk City
[Previously married] No
[Living children] None living


Deposition, Thomas Land, 31 December 1901
“I am 65 years of age, a carpet cleaner, and I reside at 296 Princess Anne Ave. … I was born and raised in Norfolk Co., Va. I was a slave: was owned by John J. Peters. Edward Land was my father. I have never gone under any other name than that of Thomas Land.
“I was in two long battles: in Chickahominie [sic] Swamp and Drury’s [sic] Bluff. Henry Tripp of my company was killed at the battle of Chickahominie [sic] less than 20 minutes after the engagement began. I was in a number of skirmishes….

“After enlistment in the army I remained around Va., up and down the James River; went to Gloster [sic], Yorktown, Ft. Powhatton [sic], etc., till the war closed and then they took us on a boat to Texas. We took the boat at City Point and landed at Brazos Santiago, Texas. We went to no other town in Texas. We were in Texas from the June 1st and remained there till about the next March.
Jeptha Garrard was my Col.; Sykes was Lt. Col.; Brown was Major; Charles Dey was my Capt.; William Ricker was 1st; Lt. Brown was 2d Lt.
Joseph Fuller was Ord. Sgt.; White, was a Duty Sgt.; Ricks, Bent and Fulford were also Sgts.; Isaac King was quartermaster Sgt….

“I get a pension of eight dollars a month under the New Law. I am totally deaf. I also suffer with my kidneys and lungs. I am ruptured; was ruptured while undergoing medical examination at Hampton, Va., in 1895. I was examined so roughly that I was ruptured as a result of same. I have had rheumatism for thirty-eight years. … I was in the hospital for it for three weeks…. I also contracted dysentery; lung trouble and eye trouble in service. … I was as hearty as a buck before I entered the army. I was examined by three doctors bedore I enlisted in service and was pronounced sound.
Mr. Hubard was my attorney. He charged me fifty cents for every letter he wrote for me. He also executes my vouchers. He charges me fifty cents for executing each voucher.”


Ancestry.com. U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers,
, [database on-line] (accessed 14 October 2011)
Thomas Land admitted 13 October 1905 … 22 March 1906; re-admitted 4 November 1911; disability, deafness; Protestant; upholsterer; nearest relative, brother, Frank Brown, 23 Gordon Ave., Norfolk, Va.


Declaration for Pension, Thomas Land, 17 May 1912
75 years old; resident of Norfolk County, Virginia … born August 15th, 1836 at Norfolk, Va. … His post-office address was 7 Burks Court, City of Norfolk, Va.


Letter from Government Hospital for the Insane to the Pension Bureau,
18 February 1919
“Thomas Land … died in this hospital on the 1 February 1919 … Cause of death; Primary, Senile dementia; Immediate, Broncho-pneumonia…. The hospital records show him to have been widowed.”


Pensioner Dropped, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions,
25 February 1919
“death Feb 1, 1919 … St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC

Peter Adams - GAR SwordsThe Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization whose members had been honorably discharged from the Union Army, Union Navy, Marines, and U.S. Revenue Cutter Service. Ceremonial swords from Peter Blackwell Adams’ days in the GAR have remained in his family.  These items (the sword on the right has been restored) are in the care of Michelle N. Feist whose great-great-grandmother Catherine (Blackwell) Carter was Peter Blackwell Adams’ sister. Many thanks to Michelle for sharing this photograph!

And a shout-out to Glenn Blackwell whose great-grandfather Royston Blackwell and Peter Blackwell Adams were first cousins!


Peter Adams, Company C

Peter Adams was probably in his eighties when he died at the National Soldiers Home not far from Fort Monroe in 1925. He owned several parcels of land in what’s now Hampton, Virginia. Entries with blue headings were shared by Adams’ first cousin 3x removed, Glenn Blackwell.


Invalid – 885,905 / 1,070,578

Claimant’s Affidavit, Peter Adams, 24 February 1893
52 years old … resident: Phoebus, Elizabeth City County, Virginia
“That his rupture was incurred in February 1864 at Mill Creek, Va. while drilling, that his horse which was young and unruly threw him upon the pommel of his saddle and this rupture has been a source of trouble to him ever since then … [As a result of contracting ‘La Grippe’ his eyesight became defective] it was good previous to that time.
“His rheumatism he first noticed in 1874 while cutting wood and hauling seine in Chesapeake Bay. As it prevented him from working at that kind of work.
“His left foot was injured while working at Fortress Monroe on Oct 12, 1872 in the Engineer Dept. A dump tray swinging around and it being dropped too quick by the soldier holding the trip line.”


General Affidavit, Caesar Mallory & Louis Seldon, 1 July 1901
62 years old and 65 years old, respectively; both residents of National Soldiers Home, Va.
“That they are and have been acquainted [with claimant] for 30 years and 29 years, respectively … That they also served with him in the same Company and Regiment … that he always was, and always has been, a man of sober and good moral character and [if he had any] vicious habits of any kind, they, the affiants would certainly know about it.”


Questionnaire, Peter Adams, 23 July 1921
[Born] Northumberland County, Va.
[Enlisted] Elizabeth City County, Va.
[Residence] Elizabeth City County, Va.
[Occupation] Laborer
[Enslaved] Slave, William D. Jones; free when enlisted
[Post-discharge residence] Elizabeth City County, Va.
[Current residence] National Soldiers Home, Va.
[Other names] Peter Blackwell Adams, father’s name was Blackwell


Death Certificate, Peter Adams, 1 February 1925
[Residence] Fox Hill Rd., Phoebus, Va.
[Informant] Henry J. Hall, National Soldiers Home, 6 June 1897
[Married] Yes but wife’s name not included
[Occupation] Laborer
[Birthplace] Virginia
[Parents’ names] Unknown
[Cause of death] Chronic nephritis
[Cemetery/Burial/Undertaker] National Cemetery, Va.; 3 February 1925; Jas. Buchanan, Natl Soldiers Home


Ancestry.com. U.S., Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960 [Original records: Burial Registers, compiled 1867-2006, documenting the period 1831-2006] (accessed 15 June 2018)
[1st of 2 non-consecutive pages]: Hampton National Cemetery; Died 1 February 1925;  Grave mark #880-A; His regiment was first entered as “1st USCT” but the “T” was struck through with red ink and replaced by “Cav.”
[2nd of 2 non-consecutive pages]: His regiment is recorded as “1st USCT” but it was not corrected. Next to his name there’s a handwritten note (in pen) “Died in Phoebas [sic], Va.”


Circuit Court, Elizabeth City County, Virginia, Annie James v. Eliza Ball etal, 22 May 1926
Peter Adams owned several lots of land at his death. When the property was sold, the proceeds were distributed to these relatives: Annie James, a full sister; Emily Norris, half-sister; Eliza Ball, half-sister; Margaret Ball, half-sister; James Blackwell, half-brother; Warner Neal and Edward Neal, children of Carrie Neal, a full sister; Catherine Carter, a deceased full sister. These individuals were named but their relationship to Peter Adams and/or abovenamed individuals was not defined: Emma Plummer, Cyrus Carter, Blackwell Carter, Eliza Wiggins, Walter A. Carter, John L. Carter, Willie Carter, Cora Hayden, and Carrie Rainey.

St. John's AME Church, Norfolk, Virginia

The congregation “began as an outreach effort around 1800 by the Cumberland Street Methodist Church, obtained its independence during the Civil War in 1863 and joined the A.M.E. connection in 1864. Thereafter, the congregation through its own efforts managed to erect what was then the largest black church edifice in Norfolk. They have taken an active role in Virginia A.M.E. affairs ever since.” —  National Register of Historic Places – Final Nomination Form – St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church – Norfolk Virginia – #122-0211

The illustration above is from Our Twin Cities of the Nineteenth Century (Norfolk and Portsmouth): Their Past, Present, and Future by Robert W. Lamb (1888).