Archive for the ‘Surname N’ Category

The soldier and his cousin went to Norfolk after being discharged from the service. The cousin worked in “the swamp” — presumably in the Dismal Swamp where laborers cut timber and produced naval stores — and saw little of him for a few years. The soldier married twice. There weren’t any children from the first marriage.

Invalid — 867,253 / 625,591
Widow — 979,256 / 737,267, Margaret Nelson

Marriage License, Joseph Nelson and Margaret Mitchell, 13 October 1868
Husband, 23 years old, widowed; wife, 24 years old, single. Both were born in Norfolk, Virginia; both resided in Norfolk, Virginia. Husband’s parents, Tony and Sally Nelson; wife’s parents, [blank]. Husband’s occupation, driver. Geo. T. Watkins, officiant, performed the ceremony in Norfolk on 15 October 1868.

Deposition, Joseph Nelson, 31 December 1901
about 59 or 60 years old; business, undertaker; residence and post-office address, 235 Charlotte St., Norfolk, Va.
“I was born in Suffolk, Va. a slave to Elisha Norfleet (decd). My father’s name was Toney Nelson and he was a slave to ‘Parson’ Keeling. My mother’s name was Sallie Norfleet and she was a slave to my master.”
“Immediately after my discharge I came to Norfolk and have resided here ever since.”
“I received over $200 bounty after I was discharged … but didn’t receive any back pay.
“My witnesses were Alonzo Hodges, Isaiah Nicholson (decd), Norman Pleasant, and George Goodson.”

General Affidavit, Edwin Ferby, 1 January 1912
70 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 16 4th Street

General Affidavit, Enoch Gordon, 1 February 1912
69 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, 263 Cumberland St.
“That I am first cousin to the soldier Joseph Nelson and I in fact am the only near relative now living now that I know of … When we were discharged we all came to Norfolk, Va. and I worked in swamp & saw very little soldier first two years and about two years after discharge … [soldier’s first wife] died in Norfolk, Va. soon after the close of the war”

General Affidavit, Rebecca Mackey, 1 February 1912
63 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 32 Ave. A, Huntersville
“That the soldier Joseph Nelson and his first wife lived with my mother Susan Lowery where Mrs. Nelson died on Fenchurch St., Norfolk, Va. and was buried by undertaker Salzberg and is now also dead … Joseph Nelson remarried to Margaret the claimant. There was [sic] no children by soldier’s first union.”

General Affidavit, Cuetta Wilson, 1 February 1912
61 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, 35 Ave. A, 9th Ward           
“That Joseph Nelson’s first wife died in my mother Susan Lowery’s house. We were then living on Fenchurch St. between Holt & Mariner St. Norfolk, Va. and while I can’t remember this Mrs. Nelson’s name, I being young and so much excitement in those days, yet I do remember her as a corpse and about undertaker Salzberg’s burying her. Her husband Joseph Nelson worked for this undertaker at time Mrs. Nelson died. Mr. Salzberg has been dead several years….it was a year and more than a year after first Mrs. Nelson died before Joseph Nelson married Margaret.”

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The applicant was the couple’s adult daughter. The midwife who delivered her testified that the applicant’s parents had been enslaved in Chowan County, North Carolina where they had a “slave marriage.”

Minor — 411,416 / 331,910, Harriet Allen

General Affidavit, Nathaniel Davis, 30 January 1890
52 years old; “citizen, Town of Norfolk … 257 Green [or is it Queen Street? — Leslie] St., Norfolk Co., Va.
“That he knew Willis Nixon from his return from army … was present at the time of his death which occurred in August 1868 … knows these facts from having lived in his house at time and having raised applicant from childhood. Mariah Davis age 53 living 257 Green [as above …Leslie] testifies to same facts as Nathaniel Davis. Penny Nixon the wife of Willis Nixon died in August 1883. She died in Mariah Davis’ house in Portsmouth, Va.”

General Affidavit, Richard Thompson, 14 Feburary 1890
34 years old; “citizen, Town of Norfolk … 283 [or is it 288? 238? — Leslie] Cumberland St. … “That he knew Willis Nixon from the time of his return from Army … Affiant waited on him during his sickness and was present at his death and attended his funeral. Also knows Harriet Allen daughter of soldier … his only child … Dr. Jassle attended him but is now dead. Emma Jane Ferebee, 32 years of age, living Springfield, Norfolk Co., Va. testifies to same, their knowledge is derived from having known the family well….”

Physician’s Affidavit, Harriet Allen, 15 February 1890
“citizen, Town of Norfolk, No. 19 Fifth St. … That she is unable to give the testimony of Doctors as there was none in attendance that she knows of, none who attended her father or mother, that she was young at the time and is entirely dept on the testimony of his comrades & friends…”

General Affidavit, Matilda Chambers, 15 February 1890
52 years old; “citizen, Town of Norfolk … Chapel Lane No. 21 … [that she knew] Harriet Allen from time of birth, that she was present when she was born and waited on mother in her confinement … January 1859 was the month and year … [the applicant’s mother and father] belonged to John Thompson in 1858 and were married on his farm in Chowan Co., NC. Know fact from having been present at time when married. Penny Nixon had two other children which were younger. They died in 1865, the same year and only one month after heir mother…”

General Affidavit, Mariah Davis, 30 January 1890
53 years old; “citizen, Town of Norfolk … 257 Queen St. … That she knew Penny & Willis Nixon, knew they were married, was present at time June 1858, cannot give exact date, that they had three children: Harriett, Willliam, and Henrietta
Harriet was born January 1861 living
Willliam ” ” ” August 1863 dead
Henrietta ” ” ” October 1864 dead
My knowledge of facts are derived from being present at time of birth but am unable to give a more accurate statement but know the month and year …”

General Affidavit, Ellen Johnson, 26 February 1890
45 years old; “citizen, Town of Norfolk … 158 Brewer St. … That she knew Willis Nixon, that he died close to my residence, that she visited him in last sickness, that he had been afflicted with what I supposed to be consumption … wasting away for years before death until he was a mere skeleton …”

General Affidavit, Thornton Johnson, 26 February 1890
52 years old; “citizen, Town of Norfolk … 158 Brewer St. … That he knew Willis Nixon, that he visited him frequently during his last illness … that he died on August 1872 I think I know that I attended his funeral and present when he died …”

General Affidavit, Edward Bray and America Hall, 5 March 1890
[Bray] 42 years old; residence, Princess Anne Rd., Norfolk Co., Va.
[Hall] 45 years old; 56 North Street, Norfolk, Va.
Norfolk County, Va. “That they knew Willis Nixon that they knew him from time of his return from Army until his death … finally died at Currituck Co., NC on or about 1869 … attended his funeral and assisted in burrying him. Also know Harriet Allen and know she is the only child of Willis Nixon, this knowledge is derived from long acquaintance and being intmate with the family until the present time.”

General Affidavit, Harriet Allen, 2 July 1890
29 years old; “Her father Willis Nixon died in 1868 August 3rd … her statements were made from what was told her by her uncle Nathaniel Davis that he had miscalucated the time and made it 1868 instead of 1869, that she was quite young and could not give dates from her own knowledge and was entirely dependent on others’ statements, that what she can learn from Maria Davis‘s statement was correct she being present when applicant was born and asserts that it was on the first month of 1861, the year the soldiers from her section entered in war of the rebellion, and this is what fastens the correct time of her memory. Claimant prays that the correct dates of August 3rd 1869 and the date of birth January 1861 be accepted as amendatory to her original statements in Declaration and that such corrections be accepted in proof of her claim.”

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During his service, the soldier assisted the regimental blacksmith by removing old shoes from the horses, paring their feet, and putting on new shoes.

Invalid – 723, 609 / 531,384
Widow – 974,229 / 735,329, Hannah Nelson

Deposition, Arthur Nelson, 17 May 1893
“fifty odd years … occupation, laborer when able to work”; post-office address, Lamberts’ Point Road, Norfolk, Va.
“Q: Do you know W.R. Drury?
A: Yes. he is the man that filed my new law claim. Soon after the new law claim I went to the office of Mr. Drury with London Hurdle and Alfred Felton as identifying witnesses to make my application under the new law. … Drury swore me by having me kiss the Book, at least I am not certain that I did so. W.R. Drury swore me by my holding up my hand. I do not remember that Drury swore Hurdle and Felton.
” Q: Do you know B.A. Richardson, Jr.?
A: I do not know him and never heard of him before. … I don’t know how Richardson’s name happens to be on my application.”

Deposition, Ephraim Jeder, 12 April 1894
about 73 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 138 Queen St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known Arthur Nelson … for the past 20 years. .. Some time in the latter part of June 1893 Mrs. Belva A. Lockwood asked me to be a witness for Arthur Nelson on an applicaiton for pension she had just written up and I signed that application by mark as I cannot write my name, and I then went to the office of R. Bagnall, Jr., N.P., on Church St the city. ….”
“Q: Do you know Jno. T. Wilson?
A: Yes, sir. He is a white man. He was in Mrs. Lockwood’s office when I signed that paper. And he was sitting by Mrs. Lockwood at the table on which she was writing and he was signing his name to a great number of papers but I cannot say whether or not he signed his name to Arthur Nelson’s application….”
“Q: Have you another name beside that of Ephraim Jeter?
A: Yes, sir. I am sometimes called Lasker…”

Deposition, Dempsey E. Ferebee, 16 April 1894
60 years old; occupation, minister of the gospel; residence and post-office address, 22 Lincoln St., Norfolk, Va.
I have known Arthur Nelson “well for the past 30 years. … I was a witness for him about a year ago on his application for pension executed before R. Bagnall, Jr. N.P. in his office on Church St. in this city. …”

Deposition, David A. Brown, 18 April 1894
39 years old; occupation, shoemaker; post-office address, 339 Church St., Norfolk, Va.
“Q: Do you know a colored man by the name of Arthur Nelson?
A: No, sir.
Q: Do you know one Dempsey E. Ferebee?
A: No, sir…”

Deposition, Humphrey McCoy, 20 April 1894
34 years old; occupation, porter; post-office address, 70 Willoughby St., Norfolk, Va.
“Q: Do you know Arthur Nelson the claimant?
A: No, sir….I am employed just across the street from where R. Bagnall Jr. office was at that time and he called me over to his office to attest the signature of someone and I wrote my name as it appears on [Nelson’s] papers.”

Deposition, John T. Wilson, 28 April 1894
50 years old; occupation, “collector”; post-office address and residence, 92 Clay Ave., Norfolk, Va.
“Q. Do you know a colored man named Arthur Nelson?
A: Yes, sir. I do.
[Wilson says that he remembers Nelson coming in to Lockwood’s office] “and I think I signed his applicaiton probably as a witness to his identity.”

Deposition, London Hurdle, 4 June 1896
65 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, Lamberts Point, Norfolk, Va.
“I have known [the claimant] since October 1862. I came inside the Union lines in October 1862 and I found the claimant at work in the Quartermaster Dept at Norfolk, Va. and we worked together in said Dept from said date until he (the clt) enlisted in Co. F, 1st USCC. He preceded me in service about a week.”
“In 1867 clt went to work for Geo. W. Jennings on his farm near Lamberts Pt., Va. and I went to work at the same place in 1868 and we worked there together for the following 20 years when Mr. Jennings died.”

Deposition, Beverly West, 4 June 1896
63 years old; occupation, brickmason; post-office address, 9 Hampton Court, Norfolk, Va.
“I was the Orderly Sergeant of Co. F, 1st USCC from its organiztation in December 1863 until its muster out of service Feby 4th 1866.”

Deposition, John Parsons, 4 June 1896
50 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, cor Maltby Ave & Princess Ann Road (Norfolk, Va.)
“I have known [the claimant] since in Dec 1863. I think we enlisted about the same time in Co. F 1st USCC in December 1863…. I have not known much of him since our discharge from service.
“I was with my company all the time during service …. I was not intimately associated with claimant during service — only knew him in a casual way as a member of the company.”

Deposition, Joshua Brickhouse, 6 June 1896
about 59 years old; occupation, blacksmith; post-office address, 4 [or 9?] Rhea’s Lane, Norfolk, Va.
“I knew Arthur Nelson, the claimant, who served with me … I did not know him prior to enlistment and I have not associated with him much since service.”

Deposition, Henry Fentress, 11 June 1896
52 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I knew Arthur Nelson during his service in said company. I knew him well for seven or eight years before the late war but I have only seen him a time or two since our muster out of service with the company Feby 4, 1866.”

Deposition, William Fuller, 11 June 1896
62; no occupation; post-office address, Soldiers Home, Elizabeth City County, Va.
“I first met [claimant] after joining the company. I knew him well during service but have not seen much of him since our discharge from service.”

Deposition, Arthur Nelson, 13 June 1896
about 58 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office, Lamberts Point, Norfolk, Va.
“If Lieut. Garrett can be found he may remember that he took my house from me while we were still at Fort Monroe, Va. in the spring of 1864.
Q: Why did Lieut. Garrett take the house?
A: I can’t say. I was detached from the company to assist the regimental blacksmith, who was a white man. Don’t know his name. I was detailed to assist him in shoeing horses and I staid [sic] with him as his assistant until in the spring of 1865 when we got ready to go to Texas. Then I was put in charge of Major Sykes horses on the trip from City Pt., Va. to Brazos Santiago Texas and I attended to his horses after arriving in Texas while I was detailed to help London Hurdle in the Commissary Dept. in which I continued until I was muster [sic] out service.
Q: What duty did you do when assisting the regimental blacksmith?
A: I was employed in removing old shoes from the horses first in paring their feet and putting new shoes on their feet.”

Questionnaire (Form 3-402), Arthur Nelson, 12 March 1898
[married] yes, Hannah Nelson, Hannah Old
[where, when, by whom] 1859? Princess Anne Co., Va., married by consent of owners
[record] “no license granted in those days”
[previous marriage] no
[living children] Alex; Georgianna; Elizabeth; Sanderson [????]; Arthur; Cornelius … all over 22 yrs

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Hannah Nelson, 30 October 1911
68 years old … she was married under the name of Hannah Old to said soldier at Princess Anne County, Va. … Also personally appeared London Hurdle residing at Norfolk, Va. … Alfred Felton residing at Norfolk, Va..”

General Affidavit, Hannah Nelson, 30 October 1911
68 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Lamberts Point Road, Norfolk, Va.
“… they were married with the consent of their owners in 1859 … she was sixteen years of age at the time of their marriage and had not been previously married … that all of their children are over the age of sixteen years … “

General Affidavit, London Hurdle and Alfred Felton, 31 Occtober 1911
[Hurdle] 81 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 9 Star Street, Norfolk, Va.
[Felton] 82 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va; post-office address, 40 Avenue A, Norfolk, Va.
“That they were both well acquainted with the claimant and and her late husband Arthur Nelson since 1862…. that they know that he was married to the claimant prior to the war….that they have both lived near to the claimant and her husband ever since they came back from Texas at the close of the war.”

Deposition, Hannah Nelson, 16 December 1911
about 68 years old; occupation, washing and housework; post-office address, Lamberts Point Road, Norfolk, Va.

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During his service, this soldier had the misfortune of losing horse equipment and camp and garrison equipment. At discharge, he owed the U.S. Army $6.23. The 2020 estimated equivalent is $105.00.
— Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with the United States Colored Troops [microform]: 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored), 6th United States Colored Cavalry (1997). Reel 0010 – 1st United States Colored Cavalry: Moss, James – Polk, James (online at http://www.archive.org/details/compiledmili0010akesunit). Nash’s Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) can be viewed at n139-n155.  


Widow  – 430,661 / —– , Gloria Nash


Widow’s Declaration for Pension, Gloria Nash, 20 August 1890 
58 years old; address, Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, c/o W.R. Drury, Norfolk, Va.  “Robert Nash] contracted a heavy cold resulting in consumption and general debility contracted in service and died on the 30th day of March 1868 … she was married under the name of Gloria Halstead to Robert Nash on the 24th day of December 1863 by master’s consent at Norfolk Co., Va. … names and dates of births of all his legitimate children yet surviving who were under sixteen years of age at father’s death:
William Nash born October 15th, 1859;
Robert Nash born January 15th, 1861;
James Nash born February 22nd, 1862″


Questionnaire (Form 3-060) Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, on/about 29 October 1890
“t is alleged that Robert Nash enlisted in year 1863 and served as a private in Co. B, 1 USC Cav … and was discharged at “not stated” … It is also alleged that while on duty …he was disabled by consumption and debility died Mar. 30, 1868 … was treated in hospitals of which the names, location, and dates of treatment are as follows:  none alleged ….”

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Andrew Nimmer was born enslaved in Princess Anne County, Virginia where he and the enslaver shared a surname. This application describes the spelling variants that identified each race. Andrew survived a horse’s kick to the forehead, was treated for various ailments, and mustered out with his regiment at Brazos Santiago, Texas. His comrades give inconsistent reports about the injury and express different opinions about his disability’s authenticity. Andrew’s brother William Nimmer who served in Company B, 2nd U.S. Colored Troops also survived the war. Andrew became the guardian of his brother’s children. 

Invalid — 751,196 / 729,733

Deposition, Isaac Armstrong, 19 June 1891
51 years old; laborer; residence and post-office address, No. 49 St. Paul St., Norfolk … “I knew [him] well during service and I have known him well ever since our discharge from service … One morning when grooming his horse it kicked him in the forehead and hurt him quite badly and after that he complained of pains in his head. Then soon after we arrived at Brazos Santiago Texas in July 1865 his eyes became very sore and weak but this may have been caused by the glare of the sun on the white sand on which we were camped. Many of our men became partly blind from said cause.”

Deposition, William Reed, 19 June 1891
48 years old; no occupation; address No. 78 Jefferson St., Norfolk … “[I] have known him quite well since our discharge”

Deposition, James Cornick, 29 June 1891
46 years; laborer; residence and post-office No. 129 Broad St, Norfolk, Va. “I have known the claimant Andrew Nimmer all my life. I was reared in the same neighborhood with him … I have also known him well since his discharge from service in 1866 and have worked with him a great deal since that time.”

Deposition, Moses Grimes, 30 June 1891
58 years old; teamster; residence and post-office address, No. 82 Smith St., Norfolk … “I knew him prior to enlistment.”

Deposition, James Langley, 30 June 1891
55 years old, laborer … residence and post-office address, No. 17 Brickhouse Row, Norfolk … “I remember of his having been kicked by his horse in the spring of 1864 when we were in camp of instruction at Fort Monroe, Va. The blow he received from the kick of his horse was in his forehead.”

Deposition, Isaac Kellum, 1 July 1891
64 years old, laborer, residence and post-office address, No. 3 Smith St, Norfolk Va. “I have known the claimant Andrew Nimmo from his 9th year and served with him in Co B, 1st USCC and we have worked a great deal together since our discharge from service …”

Deposition, Andrew Nimmo, 2 January 1892
55 years old; dairyman; post office address c/o Alexander Redd Co., Princess Anne Ave. & Chapel St., Norfolk, Va. … The name Nemo as given in my claim is and was a clerical error upon the part of the person who wrote my name to my application for pension and on all other papers in my claim.

“I was sound as a dollar when I enlisted and before being mustered in to service at Fort Monroe, Va., I was stripped naked and thoroughly examined by a Board of Surgeons.

“I claim pension on account of impaired vision a result of a kick from my a horse over my left eye. Rheumatism and pneumonia and resulting disease of throat and chest. The first trouble I had was from the kick of my a horse. Not my horse but from the horse immediately in front of me. It happened in the following manner: While at Camp of Instruction near Fort Monroe, Va. about March 1864, we were out practicing at firing at a target and as our horses were not used to firing they were hard to manage and the horse rode by Sergt. Alex Richardson of Co B kicked me over my left eye and knocked me from my horse to the ground.

“Q: In what position was the company at the time the horse kicked you?
A: We rode in single file past a target on our right and as each man come abreast of the target he fired his revolver and passed on riding in a circle and coming back past the target. The now Commissioned officers rode in the single line and Sergeant Richardson was next in front of me and when he fired at the target his horse began to kick and knocked me from my horse. The test to which I refer was the first practice we had at target practice. I do not know what became of Sergt. Richardson as I have not seen him since our muster out of service. Captain McIntyre was Commanding the Company at the time I was kicked but I do not know where he is. I did not go to hospital for treatment for said injury to my left eye but attended sick call for about a week. Dr. Gray our Asst. Surgeon treated me. I claim that the injury by said kick injured the sight of my left eye and that my sight in said eye has been weak and impaired ever since. …

“I do not remember who I was bunking with me [sic] at that time but I think it was Humphrey McCoy although it may have been Martin Corprew or Major Chapman with whom I also tented and bunked at times.”

Deposition, Martin Corporal, 21 January 1892
58 years old; no occupation, blind; residence and postoffice address, No. 17 New Bedford Lane, Norfolk, Va. … “I have known the claimant Andrew Nimmo or Nimmer since 1848 … We tented together nearly all the time during service. I was present clt was kicked by a horse at Fort Monroe, Va. in the Spring of 1864. We were drilling at the time, were shooting at a target and we as well as our horses being green at the business there was a good deal of cutting up. If my memory serves me right it was Sergeant Alex Richardson horse that kicked him but it seems to me that it was not Richardson that rode the horse at the time. Clt was quite badly hurt by said kick in the forehead … It occurs to me too that one of the horses feet struck him in his breast but of this I will not be positive.”

Deposition, Louis Dawley, 21 January 1892
55 years old; teamster; residence and postoffice address No. 379 Church St., Norfolk, Va. … “I served as a Sergeant in Co B … I knew the claimant well during his service in said Co & Regt. I have also known him since discharge …”

Deposition, Isaac Kellam, 21 January 1892
64 years old; laborer; residence and postoffice address, No. 3 Smith St., Norfolk, Va. … “I have known the Claimant Andrew Nimmer not Nemo, from his early boyhood … I was company cook of said company and was familiar with every man in the company. I know that he suffered from the kick of a horse in his forehead at Fort Monroe, Va., in the spring of 1864. I did not see him at the moment he received the blow but I saw him almost immediately thereafter.…In May 1864 Clt contracted cold from a wetting received in swimming his horse (with brother members of the Co., across Chickahominy River, Va. said cold was followed by a cough which became much worse after we went to Texas in 1865. “

Deposition, Isaac Moseley, 21 January 1892
47 years old; laborer; residence and postoffice address, No. 61 Pulaski St., Norfolk, Va. … I have known the claimant Andrew Nimo or Nimmo since in the early part of the year 1862 and we enlisted together in Co. B 1st USCC and since discharge from service we have lived in the same immediate neighborhood….We were drilling at target practice and a man by the name of Pritchet I think, was riding Sergt Alex Richardson’s horse and was next in front of clt as we filed by the target and as Pritchet fired at the target the horse he was riding began to rear and plunge and kicked clt over the left eye cutting a gash just over the left eyebrow. Ever since that time clt has complained of a weakness in the sight of his left eye.”

Deposition, Anthony Pierce, 21 January 1892
49 years old; farmer; residence and postoffice address, Dawn, Caroline County, Virginia … served as a sergeant in Co B … “I remember Andrew Nimmo of said company well. He was a heavy set yellow man. I have not seen him since our discharge from service but I remember him well.

“Q: Did the claimant suffer from any disability during his service in Co. B, 1st USCC?
A: Yes, sir. He was hurt in some way at Fort Monroe, Va. in the spring of 1864. I was off on recruiting service at the time and only knew of it from hearing others speak of it. He was hurt on his head by a horse. I think a horse kicked him. Then after we went to Texas something got the matter with him. I remember he was right bad off when we were mustered out of service.”

Deposition, John Whitehurst, 21 January 1892
66 years old; brickmaker; residence and postoffice address, No. 710 Goff St., Norfolk Va. I knew Nimmo from our enlistment … and I knew him well during his service.

“Q: Did claimant suffer from any disability during his service in Co B, 1st USCC?
A: Yes sir. He was ailing pretty badly for several months (two or three) prior to our muster out of service. We were in Texas at the time, at Brazos Santiago. I do not know just what ailed him but he complained of pains in his legs, arms and shoulder … There were so many of our men complaining at the time that I ceased to take much interest in particular cases.

Deposition, Enos Dennis, 2 February 1892
48 years old; laborer; residence and post officeaddress No. 819 Crabb St., Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va. “We served together in Co B … I remember well that clt was kicked by a horse while drilling at target practice near Fort Monroe, Va. in the spring of 1864. I do not now remember where on his person he was injured. No I can’t locate the injury although I saw it when it was incurred. It may have been in his head as he states, but I cannot say as much with certainty. After we went to Texas Clt had trouble with his eyes, but that was a common complaint with our men … I did not pay much attention to him as I thought he was feigning sickness in order to keep off duty.”

Deposition, Humphrey McCoy, 2 February 1892
45 years old; huckster; residence and post-office address No. 70 Willoughby St., Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I did not bunk or tent with him at any time during service but I knew him well as a member of the Company with me. I saw him kicked in the forehead near Fort Monroe, Va. in March 1864. We were practicing shooting at a target and Sergt. Richardson rode right in front of Clt and as he fired at the target his, Richardson, horse began to rear and kick. This caused clt’s horse to become fractious and in trying to retain his seat the clt leaned forward to his horse’s neck and just then Richardson’s horse kicked him in the forehead. I did not see the extent of the injury at the time but when we returned to camp I saw a gash over one of his eyes. I think it was the left one. Sergt Richardson horse kicked other men the same day on which he kicked clt. Among the number was my Cousin Peter McCoy. He kicked his great toe and bent it to an upright position. After that accident Clt frequently complained of misery in the front part of his head and that he could not see good. … I was not with the Company at the time he suffered from this cold, I being over detached service at White Ranch, Texas at the time and clt was at Brazos Santiago.”

Letter from H.P. Maxwell, Special Examiner to Commissioner of Pensions, 2 February 1892
“[Claimant Andrew Nimmo] is a phlegmatic and ignorant colored man. Is of a very low order of intelligence but is said to be truthful.

“The evidence now in the claim establishes the fact that claimant was kicked by a horse as he alleges, but there seems to be no existing disability as a result of such injury. It is also fairly well established by competent testimony that claimant contracted a severe cold in or about Dec 1865 when the company to which he belonged was camped at Brazos Santiago Texas and that a hacking cough and complaints of rheumatism were results which followed said severe cold. All the witnesses appear to agree on this point. It is also shown that claimant has suffered from a cough and periodical attacks of rheumatism every year since discharge. I have had personal knowledge of claimant for a little more than seven years last past, and I have personal acknowledged that he has suffered from a troublesome cough all the time while in my presence and that I have frequently seen him when so affect by which he claims the rheumatism that he had but little motion in his shoulders & arms….

“The white family, to which claimant belonged prior to the war, spell their names “Nimmo” while the colored people of the family pronounce and spell their names “Nimmer” which is the claimant’s proper name. I recommend the admission of the Claim believing it meritorious.”

Questionnaire, Andrew Nimmer, 28 April 1898
[Married?] Yes, Luceylin Nimmer,  Luceylyn Pierce
[When, where, by whom] June 19, 1869, Norfolk, Va., Rev. Thornton McCoy
[Record?] Marriage register, Norfolk Co., Clerk’s Office
[Previously married] Yes, Amy Nimmer, divorced prior to 1869, now dead
[Living children?] Andrew, 23 years; Willie, 21 years; Lula, 18 years; Moses, James, 17 years; Joseph, April 12, 1889; Joseph, Moses, June 15, 1886

Deposition, Andrew Nimmo, 8 February 1901
65 years old; farm laborer and cart driver; post-office address, 2 Hunter St., Norfolk, Va. … “Andrew Nimmo is my full and complete name… My father’s name was William Nimmo and my mother Harriet Nimmo.”

“I had three brothers, all dead. William, John and Thomas. William served in B-2nd USC Inf and died 7 years ago and his widow Susan Nimmo died a year later before his pension came. Their children were claimed for: Mary Louise and Martha Ann and Samuel, but Samuel died before the pension was allowed, but after the affidavits were made. I am their guardian and have the care and custody for the children.

“I was a slave and Dr. Morgan, Kempsville, Princess Anne Co., Va. was my owner.
“I was born in Princess Anne Co., Va. and enlisted at Norfolk, Va. as a Pvt in Co B, 1st USC Cav. I enlisted in Nov or Dec 1863 and was discharged to a man by the name of Brown and never saw it again. We were not in any battles but were in several skirmishes, especially about Chickahominy [sic] Swamp, where we lost two men. We were dismounted at Bermuda Hundred.

“I was detailed for nine months to picket [or guard?] duty, here in Norfolk, the year Richmond fell. At Texas I was detailed to the com[missary?] department, for three or four months.

Jeff Gerrard was Col.; Also, Brown was Col., at discharge; Seip was Major; McIntyre was Capt.; Alfred Lawton was Sgt.; Dawley was our [illegible] Sgt.; Teicher [?] was a sgt.; Corpl Henry Butts.
“Moses Grimes, [illegible] Mosley and Martin Corprew were my tentmates.
“I was not in hospital at any time….

John Whithus, Moses Grimes, Isaac Kallum, Enos Dennis were witnesses in my pension claim.
“I have testified for so many comrades that it is difficult to mention all. I testified for William Gary, I cannot think of any others. Gary was not my sgt and I testified the condition since the war William Ward, dead, started my pension claim. He was my atty.

“The name of my wife is Lucelia and we were married in Norfolk, Va. in 1870 by Rev. Thornton McCoy. I got a divorce from my first wife, Amy, shortly before I married my present wife. The divorce was granted in Norfolk, Va.

“My wife had a slave husband who was sold away before the war. His name was Ephraim Tiller. He was never heard of afterward.

“Q: You give your resident address as 2 Hunter St. and your letters, containing your pension checks are addressed ‘care of Gallup & Wright.’
A: Henry C. Gallup [illegible] a grocery store at Goff & Chapel Sts and “has held my pension certificate almost since I have been a pensioner. He lets me have my pension certificate when I go to execute my voucher and then I ration it [illegible]. I borrowed $7 from him once. I left my certificate at his safe for safe keeping. I am afraid for fire. I am in his debt. I have lived near the foresaid and it is correct.”

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I.C. Norcom & Jeffrey T. Wilson

Two prominent residents of Portsmouth, Virginia — Israel C. Norcom and Jeffrey T. Wilson — contributed documentation to at least one veteran’s pension application. When a community leader vouched for a claimant, the researcher would do well to look into that person’s life story. Exploring the connection between the claimant and the witness has the potential to deliver interesting and useful material that would otherwise be missed.

Photograph used with permission of the African American Historical Society of Portsmouth (AAHSP).

“Israel C. Norcom, served as principal of Chestnut Street Colored School, a school established by the Peabody Fund, from 1884 to 1916. Norcom came to Portsmouth as a highly qualified and young teacher and administrator, the product of Andover Preparatory School, Yale University, and Harvard University. He was responsible for establishing an academic curriculum at Chestnut School and was a much-beloved principal. Three years after his death at the age of 60, a new high school for black students was named in his honor.”

— Cassandra Newby-Alexander and Mae Breckenridge-Haywood, and the African American Historical Society of PortsmouthPortsmouth, Virginia Black America Series. Charleston: Arcadia, 2003, page 21.

“[Israel C. Norcom] attended Emanuel AME Church which is still located in Portsmouth, Virginia on North Street. Norcom served as a secretary of the Trustee Board for many years until failing health brought about his resignation … secretary of the Tidewater Building and Loan Association, and he was one of the founders of the Southern Aid Insurance Company. He belonged to a Masonic lodge, the Acme Club of Norfolk, as well as several other civic and fraternal organizations.”

— Mae Breckenridge-Haywood and Dinah Walters. Inscriptions in Triumph: Tombstone Inscriptions from the African American Cemeteries of Mt. Calvary, Mt. Olive, Fisher’s Hill and Potter’s Field, Portsmouth, Virginia. Portsmouth: 1st Book Library, 2002, page 251




“Jeffrey T. Wilson was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1843. There is uncertainty about the ownership of his mother at the time of his birth and conflicting accounts, but Wilson appears to have been owned by the Charles A. Grice family, who he lived with beginning in 1853. Prior to then, he was living with his mother and stepfather (Moses Taylor?). According to his obituary, he learned to read and write in secret. Based on his diary, he was the body servant of A[lexander]. P. Grice, likely the son of his owner, who served with Company A, Cohoon’s Battalion, Virginia Infantry, at least during a part of 1862. In 1866, after being freed, Wilson enlisted and went to Europe with the U.S. Navy. When he returned home, he lived in the house he inherited from his mother. Wilson worked at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, as a laborer, and as a bailiff for the Federal Court at Norfolk. In his later years, from 1924 until his death in 1929, he wrote a column called “Colored Notes” for The Portsmouth Star. The column included social news, Wilson’s political views, and issues of race relations–all themes that occur throughout his diaries. Wilson was active in the Emmanuel AME Church in Portsmouth, where he taught Sunday school. In June of 1929, Wilson was hit by a car. He died at his ( son’s home, two months later, on August 25, 1929.”

— “Biography,” Jeffrey T. Wilson Diaries, 1913, 1928 (MS 2011-015), Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University ( https://digitalsc.lib.vt.edu/exhibits/show/wilsondiary/biography ) accessed February 3, 2019

There’s a lengthy feature story/obituary at “Jeffrey T. Wilson’s Obituary As Published in The Portsmouth Star
( http://www.racetimeplace.com/497Projects/2003students/carlos/JTWObit.htm ) accessed February 3, 2019


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