Posts Tagged ‘Mt. Olive Cemetery’

Though the soldier sustained a serious injury when his horse fell on him, he lived for many years. The chaos of these times is evident in witness testimony. The widow stated “I left my owner during the war, early part, don’t know the date and came to Suffolk, Va. which was then in the hands of the U.S. Army. I was there about a year and then Suffolk was evacuated and I came to Portsmouth, Va. and I have lived in and near Portsmouth, Va. ever since.” She later said “I drew rations from the government while the soldier was in the army. He got a paper from his captain and I carried that to the Warehouse near the Forty Wharf in Norfolk and got rations until just before he returned from Texas.”

Invalid — 737,873 / 549,035
Widow — 756,491 / 544,264, Martha Reddick

General Affidavit, Willis Murdaugh, 22 February 1890
60 years old; residence, Pearl Street, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That I have known the claimant … since his discharge from the service … near neighbors and seeing him very often.”

General Affidavit, Miles Carey, 22 February 1890
56 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I am well acquainted with the claimant having known him for 30 years … [and] by seeing him several times each week.”

General Affidavit, David Coleman, 19 March 1890
49 years old; Norfolk Co., Va.
“I have known the claimant ever since he got out of service, have worked with him on the material train”

General Affidavit, Charles Pierce, 19 March 1890
55 years old; Norfolk Co., Va.
“I have known the said Thomas Riddick from his discharge to the present time… ever since he came out of the service have seen him as often as 3 or 4 times per week and have worked with him”

General Affidavit, Thomas Reddick, 4 April 1890
50 years old; Norfolk County, Virginia
“It is impossible for me to get the testimony of the surgeons who treated me in the service for my disabilities and those who have treated me since my discharge because they have died, moved away so I cannot find them.”

For Officer’s or Comrade’s Testimony, Ives Smith and Nelson Elliott, 24 October 1891
“Reddick was a strong healthy man. … June or July 1864 in front of Petersburg, Va. [Riddick] was injured by having a horse fall on him and severely injured him on the left knee and left side … was injured very badly, was relieved from duty and finally sent to Newport News, Regimentl Hospital.”

Deposition, Maria Shepheard, 2 February 1902
60 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“We was raised together with claimant, hence have known her from childhood to present time … That she knowed [sic] soldier since 1865 … that she attended the funeral of soldier”

General Affidavit, W.H. Fisher, 12 February 1902
25 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That he is a funeral director and furnished coffin, hearse, and 4 carriages on the 11th day of December 1901 and interred the remains of Thomas Reddick in Mt. Olive Cemetery situated near the city of Portsmouth … Reddick died on the 9th of December 1901, at his residence 1437 King Street, that there is no City ordinance existing in the County nor no health officer’s certificate of death etc unless the body is carried in or through the City.”

General Affidavit, Ann Reed, 12 February 1902
56 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, Chestnut St. near Griffin, Portsmouth, Va.
“That she knowed [sic] claimant and soldier before they were married, that she lived in the same house with her before her marriage to soldier also at the time of and a short while afterwards. That they were married on or about the 16th of July 1865, the ceremony was performed by one Rev. Thos. Barrett… that she was present and saw the ceremony performed”

General Affidavit, W.H. Fisher and Charles Sugar, 8 March 1902
[Fisher] 25 years old; Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
[Sygar] 50 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That they are well acquainted with claimant and deceased soldier, that they live near the claimant, and the said W.H. Fisher is the undertaker who conducted the funeral exercises and buried the deceased soldier….[Syger] visited and waited on deceased soldier during his sufferings from the paralytic stroke from which he died.”

General Affidavit, Martha Reddick, 26 March 1902
54 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 1437 King St., Portsmouth, Va.
“That she owns no stocks or bonds, nor no personal property worth mentioning, only a one half interest in the old house and lot owned jointly by deed to her and her late husband … The lot is worth about one hundred and fifty dollars it being situated in a locality where land is not worth much … [the house] was built about 22 years ago and no repairs except what was necessary for immediate comfort. “

Deposition, Martha Reddick, 15 November 1902
54 years old; occupation, housework; residence, 1437 King St., Portsmouth, Va.
“[I am] the legal widow of Tom Reddick … [who] died at 1437 King Street, Portsmouth, Va. on Dec 9th of last year (1901) of paralysis … [he] was born near Suffolk, Nansemond Co., Va. son of Rhody Reddick, don’t know the name of his father. His owner was Willis Reddick.
“I was born in Edenton, NC. My mother’s name was Judy Wilson, don’t know name of my father, he was sold away when a child. My owner was Tom Hoskins.
“I left my owner during the war, early part, don’t know the date and came to Suffolk, Va. which was then in the hands of the U.S. Army. I was there about a year and then Suffolk was evacuated and I came to Portsmouth, Va. and I have lived in and near Portsmouth, Va. ever since.
“I became acquainted with Tom Reddick in Suffolk after I had been there about two months. He was then still with his mother. He commenced to court me there, but I did not live with him and I was not his wife. I was known as Martha Wilson while there.
“I did not come to Portsmouth with the soldier. He came down about two weeks after I did.
“I had been in Portsmouth, Va. about two months when I was married to said Thomas Reddick, by Rev. Tom Burnett, a white preacher, in Newtown, a part of Portsmouth, Va. on Court Street extended. We were married by a regular ceremony, in a house rented by Reuben Reddick and two other families, the home was very large.”

“We were married in July on the 16th but I don’t know the year but it was 5 months before the said Tom Reddick enlisted in Dec.
“Q. The soldier alleged that he was married to Martha WIlson in Nansemond Co., Va. in 1861.
[The widow maintained that the correct date was the date she’d given — Leslie]”

“Q. Who was present when you were married or alleged.
Some 7 or 8 people, Scott Riddick, Mary Brinkley, that’s all who I know are living.”

“I drew rations from the government while the soldier was in the army. He got a paper from his captain and I carried that to the Warehouse near the Forty Wharf in Norfolk and got rations until just before he returned from Texas.
“I have my papers to show that I drew rations. The soldier sent me money, the last by Stephen Reddick, a Sgt in his company from Texas.

“I was his wife near 40 years. I had 9 children by him. I live with my children. Mr. Barrett who married us. came from Suffolk, Va., don’t know that he was pastor of any church, but he was a preacher.
“I have no property at all except a house and lot near Portsmouth in mine and soldier’s names. I don’t know the worth of the property. The house and worth much, about $25.00, the lot is worth and $100.00, I reckon….No income at all except from my labor and what my children give me.”

Annie Reed was present and saw us married…Scott Reddick and Mary Brinkley knew him long before he married me, and know that he was never married before he married me.”
J.M. Rutter, Portsmouth, Va. has attended to all the writing in my case. …. Mr. Rutter told me that Mr. D. Preston in Wash, DC. was my atty. … The soldier’s captain was Whiting. I went to see the soldier at Fort Monroe and Newport News, while with his company.”

Deposition, Stephen Reddick, 21 November 1902
74 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, Berkley, Va.
“I served as Corpl and Sgt in Co. K …. We always call him Tom. We were related, but we both belonged to the same man, Willis T. Reddick, of Suffolk, Va. now dead.
“Tom and I were raised together, enlisted together, and were discharged together…. I lived in Portsmouth, Va. for a while after the war and I went to see them at times.”

“I brought a prisoner here to Norfolk from Brazos Santiago, Tex., in 1865 and Tom sent some money by me to her, and I gave it to her, and I gave it to her in Newtown, Portsmouth, Va. where she then lived.”

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The book Inscriptions in Triumph: Tombstone Inscriptions from the African American Cemeteries of Mt. Calvary, Mt. Olive, Fisher’s Hill, and Potter’s Field, Portsmouth, Virginia by Mae Breckenridge-Haywood and Dinah Walters (Author House, 2001) lists hundreds of interments and transcriptions from Portsmouth’s early African American burial grounds. It includes a selected number of photographs. Many burials were published on USGenWeb Archives Virginia.

Mrs. Breckenridge-Haywood is the former librarian of I.C. Norcom High School in the City and President of the African American Historical Society of Portsmouth, Virginia, Her advocacy for the preservation and promotion of African American history includes coordinating volunteer efforts to protect these cemeteries.

Thank you, Mae, for your dedication and hard work!


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Spencer Archer took his mother’s name (she was free) rather than his father’s (he was enslaved). His two unions produced 14 children. Archer died in the National Soldiers Home, Hampton, Virginia


Invalid – 588,726 / 916,470
Widow – 966,475 / 726,509, Martha Archer

Questionnaire, Spencer Archer, 6 June 1897
“[Married] Martha Archer, Martha Sanderson
[When, where, by whom] according to customs of slaves about 5 years before the war of 1861-65 broke out
[Record] Not any that I know of
[Previously married] Yes to Diana Archer who died nearly 10 years before I married Martha Sanderson
[living children] I have ten (10) children living: Jane, Flora, Lizzie, George, Lena, Annie, Evelina, Clara, Essie and Aaron. I can’t just now tell the date of birth of each one but Clara and [illegible] are the only two under 16 years of age.”


Questionnaire, Spencer Archer, 19 March 1898
“[Married] Martha Ann Archer, before marriage Martha Ann Sanderson
[When, where, by whom] 1859 at Hickory Ground by her master John Sanderson
[Record] I don’t know and her master is dead and his daughter don’t know
[Previously married] No other wife before and no other children than my wife
[Living children] I have 11 eleven children living and three dead. I will give the names of them all in my letter as this blank won’t hold them all.”


Deposition, Spencer Archer, 9 January 1902
75 years old; retired laborer; residence, Berkley Ave., Berkley Va.
“I was discharged for disability before the regiment went to Texas. I cannot give date of enlistment or discharge for reason that I lost my discharge [certificate]. I gave it to Mr. Brown when I was trying to get bounty. I never got it back from him.
“I was born in Norfolk County, Va. and was a free man; was never owned by any one. My father was Daniel Reed. My mother was Nancy Archer. Father was a slave so I took my name after my mother. I have never gone under any name other than Spencer Archer.
James Malburne who is now present was with me in service. He was a member of my co.
Allen Hill, John Noble, Cicero Pollard, John Jackson were friends of mine in service. Turner was a corporal.
“I was only in one fight viz Petersburg. Gordon of my company was cut with a saber in that fight. Dick Dabney of my company was killed in that fight. He was shot and killed. Private Ellis was also killed.”


General Affidavit, Martha A. Archer, 3 June 1911
“[S]he was married to said Archer according to customs of slavery about the year 1856; that she does not know the exact date, being uneducated, but knows that it was the year after what was known in this neighborhood as ‘the big snow’ which she is informed occurred in 1844; that she had never been married before her marriage to said Archer; that Archer told her that he had lived with one Diana Wilkins, but that she was dead before he married claimant; that claimant continued to live with said soldier as his wife from 1856 until the time of his death; that she never saw said Diana Wilkins after she became acquainted with soldier and certainly claimant was the only person with whom said soldier was cohabiting when the law was enacted which legalized slave marriages; that she was never divorced from said soldier and has not remarried since his death.”


General Affidavit, Jordan Wilson & Sarah F. Penn, 3 June 1911
89 years old and 70 years old, respectively; both residents of Norfolk County … “[T]hey both lived in the same portion of Norfolk County with claimant and Spencer Archer at the time that they first began to live together as man and wife and were well acquainted with them … they lived together continuously as man and wife that from that time until the date of his death, with the exception of the time that soldier was in the army and while he was an inmate of the Soldiers Home … that they also knew claimant when she was a young girl and before she married Archer.”


Letter from Commissioner of Pensions to Lyon & Lyon, Attorneys, Washington, DC,
19 June 1911

“[T]he claimant alleges that the soldier died May 20, 1911, while the report from the Surgeon of the Southern Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers shows that he died May 26, 1911.”


General Affidavit, Martha A. Archer, 27 June 1911
“That her husband Spencer Archer was an inmate of the Soldiers Home at the time of his death; that on Saturday May 20, 1911 she received a telegram from the Home announcing his death; that she assumed the date of his death to be the same an the date of the receipt of said telegram; that his body was received at South Norfolk on May 22nd and he was buried on May 23rd, 1911; which was on Tuesday; that on Wednesday of the following week May 31st 1911, she executed her application for pension, that she does not know why the certificate of death from the Home gave the date of May 26, 1911.”


Letter from Martha A. Archer [on letterhead of Hubard & Hubard, Attorneys-At-Law, 145 Bank St., Norfolk, Virginia] to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 18 September 1916
“I was his wife during the Civil War. … I am 78 years of age, having been born in August 1838, in Norfolk County, Va. … Martha A. Archer, 200 Avenue A., South Norfolk, Va.”


Application for Reimbursement, Georgia A. Cuffee, 30 November 1917
35 years old; post-office address, 200 Avenue A, South Norfolk, Norfolk County … Cuffee was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy (Life Insurance Company of Virginia, $102.00) on her mother’s life … “Cuffee paid for about 15 years at first 10 cents per week and later 15 cents per week.”
Q: When did the pensioner die?
A: October 19, 1917
Q: Where was the pensioner buried?
A: Mt. Olive Cemetery, Berkley, Norfolk, Va.
[The pension application folder includes a copy of Martha Archer’s death certificate and the bill from Hamilton Jackson, Funeral Director and Embalmer]


Letter from Laura Erie Barnes to Pension Bureau, Washington, DC, date unknown
“Dear Sir,
I would like to put in for relief being the daughter of Spencer Archer. I am a widow. My name is Laura Erie Barnes, 113 West 113 Street, N.Y.C., Apt. 20. My father was in the Civil War Co. C. First Regiment of the U.S. Colored Calvary [sic] name Spencer Archer … Wishing to get a reply as soon as posiable [sic].”

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Mount Calvary, Mount Olive and Fisher’s Hill are early African American cemeteries in Portsmouth, Virginia. They’re adjacent to each other on a 13-acre plot.

A list of burials is available at the US Genweb Archives Portsmouth, Virginia but a more complete list of burials and photographs of tombstones can be found in Inscriptions of Triumph: Tombstone Inscriptions from the African American Cemeteries of Mt. Calvary, Mt. Olive, Fisher’s Hill, Portsmouth, Virginia by Mae Breckenridge-Haywood and Dinah Walters (Author House, 2001).


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Nelson Elliott contracted smallpox in 1864. He survived but the disease impaired his ability to fulfill his duties e.g. he was unable to stand night guard. Elliott named many comrades who vouched for him and he named those for whom he had witnessed. He worked as a shoemaker when he returned to civilian life. You might be interested in what he reported about his parentage.


Invalid — 525, 284 /335,088
Widow — 875,854 / 686,398, Martha Elliott

Affidavit for Commissioned Officer or Comrade, Wm. T. Pitt, 8 March 1886
Took sick with diarrhea and sent to hospital at Newport News, Virginia, never returned to his regiment, discharged from general hospital at Portsmouth.


Deposition, Nelson Elliott, 5 June 1890
“I am 48 years of age, by occupation a shoemaker, Post office address Godwin St. bet Queen & London St. Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.  … I took smallpox and was put in a Pest House at Buckroe near Old Pt., Va, I do not remember how long I was in Pest House as I was unconscious a good part of the time while there … I came out of there and joined my company. While in said Pest House I was exposed to the light and my eyes became weak but after I returned to my company, my sight did not trouble me much, until in the summer of 1864, when up in front of Petersburg Va. my sight failed me at night so that I could not see to stand guard, and was relieved from night duty on that account. … Squire Bright of my company was in Pest House with me, and can tell about my having small pox.  … [After I left Howard Elliott’s] I went home to my father, Josiah Elliott, then living near Portsmouth, and I remained with him several years. I suppose nearly two years.”


Deposition, Henry W. Elliott, 6 June 1890
“I am 38 years of age, by occupation an oysterman. The claimant and I are cousins and I have known and associated with him all my life except while he was in the army during the late war. When he was discharged from the hospital and the service in the early summer of 1865 he came to my father’s house (Howard Elliott), and he remained there about two months.”


Deposition, Howard Elliott, 7 June 1890
“I am 65 years of age, by occupation an oysterman. I am the claimant’s uncle … he was discharged from service from Balfour Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia, in June 1865 … he got so bad that I sent him to his father who was living a short distance from Portsmouth, where I was living.”


Death Certificate, Sydney A. Elliott, 1 June 1895
Died Portsmouth; 29 years, 5 months, 5 days; married; born Beaufort, N.C.; father’s name was Nelson Elliott, born in North Carolina; mother’s name unknown; was a schoolteacher; buried in Wilsons Cemetery, 5 June 1907.


Marriage License, Nelson Elliott & Martha Turner, 4 February 1899
[Two marriage dates are reported on this record — Leslie]: the marriage took place Portsmouth, Virginia, on 6 February 1899. Husband was 57 years old, wife was 45 years old. Husband was born in Norfolk County, wife was born Warren County, North Carolina. Husband lived in Norfolk, Va., wife lived in Norfolk County. Husband’s parents were Josiah Elliott and Mary Elliott; wife’s parents’ names were not reported. The officiant was F.C. Campbell in Portsmouth, Virginia, on 5 February 1899


Deposition, Nelson Elliott, 23 November 1901
“Of course I drink some, but I cannot say how many times I have been drunk. I have been arrested only once so far as I can recollect for being drunk.

Dr. Kenny got my pension for me. He charged me nothing. Milo B. Stevens were or was my attorney in Washington. He received from the Government twenty-five dollars. I also paid J.C. Depuyton twenty-five dollars when I got my increase.

“My witnesses were Thomas Pitt, Squire Bright, Howard Elliott, Joseph Jones, Albert Jones, William Young. I had others whose names I cannot recollect. My witnesses charged me nothing.
“I made an affidavit for Thomas Pitt. He got wounded in the leg.
“I also made an affidavit for Squire Bright. He had rheumatism and disease of the eyes in service.
“I also made an affidavit for Howard Elliott. No, I did not make an affidavit for Howard. You misunderstood me on that point.
“Joseph Jones was not in the army. I do not recollect whether or not I testified for Albert Jones. I cannot recollect whether or not I made an affidavit for William Young.
“I cannot say how many affidavits I have made in pension cases for my memory is not very good.
Mr. Hannon executes my voucher; charges twenty-five cents. He swears me and I never execute voucher before the 4th.”


Deposition, Nelson Elliott, 23 November 1902
“I am about 60 years of age; shoemaker and I reside at corner of County and Pine Sts., Portsmouth, Va. I cannot explain just why I have my mail sent to Norfolk when I reside in Portsmouth.
“I was born in Norfolk County, Va., and was always free … I was born on Western Branch, Norfolk County”

“… Two of the Jones boys were Sgts. Squire Bright and Johnson were corporals.
James Smith, Jesse Ford, Richard Holt were my tent mates.”
[Note from 1863: Per the Special Examiner: “He says his father was a Frenchman and his mother an Indian. My father was Josiah Elliott.”]


Death Certificate, Nelson Elliott, 5 January 1907
Died Norfolk County, 66 years old; married; born Norfolk County; father’s name was Jas. Elliott, born in Virginia; mother’s name was Mary Dean, born in Virginia; was a shoemaker; buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery, 7 July 1907, by A. Copeland Undertakers


Declaration of a Widow for Original Pension, Martha Elliott, 11 February 1907
“[The soldier] was born at Isle of Wight County, Va. … [she] had been once previously married but first husband had died; soldier had been twice previously but both wives had died … her post-office address is 1003 County St., Portsmouth”


Claimant’s General Affidavit, Martha Elliott, 27 November 1907
“Her first husband was named Benjamin Turner, who died insane in the County Jail, in Warren County, North Carolina, about 25 years ago; that her husband, Nelson Elliott, the soldier had been married twice previous to his marriage to the claimant. His first wife was called Polly, his second wife was named Sydney Ann, both died in the City of Portsmouth, Va. The date of the death of the first is not now known to this claimant, the second died on the 1st day of June 1895.”


General Affidavit, Amanda Whitfield & Lillian Aytes, 20 December 1907
“1422 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, Va. and 908 Columbia St., Portsmouth, Va., [respectively] . . . [45 years old and 29 years old, respectively], affiant Amanda Whitfield is a sister and affiant Lillian Aytes is a niece of the claimant and were living in what was then Warren but now Vance County, N.C. …”


General Affidavit, Eliza Bell & Sarah Bell, 20 December 1907
“[about 60 years old and about 62 years old, respectively], [both of] 712 Columbia St., Portsmouth, Va. . . . Polly Elliott, the first wife of Nelson Elliott, died on Glasgow St. between Washington & Green Streets, in the City of Portsmouth, Va. About twenty years ago; affiants have no way of fixing the date exactly he was married to his second wife, Sydney Ann.

“The affiants were related to the said soldier, being his first cousins, and lived on the same street with him and in the adjoining lot at the time of the death of his said wife Polly.”


Letter of John G. Teicher, Special Examiner, Bureau of Pensions, U.S. Department of the Interior, 14 April 1909
“I examined the index to the marriage records of Norfolk Co., Va., the same do not show any marriage of claimant under the name Martha Turner, from 1876 to Feb. 5, 1899 the date of her marriage to the soldier. Said records show that Nelson Elliott was married to Sidney Ann Peebles, Oct 21, 1887, but no record could be found of his marriage to Polly, who it is shown, was his first wife. Original affiant Jos. Jones is dead.”


Death Certificate, Martha Elliott, 24 December 1924
@ 1203 Effingham, Portsmouth, Norfolk County; widower; 69 years old; domestic; [birthplace] N.C.; father Daniel Dunston born N.C., mother Elizabeth Dunston born N.C.; [informant] Mary E. Stokes, 1203 Effingham St … buried Mt. Calvery [sic], Dec 28, 1924… W.M. Grogan, 823 London St. [undertaker]”


Letter from Mary E. Stokes, Portsmouth, Va., to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 20 April 1926
“Dear Sir:
“My mother, Martha Elliott, widow of Nelson Elliott … was drawing pension at the time of her death; that after her death I filed a claim for funeral expenses and the money due her as pensioner at the time of her death.

“I have been patiently waiting to hear from the said claim but up to the present time I have heard nothing.
“Please let me hear from you with regard to the same and oblige.
“I am Very truly yours,
“Mary E. Stokes”

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