Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Naval Hospital’

“Originally known as the Norfolk Naval Hospital, this famous facility was an outgrowth of the 1798 Congressional act creating the Marine Hospital Service. Fort Nelson, a Revolutionary defense work guarding the Norfolk harbor, was chosen as the hospital site in 1826. The architect, John Haviland of Philadelphia, produced a preeminent work of Greek Revival institutional architecture. The decastyle Doric portico, finished in what Haviland described as ‘chisel dressed Virginia freestone,’ is a masterpiece of monumentality. Distinctive are the narrow frieze windows forming the triglyphs. The shallow dome capping the operating room was added during a 1907 expansion. The hospital has had a distinguished record of service, treating naval casualties of every American conflict since its opening. Now flanked by modern hospital facilities, Haviland’s original structure is undergoing a careful rehabilitation.”
Summary: Virginia Department of Historic Registers, Portsmouth Naval Hospital


“Tne Naval Hospital has had distinquished service serving those in need …. In April, 1862, the Confederate government surrounded the building with earthworks and renamed it Fort Nelson. The next year it was occupied by Northern troops and re-established as a federal army hospital.”
National Register of Historic Places – Final Nomination Form – Portsmouth Naval Hospital – #124-0036

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Ephraim Crocker and his wife Matilda were born enslaved on the same farm in Southampton County, Virginia. In fact, he and the owner’s son were born a few days apart. Two female witnesses had lived on the same plantation. The soldier was shot during a skirmish near Petersburg, recovered at the military hospital in Portsmouth and lived the rest of his life “across the river” in Norfolk.


Invalid — 262,081 / 996,023
Widow — 1,141,152 / 872,751 

Marriage License, Ephraim Crocker & Matilda Sykes, 23 June 1868
[date/place of marriage] 23 June 1868, Southampton Co., Va.
[husband’s age, condition] 21 years old, single
[wife’s age, condition] 21 years old, single
[race] colored
[husband’s birthplace, residence] Southampton Co., Southampton Co.
[wife’s birthplace, residence] Southampton Co., Southampton Co.
[husband’s occupation] farmer


Soldier’s Affidavit, Howell Jones, 22 December 1880
“[Ephraim Crocker] was wounded in hip & lip on Plank Road at Fort Hill 2 miles from Petersburg, Virginia, was carried to City Point, Virginia, — thence to “The Hall” hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia. Remained under treatment about 2 1/2 months and then returned to company about 1st April 1865.
“After Lee’s Surrender, Regiment was ordered to Santiago, Texas. Then mustered out of service. …My post-office address is Cary’s, County of Southampton, Virginia.”


General Affidavit for Any Purpose, Howell Jones, 27 June 1881
“[Ephraim Crocker] was wounded while engaged in skirmish with enemy March (I think) 1864. I saw him brought in. He was wounded near Fort Hill, which is situate in Prince George Co., Va. near Petersburg, Va. He was carried to general hospital (Hall) Portsmouth, Va. No medical testimony can be obtained as there is no Dr. near here who was at Fort Hill, where said soldier was wounded, not at Portsmouth, Va. at the time when said Ephraim Crocker was there under treatment. When dismissed from hospital returned to regiment and then with regiment returned to Texas. The gunshot wound did not exist after return home but scar did and does exist.”


Questionnaire, Ephraim Crocker, 27 October 1898
[residence] 35 Goff St., Norfolk, Va.
[married] Matilda Crocker – Matilda Sykes
[when, where, by whom] June 1867, Southampton Co., Va., Rev. Allen
[record] marriage register, clerk’s office, Southampton Co., Va.
[previously married] no
[living children] Violet (about 27 years old), James (23 years old)


Deposition, Ephraim Crocker, 14 December 1901
“I am 58 years of age; laborer; and I live at 35 Goff St., Norfolk, Va… I do not know when I enlisted or was discharged. I joined the Army just before Christmas and served till the following March one year.
“I was born a slave in South Hampton [sic] Co., Va. and was owned by old Bob Ridley. Ephraim Crocker is the only name I have ever gone under and I got that name from my father who was Isaac Crocker. I had no relatives in the Army. I enlisted at Ft. Hatten. Do not know where Ft. Hatten is located; that is in what state. I was mustered out in Texas but we were brought to City Point for final muster out. …

“I gave my discharge to Mr. Brown soon after discharge; gave it to him when I was applying for my bounty. I was paid $100 bounty in two years after discharge.

“Sykes was my Col. …. I do not recollect name of my Lt. Col. …. Draper was Major … McIntyre was my Captain … Spencer was my Lt. … I do not recollect the name of my other Lt. …. Steele was Orderly Sgt. of my Co. and Langley was a Corporal…The only comrade whose name I can recollect is that of Nimmer. I do not recollect his first name. I cannot recollect the name of the Surgeon of the regiment, nor do I recollect the name of the Chaplain.

“After enlistment at Ft. Hatten we came to Norfolk and while here I was taken with a severe case of pneumonia and was in the hospital for some time with it; that was the only regular sickness that I ever had in service. From Norfolk we went to Ft. Giddes and then to Texas. I was in no battles. I was in Texas seven months. We went by ship to Texas but I do not know name of place where we took ship. We landed at Brazos Santiago, Texas, and we spent our time either there or in Brownsville. After discharge, I lived fifteen years in South Hampton [sic] County and then moved here. Have always been a laborer since discharge. I get six dollars a month pension….

Mr. Hubard got my claim through for me; charged nothing and I paid them nothing. He always swears me and I have vouchers executed before the 4th.

“My witnesses in my old law was Chas. Irker, John Brown, Peter Shubert, Albert Jones, and Jacob Shubert. I paid each of my citizen witnesses fifty cents, but we soldier boys just witnessed for each other. I was a witness for Peter Shubert and Albert Jones. Shubert had a cold in service. Jones had cold in service; we all had colds in service. That is all I recollect special being the matter with either of them.”


General Affidavit, Ephraim Crocker, 1 April 1908
62 years old; 27 Johnson Ave., Norfolk, Va: “That I learned my correct age from my owner before I enlisted … which made me born December 25, 1845 as I was 18 years old at enlistment on Dec 3rd, 1864.
“My owner’s son and my self [sic] were nearly the same age being just a few days difference in in our ages but I have no record of my age and my owners are all dead so there is no possible way for me to prove it except by my enlistment, and if at any time I have made a different statement it is owing to my not being able to read & write and a mistake on my part.”


General Affidavit, Harrison Diggs & Henry Etheridge, 22 November 1908
[Diggs] 61 years old; resident, Norfolk; post-office address, 276 Brewer St.; [Etheridge] 56? [sic] years old; resident, Norfolk; post-office address, 40 James St.; “That they have been well and intimately acquainted with claimant for ten or more years; that they have seen much of him during this time and are well acquainted with his habits and physical condition; that they are informed that he suffers from rheumatism, injury to left foot, disease of heart, weak eyes and back and general debility …”


Declaration for Increase in Pension, Ephraim Crocker, 5 January 1915
[physical description] 5′ 7″; black complexion; gray eyes; black hair; laborer; born a slave in Southampton County, Virginia


Questionnaire, Ephraim Crocker, 15 July 1915
[living children] Violet Ann Crocker, living, born August 1871; E. James Crocker, living, born December 1875 and “they are both living at Norfolk, Va.
[The information recorded on this questionnaire is identical to the information provided on the questionnaire dated 18 October 1898 except for the question about living children. The more recent questionnaire provides more complete information about the children’s names, birth dates, and whereabouts — Leslie]


Death Certificate [copy], Ethran [sic] Crocker, 1 April 1919
[place of death] 748 Johnson Ave., Norfolk, Va.
[length of residence in city where death occurred] 28 years
[sex, race, status] male, colored, married
[age] 74 years
[occupation] laborer
[birthplace] Va.
[father’s name, birthplace] Isaac Crocker, Va.
[mother’s name, birthplace] Violet Crocker, Va.
[informant] James E. Crocker, 748 Johnson Ave., Norfolk, Va.
[cause of death] senile gangrene, 30 days; granition
[signature] E.W. Baxter, 218 E. 28th St.
[burial] Calvary Cemetery, April 3, 1919
[undertaker] Baker & King, Norfolk, Va.


General Affidavit, Patsey Parker, 16 May 1919
81 years old; post-office address 785 Nicholson St., Norfolk, Va.; “That she has known the claimant ever since she was born; that they belonged to the same owner before the War as did also Ephraim Crocker; that they were both younger than she and she knew them from their infancy; that they were never married prior to their marriage to each other; that she was present at their marriage but does not remember the date, but it was in the third year after the surrender; that they lived together as husband and wife from the date of their marriage until the death of Ephraim Crocker last month and were never separated or divorced from each other and that the claimant has no [sic] remarried since his death.”


General Affidavit, Peggy Jones, 21 May 1919
70 years old; 718 Lindsey St., Brighton, Portsmouth, Va. … “That she was raised on the farm of Mr. Bob Riddley in Southampton County, Va., that both the claimant and her late husband Ephraim Crocker were raised on the same farm and they all grew up together as children and she knows that neither the claimant or her late husband were ever married prior to their marriage to each other; that she does not remember the date of their marriage but it was a few years after the end of the Civil War and she was present when the Rev. Mr. Allen them; that she has known them ever since their marriage and knows that they were never separated or divorced from each other but lived together as husband and wife until the death of Ephraim Crocker on April 1, 1919; and that the widow has not remarried since his death.”

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