Monthly Archives: February 2021

WWI Snapshot: Roger Hankins 1887-1924

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Roger Hankins was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. His registration shows he was working as a fisherman for Captain Tom Lewis in Southport.

Roger’s actual name may be Rogers or Rodgers. All three spellings are used in various documents. It’s not unusual to have various spellings on historical documents. The military referred to him as Rogers.

A Roger Hankins is listed in a 1905 volume which lists officers and employees in civil, military, and naval service (shown below). If Roger’s birth year of 1887 is correct, he would have been 18 years old at the time, which seems plausible. The list shows he was paid as a waiter for the work dredging Cape Fear. While there doesn’t appear to be another Roger Hankins in Brunswick County who qualifies, verification that this was the WWI veteran Roger Hankins cannot be made.

Another Roger Hankins found in census records can be eliminated because he would have been 2 years old in 1905.

Source: Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service. Digitized books (77 volumes). Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon.

Roger was ordered to report for duty on August 22, 1918. Pvt Hankins served in the 346th Service Battalion, serving overseas from September 30, 1918, until July 4, 1919. When he sailed for France on George Washington, he listed Mrs. Agnes Wornett as his next of kin (sister).

Pvt Hankins was promoted to private first class on April 1, 1919. He was honorably discharged on July 16, 1919. He returned to Southport. In 1920, he was living there with his sister Agnes and her family.

Roger Hankins passed away on March 6, 1924, in Southport, NC, recorded as 38 years old. The cause was listed as stomach cancer. His death certificate indicates he was laid to rest in Southport. The cemetery is not identified. It seems likely he lies in an unmarked grave in John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Roger Hankins or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Matthew Delt 1894-1936

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Matthew Delt, or Matthew Delts, was born on Orton Plantation, Brunswick County, NC. The handwritten “Columbus [County]” on his NC WWI Service Card appears to be incorrect and should be Brunswick County.

Although his residence is listed as Wilmington on his draft registration, he was working as a laborer in Southport and registered in Brunswick County. By the time he was ordered to report for duty, his residence was again listed as Orton Plantation. He stated he was supporting his mother and sister. Both were dead before he reported for duty, with his father following, dying from pneumonia and influenza.

Matthew was ordered to report for duty on  July 15, 1918. He was one of a group of twelve men who reported that day from Brunswick County. All were sent to Fort Dix, NJ. This group included Hiram Van Bellamy and Jackson Brown.

One curious piece of information is that his rank is shown as corporal, which is verified by his VA Master Index. The service cards typically show a progression in rank, beginning with private. Typically, only those soldiers who previously served in the Regular Army or National Guard achieved this rank and achieved it so quickly. More research is required to verify the rank. He was honorably discharged on December 19, 1918.

By 1920, Matthew was married to Christianna Jones and began raising a family. This photo of Christianna Jones Delts was shared in Ancestry. She lived over 100 years.

Matthew was killed in an accident on Route 40, falling from a truck trailer on April 18, 1936. According to his death certificate, he was laid to rest on Orton Plantation. The exact location of his gravesite is unknown.

Source for more about the Delts family:
Trinkley and Hacker (2018). African American Lives on the Lower Cape Fear During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries with an Emphasis on Brunswick County and the Orton Vicinity. Columbia, SC: Chicora Foundation, Inc.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Matthew Delt or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Willie Blount 1895-1938

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Willie Blount was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.

Willie’s father Abram Blount served in the Civil War in the Union Army. In 1998, Pvt Abram Blount and another Southport Union soldier, Pvt Abram Galloway, were honored in a rededication ceremony at John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.
Source: Kauffman, Susan. “Re-enactors unite in slaves’ honor.” News & Observer [Raleigh, NC], 08, Feb. 1998, p. 1B.

Abram Galloway’s son William Olliver Galloway also served in WWI and is also buried in John N. Smith Cemetery. All four soldiers, fathers and sons, now have military headstones or flat markers.

Source of Photos: Findagrave 1 2 3

At the time of Willie’s registration in 1917, he was working in Wilson County, NC, and had a wife and child. By the time he was ordered to report for duty on August 2, 1918, he had returned to Southport. He served in the 347th Service Battalion throughout the war.

During WWI, most Black US Army soldiers served in service or labor battalions. A small group of Black men were chosen to serve in the infantry, as explained in William Frederick Brook’s WWI Profile. As the WWI Army/Marine Division Rosters webpage for Brunswick County shows, a total of nine Black men from Brunswick County served in infantry with the 92nd and 93rd divisions.

On October 1, 1918, Willie became a bugler. A total of four WWI buglers from Brunswick County have been identified; all served overseas. Two were wounded: Buglers William Ralph Smith and Willie Hasper Hewett. A snapshot is planned for Bugler Rich Milligan.

Bugler Smith’s WWI Profile includes a description of the dangers a bugler faced. Because buglers were used to communicate orders to troops, they were a strategic target for the enemy. The fact that two of the four buglers from Brunswick County were wounded is evidence of the increased risk.

Bugler Willie Blount served overseas from October 21, 1918, until June 29, 1919, and was honorably discharged on July 15, 1919. It is unclear where he settled, although his family remained in the Southport/Wilmington area. When he passed away on February 9, 1938, his address was Wilmington. His mother requested his military headstone.

Willie Blount was laid to rest in John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.
Source of photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Willie Blount or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Hiram Van Bellamy 1895-1973

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Hiram Van Bellamy was born in Supply, Brunswick County, NC. His registration shows he was working at a sawmill in Southport, NC, when he registered for the draft.

Hiram’s brother Jasper Bellamy also served in WWI and will have his own snapshot.

Hiram was ordered to report for duty on July 15, 1918. He served with the 811th Pioneer Infantry, serving overseas from October 20, 1918, to July 31, 1919. He was honorably discharged on August 5, 1919. He returned to Southport where he raised a family with his wife. He appeared to remain in Southport for the rest of his life.

Hiram Van Bellamy passed away on October 31, 1973, at J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport at age 77. He was laid to rest in John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. The exact location of his gravesite is unknown.

He was preceded in death by his two sons, Ellis Bellamy and Clarence Hiram Bellamy, both WWII veterans. Ellis died of tuberculosis while serving in WWII; Clarence died in 1962. As a tribute to their father, shown below are the two news stories about the death of Ellis during WWII and the obituary for Clarence.

Local Boy Dies in Texas Hospital
Pvt. Ellis Bellamy, 20 years old son of Van and Lue Delphia Bellamy, highly respected colored people in Southport, died in the Brooks general army hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, November 13th. Tuberculosis was the immediate cause.

The body in its flag draped casket was shipped here, arriving on the 18th. Burial was held Sunday afternoon at two o’clock and was largely attended by both white and colored.

The young man graduated from the Brunswick County Training School with the class of 1941. He entered the armed service on February 27, 1943, and was on his way to becoming a fine soldier when the fatal illness set in.
Source “Local Boy Dies in Texas Hospital.” The State Port Pilot [Southport, NC], 24 Nov. 1943, p. 4

He was a Serviceman
Ellis Bellamy, 20 year old soldier whose home was at Southport, died in an army camp in Texas last week. He was a negro, was stricken with a fatal illness and died without ever having been sent to the front.

But, during that illness every resource of the army was given in an effort to make him well again. He was cared for until the last and when he died the brotherhood of the army did not end there. His body was sent home in a steel casket, draped with the flag he had served.

An undertaker, the family and friends prepared to bury the body in their own way. They had their funeral services at their church and following this a great cortege wended its way to a nearby cemetery.

There they found the Mayor of the town, the Commander and Vice-Commander of the American Legion, an army Lieutenant with a bugler and a squad of six white soldiers, waiting to join in the last tribute. The dead serviceman, regardless of his color, was given a serviceman’s last due.
Source “He was a Serviceman.” The State Port Pilot [Southport, NC], 1 Dec. 1943, p. 2

Clarence H. Bellamy
Clarence H. Bellamy, 43, of 601 Fairfield St., passed away Friday night in a local hospital. A native of Southport, N.C., he attended Brunswick County Training High School and graduated from Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, Pa. as an embalmer and specialist in derma surgery. He made an extensive study of bacteriology at the Univ. of Arkansas and was a graduate of Carver Business School. He served an apprenticeship with the Davidson Funeral Home and was associated with Longs Mortuary Service until his death.

Mr. Bellamy was president of Long’s Mutual Burial Association and secretary – treasurer of Long’s Mortuary Service. A veteran of World War II he served with the Medical Dept. of U.S. Army, spending 28 months overseas in the capacities of surgical technician and first aid instructor.

He was a member of Rock Rest Lodge No. 609 AF&AM and of Lamda Zeda Nu fraternity; also the Henry Lawrence Branch of McCrory YMCA, the NAACP, and secretary of Mecklenburg County Veterans’ Organization. A member of Greenville Tabernacle AME Zion Church, he was a steward and member of the Cathedral choir, serving faithfully in all capacities.

Survivors include his wife, Queen C. Bellamy; a daughter, Denise L. Bellamy; father, Mr. Hiram Van Bellamy of Southport; two sisters, Mrs. Evelyn Hewitt and Mrs. Loudelphia Rogers, both of Southport; five uncles; a nephew; seven aunts; and a niece.

Funeral services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Monday from the Greenville Tabernacle AME Zion Church with the Rev. M. R. Cuthbertson, the pastor, officiating. He will be assisted by Dr. J.W. Smith and the Rev. F.M. Allen. Interment in York Memorial Park.

Flower bearers are Mrs. Hortense Johnson, Mrs. Marizetta Kerry, Mrs. Carrie Hamer, Mrs. Willie Powell, Mrs. Claudia McFaden, Mrs. Gwendolyn Cunningham, Mrs. Dorothy Steele, Mrs. Ruth Johnson, Mrs. Vinie Watkins, Mrs. Shirley Kennedy, Mrs. Esther Carter, Mrs. Shirley Manigo, Mrs. Eddie Long, Mrs. Constance Caldwell, Mrs. Sadie English, Miss Gladys Walker, Mrs. Perry Davis and Mrs. Vernell Partlow.

Active pallbearers are local morticians and funeral directors. Honorary pallbearers are Mr. Perry Davis, Mr. Joe Swain, Mr. T.M. Martin, Mr. R.L. Floyd, Mr. Robert Carter, Mr. Robert Johnson, Mr. Joseph Belton, Mr. George Moreland, Mr. Isaac Heard, Mr. Alvin Kennedy, Mr. Israel Garrison, Mr. Kenneth Powell, Mr. Herman L. Martin, Mr. W.M. Harrison, Mr. Clyde Brown, Mr. Fancy English, Dr. Richard Hill and Mr. Luther Caldwell. The body will be placed in the church at 1 o’clock to lie in state until the hour of service.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, 7 May 1962, p. 9


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Hiram Van Bellamy or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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