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Charles Willis Irvin Carpenter Trennor Beckwith Lemuel Butler Dan Fordham Artillery Foster Arry U. Wise Richard Mathews George Jones Charles McKamey Irving Charles Keys Earl Ingram Frank Jordan Israel Palmer Richard Johnson Samuel Wilson William Kennedy Willie D. Wheeler Douglas Jackson Eugene McKamey Alex Harris Ada Hicks Samuel Cole

Trennor Beckwith

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Trennor Thomas Beckwith was born on August 27, 1893 in Steelton. He was a son of former Virginia residents Charles W. Beckwith and Mary L. Gaddie Beckwith. The family, which included sisters Susan and Esther, lived at 162 Ridge Street in Steelton.

Trennor attended the former Steelton Hygienic School for Colored Children, which opened in 1880 at Frank S. Brown Boulevard and Bailey streets in Steelton. He graduated from the Steelton School District in 1912 and continued his education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. There, he became one of the first members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity before returning home to Steelton.

On May 28, 1918, Trennor enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the 351st Field Artillery 92nd Division. Although he enlisted during World War I, it is not known where he served. After earning the rank of corporal, Trennor was honorably discharged on March 6, 1919 after World War I ended.

After his discharge, Trennor returned to Steelton. In 1922 and �23, he was listed as working as a bellman while living with his parents at 162 Ridge Street in Steelton. He also is listed at the same address with his parents for the 1930 U.S Census. It�s possible that Trennor even recorded his own status for that year because his occupation is listed as an enumerator for the U.S. Census.

In 1927, Trennor joined American Legion Post #479, commonly known as the African American Andrew Askins post. He served as post adjutant through the mid-1930s. Trennor continued to live at 162 Ridge Street at least through 1947 while working various jobs as a clerk, messenger and janitor despite his education.

Trennor Beckham died in the VA Hospital in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on July 27, 1957 at the age of 63. His death certificate listed him as not married. His cause of death was malnutrition caused by cancer of the esophagus and accompanied by chronic bronchitis and pneumonitis, or swelling of the lungs.


Lemuel Butler

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Lemuel Butler was born about 1842 to Sophia Butler and an unknown father. Sources list his birthplace as either Harrisburg, Pennsylvania or Virginia.

Lemuel enlisted in the H Company Massachusetts 55th Colored Infantry of the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War on June 6, 1863. After President Abraham Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, free men of color and newly liberated slaves could enlist in the Union Army to maintain their freedom.

The 55th Infantry Regiment trained at Camp Meigs near Readville, Massachusetts before seeing most of its action in South Carolina. Members also served in the 1864 invasion of Florida, taking part in the Battle of Olustee . In South Carolina, they fought on James Island and the Battle of Honey Hill before closing in on Charleston while Union soldiers took the state Capital of Columbia. This prompted Confederate soldiers to burn supplies in Charleston and retreat inland. Liberated slaves and free blacks celebrated when Union troops reached Charleston.

After all this, Lemuel mustered out of service on August 29, 1865 at Charleston. By 1870, Lemuel and his wife Serena were living in Susquehanna, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania with their 2-year-old son Charles, who was born in 1868. Lemuel was noted in that year�s Federal Census as working in a quarry.

The 1880 Federal Census listed Lemuel and Serena as living in Swatara, Dauphin County. Lemuel was working as a laborer. The couple's second son, Shurly, was born in 1873, followed by a third son, Simon, in 1877. Lemuel Butler died in 1886 in Swatara Township at the age of 44.


Irvin Carpenter

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Depending on the source, Irvin Carpenter was born in Steelton on February 7th of either 1892 or 1895. His parents were Virginia native Steward Carpenter and the former Mary Spencer of Oberlin.

Irvin was inducted in the U.S. Army in Steelton during World War I on October 27, 1917. He was assigned to the Wagoneer Supply Company, 368th Infantry 92nd Division, a segregated division of the Army that served in both world wars. He served overseas without injury from June 14, 1918 to February 15, 1919. He was honorably discharged from the Army as a wagoner mechanic on March 14, 1919 at Fort Meade, Maryland.

A wagoner mechanic in World War I was the equivalent of a truck mechanic in World War II. Eventually, trucks would replace wagons in the Army and tanks would replace horses.

After the war, Irvin married Irene Rosa Lockley on November 4, 1920 in Dauphin County. In 1942, his registered address was 1017 High Street, Oberlin, and he was employed by the Braun & Stuart Company in Mechanicsburg. He also was a member of Andrew Askin American Legion Post #479 in Steelton.

Irvin Carpenter died at home on February 10, 1944 from complications of diabetes and tuberculosis. He was listed as 49 years old. According to his newspaper obituary, he was survived by his mother Mary, stepfather Richard Roberts, brother Arthur, six stepbrothers, and two stepsisters. Funeral services were held at his mother's neighboring home in Oberlin.


Charles Willis

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Charles Henry Willis was born July 13, 1895 in Steelton to Virginia natives John and Bertha Shepherd Willis. For the 1910 U.S. Census, the family was recorded as living in a Furnace Street home in Steelton that was far from empty. Besides Charles, the family had seven other children: Mary, 19; Lila, 12; Lena, 8; Robert, 7; Alice, 2; and infant Lawrence.

Small wonder that 14-year-old �Charley� already was working as a on-street shoe polisher �on his own accord� in 1910 to help support the family.

Charles was inducted in the U.S. Army during World War I on August 1, 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was living at that time. He first was assigned to the 160th Depot Brigade through August 21, then transferred to the 543rd Engineer Headquarters until August 20, 1918. After that, he served with Company A 543rd Regiment Engineers until honorably discharged on July 3, 1919 in Philadelphia.

While enlisted, Charles was stationed overseas from September 18, 1918 to June 28, 1919 with no reported injuries. The thousands of engineer troops that served in France in 1917 and 1918 contributed both to front-line and rear-support efforts. The combat engineers constructed bridges, roads, and narrow-gauge railroads at or immediately behind the front.

After the war, Charles returned home and continued work as a boot-black, or shoe shiner. His final home address was 519 Lincoln Street in Steelton. He married the former Willa Crosson, but the couple had no children.

Charles Willis died from a perforated ulcer with peritonitis on June 29, 1929. He was 33 years old.


Dan Fordham

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Dan Fordham was born on October 10, 1899 in Macon, Georgia. His father�s name was Racker Forham, but his mother�s name was alternately listed as Della, Ella or Lizzie Fordham, depending on the source.

Dan enlisted in the U.S. Army on Nov. 20, 1917. He was stationed in the Company M 303rd Stevedore Operations that was established by the Army for moving supplies through ports as part of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.

The American Expeditionary Forces were the fighting men of the U.S. Army during World War I. It was established on July 1, 1917, in France, fighting with the armies of France, Great Britain and Australia on the Western Front against the German Empire. A small amount of AEF troops fought with the Italian Army against the Austro-Hungarian Army.

After that, Dan was transferred to the 852nd Company Transportation Corp. He served overseas from Dec. 26, 1917 to July 6, 1919 with no reported injuries. He departed France with his company on July 1, 1919 on the ship �Great Northern.� They arrived at Hoboken, New Jersey on July 6. Dan was honorably discharged from the Army private first class on July 12, 1919 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. At that time, his home address was 547 Third Street in Steelton.

On Feb. 1, 1934, Dan applied for veteran�s compensation. At that time, he lived at 658 Broad Street in Harrisburg, but his wife Mary Green Fordham and sons Junior and Wilbur Fordham were noted as living in Millerstown, Pennsylvania.

Dan Fordham died on March 9, 1937. He was 39 years old and was living at 627 Hamilton Street in Harrisburg. He was noted as a laborer who was unemployed. He lost his life at a relatively young age from coronary disease.


Artillery Foster

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Artillery Foster was born around 1892 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was inducted into the U.S. Army during World War I on October 27, 1917. At that time, his address was listed as 516 North Parrish Street in Baltimore. Artillery was assigned to the Battery B 351st Field Artillery of the 92nd Division.

The 92nd Division was a segregated infantry division of the U.S. Army that served in World War I and World War II. It was first organized at Camp Funston, Kansas with African American soldiers from across the nation in October 1917 after the U.S. entered World War I. Although there is no available record of Artillery's service, it is recorded that many of the 351st Field Artillery of the 92nd Division served overseas in active duty around France.

Artillery was honorably discharged as an Army private on January 21, 1918. His discharge status is listed as SCD, an acronym for service-connected disability. It appears that Artillery was discharged before the end of the war because he was injured in service. He was decorated with the Serbian Order of St. Sava.

Between July 9, 1918 and July 1, 1922, Congress permitted members of the U.S. military who served in the World War I to accept and wear certain foreign decorations. Various nations allied or associated with the United States during World War I awarded a total of 18,019 decorations to officers and enlisted men of the U.S. Army, members of American welfare organizations, and American civilians connected in some service to the Allied cause. This included 19 U.S. recipients of the Serbian Order of St. Sava.

Records of Artillery Foster's life after service to his country are scarce. An Artillery Foster born about 1887 � five years earlier than in his Maryland military records � was married to Mary Fields on Dec. 22, 1935 in Wilmington, Delaware. It is not immediately known when or if he lived in Steelton.

Not long after his death on July 9, 1938, an application for Artillery Foster's military headstone was submitted to the Dauphin County Commissioners. The headstone was shipped by train at government expense from Lee, Massachusetts on May 17, 1939.


Arry U. Wise

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Arry Ulysess Wise was born Oct. 9, 1896 in Shenandoah, Virginia to Grant and Lottie Wilson Wise. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I. He enlisted on Oct. 27, 1917 in Steelton. At that time, he lived at 213 North Second St. in Steelton.

Arry was assigned to 368th Infantry of the 92nd Division, a segregated infantry division of the U.S. Army that served in both world wars. He first was stationed at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, a training site where more than 400,000 soldiers passed through during World War I.

From June 15, 1918 to Feb. 11, 1919, Arry served overseas in active duty but was never injured. On Jan. 10, 1918, he was promoted to the rank of corporal while in France. He departed from France on Feb. 3, 1919 on the troop ship Leviathan, arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey on Feb. 11 of that year. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Meade on Feb. 27, 1919.

After the war, Arry returned to Steelton, eventually settling at 228 Bailey St. with his wife, Della. Together, they raised four children: daughters Dagmire and Jean and sons Wendell and Edsel. He worked at Bethlehem Steel in Steelton for the remainder of his life.

Arry Wise died on Feb. 25, 1948 from kidney disease and hypertension. He was just 51 years old. Along with his wife and children, he was survived by four grandchildren, sister Lenice Hughes of Philadelphia, and brothers Godfrey and Floyd of Steelton, Fred of Baltimore, and Jennings of Virginia. Nieces and nephews also survived him.


Richard Matthews

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Richard Matthews was born July 13, 1908 in Steelton to 24-year-old Randolph Matrhews and 21-year-old Barbara Roebuck. When Richard was born, his parent shared a home at 228 Adams Street in Steelton. By the time of the 1920 U.S. Census, however, Richard was listed as living in Steelton's Third Ward as a foster son of George W. and Jennie Roebuck, who were both in their 50s.

For the 1930 Federal Census, Richard was working as a helper in a doctor's office and living as a roomer at 231 Adams Street in Steelton. He remained at the same address at least until 1945, when he worked as a custodian.

Richard served as a U.S. Army sergeant during World War II in the 1873rd Engineer's Aviation Battallion. The majority of African American engineer units served in the Pacific or China-Burma-India theater during World War II.During World War II, the 1873rd Engineer's Aviation Battalion constructed the airstrip on Ie Shima, an island located off the northwest coast of Okinawa Island in the East China Sea.

On April 16, 1945, the U.S. Army's 77th Infantry Division landed on le Shima. When the Japanese were defeated in the war later that year, they were instructed to fly their peace delegation to Ie Shima in planes painted white with green Christian crosses. Two white crosses also were painted on the runway. From there, the Japanese were flown to sign surrender terms on Sept.2, 1945.

Information about Richard Matthew's life after serving his country is not readily available. He died on May 9, 1968, just two months short of his 60th birthday.


George Jones

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George Wallace Jones was born May 25, 1896 in Steelton to Virginia natives John and Helen Jackson Jones. In the 1900 U.S. Census, 4-year-old George was listed as living at 468 Front Street in Steelton with his parents, an 18-year-old brother Ausker, sisters Sallie, 9, and Tessie, 1, and several other relatives.

George was inducted into the U.S. Army in Steelton during World War I on August 23, 1918. His residence then was listed as 235 Harrisburg Street, Steelton. He was assigned to the 15th Company, 4th Battalion 155th Depot Brigade at Camp Lee, Virginia, where he remained during his entire tenure in the service.

The 152d Depot Brigade was an Army training and receiving formation conducted during the first World War. Camp Lee was established as a recruit training facility just weeks after the United States entered World War I in 1917, At its peak during the war, the camp contained the third-largest population in Virginia. Only the cities of Richmond and Norfolk held larger numbers.

George was honorably discharged from Camp Lee as an Army private on March 7, 1919. By the 1920 U.S. Census, George had returned to the home of his aunt and uncle, William and Sally Stevenson, on Furnace Street in Steelton. He then was working as a recorder for Bethlehem Steel. By 1930, George was living as a roomer at 235 North Harrisburg Street in Steelton and working as a hook-up at Bethlehem Steel.

On April 27, 1942, George, then 45, reported himself as an employee of the federal government at the 135st Company Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Meade, Maryland. Mrs. Fannie Jones of 314 Bessemer Street, Steelton, was listed a person who would always know his address. George W. Jones died on April 21, 1968, a month before his 72nd birthday.


Charles McKamey

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Charles Henry McKamey was born on July 4, 1896 in Greensville, Virginia. He was a son of Charles and Ada Harris McKamey.

Charles was inducted into the U.S. Army during World War I on October 27, 1917 in Steelton. He was assigned to Wagoneer Supply Company 368th Infantry 92nd Division, a segregated division of the Army that served in both world wars. He was first stationed at Camp George G. Meade in Maryland, a training site for more than 400,000 soldiers during World War I.

From June 27, 1917 to February 15, 1919, Charles served in active duty in France but was never injured in service. On Dec. 15, 1917, he was promoted to the rank of wagoner, which was equivalent to a truck driver in World War II when trucks and tanks replaced horses and wagons in the Army.

Charles was honorably discharged from the Army on March 4, 1919 at Camp Meade. By 1920, he was working as a driver while living at 66 Adams Street in Steelton. For the 1930 U.S. Census, he was listed at the same address while working at Pocket Billiards and as a private chauffer.

Charles was honorably discharged from the Army on March 4, 1919 at Camp Meade. By 1920, he was working as a driver while living at 66 Adams Street in Steelton. For the 1930 U.S. Census, he was listed at the same address while working at Pocket Billiards and as a private chauffer.

Charles McKamey died after a six-month bout with lung cancer on Feb. 5, 1951. He was 54 years old.


Irving Charles Keys

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Irvin Charles Keys was born on June 9, 1894 in Oberlin to Maryland natives James and Sarah Carey Keys. For the 1900 U.S. Census, Irvin, then 6, was recorded as living in Swatara Township with his parents and brother Sterling, 24; sister Edna, 21; brother William, 13; and sister Maggie, 10.

By the time of the 1910 Federal Census, Sarah was widowed and supporting the family as a laundress. Seventeen-year-old Irvin helped out by working as a Teamster in the contractor industry. The family, which included Irvin's older siblings William and Maggie and 1-year-old niece Virgie, was noted as living on Furnace Street in Steelton.

Irvin was inducted into the U.S. Army in Steelton during World War I on October 27, 1917. He first was assigned to the 368th Infantry Supply Company at Camp Meade, Maryland before serving overseas in France from June 13, 1918 to February 15, 1919. He was stationed in the Vosges Mountains St. Die Sector, Mense Argonne Offensive, a major part of the final Allied offensive of World War II on the Western Front from September 26, 1918 until the Armisrice on November 11, 1918.

Irvin was honorably discharged from the Army at Fort Meade on March 4, 1919 under the rank of wagoner. This rank was considered the same as a truck driver in World War II when trucks and tanks replaced horses and wagons in the Army.

By 1923, Irvin was married to the former Daisy Tuckson and working as a driver for the Borough of Steelton, where he would remain employed for the rest of his life. The couple lived at 42 Ridge Street in Steelton that year. For the 1930 U.S. Census, Irvin and Daisy were recorded as living at 121 Ridge Street with his mother, Sarah. Irvin also was a member of American Legion Post #479, commonly known as the African American Andrew Askins post.

By 1938, Irvin and Daisy had moved to 303 Lincoln Street in Steelton. There, Irvin died from heart disease on Aug. 26, 1938 when he 44 years old. The couple had no children.


Earl Ingram

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Earl Ingram was born November 27, 1893 to John and Bette Jane Reid Ingram in Gold Hill, North Carolina. He was inducted into the U.S Army in Steelton during World War I on October 27, 1917. .

Earl first was assigned to the Supply Company 368th Infantry through June 7, 1918. He then was transferred to the 154th Depot until August 16, 1918 before finishing out his service with the Company G. 808 Pioneer Infantry. He served overseas from August 31, 1918 to June 22, 1919 with no reported injuries.

On February 1, 1918, Earl was assigned to the Army rank of wagoner. The position was equivalent to a truck driver in World War II when trucks and tanks replaced horses and wagons in the Army. On Feb. 7, 1918, he also was designated as an Army private.

Earl was honorably discharged from the Army on June 27, 1919. Soon after his return home, he married Beatrice Gertrude Pitts in Bressler on September 23, 1919. The couple would spend many years together.

For the 1930 Federal Census, Earl and Beatrice were recorded as living on Monroe Street in Swatara Township with their eight-year-old son John and four-year-old daughter Betty. By the 1940 U.S. Census, Earl and Beatrice were living at 556 Main Street in Swatara Township with John, then 19, and Betty, 14. In 1940, Earl was listed as a steelworker who mostly likely worked at Bethlehem Steel in Steelton.

Earl Ingram died just a year later on July 30, 1941, a few months short of his 47th birthday. In 1954, a veteran's headstone honoring Earl's service was shipped by train for placement by the Dauphin County Commissioners.


Frank Jordan

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Frank Benjamin Jordan was born on November 23, 1928 in Steelton to Frank Sr. and Drucie Dunlap Jordan. For the 1930 Federal Census, Frank and his parents were recorded as living at 157 Adams Street in Steelton with sisters Mary, 5, and Alma, 3.

In the 1940 U.S. Census, Frank, his parents and sisters still were living at 157 Adams Street, but the family now included 8-year-old twin siblings Joseph and Josephine. Frank Sr. supported the family as a laborer while Frank Jr. was a fifth-grader in the Steelton School District that year.

Frank was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, the beginning of an era of change for African Americans who served in the U.S. military. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order that integrated the military and mandated equal treatment and opportunity. Racial remarks also were prohibited under military law. On Oct. 9th of that year, the Navy announced that it was extending the policy of integration that it had begun in the closing months of World War II.

Despite Truman's action, however, desegregation of the military wasn't completed for several more years, with black units persisting well into the Korean War. The last black military unit wasn't said to disband until 1954. Finally in July 1963, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara issued a Department of Defense directive that stated all military commanders could oppose discriminatory practices affecting his men and their dependents not only in areas under his control, but in nearby communities during off-duty hours.

Sadly, McNamara's directive against discrimination didn't take place in Frank Jordan's lifetime. Frank died just months prior to this on May 16, 1963 from post-operative complications at the VA Hospital in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He was 34 years old.


Israel Palmer

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Israel Palmer was born in 1825 and was a veteran of the U.S. Civil War. He enlisted as a private in Company G 29th Regiment of the United State Colored Troops Volunteer Infantry and later was promoted to serve as a musician.

The 29th Infantry was organized in April 1864 in Quincy, Illinois and first ordered to Annapolis, Maryland on May 27, 1864, and from there, to Alexandria, Viriginia where it was attached to the XXII Corps XXII in the Defenses of Washington, D.C. until June, 1864. Israel's unit then was commissioned to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, IX Corps, Army of the Potomac, until September, 1864; followed by the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, IX Corps, to December, 1864; and finally to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, XXV Corps.

The unit saw action in the sieges of Petersburg and Richmond, where it was involved in the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864, Battle of the Globe Tavern on August 18�21, 1864, Battle of Poplar Grove Church on September 29�October 1, 1864, and Battle of Boydton Plank road on October 27�28, 1864.

After the Richmond�Petersburg Campaign, the regiment served on the Bermuda Hundred front and at Richmond until the Appomattox Campaign from March 28 through April 9, 1865. The unit was then in garrison duty with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, XXV Corps until the corps was moved to Texas in May 1865. The regiment then served in the Rio Grande Valley until November, 1865. The 29th Regiment Infantry, United States Colored Troops was mustered out on November 6, 1865.

Israel Palmer mustered out from service on Nov. 6, 1865. He died in 1885 at 60 years old.


Richard Johnson

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Richard Johnson was a veteran of the U.S. Civil War. Although his birth date is listed as unknown on his death certificate, it is believed that he was born around 1846 to Horace and Hattie Johnson of King George County, Virginia.

During the Civil War, Richard was registered with Company G 127th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops as a private. The 127th Regiment was organized at Camp William Penn in Philadelphia from August 23, 1864 to September 10, 1864. The unit was ordered to City Point, Virginia in September 1864, where it was incorporated with the Army of the James. Richard was discharged from the service on September 8, 1865.

After the war, Richard worked as a laborer around Steelton. Not much is known about his personal life, except that he was widowed at the time of his death.

Richard Johnson died of heart disease on July 4, 1909. He was roughly 63 years old and impoverished, leaving behind no property and no one to care for him, according to his application for burial. Prior to his death, he stayed at home of a Lewis Howard, who cared for him and made sure that his remains were decently interred. Three other gentlemen � Peter Blackwell, Lloyd Polton and Charles W. Henderson � submitted a burial application to Dauphin County to ensure that Richard would have a decent burial as a Civil War veteran.


Samuel Wilson

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Samuel Wilson was born on August 28, 1911 in Sumpter, South Carolina to Willie and Stannie Davis Wilson. In the 1930 U.S. Census, he is recorded as a boarder at 613 Forston Street in Harrisburg. He was 18 years old and working as a hotel bellboy. He also was married n 1930, but it appears that his wife wasn�t part of his household. Things eventually improved for the couple, however. By 1942, Samuel and his wife Mamie were sharing a home at 302 Spruce Street in Steelton.

Samuel was enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II on March 24, 1944. He would turn 33 years old later that year. His home address was 429 Mohn Street in Steelton.

Samuel served overseas from June 14, 1944 to December 16, 1945, but his application for veterans compensation doesn�t specify exactly where he was stationed during the war. He was honorably discharged as a steward 3rd Class from the U.S. Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Maryland on January 1, 1946.

Samuel Wilson died suddenly on April 10, 1955 from carbon monoxide poisoning. He also had suffered from rheumatic heart disease for four years, a lasting side effect of rheumatic fever. He was just 43 years old at the time of his death.


William Kennedy

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William Kennedy was born about 1889 in Knoxville, Tennessee. According to his death certificate, there was no accessible public record of his parents� names or where they were born.

William served in as U.S. Army private during World War I in the 153rd Depot Brigade based at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The 153rd was organized for World War and remained active until post-war mobilization. Fort Dix was established on July 16, 1917 and named in honor of John Adams Dix, a veteran of the U.S. Civil War and the War of 1812.

During World War I, Army depot brigades received and organize Army recruits. Here, recruits were provided with uniforms, equipment and initial military training before they were deployed to fight the front lines in France.

Depot brigades also received soldiers returning home at the end of the war. Soldiers' processing and discharges were completed at locations like Fort Dix. Although there is no immediate record of where William was discharged, it's likely that it occurred at Fort Dix because he was a member of the 153rd Depot Brigade.

After the war, William lived the remainder of his life in Steelton. For the 1920 Federal Census, he was recorded as living a boarder on Adams Street in the borough and worked as a laborer at Bethlehem Street . For the 1930 Census, William was noted as living as a boarder at 380 Christian Street in Steelton, his final place of residence. It appears that he never married.

William Kennedy died at home from heart disease on September 16, 1931. He was about 42 years old.


Willie D. Wheeler

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William Douglas Wheeler � better known as Willie --- was born on Feb. 23, 1894 in Washington, D.C. He was the son of James D. and Eliza Smith Wheeler of Virginia.

Willie was inducted into the U.S. Army on August 5, 1918 in Steelton. At that time, his legal residence was listed as Locust Grove Bethlehem Steel Company Camp, Dauphin County. He first was assigned to Company B 7th Division BN 160th Depot Brigade until Aug. 23 of that year. Willie then was transferred to the 161st Depot Brigade until Nov. 1, 1918, when he was honorably discharged as a private.

During his tenure in the military, Willie was stationed at Camp Custer near Battle Creek, Michigan and Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois. He received no injuries during his service and was discharged just 10 days before the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany that ended World War I.

Willie is recorded as marrying Mattie Campbell on January 24, 1924 in Dauphin County when he was 30 and she was 40. In 1930 Federal Census, however, he was living as boarder at 114 Adams Street in Steelton without Mattie. He is noted then as working as a barber �on his own account.�

Willie D. Wheeler died on January 16, 1935 from pulmonary tuberculosis at the Dauphin County Home. He was 41 years old and survived by his father, who then was living in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A service at the Boulding Funeral Parlors in Steelton was led by Rev. O.P. Goodwin, pastor of Steelton's First Baptist Church.


Douglas Jackson

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Douglas Jackson was born on March 4, 1894 in Arcola, Virginia to Lawrence and Leeama Jackson. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I. He was inducted on August 5, 1918 in Steelton. At that time, he lived at 148-1/2 Adams Street in Steelton.

Douglas was assigned to the 38th Company 10th Training Battalion of the 158th Depot Brigade, a training and receiving formation of U.S. Army during World War I. He first was stationed at Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan before being transferred to Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio. Although Army draftees and enlisted men were trained for overseas duty at Camp Custer, Douglas never served overseas. It is likely that he was still in training when the war ended on November 11, 1918. He was honorably discharged as an Army private on January 30, 1919.

After the war, Douglas returned to Steelton. For the 1920 U.S. Census, he was listed as still boarding at 48-1/2 Adams Street, which became his permanent home. Douglas never married and worked as a laborer at Bethlehem Steel in Steelton for the remainder of his life.

Douglas Jackson died from a cerebral hemorrhage on February 18, 1936. He was 41 years old.


Eugene McKamey

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Eugene McKamey was born April 5, 1924 in Steelton. He was a son of Newton McKamey, a native of Augusta County, Virginia, and Mary Brown McKamey, a native of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania.

The 1930 Federal Census recorded Eugene, then 6, as living with his parents and 8-year-old sister Betty at 224 Bailey Street in Steelton. Newton, then 51, was listed as a highway worker. Mary, then 35, was a homemaker.

Eugene graduated from Steelton High School in 1942. In high school, he was known as Newt. He was enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 1, 1943 and served in the 297th Port Company and 506th Port Battalion. It is not known exactly where he served during World War II.

On January 23, 1946, Eugene was honorably discharged from the Army as a technician 5th grade. Those who held this rank were addressed as corporal.

After the war, Eugene returned to his parents' home in Steelton and attended electrical school until his life was cut short only a few years later. Eugene McKamey died in Harrisburg Hospital on June 10, 1949 from injuries resulting from an auto accident. He was 25 years old.


Alex Harris

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Ada Hicks

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Samuel Cole

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Samuel E Cole Sr. When starting out on a quest to research a person that you feel would be relatively easy, you sometimes find the person quickly and then on the other hand you spend hours and days making sure you have the correct person. I say this because I started out researching Samuel Cole who is buried at the Historic Midland Cemetery in Swatara Township; his remains are at the top of the cemetery near the driveway. In the meantime, I was asked about a Samuel Cole who was a Principal in the Steelton School system in the early 1900’s. Piece of cake…not!

I thought they were senior and junior…nope, nada. As I started my research, I confirmed that my original Samuel Cole was a member of the United Stated Colored Troops. He was a Private, in Company “G”, 127th Regiment. He was born approximately in 1842. Samuel Cole’s life began in Virginia, born to John and Anna Cole and just like many people of colored during the early 1800’s that lived in a southern state sought refuge in a free state such as Pennsylvania. His family settled into the town of Newville, Cumberland County where there were more family members and or people that they knew. They were listed as black or mulatto in the census records, laborers and domestics.

There they set up a home and attended the Newville AME Church. This information was confirmed by an obituary pertaining to the death of his nineteen year old son Warren. His body was sent to the Newville AME cemetery for burial in the family plot. With the Civil War taking place in 1861 and continued battles and skirmishes, it was not long before recruiting began in Pennsylvania of the “Men of Color” which was activated in 1863. Samuel’s records show that he was mustered in on September 1, 1864 around the age of seventeen to nineteen. Camp William Penn was the site that enlisted the USCT and trained over 11,000 freed men and escaped slaves. Pennsylvania held the record as having the most blacks enlisting over all the other states. Training was completed and his regiment was quickly sent off to the front to be with the Army of the James.

The regiment did not see much action at Deep Bottom, Virginia losing only one man. Eventually the troop was deployed to Texas at the Mexican frontier. At the close of the war he returned to Pennsylvania working as a laborer. Samuel married Hattie (Hettie) Stanton around 1873 and from this marriage had six children. In the 1880 census they lived in West Pennsborough, Cumberland County. At least three of the children were born there and the rest once they relocated to Steelton, Pennsylvania. Samuel Sr. was able to secure work again as a laborer and then found work as a janitor with the school system and was assigned to the Fothergill School on South Second Street.

This job afforded his family to live in a house on South Front Street. He gained the respect of his peers and working in this environment he was able to see first-hand how the educational system worked. It appears that he was self-taught in reading and writing as I found no information on the census records indicating school training. Knowing the value of education he supported community and church members to make education possible for his children and others. He became active in the quest as one of several to create a school for the colored children. The school was originally on the corner of Front and Adams Streets in the village of Baldwin prior to it becoming Steelton in 1880. The African American churches came together as a committee to ask the school system to have a school for them partly because the “colored” teachers were not allowed to teach in the main system and the schools were not integrated at that time.

The school was named Hygienic School for Colored Children as it was located on Hygienic Hill at Adams and Bailey Streets. The school started out as a two room building and over time was expanded to a four room building. The rooms were heated by a jacketed stove in each room. The school at one time was for all races divided by a wall where the children of color were on one side and on the other side everyone else was allowed. With the completion of the new Major Bent School on Conestoga Street, the Hygienic became the school for colored only. Only after the child would complete the eighth grade at Hygienic could they attend the Felton School (high school) from ninth to graduation. In fact, I have a picture of the graduating class from 1897 and 1899 with all students…black and white standing in front of the high school looking very valorous. Even I had taken my entrance test to begin at the Hygienic school when the doors were closed due to Brown vs the Board of Education creating integration.

I began school that year in the Felton Building. Samuel Cole Senior’s children attended the Hygienic School and his sons were very active in sports, school activities and social engagements. Some of the records that I located showed that they had a great time exploring the islands close by Steelton and having camping trips that would last a week or two with friends of all races. The sons organized sport activities and set up workout gyms in Steelton. They worked at the YMCA in Harrisburg at various times but mostly were laborers such as janitors or steel mill workers with a zest for politics. Their eldest son Jeremiah got a late start in the education system but according to the 1900 census he was able to read and write. Jeremiah’s son Samuel excelled through school and college to become a teacher and later a principal at the Hygienic School until it closed in the late 1950’s. This grandson did so well in the community that the housing authority placed his last name on the Cole Crest Housing Development in Steelton which still stands off of Chambers Street.

This in itself is a tribute to the name of “Cole” and the legacy that the grandfather started. Samuel Jr. graduated in 1897, was a member of the gym club at the Baldwin Hose Company, he along with his friends save three children from drowning at the canal at the bottom of Mohn Street. The only daughter Ruth also became a teacher and taught in Mooredale, Pennsylvania in 1907. Samuel Cole Senior used his life to change the future of everyone from the Civil War to education despite the fact that he enjoyed his life work as a janitor. It is noted in 1908 in the Harrisburg Telegraph that the colored janitor of the first ward of Steelton was appointed as Jury Foreman; the paper indicates it was in the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg. Researching further, the trail conclusion was that the party was found “not guilty” of the crime of defraud. As the foreman he had to read the verdict aloud. I feel for him because the paper indicates that he was hesitant being put in that position.

What I see in Samuel Cole Senior is fortitude, strength, perseverance, and dedication to family and community. He died of complications from general illness at the age of seventy-five in the year of 1920. He is buried at the historic Midland Cemetery located in Steelton/Swatara Township area. Samuel Cole tested my skill of research. Looking at locations, names and other connections I am certain that the original Samuel Cole is my person, without a doubt. This father, grandfather, husband and janitor actions trickled down to generations after him. In his family of grands, he has several doctors, teachers, professors and overall strong family members that are his descendants. The historic Midland Cemetery is Pa Hallowed Grounds Project site that is located on Kelker Street and Cole Alley in Swatara Township.

Visit our website: or like us on our Facebook page: Friends of Midland. We can be reached at or call 717-579-0003 for more information. Submitted by Barbara Barksdale, CTA, president of Friends of Midland