Portsmouth, Virginia: United States Colored Troops, Grove Baptist Church Cemetery

Photos: Nadia K. Orton, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2018. All rights reserved.

The headstones of United States Colored Troops interred in Grove Baptist Church cemetery have been cleaned up, though none were reset. The grave cleaning came in the midst of a renovation project of Grove Church’s parking lot.

U. S. Colored Troops, Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, May 24, 2014.
Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, March 11, 2018. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.

I first discovered the grave of one of our Civil War ancestors, Pvt. Alexander Orton of the 10th U. S. Colored Infantry, my paternal great-great-great-grandfather, in 2009, and noticed that he was buried near the gravesites of several other African American Civil War veterans. Over the years, our family has visited the graves of these brave men, planted flags over Memorial Day (Decoration Day) weekends, and studied their lives and genealogies. It was during one of these routine visits that we noted the recent cleaning.

Pvt. Alexander Orton – Company E, 10th U. S. Colored Infantry

Pvt. Alexander Orton, August 3, 2013
Pvt. Alexander Orton, March 11, 2018
  • Birth: ca. 1842, Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Enlistment: November 25, 1863, Craney Island, Virginia
  • Muster: November 27, 1863, Craney Island, Virginia
  • Discharge: May 17, 1866, Galveston Texas
  • Death: December 14, 1918, Suffolk, Virginia
  • Trustee of Grove Baptist Church, Churchland (Portsmouth), Virginia
  • Spouse: (1st) Marina Elliott, m. December 29, 1870, Norfolk County, Virginia; (2nd) Sarah Frances “Fannie” English, m. November 24, 1898, Nansemond County, Virginia (City of Suffolk)

Pvt. George Elliott – Company G, 10th U. S. Colored Infantry

Pvt. George Elliott, August 3, 2013.
Pvt. George Elliott, March 11, 2018
  • Birth: ca. 1821, West Branch, Norfolk County, Virginia
  • Enlistment: December 9, 1863, Craney Island, Virginia
  • Muster: December 17, 1863, Fort Monroe, Virginia
  • Discharge: May 17, 1866, Galveston, Texas
  • Death: March 6, 1871, Churchland, Virginia
  • Spouse: Priscilla Young

Cpl. Madison McClenny – Company F, 10th U. S. Colored Infantry

Cpl Madison McClenny, August 3, 2013
Cpl. Madison McClenny, March 11, 2018
  • Birth: ca. 1826, Norfolk County, Virginia
  • Enlistment: November 30, 1863, Craney Island, Virginia
  • Muster: December 17, 1863, Fort Monroe, Virginia
  • Discharge: May 17, 1866, Galveston, Texas
  • Death: March 31, 1879/1880, Churchland, Virginia
  • Spouse: Julia Ann Mackey

Cpl. William Henry Simmons – Company G, 10th U. S. Colored Infantry

Cpl. William H. Simmons, August 3, 2013
Cpl. William H. Simmons, March 11, 2018
  • Birth: ca. 1847, Pig Point (Nansemond County), Virginia
  • Enlistment: January 1, 1864, Craney Island, Virginia
  • Muster: January 15, 1864, Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Appointed Corporal: July 9, 1864
  • Discharge: May 17, 1866, Galveston, Texas
  • Death: August 6, 1919, Churchland (Portsmouth), Virginia
  • Spouse: Mary Simmons

Sgt. Daniel Wright – Company G, 10th U. S. Colored Infantry

Sgt. Daniel Wright, August 3, 2013
Sgt. Daniel Wright, March 11, 2018
  • Birth: ca. 1842, Norfolk County, Virginia
  • Enlistment: December 9, 1863, Craney Island, Virginia
  • Muster: December 17, 1863, Fort Monroe, Virginia
  • Appointed Corporal: July 1, 1864
  • Appointed Sergeant: February 13, 1865
  • Discharge: May 17, 1866, Galveston, Texas
  • Death: January 23, 1908, Churchland, Virginia
  • Spouse: Sarah Frances Elliott, m. February 15, 1872, Norfolk County, Virginia

Sgt. William Thomas Pitt – Company H, 1st U. S. Colored Cavalry

Sgt. William Thomas Pitt, August 9, 2011
Sgt. William Thomas Pitt, March 11, 2018
  • Birth: ca. 1835, Nansemond County (City of Suffolk), Virginia
  • Enlistment: December 14, 1863, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Muster: December 22, 1863, Camp Hamilton, Virginia
  • Discharge: February 4, 1866, Brazos Santiago, Texas
  • Death: September 29, 1889, Churchland (Portsmouth), Virginia
  • Spouse: Lillian (Lily) Ann Elliott

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