Chowan County, North Carolina: 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew, 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry, Edenton

Gravestone of 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew. Vine Oak Cemetery, Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.

1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew, of Company B, 2nd Regiment, U. S. Colored Cavalry, was born on September 4,1845, in Tyrrell County, North Carolina. He enlisted at the age of eighteen on February 1, 1864, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. In his enlistment record, he was described as five feet, nine inches tall, with a “light” complexion, black eyes and hair. By occupation, 1st Sgt. Pettigrew was listed as a laborer. He mustered in on February 8, 1864, at Fort Monroe, and was appointed Sergeant later that afternoon. In December, 1864, he was appointed First Sergeant.1

From “A New Map of the State of North Carolina by J.L. Hazzard “(1859). Chowan and Tyrrell counties are indicated in red. Source: North Carolina Map, UNC-CH

1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew was involved in several major battles during the Civil War. His first engagement was against Confederates at Suffolk, Virginia, March 9, 1864.

The Daily Union Vedette (Camp Douglas, Utah), March 15, 1864.

Pettigrew also fought in the battles of Drewry’s Bluff, and New Market Heights, on September 29, 1864. His enlistment record contains no obvious incidence of injury or illness. 1st Sgt. Pettigrew mustered out of service on February 12, 1866, at Brazos Santiago, Texas.

In the 1870 U. S. Census, Haywood was documented in the Scuppernong District of Tyrrell County. The household included Haywood (24), a farm laborer, and his wife, Amy (19), “keeping house.”2 On July 5, 1869, a marriage was recorded in Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina, between Hayward Petigrew, son of Joe Newberry and Carolina Davis, and Amy Wood, daughter of William and Malvina Brown. The marriage was performed by Joseph G. Pratt, Justice of the Peace.3

In the 1880 U. S. Census, Haywood and family were documented in the Seaboard District of (former) Princess Anne County, now the independent city of Virginia Beach. The household included Haywood (35), a lighthouse keeper, wife Amy (27), keeping house, daughters Annie (3), and Malvina (1). The census notes that Annie and Malvina were both born in North Carolina.

Haywood B. Pettigrew Family, Seaboard District, Princess Anne County, Virginia, 1880 U. S. Census.

I was curious about Haywood’s occupation as lighthouse keeper, and found an article in the Alexandria Gazette about his appointment.

The Alexandria Gazette, (Alexandria, Va.), November 2, 1882.

Craney Island Lighthouse, ca. 18844

Map showing location of the Craney Island Lighthouse, 1882. Western Shore of Elizabeth River, Scotch Creek to Craney Island, Virginia. Source; Office of Coast Survey

According to the website of the United States Lighthouse Society (Chesapeake Chapter), the Craney Island Lighthouse was “near the mouth of the Elizabeth River to guide vessels approaching Norfolk & Portsmouth harbors.” Haywood B. Pettigrew was the Assistant Keeper (1880-1881) and Keeper of the lighthouse (1881-1882). Haywood’s predecessor was Marshall Land, another Civil War veteran, and former member of the 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry. Interestingly, the society notes that there were “at least three” couples that tended the Craney Island light. Haywood B. and Amy W. B. Pettigrew would be the fourth couple to do so, as Amy Wood Brown Pettigrew is listed as an assistant keeper in 1882.5

I reviewed a few historic newspapers to trace Haywood’s activities between 1882 and 1900. After the war, Haywood became involved in politics, and affiliated with the Republican Party. In 1879, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Haywood had been elected one of the vice-presidents of the “colored convention,” in Odd Fellows Hall, Franklin Street, Richmond.6

Regarding the fraternal orders, Haywood was a mason, and member of the John R. Page Lodge, No. 13, F & A. M., of Edenton, North Carolina.

The Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton,N.C.), June 8, 1894

Haywood also became an ordained minister. The Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton, N. C.), regularly reported on Haywood’s religious activities, and also ran occasional news items about his family. His commitment to education is evidenced by several articles about his daughters. In 1893, the Fisherman and Farmer reported that daughter Laura Alice (Annie) (b. ca. 1877), attended Elizabeth City State Normal School (Elizabeth City State University),7 and daughter Lula attended Livingstone College, Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina.8

Elizabeth City State University historical marker. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, November 2, 2013. All rights reserved.

Livingstone College, November 10, 2015. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.
The Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton, N.C.), April 6, 1894
Kadesh A. M. E. Zion Church, Edenton, North Carolina. Photo: April 5, 2014, Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.
Mt. Lebanon A. M.E. (est. 1850). Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Rev. Haywood B. Pettigrew was associated with Mt. Lebanon A. M. E. in 1896.

Considering the frequency in which Haywood B. Pettigrew’s church activities were mentioned in regional newspapers, I looked to see if there was anything written about him in records of the African Methodist Episcopal Church….and hit genealogical pay dirt. A wonderful biography found in James Walker Hood’s One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, details Haywood’s escape from slavery, his service during the Civil War, and his role in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Virginia and North Carolina between 1870 and 1900.

H. B. Pettigrew was born in Tyrrell county, N. C., September 4, 1845. He made his escape to the Union army November 22, 1862. He entered the camp at Plymouth, N. C., and cooked for the soldiers till February, 1863, at which time he went to New Berne and enlisted in the Thirty-fifth United States Colored Infantry, got his left hip displaced and was discharged at James City, reenlisted February 1, 1864, at the same place. He was in General Foster’s raid to Goldsboro, Washington, and Tarboro. He went to Virginia, and was promoted to first sergeant of Company B, Second United States Colored Cavalry. His first battle there was at Suffolk, under Colonel G. W. Golds, of New York. In March, 1864, he was in the battle at Deep Bottom, when a move was made on the Richmond defenses, he was in the battle at Chickahominy, and led the van in a charge upon the Confederates at Malvern Hill. For his splendid behavior in that engagement he was awarded a silver medal9by President Lincoln, which he now has. He was in thirteen battles and fifteen smaller engagements, and was twice wounded in battle. His last service was the pursuit of the Confederate General C. Smith, in Texas, just after the close of the war. He was mustered out February 12, 1866, at City Point, Va.

In 1867 he was appointed steward of the United States pesthouse at Norfolk. In 1868 he was appointed toolkeeper in Gosport Navy Yard. In the latter part of the same year he came to Edenton, N. C., where he professed faith in Christ and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In 1869, he received local preacher’s license. In the same year he was married to his present devoted wife, having lost his first wife in the war.

In 1872 he joined the Virginia Conference. He was ordained deacon in 1873 and had charge of the Chowan Circuit. In 1874 he was ordained elder and appointed to the Brunswick County Circuit, where he built St. Paul’s Church, Solomon’s Temple, Paradise Church, and Jerusalem. In 1876 he was appointed yardkeeper at Richmond Va. in 1879 he was appointed assistance lighthouse keeper at Cape Henry , and in 1880 was appointed lighthouse keeper at Brang Island Lighthouse.

In the fall of 1882 he returned to the itinerancy and was appointed by Bishop Moore to the Long Ridge Circuit. He had splendid success in this work, but in the Hillery trouble of 1883, he having followed the lead of those who championed Hillery’s cause, felt it his duty to stand by him until the General Conference had determined the case. This having been done, he was ready to resume his duties as soon as permitted. His next appointment was Zion circuit. The Zion church was destroyed by fire, but he rebuilt it. He built a church at Millfield, called Mount Carmel, and also erected the Mount Moriah Church.

In 1890 he was sent to the Jonesville Circuit. He built and completed the Hood’s Temple at Jonesville, which is the finest church in that section, he finished the church at Hamilton, and secured lumber and commenced the church at Williamston; he also secured the lumber for the church at Poplar Run, finished the church at Oak Hill, and commenced one at Fork Bridge. He has come to be known as the great church builder; he is a splendid carpenter, and does the work himself, and it is astonishing how much he can do. The congregation that gets Pettigrew is sure of a church if it has none, and if it has a poor one, it is sure of a better one. He is not only a material builder, but he builds up his church spiritually at the same time, maintains discipline, and sees that his church does its part in supporting the connectional institutions. He is exceedingly anxious to give his children a good education, and has a daughter in the classics at Livingstone. He is distinguished for bold fearlessness. It is doubtful if ever a braver soldier went into battle; he felt that he was fighting for a cause in the interest of which it would be honorable to die. He will go through with what he undertakes or perish in the attempt if he believes that duty requires it of him. He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1876 and also in 1892.

Hood, James Walker. One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; or The Centennial of African Methodism, pp. 567-568
Cape Henry lighthouse, ca. 1900. Source: Library of Congress

It was interesting to learn about Haywood’s appointment at the Cape Henry lighthouse10, now a National Historic Landmark, but a few details in Haywood’s biography were quite startling. Haywood’s enlistment on February 1, 1864 with the 2nd U. S. Colored Infantry was the second time he’d enlisted in the Union Army? He received a “silver medal” for valor? Amy Wood Brown was his second wife?

I looked for a “Haywood Pettigrew” in the service records of the 35th U. S. Colored Infantry on Fold3. Haywood had enlisted with the regiment, as “Hayward Pettigrew.”

Highway historical marker for the 1st North Carolina Colored Volunteers (35th U. S. Colored Infantry), New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, October 17, 2014. All rights reserved.

The record states “rejected,” the cause of which may be the “left hip displacement” mentioned in James Walker Hood’s biography. For more information, I returned to Haywood’s military pension file.

Haywood first applied for his (approved) military pension in 1889. His main complaint was a hernia on his right side, an injury he claimed had developed during the engagement at Suffolk, Virginia on March 9, 1864.

Affidavit of John Parker, age 56, Company B, 2nd Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry; May 6, 1889, Pungoteague, Accomack County, Virginia. Invalid pension no. 563.597.11

That he is well acquainted with Haywood Pettigrew, served in the same Co. & Regt. with him and was with him at or near Suffolk, Va. in the Spring of 1864 when he incurred rupture of right side; that said injury was received by a severe blow from the trail handspike of the piece (artillery) which he had fired, the piece running when fired – said rupture was incurred during the skirmish near Suffolk at the time stated above

From the pension file of 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew, National Archives, Washington, D. C.12
Gravestone of Sgt. Richard Sumner, 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry, mentioned in 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew’s pension claim. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, January 19, 2013, Perquimans County, North Carolina. All rights reserved.

Haywood’s pension file contains scant information of his early life in Tyrrell County, North Carolina, and not much additional information beyond the medical proof of his hernia. It does however, contain information on his first wife, mentioned in James Walker Hood’s biography of Haywood B. Pettigrew. Her name was Virginia Keeling. She married Haywood in Texas in 1866, and died the same year at Brazos Santiago.13 Although his pension file makes no mentioned of a silver medal, it is likely in reference to the Butler Medal, commissioned by General Benjamin F. Butler to honor African American soldiers for their conduct and bravery at the Battle of New Market Heights. General Butler was relieved of his command in 1865, and the medal he commissioned for some of the African American troops was therefore considered “unofficial” and not allowed to be worn in public. This could be one reason why there was no mention of this award in 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew’s pension file.14

In the 1900 Census, Haywood and Amy were documented in Edenton, at a residence on East Church Street. The household included Haywood (55), a preacher, wife Amy (46), no occupation, and daughter Laura Alice (19), a dressmaker.15

In the 1910 U. S. Census, Haywood and family were documented at the same address, although the family size had increased. The household included Haywood (62), clergyman, wife Amy (55), daughter Laura Alice Pettigrew Underhill (28, married), grandchildren William Underhill (7), and Harold Underhill (1), Clara Blount (25) public school teacher identified as a niece, Mildred Blount (8), niece, and Harriett Reeves (67), noted as Haywood’s sister16. In 1920, the family was documented at the same address, with Haywood (78), clergyman, Amy (69), Harrell (Harold) Underhill (13), grandson, and Ida L. Hathaway (1 1/2) granddaughter.17

Gravestone of Caroline Cox Davis (ca. 1822-1900), mother of 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew and Harriett Reeves, and Armistead Davis (ca. 1823-1900), second husband of Caroline Cox Davis. Vine Oak Cemetery, April 5, 2014. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.

Amy W. Brown Pettigrew, wife of Haywood B. Pettigrew, passed on March 28, 1926, at the family residence on Church Street, Edenton, and was interred in historic Vine Oak Cemetery on March 30, 1926.18 After her death, Haywood moved up to Newark, New Jersey, to live with his daughter, Lula Pettigrew Davis.

Soon after his move to Newark, New Jersey, 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew passed away, on October 10, 1927. HIs daughter, Lula Pettigrew Davis, wrote a letter to the pension board informing them of his death, and relaying instructions for the placement of his headstone.19

U. S. Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Pensions,

This is to notify you that my father, H. B. Pettigrew, formerly of Edenton, N. C., but for past year and a half of the city of Newark (last address as above) died suddenly on Mon. Oct. 10th – this place and was taken by me to his former home and interred on Thursday, Oct. 12. 14. So there a stone or any mark of commemoration due him as a veteran (to mark his grave) and do his heirs rec. a continuation of his pension. An early reply would be much appreciated. I am his only child.


(Mrs.) Lula P. Davis

1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew’s headstone in located near the southeastern corner of Vine Oak Cemetery, near the graves of four other United States Colored Troops: Pvt. Cain Dismuth, Co. B, 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry, Pvt. Wilson Gregory, Co. E, 34th U. S. Colored Infantry, Cpl. Anderson Harrold, Co. B, 37th U. S. Colored Infantry, and Cpl. Hardy Mixon, Co. K, 40th U. S. Colored Infantry.

United States Colored Troop section, Vine Oak Cemetery, Edenton, North Carolina. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, 2013. All rights reserved.
  1. Haywood B. Pettigrew (1st Sgt., Co. B, 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry, Civil War), pension no. 563.597, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files’ Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D. C.
  2. Ancestry, “U. S. Census 1870,” Ancestry ( : accessed June 6, 2019), Tyrell County, North Carolina, dist. Scuppernong, p. 18, citing “Year: 1870; Census Place: Scuppernong, Tyrrell, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1161; Page: 490B; Family History Library Film: 552660.”
  3. Chowan County, North Carolina, Marriage Register (1851-1984), Hayward Petigrew-Amy Brown, 5 July 1869; image, “North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011,” ( accessed 3 July 2019); citing “North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.”
  4. “Craney Island Light, Craney Island, mouth of the Elizabeth River,” United States Coast Guard, Historian’s Office ( accessed 2 August 2019).
  5. According the the United States Lighthouse Society, keepers “were required to keep a daily logbook of daily events, accomplishments, shipping traffic, and weather conditions. We know these things because logbooks have been saved over the years. The government required detailed record keeping. There are entries about dusting, scrubbing and painting. The daily routine included trimming wicks, cleaning the lens and keeping the windows free from soot.” For more information, see, “Keeper’s Life,”
  6. “Race Rights, A Colored View of the Situation in Virginia,” The Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), 20 May 1879, p. 1, cols. 3-4); image copy, ( accessed 28 June 2019).
  7. “Our Colored People,” Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton, N. C.), 27 October 1893, p. 2, column 4; image copy, ( accessed 3 August 2019)
  8. “Our Colored People,” Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton, N.C.), 3 November 1893, p. 2, column 3; image copy, ( : accessed 3 August 2019.)
  9. This may be a reference to the Butler Medal
  10. According to the records of Light House Friends, Haywood B. Pettigrew was First Assistant Keeper of the Cape Henry lighthouse in 1880. For more information, see
  11. According to his enlistment record, Cpl John Parks enlisted at the age of nineteen on January 20, 1864, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. At the time of enlistment, he was described as five feet, five inches tall, with a dark complexion, and black eyes and hair. He mustered in on January 27, 1864, Ft. Monroe. Like 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew, Cpl. Parker engaged in action at Suffolk, Virginia (March 9, 1864), and Drewry’s Bluff (May 16, 1864). He was later on detached service on an ambulance train. He was promoted Corporal on September 1, 1864. He mustered out of service on February 12, 1866, at Brazos Santiago, Texas. Cpl. John Parks died on February 26, 1913, and was buried at Savageville, Accomack County, Virginia.
  12. Haywood B. Pettigrew Civil War pension no. N. C. 563.597, R. G. 15, NA-Washington.
  13. Haywood B. Pettigrew Civil War pension no. N. C. 563.597, R. G. 15, NA-Washington.
  14. The Smithsonian notes that the Butler Medal ” holds the distinction of being the only medal ever struck for black troops..” For more information, see “Soldiering, the Butler Medal,”; “The Mettle of Butler’s Soldiers,” Carl Schoettler, The Baltimore Sun, August 2, 2001.
  15. “U. S. Census 1900,” ( accessed 2 August 2019); Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina, dist. 0028; p. 29; citing ” Year: 1900; Census Place: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0028; FHL microfilm: 1241188.
  16. According to vital records, Harriett Reeves was born about 1848, Tyrrell County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of James Reeves and Caroline Cox Davis. Harriett Reeves passed away on January 27, 1913, Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina, and was interred in Vine Oak Cemetery on January 28, 1913. The informant was Haywood B. Pettigrew.
  17. “U. S. Census 1910,” ( accessed 2 August 2019); Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina, dist. 0022; p. 29; citing “Year: 1910; Census Place: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1098; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0022; FHL microfilm: 1375111; “U. S. Census 1920,” ( accessed 2 August 2019); Edenton Chowan County, North Carolina, dist. 0019; p. 30, citing “Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  18. Haywood B. Pettigrew Civil War pension no. N. C. 563.597, R. G. 15, NA-Washington.
  19. Haywood B. Pettigrew Civil War pension no. N. C. 563.597, R. G. 15, NA-Washington.

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