Craven County, North Carolina: Rev. Moses W. Wynn, 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry, New Bern

Gravestone of QMS Moses Warren Wynn, New Bern National Cemetery, New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. Photo: Find-aGrave user wanda parks

I came across an interesting article yesterday in the New York Age, and as is usual, it was found while on the hunt for something else. The article concerns Civil War veteran, and later, evangelist and author, Moses Warren Wynn, member of Company B, 2nd Regiment, U. S. Colored Cavalry, born enslaved in Tyrrell County, North Carolina.

Rev. Moses W. Wynn, the widely known evangelist, is the author now of two books and two charts.

An old veteran, a quartermaster-sergeant in Company B, Second U. S. Colored Cavalry, in the Civil War, is Rev. Wynn. Dr. Wynn was born in Tyrrell county, North Carolina, January 11, 1840. He was a slave and his mother died when he was a year old. In January, 1854, he was sold at public auction for $846, and In May, 1856, he was sold again at public auction for $1,021. On January 1, 1857, he was put in the blacksmith shop to learn that trade, and took charge of a forge himself in January, 1862, and in May, 1863, he had to make a rudder brace for one of the Federal gun-soldier. Dr. Wynn was in a great many battles around Petersburg and in front of Richmond. While being in the army he learned how to read and write. He came out of the army with an honorable discharge, and after being converted in May, 1868, he joined the New Chapel Baptist Church of Plymouth, N. C.

Dr. Wynn, seeing that he could to his race great good even as on the field of battle, October 21, 1870, entered the schoolhouse in the county of Washington, N. C. as a public bots, and that proved him to be the master of his trace, and on he went until December, 1862, when the Confederate soldiers burned the town of Plymouth in North Carolina. Then he made New Bern, N. C., his home until January 22, 1864, when he enlisted in the United States Army as a school teacher, and taught in five different counties. After entering the ministry as  a Baptist minister and feeling that he was called to do the work of an evangelist, he left school teaching in October, 1878, and he has ever since been a faithful Christian worker.

The New York Age, March 17, 1910
New Bern, North Carolina, in 1864, the year of Moses W. Wynn’s enlistment in the Union Army. Source: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Wilson Library, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives
 

Per military records, QMS Moses Warren Wynn enlisted at age twenty-two under the name “Moses Wynn” on February 1, 1864, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He was described as five feet, six inches tall, with a “dark” complexion, black eyes and hair. He mustered in on February 8, 1864, and was appointed Sergeant at Camp Hamilton later that day (similar to 1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew, whom I’ve written about in a previous blog.) QMS Wynn engaged in action at Suffolk, Virginia (March 9, 1864), and the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff (May 16, 1864). He was later on detached service with an ambulance train, from August, 1864, through January 1, 1865. QMS Wynn mustered out on February 12, 1866, at Brazos Santiago, Texas.

Map of North Carolina, Harper’s Weekly, October 5, 1861. Fort Monroe, Virginia, and Tyrrell, Washington, and Craven counties are highlighted in red. Source: Hathitrust

I was glad to have some type of guide to Moses W. Wynn’s life after the war, thanks to the New York Age article, as he proved hard to track in general vital records. In August, 1867, the Daily Standard and the Weekly Standard (Raleigh, N.C.), reported that a Union Republican Club had been formed in Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina.1 Moses was elected to serve as co-Vice President with Theophilus Ash, born a free person of color who served as the Washington County, North Carolina coroner (1868-1870) under the provisions of the Constitution of 1868.2

In 1882, a brief news snippet from the Charlotte Messenger mentioned that “Rev. M. W. Wynn of Wilmington, has been in our city two or three weeks assisting Rev. Z. Haughton, of the Second Baptist Church.”3

In 1883, a marriage was recorded in Guilford County, North Carolina, between Moses W. Wynn, of Asheville, North Carolina, son of Bailey and Katie Wynn, and Millie Mitchell, of Guilford County, North Carolina, the daughter of James and Susan Mitchell.4 On Moses’ death certificate, Bailey and Katie Wynn are noted as his parents by informant Annie McClammy Williams Wynn.5

In the 1910 Census, Dr. Moses W. Wynn was documented in New Bern’s Fifth Ward, in a residence on Pavie Avenue. The household included Dr. Wynn (70), “ministry, evangelist,” wife Annie (47), son Nathaniel (17), general laborer, and daughter Lucretia (5).6

Records of the New Bern Eastern Missionary Baptist Association detail Dr. Wynn’s religious activities, as well as his long-term commitment to education. In 1920, he gave an eloquent speech before the members of the Association, recollections of his Civil War service, along with fellow members Rev. Luke Perkins Martin7, and Rev. Alexander Griffin8, both of the 35th U. S. Colored Infantry.

Minutes of the Eastern Missionary Baptist Association, James City, North Carolina, October 14, 1920. Source: HathiTrust Digital Library
Gravestone of Rev. Luke Perkins Martin, Co. G, 35th U. S. Colored Infantry. New Bern National Cemetery, New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, May 11, 2015. All rights reserved.
The 35th U. S. Colored Infantry, ca. 1905, New Bern, North Carolina. Rev. Luke Perkins Martin and Rev. Alexander Griffin may be pictured here.
North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

The records of the Association also show Dr. Wynn’s office as trustee of the Atlantic and North Carolina Industrial Institute of James City, North Carolina, a community formed by formerly enslaved persons during the Civil War.

The Raleigh Times (Raleigh, North Carolina), November 30, 1910

The school was established by the New Bern Eastern Association, one of the largest Associations in point of numbers in the State. There were many divisions in the ranks of the New Bern Eastern Association, which gave many setbacks to the school project. The fact that the New Bern Industrial and Collegiate Institute was located just across the Trent River in New Bern and directed and controlled by an able and energetic young man, Rev. Weeks, stood in the way of the progress of the Atlantic and North Carolina Institute. Mr. Q. C. Mial, an old and experienced teacher from Johnston County, was elected as the first Principal. In the short time Mr. Mial was in charge of the school his work bore evidence of his splendid experience, but he soon grew tired of teaching and resigned. Since that time until 1908 the progress of the school was slow. Some of the old leaders of the Association have since died, and it is hoped that the new and more advanced leaders will see their way clear to unite with the New Bern and Collegiate or strengthen the work on the other side of the Trent, as such a work is so much needed in that section of North Carolina.

Whitted, J. A. A History of Negro Baptists of North Carolina. pp. 185-186.
James City, North Carolina, March 9, 2015. Note the “State Maintenance Ends,” sign. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.
James City, North Carolina, March 9, 2015. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.

In the 1920 Census, Dr. Wynn was documented in New Bern’s Fourth Ward, as “Warren W. Wynn.” The household included Moses (79), church minister, his wife Annie (56), a house cleaner for a private family, and daughter Lucretia (17), a cook for a private family.9

By 1930, the family was documented in a home on Richardson’s Alley, New Bern. Moses was listed as a Baptist church minister, age ninety, his wife, Annie, age sixty-seven, no occupation, granddaughter Charlotte Louise Toney, age seven, and stepson Andrew Jackson Williams (son of Henry Williams),10age forty-eight.11

Moses Warren Wynn passed away on July 22, 1930, and was interred in New Bern National Cemetery on July 24, 1930.12 His wife, Annie, died on August 25, 1938, and was interred in New Bern’s Evergreen Cemetery on August 28th.13Although I lost track of their daughter, Lucretia, son Nathaniel passed away on April 28, 1951, New Bern, and was also interred in New Bern’s Evergreen Cemetery.14

At the end of this journey into the extraordinary life of Rev. Dr. Moses Warren Wynn, freedom-seeker, Civil War veteran, and evangelist, I remained curious about the novels he’d written, mentioned in the New York Age article. After a little digging, I found both in the Internet Archive, and may be found below.15


  1. The Daily Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina), 3 August 1867; p. 2, column 2; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 September 2019); The Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina), 7 August 1867, p. 4, column 5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 September 2019)
  2. “A Colored Commissioner in Plymouth,” The Daily Journal (Wilmington, North Carolina), 16 April 1867, p. 3, column 3; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 September 2019)
  3. “Personals,” The Charlotte Messenger (Charlotte, North Carolina), 15 July 1882, p. 3, column 3; image copy, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (https://www.digitalnc.org: accessed 19 September 2019)
  4. Guilford County, North Carolina Marriage Licenses – Colored (1872-1961), Moses W. Wynn-Millie Mitchell, 22 February 1883; image “North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011,” Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 September 2019), citing ” North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.”
  5. “North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975,” database with images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 September 2019), certificate image, Moses Warren Wynn, 22 July 1930, no. 469, citing North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates
  6. “U. S. Census, 1910,” Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com: accessed 14 September 2019); New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina: dist. 26; p. 51; citing ” Year: 1910; Census Place: New Bern Ward 5, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1104; Page: 26A; Enumeration District: 0026; FHL microfilm: 1375117
  7. Per military records, Luke Perkins Martin, of Hertford, North Carolina, enlisted at age twenty-five, on May 22, 1863, New Bern, North Carolina. He mustered in on June 30, 1863, New Bern. He engaged in action at the Battle of Olustee, Florida, February 20, 1864, and Honey Hill, South Carolina, November 30, 1864. He mustered out of service on June 1, 1866, at Charleston, South Carolina. Pvt. Luke Perkins Martin died on May 4, 1920, and was interred in New Bern National Cemetery.
  8. According to military records, Rev. Alexander Griffin, of Plymouth, North Carolina, enlisted at the age of twenty, on May 23, 1863, New Bern, North Carolina. He mustered in on June 30, 1863, at New Bern, and was promoted to Sergeant on July 14, 1863. Like Rev. L. P. Martin, Alexander Griffin engaged in action at Olustee, Florida, and Honey Hill, South Carolina, where he was wounded in the leg. Alexander mustered out of service on June 1, 1866, Charleston, South Carolina. Sgt. Alexander Griffin passed away on February 18, 1920, and was interred in Pelham Cemetery, Truman, Craven County, North Carolina.
  9. ”U. S. Census, 1920,” Ancestry.com (https://ancestry.com : accessed 18 September 2019); New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina: Ward 4, dist. 0025; p. 111; citing “Year: 1920; Census Place: New Bern Ward 4, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: T625_1293; Page: 56A; Enumeration District: 25.”
  10. “North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975,” database with images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 September 2019), certificate image, Andrew Jackson Williams, 9 June 1949, no. 12229, citing North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates
  11. ”U. S. Census 1930,” Ancestry.com (https://ancestry.com: accessed 17 September 2019); New Bern, Craven County, North Caroina; dist. 0019; p. 30, citing “Year: 1930; Census Place: New Bern, Craven, North Carolina; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0019; FHL microfilm: 2341417
  12. “North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976.” Ancestry, certificate image, Moses W. Wynn, 1930, no. 46
  13. “North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975, database with images (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 September 2019), certificate image, Annie W. Wynn, 25 August 1938, no. 378, citing “North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates
  14. “North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 September 2019), certificate image, Nathaniel Wynn, 28 April 1951, no. 7825, citing “North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates
  15. Rev. Dr. M. W. Wynn, The Baptist, Link by Link (Weldon, North Carolina: Harrell’s Printing House, 1884), pp. 1-16, digital images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org: accessed 19 September 2019); Rev. Dr. M. W. Wynn, The Wonderful Mind of the Man and Woman, and Their Way In Life (Greensboro, North Carolina: M. W. Wynn, Peter Gray, and B. M. Pce & Co., 1884), pp.1-24; digital images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org: accessed 19 September 2019)

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