Alfred Whiting, Confederate Camp Servant
and Community Leader


 

This page is a work in progress. We would appreciate help in enlarging the history of our African-American citizens, particularly those who were emancipated by the Civil War and those who were manumitted by their owners before or during the Civil War.

Alfred Whiting became a leader of the African-American community. He was one of the men who in January 1867 formed the Colored Benevolent Association that founded the Benevolent Cemetery below Indian Mound Cemetery. The photograph of him was made at a Confederate Reunion in Moorefield on October 9, 1912. Mr. Whiting attended many Confederate reunions because he had been the "body servant" of Isaac Brady of Hampshire County during Brady's time as a soldier in the Civil War. Mr. Whiting died on March 6th 1922. Evidence points to the fact that he is buried in the Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery in Romney although there is not a marker for him. He and Ann Eliza Banks were married on November 23, 1865. She is buried in Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery in Romney.  Click on photo to see an enlargement.

We appreciate the research of Jane Ailes who has sent information on the manumission of Alfred Whiting. In Deed Book 59, page 139 of the Frederick County, Virginia, deed books James Gibson frees several slaves including a boy named Alfred who is at the time about five years old and is to be free on January 1st of 1852. The document was signed by Gibson on September, 1831 and recorded on February 6, 1832. According to this information Alfred would have been 96 years old at his death. However, Mr. Gibson may not have known the exact date of his birth as mentioned in the Review obituary. Jane Ailes also supplied the second obituary; the newspaper source is unknown, but it may have been the Hampshire Review.

This is a photo of a Confederate Veteran's Reunion in Moorefield, W. Va. on October 3, 1912. The individual third from the left in the front row is Alfred Whiting. He is, of course, the only African-American in the group. Click on the small photo to enlarge. An enlarged clip of Alfred can be seen by clicking here.


Below is an article courtesy of the Hampshire Review written by Rob Wolford as part of his Civil War series.

Please note that the Webmaster occasionally comments on outside articles listed here. In this case we note that the evidence that Mr. Whiting was a combat veteran is not supported by any documents. On the contrary, the obituary from the Hampshire Review (shown below Mr. Wolford's article) notes that Mr. Whiting served as "the body servent of Isaac T. Brady." Therefore we conclude that the fact Mr. Whiting is holding a rifle in the photo is simply done for effect, not to symbolize a combat role.
Contrary to what the article states we believe there is little if any support from reputable historians today for a significant number of African-American soldiers in combat. We leave it to the reader to sift through as many resources as possible before deciding on which side of this subject to take a stand. [sentence added 6/6/17]


 

Upon his death, Mr. Whiting's obiturary appeared on the front page of the Hampshire Review. It give us some more information about this remarkable man. Click on the image to see a closeup of the obiturary.


 
Alfred Whitings' death certificate
Funeral article supplied by Jane Ailes; newspaper source probably the Hampshire Review.

 
Alfred Whitings' death certificate

 

After the Civil War Alfred went to work for Isaac Brady. Later he joined other African American citizens to try to better the situation of their race in West Virginia. He was one of the founders of the Colored Benevolent Society in Hampshire County that established the cemetery just below Indian Mound Cemetery. Later he and two other Hampshire County men, Albert Alexander and T. M. Thurston, went to Charleston in 1888 to help set up the Colored Independent Party which put up a slate of nominees for the upcoming gubernatorial election. Alfred Whiting was nominated as Treasurer of West Virginia.

The "Colored Independents" met on September 12, 1888 and nominated a State ticket including Alfred Whiting for State Treasurer. [Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1888, Volume 13, page 842][see also: Wheeling Register, September 2 and 14, 1888; January 3, 1889.]

  On September 12 a convention of about fifty delegates, calling themselves the " Colored Independents," met at Charleston and placed in nomination presidential electors and a Slate ticket containing the following names: For Governor, W. II. Davis; Auditor, E. A. Turner Treasurer, Alfred Whiting. The resolutions adopted denounce the Republican party, ask the Legislature to prevent discriminating "branches of study in the public schools; oppose monopolies, corporations, trusts; oppose taking the revenue off whisky and tobacco, and ask that all necessaries be placed upon the free list and that the tariff be reduced to prevent a surplus.
  An address was issued to the colored voters, urging them to desert the Republican party and to stand together.
from: Appleton's Annual


 

Click here for article in the Wheeling Intelligencer of September 13, 1888 on the Colored Independents Convention.



 

Working notes:
Alfred Whiting's time during the Civil War:
Although he is said to have attended many Civil War reunions, Alfred Whiting was never listed as a member of the Confederate Veterans Association; he is not listed in the census of 1910 as a veteran; his grave is not found in the WPA's census of Hampshire County veteran burials.


 timeline for Isaac Brady's capture & imprisonment [so far we have not found paperwork on Whiting's capture]
    18 May 1861  enlisted at Romney, for term of 1 year
    25 May 1861  mustered in at Bolivar, VA  -- Co. K, 13th Regiment VA Infantry
    10 Oct 1862  transferred to Co. D, 11th Regiment, VA Cavalry
    4 Nov 1863   captured in Hampshire Co.
    5 Nov 1863   taken to Romney
    6 Nov 1863   confined in Spring field in the Presbyterian Church until
    7 Dec 1863   left Springfield
    8 Dec 1863   arrived Wheeling
  (??? some discrepancy between 6-8 Dec 1863)
    6 Dec 1863   entered Atheneum Prison, Wheeling
    8 Feb 1864   received at Camp Chase, Ohio from Wheeling
    14 Mar 1864  left Wheeling
    17 Mar 1864  received at Ft. Delaware
    May 1864     signed Oath of Alegiance at Ft. Delaware
    5 May 1865   released from Ft. Delaware

Col. Jacob M. Campbell Papers. West Virginia University; Identifier A&M.1109, 1861-1865
West Virginia and Regional History Center, West Virginia University, 1549 University Avenue 
  Morgantown, WV 26506-6069  Phone: 304-293-3536  URL: WVU Regional History Collection
              A&M 1109          A&M.1267