Home » Genealogy » Military Mystery: Unknown WWI United States Negro Troop. Could They Be Our 812th Pioneer Infantry?

Military Mystery: Unknown WWI United States Negro Troop. Could They Be Our 812th Pioneer Infantry?

USCT-MYSTERY-(combined)click on image to enlarge

As I continue on my mission to find more details about the Company K, 812th Pioneer Infantry for AAGSAR Members Mary (Jewells In Dem Kentucky Hills) and Bernita (Voices Inside My Head), I *stumbled upon* these striking images of an unidentified United States troop of African American Soldiers from World War I.

These Unknown Negro Troop images were located with equally amazing images of the Company B, 814th Pioneer Infantry, with these additional details:

Company B, 814th Pioneer Infantry
Captain William D. Haydon, Comdr., “Black Devils”
January 31, 1919
Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, Ky.

Royal Photo Co. #863
Lou, Ky.

The original researcher appears to be Irita CANADY, and included this additional information:

I met with a couple of cousins, Wanda Bailey and Denny Norman, August 16, 2006 in Zanesville, Ohio, Although our meeting was regarding the Gant House, Wanda brought along 2 old military photos which I took digital pics of. She doesn’t know the owner of the photos as they had been sitting outside in the elements for several days after a house fire. She has given me permission to pass the images along (1) to be posted on the Lest We Forget & African American Genealogy Group of the Miami Valley web sites and (2) hopefully some of the soldiers can be identified. – Irita Canady

So what do you think? Is the fact these Unknown WWI images were in found in close proximity to the 814th Pioneer Infantry images significant? They do represent 2 separate troops and had identical frames. Who was the original owner and what was his/her connection to the images?

Is this Mary’s and Bernita’s Company K, 812th Pioneer Infantry?




32 thoughts on “Military Mystery: Unknown WWI United States Negro Troop. Could They Be Our 812th Pioneer Infantry?

  1. I can’t not tell you how excited I am to see these pictures. I wonder which regiment they belong too. Thank you so much for going above and beyond to write about your GREAT find. The looks on those young men’s faces and in their eyes say so much. Thank you again!

    • Chile the stories their eyes tell! I could sit here scanning faces for HOURS! I so hope we’re looking in the faces of your & Mary’s Ancestors! And if not, I’m just thankful to have happened upon these Service Men. Named or not — they are deserving of MUCH honor. We have some research to do Ms. B!:)

      • Just ran across your awesome story…my grandfather was a Pvt. in the WW1 808th Pioneer Infantry Company E…He was from Virginia with an Honorable Discharge in 1919..I am also interested in finding info on these soldiers as well…I have his enlisted number and his discharge papers.

    • Thank you so much Ms. Ella! Those WWI Soldiers move me! It would be a blessing if they happened to be our 812th Infantry! Stranger things have happened!:)

    • Hi Keli! I have 2 friends who also had Ancestors in Co. K 812th! I’m sure they’d be interested in comparing research notes. Email me if you’d like to connect? Thanks!

  2. When you say the meeting was regarding the “Gant house” what is that referring to? Just building a family tree and in my research this came up. As a Gant in Ohio my interest was peaked.


    • Gerald I found while researching for this site how much in jeopardy the memory of our soldiers & their service is of being lost. Don’t wait. Create a website documenting your Grandfather’s service & get his legacy firmly in place online. That’s the beauty of the internet & search engines — they will outlive us all. Holler if you need help!

  4. Wow. My grand father was a pvt in the 814th pioneer infantry. I’m trying to find out more info on him so seeing this is great! Thank you

  5. Hey there Luckie … Was looking at the pictures of what was believed to be the 812th and found a couple that very well could have been my father in law but can’t be sure. He was in his 20’s and there are no pictures of him at that age. It’s too bad that the his records were contained in the fire in the St Louis Archives in 1973. The only record I found was a listing in the National Service files. He has a grave stone which was provided by the government verifing his service.

    • Hey there Ms. Mary! So good to hear from you! That’s awesome! Please let me know if there’s any way I can assist in validating your father in law. Always happy to help you!:)

      • I wish I could think of something you could do to help but don’t have anything in mind. Will certainly contact you if I think of something. Take care

    • Thanks Shelley! This post was just over 1 year ago & I see now the pics of the 814th Pioneer Infantry are gone. I sure hope they’re still online somewhere. I’d hate to think we’d never get another chance to see the faces of those servicemen.

  6. I have a photograph of camp Zachary Taylor dated January 3rd, 1919 that appears to be an African American troop. The photo is in pretty bad shape and parts are covered by old newspaper that are stuck to the print. I found the photo in the walls of a torn down house near Tupelo, Mississippi and have been trying to figure out the best organization to which to donate it. I have photographed and scanned it and would be glad to upload it if anyone is interested in seeing the scanned images and can tell me how to share them legally.

    • Kevin,
      Wow, the story behind that photo must be really interesting. I wonder why it was in the walls? Do you know anything about the owner of the home? Are there any names on the back? I would love to see the photo.

      • Hello. I don’t know anything about the home nor can I check the back as I have since donated the photo to the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver Colorado. I visited the museum and they were very exited to have the photo. It sounded like they have access to the right people to restore it and set it up for display (volunteers from the Colorado History Museum). I have scans of the photo and would be glad to send some to you if you know of a way to easily share them.

      • I can only imagine how happy there were to receive the photo. That was very nice of you to donate it. I would love to see it. You can share ir with me on Google+ if you have a gmail account.

  7. I may have a photo of at least some of the 812th. It is a photo of my husband’s grandfather and maybe 20+ other men. It was taken in Rockford, IL, possibly at the American Legion. Right now I do not have access to it (as I am overseas), but let’s keep in touch! It may contain some relatives of yours and perhaps you could tell me some more information about the 812th?

    • @unforgettenhistory, that would be great. My great grandfather Felix Parker was a Sargeant in 812th Pioneer Infantry’s Company E.

  8. I can identify my great grandfather in the mystery porch photo: Back row second from left is George Miller , from Kentucky.

  9. My grandfather, George Stirling Stewart, was an officer in the 812th Pioneer Infantry. I have a photo, taken at Camp Grant in Rockford,IL, of 215 soldiers and officers. The 812th was on a troop ship headed for France in early November 1918. When the Armistice was declared on November 11, the ship turned around and sailed back to New York.

  10. Can anyone confirm a Theodore Barrent in the 812th? He was from Rockford, IL. I found a reference online but can’t confirm anything and he has no living relatives who know. He’s my husband’s grandfather.

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