Biographical Sketch of Ernest Norfleet (1851-1901)
by Phil Norfleet
Ernest7 Norfleet (Stephen Andrews6, Thomas Figures5, Reuben4, Marmaduke3, Thomas2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born 03 February 1851 in Bertie County NC, and died 12 June 1901 in Ashville NC. He was the son of Stephen Andrews Norfleet (1822-1910) and his wife, Frances Pugh (1822-1859).
MILITARY RECORD OF ERNEST NORFLEET
The following is taken from "List of officers of the United States and the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900" (published 1901), edited by Edward W. Callahan, page 409:
"NORFLEET, ERNEST. Assistant Surgeon, 21 May 1874. Surgeon, 26 September 1891. Retired List, 31 October 1892."
STUART HALL HILL'S BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION RE ERNEST NORFLEET
I have compiled the following biographical information of Ernest Norfleet from two versions of typed genealogical manuscripts originally prepared by Stuart Hall Hill (1876-1948) of New York. One manuscript is located in the Wilson Memorial Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (from Volume 5 of the 10 volume set) while the other manuscript was found among the private papers of Commander Joseph Pugh Norfleet (1887-1978) of New Jersey:
Ernest Norfleet, fourth child of Stephen A. Norfleet and Frances Pugh, was born in Bertie County NC on February 3, 1851; he graduated in medicine from the University of Virginia in June 1872. In September 1872 he entered Bellevue Hospital in New York. Subsequently, in October 1872, he was appointed an intern of the Charity Hospital on Blackwell's Island, New York; he remained there until the end of march 1874.
In May 1874, Dr. Norfleet became an Assistant Surgeon in the United States Navy, receiving his appointment on May 21, 1874. He was on duty at the Naval Hospital in Washington DC from June 1874 to January 1875. He then was sent on an oceanographic survey to Columbia, South America, returning in May 1875. He was again on duty in Washington (at the Navy department) until September 1875. He then served eight months on the USS GETTYSBURG, when this ship was engaged in a survey in West Indian waters. In the Summer and Autumn of 1876 he was on furlough. In November 1876 he was ordered to duty aboard the USS HARTFORD at Hampton Roads, Virginia; in this vessel he again visited the West Indies in the Spring of 1877. In July and August 1877, Dr. Norfleet was attached to the POWATAN at Hampton Roads. From September 1877 to February 1878, he was attached to the Naval Hospital at Norfolk, Virginia. Subsequently, he was on duty at Chelsea Hospital near Boston from March top September 1878; he then was sent to the Brooklyn Hospital for a few months. Dr. Norfleet was then sent again to Washington and passed the examination for Past Assistant Surgeon, receiving the appointment in February 1879. He was then ordered to the receiving ship FRANKLIN at Norfolk, and in May 1879, he was ordered to the WACHUSETT. In the Summer of 1879 he went on the WACHUSETT to Vicksburg, Mississippi where the ship went aground and was obliged to return to Norfolk. Dr. Norfleet sailed for South America in October 1879, visiting the principal cities of the eastern and western coasts of that continent as well as the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. He was detached from the WACHUSETT in April 1882 and returned home.
Ernest Norfleet was on duty at Mare Island Naval Hospital in California from August 1882 to November 1883. He was then ordered to the USS ALERT, bound for China and Japan. He arrived at Nagasaki, Japan in February 1884 and was on duty for a while at the Naval Hospital in Yokohama. He saw service in Japan and China till September 1886, and then returned home on sick leave. In February 1887 he was again posted to Mare Island, California, remaining there until November 1888.
Dr. Norfleet received orders to report on board the USS TRENTON at Panama. He proceeded to Panama on board the DOLPHIN and joined the TRENTON on 13 January 1889. The TRENTON left at once for the Samoan Islands where the TRENTON was wrecked by a hurricane.
The following newspaper article is taken from the Scotland Neck "Democrat: for June 18, 1889:
" ... The United States warship TRENTON, the flagship of the Pacific Squadron, was one of the vessels destroyed last week at Samoa by the storm, accounts of which have been published. Among those on board the TRENTON at the time of the wreck were Mr. Jehu Nicholls, a native of Scotland Neck, who was Paymaster's Clerk and Dr. Ernest Norfleet, of Bertie, Past Assistant Surgeon in the Navy. Fortunately, neither of these gentlemen was hurt, only one of the crew being lost. ... "
Dr. Norfleet remained in Samoa until June 22, 1889 and then traveled by mail steamer to San Francisco, arriving there on July 7, 1889. On August 13, 1889 he took passage in the CITY OF PEKING for Yokohama to join the USS MONOCACY. Dr. Norfleet arrived and reported for duty on August 31, 1889. He served in China and Japan until October 1891, when he was attacked by pleurisy and sent home to the United States.
On account of his poor health, Dr. Norfleet retired from the Navy in 1892. He died of Tuberculosis in Ashville, North Carolina in 1901. He is buried in the Norfleet Cemetery in the village of Roxobel, Bertie County, North Carolina. Dr. Norfleet never married.
Diary of Ernest Norfleet
The original of the two volume diary of Dr. Ernest Norfleet is available for review in the Manuscripts Department of the Wilson Memorial Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The diary, written during 1891-1892, describes Dr. Norfleet's last tour of duty as a U. S. Navy surgeon, in China and Japan; it includes descriptions of travel and social life in the Far East and references to Norfleet's interest in Eastern art.
CONNECTION WITH THE HETHERINGTON MURDER CASE, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN