World War I Veteran
Buried in Cementerio Lindo, exact location unknown
(image - Unnamed African American soldier, World War I, National Archives)
Pleas Hutchinson, African American, was born on May 26, 1887, in or near Forrest City, Saint Francis County, Arkansas. Forrest City was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate general and founder of the Ku Klux Klan, but historically it has had an African American majority population.
Pleas was the son of Allen Hutchinson and his first wife, Viney Brandon. After Viney died in 1894, Allen remarried a woman named Leanna Snipes. Although Pleas was thirteen years old in 1900, he had had only about two years of schooling.
The federal census of 1910 found the Hutchinsons farming near Eufaula, Oklahoma. Living next to the Hutchinson farm was a family named Perkins. Pleas married Mamie Perkins in 1911. By the time he registered for the World War I draft in 1917, Pleas was already the father of three children.
Although the shooting was over by the time Pleas joined the U.S. Army in December, 1918, the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June, 1919, making Pleas a veteran of World War I. During and after the war, racially-segregated African American units unloaded supplies from ships, cleared out trenches, and buried the United States' war dead.
By 1920, Pleas was at home again in Oklahoma, farming near his father and brothers. However, in 1923, the family moved west to Phoenix, Arizona. Pleas and Mamie were living at Buckeye Road and South 15th Avenue when they gave permission for their oldest daughter Olive (or Ollie) to marry in December 1927. Just a month later, their two youngest daughters, Mildred and Zenolia, died of meningitis and polio respectively. Both were buried in the nearby Maricopa County Cemetery.
Pleas was the owner of a small farm near South 15th Avenue in 1930, when the federal census listed his assets as $1000. The Hutchinsons had three more children during the 1930s, but the Depression may have cost them their farm. By 1940, Pleas was working for WPA, doing highway construction.
Late in 1940, Pleas suffered a stroke brought on by chronic hypertension. He died on May 12, 1941, at his home at 1325 West Sinola Street, Phoenix, and was buried in the Maricopa County Cemetery, now known as Cementerio Lindo. Although the exact location of his grave is not known, he has a cenotaph in the cemetery’s memorial garden.
© 2023 by Donna L. Carr. Last revised 8 September 2023.
If you would like assistance researching our interred, you can find more information on our website. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. Thank you for your interest to preserve the history of Arizona's pioneers!