Politics and Government - Men
October 24, 1866 to December 15, 1933
Before Eugene Allen, the man portrayed in the 2013 movie "The Butler", Winston H. Edmunds worked as a butler in the governor's Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia for almost 50 years. He served as personal assistant to 12 governors and their families from 1886 to 1933. Mr. Edmunds also gave informal tours of the house and told stories of its many residents including an occasional ghost story. Inscribed on his gravestone are the words:
"His efficiency, courtesy and loyalty earned for him the confidence of his employers and the people of Virginia."
Top L: Photo of Winston Edmunds courtesy of Virginia Executive Mansion, August 26, 2013. R. Headstone of Winston Edmunds.
"Virginia's Executive Mansion - A Student Activity Book." Virginia: unknown. Print.
"Winson Edmunds" weremember.com, https://www.weremember.com/winston-edmunds/0z7w/memories. Web.
Winston Edmunds gravesite. Woodlawn Cemetery, Richmond, VA.
Woodlawn Cemetery. 2300 Magnolia Road, Richmond, VA 23223. Phone: 804-643-4702. Contact person Mr. Entzminger.
February 4, 1948 to September 27, 2000
As the United States Congress moved into another round of impeachment hearings, who will remember Frank Wills. When security guard Frank Wills made his rounds through the Watergate Hotel and Office Complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972, at 12:20a.m. he noticed an office door open, and the lock covered with tape. He removed the tape, closed the door, and continued his rounds.
During his next set of rounds at 1:47a.m. Wills saw the same door open, and the lock again taped. Housed behind the unlocked doors was the Democratic National Committee Office. Suspicious, Wills called the District of Columbia Police. They arrested five men. All of them tied to the Committee to Reelect the President (Nixon), and so began the Watergate investigation leading to the resignation of President Richard Milhous Nixon on August 9, 1974.
Wills earned $80.00 per week as a security guard. After the Watergate break-in, he worked for Dick Gregory and made some money appearing on talk shows.
In the movie All the Presidents Men, viewers see a glimpse of Wills. Simeon Booker in a 1976 Jet Magazine article stated, “The audience lustily applauded, showing a sensitivity and a recognition which was not given him by the authors who could not have written the best-selling book (which doesn’t mention his name) or made the movie if there had been no Frank Wills.”
Wills died September 27, 2000, in poverty.
Top L: Frank Wills Newspaper picture AP Wire photo. R: Gravesite.
Bottom L: Watergate Hotel. R: Frank Wills Security Guard Log Record.
"‘The Post’ and the forgotten security guard who discovered the Watergate break-in." washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/12/22/the-post-and-the-forgotten-security-guard-who-discovered-the-watergate-break-in/. Web.
"Document for June 17th: Security Officer's Log of the Watergate Office Building Showing Entry for June 17, 1972." washingtonpost.com, https://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/index.html?dod-date=617. Web.
"Frank Wills (1948-2000)." https://www.Blackpast.org/african-american-history/people-african-american-history/frank-wills-1948-2000/. Web.
"Frank Wills, 52; Watchman Foiled Watergate Break-In." blackpost.org, https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/people-african-american-history/frank-wills-1948-2000/. Web.
Frank Wills gravesite. Mount Transfiguration Baptist Church Cemetery, North August.
Frank Wills gravesite. Mount Transfiguration Baptist Church Cemetery, North Augusta, SC.
All photos property of FindFamilyRoots.com unless otherwise indicated.