FBI Case Files | Gilliams of Virginia

GILLIAMs of the FBI Case Files
Updated March 4, 2016

Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation 1908-1922
Espionage, terrorism, and subversive activities during the FBI's earliest years

Today, the FBI is famously known throughout the world as the chief investigative unit of the United States government. It operates as a division of the Department of Justice to "protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners."

When it was first conceived in 1908, the department had no name. It was referred to as a "special agent force" or a "corps of special agents." It was officially designated as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) on March 16, 1909. Only later, in 1935, less than two years after the end of prohibition, did it become the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI.

The case files in this publication group are from the early days of the Bureau of Investigation. They cover changes in interstate commerce and foreign affairs during the Progressive Era of President Theodore Roosevelt. When the United States entered World War I, agents investigated espionage, sabotage, and other threats to a nation in wartime. The 18th amendment instituted prohibition in 1920 and gangsterism and similar lawlessness occupied many of the Bureau's resources. J. Edgar Hoover started working at the BOI in 1917, was named assistant director in 1921, and began his 48-year career as director of the BOI and FBI in 1924.

Case files in the BOI series are divided into four distinct groups:

Miscellaneous Files, 1908-22
Files are arranged by file numbers, corresponding to dates on which investigations were initiated. They contain investigative reports, correspondence, and memos dealing with alleged violations of federal laws.

Mexican Files, 1909-21
These are records relating to Mexican neutrality violations. They are arranged numerically, with numbers beginning with #232-. They cover investigations of conditions on the Mexican border beginning in 1916, including investigations of people operating against U.S. interests during the Mexican civil wars.

Old German Files, 1915-20
By far the largest group of files, these are investigative records relating to German aliens who were politically suspect before and during World War I, more specifically, in the period 1915-20. Case numbers for these files begin with #8000- and comprise nearly 400,000 records. Explore the case of German terrorist Werner Horne and view images

Bureau Section Files, 1920-21
These records consist of investigative reports and correspondence from other areas of the Department of Justice whose investigative functions were later absorbed by the BOI. Many are duplicated in Miscellaneous Files.

Archer Edward Gilliam, Sr., the son of James Dabney Gilliam and Katherine Hetherton Archer states on his Virginia War History Commission Questionnaire prior to the war he resided at 122 College Place, Norfolk, VA, that he was single and that he was a salesman on commission basis. He states that he was born 3 February 1892 and that he was born at Farmville, Prince Edward County, VA and that his church affiliation is Presbyterian. He also states that he was inducted on 24 July 1918 at Norfolk, VA as a private in the infantry. He was originally assigned to the Company G, 163rd Infantry, 41st Division. He was trained at Camp Lee, VA from 24 July until 13 September. He states that he embarked from Norfolk on the USS Koponin De Netherlands on 14 September 1918 and arrived at Brest, France on 27 September. He was stationed at Bourre, France from 30 September until 10 February 1919. He also states that he returned to New York on 27 February 1919 and was discharged at Camp Dix, NJ on 9 March 1919 as a private. He stated that he was to return to civil life as Deputy United States Shipping Commissioner.

Report Made By: Joseph Polen
Place Where Made: Richmond, VA
Date When Made: Sept 1 1917
Period For Which Made: Aug 8, 1917

Title of Case and Offenses Charged or Nature of Matter Under Investigation
In Re: Archie E. Gilliam #58107
Evasion of Registration under Selective Draft Act.

Statement of Operations Evidence Collected, Names and Addresses of Persons Investigated, Places Visited, etc.

At Richmond, Virginia

Assistant United States Attorney Smith turned over to me for Attention, communication received from the 1st Lieutenant Blair Wilson, Acting Adjutant, 4th VA Infantry, enclosing official note transmitted to the Commanding Officer by Capt E. M. Curdts, of Co. A 4th VA Infantry. Capt Curdts states that the name of Archie E. Gilliam 265 Boush Street, Norfolk had been handed to him by an enlisted man of his company as a “slacker” and personally known to him.
As this party lives in Norfolk, I am referring this matter to Mr. Daughton, Special Agent in Charge of Norfolk.

Report Made By: H. H. Roberts
Place Where Made: Norfolk, VA
Date When Made: August 26, 1918
Period of Which Made: August 15, 1918

Title of Case and Offenses Charged or Nature of Matter Under Investigation
In Re:
Archie E. Gilliam #58107
Registration Matter

At Norfolk, VA
I received information that the above named party, who resided at 128 College Place, this City, had failed to register. Accordingly, I proceeded to the above address, where I inquired for Gilliam, and was informed by his mother that Gilliam was now at Camp Lee, Virginia, having been called for military services about a month ago. She showed me a letter which she had received from her so, which showed that the young man was at the Camp and that he had not attempted to evade the draft in any way.
Following the above I returned to Norfolk Office of Bureau.
Case concluded.

  • Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation 1908-1922. Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Record Group 65, Publication Number M1085; National Archives, Washington. Footnote.com