Johnson’s widow, Angeline Johnson, said that Johnson had been blinded at about age 7 when a girlfriend of Blind Willie’s father threw lye in his face to avenge a beating. In the 1918 document, when Johnson was 21, he says he’d been blind for 13 years.
The death certificate, with information provided by Angeline Johnson, has Blind Willie’s birthdate at Jan 22, 1897; draft card puts it at Jan. 25, 1897. Considering record-keeping of the time, especially among itinerant African Americans, that’s close enough. Death certificate says he was born in Independence, near Brenham; draft card puts his birth at Pendleton, near Temple, which has long been thought of as Blind Willie’s birthplace. Could it be that Angeline said “Pendleton” and the doctor heard “Independence?”What additional evidence (circumstantial or otherwise) can you find that this document indeed refers to Blind Willie?