Memorial Day 2021

We will not forget.

The 23 Brunswick County men who gave their lives in World War I

Killed in Action: Died of Disease:
PFC Walter S Brock PVT William F Brooks
PVT Harvey T Chadwick PFC John W Carlisle
PVT Jimmie Griffin PVT Carl J Danford
PFC Erastus Iredell Nelson Cook David L Dosher
PVT Harry Langdon Pigott Seaman James C Edwards
CPL Herbert B Ward SGT Robert G Farmer
PVT Manning Hall
Died of Wounds: PVT Claudie Hall McCall
PVT William Cross Hewett PVT Elijah Milliken
PVT Benjamin B Smith PVT Kendrick W Outlaw
PVT Cecil Smith Pierce
PVT Samuel C Swain
PVT Guy Ellis Watson
PVT David Williams
PVT Fred Wilson

 

Soldiers on our WWI Wall of Honor who gave their lives

Killed in Action: Died of Accident:
CPL Russell Kellogg Bourne PVT James Hemphill
SGT Richard J. Dennis
PFC Louis “Lolly” B. Doerr Died of Wounds:
Mech Dona J. Dugal PVT Edward Clarkson Bonnell
PFC Wilmer H. Eicke
PVT Ben W. O. Hildebrandt Died of Disease:
PFC Robert Anthony Strzempek PFC Vito Copola
PVT Carl F. Greene

 

The Brunswick County World War I Monument

“Dedicated to the men and women from Brunswick County, NC
who served their country during World War I
with Honor, Courage, and Commitment”

Center photo courtesy of Christine Urick

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Pausing the WWI Snapshots

The Friends of Fort Caswell is hitting the pause button on WWI Snapshots for now.

For several years, the primary focus has been WWI Profiles, WWI Snapshots, and writing the book, Brunswick County in the Great War, which is still available for purchase.

The primary focus will now return to the restoration of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Progress will be posted here on the website.

Read more about the past stabilization effort by clicking the Stabilization tab at the top of the website.

Fort Caswell WWI Nurse Faye White
Meanwhile, please view this wonderful presentation by Liz Fuller from the Southport Historical Society. Liz included some of the information about the Fort Caswell WWI nurses in her presentation:

Southport Nurses of WWI and the Spanish Flu. (click to view)

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WWI Snapshot: Junius Jackson Adams Jr 1899-1941

NC WWI Service Card

According to his NC WWI Service Card, Junius Jackson Adams Jr was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. He enlisted in the National Guard in Charleston, SC, on July 24, 1917. His residence is listed as Whiteville, Columbus County, NC.

His father, Reverend Junius Jackson Adams Sr was born and raised in Wake County, NC. He married Margaret Ella Galloway in Southport, Brunswick County, NC, which explains why Junius reported that he was born there. His birth record can only confirm that he was born in Brunswick County. The family lived in Sampson County in 1900, then returned to the area, living in Whiteville in 1910.

His service card indicates he became a wagoner on May 8, 1918, serving in the 105th Ammunition Train in the 30th “Old Hickory” Division. The roster listed on the WWI Army/Marine Division Rosters for Brunswick County shows that Wagoner Adams was the only Brunswick County man serving in the 105th Ammunition Train. See Jackson Berry Potter’s WWI Profile to understand the demanding role of a wagoner.

The 1920 US Census shows he returned home to Whiteville. He was described as a solider in the US Army, yet there’s no indication on his military headstone application shown below to prove that he was in the Army from his discharge from WWI to his re-enlistment at the end of 1920. However, additional records can be used to prove this service.

His VA Index shown below does show this service. He actually has two VA Index records.

Together, they show his service dates are July 25, 1917 – April 3, 1919; September 23, 1919 – September 7, 1922.

The 1930 US Census shows that Junius had returned home, which was Southport at this time, and was working on a dredge boat.

The 1940 US Census in Southport indicates that he was unable to work.

According to his death certificate, Junius continued to live in Southport until 17 days before his death when he was moved to a VA Facility in Roanoke, VA. When WWI veterans pass away at such a young age, exposure to poisonous gas in the battlefields comes to mind as possibly having contributed to an early death. Could the chronic nephritis listed on his death certificate possibly be from trench nephritis? The 30th Division was often exposed to poisonous gas as the WWI Profile of Thedford Lewis shows. No confirmation can be made.

Junius Jackson Adams Jr passed away on June 14, 1941, in a VA Facility in Roanoke, VA, at age 42. He had never married. His headstone includes his military service, but because of his date of death (1941), his headstone does not include the WWI inscription. Before that time, only one world war had occurred. Inscriptions including WWI or WWII were added to military headstones after WWII ended.

He was laid to rest in Northwood Cemetery in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.
Source of photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Junius Jackson Adams Jr or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Phillip Thompson McKeithan 1893-1969

Phillip McKeithan served in World War I and World War II.

NC WWI Service Card

According to his NC WWI Service Card, Phillip Thompson McKeithan was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. He enlisted in the Regular Army at Fort Caswell on May 16, 1917. He served in the Medical Department at Fort Caswell throughout the war until August 8, 1919. At that point he was transferred to the Dental Department at Charleston, SC, until his discharge on October 4, 1919, as a private first class.

In 1920, he was living at home in Southport, working as an attendant at a US hospital. It is unclear whether he was continuing to serve in the US Army, although it seems likely that he was. His VA Index Card is unhelpful because it only shows he enlisted again in 1945. But that is incorrect, as explained in the following paragraph. His application for military headstone is not yet available in Ancestry to verify.

The 1930 and 1940 US Census show Phillip continued to serve in the US Army in New York: Fort Totten in 1930, and the post hospital on Governor’s Island in 1940. His activities after this date are unknown. From his flat military marker, he served during WWII and attained the rank of Technical Sergeant. His death certificate indicates he was a retired nurse.

Phillip Thompson McKeithan passed away on April 11, 1969, in Wilmington, NC, at age 75. He had never married.

He was laid to rest in Old Smithville Cemetery in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.
Source of photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Phillip Thompson McKeithan or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Allen Miles Simmons 1890-1963

Allen Miles Simmons was born in Mill Branch, Brunswick County, NC, according to his NC WWI Service Card (below).

This photo is shown in Findagrave, undated.

Exact dates of his service are difficult to determine. Three documents shown below were used to piece together possible enlistment and discharge dates. It’s unusual to have such disparate dates, although it is seen more often for those who were serving in the Regular Army or National Guard when the US entered WWI. Allen was serving in the Regular Army. That is the assumed explanation for the discrepancy.

His NC WWI Service Card shows he enlisted on February 23, 1916, at Columbus Banks, Ohio. His discharge is listed as November 21, 1918, and shows he re-enlisted.

His Application for Military Headstone shows his enlistment date as November 22, 1919, with discharge date as November 21, 1920. The back of the application continues that his re-enlistment was November 24, 1920, with a final discharge date of July 18, 1921. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Finally, his VA Index Card shows he enlisted on April 6, 1917, and was discharged on November 21, 1920.

Combining all reports of his service, the assumption is he served from his initial enlistment on February 23, 1916, through his honorable discharge on November 24, 1920.

Corporal Simmons served in the Coastal Artillery Corps (CAC) in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, which explains why his military flat marker indicates Rhode Island.

By 1930, he was married and farming in Bolton, Columbus County, NC. The 1940 US Census shows he and his wife continued to raise a family in Bolton. He was employed by the government for road work.

Allen’s gravesite has a headstone pictured in Findagrave, which reads, “Here lies the greatest deer hunter.”

Several local newspapers included articles mentioning his hunting skills. One from 1941 is printed below.

“Allen Simmons, who lives on the ‘Possum Island plantation about nine miles south of Bolton, has seen much evidence of wild deer where they have been roaming over his potato patch, not far from his home. They seemed to like to frolic there. And, since he was an experienced hunter, and especially fond of deer steak, he let them romp at will until the law came off [deer hunting season began].

“One morning last week he went out to this potato patch, hoping, and feeling very confident, that he would find at least one nice buck in there. But no, it wasn’t a deer this time. Instead, there was a black bear in there. Whether the bear was grabbing spuds, or not, we have not been able to learn. But, if he was, they were his last.”

Source: Joseph Hufman. “Farm Reporter Picks up Interesting News Items.” The Wilmington Morning Star [Wilmington, NC], 1941 Oct. 20, p. 8.

Allen Miles Simmons took his life on June 1, 1963, at age 73.

He was laid to rest in Griffin Cemetery in Ash.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Allen Miles Simmons or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: John Duren Reynolds 1894-1952

NC WWI Service Card

John Duren Reynolds was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC, according to his NC WWI Service Card.

John’s brother David Reynolds also served in WWI. He enlisted in the US Navy on April 23, 1918, as a machinist’s mate second class. He was honorably discharged on February 18, 1919. He was laid to rest in Salisbury National Cemetery in NC after his death on September 8, 1957.
Source of photo: Findagrave

John was ordered to report for duty on July 6, 1918, then sent to Camp Greenleaf in Georgia. He reported for duty along with three Brunswick County men, as shown in Calvin Peel Willetts’ WWI Snapshot. Three, including John, were trained for the Medical Department.

Source: Library of Congress
Camp Greenleaf, GA

In only 18 months of operation, Camp Greenleaf trained 6,640 officers and 31,138 enlisted men.
Source: WWI Centennial Commission

John Duren Reynolds served overseas, first in Evacuation Hospital No. 25 in Vichy, France, as shown on his Army Transport Passenger List – outgoing, shown at right.  Notice that his NC WWI Service Card above incorrectly shows “Base Hospital 25.” The correct name, Evacuation Hospital No. 25, was confirmed with the 1928 US Army Medical Department volume (first source at bottom).

The source volume also included some interesting details about Vichy and the evacuation hospital.

“Vichy had many advantages as a hospital center. The location, although apparently somewhat distant from the battle lines, was well chosen owing to favorable railroad connections. Patients were received in some instances within 24 to 36 hours after receipt of injuries, and frequently they arrived with their original dressings, although a very large proportion of the patients had passed through evacuation or base hospitals.

“Vichy, being a famous watering resort, established for many years, was a well-developed small city. The streets were well paved and well lighted, thus greatly facilitating the handling of patients arriving on trains at night. There also was an excellent water supply; gas and electric current were obtainable in abundance.”

On February 11, 1919, Private Reynolds was transferred to Base Hospital No. 214 in Savenay, France (see second source at bottom). The hospital treated patients with mental and neurological conditions.

“Base Hospital No. 214 came into existence November 6, 1918, at Savenay, Department Loire Inferieure, in the base section No. 1, when the neuro-psychiatric service of Base Hospital No. 8 was organized into an independent unit, and designated Base Hospital No. 214. This hospital functioned as a special hospital for mental and neurological patients and occupied a plant consisting of 10 wooden, knock-down type of barracks. In January, 1919, when the admission rate increased, the unit was assigned to a type A, 1,000-
bed hospital, the construction of which was not completed; and as special construction was necessary, this was done chiefly by the patients.

“The personnel of the institution changed a great deal, as it furnished officers and enlisted men to supervise transportation of convoys of patients to the United States, and exercised supervision until patients were delivered to their destination there. The convoys consisted as a rule of from 50 to 200 cases, occasionally more. From November 1, 1918, to February 28, 1919, this hospital admitted 6,093 cases; the greatest number treated at one time was 700, including 40 officers.

“Base Hospital No. 214 ceased to function June 21, 1919.”

As mentioned in the excerpt above, Private Reynolds did actually serve as an attendant for casualties at the base hospital who were returning to the United States. This can be seen in the Army Transport Passenger List – incoming, shown at left.

Click on the passenger lists to enlarge. It may be necessary to download the images and zoom onto areas to view the details.

Pvt Reynolds debarked USS Leviathan on June 12 or 14, 1919, presumably accompanying his patients to Camp Merritt, NJ. He was honorably discharged on June 27, 1919.

The 1920 US Census shows that John returned home to Southport. He later married and raised several children in Brunswick County, where he lived throughout his life.

John Duren Reynolds suffered a heart attack while home on June 2, 1952, and was laid to rest in Georgetown Holden Cemetery in Supply.
Source of photo: Findagrave

Sources:
Base and evacuation hospitals formed at Camp Greenleaf:
US Govt Printing Office (1928) The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Volume VII, Training. Washington D.C.: US Govt Printing Office. p. 31, 56.

Base hospital information:
US Govt Printing Office (1928) The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Volume II, Administration American Expeditionary Forces. Washington D.C.: US Govt Printing Office. p. 618, 744.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor John Duren Reynolds or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Calvin Peel Willetts 1895-1967

Calvin Peel Willetts was born in Winnabow, Brunswick County, NC, on August 1, 1896, according to his WWI Draft Registration.

This photo is shown in Findagrave, date unknown.

Soon after he registered for the draft, he married. Sadly, he lost his wife and child.

Calvin was ordered to report for duty on July 6, 1918, then sent to Camp Greenleaf in Georgia, as shown on the county draft board list at right.

Source: Library of Congress


Camp Greenleaf, GA

In only 18 months of operation, Camp Greenleaf trained 6,640 officers and 31,138 enlisted men.
Source: WWI Centennial Commission

Two of the three men ordered to report for duty with Calvin from the list above were also trained for medical duties.

Claudie Lafyette Stanley served overseas in the Sanitary Detachment for the 13th Field Artillery. (Findagrave listing)

John Duren Reynolds also served overseas in the Medical Department. Some interesting details were found regarding his service and are shared in his WWI Snapshot. (Findagrave listing)

Samuel William Lehew does not appear to have served. Perhaps his employment as printer at the Southport News, reported on his WWI Draft Registration, was more valuable to the country than military service. No confirmation was found.

NC WWI Service Card

Pvt Willetts was promoted to private first class in December 1918, then corporal in March 1919. His service card does not include details beyond MD (Medical Department), and no overseas travel. (This is confirmed by the lack of his name on any US Army Transport Passenger Lists.) His VA Index was used to discover that he served in the B&S Det D G at the end of his service.

What is B&S Det D G?

The National Archives VA Master Index Key to Codes and Prefixes is not for deciphering service information. The NC Archives List of Authorized Abbreviations for WWI Service Discharge Records, another very useful document, did not include anything other than the standard “Det” for “Detachment.”

Some research and luck uncovered the answer.

A simple internet search found many occurrences of the abbreviated phrase. Systematically using each veteran’s name who also served in that unit finally led to an Application for Headstone or Marker which included the details. The application is for Corporal Alexander Sprunt Wortham at the VA Center in Mountain Home, TN. The front and back of this record is shown below. (Click to enlarge.)

Billeting and Supply Detachment, Demobilization Group

Corporal Willetts was honorably discharged on July 9, 1919. The 1920 US Census shows he returned home, helping on the farm. He later remarried and raised a son.

Calvin Peel Willetts passed away on January 22, 1967, and was laid to rest in Willetts Cemetery in Mill Creek. No military honors are shown.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Calvin Peel Willetts or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Jasper Bellamy 1897-1967

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Jasper Bellamy was born in Supply, Brunswick County, NC. His registration shows he was working on his father’s farm in Supply.

Jasper’s brother Hiram Van Bellamy also served in WWI.

Jasper was ordered to report for duty on August 22, 1918. Pvt Bellamy served in the 423rd Reserve Labor Battalion until his honorable discharge on March 3, 1919. He returned home to Supply and farming. By 1930, he was living in Southport, married, and employed in the fishing industry.

Jasper Bellamy passed away on March 4, 1967, in Southport, NC, at age 70. His brother Hiram Van Bellamy applied for his military flat marker, shown below.

Jasper Bellamy was laid to rest in John N. Smith Cemetery, Southport, Brunswick County, NC.
Source of photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Jasper Bellamy or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Roger Hankins 1887-1924

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Roger Hankins was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. His registration shows he was working as a fisherman for Captain Tom Lewis in Southport.

Roger’s actual name may be Rogers or Rodgers. All three spellings are used in various documents. It’s not unusual to have various spellings on historical documents. The military referred to him as Rogers.

A Roger Hankins is listed in a 1905 volume which lists officers and employees in civil, military, and naval service (shown below). If Roger’s birth year of 1887 is correct, he would have been 18 years old at the time, which seems plausible. The list shows he was paid as a waiter for the work dredging Cape Fear. While there doesn’t appear to be another Roger Hankins in Brunswick County who qualifies, verification that this was the WWI veteran Roger Hankins cannot be made.

Another Roger Hankins found in census records can be eliminated because he would have been 2 years old in 1905.

Source: Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service. Digitized books (77 volumes). Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon.

Roger was ordered to report for duty on August 22, 1918. Pvt Hankins served in the 346th Service Battalion, serving overseas from September 30, 1918, until July 4, 1919. When he sailed for France on George Washington, he listed Mrs. Agnes Wornett as his next of kin (sister).

Pvt Hankins was promoted to private first class on April 1, 1919. He was honorably discharged on July 16, 1919. He returned to Southport. In 1920, he was living there with his sister Agnes and her family.

Roger Hankins passed away on March 6, 1924, in Southport, NC, recorded as 38 years old. The cause was listed as stomach cancer. His death certificate indicates he was laid to rest in Southport. The cemetery is not identified. It seems likely he lies in an unmarked grave in John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Roger Hankins or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Matthew Delt 1894-1936

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Matthew Delt, or Matthew Delts, was born on Orton Plantation, Brunswick County, NC. The handwritten “Columbus [County]” on his NC WWI Service Card appears to be incorrect and should be Brunswick County.

Although his residence is listed as Wilmington on his draft registration, he was working as a laborer in Southport and registered in Brunswick County. By the time he was ordered to report for duty, his residence was again listed as Orton Plantation. He stated he was supporting his mother and sister. Both were dead before he reported for duty, with his father following, dying from pneumonia and influenza.

Matthew was ordered to report for duty on  July 15, 1918. He was one of a group of twelve men who reported that day from Brunswick County. All were sent to Fort Dix, NJ. This group included Hiram Van Bellamy and Jackson Brown.

One curious piece of information is that his rank is shown as corporal, which is verified by his VA Master Index. The service cards typically show a progression in rank, beginning with private. Typically, only those soldiers who previously served in the Regular Army or National Guard achieved this rank and achieved it so quickly. More research is required to verify the rank. He was honorably discharged on December 19, 1918.

By 1920, Matthew was married to Christianna Jones and began raising a family. This photo of Christianna Jones Delts was shared in Ancestry. She lived over 100 years.

Matthew was killed in an accident on Route 40, falling from a truck trailer on April 18, 1936. According to his death certificate, he was laid to rest on Orton Plantation. The exact location of his gravesite is unknown.

Source for more about the Delts family:
Trinkley and Hacker (2018). African American Lives on the Lower Cape Fear During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries with an Emphasis on Brunswick County and the Orton Vicinity. Columbia, SC: Chicora Foundation, Inc.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Matthew Delt or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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