Veterans Day 2021: Taps Across America

On November 11, 2011, at 11:00 am, a group assembled at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range in Caswell Beach, NC, alongside the National WWI Centennial Memorial to honor veterans.

Norma Eckard, president of Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, spoke to those assembled.

Martha Koletar, Regent of Brunswick Town Chapter of NSDAR, read The Story of Taps.

Richard Slease performed “Taps.”

Richard organized his first Taps Across America tribute at the rifle range last year, when the pandemic prevented many commemorations.

Carl Mauney, WWI reenactor who has attended many of the rifle range commemorations, presented WWI gear in his full World War I reproduction woolen uniform. Carl is always a welcome addition to our events.

DAR chaplain Judy Holden offered this prayer.

O God, our help in ages past our hope for years to come. We praise You for Your Presence with us today and with those who serve our country.

We give special thanks for the 718 men and woman who served in World War I from Brunswick County and American heroes who from our beginning as a nation have paid the supreme sacrifice.

Comfort and protect those who struggle from their experiences and be with the men and women in hospitals. May they know they are not forgotten.

Let us remember the sacrifices of their time away from loved ones and their pride in what they were doing for our country.

As we gather today, may we not take our freedoms lightly, including even this right to gather as a group and the privilege to pray together.

Go with us, Lord, in our separate ways, give us grateful hearts for our wonderful heritage. Help us to realize our responsibilities to keep the fires of patriotism glowing brightly.

Lord God
Be with us yet
Lest we forget
Amen

Thanks to Teresa McLamb for some of the photos posted above.

You can see more photos of the event in the November 17th issue of the State Port Pilot, shown here.

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Join us for Veterans Day 2021: Taps Across America

Download the flyer here: Taps Across America 2021

Read about last year’s event.

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Spotlight: Rob Campbell

Rob Campbell

The previous spotlight shined a light on Betty McGaha, who spent 5 days in 2019 clearing the rifle pit.

The pandemic caused a delay in many of our activities at the rifle range. On the one hand, this allowed us to complete our goal of publishing a book about the quest to restore the rifle range, including the enormous amount of research compiled about the Brunswick County WWI veterans.

But with no major cleanup on the rifle pit, the leaves, dirt, and other debris continued to accumulate. Weeds also grow quickly inside and outside the pit.

Enter Rob Campbell, new resident. Rob enjoys working outside and was intrigued by the history of the rifle range. Upon learning about the World War I structure in his new neighborhood, he immediately offered to do whatever was needed to maintain the historical relic.

We asked Rob to share his thoughts about the importance of preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated an official World War I Centennial Memorial.

“I have a natural curiosity for history and historical sites. My wife and I toured Ft. Caswell and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about those structures and what life must have been like for those who served and were stationed there.

“When I learned about the group helping to preserve the Rifle Range, I volunteered to help due to my personal appreciation for the beauty and the history of this area, as well as the thought that this may well have been a last ‘happy place’ for many soldiers, considering they may have never seen a beach before.

“As fortunate as I am to realize the beauty of this area, daily, I wanted to honor them in helping to preserve the area that, hopefully, they saw as beautiful in an otherwise tragic time.”

Well said, Rob!

We thank Rob Campbell for his cleanup effort and interest in the Fort Caswell Rifle Range!

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Spotlight: Betty McGaha

Betty McGaha

Maintaining the inside of the rifle pit requires constant work throughout the year. Leaves fall in the spring and fall, compacting into wet and heavy loads. Trees and branches fall as a result of hurricanes or strong winds that are typical along the coast. Heavy rain brings both water and dirt. The Stabilization tab at the top of the website includes a journal that shows the work that’s been required through the years.

Three years ago in 2018, local Boy Scouts volunteered their time to clear the pit.

Nearly two years ago, in December 2019, Betty McGaha stepped up and offered her time to shovel the heavy debris. Betty spent five days of hard work inside the rifle pit. The west end of the pit was completely cleared, as shown here. She also worked at the entrance, which had accumulated a lot of heavy debris.

Betty has two brigadier generals in her family – her husband (retired) and her daughter. She strongly supports the preservation of this unique World War I structure.

We thank Betty McGaha for her labor and continuous support of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range! The financial support that Betty and her husband Doyle have provided through the years is also very much appreciated.

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Okey Tucker offers his services for the rifle range restoration

Okey measures the window before installing a plexiglass window.
The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range is pleased to announce that Okey Tucker, a local consulting environmental engineer, has offered his professional services, pro bono, to rehabilitate the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

Mr. Tucker was born and raised in West Virginia until 2019, when he moved full time to Oak Island. Okey and Andrea, his wife of 38 years, had vacationed on Oak Island over the years with their children Sarah and Okey III. They even celebrated their marriage on Oak Island.

Okey graduated with a BS in chemical engineering in 1983 from the WV Institute of Technology in Montgomery, WV. He was employed as an environmental engineer for the State of West Virginia. He currently serves as a consulting senior engineer working from home.

He was an assistant Boy Scout master when his son was growing up and now he and Andrea volunteer for the Caswell Beach Turtle Watch program. He also has a long history of experience in all aspects of home building and improvements.

The initial projects for the rifle range include the installation of a plexiglass window, step improvements for safely entering the rifle range, lowering of the shoring inside for ease of navigation, and a gate system designed for the safety of visitors and animals.

Okey’s plan for the future is to consult with The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the State Historic Preservation Office concerning a roof system for the rifle pit’s Storage Room, located on the east end of the pit.

No Trespassing signs are positioned in various places around the rifle range property to protect and alert folks, especially children, that they are not to go into the property.

There is much more work to be completed. We welcome Okey Tucker and we thank him for helping to save the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range!

Read the announcement about Okey in the Brunswick Beacon.

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Introducing our book at the NC Maritime Museum exhibit, September 18-19, 2021

Mary Snead and neighbor Melody visiting the museum and the Great War display.
The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range introduced our book, Brunswick County in the Great War, with an exhibit at the World War I and Life-Saving Service Living History Weekend in the NC Maritime Museum.

President Norma Eckard, one of the three authors, presented the book at the exhibit. The 584 page book contains 7 significant parts; each was shown in 7 separate notebooks to make it easier for the public to review.

Tri-folds showed the story of the last 10 years and how the mission of saving the rifle range grew to include the writing of Brunswick County in the Great War.

“The book is a valuable resource for all history buffs”, said Eckard. “College and high school students can also benefit by using the book to enhance their World and US History courses by reading the profiles of local men who left their farms to support France in the war.

“Professors and high school history teachers may provide a number of activities, using the book to embellish their students’ studies and emphasize the patriotism within their communities of 102 years ago. The Cape Fear Region is rich in military history as well as a population who responds to resources like this book. I can envision students interviewing descendants of many of the veterans.”

Brunswick County in the Great War includes more than some of the stories of local men and one woman who served. The 14 nurses from Fort Caswell who served during WWI are also presented in the book. In addition, there is a WWI Wall of Honor that includes brief biographies of men from outside of Brunswick County who served, submitted by the many supporters of the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

Spreadsheets (see the webpage on this website) are included in the book with all of the men and one woman who served from Brunswick County and nearby counties, listing their residence, date of birth, death, unit, age, rank, cemetery, and when they were discharged. The 718 men and one woman who served were honored by donations to support the purchase of a monument placed beside the rifle range in 2018, the Centennial year of the entrance of the United States in the Great War.

The State Port Pilot included a photo display in the September 23, 2021, edition, seen here.

Norma enjoyed learning more about WWI from the presenters near her exhibit. The photos at right and below include USMC officer Peter Meyer displaying the guns used during the Great War. The machine gun shown was too heavy to carry into battle. The bottom rifle is a “Springfield” that was used the most by the infantry in WWI. Peter had many military experiences to share with the public.

Also pictured, Daniel Jutson served in the Signal Corps for 28 years and retired as a captain. Daniel had many artifacts to share with the public. It was quite an extraordinary display.

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Exhibit planned at the NC Maritime Museum in Southport on September 18-19

The NC Maritime Museum in Southport will present

World War I and Life-Saving Service Living History Weekend
on September 18 (10am – 4pm) and
September 19 (noon – 4pm), 2021
,
inside and on the grounds of the
NC Maritime Museum at 204 East Moore St, Southport.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range (FFCRR) has been invited to create an exhibit to share our recently published book, Brunswick County in the Great War.

The FFCRR exhibit will include several pictorial displays to present the contents of the book.

One will show the history of stabilizing the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range. You can read more on the Stabilization page of this website.

Work is proceeding on additional restoration work, which will be shared on this website soon!

 

Several photos from the World War I Wall of Honor will be displayed.

 

A photo of the Brunswick County World War I Monument at the rifle range will be shown, along with brief histories of the Brunswick County men who gave their lives in World War I.

An additional display will show photos from several WWI Profiles included in the book. The WWI Profiles can also be selected and read using this webpage.

The WWI Profile display will include a World War I photo that Trudy Young shared, which shows Company G of the 56th Engineers upon their completion of service in WWI.

Trudy’s uncle Wagoner John Daniel Eriksen may be found in the photo of 232 men whose names have been identified from the US Army Transport List on return from France. According to an archivist at the NC Archives, these panorama photos are unique to WWI. This is your opportunity to see this rare photo.

We hope to see you there!

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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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