Monthly Archives: May 2018

Willetts brothers honored with a family donation

Mary Willetts Earp recently presented Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range president Norma Eckard with a check for $500 to honor her father and his two brothers.

All three served in WWI. Mary is the last direct descendant living today.

The Willetts brothers:

Private William Edgar Willetts was honored with a donation by Mary and his niece, Anne Willetts Jones.

Private Frederick Arnold Willetts was honored with a donation by great-nieces Sue Jones Jordan and Maggie Faulkner Harper.

Private George Finnis Willetts was honored with a donation by granddaughters Darlene Willetts McGee, Joann Willetts Neal, and Beth Willetts Osborne.

Mary then gave a touching speech, sharing her thoughts about the “Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran” program to raise funds for the WWI memorial planned onsite at the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

“Few people know about this war and the sacrifices that were made. It is our responsibility to educate family members and the community.”

She spoke about the formation of the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Brunswick County, as she was one of the early members. They struggled through those first years but have now created a strong base of members. The Brunswick Town chapter has supported the stabilization of the rifle range and now the honoring of Brunswick County WWI veterans.

Mary’s involvement in the DAR came naturally, as her family always emphasized the importance of serving their country at home and in the service. Her father and brothers led by example, as she has done for the generations following. Her nieces are also members of the DAR in their communities.

Later, Mary shared this picture of her father and his siblings. She explained that “My family was poor and those clothes are not indicative of how they lived.  I have been told that the traveling photographer rented clothes.”

Pictured are (front row, left to right) Fredrick Arnold Willetts, William Edgar Willetts, (back row) William Henry Willetts, George Finnis Willets (in uniform), and sister Zelphia Eunity Willetts.

Mary first contacted Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle range in March. She continues to reach out to others in the community to inform and update them about the memorial to honor the county’s WWI veterans. Her support is energizing and appreciated.

Note: Donations continue to be received by the Willetts family. This story has been updated to reflect the additions. Thank you!

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Memorial Day 2018

We will not forget.

The 24 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 PFC Isaac Davenport
PVT Harry Langdon Pigott Cook David L Dosher
CPL Herbert B Ward Seaman James C Edwards
SGT Robert G Farmer
Died of Wounds: PVT Manning Hall
PVT William Cross Hewett PVT Claudie Hall McCall
PVT Benjamin B Smith PVT Elijah Milliken
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

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Graveside Honors: Private William Edgar Willetts 1890-1972

Mary Willetts Earp is pictured here honoring her father, Private William Edgar Willetts, at his graveside in Willetts Cemetery, Mill Creek, Brunswick County, NC.

Private William Edgar Willetts has been honored with a donation by his daughter Mary Willetts Earp and niece Anne Willetts Jones.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range are encouraging donors and supporters to honor Brunswick County WWI veterans by submitting photos of themselves at the gravesides. Use the Cemeteries list to locate gravesites for Brunswick County WWI veterans.

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Graveside Honors: Sergeant Henry Lindon Clemmons 1895-1960

Gwen Causey is pictured here honoring her grandfather, Sergeant Henry Lindon Clemmons, at his graveside in Prospect Cemetery, Supply, Brunswick County, NC.

Sergeant Clemmons has been honored with a donation by his grandchildren Gwen Causey, Stewart Clemmons, Elaine Wright, Julie Robinson, and Edwina Miras.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range are encouraging donors and supporters to honor Brunswick County WWI veterans by submitting photos of themselves at the gravesides. Use the Cemeteries list to locate gravesites for Brunswick County WWI veterans.

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Memorial Day 2018: Graveside Honors

Memorial Day is next week.
Many set aside the day to honor veterans at their graveside.

724 World War I veterans have been identified as born, raised, lived, or served in Brunswick County. We encourage you to include the WWI Brunswick County veterans in your Memorial Day plans or throughout the year.

If you take a photograph of yourself alongside a gravesite, the photo will be posted on the website.

A new webpage has been created to help assist in graveside honors.

Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran: Cemeteries contains two lists:

  • The 24 Brunswick County WWI veterans who gave their lives.
  • All known gravesites to date, sorted by location (Ash, Bolivia, Holden Beach, etc.)

Many of their final resting places have not been identified.

Would you like to help?

A book is planned to honor the Brunswick County WWI veterans. Cemetery locations should be included for all of the veterans.

To identify which veterans have unknown gravesites, use the Brunswick County WWI Veterans page. The blue button on the right side at the top of the website can also be used.

If there is no “Date of Death” then no gravesite has been identified.

  • If you find one of these graves, send the findagrave information to ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com and the list will be updated.

Even if the gravesite has already been identified, there may be no photo. If there is a “?” after “Date of Death” then there is no photo of the headstone/flat marker.

  • Take photos of the headstone and/or military flat marker and send to ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com

Please help us create a complete list of cemetery locations for the WWI veterans of Brunswick County.

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WWI Profile: Edgar Levett Ballard 1898-1975

To view this or an earlier profile 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.

WWI helmet with 30th Division insignia.
Source: Photo from Pvt Roy E. Jones at purpleheartsnorthcarolina.com

Edgar Levett Ballard
Bolivia, Brunswick County, NC
NC National Guard
Corporal

Served:
May 7, 1917 – April 8, 1919
Overseas:
May 11, 1918 – April 2, 1919
Gassed: October 13, 1918

Edgar Levett Ballard was reportedly born in Little River, SC, and raised in Bolivia, NC. Only one reference to Little River was found, on his NC WWI Service Card. All other sources list his birth location as Brunswick County.

A family tree is located in FamilySearch. Two of Lawson’s brothers, John Thomas Ballard and Lawson Devaun Ballard are also WWI veterans. Lawson Devaun Ballard’s WWI Profile can be found here.

On May 7, 1917, at the age of 19, Edgar enlisted in the NC National Guard by way of the Boys’ Brigade, as described in a previous post.

In October, the 30th Division was created from NC National Guard units. Pvt Edgar Ballard was assigned to Company B, 119th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division.

The photograph above shows the 30th Division’s insignia in a horizontal position. If you remember from previous posts, the insignia contains an “O” for “Old” and “H” for “Hickory” as well as “XXX” the Roman numerals for 30, the division number. The insignia was designed to be worn vertically as shown here. According to division history, during WWI it was worn incorrectly and not discovered and corrected until the 1920s.

Refer to the previous posts outlining the history of the division and their famous Hindenburg Line assault. Details of the operations following the Hindenburg Line assault are included in 1st Sgt Van Mintz’s profile. This took place during October 8-10, 1918. The next contact with the enemy was October 17-19.

Pvt Ballard’s NC WWI Service Card indicates he was slightly gassed on October 13. History 119th Infantry, 60th Brigade, 30th Division. U. S. A. Operations in Belgium and France, 1917-1919 lists October 29, 1918, and shows he was “Sick.” However, sometimes that designation corresponds to poisonous gas exposure. Military casualty lists published in newspapers listed him as wounded slightly, so it seems to indicate gas exposure. Neither date fits with the operations of the 119th Infantry, but the effects of gas exposure often takes time to appear. However, without more information it is difficult to determine the exact date and location where the gas attack took place.

The 119th Infantry documentation shows he returned for duty on November 27, 1918. At that point, the war had ended. He was quickly promoted to Private First Class and then Corporal. He returned to the United States on March 17, 1919, with his company on USS Madawaska.

Edgar Ballard passed away in 1975. His obituary was published in Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, NC), 1975 Dec. 26, p.18].

Ballard, 77, Dies

Edgar Levitte Ballard, 77, route 10, Statesville, was dead on arrival at Iredell Memorial Hospital Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Death was attributed to a heart attack.

At native of Brunswick County, he was a retired auto mechanic and lived on the Buffalo Shoals Road. He was an Army veteran of World War 1.

His parents were the late B.T. and Myrum Ballard, and he was born on Dec. 12, 1898.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Mary Woodsides Ballard; two sons, Thomas Ballard and W.L. Ballard, both of Statesville; one daughter, Mrs. Flake (Marium) Stewart of Taylorsville; two brothers, Johnny Ballard of Bolivia and Lawson Ballard of Wilmington; three sisters, Mrs. Casper Norton of Bolivia, Mrs. Pearl Stanley and Mrs. Henry King, both of Wilmington; 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

The funeral was scheduled at 2:30 p.m. today in Westmoreland Chapel of Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home. Burial was to follow in Iredell Memorial Park.

Edgar Levett Ballard was laid to rest in Statesville, NC. No military honors are shown.

If you would like to help us honor Edgar Levett Ballard 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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Fort Caswell Rifle Range Centennial: May 20, 2018

The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range is 100 years old today.
MAY 20TH 1918

Date on south wall

On January 21, 1918, the United States War Department proposed the construction of a rifle range adjacent to Fort Caswell, NC, for small arms training of soldiers “in view of the immediate necessity for instruction of men destined for over-seas duty” in World War I.

Continue reading and view the documents in the History section of the website.

Please consider contributing to the Fort Caswell Rifle Range stabilization fund to ensure many more years.

Click the green “How to make a donation” button on the right or click here.

Read about the stabilization efforts in the Stabilization section of the website.

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DAR Community Service Award presented to Norma and Ronald Eckard

During the Brunswick Town DAR May meeting, a Community Service Award was presented to Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range president, Norma Eckard, along with her husband and Administrator, Ronald Eckard.

The DAR Community Service Award is presented on local, state, and national levels to individuals and groups who have contributed to their communities in an outstanding voluntary, heroic, civil, or benevolent manner, or who have participated in or organized community activities. The award is presented twice/year by the Brunswick Town DAR.

Norma and Ronald began the effort to save the historic rifle range in 2011, and have continued working hard for seven years and counting. See the Stabilization section of the website for a journal detailing the years of work.

Congratulations, Norma and Ron!

DAR member Mary Willetts Earp gave a touching speech at the same meeting about her family and involvement in the Honor a World War I Veteran program for the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range Memorial. Mary and the Friends are working to create a dedicated story to honor her family and thank them for their donation. This will be posted in the near future.

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WWI Profile: Herman Dan Fulford 1892-1977

To view this or an earlier profile 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.

Photo Source
Herman Dan Fulford
Supply, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private

Served:
September 18, 1917 – January 19, 1919
Overseas:
May 11, 1918 – December 26, 1918
Severely Wounded: September 29, 1918 or October 14, 1918

Herman Dan Fulford was born and raised in Supply, NC. A family tree is located in FamilySearch.

Herman’s WWI Draft Registration form shows he was married with one child, working at a sawmill in Supply.

After receiving orders to report to the military board on September 18, 1917, Herman was assigned to Company M, 119th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division and trained at Camp Sevier, SC. Refer to the previous posts outlining the history of the division and their famous Hindenburg Line assault.

Pvt Herman Williams was severely wounded either on September 29th during the Hindenburg assault [Source: NC WWI Service Card], or in October as the Allies continued their advance, capturing French cities and liberating the citizens [Source: History 119th Infantry, 60th Brigade, 30th Division. U. S. A. Operations in Belgium and France, 1917-1919, p.84.]

The previous posts describe the details of the operations at the time. No information was found to pinpoint the exact date of Herman’s injury. What is known is that it was severe and he did not recover completely.

Pvt Herman Dan Fulford left Base Hospital No. 29 in London on December 26, 1918, and boarded at the Tillbury Docks, England, on Saxonia with other sick and wounded soldiers [source: ancestry.com]. He was honorably discharged on January 19, 1919, with a reported 25% disability.

Later census records show that Herman Fulford was working in the fishing industry. He and his wife had several more children and remained in the Supply, NC, area.

Herman Fulford passed away at age 84. His obituary cannot be found online, but his wife, who lived to age 94, included him in her obituary from The Brunswick Beacon [Shallotte, NC] 4 June 1992, p.10A.

Lovie Jane C. Fulford

Lovie Jane C. Fulford, 94, of Route 1, Supply, died May 31 in The Brunswick Hospital.

The funeral was June 2 at Sabbath Home Baptist Church, Supply, with the Rev. Sidney Britt and the Rev. Weston Varnum officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery.

Mrs. Fulford was born in Supply on Feb. 1, 1898, the daughter of the late Jim Thomas and Julia Fulford Caison. She was a member of Sabbath Home Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Herman Fulford, and a daughter, Alene Robinson.

Her survivors include a son, Jabie Fulford of Supply; five daughters, Beatrice Fulford, Violet Fulford, Mable Corbett and Vera Carlisle, all of Supply, and Marie Del Re of Washington, D.C.; 16 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

Herman Dan Fulford was laid to rest in Holden Beach, NC. Military honors are shown.

Source: findagrave

If you would like to help us honor Herman Dan Fulford 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

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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A nationally designated WWI Centennial Memorial in Dunmore, PA

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range continue to receive photos of supporters’ ancestors who served in World War I; therefore, the World War I Wall of Honor is continually being updated.

Recently, photos of four ancestors who served were received from Jane Del Rosso-Freach, including her great-uncle, Vito Copola from Dunmore, PA, who tragically died of pneumonia on October 18, 1918, a week after being gassed in battle.

All four photos were added to the World War I Wall of Honor here.

Soon after, the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range was designated a National WWI Centennial Memorial.

While scrolling through the list of all 100 memorials chosen for national recognition, a familiar name jumped out: Dunmore, PA.

After a quick search, it was exciting to discover that Jane’s ancestor was honored at the World War I memorial in Dunmore. In fact, his name was etched on the memorial! And this memorial shared the same national honor as our own rifle range.

Jane graciously visited the memorial and took some photos.

It is touching to see the names of those who gave their lives on the memorial.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range began to wonder if the 24 Brunswick County men who gave their lives in World War I could be honored on the monument that is planned onsite at the rifle range.

The original plan was to etch all of the names of those who served, until the discovery of 725 veterans! A booklet of some sort is now planned.

The estimates for the memorial have not yet been received; no decision can be made until then. But seeing the names etched on the Dunmore, PA, memorial can deeply affect those who read them and help show the real cost of the war. They are also a reminder of the many, many more who served and did come home, but were affected in ways we can see, such as the physical disabilities, and ways we can’t, such as psychological scars and family members who suffered while they were away.

The 24 known Brunswick County men who gave their lives are listed below.

  Brunswick County WWI Veteran Classification Date of Death
57 PFC Walter Stephen Brock KIA 11/10/1918
59 PVT William Frederick Brooks Died of Disease 06/13/1918
81 PFC John W Carlisle Died of Disease 02/13/1919
88 PVT Harvey T Chadwick KIA 09/29/1918
123 PVT Carl Jefferson Danford Died of Disease 12/08/1917
126 PFC Isaac Davenport Died of Disease 11/04/1918
143 Cook David L Dosher Died of Disease 02/09/1919
153 Seaman James Coy Edwards Died of Disease 12/24/1917
165 SGT Robert G Farmer Died of Disease 10/09/1918
225 PVT Jimmie Griffin Shot by Sentry 09/11/1918
231 PVT Manning Hall Died of Disease 07/11/1918
261 PVT William Cross Hewett Died of Wounds 10/25/1918
380 PVT Claudie Hall McCall Died of Disease 04/13/1919
420 PVT Elijah Milliken Died of Disease 12/11/1918
466 PFC Erastus Iredell Nelson KIA 08/22/1918
476 PVT Kendrick Whiteleaf Outlaw Died of Disease 10/05/1918
492 PVT Cecil Smith Pierce Died of Disease 03/05/1918
493 PVT Harry Langdon Pigott KIA 09/29/1918
596 PVT Benjamin Bantie Smith Died of Wounds 10/17/1918
640 PVT Samuel Claudius Swain Died of Disease 01/07/1918
671 CPL Herbert B Ward KIA 09/12/1918
672 PVT Guy Ellis Watson Died of Disease 10/21/1918
692 PVT David Williams Died of Disease 03/18/1919
718 PVT Fred Wilson Died of Disease 05/26/1918

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