Monthly Archives: May 2019

WWI Profile: Harry Clayton Chinnis 1888-1946

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 courtesy of Jane B. Henry.
Private Harry Chinnis (right) is Jane B. Henry’s maternal grandmother’s brother.

Harry Clayton Chinnis
Winnabow, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private, First Class

Served:
October 7, 1917 – August 9, 1919
Overseas:
April 24, 1918 – August 1, 1919

Harry Clayton Chinnis was born and raised in Brunswick County. A family tree is located in FamilySearch. Harry had a brother who also served, Joseph Wheeler Chinnis. Joseph had enlisted in the National Guard in 1916 when he was 18 years old, then served in WWI with the 119th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division. In 1922, he enlisted in the US Navy, serving in WWII. He retired in 1948.

Harry’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was single, living in Winnabow, and working in a sawmill in Bolivia.

Harry was married in April 1917, then ordered to report for military duty on October 3, 1917 [Source: Ancestry]. He and five other men were sent to Camp Jackson for training. Pvt Chinnis’ NC WWI Service Card shows he was serving with the 331st Infantry, but it appears to be a typo and should read 321st Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division. This assumption is based on the training camp and the assignments of the five men who were drafted with him.

The 5th Division was organized in December and Pvt Chinnis was transferred in February 1918 to the 11th Infantry. Some information about the division and other Brunswick County men who served can be found starting with Pvt Barfie Randel Long’s WWI Profile. Pvt Chinnis left for France in April.

Pvt Chinnis did not take part in the operation detailed in Pvt Long’s profile. A new branch of service in the Army for the Military Police was formed in July 1918. In August, Pvt Chinnis became a member of this new branch, assigned to III Corps, MP Company.

The US Army realized an increased and focused Military Police force was necessary due to the volume of prisoners of war, the challenges of traffic control, and the responsibilities typical for a police force. Merely controlling traffic had become overwhelming due to the number of troops, vehicles, and horses trying to navigate the muddy conditions in France. Gridlock often forced delays in operations.

Recall from Cpl Herbert Ward’s WWI Profile the description of the first All American Offensive at St. Mihiel at the beginning of September 1918, an operation that was secret and therefore required night marches:

The weather was one continuous downpour of rain; the roads were slippery and wound over steep hills and through wet woods; as the organization approached the lines the traffic on the highways grew denser and denser until those arteries were solid-streams of vehicles and men, with a current in each direction.

Orders were that the artillery should be in the sector and in position by September 8th; but the enormous traffic on the roads, the scarcity and wretched condition of the horses and the incessant rain made it impossible to complete the march on time. Forage was scarce, water was often unobtainable. Horses died along the road or had to be abandoned to the mercy of French peasants. The muddy ground made the entrances and exits of woods extremely difficult; sometimes as much as three hours were consumed merely in getting organizations out of the woods and on the road. The strain on men and animals was terrific. Sleep was almost unheard of.

The following continues that description. [From the same source The Official History of the Fifth Division]:

The M.P.’s were given their first real test in handling the traffic on the roads leading to the front. They were handicapped by lack of experience in such jams. Officers and men exhausted themselves in the gigantic task of keeping the roads clear, many doing forty-eight-hour shifts without sleep.

One M. P. knew his job thoroughly. As this traffic cop was patrolling a road reserved for animal-drawn transportation, a big automobile tried to force its way through. The M. P. promptly halted the machine, with the threat, “I’ll shoot if you move another inch.” He probably didn’t notice the four stars. The Commander-in-Chief of the A. E. F. alighted from his auto and congratulated the private with the remark, “You are the first M. P. I have found doing his duty.”


The photograph of Pvt Chinnis at top can be enlarged to show many details of his uniform. On the lower half of his left sleeve, his chevron shows he has served six months overseas. His MP armband is also on his left sleeve. Overseas, the Americans adopted the British style shown here, black wool with the red “MP” cut in red felt. [Source] His shoulder insignia is III Corps.

October 1918, he was promoted to Private, First Class.

Pfc Chinnis boarded USS Minnesotan on July 23, 1919, and was honorably discharged on August 9, 1919. The 1920 Census lists him living with his wife’s family in Town Creek, working in a sawmill. He later owned and farmed his land and raised a daughter with his wife.

Tragically, Harry Clayton Chinnis committed suicide on July 7, 1946, at age 57, an apparent reaction to his failing health, according to a local newspaper article. He was laid to rest at Vines Cemetery in Winnabow. Military honors are shown.

If you would like to help us honor Harry Clayton Chinnis 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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Bands were a hit at Dinner, Derby & Dance

Trilogy

It may have been hot, but the bands were hotter!

Despite the controversy regarding the Derby winner at Churchhill Downs, Kentucky, the unsung heroes of the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range fundraiser on May 4, 2019, were the bands: Trilogy, Three to Get Ready and Jimmy on the keyboard.

Both bands and Jimmy offered the talents of music to the primary fundraiser for the restoration of the World War I, National Historic Preservation site in Caswell Beach, the Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran and the future book to be published and placed in the schools and libraries. The rifle pit was once a training location for soldiers in defense of our country in 1918, until the end of the Great War and WW II. The site, long neglected, has been the beneficiary of grants, pro bono services, and fund raising dollars for eight years.

Three to Get Ready

The bands providing entertainment for the Derby Day event donated their costs to the cause. Peter Borgia of Three to Get Ready, Jimmy Maglio of Trilogy, and fellow band members kept the audience on its feet for the four hour, Dinner, Derby, and Dance, at the fire station in Caswell Beach Town, NC. Representing several genres of music, the event began with the smooth jazz sounds of Three to Get Ready, and concluded the evening with a rock and roll journey to the sounds of Trilogy. During the dinner hour, Jimmy Maglio and Paul Wood enhanced the dining experience with a piano and saxophone duo.

Besides the musical event there were Best Hat and Best Dressed Couple contests.

Richard & Jean Malinofsky won Best Dressed Couple;
Pat Rizzo won Best Hat, Female; and
David Smith won Best Hat, Male.

A 50/50 raffle, Kentucky Derby betting, Themed Baskets for the silent auction, and a fantastic buffet, hosted by Turtle Island catering, completed the evening festivities. Over $2000 was raised. Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range are grateful for the generous contributions of the sponsors, the town of Caswell Beach for the use of the public facility building (fire station), and the support of those who attended.

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WWI Profile: William Winfield Millinor 1890-1926

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 contributed by Jane B. Henry.
Private Millinor is her paternal grandmother’s brother.
William Winfield Millinor
Fish Factory, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
April 2, 1918 – December 11, 1919

William “Willie” Winfield Millinor was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. A partial family tree is located in FamilySearch.

The 1900 Census and the 1910 Census show him living in Southport with his parents.

On December 16, 1913, Willie married Katie Gore. Their only child was born the following year, September 16, 1914, which is also the date of death of Katie Millinor, apparently dying during childbirth.

His WWI Draft Registration shows he was living in Southport, single (actually widowed), supporting one child, and working as a laborer for Captain J.F. Bussells at Neptune Fisheries. According to newspapers at the time, Neptune removed the oil from the fish and used the scrap for fertilizer.

Willie was ordered to report for duty on April 2, 1918 [Source:Ancestry] and sent to Camp Jackson, NC.

On April 24, he went to Medical Detachment, Embarkation Hospital, at Camp Stuart, VA. At the same time, Brunswick County Privates Guy Ellis Watson and Roy McKeithan (later Sgt) were assigned, presumably making the trip with him.

Note: More Brunswick County men could have served there. NC WWI Service cards of those serving in Medical Detachment units do not always include the location of the hospital.

The WWI Profile for Guy Ellis Watson included some details of the responsibilities of those serving at the Camp Stuart hospital. It is not known what role Private Millinor held. Camp Stuart was the largest single embarkation camp of the war and the hospital served an important role in sending healthy soldiers to France.

On February 22, 1919, Private Millinor was transferred from the embarkation hospital to the debarkation hospital as the focus turned from sending soldiers to France to receiving the returning soldiers.

Private Millinor was honorably discharged in December 11, 1919, serving longer than usual, likely due to being crucial for processing soldiers from overseas.

In 1920, it appears that his parents (C.T. Milander) and one brother (C.C. Milander) and his family were living in Southport. Willie could not be located in census records, although his son, George Atwood Millinor, was located in Town Creek, living with his maternal grandmother.

William “Willie” Winfield Millinor died in a one-car accident, hitting a telegraph pole, on August 22, 1926, at the age of 35. He was laid to rest in Drew Cemetery in Winnabow. No photograph is available to verify whether military honors are shown.

Source: The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Volume IV, Activities Concerning Mobilization Camps and Ports of Embarkation. Washington : US Govt Printing Office : 1928, Chapter 24

If you would like to help us honor William Winfield Millinor 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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May 7, 2019: Dedication of the Robert Bollie Stanley military style marker

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, along with members of the Brunswick Town Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, paid tribute to Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley, WWI Brunswick County veteran and only known POW.

The flat military style marker which was installed and dedicated was purchased with funds donated by Allen Dunstan, an out of town visitor who was deeply touched by Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice.

Seven of Pvt Stanley’s descendants along with a friend attended the ceremony and received the thanks and recognition for his sacrifice.

The family members, pictured from left to right.

  • Vivian Stanley, granddaughter
  • Leroy Hill, grandson
  • Ellis Stanley, cousin
  • Deborah Bolin, granddaughter
  • Fred Stanley, grandson
  • Anna White, granddaughter
  • Joe Stanley, cousin

Norma Eckard read a short biography during the ceremony.

Robert Bollie Stanley was born and raised in Shallotte.

He was called to duty for World War I on March 29, 1918, training in Camp Grant, Illinois. Pvt Stanley served with the 92nd Division, nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers” in honor of African American troops who served in the American West after the Civil War. There were only two divisions in World War I having African American combat units, the 92nd “Buffalo Soldiers” and the 93rd “Blue Hat” Divisions.

Robert Stanley was one of only nine known African American men from Brunswick County who served in a combat position.

During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, on October 29, 1918, Pvt Stanley was captured by the enemy. He was released about a month later, on November 27, 1918. Pvt Stanley returned to America on March 24, 1919, with his right leg amputated at the thigh. He was discharged from the US Army on August 25, 1919, with a 95% disability.

Robert Bollie Stanley married and raised several children. He was laid to rest on September 22, 1961, at age 66.

Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley’s WWI Profile can be read for more details here.

During the dedication ceremony, Joe Stanley unveiled the marker. After the prayer, “Taps” was played.

The script for the ceremony is available here: Robert Bollie Stanley Dedication Ceremony

The family shared a photo of Pvt Stanley in uniform, which stirred emotions as we recalled his sacrifices.

Following the dedication of the marker, the family members were invited to share stories of Pvt Stanley. Fred Stanley, grandson, was 17 years old when his grandfather “took his last breath.” He remembered him being in frequent pain, but rarely complained. Fred and his grandfather were always together. Both he and Joe Stanley, cousin, commented that their grandfather never spoke about WWI.

Deborah Bolin, granddaughter, was wearing a brooch owned by her mother, Pvt Stanley’s daughter. She shared that her mother was very special to her.

Joe Stanley remarked that Pvt Stanley was “a fabulous man.”

More memories may be added later.

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National School Nurse Day

Today is National School Nurse Day.

School nursing is not a typical topic on a WWI and historical preservation blog. However, there is a small connection.

The WWI Profiles of Brunswick County veterans are about to end. Profiles for the Fort Caswell WWI nurses will begin and they were an impressive group of women.

It just happens that two of the nurses who served at Fort Caswell during WWI became school nurses after the war.

Ida Estelle Trollinger was employed as a Wake County Raleigh City School Nurse for many years, then became Head Nurse in the Infirmary at North Carolina State College (now NC State University).

Frances Cordelia “Fannie” Boulware was Head Nurse in the Infirmary at Furman University (Greenville, SC).

These were the women who cared for Brunswick County WWI soldiers at Fort Caswell, then may have cared for them or their children or grandchildren at school after the war.

The WWI Fort Caswell Nurse Profiles will begin in a few weeks.

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Honoring Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Brunswick Town Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution will honor Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley tomorrow with the installation of a military style marker.

The funds for this marker were donated by Allen Dunstan, an out of town visitor who was deeply touched by Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice.

Read more here:
Donor honors WWI POW Robert Bollie Stanley with military marker

Pvt Stanley is buried in Stanley Cemetery in Shallotte. The ceremony will begin at 11 am.

WWI Profiles will resume next week.

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Dinner, Derby, & Dance this Saturday

Tickets still available. Call now!

May 4, 2019 (Saturday) 4:00 – 9:00 pm
Fundraiser: Dinner, Derby and Dance
New! Click to view program/handout
Click to view flyers
Location: Caswell Beach Town Public Facility Building
Hat contests, 50/50, Churchill Downs Betting, Blind Pool, Raffle for a Cause, Mint Juleps & much more!
Music by Trilogy & Three to Get Ready.
Catering by Turtle Island Restaurant & Catering

  • Call 278-7584 for tickets

Beautiful themed baskets to benefit the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range have been assembled.

Read more about the baskets here.

All proceeds from the event will be used to continue the preservation of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, an Official National WWI Centennial Memorial; and to help publish the book through the Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran program that began in 2017.

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