Category Archives: Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Francis Dillard Price 1894-1971

NC WWI Service Card
Francis Dillard “Dillard” Price was born in Southport, son of William Ayers “Willie” Price and Carrie Geanette (or Jeanette) Tharp. The 1900 Census, and 1910 Census shows the family continued to live in Southport. His father was a farmer. There were a total of 13 children.

Dillard’s nephew, Bill Price, shared the following information about the family, as well as these photos of Dillard and wife Evie, and Dillard’s parents, aunt, uncle, and grandparents.

“Dillard’s father, Willie Price, operated a large farm near what is now the Athletic Park.

“Dillard’s grandfather’s name is Francis Dawson Price, III. He enlisted in the Confederate Navy, serving as a landsman (novice seaman) on the ironclad sloop CSS North Carolina. He was injured in the Civil War. Dillard’s grandmother’s name was Julia Ann Swain Price.

“Dillard’s aunt and uncle were Edney V.”Lillian” Price Swain and McDermit D Price. His uncle worked on his father’s farm and she was a school teacher. The four of them are buried in the Price Family Cemetery located at the Athletic Park. Another aunt was Florence Catherine Price Swain.”

These two photos are Dillard and wife Evie. The remaining photos are identified by filename.

Dillard was eligible for the first draft on June 5, 1917. His draft registration shows that he was farming for his father.

Francis Dillard Price’s signature on his draft registration:

On July 13, 1918, Dillard was ordered to report for duty. His training began at Clemson, SC.
Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

The official documents for the Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC), shared in a previous post, seem to indicate that drafted soldiers may apply for the Corps. But what’s curious is that Pvt Price’s NC WWI Service Card at top shows he transferred from the SATC to the CAC (Coastal Artillery Corps) at Fort Moultrie on September 13, 1918. The SATC did not officially begin until October 1918.

His VA Index, shown here, indicates he served in the CAC, as well as the military marker at his grave which is shown below. Typically, both the index and marker show the last assignment during the war.

There’s no reason to doubt he served in the SATC for a time, but the sequence of events cannot be determined from the available documents. As his 1940 Census information shows, he had not completed high school, which is typically a condition of the Collegiate Section of the SATC. However, Clemson did have a Vocational Section and Dillard seemed qualified for it.

All of this is relevant only to determine whether to include Pvt Price in the SATC list. He served until his honorable discharge on December 6, 1918.

Dillard returned home to live with his parents, according to the 1920 Census. He married Evie Ann McDowell in 1926. The 1930 Census and 1940 Census show they continued living in Southport while farming and had one son.

Source: Findagrave
Francis Dillard Price passed away on October 10, 1971 at age 77. He was laid to rest in Northwood Cemetery in Southport.

His son, Dillard Hugh Price, served his country in the US Navy during WWII, then as a civil servant for 30 years. He passed away in 2015 and was also laid to rest in Northwood Cemetery. His obituary is printed on his findagrave page.


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 Francis Dillard Price 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Francis Dillard Price 1894-1971

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Joseph Clyde Knox 1897-1983

NC WWI Service Card
Joseph Clyde “Joe” Knox was born in Brunswick County, son of John Joseph Knox and Minnie Irene Drew. The 1900 Census, and 1910 Census shows the family lived in Town Creek. His father was a farmer.

Joe’s brother, George Edward Knox, also served in WWI. He was living in Waycross, Georgia, when he became a 1st Lt on August 5, 1917, by way of the National Guard. He served in the 106th Engineers, 31st Division, serving overseas until July 3, 1919.

Joe attended school at Trinity Park School in Durham. Perhaps this advertisement in The Wilmington Morning Star (1910 Jul 8; p4) motivated his parents to send Joe.

Trinity Park School operated from 1898 to 1922 to better prepare young people for undergraduate work at Trinity College and other institutions. In a prospectus prepared prior to the opening of the school on September 7, 1898, it explains, ‘Very many young men apply for entrance to Trinity and are found upon examination unprepared and hence are not admitted.’

“The Trinity Park High School, as it was then known, was located on the northwest corner of the present-day East Campus of Duke University, where the Mary Duke Biddle Music Building and the Branson Building now stand.

“Over time, the public school system improved in North Carolina. As these schools improved, fewer students attended Trinity Park School. In summer 1922, the Board of Trustees decided to close the School, and use the buildings and space for the growing undergraduate class.

“Although the school no longer exists, several buildings still stand as part of the East Campus of Duke University.”
[Source: Duke University Libraries, Guide to the Trinity Park School Collection]

Joe was an accomplished student at Trinity Park School.

In 1916, he was an honor student and recipient of a school scholarship, according to The Charlotte Observer (1916 June 7; p8).

In 1917, he was a manager for Commencement (The Wilmington Morning Star; 1917 June 01; p.6).

And at his graduation in 1918, which was held “earlier due to war conditions,” Joe was again recognized as an honor student, meeting the requirements of an average of 90 or more for the year. He also was the winner of a four year tuition scholarship to Trinity College (now known as Duke University).
[Sources: The Durham Morning Herald; 1918 May 4; p. 3. Greensboro Daily News; 1918 May 5; p.17.]

A previous post introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps.

Joe did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was a student and farmer, living with his parents in Leland. His description includes that he was medium height and stout. This may help identify him in the group photos below.

Joe Clyde Knox’s signature on his draft registration:

When the SATC became active in October 1918, Joe met the physical and educational admission requirements and volunteered. He was accepted and ordered to report for duty on October 28, 1918, at Trinity College (now known as Duke University), a Collegiate Section from NC. Click image at right to enlarge.

The November 11 Armistice ended their training and the SATC was demobilized. Pvt Knox was honorably discharged on December 11, 1918. He remained at Trinity/Duke College.

Joe completed his freshman year. The Chanticleer is the title of Trinity/Duke’s yearbook. Read more about the title here. However, that year (1919) the yearbook was named Victory “in celebration of the end of the war and to commemorate the twenty-one Trinity College students who lost their lives in World War I.”

The 1919 and 1920 yearbooks include many photos of Joe based on his activities, as well as class photos. The activities are listed in the 1920 yearbook, excerpt below. From that list, the corresponding photos were found and copied below. All yearbooks are also available online here in the NC Archives.

Notice that his high school is listed first. The Sandfiddler’s Club appears to be a club of those students from the coastal counties. There are quite a few clubs corresponding to the other counties, presumably where the students’ homes are located. Varsity Track and Class Track were his activities during his freshman year, Class Football was an activity during his sophomore year.

After completing two years at Trinity, Joe entered Medical School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Four years later, in 1924, he graduated.
[Source: 1924 University of Maryland, Baltimore Yearbook Terra Mariae, p25]

During the 1930 Census, Joe was a guest at the George Washington Hotel in Washington, PA.

Source of photo: The Greenville News (Greenville, SC) 5 July 1931, p7.
Joe and Martha Cox were married in Belton, SC on June 27, 1931. The Greenville News (Greenville, SC), covered the wedding the following day on page 14.

“The bride received her education at Greenville Woman’s college and has taught art in the schools of Winston-Salem for several years, also doing recreational work there and in New York.”

The 1935 Duke Alumni Register includes details of his life between 1924 and 1935.

In the August 11, 1935, issue of the News and Observer appears the photograph and an article about Dr. Joseph Clyde Knox, state epidemiologist, who has been in the spotlight of the state and nation since the outbreak of infantile paralysis. Quoting from the article: “. . . When nationally known experts arrived in the State to study means of controlling the malady they found his office prepared to offer them every assistance, particularly as to records, and they complimented the State Board of Health for having done everything possible during the emergency.

“Dr. Knox was trained largely to cope with ailments of children. After leaving his native heath in Brunswick County, he went to the University of Maryland and was graduated there in 1924. For the next four years he practiced in children’s hospitals, including one in New York, another in Baltimore, the University of Iowa’s children’s hospital and the University of Oregon children’s hospital. He majored in contagious diseases, and saw quite a bit of infantile paralysis. He spent a year at Harvard and got his master’s degree in public health.

“After practicing pediatrics in Goldsboro for awhile, Dr. Knox came to the State Board of Health in 1932 and has been there since in the division of epidemiology. He is married and has two children.”

The 1940 Census shows Joe continued his work at the State Board of Health, living with his wife and two children in a brick home on Clark Ave in Raleigh, which still exists today.

In 1941, Joe and his family moved to Wilmington, NC. The announcement shown here was printed in The Sunday Star-News (Wilmington, NC), on July 9, 1941, p4. The story included details of his education.

He was graduated from the medical school of the University of Maryland and interned at the Church home and infirmary, Baltimore, and the Children’s hospital of the University of Iowa. He served as resident physician at the Doernbecher Hospital for Children in Portland, Ore., and instructor in pediatrics at the University of Oregon medical school. He also was resident physician at the Willard Parker hospital for contagious diseases in New York. Doctor Knox received his master’s degree in public health from Harvard university.
Source: Chronicling America

Dr. Joseph Clyde Knox passed away on September 27, 1983 at age 85. He was laid to rest in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington. His wife Martha had passed away just three months earlier. 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 Joseph Clyde Knox 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Joseph Clyde Knox 1897-1983

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Andrew Jackson Robbins, Jr 1897-1932

NC WWI Service Card
Andrew Jackson “Jack” Robbins, Jr was born in Southport, son of Andrew Jackson Robbins, Sr, and Ada Caroline Drew. The 1900 Census, and 1910 Census show the family remained in Southport. In 1910, they lived on Lord St.

The Southport Historical Society’s Susie Carson Research Room has a research file for his father on their website, which is the source for the following information. The file includes many fascinating details of his life.

Jack’s father, Andrew Jackson Robbins, Sr, was a building contractor in Southport from 1895 until 1922. He built many homes for prominent members of the community, as well as structures in the area such as the Brunswick County jail, post office, and bank.

In addition, he built the school house at Fort Caswell in 1899, and the brick bake-house there in 1913. More buildings at Fort Caswell have been reported as constructed by him.

It is said that he built cement bunkers at Fort Caswell for the government during WWI. Could he have built the bunker at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range? There’s no confirmation, but any information received in the future will be shared on the website.

Jack Robbins, Jr attended high school at Georgia Military Academy in College Park, GA. This was printed in his obituary, but also found in a sentence in the society news of The Wilmington Dispatch on March 26, 1916, p. 9.

Source of 1913 Postcard: http://www.atlantatimemachine.com/misc/military_academy.htm
Georgia Military Academy in College Park-Atlanta, now known as Woodward Academy, was a military boarding school for boys, founded in 1900. “By 1910, GMA had 14 teachers, a student body of 150 boys, two more buildings, and a football field. In these early years, teachers and their families lived with cadets in home-like buildings arranged around plazas, playgrounds, and courtyards.”

During the 1917-1918 school year, Jack attended NC State College of Agriculture and Engineering in Raleigh (now simply known as NC State) as a freshman, according to page 127 in the 1918 yearbook The Agromeck and in a sentence in the society news of The Wilmington Morning Star on October 21, 1917, p. 8. The yearbook page is shown below. His area of study is indicated as Mechanical Engineering. Click the pages below to enlarge.

The Infantry Unit at NC State College was compulsory for the first two years. Recall that the military training programs at colleges were separate from the SATC, which did not become active until October 1918.

Jack was a private in Company E, as seen on page 150 of the same yearbook, shown below. His battalion, the Second Battalion, is also shown below, which consists of Companies E, F, G, and H.

He was not found in the 1918-1919 yearbook, but we know he was at Davidson College for at least part of that school year, as explained below.

Previous posts introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps and his fellow corps member from Southport, Harry Churchhill Corlette, Jr. Like Harry, Jack did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was working at Fort Caswell.

Andrew Jackson Robbins’ signature on his draft registration:

When the SATC became active in October 1918, Jack and Harry met the physical and educational admission requirements and volunteered. Both were accepted and ordered to report for duty on October 2, 1918, at Davidson College, a Collegiate Section from NC. Read the previous posts linked above for details.

The November 11 Armistice ended their training and the SATC was demobilized. Pvt Robbins was honorably discharged on December 10, 1918.

Jack’s brother Benjamin Drew Robbins, also served in WWI. He enlisted in the US Navy on May 21, 1918, serving as a Machinist Mate, 2nd Class, on a Submarine Chaser until discharged on August 11, 1919.

In 1920, Jack was home, living with his parents in Southport. He had resumed working as a clerk for the US Government. This implies he had not returned to college, but there are no records to confirm.

According to the Southport Historical Society’s files, in 1922 his parents and siblings moved to Orlando due to his brother Ben’s serious illness. Jack and his wife joined them for a time, as seen in this excerpt from the 1922 Orlando City Directory.
[Source: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.]

Orlando newspapers show his father continued building at a rapid rate. The residence of his parents at 322 Agnes St appears to be built by his father. This is based on The Orlando Sentinel, which lists a permit requested by A.J. Robbins for a garage and residence at Agnes St in the April 17, 1921 issue. Photos of the home and garage in Orlando are shown below. Tax records show it was built in 1922.

Jack, Jr and Elizabeth are not listed in subsequent issues of the Orlando city directory. Their son was born in New Hanover County, NC, on November 8, 1922, which shows they had returned to NC that year. The 1924 Wilmington City Directory lists Jack as a foreman for the City Laundry Company, living on Wrightsville Sound. Subsequent directories show he had become a bookkeeper for the same company.

The 1930 Census shows he and his wife and their son were living on Wrightsville Road in Wilmington. Jack remained a bookkeeper for the City Laundry Co. His wife Elizabeth was a clerk for the steam railway. [Additional Source: Wilmington City Directory, 1930.]

Andrew Jackson Robbins, Jr, passed away from pneumonia on October 8, 1932 at age 35. He was laid to rest in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington. The flat marker shown here is from Findagrave.

Obituaries were printed in newspapers in Orlando. The following clipping was printed in The Orland Sentinel on October 11, 1932, p3; while the obituary from The Orlando Evening Star on October 12, 1932, p.2 is copied below. Both mention that his parents were alive; however, his mother had passed away earlier in the year. The obituary also includes that he left college to enlist in WWI, but we know he actually entered the Students’ Army Training Corps at Davidson College.

Funeral of A.J. Robbins, jr., 35, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Robbins of 546 S. Lake St. Orlando was held Monday in Wilmington, N.C. The young man died at Wrightsville Sound, Saturday after a week’s illness. The wife, the parents, two sisters, Mrs. A.A. Starling and Miss Josephine Robbins, the last four of Orlando, and one brother, Ben D. Robbins, of Tampa survive.

Mr. Robbins was a bookkeeper employed in Wilmington at the time of his death and was educated at Georgia Military Academy and Davidson college. He left college to enlist in the U.S. forces in the World War and was a member of the American Legion and Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity.

Jack’s son, Dr. Jack Hinton Robbins, lived a long life, passing away at age 93. His obituary is printed in Findagrave and is copied below.

Jack Hinton Robbins, age 93, of Bradenton, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Saturday, March 12, 2016.

He was a retired physician and colonel in the United States Air Force.

Born in Wilmington, NC on November 8, 1922, he is preceded in death by his mother, Elizabeth Branson, and father, Andrew Jackson Robbins, Jr., who died when his son was just ten years of age, both from Wilmington, NC.

As a teenager, he traveled the world with his mother and missionary stepfather, William Branson, living several years in Africa, China and India. He attended Loma Linda Medical School and entered the Air Force in 1948, where he met and married his wife of 60 years, Lola Robbins.

During his 25 years of Service, he specialized in Aerospace Medicine, serving as a flight surgeon and assisting in the Mercury Space Program. He was later assigned to the Surgeon General’s office. He also completed his residency in radiology while serving in the Air Force.

He retired from the military and moved the family to Bradenton in 1973. Dr. Robbins practiced radiology in Bradenton for almost 15 years before retiring from the medical profession. He was an admired and respected physician, always demonstrating integrity and kindness to everyone he encountered.

After retirement, he traveled regularly with his wife and enjoyed countless hours fishing with his son.

He is survived by his wife, Lola Robbins, his five children and numerous grandchildren. Visitation 6-8PM Wednesday, Mar 16, 2016, at Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 43rd Street Chapel. Funeral Mass 2PM Thursday, March 17, 2016, at Saints Peter & Paul the Apostles Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Southeastern Guide Dogs or the charity of your choice.

While his parents, siblings, and son were ultimately laid to rest in Florida, one brother, Robert Marion Robbins, who passed away at age 2, had been laid to rest in Old Smithville Cemetery in Southport in 1896. No records establish his parentage, he is not mentioned in obituaries, and the 1900 Census shows his mother Ada Robbins had given birth to two children with two surviving (Bennie D. and Andrew J.), rather than three children with two surviving. However, his headstone identifies him as the “Son of AJ and Ada D Robbins” so he is assumed to be their son.


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 Andrew Jackson Robbins, 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Andrew Jackson Robbins, Jr 1897-1932

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Harry Churchhill Corlette, Jr 1898-1947

NC WWI Service Card
Harry Churchhill Corlette, Jr was born in Southport, son of Harry Churchhill Corlette, Sr, and Louise White Grissom. The 1900 Census, and 1910 Census shows the family remained in Southport. In 1910, they lived on Bay St. His father was a pilot of a fishing boat.

A previous post introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps.

Harry did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was a junior drug clerk at Watson Pharmacy Co. in Southport. He and his family resided in Southport, Brunswick County.

Harry Churchhill Corlette’s signature on his draft registration:

When the SATC became active in October 1918, Harry, along with Andrew Jackson Robbins, Jr, met the physical and educational admission requirements and volunteered. Both were accepted and ordered to report for duty on October 2, 1918, at Davidson College, a Collegiate Section from NC. Click image at right to enlarge.

The inauguration ceremony was held on October 1, 1918. On October 9, the front page of The Davidsonian included a photo of the SATC, along with the story below.

Memorable Ceremony Is Held at Formal Inauguration of the S.A.T.C. at Davidson

Messages From the President, Secretary of War and Others are Read.

A most impressive gathering was held at noon on the first day of October. It was indeed a historic ceremony and one that will long be remembered by its participants and those from the town who were present. It marked the formal inauguration of the Students’ Army Training Corps at Davidson College. The battalion was formed in the shape of a square around the foot of the flagpole and messages from the President and many other prominent men were read by the officers present.

The ceremony was begun with a prayer by Dr. C.M. Richards. Lieut. R.G. Dennard stated that at that very hour over one hundred and fifty thousand students in more than five hundred colleges were standing at attention in a ceremony similar to that one.

Messages from President Woodrow Wilson, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, Col. R.I. Rees and others were read by Lieutenants Candler, Dwyer and Doverspike.

The following message from the President was read: “The step you have taken is a most significant one. By it you have ceased to be merely individuals, each seeking to perfect himself to win his own place in the world, and have become comrades in the common cause of making the world a better place to live in. You have joined yourselves with the entire manhood of the country and pledged, as did your forefathers, ‘your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor’ to the freedom of humanity.

“The enterprise upon which you have embarked is a hazardous and difficult one. This is not a war of words; this is not a scholastic struggle. It is a war of ideals, yet fought with all the devices of science and with all the power of machines. To succeed, you must not only be inspired by the ideals for which this country stands but you must also be masters of the technique with which the battle is fought. You must not only be thrilled with zeal for the common welfare, but you must also be masters of the weapons of today.

“There can be no doubt of the issue. The spirit that is revealed and the manner in which America has responded to the call is indomitable. I have no doubt that you too will use your utmost strength to maintain that spirit and to carry it forward to the final victory that will certainly be ours.
“Woodrow Wilson.”

The flag was raised and the oath of allegiance was taken by the members of the S.A.T.C. Dr. Martin spoke on behalf of the college and stirred all present. The picture shown on page 1 was then made.

A yearbook for the 1918-1919 school year at Davidson College is not available. However, the Davidson Historical Society shares the following photos of the Davidson College SATC on their website.

Harry and Andrew Jackson Robbins were initiated into the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, according to The Davidsonian, October 23, 1918, p.4.

The November 11 Armistice ended their training and the SATC was demobilized. Pvt Corlette was honorably discharged on December 10, 1918. It appears he did not return to college, as the 1940 Census shows his education was 4 years of high school.

In 1920, Harry was home, living with his parents in Southport. He had resumed working as a clerk for a drugstore.

The 1930 Census shows he and his wife, daughters, and parents living on Water St in Southport. Harry was a manager of a dry cleaning shop.

The 1940 Census shows his mother continued to live with him after the death of his father in 1930. He was working as a salesman for a retail grocery. His wife was working as an assistant cashier at a bank. His three daughters were living at home – his oldest in high school.

Harry Churchhill Corlette passed away from meningitis on June 27, 1947 at age 48. He was laid to rest in Old Smithville Cemetery in Southport. The following obituary was published on the front page of The State Port Pilot on July 2, 1947.

Harry Corlette Dies Suddenly

Popular Southport Citizen Died Early Friday Following Illness of Only A Few Hours Duration

Harry C. Corlette, former Southport City Alderman and business man, died here at Dosher Memorial hospital Friday morning after an illness of only eight hours.

Mr. Corlette, who was 48-years of age, was a lifelong resident of Southport and was in good health up until the time he was stricken at 8 o’clock Thursday night. Attending physicians prescribed the cause of his death to spinal meningitis.

The deceased, a highly esteemed resident of Southport, is survived by his widow, Mrs. Rachel Todd Corlette, assistant-cashier at the local branch of the Waccamaw Bank and Trust company, and by three daughters, Miss Doris Corlette, Miss Betty Todd Corlette and Miss Harriett Corlette, all of 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 Harry Churchhill Corlette, 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Harry Churchhill Corlette, Jr 1898-1947

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: William Asbury Rourk, Jr 1898-1948

Many records and photos were found for William Asbury Rourk and his family, along with unique details. As a result, this snapshot became lengthy. We hope that readers will also appreciate becoming acquainted with them and honoring their sacrifices and commitment to their communities.

NC WWI Service Card
William Asbury Rourk, Jr was born in Wilmington, son of William Asbury Rourk, Sr, and Sarah Helen Stone. The 1900 Census and 1910 Census shows the family remained in Wilmington. His father was described as a merchant of groceries.

According to The Wilmington Dispatch (1917, June 1; p. 6), William graduated from Wilmington High School on May 31, 1917. He was a freshman in the 1917-1918 year at North Carolina University at Chapel Hill (now known as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), according to the 1918 yearbook, Yackety-Yack, p. 112. His residence was Wilmington and his area of study was science. A later yearbook referred to him as “Bill.”

During military training at Chapel Hill, Bill served in Company D, which is documented in the 1918 yearbook beginning on page 180. The photo below shows the university battalion. Recall that military training was offered at Chapel Hill before the Students’ Army Training Corps was created. See the previous post for more photos and information.

Previous posts introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps and his fellow corps member from Brunswick County, Commodore Clarence Chinnis.

Like Commodore, Bill did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was a student at North Carolina University at Chapel Hill. He and his family resided in Shallotte, Brunswick County.

William Asbury Rourk’s signature on his draft registration:

When the SATC became active in October 1918, William and Commodore met the physical and educational admission requirements and volunteered. Both were accepted and ordered to report for duty on October 5, 1918, at the University of North Carolina, a Collegiate Section from NC. Read the previous posts linked above for details.

Photos of the SATC in Chapel Hill can be found in the 1919 yearbook. Pvt Rourk served in Company D.

The November 11 Armistice ended their training and the SATC was demobilized. Pvt Rourk was honorably discharged on December 10, 1918. Unlike Commodore Chinnis, Bill did remain in college.

In the 1919 yearbook for the school year of 1918-1919, Wilmington was listed as his residence. Presumably, this was his residence when he re-enrolled at Chapel Hill in the spring of 1918. But recall that when he registered for the draft in September 1918, his address was Shallotte.

He was a junior during the 1919-1920 school year. The yearbook shows his residence as Shallotte.

He played basketball his first three years of college. He was a starting guard at 5′ 8.5″. These photos were taken during his junior year. In the team photo from 1920, he is seated at the far right in the front row.

Bill entered Medical School his senior year, graduating a year later in 1922. He can be seen standing second from the left in the front line.


The description under his senior photo, shown here, includes his residence as Shallotte, followed by mention of Mecklenburg County, which is the county of Charlotte. Confusing these two cities is a common mistake found in historical records at the time, as mentioned in Harvey T. Chadwick’s WWI Profile.

At right, his photo is displayed in the 1922 yearbook when he graduated from Medical School. Below his photo, the following words are printed.

“He had the reputation of being the scrappiest basketball player on the floor last year, and we were disappointed when medicine intrigued his interest this year. There is nothing of the artificial about him, for his friendships and work are both genuine. Carolina is proud to own him whether on the courts, in the classroom, or in life.”

The 1930 Census shows he was married to Getrude, a woman from Pennsylvania. They had a son, William Jr, age 1. His wife’s mother was living with them. She had remarried and was widowed once more.

Curiosity about how he came to marry a woman from Pennsylvania led to some interesting information about her and her mother.

Gertrude Berg McDonell was born in York, Pennsylvania, on March 5, 1903, to Emory Clair McDonell and Gertrude Neal Fitzgerald McDonell. [Source: Baptism Record from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records in Ancestry; Marriage License]

In 1910, her father was a salesman for an electric vacuum cleaner company. He passed away in 1912 at age 40. [Source: Death Certificate in Ancestry; obituary: The York Dispatch, August 16, 1912, p.2]

According to The York Daily, October 6, 1915, p.3, her mother, Mrs. Gertrude McDonnell was appointed the new superintendent of the Christian Home and the House of Detention by a unanimous decision of the board of directors of the York Society to Protect Children and the Aged Persons. She would hold this position until April 1, 1921, as noted in The York Dispatch, March 2, 1921, p.10.

Daughter Gertrude (Bill’s future wife) is listed as a resident of the home with her mother Gertrude the Superintendent in the 1920 Census. Daughter Gertrude was 16 years old.

On August 30-31, 1921, according to The York Dispatch, p.13; and The Daily Record, p.5, a farewell party was held for Miss Gertrude McDonell, who was leaving for Philadelphia where she would enter training at the Philadelphia General Hospital to become a public health nurse.

Interestingly, Mr. William Asbury Rourk, Jr arrived in Philadelphia in 1922 to become an intern at Philadelphia General Hospital, according to his AMA Physician File records. Presumably, medical intern Bill met nurse trainee Gertrude and fell in love.

According to The Charlotte Observer, July 25, 1924, p.7, William Asbury Rourk, Jr, from Shallotte, was awarded a license to practice medicine in the state of North Carolina following examination.

On September 27, 1926, Gertrude McDonell and William Asbury Rourk, Jr, married, according to her flat marker in findagrave. Bill’s AMA files indicate that they remained in Shallotte for a time, then settled in Myrtle Beach, SC, where they remained until their deaths. He was reportedly the first physician to practice in Myrtle Beach, according to the articles shown below that were published near his death.

The 1940 Census is much like the 1930 Census, with the addition of another son, James Rodman Rourk.

On December 22, 1944, Dr. Rourk’s son, William Asbury Rourk, passed away from bilateral pulmonitis. He was 16 years old.

On May 3, 1948, Dr. Rourk suffered a heart attack. As a long time friend of the Myrtle Beach Air Base, which had since closed, the Air Force responded to an emergency call by flying in an oxygen tent and Air Force physician. They were unable to save him.

On May 19, 1948, Dr. William Asbury Rourk, age 50, passed away. He was laid to rest in Ocean Woods Memorial Cemetery in Myrtle Beach.

On March 6, 1964, his wife, who had since remarried, passed away.

Their only surviving son, James “Roddy” Rodman Rourk, was reportedly a teacher at Myrtle Beach High School from 1958 to 1966. He passed away at age 54 on December 24, 1984. Some amazing tributes can be read on this Myrtle Beach High School alumni page. According to comments, he was a math teacher, Scoutmaster, award winning coach, a leader in his community, and “a principled man providing positive leadership to everyone with whom he had contact.”

 


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 William Asbury Rourk, 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: William Asbury Rourk, Jr 1898-1948

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Commodore Clarence Chinnis 1899-1960

NC WWI Service Card
Commodore Clarence Chinnis was born in Northwest, Brunswick County, the son of Augustus Marion Chinnis and Nellie Brew.

A previous post introduced the multiple draft registrations which occurred in 1917 and 1918, and the Students’ Army Training Corps.

Commodore did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration was actually dated September 7, 1918, and shows he had already started his SATC training at Plattsburgh Barracks, NY. But the SATC program did not officially begin until October 1, 1918.

To determine the reason behind this discrepancy, college yearbooks were used. The North Carolina University at Chapel Hill (now known as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) yearbook Yackety-Yack provides the sequence of events.

The UNC Department of Military Science training and the Students’ Army Training Corps at UNC were two different programs. Commodore participated in the military training in 1917 when it first became available, then volunteered for the SATC in 1918 when it became available. The following shows Commodore’s activities in chronological order.

According to The Wilmington Dispatch (1916, May 27; p. 5), Commodore graduated from Wilmington High School on May 26, 1916.

He was a freshman in the 1916-1917 year at UNC Chapel Hill, according to the 1917 yearbook, Yackety-Yack, p. 147.

The 1918 yearbook, page 262, indicates that Commodore was in the Class of 1920. He is included in the list of sophomores on page 92.

Page 168 begins with the description of the formation of the Department of Military Science at the school and the enthusiasm in which the students responded. Several excerpts are shown below.

“It is not the nature of the North Carolinian to remain neutral when a ‘first-class scrap’ is in progress nearby. …his blood seethes with a desire to take part in the conflict.”

 

“When the suggestion was made, in the fall of nineteen-fifteen, that a course in military training be introduced in the University of North Carolina, it met with little favor among either Faculty or students. War was not regarded as imminent, and in our ignorance we failed to realize the importance of making ready for its coming.”

 

“…the sudden severance of diplomatic relations with Germany swept away all remaining opposition.”

 

“The total number of students registered in the University for the [1917] fall term was 820. Of these, 565 have been taking the course, devoting twelve hours a week to the work.”

Photos of the military training in Chapel Hill are located in the 1918 yearbook. Pvt Commodore served in Company B, which begins on page 176.

A diagram of the trenches that were created on campus is shown here.

The following summer (1918), 125 students, including Commodore, trained at the camp at Plattsburgh Barracks, NY. This explains why Commodore registered for the draft on September 7, 1918, from Plattsburgh Barracks.

Commodore Clarence Chinnis’ signature on his draft registration:

Photos from the summer of 1918 at Plattsburgh are shown in the 1919 Yearbook. This section of the yearbook is also located online at https://docsouth.unc.edu/wwi/yack1919/yack1919.html. Commodore has not been identified in the photo below, but he was described as a “likeable giant” in the local newspaper and stood at 6’1″, according to his WWI Draft Registration.

When the SATC became active in October 1918, Commodore, along with William Asbury Rourk, Jr, met the physical and educational admission requirements and volunteered. Both were accepted and ordered to report for duty on October 5, 1918, at the University of North Carolina, a Collegiate Section from NC. Click image at right to enlarge.

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Registrants who are graduates of standard four-year secondary schools or have equivalent educational qualifications are eligible for Collegiate Sections and will be inducted at the institutions to which they secure admission. The admission requirements into the colleges, and hence into the Students Army Training Corps, have been left substantially as they were. Young men seeking information as to how to join a Collegiate Unit of the Corps should apply not to the War Department, but to the Dean or Registrar of the college of their choice.

Members of both sections will attend courses on the Issues of the War.

These excerpts are taken from the description of the Students’ Army Training Corps at Carolina on page 183.

From the first days in October, when the system was started, it seemed that fate was against a speedy organization of the units into efficient, spirited bodies. Equipment was hard to secure, personnel of the staffs were slow in assembling, and upon everything that scourge of scourges, the “flu” descended. The men were compelled to keep a strict quarantine, pleasures and freedoms were cut off. Sickness is a breeder of slow inertia and lack of spirit. Morale was hard to maintain, on the campus, when the atmosphere was full of dread.

Just as the training went into full swing, the November 11, 1918, Armistice ended it.

In the days of disappointment that followed the signing of the armistice, when the urge of the desire for service overseas was suddenly removed, every student soldier felt that the Students’ Army Training Corps was of no value.

The SATC was demobilized. Pvt Chinnis was honorably discharged on December 9, 1918.

The government did a very wise thing when it created this Students’ Army Training Corps, and could the experiment have been carried out its benefits would by now have been too obvious to point out.

Commodore did not complete his junior year in college. He is not listed among the juniors in the 1919 yearbook. This is confirmed by the 1940 Census which shows he had completed two years of college education.

The 1920 Census shows that he was living at home in Northwest. He and his sister Lila were clerks at a bank. His father was a merchant of groceries. The family home was on Wilmington and Charlotte Road, near Leland Road.

Commodore married and was the father of two sons who served in WWII, Carter Cabell Chinnis, whose findagrave entry includes an impressive obituary, and Hobson D Chinnis.

Commodore Clarence Chinnis passed away on July 8, 1960. He was laid to rest in New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Leland. No military marker is 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 Commodore Clarence 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Commodore Clarence Chinnis 1899-1960

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: John Rivers Smith 1898-1956

John Rivers Smith lies in an unmarked grave in Smith Cemetery in Southport, NC. Census records including him with his wife and children have not been located. As a result, more details and historical records than usual are presented below in order to link him to his descendants and preserve the details of his WWI service.

NC WWI Service Card
John Rivers Smith was born in Southport, son of Robert Calvin Smith and Eliza Jane Galloway. In the 1900 Census, his father is listed as a carpenter.

The 1910 Census shows that his family lived at 318 Rhett St. Another WWI veteran, Robert Leroy Stratmon, was his neighbor. Robert Leroy Stratmon died while serving in WWII.

John’s parents are listed as “baker” and “assistant baker.” Attempts to discover if they operated a bakery inside their home were unsuccessful.

Previous posts introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps and his fellow corps members from Southport, Oliver Banks and Elmer Davis.

Like Oliver and Elmer, John did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was employed as a cook in Southport.

John Rivers Smith’s signature on his draft registration:

Oliver, Elmer, and John met the physical and educational requirements of the SATC, volunteered, and were accepted. All three served in the SATC at Negro Agricultural and Technical College (now NC A&T State University) in Greensboro. Read the previous posts linked above for details.

John was honorably discharged on December 12, 1918.

No additional census records could be located for John. However, his family’s 1930 Census record shows his sister Marion Jane Smith had married William L. Davis in Southport and was living in Chadbourn, Columbus County, NC. Their sister Katy Ruth and mother Eliza lived with them. William Davis worked as a fireman at a railroad and Marion ran a filling station. Marion was described as attending school. As the 1940 Census shows, she eventually completed four years of college.

William Lee Davis was also a WWI veteran. His service card from Georgia is shown at right. Click to enlarge. He was born in Tennessee and was a resident of Savannah, Georgia (at least one son from a previous marriage was born there). Corporal Davis served stateside in the 425 Labor Battalion.

The 1940 Census indicates that William continued working for the railroad as a fireman. As mentioned, Marion’s educational level is shown as 4 years of college. Marion’s and John’s mother Eliza was still living with them. Katy Ruth was not and efforts to find records for her were unsuccessful.

Nephew John Robert Smith, age 8, also lived with Marion and William. Quite a few records exist that indicate this is John Rivers’ son. These include not only John Robert’s records listed in the paragraph below, but John Rivers’ son Charles Fredrick Smith‘s records and his wife Bernice McBride Smith Gore‘s records.

John Robert Smith’s birth record lists his father as John Smith. His Social Security Application and Claims [Source: Ancestry] shows his father as “John R Smith” and mother “Bernice McBride” and birth date and place as August 23, 1931, and Chadbourn, NC.

[Note: The 1930 Census indicates William L Davis was born in Tennessee. The 1940 Census shows him born in North Carolina but shows that John Roberts Smith was born in Tennessee. John Roberts Smith’s birth record verifies that he was born in Chadbourn, NC. The assumption is a transcription error on the 1940 Census: William L Davis was born in Tennessee (see his WWI Service Card above) and John Roberts Smith was born in Chadbourn, NC (see his birth record above).]

John Rivers Smith’s WWII Draft Registration of February 16, 1942, shows he was living in Chadbourn, Columbus County, employed by Columbus Manufacturing Company. His wife Bernice Smith was listed as his nearest living relative.

He was described as 5’7″, 148 pounds, with a scar in front of his right ear.

On November 7, 1943, John’s and Bernice’s son, Charles Fredrick Smith, was born. His death certificate from 1993 lists his parents as John Rivers Smith and Bernice Smith Gore, which shows Bernice remarried after John’s death. Her obituary found on her findagrave page shows there were additional children with John Rivers Smith as well as stepchildren from her second marriage. A complete list is unavailable.

John’s and Marion’s mother Eliza passed away on July 30, 1943, and is buried in Smith Cemetery. The specific location of her gravesite is unknown.

John Rivers Smith passed away on September 30, 1956, of stomach cancer in the VA Hospital in Fayetteville. His death certificate lists his father and mother as Robert C. Smith and Eliza Gallaway, and his wife as Bernice Smith. He was laid to rest in Smith Cemetery in Southport. The exact location of his gravesite is unknown.

His sister, Marion Jane Smith Davis, passed away in 1969 and was also buried in Smith Cemetery. Her death certificate lists her former occupation as teacher. The exact location of her gravesite is also unknown.

John’s sons and wife were laid to rest in Belvue Cemetery in Columbus County, NC. His son William David Smith passed away after 9 days in 1938. Charles Fredrick Smith passed away in 1993. His son 2nd Lt John Robert Smith served in the Korean War and passed away in 2001. His wife, Bernice McBride Smith Gore passed away in 2012 at age 96.


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 Rivers Smith 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: John Rivers Smith 1898-1956

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Elmer Davis 1898-1970

NC WWI Service Card
Elmer Davis was born in Southport, the son of Reverend John Richard Davis and Mary Swain.

Previous posts introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps and his fellow corps member from Southport, Oliver Banks.

Like Oliver Banks, Elmer did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was living in Southport, employed as a fisherman for a fishery based in Jacksonville, FL.

Elmer Davis’ signature on his draft registration:

Elmer met the physical and educational requirements of the SATC, volunteered, and was accepted. Oliver, Elmer, and John Rivers Smith served in the SATC at Negro Agricultural and Technical College (now NC A&T State University) in Greensboro. Read the previous posts for details.

Elmer was honorably discharged on December 12, 1918.

The 1920 Census shows that he had returned to Southport to live with his parents and resume fishing.

In 1930, he was living in Fernadina Beach, FL, with his wife and children, again employed as a fisherman. His employer was a fertilizer plant.

This photo is from 1938, courtesy of the Southport Historical Society. “Menhaden workers playing checkers – Nehi Gore, Elmer Davis, Frank Jackson, Joe Reaves, Joseph Parker, Rapael Parker, Capt. John Erikson C. 1938”

John Eriksen is also a WWI veteran from Brunswick County.

Elmer had returned to Southport when the 1940 Census was taken, living on St. George Street with his family.

He passed away on July 17, 1970. He is described on his death certificate as a retired storekeeper. Details such as this allow more specific searches to be performed. Several references to him were found.

In a March 16, 2001 article on the online State Port Pilot, an Elmer Davis’ Cafe was mentioned, located at the corner of St. George and Caswell streets in Southport. This is apparently the cafe of Elmer Davis, WWI veteran. Excerpt shown below.

The [McKenzie’s] confectionery was the oldest venture in the heart of what once was Southport’s district of black-owned, black-operated businesses, around the intersection of Howe and St. George streets, in the early 1900s.

Twenty-five of them — grocery stores, cafés, dance halls, dry cleaners, a mortuary and more — thrived into the mid-20th century or later with as much success as their white counterparts.

Today, each is listed by name on a marker the Southport Historical Society installed outside LeClerc’s Ladies Boutique, whose building is the former site of McKenzie’s Confectionery. The building — and the ice shaver — remains in Adams’s possession.

The Southport Historical Society has a map available to locate the black businesses during that time period. A small section is shown here. Elmer Davis’ Cafe is marked as #14. To see the full map and description, click on the link.

On March 12, 1941, State Port Pilot included this sentence in the Not Exactly News section on page 4. “Elmer Davis, colored fisherman, has opened up a Cafe and we can bear witness that his wife’s cooking is swell.”

He was chosen as an air raid warden in Southport during WWII, according to this article in the December 17, 1941, edition of the State Port Pilot.

In February 10, 1943, the State Port Pilot article, “Raise Funds for New Sterilizer” lists Elmer and wife Maverick as donors for the new sterilizer at Dosher Memorial Hospital.

And finally, according to Liz Fuller from the Southport Historical Society, he served on the executive board of the Southport Colored Citizens League in the 1940s, working for justice and equality in the schools.

Elmer Davis was laid to rest in Smith Cemetery in Southport. A small flat marker is located there. However, there is no indication of his military service or his many contributions and leadership in the Southport community.


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 Elmer Davis 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Elmer Davis 1898-1970

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: Oliver Banks 1898-1964

NC WWI Service Card
Oliver Banks was born in Southport, the son of Ada Gardner.

The previous post introduced the Students’ Army Training Corps and the multiple draft registrations in 1917 and 1918.

Oliver did not become eligible for the draft until the registration of September 12, 1918. His draft registration shows he was employed as a Porter by a dry goods store, HW Hood & Sons, in Southport.

Oliver’s brother, James Banks, was called to duty on April 30, 1918, but was one of three men of the eleven called who were not accepted into service that day. No details are available.

Oliver Banks’ signature on his draft registration:

When the SATC became active in October 1918, Oliver, along with Elmer Davis and John Rivers Smith, met the physical and educational admission requirements and volunteered. All three were accepted and ordered to report for duty on October 30, 1918, at the Negro Agricultural & Technical College (now NC A&T State University) in Greensboro, the only Vocational Section of the SATC in NC. Click image at right to enlarge.

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Registrants who have a grammar school education or equivalent trade experience are eligible for Vocational Sections.

Members of Vocational Sections will ordinarily remain at the institution for two months and will then be assigned to various branches of the service in which technicians are needed.

Members of Vocational Sections will pursue such subjects as auto-driving, auto-repair, bench woodwork, sheet metal work and electrical work, etc., in addition to 15 1/2 hours per week of military training.

Members of both sections will attend courses on the Issues of the War.

The November 11 Armistice ended their training and the SATC was demobilized. Oliver was honorably discharged on December 12, 1918.

The 1920 Census shows him living in Southport with his widowed mother. Oliver and his brother James are listed as fishermen.

No additional census records could be located. However, his WWII Draft Registration of February 16, 1942, shows he was unemployed and living in Southport. His brother James, also in Southport, was listed as his nearest living relative.

Oliver Banks passed away on June 15, 1964. He was laid to rest in Smith Cemetery in Southport. The specific location of his and his family’s gravesite are unknown. According to his death certificate, he never married.


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 Oliver Banks 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

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Oliver Banks 1898-1964

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile

WWI Fort Caswell Nurse Profile: Faye E. White 1894-1994

To view this or another nurse profile at any time, click the “WWI Profile” link beside the nurse’s name on Fort Caswell WWI Nurses, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.
Faye Elmo White Henry
New Bethlehem, PA
Commander

Served:
WWI (Army Nurse Corps):
September 25, 1918 – June 21, 1919
WWII (US Navy):
September 17, 1921 – December 31, 1947
Fort Caswell, US Army Post Hospital:
September 25, 1918 – Feburary 12, 1919

Faye Elmo White was the most decorated and longest serving nurse among the WWI Fort Caswell nurses.

Faye Elmo White was born in New Bethlehem, PA, a small town about 60 miles NE of Pittsburgh. A family tree is located in FamilySearch.

In 1900, Faye, age 5, had one older brother and two younger siblings. Her father was a farmer. In 1910, there was an additional daughter, totaling five children in all. Faye and her younger siblings were attending school, while her older brother and father were farming. An additional son, Frank, was born within a year after the 1910 Census.

Faye attended the Allegheny General Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, PA, along with Anna M. Setley, another Fort Caswell nurse. The two women served together and remained friends for many years, as evidenced by Faye’s attendance at Anna’s funeral, shown in Anna’s WWI Profile post.

Faye’s Pennsylvania WWI Service Card shows she enlisted from Pittsburgh, serving at the Post Hospital at Fort Caswell, followed by the Base Hospital at Camp Lee in VA.

She was discharged on June 21, 1919. In 1920, she had returned home to New Bethlehem, Clarion County, PA. Her father was farming, and she was working as a nurse in general practice.

Faye joined the US Navy the following year, serving through WWII until 1947, when she retired at age 53.

The table below lists her service, based on many records and yet, still incomplete.

US Army Service
WWI
Age: 23 – 24
09/25/1918 – 06/21/1919
09/25/1918 Fort Caswell, NC
02/12/1919 Camp Lee, VA
06/21/1919 Discharge
US Navy Service Age: 25 – 41
09/17/1921 – 01/01/1936
1922 – 1924 Haiti
[Source: US Marine Corps Muster Rolls]
1925 US Naval Hospital, Brooklyn
[Source: 1925 NY Census]
1930 Navy Yard Mare Island Naval Res. CA
[Source: 1930 US Census]
1934 Canacao, Philippines
[Source: PA Veterans’ Compensation File]
US Navy Service
WWII
Age: 47
12/07/1941 – 12/31/1947 (Until Age 53)
02/11/1943 – 09/21/1944 Overseas
US Fleet Hospital #105, South Pacific
[Source: Application for WWII Compensation]
03/01/1944 Promoted to Commander
[Source: Military Register]
1944 Awarded the Bronze Star
12/1944 Sampson Naval Hospital, Chief Nurse
12/31/1947 Discharge, St Albans Naval Hospital
[Source: Application for WWII Compensation]

In 1934, her brother, WWI veteran Forest White, was struck by a car in Detroit and killed. He was laid to rest in New Bethlehem.

Forest C. White of Detroit, Mich., was killed by an automobile while crossing the street in front of his boarding house in Detroit. He was taken to the Receiving hospital where he died Thursday, July 5, 1934. Deceased was a son of John C. and Cora E. (Buzzard) White of Porter township. He was unmarried and was employed in Detroit. He was aged 36 years, 2 month and 22 days. Mr. White is survived by his parents, two brothers and three sisters, William White of Oak Ridge, Frank White of Porter township, Miss Faye White a nurse in the Philippine Islands, Mrs. Floyd Young of Cottage Hill and Mrs. Harold McNutt of Clarion. His body was shipped here and was taken to the home of his parents. Funeral services were held at the home Sunday, July 8, 1934, and were conducted by Rev. J.W. Fraser, D.D., pastor of the Presbyterian church. Interment was made in the New Bethlehem cemetery. He was a World War Veteran and was given a military funeral.
The Clarion Democrat (Clarion, PA), 19 July 1934, p. 2.

During WWII, she served in the US Fleet Hospital #105 in the South Pacific.

A story that appeared in The Pittsburgh Press on October 3, 1943, page 12, “Many Lives are Saved by a Pittsburgh MOB” (Navy Mobile Hospital Unit), described a unit of mostly Pittsburgh doctors serving in the South Pacific MOB.

“Working with the doctors for many months now has been a corps of Army nurses under Lt. Faye E. White of New Bethlehem, a veteran of 21 years in the Navy Nurse Corps.”

According to this 1949 military register, she was promoted to Commander on March 1, 1944. It is unclear why she is referred to as “Lt Commander” in newspaper articles after that time.

These photos were published in newspapers across the nation in 1944 when Commander Faye E White became the first Navy Nurse to receive the Bronze Star.

In 1945, newspapers across the nation used her image, age (51), and service to promote Liberty Loans.

From December 1944 until her retirement in 1947, she served stateside. She returned to New Bethlehem for the rest of her life, which as it turns out, was nearly 50 more years!

In 1954, she married Carl E. Henry, who had lost his wife a year earlier. They had 22 years together before his death in 1976.

In 1966, her mother passed away.

Mrs. Cora White, 95, Of New Bethlehem, Dies
New Bethlehem – Mrs. Cora Ellen White, 95, of New Bethlehem RD 3, died at 6:30 p.m. Monday after a three-month illness. She was the widow of John W. White.

She was born at Climax, Armstrong County, September 7, 1870, a daughter of Thomas and Margaret Delp Buzzard.

Her husband, John W. White, died in August 1939.

Mrs. White was a member of the First Baptist Church in New Bethlehem. She also was a member of the Sewing Club of Cottage Hill.

She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Carl (Faye) Henry and Mrs. Pearl Young of New Bethlehem RD 3 and Mrs. Verlie McNutt of Clairon; a son, Frank A. White of New Bethlehem RD 3; 23 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren and 7 great-great-grandchildren, and a sister, Mrs. Pearl Sherrieb of Natrona Heights.

Two sons are deceased.

Friends will be received in the John E. Reiss Funeral Home in New Bethlehem after 7 p.m. today. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday in the funeral home with Rev. Rudolf Unger, pastor of the First Baptist Church in New Bethlehem, officiating.

Interment will be in the New Bethlehem Cemetery.
Oil City Derrick (Oil City, PA), 14 March 1966, p. 16.

In 1976, her husband passed away.

Carl Henry Dies At Age 84
New Bethlehem – Carl E. Henry, 84, of New Bethlehem RD 3, died Saturday in his home.

Born in Porter Township, Clarion County, February 1, 1892, he was the son of Elmer E. and Jane Smith Henry.

He was married November 3, 1954, to the former Faye White who survives.

Mr. Henry was a member of the First Baptist Church in New Bethlehem and the Murphy Grange.

Surviving along with his wife are two sons, Roland Henry of New Castle and Robert E. Henry of Clarion; a daughter, Mrs. John (Betty) Mooney of Clarion; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

One grandchild is deceased.

Also surviving are a brother, George E. Henry of New Bethlehem, and a sister, Mrs. Arthur (Ruth) Brown of Midway.

Funeral services will be held at 1 pm today in John R. Mateer Funeral Home in New Bethlehem, with Rev. David Skinner, pastor of the First Baptist Church, officiated. Interment will be in the New Bethlehem Cemetery.
Oil City Derrick (Oil City, PA), 31 May 1976, p. 24.

On Memorial Day 1993, Faye was honored, as detailed in this newspaper clipping saved by her family.

Local Veteran, 98, To Ride At Front Of Memorial Day Parade

Memorial Day is a day to remember loved ones who have served in the many wars our country has fought in. We have seen the desolation war can bring, we have known the heroes and heroines who defeated the enemy, and we have seen the trials and tribulations our ancestors have gone through to maintain world peace.

A woman of 98 sits in her Cottage Hill home to tell her story about her life in the military and to tell of all the transformations she has seen in past generations.

Faye Henry has been invited to be this year’s grand marshal for the annual Memorial Day Parade in New Bethlelem on Saturday, May 29.

“She has been chosen because she has served God and her country,” said Leroy Tabler, Henry’s longtime neighbor. “She is a unique individual. She is very kind, generous and cares about other people.”

“I’m surprised we haven’t had her sooner for our Memorial Day Parade,” said Jack Milliren, an organizer of the event.

Henry was active in the U.S. Army and Navy for 30 years and will be recognized at the parade for her talents as a nurse, war heroine and friend to her community.

Henry started her military nursing career of nursing in the Army after graduating from the nursing school at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. She entered the Army on Nov. 2, 1918, only a few days before the armistice of World War I was signed.

Her first service was at a hospital post in Fort Caswell, N.C., and at the base hospital for Camp Lee, Va. She was in the Army only for a brief period, but she earned a World War I Victory Medal. She ended her service on June 21, 1919.

At the time, she didn’t think about getting back into the military because she didn’t like the way the army treated her. Her military career would have ended if a friend didn’t talk her into rejoining the military, a branch other than the Army.

[Based on previous research which showed a close relationship beginning with her nursing training in Pittsburgh, it is possible that former Fort Caswell nurse Anna Setley is the friend who encouraged Faye to try the US Navy.]

“I had a hard time adjusting to the Army, so I got out,” she said. “I never thought I would get back in until a close friend who was in the Navy told me what a wonderful service the Navy was, so I decided to try it out.” On Sept. 16, 1921, she as appointed as a nurse in the U.S. Navy and by April 1, 1936, she was promoted to chief nurse. As the United Stated became embroiled in World War II, Henry’s abilities were recognized when she was commissioned lieutenant in the Nurse Corps.

“I remember them bringing back casualties and spending several months in the wards taking care of wounded men,” she said. As she became more dedicated to nursing, she moved up in rank.

By Oct. 1, 1944, she again was promoted to lieutenant commander. Before she retired, she became full commander in charge of nurses at her station. During her career, she directed the establishment of several hospitals while in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

For serving in World War I and World War II, she received Medals of Honor for her active nursing career. In November 1944, at New Caledonia, Faye Henry became the first woman officer to receive a Bronze Star. She was awarded this honor as a result of all her accomplishments in World War II. The medal was awarded to her in the South Pacific by Vice-Admiral John Henry Newton. The citation read:

“For the meritorious service in the government of the United States while serving as chief nurse of a fleet hospital in the South Pacific area from June 29, 1943 to August 30, 1944. During this period, Lieutenant White displayed exceptional ability and worked tirelessly in the indoctrination and training of nurses and hospital corpsmen under supervision. Through her professional skill and through knowledge of the personnel problems involved in hospital administration, she rendered invaluable assistance to the Force Medical Officer in assignment of nurses to other hospitals in the South Pacific. Her initiative and skillful leadership were an inspiration to the officers and men with whom she came in contact and were keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Some of her other accomplishments were American Defense, Asiatic-Pacific Theater and World War II Victory awards.

She served a total of 30 years and two months in the service. “It was worth being in the military all those years. I always liked to help people,” she said.

After her service to her country, she returned to her native land of New Bethlehem, where she met her husband, Carl Henry. Faye never had any children of her own, but she’s become a stepmother to Carl’s three children.

Henry was in her early 60s when she was married for the first time. “In the Navy, you couldn’t marry or you were automatically out of the service,” she said. Of course this rule has now changed.

She said there have been other changes since she has served in the Navy. “Nursing has changed; there is so much paperwork and not as much nursing nowadays… The old Navy discipline changed after Pearl Harbor. The discipline went down because of the draft. We had people who didn’t want to be there, so they didn’t want to be disciplined.”

She also thinks there have been changes with the role of the working woman. “I worked but didn’t have a family to take care of. I don’t know how women can keep a family and job. I believe they shouldn’t work if they have families,” Henry said.

Not only has there been a change in the U.S. Navy, but she also believes there has been a change in society.

“There have been changes in morals and living. There is too much violence and crime and robbery. There are also wars all over the world that have been caused by violence,” said Henry.

She has seen the world change and New Bethlehem change. She has been an influence in our town and to the people who lived here.

Tabler said, “A minister once said, ‘God won’t have to do much with her to make her an angel.’ This is the way I feel about Faye.”

Henry has honored her country, and now we are honoring her as she becomes a living memory of the past for our celebration of the Memorial Day Parade.
Huffman, Debbie. “Local Veteran, 98, To Ride At Front of Memorial Day Parade.” Leader-vindicator (New Bethlehem, PA), 26 May 1993, p. 1

In November 1993, she and two other WWI veterans from Clarion County were honored on the 75th anniversary of WWI.

Frank Whitlinger and Faye passed away in 1994, while Charles Whited lived to age 101, passing away in 1998. (His mother lived to age 109!)

Veterans
A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of World War I was held in November. Honored were Clarion County’s three surviving veterans of the war: Faye White Henry of New Bethlehem, who served in the Army during World War I and later enlisted in the Navy; Charles Whited, a Clarview resident who served in France with the Marine Corps; and Frank Whitlinger, also of Clarview, who served with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Representatives of area American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, joined Paul Lieberum, director of Clarion County Veterans Affairs, in conducting the ceremony. The veterans received commemorative medals, replicas of the Victory Medal which was presented to those who served in World War I.

Family members brought uniforms, medals, bayonets and pictures for display at the program. The original Victory Medal and 75th anniversary medal owned by Mr. Whitlinger are displayed in the lobby at the nursing home. Clarview presented each veteran with a video and portfolio of photos of the program.
Franklin News Herald (Franklin, PA), 18 Feb 1994, p. E-10.

Faye Elmo White Henry passed away on July 25, 1994. A newspaper clipping of her obituary was saved by her family.

Decorated Navy Nurse, 99, Dies At Her Cottage Hill Home

A local woman who was the recipient of the first Bronze Star ever awarded to a U.S. Navy nurse died Monday afternoon, July 25, 1994, at her home in Cottage Hill at the age of 99.

Faye E. Henry of New Bethlehem RD 3 received the medal in 1944 for meritorious service to the U.S. Government during World War II. She had been appointed to the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in September 1921, where she served until December 31, 1947. She was also awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and a commendation from President Harry Truman for Outstanding Service.

A 1916 graduate of Allegheny General Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, she also served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps from September 1918 to June 1919 and was awarded the World War I Victory Medal and American Defense Medal.

She resigned on March 20, 1950, with the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.

Born December 6, 1894, in Porter Township, she was the daughter of John and Cora (Buzzard) White.

She married Carl E. Henry on November 3, 1954, in New Bethlehem. He preceded her in death on May 29, 1976.

Mrs. Henry was a longtime and devoted member of First Baptist Church in New Bethlehem and was active in various organizations.

She was a member of Walter W. Craig Post 354, American Legion.

She is survived by three stepchildren, Roland C. Henry of New Castle, Elizabeth A. Mooney of Clarion and Robert E. Henry of Clarion; six step-grandchildren, six step-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by three brothers, William, Forest and Frank White; two sisters, Verlie E. McNutt and Elsie Pearl Young; a step-grandson, Terry Henry; and two step-great-grandchildren.

Friends and relatives will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today (Wednesday) at the Charles D. Alcorn Funeral Home in Hawthorn.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at First Baptist Church in New Bethlehem. Additional viewing will be held from 10 a.m. to the time of the 11 a.m. funeral home. The Rev. Terry Tareila, pastor, will officiate.

Entombment will follow in the mausoleum in New Bethlehem Cemetery.

She was laid to rest with her husband and several family members in New Bethlehem.

If you would like to help us honor Faye Elmo White Henry 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

Comments Off on WWI Fort Caswell Nurse Profile: Faye E. White 1894-1994

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile