Category Archives: Veteran Profile

WWI Profile: David Williams 1894-1919

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.

Polk County news and the Tryon bee, 1919 Apr 25, p.3
David Williams
Bolivia, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
August 6, 1918 – March 18, 1919
Overseas:
September 23, 1918 – March 18, 1919
Died of Disease: March 18, 1919

David Williams was born in Clarksville, Virginia, in Mecklenburg County. The 1900 Census shows David and his siblings Jessie and Hettie living with their parents Jessie and Cylvia in Clarksville.

David’s WWI Draft Registration of 1917 shows he was still living in Clarksville, single, and doing mill work in Bolivia, NC, for South Hill Manufacturing Company, presumably based in South Hill, VA.

On April 14, 1918, David married Florence Marie Williams, daughter of Hardy and Julia Rebecca Williams of Brunswick County, NC [Marriage certificate images available in Ancestry].

David was ordered to report for military duty and was inducted on August 6, 1918, in Boydton, VA, in Mecklenburg County. His residence was Bolivia, NC, but because he registered in VA, his draft record reflects his draft registration location.

On August 29, 1918, he was assigned to Company D, 545th Engineer Service Battalion.

545th Engineer Service Battalion
The 545th Engineers were authorized on July 29, 1918, to include up to 1,008 enlisted African American men. They were mobilized at Camp A. A. Humphreys, in VA, sailed overseas September 23, 1918, then returned to the United States on June 27, 1919, demobilizing on July 5, 1919.

On September 23, 1918, Pvt Williams boarded USS Rijndam in New Jersey with the 545th Engineers, a service battalion of 4 companies.

His son, David Jesse Williams, was born on October 9, 1918 in Southport, NC, formerly Smithville. [Source of birth record: Ancestry] Pvt Williams would never see his son.

Special engineer services for the US Army encompassed many duties including water supply, electrical-mechanical, camouflage, searchlight services, bridging, map making and reproduction, sound and flash ranging, light railways, road and quarry (D.L.R. and R.), engineer research, geologic investigations, and many more.

The 545th Engineers provided the services for road and quarry, otherwise known as Division Light Railways and Roads (D.L.R. and R.). The 545th along with other engineers, such as the 23rd Engineers shown at left, and pioneer infantries formed a total of 16,346 men for D.L.R. and R. work.

Their responsibilities were extensive and varied with troop movements. For example, in October, the First Army occupied an area west of Verdun, which required new road construction such as Froides Hospital road, Varennes railhead roads, Souilly Evacuation Hospital roads, Aubreville railhead and Neuvilly Artillery Park. 107 kilometers of roads were maintained during the month of October in the area. In November, several new roads were constructed, existing roads were widened, and 438 kilometers of roads were patched and maintained, all requiring over 21,000 cubic meters of stone and gravel.

Stone and gravel were not just obtained from quarries. Demolished buildings were recycled by the engineers and pioneer infantry in their D.L.R. and R. services.

Engineer operations after the Armistice were reorganized to include many engineer regiments from the combat divisions in the Army of Occupation, such as the 81st Division. The resulting engineering troops were much larger, although no number was found. Their responsibilities now included removal of mines and traps, salvage, and the reconstruction of roads and railroads over which the troops of occupation and their supplies were to pass.

On April 19, 1919, the First Army was dissolved. However, Pvt Williams had passed away a month earlier.

On March 18, 1919, Pvt David Williams died of “pulmonary oedema, secondary to pleurisy.” It was likely due to influenza and pneumonia.

His name was published on national casualty lists. (One online clipping shown at top.)

Private David Williams’ remains were returned to the United States from Belgium on November 26, 1921. (See WWI Profile for William Cross Hewett for more information about the returning of WWI remains.) His final resting site has not yet been determined. (Plans for locating his grave have not yet been made due to the recent flooding.) It is hopeful that he was buried in the cemetery where his wife lies, described below.

His widow, Florence Marie Williams, became a school teacher, and raised their son David in Bolivia, NC. In 1947, she was listed as a teacher at Brunswick County Training School in Southport, the only African American high school in the county. [Source: The State Port Pilot, 1947 Sept 3, p.6] Florence passed away on December 23, 1973. Her death certificate lists Greer Cemetery in Bolivia, NC, as her final resting place, although no headstone photo is available.

Pvt William’s son enlisted in the US Army on October 31, 1942, serving overseas during WWII. He was honorably discharged as Corporal David Jesse Williams on November 1, 1945. He passed away on May 18, 1996. His wife, Vivian Bizzell Williams, passed away in 2003. Her obituary was published in The Free Press, Kinston, NC, 2003 Oct 28, p.B2. From this, we know that David Williams had descendants and the name “David Williams” was carried on through both his son and grandson.

Vivian Williams
LA GRANGE – Vivian Williams, 81, of 310N. Charles St., died Friday, Oct. 24, 2003, at Lenoir Memorial Hospital. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Liberty Grove MB Church in La Grange with the Rev. Harold Warren officiating. Burial will be held at Pinelawn Park. Survivors include one daughter, Wanda Williams; son, David Williams, and sister, Margaret Ann Bizzell. Visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.,. Wednesday at La Grange Mortuary.

Private David Williams served honorably overseas through World War I, becoming one of five known Brunswick County men who survived combat conditions only to die of disease in Europe after the war ended. Besides Pvt Williams, these include Pvt Elijah Milliken, Cook David L Dosher, Pfc John W Carlisle, and Pvt Claudie Hall McCall.

Sources:
United States of America War Office (1919) Historical Report of the Chief Engineer: Including All Operations of the Engineer Department, American Expeditionary Forces 1917-1919. . Washington DC: Government Printing Office

United States of America War Office (1919) Report of the Chief of Engineers: US Army, Part I. . Washington DC: Government Printing Office

If you would like to help us honor David Williams 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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WWI Profile: Manning Hall 1887-1918

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.

Manning Hall
Navassa, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
April 27, 1918 – July 11, 1918
Died of Disease: July 11, 1918

Manning Hall was born and raised in Brunswick County. The 1900 Census shows him living with his family in Northwest. In 1910, he was living with his sister’s family, Katherine Davis, next door to his parents and siblings. Many of them worked at the Navassa Guano Factory.

His 1917 Draft Registration show he was single, living in Leland, and working at the Virginia Carolina Chemical Company in Navassa, the company which bought the Guano Factory. The area has been declared a Superfund Site due to the level of contamination from these and similar industries.

On January 3, 1918, Manning married Lillie Myers.

Manning was ordered to report to duty on April 26, 1918 [Source: Ancestry]. He was sent to Camp Grant in Illinois for training. He was placed in the 161 Depot Brigade, one of the many training and receiving formations for new draftees.

Less than three months later, on July 11, 1918, Manning died of tuberculosis peritonitis.

One might wonder why a man with tuberculosis would be admitted into the Army. Another Brunswick County WWI veteran, Cecil Smith Pierce also died of tuberculosis while serving in WWI. His profile will be posted soon.

When the US entered the Great War and began amassing a large army, medical screening boards across the country discovered that American men were not as strong and healthy as they had assumed. 30% were found to be physically unfit, with many of them having tuberculosis.

The Army Medical Department’s investigations into tuberculosis was based on four incorrect assumptions: 1) A “little tuberculosis” was a good thing as it provided some immunity, 2) tuberculosis wasn’t very contagious, 3) military life would not increase the incidence of tuberculosis but actually help those infected because of the healthy lifestyle the men would follow, and 4) false positives were more harmful to the Army than admitting infected men.

The challenge was not to exclude so many men as to impair the nation’s ability to amass an army. If we should say that all signs of tuberculosis should lead to rejection we would have no army at all. [Source: Good Tuberculosis Men, listed below]

Source: National Archives


Manning likely spent much of his time in the hospital at Camp Gramt. The camp general instructed everyone at Camp Grant to treat all soldiers alike irrespective of color. The hospital was not segregated, nor was the dining hall or exchange. No instances of racial friction were reported as having occurred between patients in the hospital.

In the spring of 1918, general instructions were received from the Surgeon General to classify the patients in hospitals in accordance with their race and to place them in separate wards. The orders were not obeyed at Camp Grant. [Source: Military Hospitals in the US, Base Hospital, Camp Grant, Illinois.]

Six patients died in July 1918 at the base hospital, the month of Pvt Hall’s death. The largest number of deaths in one month (1,024) was in October 1918, during the influenza pandemic.

A notice of his death was published in The Wilmington Morning Star, July 13, 1918, p.6.

Manning Hall’s remains were returned from Camp Grant and he was laid to rest in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Navassa (Leland address). Some Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range members visited the cemetery recently to find Manning Hall’s headstone, in hopes that he was laid to rest with other members of his family. The headstone was located (pictured above) and they paid their respects. The inscription on the headstone shows:

MANNING HALL
Of Company 161 Depot Brigade
Born at Navassa, NC
Dec. 3, 1889 Died July 11, 1918
Erected by his wife Lillie Hall

His wife Lillie remarried but at age 25 died of what was likely a tuberculosis related illness. According to her death certificate [Source: Ancestry], she was laid to rest in the same cemetery. No headstone has been found.

Source:
Byerly, Carol R. (2013) “Good Tuberculosis Men”: The Army Medical Department’s Struggle with Tuberculosis. Fort Sam Huston, TX: Office of The Surgeon General Borden Institute

If you would like to help us honor Manning Hall 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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WWI Profile: Craven Ledrew Sellers 1889-1960

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 Gwen Causey, granddaughter of Henry Lindon Clemmons
Craven Ledrew Sellers
Supply, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Mechanic

Served:
May 27, 1918 – June 1, 1919
Overseas:
August 5, 1918 – May 29, 1919

Craven Ledrew Sellers was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. His brother, Herbert Teller Sellers, also served in WWI.

His Draft Registration shows he was single, living in Supply, and working as a logging foreman for Waccamaw Shingle Company in Bolivia, NC.

Ledrew was ordered to report for duty on May 27, 1918 [Source: Ancestry]. He was sent to Camp Jackson, SC, for training and then to Camp Sevier in June when he was assigned to Co I, 324th Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division.

Previous posts describe the experiences of the 81st Division through the signing of the Armistice. They then prepared for a grueling 15 day hike with full packs. (The following excerpts taken from The history of the 321st infantry.)

The 175 kilometer hike from the front to this training area in the vicinity of Chatillon-Sur-Seine will always stand out as one of the greatest feats of our overseas experience.

It was a test of physical endurance and morale. Their handicaps included the weakened condition of the men due to exposure and hardships on the front, epidemics of dysentery and bad colds of which 75% fell victim, and the bad conditions in which the men marched and slept.

Photo contributed by Gwen Causey, granddaughter of Henry Lindon Clemmons
Location and date unknown

That Thanksgiving will be remembered mostly for what we didn’t have and didn’t do in contrast to what we had had and had done on previous Thanksgivings.

At the end of the fifteen days of hard marching, they passed in review at attention with full packs and complete equipment.

Aching backs and blistered feet made it hell for us.

Those of us who finished this hike together felt more closely bound together than ever after by those ties of comradeship that had been established on those days at the front. We also felt that we had something in common with the soldiers of past wars who had made long marches under trying conditions.

They spent 5 1/2 months in the French villages near Chatillon-Sur-Seine. There was little incentive for training. After Christmas, a more lenient schedule was set with occasional short hikes.

Most of the French peasants opened their homes and their hearts to us, and showed us a hospitality as genuine and unselfish as our own American homes could have shown the soldiers of any army. The French were keenly appreciative and profoundly thankful for the valuable services of the American soldiers. Many of them sacrificed and toiled day and night for American soldiers in grateful recognition of America’s timely aid in the World War.

But the hospitality of the French could not satisfy that longing for home and friends left behind.

We were obsessed with the sole thought of going home.

The introduction of athletics and other activities helped keep them busy and distracted from their homesickness. Football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, theater, and shooting contests were enthusiastically attended by all.

They were proud of their Division’s champions. Besides the wrestler shown here, their baseball team was the best in the Army, having never lost a game either in the States or overseas.

Their play, “O.U. Wildcats” was said to be the most popular in the AEF. It depicted the life of a Doughboy in France. The most popular song was called “The Bloody War.” Some of the verses are copied below.

The Bloody War
I was a simple country boy,
I lived out on the farm;
I never even killed a flea
Or done nobody harm.

One day the sheriff caught me,
He says, “Come with me, my son;
Your Uncle Sammy needs you,
To help him “tote” a gun.”

They tried to teach me how to drill,
I did the best I could;
But my captain told me to my face,
My head was made of wood.

They sent me out on the range,
To hear the bullets sing;
I shot and shot for one whole day,
And never hit a thing.

My captain said to “Shoot at will,”
I says, “Which one is he?”
That made my captain angry,
And he fired his gun at me.

Now when I struck that foreign shore,
I looked around with glee;
But rain and kilometers,
Were all that I could see.

I ran all over Europe,
Fighting for my life;
Before I’ll go to war again,
I’ll send my darling wife.

On March 18, 1919, Private Sellers was promoted to Mechanic.

The orders they were waiting for finally arrived: Prepare to move to the Le Mans area on May 12.

They were surprised at their feelings when preparing to leave the French villages they had grown fond of.

Some of them [French villagers], when we told them good-bye, wept as if they were bidding farewell to their sons.

At St. Nazaire, France, where they would embark to return home, they spent four days delousing, bathing, undergoing medical inspections, and fitted with new clothes. They would have more delousing and inspections when arriving in the US.

When being discharged from service, they once again underwent strong emotions.

They realized that they would probably never see each other again. Strong friendships had been formed – the one thing that had saved many a soldier from despair, and perhaps suicide.

Mechanic Ledrew Sellers didn’t return with his unit. He boarded USS Antigone at St. Aignane a month earlier on May 17, 1919, along with other ill soldiers [Source: Ancestry]. The assumption is he fell ill during the six months after the Armistice was signed, as his name does not appear on wounded lists during combat which were published at the time.

He was honorably discharged on June 1, 1919 with no reported disability.

After the war, he lived in Southport for many years, raising his family and working first as the manager of a sawmill and then a merchant. During the Depression, he was able to get a job at the Civilian Conservation Corps, supervising a forestry group.

At his death in 1960, Craven Ledrew Sellers was laid to rest in the Northwood Cemetery in Southport. A military flat marker is shown.

In 2007, his daughter, Susie Carson, along with Larry Maisel, wrote a book about her mother Lelia Jane, published by the Southport Historical Society (ISBN: 978-1-892444-15-8).

This concludes the Brunswick County WWI veterans who were wounded or killed while serving in the 81st “Wildcat” Division.

A memorial to the 81st Division was erected on the southwest corner of the North Carolina state capitol grounds in Raleigh and dedicated on October 5, 1941, by the Wildcat Veterans’ Association. The marker was dedicated as “an inspiration from the past and a warning to the future.”

In all, the “Wildcat” division suffered 1,104 casualties–248 killed or dead from wounds and 856 wounded–for the short time it was in combat.

Sources:
Johnson, Clarence Walton (1919) The history of the 321st infantry, with a brief historical sketch of the 80th division, being a vivid and authentic account of the life and experiences of American soldiers in France, while they trained, worked, and fought to help win the world war. . Columbia, S.C., The R. L. Bryan co.

Thomas P. Shinn’s Wartime Diary

81st Division Summary of Operations in the World War, US Govt, 1944

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

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

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WWI Profile: Robert Eugene Robbins 1895-1960

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 Joyce Crabtree, granddaughter
Robert Eugene Robbins
Rich Square, Northampton County, NC
US Army
Private

Served:
April 26, 1918 – June 24, 1919
Overseas:
August 5, 1918 – June 18, 1919

Robert Eugene Robbins was born in Brunswick County, NC. A partial family tree is in FamilySearch. Robert’s mother died in 1910, when he was 15, and his father died in 1914, when he was 19. Sometime between 1910 and 1917, when he registered for the draft, he moved to Rich Square, NC, for work.

His Draft Registration shows he was living in Rich Square, NC, single, supporting a sister, and working as a railroader.

Robert Robbins was ordered to report for military duty on April 20, 1918 [Source: ancestry.com]. He was inducted on April 26, 1918, and began training at Camp Jackson, SC. He was initially assigned to the 534th Engineers, but on June 24, 1918, he was transferred to Company G, 324th Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division, which was training at Camp Sevier, SC.

The 324th Infantry left the US on August 5, 1918, several days after the 321st and 322nd.

Previous posts describe the events in France including the orders to go “over the top” during the final days of the war. Pvt Robbins’ 2nd Battalion (Companies E-H) took the position on the far right the morning of November 9.

The Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. However, as mentioned in the previous post, because the 81st Division did not receive confirmation of the signing, another attack was planned the night of November 10th and executed on November 11.

At 5am, on the morning of November 11, orders were received to begin advancing at 6am. 1st Sgt Thomas Shinn described how the 321st Infantry responded to orders in his diary.

The men rubbed their eyes and tightened their belts for there was no water to wash their faces or food to fill their stomachs. The men only took it good naturally and prepared to go over the top in a few minutes. We formed our lines and got in position to advance.

The high explosive shells were falling just as tho’ it was raining them from above but we would fall flat on the ground and up again and advance a little further.

About 8:30, we struck a solid line of machine guns and they fired on us. It was a whole woods full. We fought them there for about an hour.

As the battle raged on, the men of the 321st Infantry became “lost in a fog and wading water waist deep.” They were caught in a trap and were fired on from all sides. The Captain sent orders to the soldiers in front to hold their position as they attempted to fight their way out.

We fought there for some time in the marsh up to our waist and the coldest water I ever felt.”

They were surrounded by machine guns and barbed wire, making it impossible to advance. The Germans put up a fierce barrage. The barbed wire was 3 feet high and 30 feet thick and they were unable to cut it as it was too strong. Men were killed instantly all around 1st Sgt Shinn of the 321st.

I was wet to my neck and my clothes had frozen stiff on me.

I hadn’t seen any fire or shelter for 48 hours and two days without food, water, or sleep was getting on my nerves.

We had to lay low for a half hour or more and while I lay in the shell hole one of my friends came up to me and asked me to send a man to the rear with him. He had his left arm tore off between the elbow and shoulder and he was bleeding very fast. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done to tell him that I couldn’t send a man back with him.

The Armistice was signed at 11am, but the battle was still raging 15 minutes before.

About 10:45am, the [Germans] seemed to shoot every gun they had at the same time for they kept our heads so near the ground that we got our ears full of mud.

At seven minutes to eleven, a runner came up to the Captain out of breath and handed him our orders.

Orders were given to cease fire at 11:00.

At 11am, we ceased firing and the Germans jumped up, threw their rifles down, and came running to meet us. They wanted to shake hands and talk with us but we made them go back.

The rest of the day would be spent gathering the dead and wounded. Loads of bodies were buried in a hole dug like a long ditch.

Source: NC Archives

Tuesday, Nov. 12th, 1918
We spent the day burying our dead and hunting something to eat.

In those three days fighting, there were 178 killed, nearly 800 wounded, 57 captured, and 6 missing. Of those, the 324th infantry: Killed, 2 officers and 34 men; wounded, 5 officers and 145 men; missing, 18 men. [Source: “Lest We Forget” The Record of North Carolina’s Own]

Pvt Robbins returned with his unit in June 1919. He married in August, returning to Rich Square, NC, where he raised a family and farmed the land.

Robert Eugene Robbins passed away on March 15, 1960, at age 65. He was laid to rest in Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Rich Square, NC. A military flat marker is shown.

Sources:
Johnson, Clarence Walton (1919) The history of the 321st infantry, with a brief historical sketch of the 80th division, being a vivid and authentic account of the life and experiences of American soldiers in France, while they trained, worked, and fought to help win the world war. . Columbia, S.C., The R. L. Bryan co.

Thomas P. Shinn’s Wartime Diary

81st Division Summary of Operations in the World War, US Govt, 1944

If you would like to help us honor Robert Eugene Robbins 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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WWI Profile: Henry Lindon Clemmons 1895-1960

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.

Photos contributed by Gwen Causey, granddaughter
Henry Lindon Clemmons
Supply, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Sergeant

Served:
October 15, 1917 – June 25, 1919
Overseas:
July 31, 1918 – June 18, 1919

Henry Lindon Clemmons was born and raised in Supply, NC. A family tree is located in FamilySearch.

Henry’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was married with one daughter (born a month earlier in May 1917), living in Supply, and farming for himself. He was described as tall, slender, with blue eyes and red hair. His registration was signed by G. Floyd Kirby, a local businessman and friend.

Henry (center) was ordered to report for duty on October 15, 1917, along with six other Brunswick County men. Beside him (order unknown) are Luther J. Inman, Owen R. Mintz, Willie H. Hewett, Robert W. Holden, Mack Leonard, and Isaac Fred Edge.

All seven Brunswick County men were sent to Camp Jackson, SC, and officially accepted on October 26 [Source: ancestry.com], then assigned to Company F, 322nd Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division. (Robert Holden and Owen Mintz would be reassigned before leaving for Europe, while Isaac Edge was honorably discharged with a disability in Dec 1917.)

Before leaving for France, Henry was promoted to corporal (July 4, 1918).

From previous posts, the 81st Division had just gone “over the top” during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Cpl Henry Clemmons had been promoted to Sergeant about a month earlier (October 5, 1918). 1st Sgt Thomas Shinn’s diary (entries interspersed throughout below) describes how those orders were received.

At 4am on Saturday, November 9, 1918, the captains were called and given orders. Sergeants were told to get the Companies up, have breakfast and packs rolled and ready to move to the front at 7:30am.

Sgt Clemmons was responsible for carrying out the orders for Company F, 322nd, on November 9, 1918.

“The 322 Infantry will go over the top at 8 am. 321 Infantry will follow them and relieve them at the first opportunity.”

The whole plan of action was based on the assumption that the enemy was withdrawing and would not greatly oppose the 81st Division’s advance. It was not the case in this particular sector, however.

With heavy packs, the men moved through the cold mud and rain, the packs becoming heavier with the rain.

Recall that besides Sgt Clemmons, the following Brunswick County men were serving with the 322nd and moving to the front at this time, save those who were either discharged or wounded earlier: Pvt Isaac Edge, Pvt Quince Simmons, and Bugler William Smith. Sgt Clemmons’ Company F now included two men from Brunswick County: Cpl Luther J. Inman and Pvt Mack Leonard.

81st Division, 322nd Infantry

Name Co.
Sgt Henry L Clemmons F
Pvt Isaac F Edge C SCD 12/06/1917
Pvt Ransom Ennis Sup
Bglr Willie H Hewett F Wounded 11/10/1918
Cpl Luther J Inman F
Pvt James W Leonard K
Pvt Mack Leonard F
Pvt Simon A Lewis K
Sgt David H Long K
Pfc Fred McDonald C
Pvt James Rolland Mintz HQ
Pvt Luther P Reynolds HQ
Pvt Quince A Simmons D SCD 03/06/1918
Bglr William R Smith MG Wounded 10/15/1918

The 60th Artillery Brigade of the 35th Division were shooting over their heads, causing the men to jump as they “shot such big guns right in our face.”

We didn’t think of the many of our number that were going up never to return. We laughed and joked just as tho’ we were on an ordinary hike. ~ 1st Sgt Shinn

The 322nd Infantry was on the left, the 324th Infantry on the right. The 321st and 323rd were in support on Metz-Verdun Road. Sgt Clemmons’ 2nd Battalion (Companies E-H) took the position right of the 1st Battalion (Companies A-D) on the morning of November 9.

At 4:30pm, Company F formed a line south of Moranville. The town was captured about 5pm. Companies E and F then established an outpost nearby.

With no food or water, the 321st Infantry, 1st Sgt Shinn’s unit, lay in the woods all day and night without a fire or cover. It was raining and cold enough to freeze water in the canteen. Many of the men’s feet froze until they couldn’t walk on them.

All the boys had lost that jolly yelling feeling that we had the morning before. ~1st Sgt Shinn

That morning, November 10, the 322nd Infantry continued the attack at 6:30am. They took the town of Grimaucourt at 930am and continued pushing east and west. They met strong resistance at 11am and withdrew. By 5:30pm, the 321st Infantry was ordered to relive the 322nd, Sgt Clemmons’ unit. “The roar of the battle still raged on.” 1st Sgt Thomas Shinn watched as ambulances were hurriedly bringing wounded men of the 322nd.

We passed Captain Stone [unknown Company] staggering back shell shocked. “Thank God somebody has come to help us.”

Every few minutes an ambulance would pass full of men with legs and arms shot off or a wagon loaded with 8 or 10 dead men in it.

They told us the 3rd Battalion of the 322nd [Companies I, K, L, and M] was somewhere out there but nobody knew where. They were lost and beaten and we were up against a tough proposition.

As we passed on, stragglers from the 322nd came back, some wounded and some beaten in morale.

1st Sgt Thomas Shinn led his company beside his captain, double time, through barbed wire, as shells burst all around, killing and wounding their men.

We came to a few men of B & L Companies of the 322nd Infantry and carrying parties could be seen crawling along the edge of the wood trying to get up there to carry the dead and wounded back.

We got our men in a wide front and gave them orders to dig in which we didn’t have to beg them to do for it was death to stay on top of the ground.

We dug in about two feet in a very few minutes with our helmets and trench knives.

I was digging into a man’s body. I threw the bones out one by one but didn’t go deep enough to get them all out so I lay in the hole on them all night.

The Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. However, because the 81st Division did not receive confirmation of the signing, another attack was planned the night of November 10th and executed on November 11.

In those three days fighting, there were 178 killed, nearly 800 wounded, 57 captured, and 6 missing. Of those, the 322nd infantry: Killed, 5 officers and 52 men; wounded, 8 officers and 209 men; missing, 10 men. [Source: “Lest We Forget” The Record of North Carolina’s Own]

Sgt Clemmons returned on June 17, 1919, on Mastonia [Source: ancestry.com]. He was honorably discharged on June 25, 1919, and returned home to his family. He and his wife raised a total of four children. Their three sons also served in the military, with two of them being career military.

Henry Lindon Clemmons passed away on October 31, 1960, at the age of 65. At his death, he was honored with an article and editorial in the State Port Pilot, Southport, NC.

EDITORIALS:
Henry Lindon Clemmons

It is not possible to make editorial reference to each good man and woman in Brunswick county upon the occasion of their death, but we feel that the passing this week of Henry Lindon Clemmons merits special consideration.

Not that Mr. Lindon was one who would either want or expect special consideration, for his was an humble man; but the life he has led and the places of leadership he has filled in the religious, business, and political life of his county has thrown him into contact with literally thousands of his fellow citizens throughout his life, and he has earned friendship and respect of every one of them.

The deceased was a man of unusually high principles of personal conduct, and he was uncompromising in their observance. He did not set himself apart from his fellowman, but he felt that he knew what was right for himself and his family, and these standards of right and wrong were observed.

Brunswick county needs more men like Lindon Clemmons, and it can ill afford his loss.

An article was also published.

Prominent Man Dies at Home
Henry Lindon Clemmons Dies at Home Near Supply Following Brief Period of Illness

Henry Lindon Clemmons, 65, died at his Supply home, Monday. Final rites will be held at Prospect Baptist Church at 8 p.m. Thursday by the Revs. C.D. Blanton, Harry Lackey and R.W. Rollins, with burial in the church cemetery.

The deceased was one of the most widely respected citizens of Brunswick county. For many years he was engaged in the timber business and had contacts in every community. In addition, he was a leading Baptist layman and recently has headed a drive for funds for Campbell College. He was an active member of the Republican party and four years ago was his party’s nominee for Judge of Recorder’s court.

Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Stella Clemmons, three sons, Edwin Clemmons of Supply, Clifton Clemmons with the USAF, Anchorage, Alaska and Clyde Clemmons, USAF, Plattsburg, NY; a daughter, Mrs. John W. Lancaster, Supply; a sister, Mrs. Lizzie Sellers, Supply and 10 grandchildren.

Active pallbearers will be H.W. Clemmons, Wright C. Clemmons, Leon McKeithan, Edger E. Sellers, Jr., Lindsay Clemmons, Jr., and Phillip A. Fulcher. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. M.H. Rourk, Vander Clemmons, Robert and Aldreth Phelps, Clyde Holdvan, E.J. Prevatte, Floyd Kirby, Dr. L.H. Campbell, R.H. Sorenson, George McCoter and J.J. Hawes.

Henry Lindon Clemmons was laid to rest at Prospect Cemetery in Supply. A military flat marker is shown.

Sources:
Johnson, Clarence Walton (1919) The history of the 321st infantry, with a brief historical sketch of the 80th division, being a vivid and authentic account of the life and experiences of American soldiers in France, while they trained, worked, and fought to help win the world war. . Columbia, S.C., The R. L. Bryan co.

Thomas P. Shinn’s Wartime Diary

81st Division Summary of Operations in the World War, US Govt, 1944

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

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

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WWI Profile: Willie Hasper Hewett 1896-1962

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.

Henry Lindon Clemmons (center) is shown with the six other men from Brunswick County ordered to report for duty on October 15, 1917. Beside him (order unknown) are Luther J. Inman, Owen R. Mintz, Willie H. Hewett, Robert W. Holden, Mack Leonard, and Isaac Fred Edge.
Contributed by Gwen Causey, granddaughter of Henry Lindon Clemmons

Willie Hasper Hewett
Shallotte, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Bugler

Served:
October 15, 1917 – January 26, 1919
Overseas:
July 31, 1918 – December 20, 1918
Wounded: November 10, 1918

Willie Hasper Hewett was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. His family tree is located in FamilySearch.

Willie’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was single, living in Shallotte, and working as a barber, farmer, and laborer in Supply and Shallotte for parents and himself. He was described as medium height, weight, with blue eyes and light hair. (If anyone can identify each man in the photo based on their physical descriptions, please contact Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range.)

He was ordered to report for duty on October 15, 1917, with the other six men shown in the above photograph. All were sent to Camp Jackson, SC, and officially accepted on October 26. [Source: ancestry.com], then assigned to Company F, 322nd Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division.  (Robert Holden and Owen Mintz would be reassigned before leaving for Europe, while Isaac Edge was honorably discharged with a disability in Dec 1917.)

Willie served as a bugler. The previous WWI Profile of Bugler William Ralph Smith included details and pictures of buglers and their dangerous mission communicating orders to the troops. Brunswick County had four known buglers; all served overseas. Two were wounded.

From previous posts, the 81st Division had completed their operations at the St. Die sector, then left on October 19, 1918 at 2:30 am. They hiked 50 km in two days with full packs, then rested and trained for their entrance in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

Passing through St. Mihiel gave the division their first view of the destruction in France. Reading the entries in the diary of Thomas Shinn helps us understand their experience as they marched through the countryside.

Monday, November 3, 1918
We passed through St. Mihiel which was once a beautiful city but now hardly a stone was left unmoved.

Churches and school buildings were piled up as a whirlwind piles up loose sand in March. Great steel manufacturing plants looked as tho’ a flood had struck them. Great fields which had once supplied France with grain are now covered in barbed wire and shell craters. Great forests which would have supplied France with wood to burn and lumber to build were [illegible] down as a mower cuts his hay.

The closer they moved to the front, the more detailed the diary entries became.

Tuesday, November 5, 1918
Eight o’clock caught us hiking again. It was a long hard hike and we didn’t have much to eat.

We were entertained in the day time by air battles between planes, at night by the flash of guns and the pretty colored flares that signify orders for the artillery.

I went 6 weeks without pulling off my clothes and 35 days without pulling off my shoes and had cooties on me at the same time but that’s not a disgrace for every soldier has them on the front. He doesn’t have time to think of clothes baths beds or how deep the mud is but he only wonders how he can save his skin and kill the Hun.

They arrived in Verdun, a town that was previously home to 25,000 but was now “torn to pieces, not a wall was left standing.” The 81st Division was to relieve the 35th Division.

At 10pm, they were called to move into the reserve trenches. Called the “Underground city of Verdun” it had never been taken by the Germans.

Thursday, November 7, 1918
The top of the ground was a solid mass of human and horse bones.

It is said that more than 700,000 bodies are buried on this hill.

I looked upon the skeletons of many horses and men buried together and had been blown up by the big shells that are still coming over. In so many cases a ring or any metal thing that the man had in his pocket still lay there and by the bones of horses still lay parts of the saddle and the bridle bits between his teeth.

We are getting used to cooties by this time. The only thing I was scared of in the dugout was rats. We had some there as big as common house cats.

On November 8, orders were received to attack early the next morning. They were to take a line from Fresnes-en-Woevre to Parfrondrupt, the infantry in positions from right to left: 324th, 323rd, 322nd, and 321st. The attack was to be directed toward the road. This was the first time the 81st Division would go over the top. The 322nd and 324th Infantries would lead the way, with the other two in reserve.

Bugler Willie Hewett was wounded on November 10, degree undetermined. The wounds were severe enough to be sent home. (More details of the battle will follow in the next profile post.)

In those three days fighting, there were 178 killed, nearly 800 wounded, 57 captured, and 6 missing.

On December 8, 1918, he left Beau Desert, a 550 acre hospital about 5 miles west of Bordeaux.


Beau Desert
Total number of admissions to April 1, 1919: 47,238
Of those, transferred to the United States: 22,880
Returned to Duty: 12,699
Died: 304 [Source: The MEDICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE WORLD WAR, Vol. II, Ch. 23

He boarded Mallory, destination: Ellis Island. The passenger list included the description that these were “patients needing dressings” which indicated his wounds were not yet healed. [Source: ancestry.com]

Bugler Willie Hewett was honorably discharged on January 26, 1919. He had no reported disability.

Willie was married in January 1920. The 1920 Census shows he and his wife were living in Southport, rooming with a John C. Fulbright and his wife. John Fulbright was from Louisiana and served at Jackson Barracks, Louisiana, during the war, re-enlisting afterward. The census shows Willie Hewett as also continuing to serve with the US Army. Willie’s military headstone application [Source: ancestry.com] shows he re-enlisted on October 1, 1919, with an honorable discharge on October 19, 1920.

He and his wife raised several children in Brunswick County. Willie Hasper Hewett passed away on May 22, 1962 at age 66. He had spent the previous 4 years in a nursing home. He was laid to rest in Gurganus Cemetery in Shallotte. A military marble headstone was approved and shipped but it is not shown in findagrave.

Sources:
Johnson, Clarence Walton (1919) The history of the 321st infantry, with a brief historical sketch of the 80th division, being a vivid and authentic account of the life and experiences of American soldiers in France, while they trained, worked, and fought to help win the world war. . Columbia, S.C., The R. L. Bryan co.

Thomas P. Shinn’s Wartime Diary

81st Division Summary of Operations in the World War, US Govt, 1944

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

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

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WWI Profile: William Ralph Smith 1890-1971

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.

Trench Bugle, Common in WWI
Source: Taps Bugler
William Ralph Smith
Bolivia, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Bugler

Served:
September 21, 1917 – February 22, 1919
Overseas:
July 31, 1918 – January 31, 1919
Wounded: October 15, 1918

William Ralph Smith was born and raised in Johnston County, NC. His brother, Robert F Smith, also served in WWI.

Some time between the 1900 Census and the 1910 Census, his mother passed away. The 1910 Census lists William and all of his brothers and sisters as laborers on the family farm in Johnston County.

William’s WWI Draft Registration (June 5, 1917) shows he was living in Johnston County, single, and working as a barber. He also reported that he had experience in the NC Militia, 2nd Regiment, for 6 months.

On August 25, 1917, his father, Britton Smith, was appointed US Postmaster of Bolivia in Brunswick County, NC [Source: ancestry.com]. The Smithfield Herald, Sept. 14, 1917, p. 7, noted

Mr. Britton Smith, of Bolivia, N.C., was in town Sunday and Monday. Mr. Smith has been appointed Postmaster of Bolivia and expects to move his family down there soon.

By the time William was ordered to report for military duty and was inducted on September 21, 1917, his residence was Bolivia. He became a bugler with Machine Gun Company, 322nd Infantry, 81st “Wildcat” Division.

The bugler had a hazardous position. Telephone and telegraph lines were useless when trenches were abandoned, so the bugle became an important method of communication. To sound the bugle, the bugler’s gas mask was removed, risking poisoning and death during gas attacks.

A photograph of WWI Buglers
In addition to the standard reveille and Taps calls, the bugler blurted out command signals for the troops during action. To do so required him to stand tall and play the instrument with great force so all could hear over the rattling of machine guns and the explosions of artillery shells. He was a strategic target for the enemy. Cutting off lines of communication in war was an essential objective for the enemy. [Source: The American Legion, August 15, 2013]

Continuing from the previous WWI Profile, the 81st Division completed training at Camp Sevier, and began the train trip to NYC, boarding the ships on July 31, 1918. Bugler Smith’s ship was Orduna [Source: ancestry.com].

This is an actual Troop transport ship bunk and meal assignment ticket, to be worn around the neck, during a trip across the Atlantic Ocean. [Source: NC DNCR]

Sunday, August 11, 1918.
As our ship sailed into the docks of Liverpool, our band played “Britain Forever” and a big English cruiser sailed by us playing “The Yanks are Coming” which showed us that we had a hearty welcome. Old men, women, and children greeted us by saying, “God Bless you, Sammy!” and young girls hugged and kissed us and walked with us most of the five miles that we hiked out to the rest camp called Knotty Ashe. [Thomas Shinn’s diary]

In England, the Red Cross provided postcards to send to loved ones, notifying them of their safe arrival in Europe. Pictured is an original postcard from the NC Archives.

A week later, they crossed the Channel and arrived in France. They were loaded into the infamous French box cars marked “Hommes 40 — Chevaux 8” (40 men or 8 horses). Most diaries and unit documentation write of the difficulty traveling this way although they quickly point out they prefer it to marching! This cartoon was found illustrating the experience. [Source: Fletcher, Arthur Lloyd (1920) History of the 113th Field Artillery, 30th Division . Raleigh, NC: History Committee of the 113th F. A. p. 190]

Women did the work at the railroad, breaking, switching and even track work.

Wednesday, August 21, 1918.
Arrived St. Percy after marching through Flogny. We were the first American soldiers that these people had ever seen and they thought we were all millionaires because we had watches and rings and other things that peasants in France didn’t have. [Thomas Shinn’s diary]

Arriving at St. Die near the end of September, they were to relieve the 92nd “Buffalo Soldiers” Division.

The 92nd Division included two Brunswick County men with WWI Profiles posted earlier, William James Gordon and Robert Stanley, as well as several other soldiers listed on the WWI Army/Marine Division Rosters webpage.

After darkness fell on September 19th, they moved into the trenches that the Buffalo Soldiers had vacated.

On September 22, after a German airplane flew directly above their heads, a sign appeared in no man’s land from the Germans, proving that their movements were being closely monitored.

“Good bye Buffalo’s Welcome Wild Cats”

On October 15, 1918, at 9pm, they were relieved from their position in the trenches. Bugler Smith was wounded that day. His NC WWI Service Card showed it was a slight wound, but it was a gunshot wound to the elbow, as indicated on the Passenger List below, and he was classified as having a disability at discharge. According to unit history, 14 men were wounded and 21 were killed during the occupation of the St. Die sector.

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.

William Ralph Smith returned to the United States on January 31, 1919, and was honorably discharged on February 22, 1919, with a 15% disability. Recall the previous profile of Corporal Calmer Clemmons, which included a newspaper clipping that listed William Ralph Smith among the wounded returning to NC.

The 1920 Census shows William (Ralph) was living with his father and two sisters in Town Creek. His father was still Postmaster and his sister, Patsy, was Assistant Postmaster. William was working as a barber. He married in 1922 and eventually moved to Wilmington, NC, and became a watchmaker. He and his wife raised several children.

In 1929, William’s younger brother Robert, who also served in WWI died of meningitis and tuberculosis. He was only 35 years old and had never married.

In 1936, his father Britton Smith died. The State Port Pilot, March 18, 1936, p. 6 published his obituary.

Funeral Services for Bolivia Man
Mr. Britton Smith, long-time resident and business man of Bolivia, died Thursday morning at James Walker Memorial hospital, after a lingering illness of pneumonia. Mr. Smith was 75 years of age. He was a native of Smithfield, Johnston County.

Being an honest, straightforward christian man, he was greatly loved and highly esteemed among all of his friends and acquaintances.

His wife preceded him in death several years ago. He leaves to mourn the loss three daughters, Mrs. Stancil, of Johnston County; Mrs. Fred Edwards of Bolivia; and Mrs. Thelma Pittman of Wilmington; also a son Ralph Smith of Wilmington, and several grandchildren.

The funeral was conducted at 11:00 o’clock Friday at Smithfield by Rev. B.R. Page, assisted by local pastors.

William Ralph Smith passed away in 1971 at age 80. He was laid to rest in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington. Military honors are shown.

Sources:
Johnson, Clarence Walton (1919) The history of the 321st infantry, with a brief historical sketch of the 80th division, being a vivid and authentic account of the life and experiences of American soldiers in France, while they trained, worked, and fought to help win the world war. . Columbia, S.C., The R. L. Bryan co.

Thomas P. Shinn’s Wartime Diary

If you would like to help us honor William Ralph 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

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WWI Profile: Richard Herbert Gray 1890-1962

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.

Aux Remount Depot 310, Camp Sevier, March 16, 1918
Source: Library of Congress

Richard Herbert Gray
Shallotte, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private First Class

Served:
September 8, 1917 – March 27, 1919
Unofficially Wounded by Accident: May 10, 1918

Richard Herbert Gray was born, raised, and lived his life in Brunswick County, NC. A partial family tree is located in FamilySearch. Two of Richard’s brothers, Harvey Winfield Gray and Oscar Llewellyn Gray are also WWI veterans.

Richard’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was single, living in Shallotte, and working in the logging industry.

The first draft for the National Army was on September 5, 1917. Five percent of the registered men were called that day. Richard was among the five percent called and one of the first five Brunswick County men ordered to report for duty. On September 9, 1917, he reported and was formally accepted on September 17. Training began at Camp Jackson, SC. [Source: Ancestry]

The 81st Division had just been organized in August 1917 at Camp Jackson. It was primarily created with those drafted such as Richard Gray.

Another man who arrived that day was Thomas “Jack” Pinkney Shinn from Kannapolis, N.C. He wrote a diary rich in details and his impressions. Anyone wishing to understand the experiences of those in the 81st Division infantry regiments or just general front line experiences may want to read the 86 pages found at the link on his name. Excerpts will be included in the WWI Profiles for the 81st Division. Jack Shinn reached the level of 1st Sergeant while serving.

When these first men arrived at Camp Jackson, only a small clearing had been made for some barracks.

Those of us who came into camp during those first weeks spent almost as much time cutting trees, digging stumps, working roads and doing “landscape gardening” as in the study and practice of things purely military. We were naturally very slow in understanding what digging stumps and “policing up” cigarette “ducks” and match sticks had to do with winning the war.

But in the emergency, we obeyed orders out of loyalty to our government and to humanity, as if by instinct, and the work was done regardless of how menial or difficult. Source: History of the 321st Infantry, NC Archives

In October, about half of the men were transferred out of the 81st, mostly to the 30th “Old Hickory” Division. This transfer continued through the fall, winter, and spring of 1918. Those remaining in the 81st wondered if their division would become a depot division (training and receiving unit).

This changed during May 11-18, 1918, when the division was moved to Camp Sevier and rapidly grew to war strength. But most were raw recruits, some having less than two week’s training.

The first official divisional shoulder patches of the US Army.

Source: ECU Blog
The 81st Division is officially known as the “Stonewall Division” but is popularly known as the “Wildcat Division.” The division adopted the wildcat insignia from the common wildcat of the Carolinas and Wildcat Creek that ran through Camp Jackson. The brigades, regiments, and specialty units adopted different colors for their patches. Shown to the right is the 81st Division headquarters shoulder insignia circa 1918.

The Division Commander, Major General Charles J. Bailey, believed the insignia promoted division unity and raised morale. When the War Department ordered the removal of unauthorized patches from their uniforms, General Bailey took the matter to General Pershing. On October 19, 1918, Pershing directed each division commander to submit a sleeve insignia design for review and approval. The 81st sent their design that day, obtaining approval, and becoming the first official divisional patch in the US Army.

“The first U.S. Army patches were produced by sewing or gluing pieces of cloth together. Most of these early patches were made from material the soldiers either had at hand or could obtain easily, such as the brown wool from their U.S. Army blankets, shirts, or puttees (their wrap-around leggings). Most of the colored cloth came from discarded or captured French and German uniforms.” [Source: AEF Shoulder Insignia]

Before moving to Camp Sevier in May 1918, advance groups were sent ahead to prepare for the regiments. Pfc Richard Gray from Brunswick County was part of the advance group, as well as Pfc Jack Shinn. Pfc Shinn wrote this in his diary.

Fri, May 10th, 1918.
I was ordered to take 6 privates and go to Camp Sevier to prepare for the Regiment that was to follow a week later. We loaded the train and started but our train was thrown from a tressell [sic] 45 ft. high. Nine men were killed and twenty-six wounded. The trip was postponed until the next day.

Richard Gray was one of the wounded. His injuries would not have been known except for Jack Shinn’s diary in the NC Archives and researching further for details of the accident. Nine men were killed and they were reported as “Killed by Accident.” The men wounded seriously were reported as “Seriously Wounded” in their service records. But those injured slightly, as Richard Gray was, were never reported as wounded.

The Wilmington Dispatch reported the deadly accident on the front page of the May 10, 1918 edition.

Railroad trestle leading into Camp Jackson [Source: The Birth of Camp Jackson, p. 62]

At some point after this injury, Pfc Richard Gray was transferred to the Aux Remount Depot 310, Camp Sevier, breeding horses for cavalry. He remained there until he was honorably discharged on March 27, 1919.

He returned to Shallotte after the war, where he raised a family. Richard Herbert Gray passed away on August 14, 1962. He and his brothers were laid to rest in Chapel Hill Cemetery in Shallotte.

If you would like to help us honor Richard Herbert Gray 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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WWI Profile: Martin Newman Mintz 1888-1975

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

Martin Newman Mintz
Mill Branch, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private

Served:
September 18, 1917 – January 20, 1919
Overseas:
May 27, 1918 – December 30, 1918
Gassed: October 29, 1918

A note about Martin Mintz’ service:

Martin’s NC WWI Service Card shows he served with the 322nd Infantry (81st Division) and was wounded on October 30, 1918. But while reading through combat history of the 81st Division, the regiments were resting before their big operation in early November. It seemed unlikely that Martin was wounded at that time.

Pulling the passenger lists for transport to France [Source: ancestry.com] showed that he was not serving with the 81st. He actually served with the 113th Field Artillery of the 30th Division. He was included in the rosters in the historical documents written about the 113th. His injuries were documented also, as being gassed on October 29, 1918.

Martin likely was originally training with the 81st Division. When he was ordered to report for military duty [Source: ancestry.com], he was sent to Columbia, SC, to Camp Jackson, which is where the 81st trained. As the WWI Profile posts about those serving with the 81st Division will show, the 81st Division had many men transferred to other units, mostly the 30th Division. Martin was likely transferred at some point, although it is unknown when.

It’s fortunate that many documents exist to help verify mistakes on records, as well as add rich details to their experiences. The 113th Field Artillery was well documented, as this profile will show.

Martin Newman Mintz was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. He was the eldest of four brothers, all serving in WWI.

Forney Boston Mintz was the first to enlist in the US Army in 1913 at age 21. Half brother Samuel Leob Mintz enlisted in 1916; Martin and Owen Ransom Mintz were drafted.

All four brothers served overseas. Martin, Forney and Owen were wounded.

Leob and Forney made a career in the Army.

Martin’s WWI Draft Registration shows he was living in Mill Branch, Brunswick County, single, and working on his own farm. He was ordered to report for duty on September 18, 1917 [Source: ancestry.com] and accepted for duty on October 3, 1917.

As mentioned above, he likely began training with the 81st Division, which was at Camp Jackson, SC. Because it is not known when he transferred to the 113th Field Artillery, his experiences cannot be described accurately until his name is listed on the transport record to France on May 27, 1918.

Some background on the 113th Field Artillery of the 55th Artillery Brigade, 30th “Old Hickory” Division.

The 113th Field Artillery was created in June 1917, when the War Dept announced it would accept a regiment of field artillery from the state of NC. This was a source of pride as almost all counties were represented from NC and included “lawyers, teachers, doctors, preachers, farmers, merchants, mechanics, accountants, bankers, manufacturers, engineers, scientists, clerks, students, stenographers, typists, newspaper men.”

The 113th Field Artillery was one regiment of the 55th Artillery Brigade. It included the following regiments. The tables list the Brunswick County men who served in them. There is a document which includes the 55th Artillery Brigade WWI experience and includes rosters and pictures of the men below.

The following lists and references are available on the World War I Army/Marine Division Rosters webpage.

Documentation (with rosters):
Bacon, William James (1920) History of the Fifty-fifth Field Artillery Brigade … 1917, 1918, 1919 . Nashville : Benson Printing Co.

As previous posts about the 30th Division mentioned, they completed most of their training at Camp Sevier, SC. The land needed for field artillery training at Camp Sevier was almost completely cleared by the 113th using axes, saws, picks, and mattocks. Supplies were scarce and the winter of 1917-1918 was the worst winter the South had experienced since 1898 with terrible blizzards and high winds that ripped tents to shreds. Without winter clothing, training was difficult. The measles and mumps epidemic at the camp, which took the life of Brunswick County veteran Carl Jefferson Danford, added to the difficulties.

The Supply Company, which included Wagoner James Varney Gore, was responsible for 1000 head of horses and mules, feeding, grooming, hauling bedding and manure daily, while also feeding and clothing the regiment: 7 days hard labor each week.

Logs were used for training.

Despite the 59th Artillery Brigade being part of the 30th Division, they never served at the front with them. The Allies felt there was enough artillery and requested infantry and machine gun outfits first. The 59th Artillery Brigade was left behind when the 30th Division left for France. In May, they finally made preparations for transport.

Private Martin Mintz boarded the Armagh on May 27, 1918. The Armagh was a British freighter carrying beef from Australia and New Zealand and had been hastily converted into a transport, which made it an uncomfortable voyage. British food was served and was disagreeable to the men.

When reaching the coast of Ireland, dirigibles, airplanes, and destroyers kept watch over the Americans. They were greeted in Liverpool with enthusiasm.

After arriving in France, the 113th was overjoyed to have guns for all. However, since the American 3″ gun was used for training, the men had to relearn everything to adjust to the French 75mm gun. In a few short weeks, they were ready for battle. The men hoped to rejoin the 30th Division, but were needed elsewhere.

Their first taste of battle was during the Battle of St. Mihiel, supporting the 89th Division. This was typically a quiet sector where raw troops were seasoned. This was about the change.

At 1am on September 12, 1918, the artillery began the barrage. The infantry were to come out of the trenches at 5am. In those four hours, the American guns fired more than 1 million rounds.

When the infantry joined the battle, the artillery rolled a protective and offensive accompanying fire. If the Doughboys could not take out a concrete machine gun nest, or “pill-box,” they called the artillery for assistance.

Here was where the artilleryman found a task to his liking and up across the fields and through the woods on a dead run would come a gun section, the men clinging for dear life to the bouncing carriages and lying low over the necks of their horses.

When deep trenches and wrecked roads and bridges would confront them in what had been No Man’s Land and in the territory back of the old German lines, the horses were unhitched from the carriages and led, pulled and shoved across, while willing hands seized the guns and caissons and carried them over places that looked to be impassable. There was no time to wait for the engineers to build roads and time and again on that memorable day the regiment did the impossible.

Because of the success at St. Mihiel, the Battle of the Argonne was prepared quickly. Typically, fighting didn’t occur at this time of year but waited until the end of winter. The Allies had chosen to take advantage of their momentum.

On September 26, 1918, the 59th Brigade supported the 37th Division (Ohio) as the Doughboys began at 5am. The Germans were caught napping.

German resistance stiffened the next day. The 37th Division was withdrawn on Sept. 30th, and the 32nd Division (Michigan and Wisconsin) relieved them. The 59th Artillery Brigade remained in position, this time with the 32nd Division.

On October 6th, the 42nd Division relieved the 32nd. The 59th Artillery Brigade was prepared to remain in position yet again but they were ordered to withdraw. After two weeks of desperate fighting, followed close after a forced march and the St. Mihiel battle, their horses were depleted. They had entered the forest with 1050 horses and only 247 remained. The guns were no longer mobile and there were no horses to be had.

They marched from October 9-12 to the Woevre Sector, SE of Verdun.

“Join the Army and see the world” some soldiers would yell down the line. “Join the artillery and RIDE!” others would reply sarcastically.

They were to rest and be re-equipped, but instead went into the line immediately, supporting the 79th Division until October 25th, then the 33rd Division (Illinois). The artillery was kept busy with harassing fire at night and protecting raiding parties. The Germans were doing the same, but with German regularity.

“The firing started at the same hour every night, the length of the bombardment never varied five minutes, and all of the points singled out for attention received practically the same number of shells every night.”

Pvt Martin Mintz was gassed on October 29, 1918. His name was listed in the 113th Field Artillery regimental history book listed above. On the left is the page from the list of casualties that includes his name.

There were many other men gassed at the time. He was sent home in December with the other sick and wounded and honorably discharged near the end of January, indicating that he required more medical attention upon his arrival.

Martin Mintz returned to farming, married, and raised a family in Brunswick County. He passed away in 1975 at age 87. He was laid to rest in Mintz Cemetery in Ocean Isle Beach, NC. Military honors are shown.

The 113th Field Artillery is credited with 67 days occupying active sectors and firing. Only 2 divisions (1st and 3rd) are officially credited with longer service in active sectors.

The 59th Artillery Brigade served with the following American Divisions: 89th, 79th, 30th, 33rd, 37th, and 32nd.

If you would like to help us honor Martin Newman Mintz 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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WWI Profile: Claudie Hall McCall 1888-1919

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.

Source: Findagrave
Claudie Hall McCall
Supply, Brunswick County, NC
US Army
Private
Served:
April 1, 1918 – April 13, 1919
Overseas:
May 12, 1918 – April 13, 1919
Died of Disease: April 13, 1919

Claudie Hall McCall was born in Brunswick County, NC, in 1888, son of Alice McCall. In 1892, Alice married David Hewett. She had several children with David, one of whom was Willie Cross Hewett, another Brunswick County WWI veteran, who was profiled in the previous post.

Claudie’s Draft Registration Card from the June 5, 1917, draft shows he was single, living in Supply, and working on his own farm.

On February 7, 1918, Claudie married Lundie Frink. The marriage certificate is difficult to read, but seems to show that he was married in his house, with three witnesses: Allen Stanley, Daniel H. Wilcox, and Joe Hunter, all from Wilmington.

Claudie was ordered to report to duty on April 2, 1918 [Source: ancestry.com]. After a very short training period, on April 26, he was assigned to Supply Company, 120th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division. He then boarded Bohemian in Boston with his Company on May 12, 1918.

On October 4, 1918, his son, Claudie Hazelwood McCall was born.

On October 25, 1918, his half brother Private Willie Cross Hewett died of wounds, as described in the previous post.

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Private McCall nearly made it home. But when his company boarded USS Pocahontas in France on March 28, 1919, to return home, he was not with them. His name was crossed out, indicating that he had entered Hospital #52 on March 5, 1919.

Claudie Hall McCall died on April 13, 1919, from an abscess of the lung.

Having the hospital number provides an opportunity to investigate further. According to the Official History of the 120th Infantry the 30th Division was marched to Forwarding Camp at Le Mans in early January 1919. They remained there until early March, when they were moved to Embarkation Camp at St. Nazaire. The Camp Hospital in Le Mans is #52, which means this is the hospital where Private McCall died.

Camp Hospital No. 52 was established in August, 1918, at Le Mans, Department Sarthe, intermediate section, its personnel being taken from the American Expeditionary Forces at large. It was located in the old monastery, which had been occupied by the French complementary hospital No. 49. The monastery was poorly suited for hospitalization, for its large halls and high ceilings and stone floors made it damp and difficult to heat. Plumbing and wiring were insufficient and a large force of men was required to keep the building in repairs. [Source: The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, Vol. II, Chapter 25 Photo: US National Library of Medicine]

These were Private McCall’s nurses. [Source: Oshkosh Public Museum]

Using the full passenger list (excerpt shown above), it is also possible to identify other soldiers in Supply Company from North Carolina who spent his last days with him.

  • Wagoner Dewey C. Bulla from Asheboro, NC, was admitted on March 26, recovered and returned to the USA on May 12.
  • Private George V. Burnett from Black Mountain, NC, was admitted on March 1, recovered and returned to the USA on June 2.
  • Corporal Henry G. Dallas from Reidsville, NC, was admitted on March 14, recovered and returned to the USA on April 24.
  • Wagoner James W. Vickers from Rutherfordton, NC, was admitted on March 5 and passed away on March 13 from broncho pneumonia.

Private Claudie Hall McCall was laid to rest in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, which is located at the very spot where the 42nd “Rainbow” Division fought. The cemetery is the site of 6,012 American graves.

Many Brunswick County WWI veterans fought with the 42nd Division, which will be included in WWI Profiles in the future. 

Source: Sewell, Patricia and Cecilia Palin, eds.. U.S. World War I Mothers’ Pilgrimage, 1929 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

Claudie’s mother, Alice Lenore McCall Hewett, was given the opportunity to take a Mother’s Pilgrimage in 1929 to visit his gravesite. All three mothers listed from Brunswick County declined.

Claudie’s son, Claude Hazelwood McCall, lived until age 95, dying in 2013. His obituary is printed below.

NEW BERN – Claude “Mac” Hazelwood McCall, 95, of New Bern, passed away December 5, 2013, at CarolinaEast Medical Center. Mac was born on October 4, 1918 to Claudie and Lunda McCall Jones in Brunswick County. He graduated from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC, in 1936 and Wake Forest University in 1940. While at Wake Forest, his attaining the ACC Welterweight Boxing Championship was notable.

Mac was employed at the Wilmington, NC shipyard during WWII. He met his beautiful bride, Catherine Virginia Ensley, during the war and they married in February 1945. In 1946, Mac began a long and distinguished career in the airlines industry. After working for Eastern and Piedmont Airlines in accounting management, Mac became Director of Revenue Accounting for the Air Transport Association in Washington, DC in 1957. He also served with distinction as Secretary-Treasurer of the Airlines Clearing House from 1968 until his retirement in 1984. Mac thoroughly enjoyed participating in the “golden years” of the airlines industry.

Mac was heavily involved with the Baptist church throughout his life. He enjoyed teaching Sunday school, and was a member of First Baptist Church in New Bern for over 25 years. In his early family years, he was President of the Springfield, VA Babe Ruth Baseball League for five years.

He is survived by his son Keith McCall (Karen), his daughter Claudia Bryan, his grandchildren Shannon and Michelle Bryan and Scott, Ryan and Kimberly McCall, and six great-grandsons. Mac was preceded in death by his wife Catherine, three half-brothers and one half-sister.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. December 14, 2013, at First Baptist Church in New Bern with Dr. Richard Seagle officiating. Entombment will follow at Greenleaf Memorial Park. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Baptist Church or St. Jude, P. O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38101-9908.

Online condolences may be made to the McCall family at www.cottenfuneralhome.com.

Arrangements are by Cotten Funeral Home & Crematory.

This concludes the Brunswick County WWI veterans who were wounded or killed while serving in the 30th “Old Hickory” Division.

A memorial to the 30th Division was erected on the northeast corner of the North Carolina state capitol grounds in Raleigh on September 29, 1930, the 12th anniversary of the breaking of the Hindenburg Line.

In all, the “Old Hickory” division lost 8,415 men.

The division garnered several outstanding distinctions in the war:

  • The first to break the German Hindenburg Line on the Cambrai-St. Quentin front.
  •  Awarded more Congressional Medals of Honor than soldiers in any other American division.

If you would like to help us honor Claudie Hall McCall 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.

Comments Off on WWI Profile: Claudie Hall McCall 1888-1919

Filed under Honor a Veteran, Veteran Profile