WWI Profile: Carl Jefferson Danford 1893-1917

Source: Library of Congress
105th Engineers at Camp Sevier, March 1918
Trenches built by the engineers can be seen in the foreground.

Carl Jefferson Danford
Southport, Brunswick County, NC
US Army

September 18, 1917 – December 8, 1917
Died of Disease: December 8, 1917

Carl Danford was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. In 1915, he married Luola Lewis. His first and only child, a daughter, was born in August 1916.

His WWI Draft Registration lists his occupation as farmer, living in Bolivia with wife and child. On September 18, 1917, he was ordered to report for duty [Source:ancestry.com], sent to Camp Jackson, SC, and eventually assigned to the 105th Engineers, 30th “Old Hickory” Division, training at Camp Sevier, Greenville, SC.

Camp Sevier was built in a very short span of time. In those few months from June to November 1917, land had to be acquired, facilities built, and supplies found and stocked to train and house 46,000 men and women. Sanitation was an issue. Most military camps did not have running water for toilets, so pit toilets were used. Soldiers began using neighboring woods, which resulted in complaints from land owners. [Read more here on the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources blog.]

Many training camps were built in the South to avoid harsh winters. However, this particular winter was unusually cold and supplies and proper winter clothing and uniforms were scarce.

Source: Wilmington Dispatch, Dec. 1, 1917, p. 2
In November 1917, a measles epidemic was declared at Camp Sevier. The camp was quarantined and civilians were not allowed to enter without a pass from the city board of health. Each day, deaths were announced. Near the end of the month, a mumps epidemic had begun.

The quarantine of the camp was lifted on December 3, 1917. Reports indicated a total of about 2000 cases of measles, 175 cases of pneumonia, and 15 of meningitis. There were 60 deaths reported.

On December 8, 1917, Pvt Danford died of “broncho pneumonia following measles.” A total of five men died that day. 4000 men were still under quarantine.

According to Providing for the Casualties of War, during WWI there were 93,629 cases of measles with 2,343 deaths (2.5% death rate). There were 70,030 cases of pneumonia with 18,040 deaths (25.76% death rate). Almost all of the Died of Disease deaths among the Brunswick County veterans were due to pneumonia.

Carl Jefferson Danford was laid to rest in the same cemetery as some of his family. No military or WWI honors are displayed to indicate that he lost his life while serving his country.

Note: Pvt Danford was not listed on the roster posted in Cpl Ballard’s profile. This is due to his death occurring before the roster was created. The profile has been updated to include his name, noting that it wasn’t on the official lists.

If you would like to help us honor Carl Jefferson Danford 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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