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

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