According to his WWI Draft Registration, Willie Blount was born in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.
Willie’s father Abram Blount served in the Civil War in the Union Army. In 1998, Pvt Abram Blount and another Southport Union soldier, Pvt Abram Galloway, were honored in a rededication ceremony at John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.
Source: Kauffman, Susan. “Re-enactors unite in slaves’ honor.” News & Observer [Raleigh, NC], 08, Feb. 1998, p. 1B.
Abram Galloway’s son William Olliver Galloway also served in WWI and is also buried in John N. Smith Cemetery. All four soldiers, fathers and sons, now have military headstones or flat markers.
At the time of Willie’s registration in 1917, he was working in Wilson County, NC, and had a wife and child. By the time he was ordered to report for duty on August 2, 1918, he had returned to Southport. He served in the 347th Service Battalion throughout the war.
During WWI, most Black US Army soldiers served in service or labor battalions. A small group of Black men were chosen to serve in the infantry, as explained in William Frederick Brook’s WWI Profile. As the WWI Army/Marine Division Rosters webpage for Brunswick County shows, a total of nine Black men from Brunswick County served in infantry with the 92nd and 93rd divisions.
On October 1, 1918, Willie became a bugler. A total of four WWI buglers from Brunswick County have been identified; all served overseas. Two were wounded: Buglers William Ralph Smith and Willie Hasper Hewett. A snapshot is planned for Bugler Rich Milligan.
Bugler Smith’s WWI Profile includes a description of the dangers a bugler faced. Because buglers were used to communicate orders to troops, they were a strategic target for the enemy. The fact that two of the four buglers from Brunswick County were wounded is evidence of the increased risk.
Bugler Willie Blount served overseas from October 21, 1918, until June 29, 1919, and was honorably discharged on July 15, 1919. It is unclear where he settled, although his family remained in the Southport/Wilmington area. When he passed away on February 9, 1938, his address was Wilmington. His mother requested his military headstone.
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 Willie Blount 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