Category Archives: Announcement

Okey Tucker offers his services for the rifle range restoration

Okey measures the window before installing a plexiglass window.
The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range is pleased to announce that Okey Tucker, a local consulting environmental engineer, has offered his professional services, pro bono, to rehabilitate the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

Mr. Tucker was born and raised in West Virginia until 2019, when he moved full time to Oak Island. Okey and Andrea, his wife of 38 years, had vacationed on Oak Island over the years with their children Sarah and Okey III. They even celebrated their marriage on Oak Island.

Okey graduated with a BS in chemical engineering in 1983 from the WV Institute of Technology in Montgomery, WV. He was employed as an environmental engineer for the State of West Virginia. He currently serves as a consulting senior engineer working from home.

He was an assistant Boy Scout master when his son was growing up and now he and Andrea volunteer for the Caswell Beach Turtle Watch program. He also has a long history of experience in all aspects of home building and improvements.

The initial projects for the rifle range include the installation of a plexiglass window, step improvements for safely entering the rifle range, lowering of the shoring inside for ease of navigation, and a gate system designed for the safety of visitors and animals.

Okey’s plan for the future is to consult with The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the State Historic Preservation Office concerning a roof system for the rifle pit’s Storage Room, located on the east end of the pit.

No Trespassing signs are positioned in various places around the rifle range property to protect and alert folks, especially children, that they are not to go into the property.

There is much more work to be completed. We welcome Okey Tucker and we thank him for helping to save the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range!

Read the announcement about Okey in the Brunswick Beacon.

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Filed under Announcement, Progress Made

Pausing the WWI Snapshots

The Friends of Fort Caswell is hitting the pause button on WWI Snapshots for now.

For several years, the primary focus has been WWI Profiles, WWI Snapshots, and writing the book, Brunswick County in the Great War, which is still available for purchase.

The primary focus will now return to the restoration of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Progress will be posted here on the website.

Read more about the past stabilization effort by clicking the Stabilization tab at the top of the website.

Fort Caswell WWI Nurse Faye White
Meanwhile, please view this wonderful presentation by Liz Fuller from the Southport Historical Society. Liz included some of the information about the Fort Caswell WWI nurses in her presentation:

Southport Nurses of WWI and the Spanish Flu. (click to view)

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WWI Snapshots have resumed

The first WWI Snapshots were posted on the blog in September 2019. These were created to preserve some of the valuable information obtained about the veterans.

WWI Profiles, on the other hand, were written primarily for those veterans who died or were wounded while in service. The profiles included many more details. Historical documents about their divisions were used to approximate the activity and location of their unit during their injuries or death. Grouping veterans in the same division resulted in a nearly complete description of their division from beginning to end.

The Published WWI Profiles webpage lists the links for all of the WWI Profiles and WWI Snapshots posted on the website and published in local newspapers.

Nearly all of the profiles and snapshots published on the blog through 2020 are included in our book published in 2020, Brunswick County in the Great War: Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served.

To order your own book, call or contact The Friends now as shown below (click to enlarge), or use the Purchase a Book link.

As readers may have noticed and the Published WWI Profiles webpage shows, WWI Snapshots resumed in January 2021. These snapshots were written after Brunswick County in the Great War was published. While continuing the focus on preserving unique information about Brunswick County’s WWI veterans, an additional focus is to honor those veterans who have not been honored with military headstones or flat markers or simply have no cemetery or gravesite identified.

Next week, Black History Month begins. Only those snapshots written for our Black WWI veterans will be posted during the month of February. There are many African American WWI veterans buried in graves that are no longer marked. Death certificates are used to identify the name of the cemetery.

Overall, we have many WWI veterans with no military honors displayed at their gravesite. You can identify them on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage. Those with two asterisks (**) after their date of death indicates that no military honors were found, and a question mark (?) indicates that no photo was found of their gravesite to confirm, or that their gravesite could not be located.

If anyone would like to share more information about a veteran for a snapshot, or contribute to the effort to identify the dates of death and cemetery locations, please contact the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Thank you!

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Copies of Brunswick County in the Great War are still available for purchase

Note: This is not a fundraiser. The price of the books was chosen to cover the publishing and printing costs.

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For the Holiday Season: Brunswick County in the Great War

To purchase a copy of the book, please choose one of the three options:

  • Contact Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range at ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com to arrange a pick-up (no shipping option).
  • Mail a check to:
    Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range
    5 Foxfire Trace
    Caswell Beach, NC 28465
  • Click on Purchase a Book to pay with a credit card.

Please contact the Friends at ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com if you have any difficulties with these options. We will be happy to assist you.

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Brunswick County in the Great War arrives this week.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range is excited to announce the arrival of their book
Brunswick County in the Great War
Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served.

Book signings and semi-drive-thru purchase

Book signings and semi-drive-thru purchase will be available during the next couple of Saturdays beginning
October 24, 2020, at the Caswell Beach Town Hall, 1100 Caswell Beach Road,
Caswell Beach, NC 28465, outside from noon-3:00 pm.

Masks and Social Distancing are the plan.

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Filed under Announcement, Event, Honor a Veteran

A sneak peek: Brunswick County in the Great War

The past several months have been busy ones as we prepared our tribute to Brunswick County WWI veterans.

This photograph shows the hard copy proof of our book, Brunswick County in the Great War: Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Woman Who Served.

The book measures 8 1/2″ x 11″ and features 584 pages of large print, images, and photographs for easier reading.

A view of the pages with the US Army insignia and Table of Contents

The paperback price is $50 plus $6 shipping.

A hardcover version may be printed, based on demand.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of the book, contact
Norma Eckard at normaron@mindspring.com

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Our tribute to Brunswick County WWI veterans is available for pre-order.

Brunswick County in the Great War

WWI altered our nation and completely transformed our corner of North Carolina forever. Fort Caswell, an integral part of the national effort to become battle ready, served men and women as they became soldiers and nurses and began their journey to war.

This book is the culmination of more than 9 years of research by Dr. Norma Eckard, her daughter Amy and husband Ronald. These stories were collected and curated from local families and individuals who still carry the memories of war. Their project began as an effort to preserve the history of the recently recognized 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, but it grew to also serve as a tribute to the soldiers and nurses who each had a connection to Fort Cawell. This book documents the sacrifices and triumphs that occur while serving their country during a time of war. Many of these stories have never been in print.

Brunswick County in the Great War is an important resource for anyone who loves local history. It is an accurate and colorful presentation of unbridled heroism, patriotism, and a deep love of family and nation. The spirit of these men and women still inspires us today.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of the book (584 pages), contact
Norma Eckard at normaron@mindspring.com

State Port Pilot news story published
July 8, 2020.

The paperback price is $50 plus $6 shipping.

A hardcover version may be printed, based on demand.

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All Brunswick County WWI veterans have been honored

Our last Brunswick County WWI veterans have been honored.

We thank the community for the amazing support!

To see the veteran list with donors, go to the Donor page.

This list will appear in the book, Brunswick County in the Great War: Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served. If your name is listed and you would like to add your relationship to the veteran or just need to make a correction, please contact us soon, before the book is printed.

Thank you!

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WWI Snapshots will begin on Monday, September 30, 2019

As we prepare for the book preserving the legacies of the WWI veterans of Brunswick County, a dedicated group is working to identify the dates of death and cemetery locations for all of the 725 veterans. Gwen Causey, Amy Eckard, Emma-Lou Edwards, Jane Freach, and Kathryn Kalmanson have contributed to this effort.

While gathering this data, some stories have emerged that must be shared. Photos have been uncovered. And additional stories have been shared by Kathryn Kalmanson, daughter of Susie Carson, the late historian and founder of the Southport Historical Society.

In order to preserve this valuable data, short snapshots are being prepared for the blog in the coming weeks. Some will only consist of a photo which was uncovered, while others will include a brief story of interest.

In addition, the list of veterans may grow or shrink as this research continues.

If anyone would like to share more information about a veteran for a snapshot, or contribute to the effort to identify the dates of death and cemetery locations, please contact the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Thank you!

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Filed under Announcement, History, Honor a Veteran