WWI Snapshot: Willie Blount 1895-1938

NC WWI Service Card

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.

Source of Photos: Findagrave 1 2 3

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.

Willie Blount was laid to rest in John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.
Source of photo: Findagrave


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

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WWI Snapshot: Hiram Van Bellamy 1895-1973

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Hiram Van Bellamy was born in Supply, Brunswick County, NC. His registration shows he was working at a sawmill in Southport, NC, when he registered for the draft.

Hiram’s brother Jasper Bellamy also served in WWI.

Hiram was ordered to report for duty on July 15, 1918. He served with the 811th Pioneer Infantry, serving overseas from October 20, 1918, to July 31, 1919. He was honorably discharged on August 5, 1919. He returned to Southport where he raised a family with his wife. He appeared to remain in Southport for the rest of his life.

Hiram Van Bellamy passed away on October 31, 1973, at J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport at age 77. He was laid to rest in John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. The exact location of his gravesite is unknown.

He was preceded in death by his two sons, Ellis Bellamy and Clarence Hiram Bellamy, both WWII veterans. Ellis died of tuberculosis while serving in WWII; Clarence died in 1962. As a tribute to their father, shown below are the two news stories about the death of Ellis during WWII and the obituary for Clarence.

Local Boy Dies in Texas Hospital
Pvt. Ellis Bellamy, 20 years old son of Van and Lue Delphia Bellamy, highly respected colored people in Southport, died in the Brooks general army hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, November 13th. Tuberculosis was the immediate cause.

The body in its flag draped casket was shipped here, arriving on the 18th. Burial was held Sunday afternoon at two o’clock and was largely attended by both white and colored.

The young man graduated from the Brunswick County Training School with the class of 1941. He entered the armed service on February 27, 1943, and was on his way to becoming a fine soldier when the fatal illness set in.
Source “Local Boy Dies in Texas Hospital.” The State Port Pilot [Southport, NC], 24 Nov. 1943, p. 4

He was a Serviceman
Ellis Bellamy, 20 year old soldier whose home was at Southport, died in an army camp in Texas last week. He was a negro, was stricken with a fatal illness and died without ever having been sent to the front.

But, during that illness every resource of the army was given in an effort to make him well again. He was cared for until the last and when he died the brotherhood of the army did not end there. His body was sent home in a steel casket, draped with the flag he had served.

An undertaker, the family and friends prepared to bury the body in their own way. They had their funeral services at their church and following this a great cortege wended its way to a nearby cemetery.

There they found the Mayor of the town, the Commander and Vice-Commander of the American Legion, an army Lieutenant with a bugler and a squad of six white soldiers, waiting to join in the last tribute. The dead serviceman, regardless of his color, was given a serviceman’s last due.
Source “He was a Serviceman.” The State Port Pilot [Southport, NC], 1 Dec. 1943, p. 2

Clarence H. Bellamy
Clarence H. Bellamy, 43, of 601 Fairfield St., passed away Friday night in a local hospital. A native of Southport, N.C., he attended Brunswick County Training High School and graduated from Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, Pa. as an embalmer and specialist in derma surgery. He made an extensive study of bacteriology at the Univ. of Arkansas and was a graduate of Carver Business School. He served an apprenticeship with the Davidson Funeral Home and was associated with Longs Mortuary Service until his death.

Mr. Bellamy was president of Long’s Mutual Burial Association and secretary – treasurer of Long’s Mortuary Service. A veteran of World War II he served with the Medical Dept. of U.S. Army, spending 28 months overseas in the capacities of surgical technician and first aid instructor.

He was a member of Rock Rest Lodge No. 609 AF&AM and of Lamda Zeda Nu fraternity; also the Henry Lawrence Branch of McCrory YMCA, the NAACP, and secretary of Mecklenburg County Veterans’ Organization. A member of Greenville Tabernacle AME Zion Church, he was a steward and member of the Cathedral choir, serving faithfully in all capacities.

Survivors include his wife, Queen C. Bellamy; a daughter, Denise L. Bellamy; father, Mr. Hiram Van Bellamy of Southport; two sisters, Mrs. Evelyn Hewitt and Mrs. Loudelphia Rogers, both of Southport; five uncles; a nephew; seven aunts; and a niece.

Funeral services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Monday from the Greenville Tabernacle AME Zion Church with the Rev. M. R. Cuthbertson, the pastor, officiating. He will be assisted by Dr. J.W. Smith and the Rev. F.M. Allen. Interment in York Memorial Park.

Flower bearers are Mrs. Hortense Johnson, Mrs. Marizetta Kerry, Mrs. Carrie Hamer, Mrs. Willie Powell, Mrs. Claudia McFaden, Mrs. Gwendolyn Cunningham, Mrs. Dorothy Steele, Mrs. Ruth Johnson, Mrs. Vinie Watkins, Mrs. Shirley Kennedy, Mrs. Esther Carter, Mrs. Shirley Manigo, Mrs. Eddie Long, Mrs. Constance Caldwell, Mrs. Sadie English, Miss Gladys Walker, Mrs. Perry Davis and Mrs. Vernell Partlow.

Active pallbearers are local morticians and funeral directors. Honorary pallbearers are Mr. Perry Davis, Mr. Joe Swain, Mr. T.M. Martin, Mr. R.L. Floyd, Mr. Robert Carter, Mr. Robert Johnson, Mr. Joseph Belton, Mr. George Moreland, Mr. Isaac Heard, Mr. Alvin Kennedy, Mr. Israel Garrison, Mr. Kenneth Powell, Mr. Herman L. Martin, Mr. W.M. Harrison, Mr. Clyde Brown, Mr. Fancy English, Dr. Richard Hill and Mr. Luther Caldwell. The body will be placed in the church at 1 o’clock to lie in state until the hour of service.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, 7 May 1962, p. 9


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 Hiram Van Bellamy 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 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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WWI Snapshot: Albert Fowells Reynolds 1895-1968

Albert Reynolds served in World War I and World War II.

NC WWI Service Card

According to his WWI Draft Registration, Albert Fowells Reynolds was born in Winnabow, Brunswick County, NC.

His registration in 1917 also shows he had served three years in the military with a rank of oiler, second class. His NC WWI Service Card shows his progression to machinist, first class.

Albert’s brother Solomon Creasy Reynolds also served in WWI. He was ordered to report for duty on August 8, 1918, serving with various units overseas from September 7, 1918, until July 9, 1919, then discharged on July 21, 1919. He was laid to rest in Wilmington National Cemetery after his death on April 1, 1958.
Source of photo: Findagrave

Albert’s Application for Military Headstone in Ancestry shows his Coast Guard service began in 1914 until 1943, retiring with the rank of chief machinist’s mate (CMM).

Albert passed away on February 11, 1968, in Winnabow, NC, at age 72. His death certificate indicates that he had been sick for a long time and that his death was due to natural causes. He had never married. His niece Betty Jane Clemmons applied for his military flat marker, shown below.

Albert Fowells Reynolds was laid to rest in Reynolds Cemetery in Boliva, Brunswick County, NC.
Source of photo: Findagrave


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 Albert Fowells Reynolds 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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Local journalists honored

The Friends of Fort Caswell presented framed certificates to two local journalists, recognizing their efforts in promoting the Friends’ missions.

On a rainy Veterans Day morning, Norma Eckard, president of Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, recognized staff writer Lee Hinnant of The State Port Pilot for promoting the stabilization work at the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and attending every commemoration and fundraising event. Lee was at the rifle range to document the event for Veterans Day, Veterans honored at Fort Caswell Rifle Pit.

Lee’s initial coverage of the rifle range was in 2012, Group aims to save World War I rifle range. He continued to document each step advancing the preservation of this unique piece of history. The Friends are thankful for his years of journalism!

To read all of Lee’s work about the rifle range in the State Port Pilot, click on the News tab.

Board members Gwen Causey, and Norma and Ron Eckard presented Brunswick Beacon Managing Editor Sam Hickman and his staff with a framed certificate of honor for publishing the World War I Profiles of Brunswick County men and women who served in the Great War. Since January 2018, Hickman and his staff have dedicated a space in the newspaper honoring the 718 local men and women who were identified as enlisting or reporting for duty, sacrificing their livelihoods and in some cases, their lives.

The Friends of Fort Caswell is a nonprofit whose members receive no compensation. Their mission is to stabilize and preserve the 1918 Fort Caswell Rile Range, which was built to train soldiers for World War I, as well as publicize and preserve the legacies of the men and women of Brunswick County who served in the Great War. The State Port Pilot and Brunswick Beacon provided significant assistance in accomplishing that mission.

The WWI Profiles published in the Brunswick Beacon and work to stabilize the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range are included in the 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.

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WWI Snapshot: Wilton Vesper Hughes 1890-1976

Wilton Vesper Hughes was born in Ash, Brunswick County, NC, on January 28, 1890, according to his NC WWI Service Card (below).

This cropped photo is shown in Findagrave, circa 1911. Additional photos (below) are shared in Ancestry, including the wonderful family portrait which was used for the cropped photo. Each family member is labeled. (Click each photo to enlarge.)

NC WWI Service Card

Wilton was ordered to report for duty on July 30, 1918, and sent to Camp Hancock in Georgia. His service card indicates he was assigned to the 63rd Machine Gun Battalion on November 5, 1918. However, that battalion didn’t exist, and is likely meant to be 363rd Machine Gun Battalion. This assumption was made based on a fellow draftee, Newman Goodman Hewett, whose NC WWI Service Card shows he was serving at the Machine Gun Training Center at Camp Hancock, then assigned to the 363rd Machine Gun Battalion. The battalion was planned for the 96th Division. Because of the Armistice, the division was never fully formed.
Source: Historical Branch, War Plans Division (1921), A Brief History of Divisions, U.S. Army, 1917-1918

Besides Pvt Hughes and Pvt Newman Goodman Hewett, Pvt Joseph Sicero Smith, Pvt Walker Otis Smith, and Pvt Anthony Dewitt Stewart also trained at the Machine Gun Training Center at Camp Hancock.

Pvt Hughes was discharged on December 18, 1918.

Wilton Vesper Hughes passed away on January 21, 1976, and was laid to rest in McKeithan Cemetery in Ash. 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 Wilton Vesper Hughes 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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Great War book donated to local libraries

Local libraries were presented with copies of the book published by Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

Two copies of Brunswick County in the Great War: Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served were donated to each of the five library locations in Brunswick County. An additional copy was donated to the Brunswick County Community College.

These donations were made possible thanks to gifts from Gwen Causey, Barbara Griffin, Judith Holden, Kirk James, and Teresa A. McLamb.

You can read about the donations in local newspapers using the following links. They are also listed on the News webpage or using the News tab at the top of this website.
Brunswick Beacon: McLamb donates Great War book to BCC library
State Port Pilot: Friends of Rifle Range gift book

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

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WWI Snapshot: Adrian Leroy Willetts 1895-1973

NC WWI Service Card

Adrian Leroy Willetts was born in Winnabow, Brunswick County, NC.

His WWI Draft Registration in 1917 shows he had served in the Coast Guard Cutter Service. His NC WWI Service Card shows his enlistment date as April 29, 1914.

This photo dated 1916 is in Findagrave.

Adrian’s length of service in the Coast Guard is unclear, as well as whether he served in World War II. An article in the News and Observer in 1939 confirms he was in the Coast Guard at that time. He and three other members of the crew were hospitalized with food poisoning.
Sources: News and Observer [Raleigh, NC], 3 Dec. 1939, p. 12; “Poisoned.” State Port Pilot [Southport, NC], 6 Dec. 1939, p. 5.

In 1949, an article in the State Port Pilot mentioned that Adrian had retired from the Coast Guard and had been stationed on Bald Head Island “until a few years ago.”
Source: Keziah, W.B. “Our Rovin’ Reporter.” State Port Pilot [Southport, NC], 22 June 1949, pp. 1-2

Adrian’s brother Harry Lee Willetts also served in WWI. He was ordered to report for duty on August 25, 1918, serving stateside until his discharge on December 30, 1919. He was laid to rest in Willetts Cemetery after his death on February 1, 1970.

Adrian Leroy Willetts passed away on August 25, 1973, at Ocean Trails Rest Home in Southport, NC, at age 77. He was laid to rest in Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery in Winnabow. 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 Adrian Leroy Willetts 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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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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WWI Snapshot: Hildur Sorensen 1886-1960

Hildur Sorensen served in World War I and World War II.

NC WWI Service Card

Hildur Sorensen was born in Southport, NC. His parents Oscar and Mary had immigrated separately from Denmark, married, and by 1880 had settled in Southport.

Surfman Sorensen’s NC WWI Service Card shows he joined the Coast Guard in 1916, but a 1905 Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service in Ancestry shows it may have been earlier. Earlier military service is not always included in the WWI Service Cards.

An article published in “Legion Notes” on page 2 of Annapolis Capital on September 17, 1942, lists his length of service in the Coast Guard at that time as 33 years. His obituary, shown below, includes that he served in both WWI and WWII and retired from the Coast Guard.

Hildur eventually moved to Fort Lauderdale, where he died on November 1, 1960.

Source: Fort Lauderdale News, 2 Nov. 1960, p.12
Hildur Sorensen

Services for Hildur Sorensen, 74, of 1405 SW 19th St., who died yesterday at Broward General Hospital, will be held in Baltimore, Md.

Born in Southport, N.C., he came here six years ago from Baltimore. A member of the Southwest Baptist Church, Ft. Lauderdale, F. & A.M. of Beaufort, S.C., he was retired from the Coast Guard and was a veteran of World Wars I and II.

Surviving is his widow, Olive; two sons, Bryan, Greensboro, N.C., Robert, Newport News, Va.; three daughters, Mrs. Charles Collinson, Ft. Lauderdale, Mrs. Rudy York, Mrs. Leonard Wade, both of Baltimore; one brother and 13 grandchildren.

Friends may call at the Fannin Funeral Home between 3-10 p.m. today.

Hildur Sorensen was laid to rest in Glen Burnie, MD.
Source of photo: Findagrave


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 Hildur Sorensen 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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