Goochland Goes to War: September 19, 1918

19 Sep

 

soldiersThe following is part of the Society’s collection of manuscripts and photographs that were gathered together by the Virginia War History Commission, set up to document World War I. It is titled “Incident Concerning Drafting and Entering of Goochland Soldiers with the World War.” The author is unknown.

The second quota of drafted men from Goochland County – twenty-three in number – left the Court House for Camp Lee on September 19, 1918. The day dawned clear and warm and it seemed as if nature would play its part on this memorable occasion. The trees had taken on their prettiest autumn tints while a September sun shone softly over all as if it, too, would add its benediction on the scene soon to be enacted.

From every part of the County people came, until by noon, the place was alive with humanity. Desirous of showing honor to the men the good mothers, wives, sisters, sweethearts and friends decided to serve lunch for them on the “Court Green” the day of their departure. This arrangement becoming known, the result was a bountiful spread, people from every district responding generously.

After grouping the men in a reserved space on the “Green,” willing hands served of the tasty viands until all appetites were satisfied. Promptly at one o’clock by a given signal from the sheriff, all eyes were turned towards the Court House. Instantly a hush fell over the throng and silence reigned. As the name of each man was called, he responded by saying “here” and stepped in line on the Court House steps, where they were addressed by an officer in a few well-chosen words of encouragement and advice.

Immediately following this address, accompanied by relatives and friends the men marched out of the Court Green and again answering to their names were assigned to waiting automobiles, furnished by patriotic citizens, for the trip to Camp Lee.

The crucial moment had now arrived, each one present feeling that what had been a matter of conjecture for a long time was now a grim reality and Goochland, too, must do her part and surrender the best of her sons to take part and if necessary, make the supreme sacrifice in this great struggle for humanity and justice. Hearts that had remained staid and brave no longer attempted to conceal their feelings, the long pent-up emotions gave way and with tears streaming and husky voices wishing them “God Speed,” the trip to Camp Lee was begun. The men were accompanied on this trip by members of the County Draft Board, many relatives and friends there being in line, seventeen cars each bearing flags and a “Goochland” pennant. The first stop en route was made at State Farm for tire trouble, the next at Sabot for refreshments and again at Manakin to exchange a car for some in the party. All along the route crowds had assembled and cheered as they passed. Arriving at Richmond, the drafted men were photographed at Boice’s Studio. After this delay, the trip was resumed and continued unintercepted until Camp Lee was reached which was just at dusk. Bright lights shone everywhere, the whole place was in a state of great activity and we could not fail to be impressed with its city-like appearance. The officers in charge were very courteous to the visitors and after the usual procedure in receiving the men, they were conducted to their barracks.

Returning, the party stopped in Petersburg for a short while and again in Richmond for supper. From this point the last link of the journey was begun, those returning reaching home about midnight much fatigued, but with a greater conception and appreciation of what it meant to be involved in such a horrible war as this was forming to be.

Advertisements

World War I Soldiers Remembered: Richard Newton Thomas

14 Sep

RichardNewtonThomas gallery

Richard Newton Thomas was born December 8, 1893 in Goochland to Joseph Thomas and Mary Waddy. He was a 25 year old farmer when he was drafted. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, of medium height and had brown eyes.

He was inducted into service on November 1, 1917 and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, assigned to Veterinary Hospital #3. He left Newport News, Virginia on May 14, 1918 aboard the “Old Dominion” and arrived at Brest, France on June 2, 1918. He moved quickly around France, transferred from Brest to Vallahosu , Tours and Verdon. According to his war record, we know he was not engaged in battle during his time in Europe. He did list that he contracted influenza while in France and was sick for two weeks.

He arrived back at Newport News in June of 1919 and was officially discharged. About his service, he wrote “Have been enlightened in many ways.”

After the war, he returned to farming in Hylas and then disappears from the record. Repeated attempts to find some records have led to nothing. If you can provide any information on Richard Newton Thomas, please contact the Goochland Historical Society.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: James Walker Seay

7 Sep

JamesWalkerSeay gallery

James Walker Seay was born August 31, 1894 in Elk Hill, Virginia. His parents were James W. and Lucie J. Seay. He was a 23 year old saw mill hand when he was drafted on September 19, 1917 and sent to Camp Lee. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, tall and had blue eyes and brown hair.

He was inducted into service on September 21, 1917 at Camp Lee, Virginia, assigned to Co. C. Like the front lines of battle, Camp Lee too saw death in its ranks. The Spanish Flu caused a major impact in 1918. It appeared in January 1918 and raged throughout the year. Unfortunately, James Walker Seay would be one of the early victims of this deadly disease. He passed away at 10:00 am on January 30, 1918, 4 days after being diagnosed with influenza. He was 23 years old.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: Wilmer Henry Salmon

31 Aug
Wilmer Salmon reduced

Wilmer Henry Salmon Photograph Courtesy of Carol Salmon Coe

Wilmer Henry Salmon was born March 17, 1895 in Elk Hill. His father was Charles N. Salmon and his mother was Margaret L. Rutherford. He was a 22-year-old Elk Hill lumber foreman with Garrett Lumber when he was drafted on March 24, 1918. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, of medium build and had blue eyes and light brown hair.

He was inducted into service and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, assigned to Co. C, 318 Regiment, 80th Division. He remained at Camp Lee for the duration of the War. He was promoted several times while in Camp and by March of 1919 was Sergeant 1st Class.

In 1932, he married a girl named Evelyn and began a family. He passed away on February 17, 1953 and is buried in the Peninsula Memorial Park in Newport News, Virginia.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: Earlie Austin Rigsby

17 Aug

EarlieAustinRigsby reducedEarlie Austin Rigsby was born May 4, 1895 in Goochland. His parents were Washington and Amanda Rigsby He was a 22-year-old farmer when he was drafted. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, tall and had light brown eyes and light brown hair.

He was inducted into service on September 19, 1917 and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, assigned to Co. C. He left Newport News, Virginia on September 27, 1918 aboard the “Patria”. He arrived at Brest, France on September 28, 1918. Shortly after he arrived in France, he was transferred to the front where he served for the duration of the war. According to his war record, he first saw action on November 3, 1918 and he was part of the Battle of Argonne Forest. He received the Bronze Star after being wounded in battle on November 10, 1918, leaving him in the Base Hospital for over a month.

He departed St. Nazaire, France aboard the “Matsonia” on June 18, 1919. He was suffering from chronic tonsillitis and the ship was carrying sick and wounded men. He arrived back in the U.S. at Newport News and was officially discharged on June 28 of the same year. About his service, he wrote that he was “perfectly willing to give my services to my country”

On December 7, 1920, he married Constance Bowles Hughes. Together they had 1 child. He passed away on January 26, 1966 at the age of 69 and is buried in the Forest Grove Church cemetery in Goochland, Virginia.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: Eddie Clay Parrish

10 Aug

Eddie Clay Parrish

Eddie Clay Parrish was born March 24, 1887. His father was Andrew L. Parrish and his mother was Mary Frances Singleton.

He was a private first class but we don’t know much about his time in the military because he did not fill out his questionnaire after the war.

He returned to Goochland after the war and married Lillian Irene Griffin and started a family. He passed away on July 24, 1965 and is buried in the Ragland Memorial Cemetery in Sandy Hook.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: George Moore Lawrence

3 Aug

GeorgeLaurence gallery

George Moore Lawrence was born October 26, 1892 in Shako, Virginia. His father was Robert H. Lawrence of Hanover, Virginia and his mother was Margaret Keane of Goochland. He was a 24-year-old lathe hand at Machine Products Co. in Cleveland, Ohio when he registered for the draft in 1917. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, tall and had gray eyes and brown hair.

He was inducted into service on May 10, 1918 and was assigned to 4th Co. and trained at Handcock, Georgia. He left for Europe aboard the S.S. America on July 24, 1918 and arrived at Brest, France on August 6. While in France, he was stationed at Bourges.

He arrived back in the United States on board the U.S.S. Mallory on July 19, 1919 and was officially discharged on July 25 of the same year from Camp Dix, New Jersey. He apparently had difficulty enlisting and wrote “I was drafted from Goochland after trying to enlist while in Richmond and Cleveland, Ohio, on account of severe physical conditions, I was refused and then was drafted from my home county on 24 hours notice.”

After the war, he returned to Ohio, married and became a salesman. He died on October 7, 1959 and is buried in the Cemetery of Spring Grove in Cincinnati, Ohio.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.