Wayne County Veterans’ Spotlight: Edgar Bain

Edgar Hope BainEdgar Hope Bain was born in Goldsboro on January 20, 1884 to Theodore Howard (1855–1906) & Susan Elizabeth (1854–1925). His father was an insurance salesman and chief of the Goldsboro Fire Department. He married Agnes Louise Hobbs (1894–1978) and they had one child, George Edgar (1913–2000).

In World War I Bain was assigned to the 119th Infantry, part of the 30th Division. For his bravery in combat on October 9, 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1919.

BAIN, EDGAR H.
Captain, U.S. Army
119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 9, 1918
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edgar Bain, Captain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Busigny, France, October 9, 1918. Advancing under heavy fire with orders to pass through the front line company, Captain Bain found the troops he was to relieve 1,000 yards from their position, falling back. Rallying them, he personally led the troops in advance, under terrific fire, assaulting and capturing the assigned objective.
General Orders 81, W.D., 1919
Home Town: Goldsboro, NC

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Wayne County’s Oldest Civil War Veteran

WJ Merritt portrait
Photograph taken at A.O. Clement’s studio in Goldsboro, June 1935.  Courtesy Wayne County Public Library

William J. “Uncle Billy” Merritt died in Mt. Olive on October 1, 1940 at the age of 102. He was the oldest living Civil War veteran in Wayne County for many years.

He was born September 29, 1838 in Duplin County. His enlistment date in the Confederate Army is either October 1861 or February 1862; two pension applications (1907 & 1917) list different dates.

Merritt was assigned to the 51st North Carolina Infantry, under the command of General Thomas Clingman. The 51st first saw action in December 1862 at the Battle of Goldsboro Bridge and later fought at Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Bentonville.

His obituary from the Mt. Olive Tribune states that he participated in the firing on Ft. Sumter in April 1861 but this is not accurate. The 51st did fight at Charleston but it was in defense of the harbor in July 1863 at Fort Wagner.

After the war he returned home and spent the remainder of his long life farming in the Mt. Olive area.

The following is his request in 1917 for an increase in his veterans’ pension from the state. Click on either for a larger version.

 

WJ Merritt Civil War pension              WJ Merritt Civil War pension letter

 

Below is his obituary from the Mt. Olive Tribune and grave at Maplewood Cemetery.

WJ Merritt obituary, Mt. Olive Tribune, October 18, 1940               WJ Merritt grave Maplewood Cemetery Mt. Olive

Photograph – W. Walnut St. 1920

West Walnut St, Goldsboro, 1920s

 

From the collection of the Wayne County Public Library is this photo, taken about 1920, showing Walnut St. looking East towards Center St.

On the left is the Wayne National Bank. It was torn down in 1922 to make way for a skyscraper that still stands today.

To the right where the woman is window shopping is the Borden Building, completed in 1914, meaning the photo was taken sometime between 1914 and 1922.

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