Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Fred Reid

Fred Reid 371st InfantryFred Reid was born October 1, 1892 in the Fork Township area. His parents were Charles (1864-1922) & Louvenia Howell (1863-1901).

Fred joined the 371st Infantry, part of the 93rd Division, in early 1918 after several months of training at Camp Jackson, SC.

Aboard the USS Madawaska, his unit arrived in France in April 1918.

93rd division patch
93rd Division logo. The Adrian helmet was worn by French troops and signified the 93rd’s connection to French forces in the war.

The 93rd Division was composed of black troops, including the famous Harlem Hellfighters. The division was put under the command of the French.

Beginning September 26, Fred’s unit attacked heavily entrenched German troops as part of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. With 1.2 million troops engaged, it is the largest American military operation in history. By the armistice of November 11, 1918, 26,000 American troops had died in the offensive.

On September 26 Fred was killed in action just south of the French village of Monthois. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, alongside 14,000 other Americans killed in WWI, including Foster Stevens and Elam Summerlin of Wayne County.

Previous Wayne County WWI posts:

Gaston Dortch
King David Simmons
Andrew Best
Miles Faison Harris
Charles Rom Hardesty
Ezra Alphonso Mayo
Grover Summerlin
Camp Royster, Wayne County Fairground
John Burt Exum
Boys Battalion, 1905
Remembering the Forgotten Dead of a Forgotten War
North Carolina National Guard on the Border
World War I & North Carolina: 30th Division, 119th Infantry

Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: King David Simmons

King D. Simmons, News & Observer, October 18, 1918
Only known photo of Simmons, from the October 18, 1919 News & Observer.

Missing in Action October 3, 1918

King David Simmons was born April 8, 1893 in the Dudley area to William Frank (1857–1940) & Sarah C. (1864–1930).

He had ten siblings- Mallie (b 1885), Charles Thomas (b 1887), Ida Eliza Simmons Brewington (1890-1981), Lola (b 1894), Fannie (b 1895), Henry Garner (1896-1918), Iva (b 1898), Archie (b 1899), Tinie M. (b 1900) & Odessa Simmons Brock (b 1906).

Draft

Simmons registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. His draft registration card states that he and his family were tenant farmers one mile southeast of Dudley on the land of Brantley Smith of Mount Olive.

Read moreHonoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: King David Simmons

Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Andrew Best

Died November 11, 1918

Andrew Bass photograph, News & Observer, October 18, 1919
Photo from the October 18, 1919 issue of the News & Observer.

Andrew Best was born in Goldsboro on November 30, 1886, the son of Spicie Annie, a laundress. The family lived at 513 Denmark St.

The 1916 city directory lists Andrew’s profession as laborer, a catch-all term for manual laborers.

The 1910 census lists that he was married to Mary and they had a son named George, born about 1909.

Andrew was inducted into the US Army on March 30, 1918 in Goldsboro. He was assigned for training to the 161st Depot Brigade at Camp Grant, Illinois, one of the largest training camps for black soldiers during World War I.

On April 22 he was transferred to Company E of the 365th Infantry, part of the 92nd Division, the only active black fighting division during the war. The 92nd was nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers”, a name given by Native Americans to black soldiers serving in the American West during the 19th century.

His unit left for France on June 10, 1918 from Hoboken, NJ aboard the transport ship Agamemnon. Originally built as the German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1903, it was seized by the US on April 2, 1918, four days after America’s official entry into the war.

Read moreHonoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Andrew Best

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