Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Gaston Dortch

Gaston Dortch portraitGaston Lewis Dortch was born February 18, 1893 in Goldsboro to William and Elizabeth. He had two brothers, Hugh & Redmond, and four sisters, Elizabeth, Mary, Anna & Helen. The family lived at 212 N. William St., near where the post office downtown now stands.

His father was a United States Marshal and his grandfather was William Theophilus Dortch, a well respected lawyer. Gaston attended both UNC and NC State and after graduation followed in his father’s footsteps as a marshal. He was assigned to the Raleigh district, led by his father.

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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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St. Mary’s Catholic Church – 50th anniversary

St. Mary's Catholic, 50th anniversary, 1939

The above picture was taken at the 50th anniversary celebration for St. Mary’s Catholic Church on November 9, 1939. This building, still standing, is located on the corner of Mulberry and William Streets in downtown Goldsboro, across the street from the post office.

mitres Catholic Encyclopedia
“Development of the Mitre”, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913.

The man holding the staff is likely Eugene Joseph McGuinness, the Bishop of Raleigh from 1937-1944. The other men are high ranking officials from the Diocese of Raleigh.

The sermon was given by Monsignor Arthur Raine Freeman. Two of the altar boys listed an article in the News Argus were Richard Griswold and Billy Heeden. The pastor of the church at this time was Reverend F.C. Gorham.

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NC Railroad Survey of Wayne County, 1851

1851 NCRR survey distanceThe North Carolina Railroad was chartered in 1849 and completed in 1856. It ran from Charlotte to Goldsboro, where it ended at the Wilmington & Weldon line.

In 1851 the company compiled a book of maps showing the right of way for the entire line, including property owned adjacent to the track.

The entire survey can be viewed online at the North Carolina Maps project.

Wayne County had nine miles of track, beginning at the Johnston County line and running in line with modern Highway 70 into town.

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Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Miles Faison Harris

Killed in action July 18, 1918

Faison Harris, News & Observer, October 18, 1919
Only known photo of Faison Harris, from the Raleigh News & Observer, October 18, 1919. The original has not yet been located.

Miles Faison Harris was born February 18, 1897 in Benson, NC to Miles S. (1860-1926) and Rebecca Ryals Harris (1872-1928). Just a few years after his birth the family moved to Goldsboro where Faison’s father worked as a blacksmith.

The 1916 Goldsboro city directory lists the family address at 112 S. Slocumb St. The house no longer stands but would have been near the intersection of Slocumb and Chestnut Streets. Faison’s father owned a blacksmith shop at 215 N. Center St. (today an empty lot across from City Hall) while Faison worked at the Goldsboro Steam Laundry at 142 S. Center Street. His draft registration card from June of 1917 lists his employer as the Durham Hosiery Mills at 101 E. Ash St.

In July 1917 Faison joined the North Carolina National Guard in Goldsboro. Soon after the guard was federalized and transferred to the newly created 30th Division, where he was assigned to Company D of the 119th Infantry Regiment as a mechanic.

His unit left for France on May 12, 1918 from Boston on the British steamship SS Laomedon. By July 17 the 119th Infantry found itself in and around the northwestern Belgian town of Poperinge, just a few miles from the French border. The town was only one of two in Belgium not occupied by Germany during the war, making its defense critical to the Allied war effort.

On July 18, Company D took up a position on the East Poperinge Line where Faison was killed in action. His exact cause of death is unknown; his service card simply states “KIA”. He was likely killed by either machine gun or artillery fire.

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Cherry Hospital Cemetery

A Painful Reminder of a Forgotten Era

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of men and women buried at Cherry Hospital. The vast majority are unmarked and unknown.

The following pictures are from the graveyard located off West Ash Street, behind the SPX facility and across the street from the State Employees’ Credit Union.

The burials are primarily from the early 1900s and consist of no more than a death date, patient number, and sometimes a name.

1824 Letter

A nearly 200 year old letter sent from Wayne County to Tennessee has miraculously survived

The following letter was donated to Old Waynesborough Park by Susan Evans. It was written in 1824 by Henry Daughtry in Wayne County, NC to James Boyet in Bedford County, TN.

The handwriting is clear but his grammar is terrible. There is no punctuation nor are there any paragraphs and the spelling is poor. Keep in mind though that Mr. Daughtry likely had very little formal education, no TV, internet, and probably no books except for a Bible.

After the transcript below there is information on some of the people mentioned in the letter.

1824 letter
click to enlarge

In the following transcript I have added punctuation and separated the text into paragraphs. Anything in brackets are my notes.

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Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Alphonso Mayo

Ezra Alphonso Mayo made the ultimate sacrifice on September 12, 1918

Ezra Alphonzo Mayo photograph
Alphonso Mayo , 1917
courtesy Ray Mayo

Alphonso was born January 16, 1888 near Eureka to Jesse (1848-1901) & Nancy (1849-1911) Mayo. The 1900 census lists a large household: Jesse (52), Nancy (54), Sarah (28), Jesse (28), Celia (23), Alison (21), Lena (19), Bertie (17), Hugh (14) Ezra Alphonso (12), & Ellen P. Smith (47).

He registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 and was inducted into the US Army in Goldsboro on September 24. His first assignment was to the 81st Division at Camp Jackson, near Columbia, SC. In a letter to his sister, he wrote that he was “getting along well as I can expect” but that he was not getting enough to eat, and what he was fed was “not cooked very good”.

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