WWI Films in Wayne County

Goldsboro Daily Argus June 4, 1921, Flashes of Action promoMount Olive Tribune, February 27, 1919, To Hell with the Kaiser advertisementWar propaganda films are as old as the medium itself. Dozens, if not hundreds, were made in the US during World War I. Charlie Chaplin produced and starred in multiple propaganda films, including The Bond, a series of short clips promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds. In one clip he literally beats the Kaiser with a war bond.

Two films appeared in theaters in Wayne County; the documentary Flashes of Action in Goldsboro and the comedy To Hell with the Kaiser in Mount Olive.

Goldsboro Daily Argus June 4, 1921, Flashes of Action article
Goldsboro Daily Argus – June 4, 1921 click to enlarge

Flashes of Action came to the Acme Theatre on Center Street on June 6 & 7, 1921 and ran about forty-five minutes long. The US Army Signal Corps filmed American troops from training in the US to combat on the front lines of Europe.

To Hell with the Kaiser lobby posterThe silent comedy film To Hell with the Kaiser, came to the Victoria Theatre in Mount Olive in February 1919. The plot centers on Kaiser Wilhelm and a German actor hired to be his body double. Wilhelm makes a pact with the Devil but is captured by American forces and commits suicide in a POW camp. In hell, the devil hands his throne over to the Kaiser, whom he claims is far more evil than he (Satan) could ever hope to be.

Unfortunately, To Hell with the Kaiser is a lost film. There are no known existing copies. Copies of Flashes of Action do exist and the National Archives has digitized the film and made available to the public. It can be viewed below.

To Hell with the Kaiser poster

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

Men of Wayne County in World War I

Goldsboro NC Wayne County Memorial Community Building campaign posterOver 1800 young men from Wayne County served in World War I.

More than 50 lost their lives.

The following are three lists:

1) names and basic information on the men that served in the war with a connection to Wayne County
2) names and information for the men that lost their lives
3) a list of men whose letters to home were collected just after the war by Gertrude Weil and the local Red Cross. After the death of Ms. Weil,  these letters were given to the State Archives.

The Wayne County Public Library  will be presenting public programs this fall on the war and its effect on the soldiers and families of the county.

If you recognize a relative or anyone else on the lists and you have information on them (photos, documents, family info, etc…) please contact Marty Tschetter, local history librarian, at (919)735-1824 or Marty.Tschetter@waynegov.com .

Read moreMen of Wayne County in World War I

WWI and Goldsboro’s War on Pool Rooms

Places of Idling

In May 1918 the Goldsboro Board of Aldermen voted to temporarily revoke the licenses of all pool rooms within city limits for the duration of World War I.

Representatives from many of the largest churches, and the Jewish temple Oheb Shalom, signed the petition and presented it to the alderman on May 6. They stated that their request was a “war measure” and that the

energy, time and money spent by our men and youth in the pool rooms is practically a waste, and should be diverted into productive channels.

The petitioners claimed that such action was not meant to “injure any man’s legalized business”, although how they could rationalize this as anything other than financial injury is suspect.

Local attorney J. Langhorne Barham represented the interests of the local pool room operators but his best efforts were not successful. The board agreed to the ban in a 5-3 vote at a special session on May 13.

Read moreWWI and Goldsboro’s War on Pool Rooms

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.

Read moreHonoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Gaston Dortch

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

Read moreWayne County Veterans’ Spotlight: Edgar Bain

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

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.

Read moreHonoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Miles Faison Harris

Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Charles Rom Hardesty

Another victim of the worst killer in WWI- disease

George HardestyGeorge Rom Hardesty was born in Wake County on July 17, 1882 to Washington (1825-1904) & Katherine (1845-1914) Hardesty.

He attended North Carolina State University (known then as NC State A&M) and graduated in 1907 with a degree in electrical engineering. While at school he was a member of the literary society and served in the college military department as captain of Company B.

In 1909 Hardesty moved to Goldsboro to take a position as an engineer at Cherry Hospital, a job he held until 1917.

Read moreHonoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Charles Rom Hardesty

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