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.

Captain, U.S. Army
119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 9, 1918
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 more

Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Grover Summerlin

James Grover Summerlin
Grover Summerlin, 1918. Taken in Goldsboro by A.O. Clement.

Grover Summerlin of Mt. Olive was one of the last casualties of WWI

James Grover Summerlin was born on May 18, 1892 in Mount Olive, the son of Jesse Giles (1848-1929) and Martha Caroline Grant (1856-1941) Summerlin.

The 1900 United States census lists his home in Indian Springs. The household recorded in the census data was crowded to say the least, although not unusual for a rural Southern family of the era. The inhabitants listed (all Summerlins) were: JG 51, Martha 43, George W  24, Charles A  61, Mary M 19, Martha E 17, Avery W 15, Jessie A 13, Lilly F 11, Joseph 1, James G 4, Sarah A 6, Lamual D 4, and Effie P 1.

Two months after the United States officially entered World War I, Grover registered for the draft just after his 25th birthday. His draft card states that he was an unmarried, self-employed farmer of medium height and build with blue eyes and black hair.

Read more

NC World War I Veteran’s Spotlight

John Burt Exum of Fremont, N.C.

John Burt Exum 1918

John Burt Exum, Jr was born in Fremont, NC in northern Wayne County on December 7, 1889. In May of 1918, at the age of 28, he was inducted into the US Army in Goldsboro, NC.

Exum was sent to Camp Jackson, SC (now Fort Jackson) and assigned to the 156th Depot Brigade for training.

Camp Jackson, 156 Depot Brigade, 1918
Camp Jackson, 156th Depot Brigade, 1918.     Library of Congress


81st Infantry Division logo
81st Division

After training, he was transferred to Company D of the 306th Ammunition Train, 81st Division and sent to the frontlines in August 1918. An ammunition train is not an actual train but the military term for units assigned to move artillery and small arms ammunition from the ammunition depot to the frontline. It was a particularly dangerous job because it was a key target for enemy fire- no ammo, no battle.


306th Ammunition Train, Sommedieu, France 1918
Dugout of commanding officer of the 306th Ammunition Train in Sommedieu, France, November 1, 1918.     NC Archives

John served in France for over ten months in Europe, returning to his home in Wayne County in June of 1919. He married May Rose and together they raised three children- Anne, John Burt III, & Charles Royall (a veteran of the US Navy in World War II).

He died on March 29, 1957 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Fremont.

The following is a letter John wrote to his mother in 1918 from Camp Jackson.

[envira-gallery id=”1080″]

It reads:

17th Co.,
156 Depot Br.
Camp Jackson
Columbia, S.C.

Dear Mother:
I received your second letter today. You ought to know that I received your first letter. If I hadn’t I would not have known where to write to you at. You said to day that you would not go home untill Tuesday so I am guessing that you will get this at La Grange before you go. Then I can write you again when you get home. I believe you had rather get short letters from me real often than for me to wait untill I get time to write a nice long letter. I am writing this in a hurry. A man in the army has to do everything in a hurry or he will find that everybody else is ahead of him. I got another shot in the shoulder today with the typhoid antitoxine and I can hardly raise my left arm. This was my second and I have one more to go. Other than this I am getting along fine. We have lots of fruits and vegitables and not much meat to eat. When we get meat it is usually beefe.

Write me again when you get home.
Your Son,



John Burt Exum grave     John Burt Exum WWI service card




Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)