War 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.
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.
The 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.
Aboard the USS Madawaska, his unit arrived in France in April 1918.
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.
Over 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 .
This is the final post in a three part series. Check out Part I & Part II.
With the end of the Civil War, investment in the shattered state railroad infrastructure began again. Work also resumed on dirt roads across the county, many of which survive today, although paved over.
The map to the right dates to 1881 and exhibits dozens of roads, in red pencil, along with the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad line running north and south.
Curiously absent are the North Carolina and Atlantic & NC Railroad lines running east and west. Both lines had been in existence for over twenty years when this map was drawn.
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).
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.
The railroad is the single most important development in the history of both Wayne County and North Carolina. With no natural deep ports and a string of barrier islands, our state was commonly regarded as a rural backwater for much of its early history.
The railroad created Goldsboro and Mt. Olive while bringing about the end of Waynesborough, the original county seat. As William Sherman made his way north from Georgia in late 1864, his main objective was Goldsboro and its intersection of major rail lines.
Waterways have been the primary highways for humans for thousands of years, long before the arrival of airplanes, cars, and trains.
Two of the largest and richest areas of Colonial America were Charleston, SC and the Tidewater region of Virginia, both blessed with natural deep water ports. North Carolina, with its string of barrier islands, was not so lucky.
The Neuse River was one of the few waterways of importance to early European settlers in North Carolina. Despite the emergence of the railroad in the mid-19th century, the Neuse continued as an effective highway for people and goods.
This is part 2 of a three part series. Click here for part 1.
With the defeat of the British and formation of the United States, the North Carolina General Assembly created Wayne County in 1787 from the former Dobbs County. With a new nation came new demand for surveys of everything from national borders all the way down to private property.
While surveyors combed the nation though, the first maps differed little from the maps of the Colonial Era.
Above:Map of North and South Carolina, by J. Denison, published in 1796.
This map does feature counties but does not show any boundary lines, owing to the fact that comprehensive surveys had not yet been completed across the state.
Wayne County’s history began in 1787 with its formation from the break-up of Dobbs County. The history of this region stretches back much further however. The following maps highlight the development of North Carolina and also show the slow pace of information hundreds of years ago.
The maps below are from the North Carolina Maps project website. It is a collaboration between the State Archives and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
This is the first of three posts covering Wayne County’s history in maps.
The New World
After the European discovery of North America in the late 1400s, explorers came in droves to chart this new land. The first to lay eyes on what would become North Carolina was the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed up the Atlantic coast from Florida to New Brunswick in 1524.
In 1585, the same year English settlers arrived at Roanoke Island (the “Lost Colony”), the Americae pars, Nunc Virginia (Americas now part of Virginia) map was published by Theodor de Bry in Germany.