Search billions of records on

"A Call to Arms"

by Sue T. Wilkinson

Van Zandt County Men Subject to the Draft World War I

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society

The following pages are from "A Call to Arms," a book compiled by Sue Wilkinson and posted with her permission on this website. It contains the stories and listings of the Van Zandt County draftees of the period during World War I, "The War to End All Wars." This volume was compiled and transcribed from original sources from the Canton Herald, the Grand Saline Sun and the Wills Point Chronicle. This book is still available for purchase. For information contact Sue Wilkinson. We thank her very much for her generousity in allowing the society to post this book in its entirety on this site.

"A Call to Arms"

Van Zandt County during World War I

County Newspaper Reports of Deaths, Injuries & Other Stories

Canton Herald… June 8, 1917
The number of men registering Tuesday far exceeded all expectations.

Registration by Precincts
The following list of the registrations in the county by precincts was compiled by the first returns received and accout for 2,519 Registrations, but others received late, by mail run the total up to 2,676.

1. Northeast Canton, 119
2. Walton, 71
3. Phalba, 89
4. Wise, 45
5. South Wills Point, 143
6. Owlet Green, 14
7. Edom, 157
8. Martins Mill, 145
9. Edgewood 189
10. Ben Wheeler, 122
11. South West Canton, 93
12. Roddy, 72
13. North Wills Point, 221
14. East Grand Saline, 133
15. Alsa, 54
16. Stone Point, 61
17. Small, 75
18. Pruitt, 88
19. Myrtle Springs, 84
20. Fruitvale, 61
21. Jackson, 41
22. Colfax, 52
23. Sand Flat, 64
24. Scott, 36
25. Northwest Canton, 34
26. Southeast Canton, 64

The lottery drawing began on July 27, 1917 all the men whose names were drawn were listed in the Canton Herald but are too numerous to list again.

Abb Walters Killed in Army Service in France

Canton Herald
August 16, 1917

G. W. Walters of Wills Point, on Monday received the sad news that his son, Abb Walters, was killed in the army service somewhere in France on April 9. The only information received here was from a Canadian newspaper, which stated that the young man was killed with a number of others by the bursting of a shell or other explosive in a trench somewhere in France. He enlisted in a Canadian regiment early in the war and the father had had no news from him for more than two years. He was 29 years of age and a single man. He formerly lived here with his father though he has been away from Wills point about 15 years. So far as we know he was the first Van Zandter to give up his life in the war for human liberty that is now calling many of our citizens from the path of peace, and the father has the sympathy of all in his sorrow….Wills Point Chronicle

Grand Saline Sun…..
August 16, 1917
Dr. V. B. Cozby of this city, who recently at a meeting of the medical society at Dallas, signified his willingness to serve as a physician in the United States Army in the event that his services were required. On Saturday he received a commission as first lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the U. S. Army. He has sent in a letter of acceptance to Washington and is now subject to the orders of the war department. Because of the fact that the department is taking the younger physicians first, and the additional reason that Dr. Cozby has a family, including young children, he does not believe that he will be called for service in the near future. However, he has no assurance to that effect, and is ready to go at any time he is called.
By September 7th 1917 the examining board had called up the groups of registed men.

EXEMPTIONS……Friday August 17, 1917 Many men applied for exemptions and were each considered by the local board. The list of the exemptions appeared in the Canton Herald. Those exemptions were:

Adkins, Jule --Grand Saline
Alexander, Jim --Grand Saline
Alexander, Wiley --Edom
Armstrong, L.H. --Fruitvale
Baker, J. B. --Canton
Bamburg, H. M. --Wills Point
Barber, M. N. --Canton
Bartlett, J. P. --Stone Point
Beall, N. B. --Edom
Bell, T. J. B. --Ben Wheeler
Berry, E. --Grand Saline
Bevel, John --Martins Mill
Blackstock, F. Y. --Ben Wheeler
Blair, J. E. --Canton
Brawner, O. G. --Grand Saline
Brewer, George --Wills Point
Brown, F. L. --Edom
Brown, M. C. --Canton
Brown, R. W. --Edom R. 1.
Burch, W. E. --Wills Point
Byars, W. E. --Grand Saline
Caldwell, Jesse --Chandler
Campbell, W. O. --Canton R. 7.
Carnes, T. E. --Wills Point
Carothers, O. H. --Wills Point
Caruthers, Edward --Mabank
Cary, W. E. --Mabank
Chambless, J. J. --Canton R. 6.
Chaney, C. P. --Edgewood
Clark, J. F. --Canton R. 5.
Clifford, Uly --Grand Saline
Cofer, Oliver --Grand Saline
Conner, W. T. --Grand Saline
Corley, C. W. --Ben Wheeler
Counts, G. C. --Wills Point
Cox, C. H. --Canton
Crim, E. J. --Grand Saline
Crisp, A. W. --Stane Point
Crocker, J. E. --Grand Saline
Crumpton, W. M. --Edgewood
Davis, J. W. --Wills Point
Davis, Kirksey --Athens
Deewees, J. C. --Canton
Ebarb, Ernest --Wills Point
Ebarb, Sid --Wills Point
Emerson, G. H. --Stone Point
Ethridge, Irl --Canton
Flowers, J. L. --Stone Point
Fielder, F. M. --Grand Saline
Foster, H. A. --Edom
Frazier, W. --Grand Saline
Fry, E. R. --Wills Point
Fugate, W. B. --Canton
Geddie, H. H. --Grand Saline
Geddie, W. F. --Garden Valley
George, F. C. --Wills Point
Germany, G. H. --Grand Saline
Gilbert, A. G. --Ben Wheeler
Goggans, H. J. --Fruitvale
Gotcher, J. L. --Wills Point
Gowin, E. --Ben Wheeler
Green, F. B. --Canton
Green, J. W. --Wills Point
Green, R. B. --Grand Saline
Gunter, Jim --Mabank
Hamilton, F. R. --Grand Saline
Hamil, B. W. --Edom
Haney, Will --Canton
Hanson, J. C. --Chandler
Hendley, A. R. --Ben Wheeler
High, E. L. --Canton
Hollowell, A. L. --Canton
Howard, O. H. --Edom
Hyde, W. B. --Mabank
Jacob, R. L. --Garden Valley
Jobe, W. T. --Canton
Johnson, R. B. --Wills Point
Johnson, W. G. --Wills Point
Keyes, Amos --Wills Point
Keys, J. M. --Wills Point
King, H. G. --Grand Saline
Kirk, H. J. --Grand Saline
Koonce, C. J. --Grand Saline
Leach, A. W. --Wills Point
Lenard, Will --Wills Point
Malone, L. H. --Wills Point
Marshand, E. M. --Canton
Martin ? D. --Edom
Manly ? --Chandler
Melton, T. J. --Edgewood
McDow, C. F. --Grand Saline
McKinney, Charlie --Wills Point
McLerran, V.F.--Mabamk
McPhail, B. A. --Garden Valley
McPhail, H. F. --Garden Valley
Miller, J. T. --Wills Point
Morehead, W. --Ben Wheeler
Morris, Albert --Canton
Morris, Arthur --Canton
Mullins, M.G. --Canton
Murphy, J. E. --Ben Wheeler
Myers, Jesse --Ben Wheeler
Neal, T. W. --Grand Saline
Nickles, J. M. --Grand Saline
Noles, W. L. --Grand Saline
Norman, E. B. --Canton R. 5.
Norrell, J. W. --Canton
Norris, Ray --Silver Lake
Parrish, H. E. --Edom
Paschall, S. A. --Stone Point
Pate, O. L. --Wills Point
Patterson, C. D. --Wills point
Paul, D. D. --Wills Point
Payne, W. M. --Wills Point
Perkins, H. S. --Canton
Peterson, C. R. --Grand Saline
Phelps, Levie --Ben Wheeler
Phillips, W. H. --Wills Point
Porter, F. F. --Grand Saline
Reed, R. A. --Wills Point
Riley, G. A. --Canton
Robertson, W. E, --Edgewood
Sanders, R. Y. --Edom
Savage, W. K. --Fruitvale
Scott, M. D. --Grand Saline
Shaw, B. l. --Canton
Sides, H. M. --Edgewood R. 1.
Simmons, Carlos --Wills Point
Simpson, J. O. --Wills Point
Skiles, T. A. --Ben Wheeler
Snow, S. H. --Fruitvale
Sprague, L. R. --Prairieville
Stepp, V. C. --Edgewood
Stevenson, W. W. --Wills Point
Street, V. C. --Wills Point
Stringer, G. M. --Murchison
Tatum, C. F. --Canton
Terry, E. W. --Canton
Thompson, J. L. --Fruitvale
Tipps, S. L. --Grand Saline
Trent, J. B. --Athens
Valentine, J. H. Wills Point
Valentine, W. B. --Martins Mill
Vaughn, J. T. --Grand Saline
Watson, Charley --Canton
Weatherford, D. J. --Canton
Wetzel, R. T. --Canton R. 3.
Williams, Coleman --Athens
Willoughby, H. H. --Ben Wheeler
Wilson, J. A. --Wills Point
Woods, Frank --Edom
Wolverton, J. L. --Canton
Wright, G. J. W. --Wills Point
Wright, H. O. --Wills Point
York, G. N. --Grand Saline
Youngblood, G. M. --Edgewood

September 7, 1917

The first contingent of the Van Zandt County men chosen under the selective service law will leave Wills Point on passenger train No. 5 Friday afternoon for San Antonio, where they will be trained. There will be fourteen men in the party. The following men have been summoned by the local board to appear at the office of the board Friday morning at 8 o'clock, one extra man being called to provide for the possibility of one man being unable for some reason to answer the call.

These men will be placed under military rule when they answer the call of the local board Friday morning. From that hour they will be soldiers. Their meals will be provided by the government, their transportation will be supplied them and their movements will be directed by government authority.

Editor's note…
More men were later reviewed and exempted or discharged for various reasons. I did not repeat that list here as it was too extensive.

September 12, 1917
The first fourteen men selected from Van Zandt County for service in the new national army left Friday afternoon on passenger train 15 for Camp Travis near San Antonio where they will train for service in the army. It is worthy of note that the first contingent of men was made up of men who accepted service without claiming exemption and made special request to be the first to go. There were two married men in the squad, Homer Hilliard of Canton, who was placed in command, and Noah Shelton of near Wills Point. Wills Point and vicinity furnished 10 out of the 14 but this is in a measure accounted for by reason of the fact that the young men around here had better opportunity to volunteer to go after the call was made for the first men, the county board being located here. A large number of requests were made for a place in the first contingent the places had been filled and several men came here Friday in hopes that some man would not show and they would have a chance to take his place. James Freese who was selected as second in command of the squad came from a distant state to go to the war with the first boys from his home -town. Following is a list of the men who left Friday:
William Clay Presley ---Wills Point
Curtis W. Knight ---Wills Point
Marion Bell ---Wills Point
Thomas Greenwood ---Wills Point
David Lafayette Fuller ---Wills Point
George Homer Hilliard ---Canton
J. C. Simmons ---Canton
Robert Edward Crampler---Grand Saline
Noah Shelton- --Wills Point
Bob Richardson- --Wills Point
James Montreall Ellis ---Wills Point
Ben Mallory ---Wills Point
James Sarfield Freese ---Wills Point
Perry Gray Music ---Ben Wheeler

Editor's note………..
(Washington Irving Green --Wills Point had been the extra man called in the event that one of the 14 did not appear.)

At two o'clock a goodbye service was held at the Majestic Theatre, the building being crowded to its capacity by those who assembled to do honor to the boys and wish them God Speed. The meeting opened with a prayer by Rev. Watson of Cobb and America was sung.

September 21, 1917
The second increment of Van Zandt County's quota for the new national army, which entrained at Wills Point Wednesday, consisted of 131 white men. There were only three men who failed to answer to roll call, and in each instance a lawful excuse was made to the local board. This is a remarkable showing when the fact is taken into consideration that such short notice was given the men, the notices to appear being mailed out last Saturday afternoon.

There are a number of instances where two boys have gone to the army from the same home. The following brothers being in the second increment that went to Camp Travis: J. A. Francis and Ray Francis of Wills Point: Wm. E. Shields of Fruitvale and John I. Shields of Grand Saline: James W. Wilburn and Sidney L. Wilburn, both of near Canton: William B. D. Meeks and Joseph W. Meeks both of Grand Saline. Probably there are others that have escaped our attention.

The men who entrained for Camp Travis were in the best of spirits, not one expressing a desire to escape service in the army. Many of course were not anxious to go, but it was evident from expressions made that they all were ready and willing to do their duty since they have been called to the colors. It was sad to witness the parting of sons from their mothers and wives bidding their husbands good-bye. But in most instances the women went through the ordeal bravely and cheerfully, though in very rare instances could they keep back the tears as they gave to their country the greatest sacrifice that a woman can make. The Herald trusts that the boys will write home folks often.

With the Soldier Boys
September 21, 1917

Jesse J. Murphy of near Canton had a broken arm set in plaster of paris when he left for Camp Travis, the fracture of his arm occurring since his examination. Had he insisted the local board would doubtless have excused him until his arm healed, but he desired to go on with the second increment, confident that Uncle Sam would take good care of him until he was able to do full duty as a soldier.

The name of G. W. Tull of Canton was certified to the local board on Monday as called for service and not exempt. Mr. Tull had secured an exemption from the district board at Tyler and he immediately took the matter up with that board with the result that the local board was on Tuesday, instructed by wire to erase his name from the certified list. The name was doubtless certified through error.

David H. Kimbriel of Route 1, Mabank, was minus his trigger finger when he went to Camp Travis, having had the forefinger of his right hand cut off in a mower since his examination for army service. The accident occurring after the local board had certified him for service he could not be excused from service and it remains to be seen what the military authorities will do when he takes the final examination.

September 21, 1917
(In addition to the white men certified in the call were the following Negroes)
William Jackson, Wills Point
Wade Hamilton, Wills Point
Henry Kennedy, Chandler
Willie A. Bell, Canton
Willie H. Wilson, Wills Point
Harrison Shaw, Wills Point
Mathis Randall, Edgewood
Tommie Simmons, Fruitvale
O. C. Cornelious, Canton
Lanie Jackson, Ben Wheeler
William Scott, Wills Point
Joe Taylor, Edom
Clifton Evans, Wills Point
T. Cornelious, Canton
Charlie F. Bowman, Canton
Clarence F. Smith, Wills Point.
Jack G. Jefferson, Edgewood
Edmon Shaw, Wills Point
Herman Fitzgerald, Wills Point
Scott Kennedy, Chandler
Lemon Love, Ben Wheeler
Eddie Jones, Edom
Rufus Walker, Wills Point
Jerry Scates, Canton
Oscar Knight, Wills Point
Red Fitzgerald, Wills Point
Clifford Williams

September 21, 1917
Edgewood had the distinction of furnishing three brothers in the second increment from this county, the young men being Walter E. Cockrell, Harry C. Cockrell and Randolph Cockrell who left Wednesday for Camp Travis. Unless one of them is disqualified upon final examination at the camp, the Cockrell boys will have the honor of being the largest contribution to the army from one family in this county. The Herald is informed that the boys are the only sons in the family, and surely the God of liberty will smile on a family that has made such a supreme sacrifice. May they return safely to loved ones who, have cheerfully consecrated them to the service of their country.


October 31,1917

A colored increment of registrants entrained at Wills Point Tuesday morning for Camp Travis, this being the first Negro soldiers to go from this county. Harrison Shaw was nominated by the men and selected by the local board as the officer in charge and Charlie F. Bowman was named as his assistant. The following men were in the increment: Henry Kennedy, who resided in Chandler; William A. Bell, Canton; Harrison Shaw, Wills Point; O. C. Cornelious, Canton; Lanie Jackson, Ben Wheeler; William Scott, Wills Point; Joe Taylor, Edom; T. Cornelious, Canton; Charlie Bowman, Canton; Edmon Shaw, Wills Point; Red Fitxgerald, Canton.

November 1917…………Canton Herald
County Superintendent Cranfill H. Cox will enter the Field Artillery Central Officers Training School at Camp Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky next Thursday, November 7, his induction papers having been received by the local board of this county this week. At the conclusion of the training period he will stand the examination for a commission in the field artillery branch of the army, and with his natural qualifications his friends are confident that he will have no trouble in passing the required examination.

December 5, 1917
Regarding the athletic activities at Camp Travis a San Antonio newspaper recently reported the following: "All but E. and F. Batteries of the 344th Field Artillery were represented in field meet Wednesday morning. The important events were spectacular and were participated in by larger teams than usual. Practically every man in the regiment took a very active part and the day was declared to be the most completely successful regimental holiday that the boys have enjoyed." "Battery "B" was the winner of the day and among the Van Zandt county men who are members of this organization we mention Privates L. C. Jones and R. B. Birt of the Ben Wheeler community, Private C. J. Eason of Grand Saline, Private S. R. Massey of Wills Point and Private W. P. Hutchinson and J. T. Reeves of Canton.

News Items from Co. H., 359th Inf.

The following men from Van Zandt have received promotions: Sergeant: M. B. Hughes. Corporals: J. S. Freese, V. L. Henegar, W. C. Presley, J. C. Simmons, R. E. Crumpler, C. W. Knight.

Privates, first class: W. G. Creagle, E. A. Dean, J. A. Francis, R. C. Fuller, C. C. Gilmore, W. L. Green, H. Kuykendall, J. I. Shields.

Men discharged: G. H. Hilliard, Noah Shelton.

Corporal Curtis Knight is developing into an all round athlete.

A. Bridges was unfortunate in that he awakened one morning all red with measles. But came back from the hospital in tiptop condition.

Rex Mallory is mess sergeant for Company H, where the Van Zandt boys are located.

Back to A Call to Arms Index Page

Back to Van Zandt County Genealogical Society Home Page

You're the [an error occurred while processing this directive]person to visit this page.
This page last updated 24 July 2007

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society Website maintained by

Sibyl Creasey