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"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


February 15, 1918……..Canton Herald

The name of William R. Wilson of Canton appears in the list of known dead as the result of the sinking of the steamship Tuscania by a submarine on Tuesday of last week, according to an Associated Press dispatch. The ship was being used as a transport for American soldiers and 2,179 Americans were on board at the time of the tragedy. Mr. Wilson was one of the 171 soldiers who were lost. The Americans have been buried on the coast of Scotland, where the bodies were recovered. Seventy-eight were buried in one place, forty-five in another, and forty-nine in another and the bodies of others have not yet been recovered. Mr. Wilson was buried in a long grave in which were interred forty-nine soldiers. The report from Scotland gave the name of W. E. Wilson, but after checking the list of those on board the ship. It is, stated by the authorities that this was William R. Wilson of Canton.

Editor's note
A later notice in the Chronicle gives confirmation of the death of Willie Riley Wilson. He was 26 years old on November 26, 1917. He was born and reared in Van Zandt County. He was drafted on the 19th of September 1917 and went directly to Camp Travis. He was married to Miss Ethel Maude Underwood of Birmingham, Alabama on 12 May 1917.


February 27, 1918

Men selected by the local board from the class one on the examinations this week to fill the last increment of the first quota will be entrained here Thursday morning for Camp Travis. The men have been notified to answer roll call Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock. The board has instruction to select 79 men, white and colored and entrain the white men only. Thirteen Negroes have been accepted up to the time the Chronicle went to press Tuesday afternoon and the exact number of white men depends upon the number of Negroes accepted before the total of 79 men is secured.


March 6, 1918

(Furnished by Division Publicity Office 90th Division, Camp Travis.)
Marvin A. Rose of the 115th Ordnance Depot Company has been promoted to a corporal of ordnance from private.

Private Christian B. Wise, Co. C. Machine Gun Bn., has been appointed private first class.
Private G. B. Lovorn, who is now in Battery B, 344th F. A. has been issued a furlough to go home after his fair one before trying the trip across the pond.

Corporal Simeon G. West, Battery C, 344th F. A., has been promoted to the rank of sergeant and is acting signal sergeant with the battery commanders' detail.

Private Roe Simmons of Battery A, 344th F. A., has been detailed to attend the Cooks and Bakers' School.

Private James M. Mills of Battery F. 344th F. A., is spending a couple of months away from his organization, while he is learning more about how to care for and handle horses at the remount station, where all of the new horses for the camp are received.

Private Thomas A. Shotts of Battery A, 344th Field Artillery, was appointed first class private in his battery on the 1st inst. Private Shotts is attending the regimental Map School.

"Not merely satisfactory: the shooting was wonderful," according to Brigadier General "Fighting Patsy" O'Neal, Commander of the 179th Brigade, in speaking of the character of work being done by his men on the target range.


March 20, 1918

Jesse L. Easterwood, a son of Capt. W. E. Easterwood of Wills Point, left New York the latter part of last week for France to enter active service as an aviator. His father and other relatives met him in Dallas last week but he did not have time to come here for a visit. He enlisted in the aviator corps last April and is an ensign in the aviation section of the navy department. He was one of the early volunteers in the service of his country after war was declared and his training has been remarkable for its efficiency and thoroughness. He has the highest commission possible as a student and has devoted some time to instruction in Boston. He had the distinction of being the second man to qualify as a naval pilot at the Pensacola, Florida naval field, where he enlisted April 10, 1917, the first man, who was from New York, beating him by only 24 hours. He soon qualified as an expert pilot and was placed as an instructor for two months before he was transferred to the Massachusetts School of Technology at Boston. After finishing his course there, he received his commission and in the same mail he received orders to report for overseas duty.

Jesse Easterwood was born in Wills Point and is 28 years of age.


March 22, 1918

The local board of this county will furnish ten white men and eleven Negroes in an increment that will entrain for Camp Travis in response to a recent call, the movement to be made March 29 or within a few days thereafter. Another increment of Negroes will be called sometime in April, this movement of Negroes completing the county's quota of Negroes under the first call.

The following white men have volunteered to go with the increment to be entrained next week:
John Henry Stewart, Wills Point
Jesse Monroe Parker, Wills Point
Roy H. Scoby, Wills Point
Desmond Franklin Nash, Canton
Pearson Cantrell, Grand Saline
Buford C. High, Wills Point
Reuben Long Reeves, Canton
William E. Whittington, Wills Point
Willis E. Taylor, Wills Point


April 3, 1918

News has been received here that Lieutenant Harry Peyton of Dallas was seriously injured one day last week while doing trick flying at Kelly aviation field near San Antonio and died Monday about noon. Lieutenant Peyton is a cousin of A. B. Swank of Wills Point and the family at one time lived in this county. He is 25 years of age and graduated in the army school of aviation several months ago. He was commissioned first lieutenant early in January and assigned to duty at Kelly Field as instructor in trick flying. Recently he has been promoted to assistant stage manager of the advanced solo stage. He formerly resided at Waco and had been interested in aviation several years before war was declared, at one time making an airplane in which he made flights. The friends of the family in this county will sincerely regret his untimely demise.

To Be Buried In Wills Point
Waco, Texas…April 1. First Lieutenant Harry I. Peyton who was injured last Thursday morning when his airplane fell with him a distance of 150 feet died in a military hospital in San Antonio this morning without having regained consciousness. Word of his son's death was received this afternoon by T. A. Peyton of Waco.

The body of Lieutenant Peyton will be taken to Dallas. Funeral services will be held at the home of his uncle in Dallas, F. I. Peyton Sr. 4819 Gaston Avenue, after which burial will take place at Wills Point.

Besides his parents he is survived by two brothers, Second Lieutenant Lloyd Peyton of Camp Devens, Ayers Mass.; Frank Peyton, student at the University of Texas, and two sisters, Marie and Annie Lewis Peyton of Waco. His mother, his brother Frank, and a cousin, First Lieutenant F. S. Peyton of Dallas, were with him when he died.


April 3, 1918

William G. Faglie, of Battery F. 344th F. A., has just recently been appointed a corporal with his battery. Corporal Faglie has been doing excellent work in the preparations that are being made to "lick" the Kaiser, and his promotion was his reward. He is well liked by all of the boys of the battery and they are glad to see him wearing the stripes of his rank.

Private A. P. Mayne and brother, A. B. Mayne, have been transferred from Company F., 315th engineers, to the Casual Detention Detachment, Div. 4.

Clarence L. Reynolds, Battery D, 344th F. A. was on the 15th day of March appointed Corporal and assigned to duty with this battery. Corporal Reynolds records stand well for him in his battery.

Corporal Marvin A. Rose of the 115th Ordnance Depot Co. is attending the Ordnance School of that company. The course of studies consists of the standard arsenal, training course, with the following subjects: Army organization, military law, military correspondence, infantry drill, company military administration, transfer of ordnance, accountability and responsibility pertaining to ordnance property, organization of ordnance department, relation of the division ordnance officers to the ordnance field depot, organization of field depot and its personnel and their duties.

The Van Zandt county boys in 30th Company, 165th depot brigade, have been having all sorts of army life experience, including rock hauling, building sidewalks, kitchen police, etc. All have stood inoculations splendidly except for sore arms. Quarantine continues and none have seen much of Camp Travis or San Antonio as yet.

Private Homer Daugherty of Edgewood is in the quartermaster's department.

Private Coke Cates of Ben Wheeler has been transferred to Remount Station, No. 2.

Private Tillman Slaughter of Edgewood has been returned from the base hospital where he had spent a day or so recuperating.

As soon as the boys are assigned to permanent quarters and are given the freedom of Camp Travis and San Antonio most of them will have much to tell home folks.


April 11, 1918

Lloyd Pinkerton, formerly of Wills Point, has been transferred from the 165th Depot Brigade to Battery D., 345th Field Artillery. He says he finds the work here more interesting and is sure he will make a "crack" artilleryman.

Corporal James M. Ellis of Battery F. 344th F. A. is still engaged in training for the compaign against the Kaiser. He has become a good soldier and says that he is anxious to get "over there."

Corporal Marvin A. Rose of the 115th Ordnance Depot Company rejoined his company during the past week. He was granted a leave over Passover, which he spent with his folks in Wills Point.
Private First Class Christian B. Wise, Co. C, 345th Machine Gun Battalion, is attending the school for scouts and snipers.

Private Thos. O. Stanger of Van Zandt county, has been promoted to the grade of Corporal in Company H. 359th Infantry.

William E. West at present is working in the chief mustering office in the capacity of clerk.

Charlie Homer Daugherty has been on sick report for several days, but at present is rapidly improving.

Byron O. Milam has temporarily been assigned to the chief mustering office acting as typist, assisting in the present draft.


April 12, 1918

From the Wills Point Chronicle………….
Eddie Jones, colored, who left here for Camp Travis in charge of the colored increment recently entrained, has the distinction of most patriotic act that has came to the attention of the local board in selecting men for army service. The board called a number of Negroes before them to select the increment to be entrained. A few volunteered to go and the board exercised their best judgement in selecting others to fill out the increment, taking those they thought could best be spared by their dependents. After carefully passing from the merits of his case, they excused Eddie Jones, who is a highly educated Negro and the son of a well to do farmer of the Edom community. After he was excused Jones learned that a Negro by the name of Butts, whom he knew well, had been accepted for the increment. He went to Chairman Williams and offered to take Butts' place, saying that Butts had an old mother he was taking care of and was needed worse at home. His offer was accepted and Chairman Williams commended his patriotic act very highly, placing him in charge of the increment. Jones will make an efficient soldier and those who know him feel sure that he will readily secure promotion. He is one of the most intelligent and best-educated Negroes in this county showing unmistakably the training of parents of the old Southern type of Negroes. Chairman Williams voiced the sentiment of all who knew of his noble act when he expressed the ernest hope that he would go through the war safely and return with honor to his parents who gave him to the service of his country so cheerfully.


April 24, 1918

The local board of this county has been advised that the next increment of white selectives will be entrained at Wills Point on Friday April 26, for Camp Travis, and an increment of Negroes will be entrained on Monday, April 29, for the same camp. The board also has a call for the entrainment of one man for Camp Fort Sam Houston between May 1 and 5. Six men for Fort Sam Houston in a five days movement beginning May 10 and five men for Camp McArthur, Waco, in a two days movement beginning May 6.


April 26, 1918

Mr. J. H. Harris of Wills Point has just been commissioned by Brigadier General R. H. McDill to organize a troop of cavalry for the north Texas Brigade of the National Guard, calling for a company of 105 men from Van Zandt County. Although Mr. Harris undertook this organization this week, has already enlisted 81 men for service. He would like to have recruits from Canton and the surrounding country and would be glad for all who desire to enter this branch to report to him at his place of business in Wills Point Saturday. The company will include 9 sergeants, 8 corporals, 2 horse shoers, 1 saddler, 2 cooks, 20 first class privates and 61 privates. Mr. Harris is enthusiastic in this organization and is a very popular citizen of the county, who has many friends who, will rally to his standard.

April 27, 1918

Sergeant Freeze, of Battery F. 345th Field Artillery, has just obtained his furlough for the purpose of visiting his home and leaves with the best wishes of all the men of the battery for an excellent time. Sergeant Freeze is mess sergeant, which is certainly a man's job and one of great responsibility.

Mr. A. B. Dawson of Wills Point visited Camp Travis Sunday and presented all the boys from home with a Smilage Book.

Private Ray James Pethel of Supply Co., 344th F. A., who has been on special duty at the Baker's and Cook's School, has returned to his company.

Rex Mallory of Wills Point, mess sergeant of Co., H. 359th Infantry, has been drilling for the past week and now he says that a Hun would sure be "up against it" when it comes to fighting him.

Albert E. Caro of Wills Point, a private of Company H. 359th Infantry, has been placed on special duty at the provisional training battalion.

Recruit F. D. Sharpe, Battery D. 345th Field Artillery, has successfully mastered the training for recruits and is now a good private, drilling with the older men of the battery. Sharpe is a man who learns fast and does his duties well.

Marion B. Hughes of Wills Point, a sergeant in Company H, 359th Infantry, has made application to attend the 4th Officers Training Camp.

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