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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 Van Zandt County and surrounding counties draftees 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


May 1, 1918, Wills Point Chronicle……

Lieutenant Leonard Sullivan, another former Wills Point boy is now "over there" in France and has sent greetings to his parents in Visalia California. Many people here recall the family of Mr. & Mrs. M. A. Sullivan who departed for the west perhaps ten years ago. Mr. Sullivan acted as a prescription clerk for a local drug store a long time and left many warm friends behind them. Many of our readers will also remember the son of the family, Leonard Sullivan, and it he who is now with the American army across the sea. An aunt of the young man, Miss Texanna Brantly, of this city has been advised that the proud parents of the boy were recently favored with a cablegram from him advising he had arrived safely. He enlisted on the 2nd of last April and was assigned to the aviation department, and by rapid advancement was soon commissioned a Lieutenant, being highly complimented by his instructors for his expert work in the air. He now signs himself Lieutenant, Leonard Sullivan, Signal R. C. A. S., American Expeditionary Forces.


May 7, 1918

Last Saturday Van Zandt county contributed about one hundred more young men to the country's cause, in compliance to the recent draft, all of them assembling in Wills Point and taking a special train for Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico.

The following men, who were under the jurisdiction of other exemption boards were entrained with the Van Zandt increment upon the orders of their board: Coleman Jordan, John M. Shelton, S. C. Ishee and Herman Porath.


An increment of six registrants from this county will entrain at Wills Point today for Fort Sam Houston, the men called being:
Jesse Clarence Brannon, Wills Point
Erastus T. Shackleford, Ben Wheeler
William Sloan Moseley, Ben Wheeler
Coxey Davis, Grand Saline
William Andrew Archer, Wills Point
Elmer F. Wyatt, Ben Wheeler
Wm. R. Stewart, Wm. Robertson and Andrew G. Fritz have been called as alternates, to go in the event someone fails or is unable to go.

John Howell of Wills Point and Henry Grady Todd of Canton will be inducted into the military service about May 15, and sent to Austin to take a course in mechanics at the university of Texas, the local board of this county having a call for two men for special service.

In a movement beginning May 25, registrants from Texas will be sent to training camps as follows: Camp Cody, New Mexico—2,200: Camp Travis: 5,000: Camp Bowie, 1,124. Van Zandt's quota is not yet known.


Andrew G. Fritz of Silver Lake and Earl B. Persons of Grand Saline have been accepted for military service by the local board under a call, for two cattlemen. They will leave Saturday for Camp Lee at Petersburg, VA.

C. A. Childs of Grand Saline has been accepted for service under call for railroad men and will go to the camp at Leavenworth, Kansas.

May 11, 1918

William C. Presley of Wills Point, a corporal in Company h, 359th Infantry, has been promoted to a sergeant.

Corporal James M. Ellis, of Battery F, 344th F. A., has just returned to his battery after having spent a five-day leave of absence with the folks at home in Wills Point. Corporal Ellis says that he had a great time, but he is glad to get back to his work in the battery.

James S. Freese of Wills Point, a corporal in Company H, 359th Infantry, has been promoted to a sergeant.

Walter E. Alexander of Ben Wheeler has been promoted from Corporal to a Sergeant in Company H, 359th Infantry.

Rex Mallory of Wills Point, mess sergeant of Company H, 359th Infantry, has gotten back his old time "pep" on the baseball diamond.

David L. Fuller of Wills Point, a cook in Company H, 359th Infantry, has returned from a five-day furlough with his home people.


May 22, 1918

The local board of Van Zandt County has instructions to entrain 97 army registrants Saturday, May 25, and the increment will go to Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico. With one exception, this is the largest increment called from this county for entrainment at one time. As usuall more than the required number have been summoned to answer the roll call, the increment being made up according to order numbers of the men who appear and are not excused for lawful reasons.


May 29, 1918

The sinking of the British steamship Moldavia by a German submarine last week claimed the lives of fifty-six Americans, Mr. Clem Johnson of Martins Mill, Van Zandt county, being one of the victims. Mr. Johnson went with the increment of one hundred and thirty other young men from this county on the 19th day of last September and met with this disaster just as he was going across for active service at the front. This is the second Van Zandt boy to lose his life in the same manner, the other one being William Wilson of near Canton, who was drowned off the Irish coast when the transport Tuscania was sunk by a submarine some time ago.

Young Johnson left neither, father or mother, as he was, reared by a family by that name at Martins Mill. Surviving him is a wife, although the Chronicle is informed that husband and wife were separated at the time of this tragedy.


June 26, 1918

R.D. Russell received a telegram from Washington last week announcing the sad news that his son, Richard S. Russell, had been severely wounded in the fighting in France. Since that time no other message has been received.
The young man is one of Uncle Sam's regulars, having volunteered his services some time before this country declared war with Germany, and was in General Pershing's forces down on the border, and went with him to France, being among the very first to set foot on foreign soil in defense of his native land and for the safety of the world.


July 10, 1918

Monday afternoon eighteen more Van Zandt soldier boys departed for Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, in answer to the draft call. Quite a large crowd was in the city to bid them goodbye and wish them the best of luck, with many of the crowd being near relatives of the men. Again, the scene was a sad one at the station, as loved ones bid them farewell. The next contingent will leave on the fifteenth inst., and will consist of nineteen white men, while seventy-six will go on the twenty-second. This squad was placed in the charge of Jonathan D. Gordon of Eustace.


August 2, 1918

A contingent of colored troops, from Van Zandt County departed Monday afternoon for Camp Travis, San Antonio. A large crowd of relatives and friends saw them off on the train, amidst great shouting and well wishes for their safety across the seas.


August 7, 1918

In the casualty list appearing this week occurs the name of Corporal Ollie M. Pike, reported killed in battle in France. It is said that he was a member of the regular United States Army, and has been in the service for a number of years. Both his parents are dead and his sister the nearest of kin, Mrs. Jim Gillespie, resides at Fruitvale, who received notice of her brother's death from the War Department Monday. The Chronicle has been unable to gain any information about the unfortunate soldier, as to the time of his enlistment or anything concerning his residence here. This reporter has found no one of his acquaintance.

This makes the sixth death reported out of the ranks of Van Zandters since war was declared, although Corporal Pike is the first one to lose his life in action at the front. Bryan Douglas, son of Gid Douglas of Martins Mill, died in a training camp on the Great Lakes: Clem Johnson, who went from Martins Mill was lost at sea when his ship was destroyed by a submarine: William Wilson also was killed at sea when his vessel was sunk by the enemy off the Irish coast, he leaving a wife at Canton: Clarence Brewer died at Camp Cody, New Mexico, and was brought back to Edom, where his parents lived, for burial. A soldier by the name of Rasco, who went from near Grand Saline, died at Camp Bowie about one year ago.


August 21, 1918

Doc L. Clay, a young soldier boy, and son of T. R. Clay, who formerly resided north of Wills Point, arrived here last week from Camp Bowie, having been honorably discharged from the service on account of lung disease. Young Clay was a volunteer on June fifth 1917, at San Antonio and was with Co. A Development Battalion, 2nd Texas National Guard, and served five months on the Mexican border. He was transferred to Camp Bowie and went with the 141st Infantry when it was first mobilized. He was twenty years old at the time of his enlistment. Young Clay will take farming as an occupation for the present, assisting others in gathering their crops. He regrets very much that he will be denied the pleasure of going across with his comrades in arms.


August 28, 1918

The September call for drafted men from Texas takes 8,000 more soldiers to Camp Travis. Van Zandt's quota for this movement, will be placed at eighty, it will be one of the largest contingents from the county. This will be for the 6th.

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