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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 for 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

September 8, 1918
Albert W. Henderson son of P. M. Henderson, Canton area and William Andrew Herron died in France.


September 19, 1918

No one is surprised here at home when news come trickling in from the battle front overseas, that the Van Zandt boys are playing the game according to the rules and some, distinguishing themselves in some special service.

Tillmon J. Cox is the son of W. B. Cox of Stone Point and a brother of County School Superintendent Cranfill Cox at Canton. Tillmon was reared in Van Zandt county and enlisted in the coast artillery at Fort Worth, and after training was sent to France, where he has been on the firing line about four months. A few days ago a letter came saying that he had been slightly wounded on the field. He was being cared for by the Red Cross, when he was about to recover another member of his battalion was brought in on a stretcher severely wounded. The surgeon examined the patient and announced that he would not recover without a transfusion to replace the blood he had lost on the battlefield. Young Cox heard the announcement and volunteered to give blood to his comrade. This was done and the wounded man recovered. Tillmon Cox is now well and back on the firing line helping to destroy the Hun.


September 20, 1918….. Canton Herald

It will be remembered the Herald, stated last- week that Private James I. Allen of Grand Saline was reported missing in France recently. In Wednesday's report from the battlefront comes the announcement that Allen is a prisoner of war in some German camp. The report says that there are 83 Americans in German prisons, three of them being Lieutenants. (Mr. Allen survived)


October 9, 1918

The casualty list last Sunday contained the name of Waldren Bowers, who died of disease in France, giving his post office as Canton, Texas. So far the paper has been able to find no one who knew the soldier. There is no such name lodged with the Van Zandt exemption board, and if the young man went from this county, he could have volunteered before the draft law went in to effect.


A telegram came to Wills Point last Friday night from Washington D. C. to John A. Hamlin, announcing that his son, Chester Hamlin was severely wounded in France on September 14th. The parents of the young man reside about two miles north of Edgewood, and the message was relayed to them that night.


October 9, 1918

One day last week Mr. J. M. Brown, who lives seven miles north of Wills Point, called at the Chronicle office, and from him was learned something of Private Harry H. Brown, who is his nephew.

Private Brown is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Mose Brown, who lived on the Broadmoor Ranch just south of Wills Point about 12 or 15 years ago. They also lived at Wallace, 5 miles west of Canton; they now reside in Dallas.

Private Harry H. Brown is one of the soldiers who distinguished himself in the action at Chateau-Thierry. He is a native-born Texan, born on a farm and reared near the community of Wills Point. He lived for a short time in Dallas. When 16 years of age he left his native state for Wyoming. The story of his part in the action at Chateau-Thierry is told in a letter to his sister, Mrs. S. C. Bovell, 722 Fourth Avenue, Dallas. Extracts of the letter follow:
On July 25 we went into battle north of Chateau-Thierry, and Orin Snyder (a chum) was killed, and a better boy never fell on any battlefield. I looked for him all night after the battle, but did not find him until next morning at daybreak. I buried him as best I could and went back later and fixed up his grave, and sent his folks word as soon as I was able to. He was killed by a machine gun, and I got the machine gun that I thought killed him and after a few minutes work I learned how to shoot it. The Captain let me take it and I used it with a vengeance.
(See Chronicle for the rest of the letter).


Stephen D. Wood of Cobb has received the following letter from the Chaplain in the hospital in France where his son died recently and it is a great consolation to him to know that his boy received every attention during his illness, and a Christian burial. This letter is published for the reason that in case of illness or death they will receive similar treatment:
"U. S. Army P.O. 741, America E. F. France, October 11, 1918.
Mr. Stephen D. Wood, Cobb, Texas……
My Dear Mr. Wood: You have probably had official word of the sad death of your son, Stephen, who died in this Camp Hospital at this post, of pneumonia. As Chaplain of this post for the ordinance men, of which your son was a member, I wish to extend to you my sympathy in this bereavement. Your boy had the best possible attention here, but he failed to make it against this insidious disease, which is taking many of our boys, especially the ones from the Southern States who seem to notice the dampness of the climate more than those boys from the Northern States. I buried your son in a beautiful cemetery belonging to the city of Mehun, about three miles from here, in the plot assigned to the soldiers of the A. E. F. It is a very beautiful spot, and the graves of the boys are well marked and cared for, each having a large white cross with the names, etc., on it. He had done his part for his country in this great struggle, which is gradually nearing its end. You may be proud of him and of the offering, which you have made to this great cause of humanity. With assurance of deepest sympathy, believe me, faithfully yours, "Robert E. Browning, Chaplain."


October 16, 1918

In a letter to his father, J. M. Pearce, recently received, Olin Pearce stated that he was reliably informed that Sam Russell was on his way to the United States. It will be remembered that Sam Russell went to France with Pershing's first army and was reported in the casualty list several months ago as seriously wounded. Since the first news was received of his injury in battle, his father, R. D. Russell, has made diligent effort through the war department, the Red Cross and the Y. M. C. A. for further information but without success. The information in the letter from Olin Pearce is the first news that has been heard from Sam Russell. It is hoped that the report proves to be true, as much anxiety has been felt by the family and friends, who had almost given up hope that he was still alive.


Captain Sanders, who has been on detached service at Dayton, Ohio for some time, has been detailed by the war department for service at Camp Green, North Carolina, where a labor battalion is being prepared for overseas service. He feels very confident that he will be able to go across with this battalion.


On account of the Spanish influenza epidemic, all calls made upon the local board for men to be sent to army camps have been temporarily suspended. The calls suspended include calls for two Negroes to Camp Travis on October 15, one white man to vocational school at Austin on October 21, 50 white men to Camp Travis on October 21 and 9 white men to Camp Crockett, Galveston.


October 18, 1918 Canton Herald……..

Robert E. Crumpler of Grand Saline met his death on the battlefield in France on September 12. This information was in a letter sent to his mother, Mrs. T. E. Baisden of Andalusia, Alabama under the date of October 12 to T. S. McGrain of this city. The letter stated that she was officially notified by the war department on October 7.

The fact that Bob Crumpler was the first Grand Saline boy to make the supreme sacrifice on the battlefield, coupled with the fact that he was well known and held in high regard by his friends has created a profound impression here. This news of his death in action coming in the middle of the Liberty Loan Drive. Bob Crumpler was about 26 years of age, of a refined nature, quite and unassuming in manner. While no details of his death have yet been received, there are none here to doubt that Bob Crumpler was a true soldier in all that the word implies- one who has distinguished Grand Saline by his valor or enterprise in danger, or proved his heroism by fortitude in suffering for his country. In fact, he told Jim Pugh of this city before his departure that he expected to be killed as he intended to make a good soldier and to enter every action unafraid, ready to "carry on" to the end whatever it might bring.

As Crumpler's name did not appear in the published causality list until Tuesday, it is pointed out that there may be other Grand Saline boys among the slain, and the news of Crumpler's death has created a feeling of depression in this section. Grand Saline Sun………….


October 23, 1918..Wills Point Chronicle

The sad intelligence was received here Monday that Bruce Waller had died at the hospital; at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, that morning resulting from pneumonia following influenza. The remains will be brought to Wills Point and interred at White Rose Cemetery, and are expected to arrive here sometime today (Wednesday). Possibly on passenger train No. 6.

Bruce Waller was reared near Cobb and for several years was the agent for the Wells Fargo Express Co. in Wills Point, but was employed in the Texas and Pacific freight office at Cisco at the time he was called for military service. He was about 25 years of age. During his residence in Wills Point he made many warm friends by his gentlemanly deportment. His untimely death is sincerely regretted by all. The Chronicle joins the friends of the family here and elsewhere in extending condolence.

Lieutenant J. H. Harris

Lieutenant Harris has been ill with Spanish influenza at the hospital at Camp Stanley near Leon Springs, where he is attending the Officer's training school preparatory to the mobilization of the Sixth Cavalry, in which regiment he has a commission. A recent letter from him states that he is improving and expects to be able to resume training soon. He also says that he is sure that the boys in his company were not in camp at the time of the epidemic and asks them to work hard while at home and prepare themselves for efficient service when their call comes soon.


F. V. Hughes is in receipt of a letter from his son, Corporal Marion Hughes written "somewhere in France". It stated that he was in the hospital with a slight wound on the shoulder received in action on the firing line with American Forces in the great offensive that is pushing the Germans from invaded territory in France and Belgium. The letter was written by a hospital attendant but was signed by Marion. It is evident that he has been in more than one engagement as a letter from Grady Hall published last week stated that he had seen Marion Hughes after he had been over the top ten hours and captured four Huns, and that he had not received a scratch. His many friends here are very proud of the record Corporal Hughes is making and sincerely trust that he may soon be fully recovered from his wounds and that he may safely return to home and native land after the war has been won.


October 23, 1918

News was received here Monday of the death of Torbett Childress, which occurred at sea on the hospital ship Solace on October 9. The remains will be brought here for interment, it is not known here just when they will arrive. The deceased is about 22 years of age and is the second son of Mr. & Mrs. George F. Childress of Cameron. He spent his childhood days in Wills Point, where the father was manager of the J. C. Mason Co. for a number of years. Torbett Childress made an effort to get into the navy soon after war was declared, but the physical requirements were such that he could not pass the examination. He succeeded in enlisting late year, however, and had almost completed his training when he was stricken with influenza, which resulted in pneumonia and caused his death. He has many friends in Wills Point who learned of his untimely demise with deep regret and the bereaved relatives have the abiding sympathy of all in this sad hour.


October 25, 1918………Canton Herald

J.I. Allen of Grand Saline is reported by the war department as a prisoner at Camp Rastatt, a German prison camp. He was reported several weeks ago as missing and it was assumed at the time that he was a prisoner.


October 26, 1918
Henry Cozelle Ward, son of Mr. & Mrs. J. B. Ward died in France of pneumonia.


October 30, 1918

The Chronicle last week made mention of the death of Sam Torbett Childress, who died on October 9 on the Hospital boat Solace, to which he had been transferred from his ship, the U. S. S. Ohio, only a few days before, death resulting from bronchi-pneumonia. His parents Mr. & Mrs. G. F. Childress, of Cameron were notified Oct. 19, the delay being due to the fact that their son died at sea. The remains arrived in Wills Point Sunday morning and were carried to the home of Mrs. T. J. McKinney, where the funeral service was conducted Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock by F. E. Luker, pastor of the Methodist Church, assisted by Rev. H. P. Davis. A large concourse of friends and acquaintances of the family assembled for the funeral service and attended the burial from here to McKinney and later to Cameron.

He was an unusually bright young man and his untimely death is deeply deplored. He enlisted in the United States Navy in February of this year and was called to San Diego, California, where he received his training and was drafted as a seaman and sent to Virginia and assigned to U.S.S. Ohio, headquarters of his ship being Fortress Monroe, Virginia.

Besides his father and mother the deceased is survived by four brothers- Delbert, who is in France with the American Expeditionary Forces fighting for his country; George, who is in the Student's Army Training Corps at A. & M. College; Clark and Fred, who are living with their parents at Cameron, he is also survived by his grandmother, Mrs. S. C. Torbett.

In addition to the immediate relatives mentioned, the following were here for the funeral: P. H. Childress, Mrs. J. M. Boles and Jacob Boles of Greenville, Mrs. W. R. Taylor of Wolfe City, Mrs. D. R. Wright of Royce City, Mr. & Mrs. McIntosh of Cameron and Miss Edith Faber of Austin.


October 30, 1918

L. K. Allred is in receipt of a message from Washington advising him that his son, Mell Allred, has been wounded in action, the nature of his wounds being undetermined. Mell Allred was mobilized at Camp Greene, Alabama, and is in the 39th infantry, but his father does not know what division he is in. He went overseas in May and his parents have been unable to hear from him in several months, though they have heard from him indirectly several times. He was reported wounded once before, the first report coming some time ago.


Wills Point Chronicle………..Nov.1918

Lieutenant John Carr of Grand Saline died of pneumonia at Camp Dodge, Iowa.

Joe Moseley of Grand Saline wounded in France.

Dock Thompson of the Whitton community, died at Camp Travis of pneumonia.

Clifford Haake of Grand Saline gassed in France.

A. W. Henderson died in France November 1, 1918.

Editor's Note- I could not determine the exact dates for the first three men. S.W.

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