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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

November 5, 1918
George T. Corry gassed, headquarters Co. H. 35th Infantry, 40th division.

Dr. J. K. Bateman 2nd LT. Medical Reserves. & Clarence H. Brewer died at Camp Cody, New Mexico of pneumonia.


November 6, 1918

As previously announced in the Chronicle memorial services in honor of Stephen C. Wood, who died recently in France, were held at Cobb last Sunday morning at the Baptist church. Services were conducted by the pastor, Rev. J. F. Davis, who was pastor of the church for several years and had baptized Stephen. A talk was made by Prof. J. W. Tucker who taught Stephen and whose friendship for the boy was next to that of the love of the parents. Bro. Duke and Sister J. M. Watson also made touching talks; Stephen finished the course of study at Cobb and took a commercial course at Tyler. He was an exceptionally fine boy in every sense of the word. When the country called him last June he was ready to make the supreme sacrifice for his country. He was nearly 26 years of age. He was born in Virginia but at the age of 2 his parents moved to Rains County, Texas and two years later to Cobb where his parents still reside.

Cobb has twenty-four names on its honor roll. There have been three, Eddie Simmons, Stephen C. Wood and Bruce Waller—all the fine young men who have passed to their reward. Verily, this good community has done and is doing its noble part.


November 8, 1918

A good many false reports are being put out by citizens in this vicinity in regard to our boys in France. Reports that they had been injured or killed in action or other misfortune when there was no foundation whatever for such reports. The object in calling this to the attention of the general public is to advise them to keep their mouths shut unless they positively know what they are talking about. False rumors in regard to matters of this kind cause unnecessary worry for the families of the boys who are in France. The War Department has provided a method by which notice is given with reasonable promptness in regard to all deaths in action and other causes as well as injuries when they are of serious nature.

The home service committee is always in position to get information promptly on matters of this kind and will gladly take them up with the proper authorities when requested. It is always best, however, to have some good reason for the request.

Any false reports that are put out should be called to the attention of the members of the county council of defense, and if found to be malicious or untrue, they will be reported to the proper government authorities for handling.
Thos. S. McGrain, Chairman County Council of Defense


Sergeant Clifford Haake, a Grand Saline boy, is at home on a furlough, following his release from the military hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Sergeant Haake was with the Rainbow division and went over the top the first time at Chateau Thierry (2nd Battlle of Marne) in August. In action at Cantigny on August 18 he was gassed with chlorine gas while advancing on the enemy. He managed to get into a shell hole before he became unconscious, but lay there 12 hours before he was found by stretcher-bearers. He bears scars from gas burns on his chest and also a mustard gas burn on one of his feet. He looks well and shows no effect of his experience with the exception of a tremor of the hands and fingers, which he says, is growing less all the time. He was sent back to this country for the winter on account of the climate in England, gas affecting the lungs.


Relatives and friends in the Roddy community were shocked last Saturday when they received a letter announcing that George S. Jeter had been killed in action in France. They had received no word through the government channels of the fate of the young man and were unprepared for the sad contents of a letter from a comrade of the deceased, J. H. Howard who is from the same community. The letter was to Sam A. Jordan, with whom deceased made his home for some time before entering the service of his country. A card photo of the dead soldier was inclosed in the letter, that his identity might be assured to the surviving sisters and brother. The sisters are Misses Rena and Maggie Jeter of the Roddy community and the brother, Crawford Jeter, resides near Rosser, in Kaufman County.

George Jeter entrained at Wills Point on October 7, 1917, and the letter containing news was received on October 2nd, this year, just one month from the date of his death. He was 23 years of age and with his sisters and brother had been reared an orphan. Mr. Jordan speaking in terms of praise of the young soldier, who made the supreme sacrifice for his country. The Herald joins those near and dear to the young man and friends in lamenting his untimely death.


The Ninetieth and Thirty-Sixth divisions, in which there are many Van Zandters, who have been engaged in the fighting on the western front several times during the past two months. News is now being received of the causalities among our boys. The published casualties lists being from three to six weeks old when given out. The people are cautioned to not repeat reports that do not come from an official source unless they are confirmed by reliable parties. This applies to reports received in letters from France, as it has been found that false reports are circulated over there as well as here and sometimes a rumor is taken for a fact, a death being reported on the strength of a rumor that proves false. Our people are very anxious to receive news from the boys at the front and the following information comes from apparently reliable sources:

Private William E. Lummus, Infantry, a son of Jim H. Lummus of near Canton, has been reported missing in action since September 26.

Private John B. Prestridge, son of Mr. & Mrs. Q. B. Prestridge, of Martins Mill reported killed in action September 26. Private Prestridge went to France with the 363rd Infantry from Camp Lewis, Washington in August.

Curtis Knight of Wills Point, and Herbert Downs, son of J. C. Downs of Edgewood, are reported gassed in battle and in hospital in France.

Tom Hamilton of Wills Point reported wounded degree of wounds undetermined.

Lieutenant Cliff Wilderspin of Grand Saline, serving in the Royal Air Force of England, reported wounded on October 30, degree of wounds undetermined. Mr. Wilderspin volunteered for service in the Canadian aviation section soon after the United Sates went to war, being a British subject by reason of his neglect to complete his naturalization during his residence of several years at Grand Saline. He has been on the front for some time and this paper recently printed a report of his downing two German airplanes. His many friends in this county sincerely hope that his wounds will not prove serious.

Joe Clifford of Grand Saline is reported to have died from pneumonia in France, the report coming in a letter from another Van Zandt boy in France, and not confirmed by the war department.

Adolphus Busby, a nephew of Mrs. R. L. Springer of Sand Flat, is officially reported as killed in action in France on October 6. His home in Mineola and he was serving in the engineer's corps.

Announcement is made by the government of the death of Harry Strickland of Mineola. He was killed in action.

Private Leroy Stokes of Garden Valley, has also been wounded in action, the degree of his wounds being undetermined.

N. D. Cole has received a letter from his son, Jerome, who was recently reported wounded in France, he stated that he was rapidly recovering, expecting to be home for Christmas. This is good news for the many friends in this county.


November 8, 1918

Mrs. Buck J. Wynne, secretary of the Y. M. C. A. for Van Zandt County, desires the name of every boy from this county who is in the service either in the army or navy, at home or overseas, with home address and present address and rank. This information is wanted for the purpose of preparing service flags for every town and school district. Relatives of the boys are urged to send this information to Mrs. Buck J. Wynne at Wills Point at once.

NOVEMBER 13, 1918

Signing of the armistice with Germany was proclaimed by President Wilson at a joint session of congress Monday, at which time he also announced the terms. The terms herald the end of the war because they take from Germany the power to renew it. Just before he went to the capitol the president, in a proclamation addressed to his fellow-countrymen said: "This armistice was signed this morning. Everything for which American fought has been accomplished. It will now be our fortunate duty to assist, by example, by sober, friendly counsel and by material aid, in the establishment of just democracy through-out the world."


Notification has been received from the war department that Lieutenant Buck Jim Wynne, son of Mr. & Mrs. W. B. Wynne of Wills Point, was wounded in France on September 17, the degree of his wounds being undetermined. The parents and other relatives and friends are awaiting with much anxiety further information, but the fact that a letter has been received from Lieutenant Wynne which was written on September 28, more than a week after his wound was received, and no mention was made of the occurrence give strong hopes that his wound was not serious.


The local board received instructions by wire Monday shortly after noon to cancel all draft calls. The message was received in time to hold up on the entrainment of large increments from this county to Camp Bowie and Travis, nearly 100 men being included in the calls for Monday and Tuesday of this week. While a large army will be needed overseas for some time yet, it is not likely that any more men will be called for service unless some emergency arises that is not now looked for.

The board received instructions, yesterday to discontinue all volunteer inductions into the various branches of the service, as well as canceling the draft calls.
It is requested that special attention be directed to the fact that the instructions received by the board do not effect the return of questionnaires or the examination of registrants that have been called for physical examination. Those who have been called for examination should appear on the day designated in their call. Registrants should continue to send in their questionnaires within the time limit provided by the law, or else they will go down on the record as slackers and be dealt with as the law directs.


November 13, 1918

It was the aspiration of practically all of the Van Zandt county soldiers when they were called for army service to be among the American troops who entered Germany. There was no doubt in the minds of our boys that we would win the war and a victorious army would occupy German territory before the war closed.

The dispatches state that the Ninetieth division, which went from Camp Travis and contains a large majority of the boys in army service from this county, is in the army of occupation that is taking over German territory under the terms of the armistice. This division is now on the French frontier, where it is picking up and caring for thousands of repatriated war prisoners and supplying food to the populations of a dozen re-occupied towns. The war department has announced that a number of divisions now overseas will be mustered out of service at an early date but the Ninetieth division is not among the number officially designated to return home. It is presumed this division will remain on duty until peace is declared and conditions become more settled in the various countries affected by the peace terms. While there are some Van Zandters in other divisions to be mustered out, most of the boys from this county will likely remain overseas for many months yet, only the wounded and sick being sent home. In the event that internal disorders in Germany follow the signing of the peace terms it may be that, the Allies will cross the Rhine to restore order and enforce the terms of peace. In that event it is possible that Van Zandt boys in the Ninetieth division may have the privilege of marching through Berlin under the stars & stripes, a thing that they would all like to do.

November 14, 1918

W. N. Canant has been notified by the Red Cross of the death in action of his grandson, Clarence Mallard, which occurred in France on October 5. Young Mallard was the son of Mr. & Mrs. T. C. Mallard who formerly lived in Grand Saline, but now live at Dallas. They have the sympathy of their many friends here in their bereavement.

Members of Regimental Band

On October 10, Roy McBride, former Grand Saline boy, who volunteered for service and was assigned to the coast artillery corps, wrote his mother that he had received his overseas outfit and would no doubt sail within a few days. Since that time she has heard nothing further from him, until her anxiety was softened Saturday by the receipt of a card announcing that the ship on which he sailed had arrived safely overseas. He is a member of the 47th Regimental Band, C. A. C.

Ernest Collier Wounded

Letters to friends here from Earnest Collier state that he has been wounded in battle in the face and neck, but that his wounds are not of a serious nature.

Ernest Morris Wounded

Mrs. Lula Loving of Hugo, Oklahoma, writes The Sun that her son, Ernest Morris, a former Grand Saline boy, who went to France in June, was wounded, July 15th, and he is now back in the good old U.S.A., he is in a hospital at Fort Sam Houston. He writes that he has visited Ireland, Scotland and France and passed through Liverpool. He is able to get around with the aid of crutches.


A letter from Thomas E. Darby of the 144th Infantry to his parents here, under date of October 17, says: "Well, I have always experienced anxiety in regard to going over the top, but I went over my first time one day last week. I have forgotten the date. We went over three times in side of three days. We have been on the front for ten, but have rested four out of the ten, so we are feeling fine now. All I regret is that I haven't got any Dutchmen that I know of but several of the boys have.


November 20, 1918

Lamar Matthews, who was reared in Wills Point and is well known here, was accidentally killed in aerial collision somewhere in France on October 18. The news of his death came to Wills point in a letter from his brother W. W. Matthews of Memphis, Tennessee who received official notification on November 15.

Lamar Matthews joined the aviation corps directly after the United States declared war against Germany. He was originally in the 17th Areo Squadron but transferred last November while in Fort Worth to 148th so that he could be at home during Christmas. He was serving with that squadron when he was killed. He was sent overseas last February and has been in active service up to the time of the unfortunate accident that resulted in his death. He was 28 years of age.

The letter from Wirt Matthews states that the remains will be brought to Wills Point. The final resting-place may be by the side of his father and mother, Mr. & Mrs. N. A. Matthews, in White Rose cemetery, if the government will permit.

Ray R. Mullins, born June 5, 1896 died November 22, 1918, France.


December 4, 1918

The name of Albert W. Henderson of Canton appeared on the published casualty list last Friday as being wounded in action in France, the degree of his wounds being undetermined. Mr. Henderson is a son of Mr. & Mrs. P. M. Henderson, who reside about four miles southeast of Canton. He was serving in Co., B. 360th Infantry, with the American Expeditionary Forces. Many friends will anxiously await additional news from him and earnestly hope that his wounds will not prove serious.


Last Thursday's casualty list contained the name of Manuel J. Burgess of Grand Saline, who was wounded in action in France, degree undetermined.


A message was received from the War Department Saturday night bringing the sad intelligence that Ray Funderburk, son of Mr. & Mrs. P. B. Funderburk of the Clifton community was killed in action in France November 5. Ray Funderburk was about 25 years old. He answered the call of his country last fall and received his training at Camp Travis, going overseas with the 90th division. He was in much of the hard fighting engaged in by the division and his parents had been advised that he had gone "over the top" several times.

Besides his parents, the deceased is survived by two brothers, Cleve Funderburk of Martins Mill and Fred Funderburk of the Clifton community, four sisters, Mrs. Nattie White and Mrs. Sam McFarland of Dallas and Mrs. Lum Venable and Mrs. Paul Howell of the Clifton community. He has many friends in this county, where he was reared, who will sincerely regret his death and sympathize with bereaved relatives in their sorrow.


The name of Lieutenant Buck Jim Wynne, son of Mr. & Mrs. W. B. Wynne of Wills Point, appeared on the published casualty list several weeks ago, the nature of his wounds being undetermined. Since notification was received from the war department much anxiety has been relieved. Last week his wife received a letter advising her of the nature of his wounds and that he would be able to be discharged from the hospital within a few weeks.

It has been learned that Lieutenant Wynne received his wound just as he went "over the top" in the offensive on the western front in France, being hit in the leg just below the thigh. He pressed on for 1,000 yards and was then forced to go to the rear, and has been in the hospital since.


Mrs. Emmett Barnes of Myrtle Springs has received a letter from her brother, Henry P. Hyde, Dated November 7, stating that he was gassed on the morning of November 1, but that he was getting along fairly well. The young man was reared in this county and is in the 359th infantry with the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

L. T. High of the High community is in receipt of a letter from his brother, Boyd High, dated November 14, stating that he had been gassed and was in the hospital. He gave no information as to when it occurred or as to his condition. These young men have many friends in this county who will wait with anxiety for news of their complete recovery.


December 11, 1918

Sergeant Marion Hughs who was wounded in France a few weeks before the armistice was signed, arrived home Saturday to spend a 30-days furlough with his parents, Mr. & Mrs. F. V. Hughes, and family. He has been very busy answering questions and telling his experiences in the fighting on the western front, where he served with the 90th division when it made a record that will go down in history, along with the great achievements of Americans on the battlefield. Marion is a little backward about telling of his own exploits on the battle fields but he has the physical evidence that he was where, shot and shell tried the souls of men, his right arm being partially paralyzed by wound received in battle. He was shot in two places in an engagement, once in the shoulder and once in the arm. At the time he receive his wounds he was in command of his company, his superior officers all having been killed or wounded. He has just been released from the hospital. Sergeant Hughes was one of the first seven men to leave Van Zandt county for training camp under the selective service law, taking advantage of the first opportunity he had to enter service after he had been turned down each time he had tried to enlist in any branch, He won rapid promotion as long as he was in the service. His many friends are delighted to see him back again and hope that he will recover from his wounds.


December 13, 1918…….Canton Herald

Van Zandt County has been well represented in the casualty list given out during the past week. The following casualties have been given out for publication by the war department, some of the list having already been mentioned in this paper: Killed in action: George S. Jeter, Mabank Died of disease: Willie P. Armstrong, Fruitvale: Walden Bowers, Canton: Joe Clifford, Grand Saline:

Wounded severely: James S. Freese, James J. Adams and Arthur S. Carroll, Wills Point, John T. Hall, Edgewood; D. T. Henderson, Canton.

Wounded slightly: Christian B. Wise, Stone Point; Robert Richardson, Wills Point; Lennie Hall, Grand Saline.

Wounded, degree undetermined: Manuel J. Burgess, Grand Saline; Tillmon L. Gillentine, Grand Saline; Albert W. Henderson, Canton; Jas. W. Flowers, Canton; Levi Beatty, Edom; Caddie Friday, Canton.

Arthur S. Carroll, a soldier from Wills Point, is reported as having been severely wounded on the western battle- front.

Phillip E. Funderburk, of Wills Point, is among soldiers on foreign soil reported killed in action. Marion V. Hughes also of Wills Point is severely wounded.


December 18, 1918

Capt. W. E. Easterwood is in receipt of a message from his son, Ensign Jesse Easterwood, stating that he will land in New York Saturday and will spend Christmas at home. Jesse Easterwood was one of the first American aviators to see service overseas and served on one of the large English bombing machines. A royal welcome awaits him here and his many friends will be delighted to hear him tell some of his wonderful experiences during the war. He has made a record of which he may well be proud. His friends here are glad to know that he has passed through his thrilling experiences during the war without serious injury.


Harry smith, a discharged Negro soldier who had just returned, was killed in a Negro house in the southern part of town Wednesday afternoon about 4 o'clock. He was picked up about 10 or 15 feet from a pistol and cartridges that were lying on the bed. Several Negroes were at the house at the time and we understand it is claimed that he killed himself. Ernest Fitzgerald, colored is being held pending developments.


December 25, 1918…Wills Point Chronicle

A telegram was received Saturday by Mr. & Mrs. C. E. Gilmore from their son, Leon Gilmore, advising them that he had just received his commission as ensign at the naval training camp near Seattle, Washington. He has made very rapid progress in training and secured his commission in a remarkably short time. He went to the training camp in August and soon showed such ability that he was made an instructor in the work he had mastered, and within a little over four months he was awarded his commission. Had the war continued he would have given very efficient service to his country. It is not known what effect peace will have on his military career.


Sergeant James Freese, who left Wills Point with the first increment called under the selective service law and went to France with the Ninetieth division last June, returned to Wills Point last week and has been regaling his friends with the recital of his experiences in the war. He was wounded in the thigh by a machine gun bullet on September 26, his wound being received while in the Toul front in the Loraine province. The bone was fractured, which incapacitated him for further service for many months. He was sent home as soon as he was able to make the trip, and is now practically well of his wound. His many friends here are glad to see him back again and rejoice to know that he sustained no permanent injury.


December 25, 1918...Wills Point Chronicle

Mr. J. A. Pate is in receipt of a letter from his son, Lieutenant Oscar Pate, who is in the 360th infantry, 90th division that gives much information as to the fighting in which that division was engaged. This letter will be of special interest to the people of this county for most of the boys who were called from this county are in the 90th division. The letter follows:
Mont Lassey, France, Nov. 28
"Dear Father: The lid is off on some things, so can tell you something of our work over here.

The 90th division left training area Sunday, August 18. We entrained at Latracy Sur Aube, south of Chaumont, we detrained at Toul and the following day started for our sector. It was on the westside of Mozelle River and just west of Point A Mousson through Montyville. The three other regiments were on our left. We stayed at this sector until the St. Mihiel drive on September 11. The 90th made some hits in this drive but lost a good many men. We were kept in the line until October 10, then we were withdrawn and hurried to a sector northwest of Verdun. We were between Cunel and Bantheville when the last drive started. Our division took Andueanna, Amereville, Villers, Dent, Dun, Montigny, Monte Sassey, Sassey Sur Memse, Stenag and crossed the river at the two last named places. Then took Mauzay and were beyond this town the night of the 11th.

"Men who were at other fronts at different times say that the fighting through this sector was as hard, if not hardest, of any front. We had everything to contend with. First, our supplies had to be hauled about 30 miles over the worst of roads. There was more traffic than good roads could stand. I have seen the roads blocked for three or four miles and once or twice the block lasted at least four hours. The country was so badly torn up that roads just could not be built quickly. Then it had been raining for about three weeks and everything was thoroughly soaked. The sun does not dry things here like it does in Texas, so you can see we were up against it there. Next there was no shelter for the men; your tent would get wet. The ground was wet and naturally you wold be the same way.

"It is wonderful the way the men took things. Usually the American soldier is raising hell about something, whether there is anything wrong or not. But up here about all you could hear was "When will it start"- meaning the drive.

"The day before and night of October 30 our men were up against it the worst possible way. They were in sunken road at the foot of a small hill. The Boche were a mile away and they kept up a heavy artillery fire on our position the 24 hours we were there. They got a good many of our men before they were allowed to go over the top. I had to pass up the line on two occasions that day and I will never forget it. The spirit that kept those men in their places that day was the same as when they faced machine gun after machine gun nest the three following days and put them out of business by cool, good marksmanship. (I examined three nests and in all three the gunners were shot in the head). That enabled them to drive the Boche across the Meuese and some distance beyond before the great hour. This was what the Boche thought was impossible. One of the captured officers said that it was beyond them to see how troop could advance under such heavy fire as our men had to face.

"I guess you see that we are to be occupation troops, which is considered an honor and is proof that the 90th division has made good. Part of our regiment has been in Virdon, Belgium, for the past few days. It is good to see a town that is not "shot up." This was the first one I had seen since September 18.

"I have been getting along fine. Have not been sick a day. As I was in the supply-company and did not go over the top, but we got our part of the shellfire. We were some lucky as a company. Had close to 100 horses killed and only two men wounded. I hear taps, so must close. Give my regards to all our friends."
Your son, Oscar

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