Looking back: Southampton soldiers are in Alabama

Published 10:35 am Friday, October 13, 2017

by Clyde Parker

Oct. 13, 1917

The Southampton boys represented in the various commands at Camp McClellan, Anniston, Alabama are well and, though necessarily undergoing constant routine of camp life, are on the whole cheerful and happy in the satisfaction that they are preparing to serve their country whenever the call comes to go “over there.” The European war is raging on.

As an instance of how they feel about this war in which “Uncle Sam” is involved, the soldiers at Camp McClellan recently made subscriptions, in excess of $500,000, to the Second Liberty Loan Campaign.

“If the folks back home will do as well in proportion to their means, Uncle Sam will have what it takes to win this war,” said a military spokesman corresponding to The Tidewater News on behalf of the troop command.

He went on to say, “Along with the minor hardships of a soldier’s daily tasks, there is much to make it interesting for everyone. The World Series was “watched” by crowds every afternoon last week. More than 10,000 soldiers, assembled before one of the latest improved electric scoreboards, “watched” and listened as a narrator, using information from telegraphic transmissions, described the action — between the New York “Giants” and the Chicago “White Sox.” The pennant went to the White Sox (four games) as they prevailed over the Giants (two games).

Brigadier General C.C. Vaughan Jr, of Franklin, who in July assumed command of the Virginia Army National Guard, is now in residence at Camp McClellan. Always showing special attention to his Southampton County soldier boys, Genera. Vaughan is always on the alert to do everything possible for the troops. But, he does not neglect the other troops that have been added to his command. As of this writing, he is building at the Camp a clubhouse and a canteen for the various elements of the Virginia Brigade. Since arriving at Camp McClellan with his Southampton County detachment, General Vaughan has added several hundred more troops to his overall command.

Incidentally, First Lieutenant Cecil C. Vaughan III, General Vaughan’s son, is second in command of Franklin’s Company “I,” which was recently deployed to Camp McClellan.

Camp McClellan is the designated training post and overseas deployment center for Virginia National Guard Troops. Expectations are high that troops going through there will be eventually deployed to France to engage in infantry combat, in what has increasingly become known as the GREAT European War, on behalf of France AND America.

Colgate Darden enters the war

In 1916, Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., a 1914 Franklin High School graduate, joined the American Red Cross/YMCA Ambulance Corps, as a volunteer, and served in the LaBelle, France region. When he became sick with malaria, he was sent back to the United States for recovery. When he did recover earlier this year, 1917, he entered flight training at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). A few weeks ago, following his flight certification, he returned to France as a marine aviation combat pilot. Lieutenant Darden is now in the thick of the war.

Liberty Loan Committee organizes drive

Acting by request of the Central Liberty Loan Committee of Virginia, with whom he has recently been in conference at Richmond, Honorable E. Frank Story called a meeting in Courtland, Wednesday, of the presidents of all Southampton County banks. The purpose of the meeting was to plan for a Liberty Loan Drive to support the European War. The county’s quota is $175,000.

Representatives of every bank in the county attended: C.C. Vaughan Sr., President, Vaughan and Company Bankers, Franklin; J.L. Barham, President, Meherrin Valley Bank, Boykins; Richard Howard, President, Bank of Newsoms, Newsoms; F.P. Pulley, President, Bank of Sussex and Surry, Ivor; W.H. Vincent, President, Bank of Capron, Capron; James T. Gillette, President, The Peoples Bank, Courtland; L.H. Brantley, President, Merchants and Farmers Bank, Ivor; E.I. Beale, President, Farmers Bank of Franklin, Franklin; Dr. R.L. Raiford, President, Bank of Sedley, Sedley; H.B. McLemore, President, Bank of Southampton, Courtland; Dr. J.W. Smith, Bank of Branchville, Branchville; L.J. Bain, Vice President, Merchants and Farmers Bank, Franklin; and Dr. J.A. Grizzard, President, Bank of Drewryville, Drewryville.

The assembled group elected E. Frank Story as chairman, and Paul Scarborough, Editor, The Tidewater News, as secretary. John Crafford Parker, of Franklin, took the occasion to make a strong and eloquent appeal for the awakening of our county and its people to our sacred obligation to this nation by providing the means for us to engage in war. At the end of his oration, Mr. Parker said, “As stated by President Woodrow Wilson, ‘The world must be made safe for democracy.’”

Mr. Parker’s speaking was followed by a talk by G.L.H. Johnson, Southampton County Superintendent of Schools, who pledged his cooperation especially in his efforts to work through the public schools and its teachers to arouse a thorough and enthusiastic sentiment among his many acquaintances throughout the county.

In Franklin, on Thursday, Mayor Joe Bynum Gay held a mass meeting at the Fourth Avenue Armory Hall to solicit additional community support for the Liberty Bond issue. Speaking at that meeting were: Congressman E.E. Holland, Judge James L. McLemore and Dr. Gavin Rawls.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net