Thursday, November 8, 2018

More Local Boys Among Fallen and Wounded Soldiers, 1918

From the Franklin Times, Louisburg, N.C., Nov. 8, 1918. Sections of this newspaper were quite difficult to make out, but I didn't want to leave out death notices for local soldiers and sailors.

Ensign John Neal

Louisburg, Oct. 21—Ensign John Neal, son of the late W.P. Neal and Mrs. Annie W. Neal, was born in Louisburg February 9, 1897. After attending Louisburg High School he entered Shadman’s Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., from which he was accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy through an appointment by Congressman E.W. Pou.

He attained the rank of Captain of his Company in the class of 1919, which was graduated June, 1918. He immediately entered service as ensign on the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, where he was assigned the duty of a divisional officer. Capt. Nulten(?) of the U.S.S. Pennsylvania said to his mother at the time of his death that he had watched with keen interest John’s career while at the Academy, and since being in the service, and that he had not only won the admiration, respect, and love of all the men, but his development was 100 per cent good. Influenza and pneumonia of short duration resulted in his death while aboard ship, October 6th. The remains were sent to his home for interment in Oaklawn cemetery, Bishop Cheshire officiating.

A party of friends met the remains (line obscured) carried through Louisburg to his home, the courthouse bell was told in his honor. The pallbearers were Messrs. F.B. McKinne, W.M. Person, J. Allen, E.L. Best, W.H. Ruffin and E.H. Malone.

The death of this young officer was sudden and unspeakably the hearts of the people of Louisburg who felt a ?? interest in him, and were looking with price to the fulfillment of all which his entrance into his chosen department of service gave promise. The sympathy that goes out to his widowed mother is heartfelt. Bravely and proudly she gave her boy to his country and bravely she is bearing the sacrifice so early made of his bright young life. With wonderful strength she is facing another test of her love and loyalty as her only remaining son, William, has received his orders and will leave immediately for his Aviation Training School in far away Minnesota.

There were no funeral services held at the home of Ensign Neal, but the long line of cars that followed his remains to the cemetery was an attestation to the love and respect our people bore him. 

The selections sung by the choir, and the beautiful lessons from the ritual of his church never sounded more impressive as the casket, draped in the flag he loved, rested beside the open grave.  When it was lowered into its last resting place, it was by loving hands tenderly hid from view. The floral offerings were beautiful and profuse, and came from far and near. The ones from his nearest and dearest were first placed on the newly made mound and the others banked around, until the grave was more than covered.

In conclusion Bishop Cheshire read most feelingly a beautiful hymn and with tear-dimmed eyes and saddened but uplifted hearts, Ensign John Neal was left “Sleeping within our Father’s gracious keeping, till the resurrection day.”

Sidney L. Burnett

Alert, Oct. 14—Private Sidney L. Burnett was born in Franklin County near Alert March 13, 1892, and was killed in France Sept. 1, 1918. In person he was physically strong, mentally sane, had blue eyes, light hair and a ?? complexion.

He was a successful farmer with a bright future. He was kind and always ready and glad to lend a helping hand to those in need. Six years ago God saw that it was best he could in the house ?? war gone he tilled her place as ties to the younger ?? made him ?? to his baby brother. For a long time whenever he went (line obscured) by him. These close family ties to the younger ones made him very homley and interested in (next line obscured)

?? 27, 1917, he received his call ?? was for him to break the news to the home folks when he came home in the dead hours of night ?? was hard for him to leave? He felt that it was his patriotic duty. He was first sent to Camp Jackson. He stayed there only a few weeks when he was transferred to Camp Sevier. He had measles in the fall and just after Christmas the mumps. He expressed to the writer that he felt it was only through God’s goodness and the prayers of his good Christian friends that his life was spared. During all his camp life he never had an extra duty of any kind. He lived a clean life with many temptations around him to do evil.

He received a five days’ furlough while at Camp Sevier. The short stay at home seemed like a dream but he felt much better when he really saw that homefolks were doing as well as they were without him. I talked to him face to face while he was at home. He stated that he had accepted Christ as his Savior several years ago but had failed to unite with the church. His plans then were to join a Baptist church when he came home to stay.

He sailed overseas about May 15, 1918. It was thought from the dates of his letters that he lived from 20 to 30 days in the trenches. The greatest desire of all his letters were that God might let him come back home to live with his loved ones again. Such a short life but how thankful we ought to be that he was an honor to his country. “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The whole county joins me in extending their heartfelt sympathy to his home people. He leaves an aged father, R.C. Burnette of Alert, four brothers, George, Joe and Robert Burnette all of Alert, Horton Burnette at Camp Sevier and two sisters, Beulah and Nancy Burnette of Alert.

Franklin County’s son gave his life

For Liberty, Freedom and Truth
   The things dearest to each life
That we might hold forever to the truth.
   Weep no more dear ones
For God knoweth best
   He gives us loved ones
He taketh them when its best.
   He sleeps a restful sleep to us in an unknown grave,
And there he waits the resurrection morn
   When all shall rise from the grave
And answer God’s call on that morn.
--A Friend

Willie G Macon

Mr. Willie G. Macon, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Macon of near Ingleside, was reported killed in France early in October. Mr. Macon was one of Franklin County’s best young men and numbered his friends by his acquaintances. He was married to Miss Elizabeth Jones while in camp at Greenville, S.C., and besides her he leaves a father and mother, several sisters and brothers, and lots of friends and relatives.

Other News About Soldiers

A report was received in Louisburg that a Mr. Strickland of Harris township was killed in action, but we could not get it confirmed.

Mr. Clifton A. Tharrington, son of Esse Tharrington of near town was reported wounded.

A letter from Major S.P. Boddie to his wife here says that he was wounded on the battlefield in October in three places, one ball taking effect in the foot, one in the shoulder and one in the lungs. He is improving and says he expects to get back at the Huns in a short while.

(There was also a letter from Tom G. Perry in this issue but most of it is unreadable.)

Letter From Mr. Alston

To all the people of Franklin County:

The news is coming to us every day of the death or wounding of some of our Franklin County boys. They are making the supreme sacrifice, they are going West in a cause that is glorious, they are dying as men. I had rather be a Sam Boddie or Willie Macon or any of the other boys that are being killed or wounded on the blood-soaked hills of France than to be a slacker as some are and walk the streets of Louisburg. These men will go down in history as not worth of the name of a man, while Sam and Willie and the rest will go down in history as God’s noblemen.

There are other ways of being a slacker than merely not going to the war. Am I a slacker in not doing my duty at home, are you doing yours? Today we are in the midst of a drive to raise money to secure something in the way of comfort for our wounded boys. Are we going to let the love of money keep us from giving to this noble cause? I for one am not going to be a slacker in this and I know you are not. Let us pile up an amount in Franklin County that will surprise every one. Our boys’ lives are at stake. We must respond. There is not a man, woman or child in Franklin County who cannot give something.

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