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On this Memorial Day, we honor the dead of all the American wars. But some wars receive a lot more attention than others…especially, it seems, in our fair Twin City.
This is the story of a forgotten local soldier of a forgotten war.
If you go down to the courthouse square in Winston-Salem and look around carefully, you might spot an obscure memorial to “The Great War”, now known as World War I.
Our local World War I memorial is located on the courthouse square at the corner of Third and Liberty Streets. It is very difficult to photograph, because no matter which way you move, the view is blocked by a WALK/DON’T WALK sign, not to mention having a bright yellow fire hydrant right in front of it.
Of course, that doesn’t really matter, because you can see that no one pays any attention to it. The rusted flag pole hasn’t had a flag on it in decades. In fact, the county commissioners just sold the property that it stands on to private developers.
And the plaque that lists the names of the dead has gone pure green, untouched by human hands for who knows how long. It is difficult to read even after a judicious bit of Photoshopping.
Here is what it says:
1917 – 1918 / IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THE FORSYTH COUNTY MEN WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE IN THE WORLD WAR
Clinton A. Anderson / William M. Bazemore / Jim Bennett / Clyde Bolling / Frank J. Brewer / Isaac L. Brown / Sam Chambers / James R. Cook / Horace B. Connelly / James Cottingham / Herbert Crighton / Samuel Crews / Germie Crutchfield / Wade R. Davis / John Sidney Doty / John G. B. Duvall / Addison Eddings / Ben C. Elliott / Ben C. Ellis / Will Farris / Bud Gentry / Rex Graham / William Theodore Gray / John W. Griffith / William Graham Harper / James Harris / Charles L. Hastings / Walter R. Hill / Alonzo Holly / James Hooper / Alonzo Howie / Clifton Irey / Clark Johnson / Clyde Dalton Johnson / William B. Johnson / Sid Vestal Kapp / Cecil F. King / Lendo S. Kinney / Charles Frederick Lane / Reid Alexander Lyons / William E.Macy / Ernest F. Martin / Joe Henry McDaniel / Asa McWhirter / Arthur Mickey / Ballard Miller / Ernest R. Morgan / Jesse O’Mara / Alonza G. Pack / Carl Clark Paff / Charles R. Pegg / William Pegram / Eugene Rachel / Grant Wellington Rector / Rudy M. Reid / John T. Ring / Paul E. Shore / Morris Lawson Slaughter / Walter P. Smith / Albert N. Spaugh / George W. Spears / Paul Evans Sprinkle / Robert G. Tate / Herbert S. Turrentine / Trossy Gorrell Wall / Ernest L. Wilkinson / Robert Caldwell Williamson / Walter R. Wilson / John Willis Young /
THIS MEMORIAL ERECTED MAY 30, 1921 BY THE WOMEN’S CLUB OF WINSTON-SALEM AND THE CLYDE BOLLING POST N255 AMERICAN LEGION
Clyde Bolling, the first local man to die in the war, for whom the first local American Legion post was named, is listed. Here is an interesting newspaper article about him:
Found this and the pic below in an unlikely place…1918-1919 report of the superintendent of Winston-Salem schools…first time I’ve ever seen a picture of Clyde Bolling…
But at least one local man who died in the war is not on the list. We know this because I accidentally stumbled on a newspaper picture of him while looking for something else.
Jacob Sosnik was a partner with Samuel Hyatt and Harry Jacobsen in The Hub, menswear, 120 East Fourth Street. He lived at 421 West Seventh Street. He was killed in action on September 25, 1918, just four days before his comrades in the Old Hickory Division (30th Infantry) broke the Hindenburg Line, and a little less than seven weeks before the armistice that ended The Great War.
RIP, Jacob. Now we know who you were.
Henry Johnson, Croix de Guerre with Gold Palm
Henry Johnson did not die in the war, although he might as well have considering how he wound up. He was born in Charlottesville and died in New York, but he grew up on Sycamore Street near the railroad tracks in East Winston. His story is one of the most extraordinary in US military history. Read all about it here: https://northcarolinaroom.wordpress.com/?s=battle+of+henry+johnson