By R. T. W. DUKE, JR.
The county of Albemarle, in shape an irregular triangle, is situated almost in the center of the State and is one of its largest and most thickly settled counties. The Blue Ridge extends along its northern border and the James River is on the south The Rockfish River enters the James at the southwest corner of the county. Scattered from the foothills of the Blue Ridge in the southwestern part of the county are the “Ragged Mountains,” whilst a higher and more regular range known as the Southwest Mountains bisects the county, running from the southwest to the northeast. On one mountain of this range, where it is broken by the passage of the Rivanna River, “Monticello,” the home of Thomas Jefferson, is located, and across the river rises a much smaller elevation which was owned by Jefferson and fully named by him “Pantops,” an adaptation of two Greek words meaning “all seeing.”
To the east of “Monticello” extends a wooded country called the “Flatwoods;” although it is, in fact, hill and dale with woodland interspersed with some fine farms. Toward the west, extending to the Blue Ridge, is a superbly beautiful country of rolling bills, upland lawns and rich meadows in a high state of cultivation, and, set in lovely groves are stately mansions and less pretentious. yet beautiful homes. The “Green Mountains,” an extension of the Southwest Mountains, are really plateaux. They are adorned by some of the handsomest homes in the State. “Redlands.” the home of the Carters, “Estouteville” and “Ennicorthy” and “Tallwood,” built by the Coles, the home of the late Senator Thomas S. Martin, and many other fine residences are in this neighborhood. On the edge of the “Flatwoods” was the home of Andrew Stevenson, member of Congress, Speaker of the House, and Minister to England. Between this spot and “Monticello” is “Ashlawn,” once the home of James Monroe. A noted mansion in the northern section of the county is “Castle Hill,” the home of Dr. Thomas Walker, patriot, statesman, and the first explorer of Kentucky. It is now in possession of his beautiful and brilliant descendant, Amelie Rives, the Princcess Troubetskoi, having been previously the residence of her grandfather, William C. Rives, Congressman, Senator and Minister to France. Nearby were the homes of Dr. Walker’s three sons, John Walker, Washington’s confidential aid-de camp and United States Senator; Thomas Walker, a captain in the Revolution and Francis Walker, member of Congress.
Across the mountain to the west was “Pen Park,” the home of Dr. George Gilmer, Revolutionary patriot, and, not far away is the site of the birthplace of George Rogers Clarke, the conqueror of the Northwest. General Thomas Sumter, subsequently of South Carolina, was born so near the line between Orange and Albemarle counties that it would require a surveyor’s compass to determine which county gave him birth.
William Carey Nicholas, a member of Congress, Governor of Virginia and author of the celebrated Kentucky Resolutions of 1798-99, was born in this county, as were Thomas Walker Gilmer, Congressman, Governor, and Secretary of the Navy under President Tyler, and Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson’s private secretary, who, with William Clarke, brother of George Rogers Clarke, made the famous expedition through the Northwest “where rolls the Oregon.”
It is obvious that a county which bred such men was ready to respond to any call to arms.
Owing to its location the county saw little actual warfare in any of our wars. A troop of its militia met Tarleton’s dragoons at the “Broad Mossing” Ford of the Rivanna in 1781, and, Jim Breathed imparked his guns at Rio in 1862 and scattered Averill’s Cavalry in a raid into the county, chasing them for miles with no other weapons than fence rails. Sheridan, in 1865, swept through the county and gave the inhabitants a taste of the looting proclivities of his cavalry. The Saratoga-Hessians (Convention prisoners) were kept in the county for some time after Burgoyne’s surrender. The road to the place where they were encamped is still known as the ‘Barracks Road.”
Almost in the center of the county lies the little city of Charlottesville, like a gem in an emerald setting. It was found in 1763 by Dr. Thomas Walker, and its crowning glory is the great University of Virginia, the child of Thomas Jefferson and the pride of the Commonwealth. At first a mere hamlet, Charlottesville has spread its limits until now it numbers fifteen thousand inhabitants and is a stirring place whose energetic citizens arebusy studying and advancing its welfare. Two great trunk lines -the Chesapeake and Ohio and the Southern railroads cross one another here.
The Monticello Guards, an old and noted military company and the Albemarle Rifles organized in 1861, served with distinction as members of the Nineteenth Virginia Infantry, C.S.A. A fine cavalry company, commanded by Dr. Hugh T. Nelson a lineal descendant of Governor Thomas Nelson, of Yorktown, was organized some years after the Civil War.
Both city and county have ever been noted for the culture refinement and hospitality of their inhabitants. At the time of the World War there were few men of very large fortunes, while there were many of ample means who lived in solid comfort and whose homes were the seats of cultivatiQn and leisure and of highly educated men and women. The bone and sinew county and city were the independent, high-minded citizens of no fortune but their ability and willingness to work. These classes made up a population of contented, industrious people who were an honor to the county and to the Commonwealth. The owners of the small, well-tilled farms were far above average yeomen. Good breeding, courtesy and kindliness were the rule. In the county fine horses and fine riders, both men and women, were numerous, and packs of good hounds made fox hunting almost a universal sport.
As might well have been expected, the men and women of this community had the highest sense of patriotic duty. Their ancestors had furnished their full quota of troops in the Revolution, in the War of 1812, in the Mexican War, and in the War Between the States, and so, when President Wilson sounded the note of war in 1917, it found in Albemarle and Charlottesville a ready response to the call, and “not a knight asleep.”
There were, in 1914, and are now, no large manufactories in the community. The Charlottesville Woolen Mills was the largest industry. These mills specialized in blues and grays and the latter were the standard by which West Point purchased its goods for the cadets at that institution. An excellent ice factory and an abattoir were situated in the city, also the Monticello Wine Company made a famous grade of wines–clarets, sauternes, port and burgundy and a grape brandy equal to cognac. This company furnished a good market for the grapes grown in the county. Apple-growing was then, as now, one of the chief industries, and the Albemarle Pippin was largely exported to Great Britain. The population of the county was 29.871 and of the city about 10,000.
The University brought a large number of young men into the community and they proved a source of revenue to merchants boarding-house keepers, etc. Two banks furnished abundant capital for the needs of all. The’ Miller Manual Labor School for the poor boys and girls of the County gave opportunity for education and training and its graduates gave a good account of themselves in the World War.
Up to the outbreak of the war life moved on quietly, our people going their way, “one to his farm and another to his merchandise,” but it was not long until we became greaty interested in the struggle overseas. Very soon some of our English friends who had settled in the community returned to Mother Country to enter the ranks of the “Contemptibles.” As reports of German atrocities increased some of the students of the University left and volunteered in the British or French armies and there was a steady growth of sentiment against Germany. When the Lusitania was sunk popular indignation was such that a declaration of war by Congress at that time would have been hailed by our people with almost unanimous approval.
In January, 1916, active work for the Allied soldiers began in the University and in Charlottesville under the auspices of Mrs. Bessie H. Alderman, wife of the president of the University. The American Fund for French Wounded was sponsored by a group of citizens who met at Dr. Alderman’s home, and surgical dressings were made, garments were cut and wool given out on receipts. Collections of money were also made.’ This work was continued up to America’s entrance into the war, when it was continued with redoubled energy. Branches of the organization were established at Ivy, Esmont, North Garden and Keswick. The organization collected $7,143.94 at headquarters and made a total of 325,690 hospital garments, surgical dressings and knitted garments. The Ivy branch situated in the midst of the English settlers, collected $2,468.47, and made 14,096 hospital garments. The Keswick branch, under the superintendence of Mrs. Murray Boocock, whose activities in every line of war work were phenomenal, also did splendid service in this organization.
Two days after President Wilson’s address to Congress declaring we were in a state of war with Germany, and the night before Congress did declare war, a large mass meeting was held in the Court house, presided over by Judge R. T. W. Duke, Jr. There were men in the audience who recalled that in this same month of April, eleven days later in the month and fifty-six years previous, the Monticello Guard and Albeinarle Rifles assembled around this same building and later on, with the two companies of students from the University left to join the Confederate Army, many of them never to return. At this meeting President Wilson’s course was unanimously approved and Congress was asked to take immediate action. It was a very grave and serious assembly. Committees were appointed which met the following night. The Mayor and other city officials at once took action to arouse public sentiment and outlined plans for keeping watch against possible damage by the German element in our midst.
All sorts of rumors were soon afloat-that the city reservoir was to be poisoned, the railroad bridges burned, etc. Volunteers were stationed at the reservoir and soldiers were asked to the bridges, but our citizens of German descent behavaed with perfect propriety. Some had talked foolishly and boastfully before the United States declared war, but they became silent after that and gave no occasion for stringent measures to be taken. One or two who were of military age and unnaturalized were interned for a short while.
Every prominent Christian denomination had a church in Charlottesville: Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Disciples, and in the county the Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches flourished. With the conservatism characteristic of true Christians, the churches at first held aloof from any discussion of the war, though prayer was regularly offered for the suffering and sorrowing and for the dawn of peace. But with our own country at war, the churches recognized that duty to country came next to duty to God, and our ministers began to preach from our pulpits that it was incumbent upon every Christian man to bear his full share of the burden of war. Committees were appointed to cooperate with all charitable organizations and patriotic workers The first patriortic sermon in the community was preached at St. Paul’s Memorial Church at the University of Virginia by Rev Beverly D. Tucker, D.D., on the Sunday following the declaration students were present. The hymns–“For Those in Peril on the Sea” and ‘America” were sung and the large audience was stirred to a wonderful degree by the eloquence of the rector.
The other churches were prompt to arouse the patriotic interest. In each one stirring addresses were made and in a short while in every chancel or beside every pulpit the “Stars and Stripes” were hung. Ere the close of the year service flags for those in service from the various congregations were raised and on most of them one or more gold stars appeared among the blue.
In every Red Cross or Y.M.C.A. drive the churhces took an active part. Church members were urged from the pulpit to buy Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps, and every church, excepting the Catholic, threw open its doors and invited speakers regardless of denomination, to occupy its pulpit. The writer of this article spoke on war topics in a church of every denomination except the Catholic. Of course all sensible people understood and appreciated the reasons for the Roman Catholic Church refusing to invite secular speakers into their chanceis. The priests of this church did their full duty. They and their people cooperated with all war workers.
The citizens of the Jewish faith in Charlottesville were no less active and generous than the more numerous members of the Christian faith. The ladies co-operated with the Red Cross in all of its branches and liberal donations were made-by both men and women. Several of the ladies took charge of first aid units, and, when necessary, soldiers in the bospital were visited and their families notified and kept in touch with.
There was no sectarian spirit shown in any way. Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic seemed endued with but one faith as far as good work and patriotic service were concerned.
The country churches responded generously to every call. Their ministers preached and worked and the result of their labors was very evident in the several communities. The town of Scottsville, with about seven hundred inhabitants, held a meeting in the largest church in the town for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions to War Savings Stamps. After one or two addresses the Baptist minister got up and, metaphorically speaking, “passed around the hat.” In about an hour $5,000 was subscribed and in the three days previous $7,000 ha4 been raised, making $12,000 in this small community which had few, if any, wealthy people in it.
One of the smallest chapels in the county-Rio, sent out one nurse in 1915 and had four of the young women of its congregation in war work and furnished five volunteers for military service. It raised a good fund for the Red Cross, sent comfort bags and other articles at Christmas time in 1917, and sent money to the starving children in Europe. Statistics as to the work of other churches and chapels throughout the county are lacking, but there was not one which did not do its part freely and fully.
The history of the University of Virginia in the World War has been prepared and published by the librarian, Mr. John S. Patton. This renders more than a passing notice here unnecessary.
At the outbreak of the war more than six hundred students of the University formed a volunteer corps, and on March 23, 1917, the rector and visitors applied to the President of the United States for the establishment at the University of one or more units of a training corps. This corps was under the charge of Lieutenant Colonel James A. Cole, U. S. Army, retired, who was duly elected a member of the faculty as Professor of Military Science and Tactics. The members of this corps took part in the war, many going with the American Expeditionary Force. and others being assigned to the various training camps.
On April 5, 1918, the University entered into an agreement with the War Department to train motor truck drivers and chauffeurs for the army, and commodious barracks, accommodatmg six hundred men and consisting of dining room, machine shops and garage were erected at a cost of $65,000. The City of Charlottesville guaranteed the University against loss under certain conditions to the extent of $20,000, which guarantee was underwritten by responsible citizens of the city and community. Over 1,800 men were trained in this school, eleven hundred of whom went directly overseas.
Dr. William Dulaney Anderson, of the Class of 1915, returned in 1917 to the University from service with the French and enlisted under the American Flag. He reported the great need of medical units in France, and on July 23, 1917, Dr. W. H. Goodwin was appointed Director of the University of Virgiia Base Hospital, which, under the name of Base Hospital 41, became famous for its services at St. Denis, near Paris. Miss Margaret Lee Cowling, Superintendent of the Training School of Nurshing, was appointed nurse of this base hospital and seven young women from the county and city went with the one hundred nurses belonging to this unit.
Two University ambulance units wer also formed under the names of S. S. U. 516 and S.S. U. 517. These units were trained at Allentown, went abroad and were in active service with the French army from January, 1918, till the close of the war. Numbers of these men were decorated and obtained medals from the French government.
Mr. Patton’s published history of the University contains the war records of Base Hospital 41 and the two ambulance units and also a list of the names of those Uriiversity students who were decorated or otherwise honored while in the service.
Within four days after war was declared the students of the University organized into companies and Lieutenant Colonel James A. Cole, U. S. A., retired, took command of them. Mr. William Eskridge Duke, formerly a midshipman at Annapolis and then a student in the Law School, later a lieutenant of Artillery, A. E. F., acted as his adjutant. Active drilling commenced at once and it was an inspiring sight to see these 600 young men going through the maneuvres which were to soldiers. Our whole community woke up. Meeting after meeting was held. Many young men got ready to volunteer and later went to the various training camps. The Monticello Guards were drilling every day and a “Home Guard” company known as “The Albemarle Rifles” was organized. A military company from Brooklyn came down during August, 1917, and guarded the bridges, etc. On September 24th, the Monticello Guards left for the training camp at Anniston, Alabama. They were escorted as they left by the Fire Company, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and members of the Red Cross. The Albemarle Rifles and the Students Corps under Col. Cole met them at Midway where an immense crowd had assembled. Speeches were made by Dr. Alderman, President of the University, and Rev. Doctor Lee. Nine days later we heard of the arrival in France of the American Expeditionary Forces and several Charlottesville and Albemarle men were among them.
When the Draft Act was passed and it became necessary to aid in filling up the questionnaires, the members of the Albemarle and Charlottesville Bar held a meeting and volunteered their services. For a week or more the lawyers, aided by many of the professors at the University and others, gave up their offices and their time and worked both day and night to fulfill the requirements of the draft.
There were many volunteers. Park Street in Charlottesville had twelve volunteers in service. They were R. H. Wood, Jr., who was killed in the aviation service; Richard S. Johnson, the only son of a widowed mother, who also lost his life in service; Thomas Johnson Michie, Hewson Michie, Thomas T. Hewson, Frank S. Irvine, Barton Lyons, Cephas Sinclair, R. T. Walker Duke, now Captain, U. S. A., who was twice wounded in the Argonne, and his two brothers, J. F. S. Duke and William Eskridge Duke, and M. E. Carter. These young men were all neighbors. From the little hamlet of Howardsville went seven young men, all of the same name and all related. They were C. S. Lewis, John B. Lewis, D. S. Lewis, William M. Lewis, Ed. S. Lewis, Z. R. Lewis and H. H. Lewis. More than one young man who volunteered was rejected for physical defects and later called in the draft. In spite of this seeming injustice, no complaint was made. When the young men, white and colored, were sent to camp they were given brave “send-offs.” One of the most interesting meetings was that held in the largest colored Baptist Church of the city when the first contingent of colored men assembled to leave for camp. The meeting was by- the most prominent white citizens of the city. Stirring and patriotic addresses were made and the whole spirit shown was worthy of the time and the occasion.
In 1918 it was rumored that some of the men called in the draft intended to make a fight. A meeting of the Bar was called and every lawyer attended the meeting. A resolution was unanimously adopted that under no circumstances would any lawyer make any technical exception to the provisions of the questionnaire for any drafted man but, on the contrary, any person seeking counsel would be sternly reminded of his duty and advised to do it as a patriotic citizen. At the same time the services ofevery lawyer were freely offered to every official board in case legal advice became necessary.
As stated in the history of the University, a training camp was established on the University grounds and a school for auto truck drivers was also conducted. The citizens entertained the men in training by holding dances, receptions, lawn parties, “movie” entertainments, etc., which did much to break up the monotony of military life.
In the first draft 347 men between eighteen and forty-five registered.
The following men from Albemarlee County and the City of Charlottesville are credited in the Virginia War History Commission’s volume-“Virginians of Distinguished Service in the World War” as having received special distinction in the World War: First Lieutenant Fred William Adams, of Ivy Depot, cited by Division Commander, French Croix de Guerre; John M. Dollins, of Batesville, cited by Division Commander, Silver Star citation; First Lieutenant Robert Bruce Jackson, of Keswick, cited by Division Commander, Meritorious Citation Certificate; Major Claude M. Lee, Medal of St. Anna of the Third Degree; Captain Frank Nelson Lewis (deceased), of Cismont, Distinguished Service Cross; Lieutenant Colonel Robert Baylor Shackleford, of Cismont, cited by Division Commander, cited twice by Commander-in-Chief; First Lieutenant Almeron W. Shanklin (deceased), of Crozet, Distinguished Service Cross; Captain Joseph Miller Wood, of Birdwood, French Croix de Guerre with gilt star, cited by Commanding Officer, U. S. M. C., cited by Commander-in-Chief; Captain Wilbert T. Woodson, of Crozet, Medaille d’Honneur des Epidemies (bronze). From Charlottesville: Staige Davis Blackford, French Croix de Guerre; Gilbert S. Campbell, French Croix de Guerre; Corporal Michael E. Carter, French Croix de Guerre; William T. Dettor, French Medal of Honor, Epideme; Major Armistead Mason Dobie, Order of University Palms, Officer d’Academie (Argent); Captain Oliver P. Echols, cited by Commander-in-Chief; Lieutenant Colonel James D. Fife, Distinguished Service Medal, French Legion of Honor, French Medal of Honor, British citation; Clem Goodman, French Croix de Guerre; Lieutenant Colonel William Hall Goodwin, cited by Commander-in-Chief; Colonel Daniel D. Harmon, French Legion of Honor; Captain Richard P. Hildreth, Distinguished Service. Cross, French Croix de Guerre; Frank S. Irvine cited by Division Commander; Commander Horace Walker Jones, commended by Secretary of the Navy; James Thomas Jones, French Croix de Guerre; Clarke Lindsay, cited at the Order of the Corps of the French army; John C. Marsh; Distinguished Service Cross, French Croix de Guerre; Fred E. Martin, cited by Division Commander, French Croix de Guerre; Sergeant Charles J. Morisette, French Medal of Honor; Peter Upton Muir, French Croix de Guerre; Hardwick M. Nevin, French Croix de Guerre; Earle B. Patterson, French Croix de Guerre; Marion W. Payne, French Croix de Guerre; Miss Edith V. Perry, French Medal of Honor; Randolph H. Perry, French Medal of Honor Philip Bradley Peyton. Distinguished Service Medal, cited by Division Commander; Sergeant Sidney F. Powers, French Medal of Honor; Marshall Scott (deceased); French Croix de Guerre; Lieutenant Commander James Downing Smith, commended by Secretary of Navy; Chief Paymaster Davis B. Wills, Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Cross.
The following is a partial roster of those from the city and county who died in service:
Killed: Joseph K. Bohst, Charles Andrew Boulding (colored), James Bryant, Thomas W. Burkhead, George R. Craig, John C. Culin, Percy Dowell, John W. Estes, Wayne France, Wesley Glass, Thomas P. Harrison, William H. Humphreys, Richard F. Johnson, Samuel F. Johnson, Henry B. Kennedy, ….. ….. Leake, Frank Lewis, Carl Marshall, Broadus Martin, James Moon, Maurice L. Payne, Marion L. Sandridge, Alvin W. Shankin, Thacker. A. W. I~. Trotter, Dakota Watts, A. White, Robert H. Wood, Jr., Frank Ware Woods, Finks Woods, F. Tucker Wilkins.
Died in service: John L. Allen, Arvey Coles, Richard Ragland Cole, John H. Dickerson, L. E. Flannagan, Charles L. Hawley, Eddie Lee Harlowe, Samuel J. Juman, Victor S. Metcalf, James Murray (colored). Milton W. Moore, Edward Graham Timberlake. Frank W. Woods, and Eldridge Walker (colored).
As soon as the people were called upon to suhscribe to the Liberty Loan, a general organization was formed with Mr. George R. B. Michie as chairman, R. T. Minor, Jr., vice-chairman, and A. M. Phillips, secretary. Committees were formed in every precinct and ward in the county and city. Tn each neighborhood practically every leading man and woman was pressed into service and intensive work was carried on. The community was thoroughly canvassed and speeches were made in all churches, and schools. Enthusiasm was never allowed to lag. The consequence was that every Liberty Loan was oversuhscribed. The total apportionment for the city and county combined was $2,791,500 and the total subscrihed, exclusive of the First Loan for which no records were kept, was $3,494,400.
R. T. W. Duke, Jr., was chairman in Charlottesville for the War Savings Stamps campaign. The first Sunday after this campaign started every minister, of whatever denomination, made an appeal to his congregation and there was a ready response. A large War Savings Stamps rally was held in July, 1918, and subscriptions were enough to meet the quota asked for and more.
The beginning of the year 1918 found both county and city earnestly at work in every activity. The government had appointed the various administrators for Food Control and Control and the efforts of these gentlemen met with a response. Our citizens and merchants seemed anxious to in furthering every effort to aid in the successful prosecution of the war.
The American Red Cross at the beginning of the World War had no organization in this community. The Albemarle Chapter was organized in July, 1917, with headquarters in Charlottesville and had jurisdiction over the six auxiliaries that were subsequently formed. The credit for organizing the chapter should be given to Mr. John L. Livers, who was then president Chamber of Commerce of Charlottesville. Dr. Edwin A. Alderman was the first chairman. He was succeeded by Frank Y. Hall and he was sifeceeded by W. Allan Perkins. R. T. Minor, Jr., vice-president of the National Bank of Charlottesville, was treasurer, and Mrs. Annie E. Walker, secretary. Mrs. Walker was succeeded in July, 1918, by Mrs. May V. Crenshaw
Prominent citizens of the community began at once take an active interest in the work. Committees on Membership, Finance Publicity, Military Relief, Hospital Garments, Knitting, Packing, Instruction, Civilian Relief. Motor Corps and Junior Membership were formed and went actively to work. At every precinct in the county separate organizations were created which worked until the end of the war.
The committee on surgical dressings took a room first at the University and deyoted itself during the summer of 1917 to making dressings for the University Base Hospital No. 41. It then transferred its headquarters to Charlottesville and averaged ten workers a day. Some idea of the work done can be gathered from the fact that an order for 5,000 absorbent pads to be finished in two weeks was received. Men came to the assistance of the ladies and in one week the order was finished, packed and shipped. In July, 1917, work was commenced in the basement of the McGuffey School for the making of hospital garments and surgical dressings, no Red Cross Chapter then having been formed. In October this work was taken over by the Albemarle Chapter and by April, 1919, 7,287 garments had been made. The work was of such excellent quality that the chapter was asked on several occasions to furnish national headquarters with samples In November, 19!7, a teaching center was opened with surgical classes and private lessons. A large class was also given instructions at Crozet and instructors were sent to conduct classes at Tazewell and Emporia. Classes were given also in First Aid and Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of the Sick.
A home service section was organized and able instructors from Washington came to take charge of this work. Service cases to the number of 518 were handled, there were 309 information cases and financial assistance rendered amounted to $1,048.75.
The influenza epidemic in the fall of 1918 put the Red Cross to its severest test. Every precautionary measure possible was adopted, the schools were closed and the medical faculty of University and every physician in the community rendered valuable aid. During this epidemic 1.775 masks were made for the Motor Truck Camp at the University. Seven hundred and and thirty quarts of soup and buttermilk were made and donated, and $298.45 was spent for those in need.
Refugee clothing to the amount of 3,380 pounds was collected Two thousand eight hundred and fifty members were enrolled, and at Christmas time there were four thousand and six members. Forty-eight thousand one hundred and seventy-four dollars and thirty-nine cents ($48,174.39) was the total amount raised. Christmas boxes numbering 566 were wrapped and sent, after inspection by the chapter. There was no cessation in interest and enthusiasm until orders came from Washington to discontinue actual war work.
The Red Cross drives met with great success. Men who could speak were mustered into service and they made numerous addresses in the churches and school houses, white and colored throughout the county. One touching incident occurred, an address made in one of the rural colored churches. After a stirring appeal for funds in which the speaker dwelt upon the large amount that could be realized from even the poor if each one gave a mite, one of the deacons arose and respectfully addressed the chairman of the meeting. He said “There’s an old colored woman here who is too poor to give any money. For two or three years she has been getting little bits of wool from briers, where the sheep had left it, and wherever she could honestly obtain it, to knit a shawl to keep her old rheumatic body from suffering. She has never worn it. It’s a pretty see. Now she wants to give it to the Red Cross and have them sell it to get money to help those poor suffering people in the war.” The shawl was taken and sold and the money went into the fund.
On July 4th, a large pageant was held for the benefit of the Red Cross. The Albemarle Rifles, Boy Scouts and school children took part, and there marched in the procession a line of God Star Mothers. Ball games were held and the proceeds of all the entertainments went for the benefit of the Red Cross.
The outbreak of the war found a weIl-organized, well-housed Y.M.C.A. in Charlottesville under the charge of an active and zealous secretary and his assistants. At the University there was the oldest College Y.M.C.A. in the world, in a beautiful building and with a splendid set of workers. All of the resources, physical and spiritual, of the organization began to function as soon as America entered the war and there was no cessation of work until months after the war closed. Members of the organization were detailed to help guard the bridges in the county. The rooms of the association were thrown open-baths and library. stationery and rest rooms were made frequent use of enlisted men were looked after and, when possible, entertained. Thirty-two thousand dollars were raised for the general fund and seven thousand for special work. The same course was adopted to raise funds as was used by the Red Cross, and speakers toured the county and spoke in the churches and school houses with excellent results. In every Protestant church more than one address was made for the benefit of the association.
Everything possible was done to help the troops as they passed through on the trains. A canteen was formed and food and drink provided. On one occasion four companies were taken from the train at the Union Station and marched down Main Street for exercise. They were halted just in front of one of the drug stores and a public spirited citizen walked in, bought out the entire stock of cigarettes and a couple of cigars for each officer. Every man in line was given two boxes of cigarettes. It was fine to hear the boys cheer as they wheeled to march back to entrain once more.
In April, 1918, a great meeting was held in the city and “The Churches and Moral Aims of War” was the subject under discussion by speakers of distinction from home and abroad. Seven counties were represented at this gathering.
In September, 1918, the British residents of the city and county held a large meeting at Fry’s Spring for the benefit of the British war sufferers. An immense crowd assembled and heard addresses by invalided British officers and other speakers. War films were exhibited and amidst great enthusiasm, as the Star Spangled Banner, God Save the King, and La Marsailles were sung, a handsome sum was collected.
In October, 1918, there was a meeting of war workers not only from the county and city but from adjacent counties, which was largely attended and plans outlined to carry on the work in every possible way. The cheering news of the disorganization of the German armies and the rapid advance of our troops did not for one instant check the enthusiasm of any organization or individual. “We must keep on and on and on,” said one speaker, “not only until the Huns have surrendered and peace is declared but until we have bound up the wounds war has made, helped the widow and the orphan and safeguarded ‘the world against another such scourge as this war.” And there was no slacking of any endeavor, but men and women went on as if the war was never to end, until that November day when the blowing of whistle, the ringing of bells and the glad shouts of the multitude proclaimed that the Armistice had come and peace was in sight.
The close of the war found the community practically in a normal condition. The rapid cessation of food and fuel restrictions permitted the citizens to resume work and there was a quiet and yet earnest desire on the part of all to return to active business. But for the wounded soldiers returning and later on the return of the bodies of some of the soldiers who were killed in France, there was little evidence that there had been a war.
The body of one of our colored soldiers was brought back from France by the government at the request of his relatives. The American Legion, with a portion of one of the military companies, acted as an escort at his funeral and over his grave they fired the customary military salute whilst the bugler sounded taps. Every one of the soldiers and ex-soldiers who accomanied the body of this humble colored man were white and his body was given the same honors that would have been given to the best known man in the community and that were given to the bodies of other soldiers when they were returned here.
At this time the war is but a memory-in some respects a proud memory, for our community did its full duty. There are gaps in many families and men upon whom there are yet traces of wounds and disabilities, yet the world goes on very much as if there had been no war.