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Williamsburg and James City County

A Community History



James City County lies in the peninsula between the York and James Rivers. It is bounded on the west by the Chickahominy River, which separates it from Charles City and New Kent Counties, and on the east are the counties of York and Warwick.

The dimensions of the county are: Extreme length, 25 miles; extreme width, 12 miles, with an area of 164 square miles. The county is traversed by a central watershed of about 100 feet elevation and five or six miles in width, gradually sloping to approximately sea level in the northwest and south. The central watershed is traversed by- the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and the State highway, and it, with a strip of land between Williamsburg and Jamestown Island, contains the bulk of the population. The lowlands in the northwest and south have a few very fine, large farms and extensive tracts of timber land. The population here is very scattered and the roads are poor and practically impassible in bad weather. The chief agricultural products are potatoes, wheat corn and dairy products. The population of the county at the beginning of the war was about 5,338, of which 2,617 were white and 2,721 colored.[1]

In the county are located two of the most historic spots, not only in Virginia but in the United States. The first of these is Jamestown, where the first permanent colony of English-speaking people landed on our shores, May 13, 1607, and where the Anglo-Saxon church was firmly planted in the Western Hemisphere. Here, upon the landing of the colonists, the first act was to worship God. They, had no church, but they hung "an old saile" between two or three trees to shelter them from the weather and nailed a sapling between two trees for a communion rail. There gathered and knelt the 105 souls to give thanks to God for their escape from the perils of their voyage. The Rev. Robert Hunt conducted the service.[2] Jamestown Island today is a very lovely spot. A large portion of the island is under the care of the A. P. V. A., and many ancient landmarks have been preserved by this society, among them being the tower of the old church, the Indian mounds, and the foundation of the old State House. The memorials erected are very beautiful, including the Memorial Church, the bronze statues of John Smith and Pocahontas, and the lovely memorial shrine to Robert Hunt, the first minister of Jamestown, presented by the Colonial Dames of America in Virginia. A comfortable hostess house containing a museum is also one of the attractions of the Island.

The second historic point is Williamsburg, the county seat, the Colonial Capitol, known in those days as "Middle Plantation," because of its location on a ridge between the James and York Rivers. It was here, after the burning of the State House at Jamestown, that the seat of government was established in 1698, the action being confirmed by Governor Nicholson in 1699.

In Williamsburg many historical buildings of the past still stand, among them the College of William and Mary, the second oldest institution of learning in this country, a college boasting a Royal Charter and more priorities than any other college in the country. From the "Priorities Tablet" on the wall of the main building of the college one may read as follows

Chartered February 8, 1693, by King William and Queen Mary

First college in the United States in its antecedents, which go back to the college proposed at Henrico (1619). Second to Harvard University in actual operation.

First American college to receive its charter from the Crown under the Seal of the Privy Council, 1693. Thence it was known as "their Magesties" Royal College of William and Mary."

First and only American college to receive a Coat-of-Arms from the College of Heralds, 1694.

First college in the United States to have a full faculty, consisting of a president, six professors, an usher, and a writing master, 1729.

First college to confer medallic prizes; the gold medals donated by Lord Botetourt in 1771.

First college to establish an inter-collegiate fraternity, the Phi Beta Kappa, December 5, 1776.

First college to have the elective system of study, 1779.

First college to have the Honor System, 1779.

First college to become a university, 1779.

First college to have a school of Modern Languages, 1779.

First college to have a school of Municipal and Constitutional Law, 1779.

First college to teach Political Economy, 1784.

First college to have a school of Modern History, 1803.

Just down the Duke of Gloucester Street a short distance from the college gate stands old Bruton Parish Church, spoken of by a Bishop as "perhaps the noblest monument of religion in America."

"Great men whose names adorn the pages of history-presidents, governors, statesmen and warriors, have thronged her sacred courts. Independence, fathered by her sons, born under her eaves, first proclaimed by her bell, became the foundation of our national government. Her solemn memories and venerable traditions inspire our patriotism and testify to the faith of our fathers."[3]

Bruton Parish Church is the oldest Episcopal church in continuous use in America. Parish work was begun in 1632, the first brick church was built in 1683, and the present church in 1710. The church was beautifully restored to her former glory in 1905, and one may see upon its ancient walls today most interesting bronze tablets to the memory of noted colonists. The, Royal Governor's pew with chair and canopy, the high pulpit and sounding board, the clerk's desk and old gallery where the college students sat (locked in) during the service, beautiful stained glass windows and lovely aisles paved with marble, below which are tombs, and dignified high backed pews, all adorn this hallowed sanctuary. The church also possesses many valued treasures, among them three sets of Communion Silver, one of the original old Jamestown service, the Jamestown Baptismal Font, the Parish Register of 1662, the Old Colonial Prayer Book and the King Edward Bible and Lectern presented by President Roosevelt. The original wall, built in 1752, still encloses the lovely old church yard in which one may stroll and read many quaint inscriptions upon the ancient graves.

Hastening on down the Duke of Gloucester Street, one passes the old Palace Green, upon the north end of which once stood the Royal Governor's Palace in all its splendor, and facing the Palace Green on the west side is the site of the First Theatre in America, the Powder Horn built in 1714, the Court Green and the original Court House, the site of the Old Raleigh Tavern and the State Prison built in 1701.

Many lovely old colonial homes still stand, among them the Wyth House, Peyton Randolph House, the Blair House, restored; Bassett Hall, Tazewell Hall, Paradise House and Audry House.

This, in the spring of 1917, when the black clouds hung heavy, and the rumbling sounds of war were sounded in our midst, was the setting for the "Augean task" the war had thrust upon us.


As early as the fall of 1914, much interest was manifested by our citizens in the European situation. The local paper, the "Virginia Gazette" (the first paper published south of the Potomac by Wm. Parks, in 1736), was wide-awake to the war news of the day- and carried many fine editorials on the war situation in Europe. Interesting letters were received from the war zone by some of the Scotch and English citizens residing in the county, and the mails at this time brought from the battlefront sad news to the relatives who had loved ones in the service. Naturally, the sympathy of the county was with the Allies, as there were very few Germans residing in the county. From the time the European war started, the citizens of Williamsburg and the county manifested their sympathy with the Allies, and responded to all calls as the following reports will show.

The war-time history of James City County is perhaps as interesting as that of any other county in the State of Virginia. Its geographical position and unsurpassed historical back ground, its memories and traditions of the past centuries, all tended to inspire loyalty and patriotism, and when the time came for service to be rendered to the government the citizens of this county stood ready, whether duty lay in doing the thing nearest at hand, in going out into the fields of industry, or in going overseas to fight for freedom.

The first citizen to leave Williamsburg was Miss Harriet Hankies, daughter of Mrs. Harriet Hankies and the late Dr. G. A. Hankies. Miss Hankies sailed September 5th, 1914, for Europe, and served as a Red Cross nurse in Germany near the German-Russian battle line in Poland. Next went two wellknown men, James Watts, nephew of Mr. George Robb of Delks Farm, James City County, who had been a popular visitor from Scotland, and C. `V. Bruton, whose old home was in England.

For sixteen months prior to our entry into the war, a group of women had allied themselves with the committee of the central branch of the War Relief Association at Richmond, and had worked industriously with this committee.

March 26th, 1917, a mass meeting was held in the old Court House in Williamsburg and resolutions were passed "unanimously endorsing the government in the crisis" we were then facing. G. A. Dovell presided and resolutions were adopted approving of the action of President Wilson in his attitude toward Germany and pledging the administration the support of this city. The resolutions were offered by Dr. Lyon G. Tyler. President of William and Mary, and son of John Tyler, tenth President of the United States. When Dr. Tyler read his resolutions they were given warm approval, and when a standing vote was called for by the chair every man and woman in the room arose, and "a wave of enthusiasm swept the crowd like magic.[4]

In the "Flat Hat," (the official college organ), of April 3rd, 1917, an account is given of a mass meeting of faculty and students of William and Mary College, and of resolutions passed, expressing their hearty approval of the course taken by President Wilson, and pledging their loyal support to the government.[5]

The women of the town and county gathered at the Court House April 2, 1917, and organized a branch of the "'National League for Woman's Service," this being the first organized women's work in the county.[6]

Stimulated by these patriotic meetings everybody- was thoroughly alive to the necessity of war preparations in our midst, and from this time on to the end of the war self sacrifice and devotion to the cause never ceased.


The churches of the town and county occupied a conspicuous place in the history of this period, their congregation taking a most active part in all war work, contributing generously of their means, and laboring faithfully for the cause. Patriotic sermons were preached by the ministers of all the churches, and officers and soldiers from nearby camps were welcomed at all the services. Many courtesies were shown them by pastors and members of the congregations. Numerous homes were thrown open to the men in the service and much hospitality was accorded them.

On June 3, 1917, a big mass meeting was held at the Methodist Church, Williamsburg, Virginia, the committee in charge being Rev. J. R. Laughton, W. C. Johnson and B. Frank Wolf. The whole town turned out for this meeting, patriotic speeches were made and a fine musical program was rendered.[7] After serving his church and the community faithfully, Rev. J. R. Laughton left for Camp Lee early in October to accept a chaplaincy in the army. May, 1918, the Baptist Church of Williamsburg held a special service. At this time the flag of the United States and a service flag were unfurled.[8] The women of the church organized a Red Cross Auxiliary and pledged themselves to knit and sew for this organization.

Bruton Parish Church gave generously to every call, participated in Liberty Bond drives and the sale and purchase of War Savings Stamps. The national colors and the service flag of the parish were kept constantly in the church. Prayers for the soldiers and sailors, and other appropriate devotions were constantly offered. The church continued its activities to the end of the war, and the old bell in the church tower, the first in America to celebrate civil independence (May 15th, 1776), proclaimed the Armistice. The following members of Bruton Parish Church were in the National Service:[9] Samuel H. Hubbard, 2nd Lieut. Infantry, died of wounds received in action; J. L. Hall, Jr., Lieut. Commander, United States Navy; C. M. Hall, 1st Lieut., U. S. A. Artillery; J. F. Hall, 2nd Lieut., U. S. M. C.; T. H. Geddy, Pvt., U. S. A. Hospital Corps; Geo. Ben Geddy, C. P O, U. S N., (Aviator); Vernon Geddy, 2nd Lieut., C. A. C.; J. S. Watts, Scottish Forces, 1st Lieut., Gordon Highlanders; C. W. Bruton, Lieut., English Army; E. D. Jones, Capt., U. S. Revenue Cutter Service; J. C. Reeve, Pvt., U. S. A., Ordnance Dept.; Bothurst D. Peachy, Junior Lieut., U. S. M. C. (Aviation); George Lane, R. O. T. C. (C. A. C.) ; John Warburton, Seaman, U. S. N.; Merritt W Foster, U. S. N., Yeoman; A. W. Collis, Pvt., U. S. A.; George Durfey, Lieut., Engineer Corps; James Driver, Capt., U S. A.; Ashton Dovell, R. O. T. C., U. S. A. Artillery; Leonard Maynard, 1st Lieut., U. S. A., Infantry; Miss Harriett Hankins, U. S. A., Hospital Corps; Rich Henley, S. A. T. C.; Turner Henley, S. A. T. C.; Carlisle Johnston, S. A. T. C.; Charles E. Friend, Jr., S. A. T. C., and Van F. Garrett, S. A. T. C.

At the close of the war the children of Bruton Parish Church went without their usual Christmas tree and sweets in order that the money might be turned over to a fund for the suffering children of Europe.


The schools in the town and county rendered valuable service, not only in a material way but in a patriotic spirit. The Junior Red Cross workers made property bags and scrap books, assisted in Red Cross drives and held bazaars for its benefit. The teachers and pupils of all the schools did splendid work when the Thrift Stamps were put on sale, the principal of the Williamsburg school, H. W. Vaden, turning loose "one hundred agents" in the town at one time. This proved a most successful campaign, the results being 3,500 stamps sold by the High School and 1,550 by the Model School.[10]

The children signed up to do home gardening and also to work in the school gardens. Patriotic meetings were held in the Williamsburg, Five Forks, Toana, Norge and Grove Schools, all doing their bit and laboring under great difficulties at times, owing to the shortage of teachers, many of whom left to accept government positions and to work in munition plants. The effect of the war upon the classroom was rather negligible, unless it was in the history classes, as pupils seemed, along with their war program, to be able to carry on their regular school schedule and make the grades necessary for their promotions.

The College of William and Mary has always been known in its patriotism. In the trying time from 1763 to 1781 took an important part in every movement looking history for her alumni toward the advancement of the Cause of Independence. Some of the alumni who played leading parts in the struggle were Richard Bland who, in 1764, declared that England and America were co-ordinate kingdoms under a common crown; Dabney Carr, student in 1762, patron of the resolutions in 1775 for Committees of Correspondence, the first step towards united action on the part of the colonies; Peyton Randolph, first president of the Continental Congress; Carter Henry Harrison, author of the resolutions of Cumberland County, 1776, the first positive instructions for continental independence; Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence; and George Wythe, teacher and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. When Cornwallis passed through Williamsburg on his way to Yorktown, he occupied the President's house and used it as his headquarters. All the students left the college and joined the Continental Army. After the battle of Yorktown, the college was used as a hospital for the French troops.

Again in 1861 the college practically closed its doors and all the students and professors went to war.

In 1917 history but repeated itself. The invasion of Belgium, the sinking of the Lusitania, the murder of Edith Cavell, and other Prussian atrocities stirred the hearts of professors and students. War was in the very air of the old college. Students were already drilling under some of their own number who had previously attended military schools. On the fifth of April, the day before America entered the war, President Lyon G. Tyler called the faculty in special session to take steps to secure a trained military director for the students. In a few days, he secured the services of Captain J. B. Puller, who had for some years been in command of the Richmond Light Infantry, Blues, one of the most famous battalions in the country. When Captain Puller entered the regular service the college employed S. M. Taylor, a graduate of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, who drilled the William and Mary Battalion for nine months, then entered the army, and died a soldier's death.

The sixth of April, 1917, was a memorable day at William and Mary. It looked as if war were at her doors and not three thousand miles away. Some of the older students began to leave immediately, and many of the alumni rushed to the training camps as soon as they were opened. Early in April the faculty rearranged the schedule of lectures, so that everything should give place to the military program. The college at some hours looked like a military barracks. The lecture rooms rang with patriotic outbursts. No such scenes had been known in the college since the spring of 1861.

The war reduced the enrollment about one-half. After the S. A. T. C. was established, the numbers increased considerably but were again reduced after the disbandment of the S. A. T. C. in December, 1918. Substitutes were appointed for several professors who volunteered, so that the academic work was not seriously interrupted. Changes in the curriculum were made to meet the wishes of the educational committee of the War Department. European history was taught in such a way as to show both the remote and the nearer causes of the war and to prove to young men that their country had risen in her strength "to make the world safe for Democracy." French was taught in such a way as to help the prospective soldier to render service in France. Mathematics, physics and chemistry were taught from a military point of view. Prospective soldiers were shown how to write letters to their commanding officers according to military usage. Patriotic poetry was read in the literature classes. These and other courses aroused emotions of patriotism among both students and professors to an exaggerated degree. It was a glory to be alive and to breathe such an atmosphere of Americanism.

William and Mary's record in the World War is indeed creditable. The faculty record shows that Professor Donald W. Davis entered the service as lieutenant of infamy and served at the front. Professor Ernest J. Oglesby rendered service as a camp instructor in mathematics and retired as a major. Professor H. E. Bennett went abroad in Y.M.C.A. work. Samuel H. Hubbard, assistant instructor and athletic director, became a lieutenant and lost his life soon after reaching France.

The usual interest in Red Cross, Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps drives was shown by the college professors and every effort was made at the college to co-operate fully with the Federal government.

The number of alumni and students reported as having entered the army was 354. Of this number there were two colonels of infantry-C. Maury Cralle and John Womack Wright and two colonels in the medical corps-William E. Vose and W. D. Webb. There were three lieutenant colonels, seven majors, 55 captains, 48 first lieutenants, 39 second lieutenants, 56 noncommissioned officers, 162 privates and 22 in the aviation service. The record shows that 132 served abroad. In the Navy of the United States the total number in service was 85. Of this number there mere three lieutenant-commanders, one captain, four senior lieutenants, eight junior lieutenants, ten ensigns, nine petty officers and fifty enlisted men.

In view of the fact that the proportion of William and Mary men overseas engaged in active warfare was small, the number of killed and wounded was comparatively large. The following alumni of William and Mary gave their lives for their country:

Edward Scott Burford, Waugh, Va.; C. M. Barber, Greensville, N. C.; James Frederic Carr, Hampton, Va.; George Clopton, Toano, Va.: Ray mond Richard Collins, Cobbs Creels. Va.; William Hatcher Croswell, Gloucester Point, Va.; Dave M. DeCotshe, Bonkins, Va.; Edward Graham Field, Gloucester, Va.; Robert Carter Garland, Warsaw Va.; William Daniel Garland, Warsaw. Va.; Dr. Edward LeBaron Goodwin, Ashland, Va.; Samuel Hildreth Hubbard, Jr., Forest Depot, Va.,; Nathaniel Hull Jennings, Toano, Va.; E. J. Lewis, Williamsburg, Va.; Richard Perkins, Newport News, Va.; James Neville Richards, Riverton, Va.: Jesse Fielding Smith, Criglersville, Va.; Vernon Lee Somers, Mearsville, Va. ; Harry Tucker Swecker, Monterey, Va. ; Bittle Winfred Woods, Pearisburg, Va.; F. L. White, Pulaski, Va.; Dr. W. H. Whitehead, Lowesville, Va., and C. R. Woltz.

Colonel J. W. Wright served on General Pershing's staff in France. A former student of William and Mary, John Newport Greene, of Staunton, Va., is on the records of the Adjutant General's office as the first man to receive the Distinguished Service Medal. This was awarded to him on March 18, 1918. In January, 1917, he went to France and served six months with the Norton-Harjes Field Ambulance Service. In September he was commissioned second lieutenant in the field artillery, U. S. A . After six days training in an artillery school he went to the front. In December he was one of the forty-seven men General Pershing recommended for promotion and received his first lieutenancy. On March 1st, while he was on duty in a dugout near Toul, he was struck by a hand granade on the leg and was called upon by one of the enemy to surrender, but he shot the German with his pistol and drove off a number of others in the hostile attacking party. For this brave conduct he received the French Croix de Guerre and the Distinguished Service Cross.

During the summer of 1918 there was a feeling of uncertainty regarding the future of the college. Although the War Department was advising young men to retrain in college until called to service, the desire to serve their country was proving to be the stronger call and it seemed doubtful that there would be enough students to justify the colleges in maintaining the regular curriculum.

The War Department recognized the danger in having the educational system disorganized when there eras so great a demand for college trained men from whom to draw the necessary officer material. In order to assure this supply of educated officers and at the same time save the colleges of the country, it was decided to utilize the educational system in winning the war by establishing the students army training corps. This decision was made in midsummer, 1918. The President and the Registrar hurried to Washington and called upon the proper officers in the War Department and offered the services of this college for the training of one of the units. On August 17611 definite assurance was given that a unit would be established: at William and Mary. Efforts were then made to acquaint the public with this fact and to enroll enough students to meet the minimum requirements for the unit. A call then came for representatives from all institutions having a unit of the Student: Army Training Corps to meet at Plattsburg, New York. o._ September 1st, to discuss plans and receive instructions about the working of the unit. The President and Registrar attended this conference for three days and heard the plans discussed by representatives from the War Department, the Committee on Education and Special Training and from various branches of the service.

On September 13th, Major William P. Stone, U. S. A., retired, arrived and assumed charge of the preliminary arrangements for the unit. The physical equipment of the college was ample to accommodate the corps and it was, therefore, not necessary- to erect new buildings or make any extensive changes.

College opened for the session on September 19th. As soon as the students arrived an epidemic of influenza broke out and for a period of about ten days it was practically impossible to do any class work. Seventy of the students and several of the faculty suffered from the epidemic, but, while many of the number were very sick, there were no fatalities. Several, however were compelled to withdraw from college on account of ill effects from the disease.

October 1st was the date set for inducting students into the unit, that being the date upon which the government assumed responsibility- of the men. Major Stone, commanding officer, was transferred to another unit at this time and Lieutenant D. B. Van Dusen, 36th U. S. Infantry, was placed in command. He was assisted by Lieutenant S. R. Hetzer, drill master : Lieutenant D. Van Oppen, supply- officer, and Lieutenant Wesley Taylor, personnel officer. The college rapidly assumed a military aspect. Students went back and forth to lectures in military formation and bugle calls were the regular order. Military training greatly interfered at first with class work. Save for the thirty-five non-S. A. T. C. men and the twenty-five women, there was little regular class work during October. During November attendance at class improved. After the Armistice, all was uncertainty again until definite orders were received to disband all S. A. T. C. units by December 15th. Demobilization was completed here on December 8th. The closing feature was a grand military ball lasting two nights. It was not until January that the officers in charge received instructions to report elsewhere and all signs of the strenuous military life of the fall months entirely- disappeared. It is not altogether fair to pass judgment on military training in college as seen during the S. A. T. C. period. There were so many things to be done to put the college upon a military basis that we are apt to be biased on account of the many interruptions and the decided change from the life to which we had become accustomed. While appreciating the earnest efforts on the part of the officers in charge and acknowledging the benefit of discipline. there were few regrets when the time came for a return to the quiet academic life to which we had been accustomed.[*]


James City County had no military organization previous to, or during the war period, except the "S. A. T. C.," organized at the College of William and Mary, but by April 1, 1917, the enlistment officers visited Williamsburg and on April 26, 1917, 700 marines visited the town camped on the college campus and were entertained by the college. Flags fluttered from nearly every house, a big ball was given by the townspeople and when the marines with a 16-piece hand paraded through the town the wildest enthusiasm was displayed by all who had gathered to witness this unusual sight. In a short time many of the town and county boys were making efforts (some ineffectually, on account of short height and underweight) to enlist. T. Peachy Spencer was the first Williamsburg boy to offer for service.[11]

Barton I. Jenson, recruiting sergeant, U. S. M. C., Norge, Va., was busy issuing calls for the enlistment of men. Dr. J. M, Henderson, mayor of Williamsburg, appointed a committee to work among the young men of the town in all effort to interest them in the Navy. Each edition of the local papers gave many names of those leaving for the Officers Training Camp at Fort Myer, and of others enlisting in the Navy. The names of the first two county boys to volunteer for service in the Navy were B. L. Leverson and Joe Connoughton of Norge. Va.[12]

Luther Wrentmore Kelly, of Williamsburg, first lieutenant, sec. 567, ambulance service, served admirably and courageously in the ambulance service and for his bravery was presented with the "French Croix de Guerre " with two palms and silver star.[13]

By the latter part of Allay the military registrars were appointed and June 5, 1917, was set as the date for registration. The board named by the Governor consisted of T. H. Geddy, clerk; L. P. Trice, sheriff, and Dr. H. U. Stephenson and the following registrars were appointed : For the city of Williamsburg, H. D. Cole; for James City County and Jamestown Earl Riggle and Richard Houge ; for Powhatan District No. 1, W. W. Ware; No. 2, L. T. Hankins, and Stonehouse District, Nat H. Jennings.

From day to day the board met and worked faithfully and efficiently over this task of registration exemption, etc. Of the 405 who registered 181 were white, 221 colored, and three were aliens.[14] Few asked for exemption, and these requests were mostly on account of dependent families. There was much misunderstanding and many difficult problems to be solved for the drafted man, but with patience and intelligence the board always tried to help in an understanding way, and the draft in the county was about as satisfactory as anywhere in the State.

In the first draft, there were seventy-four men called from Williamsburg and the county,[15] and the total number drafted was 197 men.



The first Liberty Loan campaign was on by May 31, 1937. This drive went through successfully, the banks aiding in every way possible. One woman, a citizen of Williamsburg, bought $1,000 worth of bonds and Bruton Parish Endowment Fund, Inc., purchased $2,225 worth, thus leaving only a few bonds to be disposed of as the total amount subscribed was $3,300.

The Second Liberty Loan was on by October 18, 1917, and the third drive by April 18, 1918, with the following committees industriously striving to make this Third Loan the largest yet subscribed. T. H. Geddy, chairman; R. L. Spencer, W. A. Bozarth, F. R. Savage, J W. Moore, Littleton Fitzgerald, B. F. Wolf, A. Brooks. C. E. Friend, Dr. G. W. Brown, C. C. Hall, J. B C. Spencer. L. W. Lane, Jr., J. B. Jackson, F. A. Wheeles, R. B. Watts. Frank Armstead, Chas. K. Waters, Dr. W. H. Keeble and Frank Taub. of Williamsburg, and from James City County, R. P. Cocke, E. M. Slauson, W. O. Strong, J. B. Vaiden C. L. Burleson, C. C Branch, L. P. Trice, W. H. Porter, J. H. Manning and Geo. A. Marston. From Stone House District: Dr. A. M. Snead,, D. Warren Marston, W. C. Jensen, L. C. Phillips, and E. S. Meanley. Publicity and Speakers' Committee: Rev. E. Ruffin Jones, Dr. James Wilson, G. A. Dovell, R. M. Crawford, N. L. Henley, Rev. John Moncure, Rev. J. H. Holloway, Rev. F. D. Thomas and W. C. Johnston.[16]

Rev. E. Ruffin Jones acted as chairman of the Four-Minute Men,[17] and this committee never lost an opportunity to speak at public gatherings. The movies, chautauqua and patriotic meetings affording them always an interested audience.

The results of the five loans for Williamsburg and the county were as follows:[18]

Loan Maximum Apportionment Amount Subscribed Subscribers
First Loan $3,300[19]
Second Loan $97,600 38,000 100
Third Loan 62,000 228,250 3,801
Fourth Loan 140,000 136,850 557
Victory Loan 121,700 129,450 279
Total $421,300 $536,150 4,737

The War Savings Stamps campaign in Williamsburg and the county was also successful, the city subscribing over $40,000[20] and the county making a large contribution. One of the largest pledges was made by the Jamestown Community League for $3,120.00. Aside from this, the school children of this district purchased $356.00 worth of stamps during the school year. The people of Delks, a very small settlement, purchased $500.00 worth of stamps. The churches bought War Savings Stamps. and aided in selling them and the postoffice and rural mail carriers rendered valuable service during the campaign. Colonel Winder L. Lane, chairman of the work in Williamsburg, was succeeded by Rev. E. Ruffin Jones, and Walker W. Ware was chairman for the county.


Early in 1917 the farmers were planting not only large acreages of potatoes and truck products, but corn and wheat as well. Young and old, both men and women, were busy with the crops. The following report of E. M. Slauson, county farm agent, tells of the means adopted to increase production and also the effect of labor shortage. "One of the outstanding things that the farmers did in this county during the war was to change their type of farming and grow wheat to feed the Allies. As we were in close proximity to the numerous soldiers' camps and other war activities, practically all of the farm labor left the farms and, as a result, the farmers were obliged to discard their farm machinery in part and substitute tractors and tractor implements at a much greater cost. In this way they were able to increase production far above normal.

The supply of milk, on account of the urgent demand for this product in the camps, was greatly- increased during the war. Dairy herds were also increased and a number of herds newly established. Truck crops were all increased to a considerable extent during this time and the yields were far above the average. This was accomplished by the farmers working from 14 to 16 hours a day.

A Ford tractor was sent to James City County from the Department of Agriculture. This was most helpful, and by purchasing, through the War Industrial Board, nitrate of soda in carload lots. County Agent Slauson was enabled to sell some of this commodity to farmers at cost.[21]

In the towns those who had garden space cultivated it. Williamsburg was especially fortunate in having William and Mary students volunteer their services to help take care of gardens. The Woman's Club offered prizes to stimulate interest in gardens, and thousands of jars of fruit and vegetables, aside from those put up by the Girls' Canning Clubs, were canned by the thrifty housewives. Canning demonstrations were put on by the home demonstration agent, Mrs. Julia B. McCoy, at Williamsburg, Toano, Norge, Five Forks, and Grove. Also Victory bread demonstrations were helpful to the housewives, as "wheatless" and "meatless" days were being observed in almost every home. Dr. H. L. Stephenson, of Toano, Va., was appointed county food commissioner[22] and was constantly on the lookout for hoarding and profiteering. There were reports of irregularities in food prices, maximum prices being charged for poor grades of food-stuffs.[23]

By November 22, 1917, the fuel situation was critical; later came the sugar famine, followed by a flour shortage. Restrictions on sugar were most rigid, only two pounds a week being allowed to a family. This worked quite a hardship on the larger families, but there were few complaints, and, by substituting and the elimination of waste, the county was able to carry on its conservation program in a most creditable way. April 1, 1918, the daylight saving law was being observed and this very materially aided both the gardener and the farmer."[24]


In the fall of 1915 a rumor to the effect that the DuPonts were trying to purchase Jamestown for the purpose of erecting a black powder plant thereon caused much excitement. Nothing further was heard from this rumor but early in 1916 the curiosity of the people was aroused to a high pitch when a corps of engineers arrived to make a survey of near-by farm land. This land had recently been gone over by Northern capitalists who had placed options on large tracts of land facing the York River.

Another Hopewell was duly expected to spring up in our midst.[25] By spring a credited report went out that the DuPont Powder Company would erect on the York River a large black powder plant. Another report was to the effect that a steam and electric railway was to be built between Williamsburg and this plant.[26] By this tithe real estate men from all over the county began to pour into the town of Williamsburg. The town was on a boom, options were taken on nearly every other piece of property in the town, and suburban sites were being laid out and big land sales were on.

Along with the confirmation of the establishment of a dynamite plant, came an authorized report from the C. & O. Railway Company that they would build a spur track from Williamsburg to the York River site, the C. & O. depot to be used for the DuPont station.[27]

By late spring Williamsburg became the most advertised town in the State of Virginia. The Virginia Gazette of April 27, 1916, says, "There is hardly a hamlet in the State that does not know where Williamsburg is and what it is noted for historically and commercially."

On June 1, 1916, the new branch line of the C. & O. Railroad to the DuPont plant was formally opened, an employment department established, the construction work started, and in the fall of 1916, the first unit of the plant at Penniman was completed.[28]

Naturally, the high wages paid at the plant affected labor in this community. The farmers were greatly handicapped in putting in their crops owing to the exodus of farm labor to the munition plants. Rents, owing to the demands for housing the many newcomers employed at Penniman, began to soar, food prices to rise, and even though it meant prosperity for some, Williamsburg residents began to feel quite anxious over the situation. The atmosphere was rapidly changing, and we realized quite keenly that we were entering the field of industry.

In the beginning it was reported from the publicity department of the DuPont Powder Company, Wilmington, Delaware, that there would possibly be about 200 men employed at the new powder plant. As early as July, 1916, the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce requested the C. & O. Railway Company to put on a regular passenger train between the city and Penn 'man. By the fall of 1918, Penniman was a town of about fifteen thousand inhabitants, the plant large enough to take care of about ten thousand employees, and there were three passenger trains a day each way between Williamsburg and Penniman. Even though every facility was provided at Penniman to take care of the people employed, many resided in Williamsburg and hundreds of Williamsburg people worked at the munition plant. While the history of Penniman belongs to that of a sister county, it would be impossible not to refer to it in connection with the war-time activities of James City County, as Williamsburg was the base of supplies for the shell manufacturing town and its railroad station the junction for all Penniman travel.

So congested was the travel at this junction that one found it exceedingly difficult at times to board the trains for Richmond, or Norfolk, as trains were crowded before reaching this point. Yet, through all these difficulties of transportation, the overworked but patient employees, with inadequate facilities for handling both passengers and freight, rendered most valuable service. From fifty to one hundred cars of freight a day were handled at this junction.


The formal installation of Bruton Chapter, American Red Cross, took place in the Court House at Williamsburg, July 27, 1917. A large and enthusiastic gathering was present to take part in these exercises, and the Hon. Robert Beverly Munford of Richmond, presided. He gave a most interesting history of this organization.[29]

The jurisdiction of the chapter was over James City and York counties, and the initial membership was eighty-two. The chapter began work with a bank account of $136.00, which had been collected and turned over to them by the National League for Woman's Service. The following officers and committees began immediate work: J. B. C. Spencer, chairman; Mrs. A. M. Snead, vicechairman; Mrs. V. P. Clarke, secretary; Littleton Fitzgerald, treasurer; Rev. John Moncure, Miss Elizabeth Marston, Toano ; Mrs. Julia B. McCoy, Jamestown; Mrs. C. E. Friend, chairman for Home Service; Mrs. G. G. Hankins, chairman for Garments and Supplies; H. W. Vaden, chairman of junior Red Cross; Rev. E. Ruffin Jones, chairman of Finance Committee ; Mrs. II. E. Bennett, chairman of Knitting Committee; Mrs. E. W. Warburton, chairman o f Hospital Garments; Mrs. N. L. Henley, chairman of Refugee Garments; Miss Julia Armstead, chairman of Comfort Kits Committee; Mrs. Virginia Graves, Sewing; Mrs. J. A. Cooper, Cutting Garments. Mr. Littleton Fitzgerald served as treasurer until April, 1918, when his resignation was accepted and he was succeeded by W, A, Bozarth. Mrs. W. P. Clarke, secretary, resigned March 1, 1918, and was succeeded by Mrs. R. B. Watts. --Mrs. G. G. Hankins , chairman of Garments and Supplies, was later appointed director of Women's Work and was succeeded by Mrs. L. W. Lane Jr. Mrs. C. E. Friend, chairman Home Service, was succeeded by :Miss Edith Smith. Mrs. H. E. Bennett chairman Knitting Committee, was succeeded by Mrs. C. E. Hubbard.

One branch was organized at Grove, with the following officers: Mrs. T. H . Stryker, chairman; Mrs. A. G. Harwood, secretary ; Miss Helen Crafford. chairman of junior Red Cross. Three auxiliaries were organized as follows: Bruton Parish Auxiliary, Methodist Ladies' Auxiliary, Baptist Ladies' Auxiliary.

Junior Red Cross work was organized in five schools, and Mrs. Julia B. McCoy, home demonstration agent, was director of this work in the county.[30]

The Home Service Committee rendered valuable service in an advisory capacity and also furnished financial aid in the way of temporary loans, etc. Letters were written to soldiers and families of soldiers and allotments secured for wives and dependents. Seventy-five families were assisted and $250.00 spent by this committee.[31] The committee was as follows: Mrs. C. E. Friend, chairman succeeded in August, 1918 by Miss Edith Smith; Mrs. R. B. Watts, secretary; Rev. J. H. Holloway, N. L. Henley, T. H. Geddy, Mrs. Lyon G. Tyler, N. L. Henley, bliss Emily Christian, Mrs. Sidney Smith, Yorktown; Miss Mary Farthing, Lightfoot; Mrs. Julia B. McCoy, Jamestown; Miss Helen Crafford, Lee Hall; Rev. A. J. Renforth, Grafton; Miss Emily Hall, trained worker, and Ann Harris (colored).[32]

The Canteen Committee of the National League for Woman's Service sewed for the Red Cross during the period of the war. This committee gave excellent service whenever called upon. They were especially active when the Red Cross entertained five hundred Marines who were visiting Williamsburg while on shore leave. The reception was held in the library building at the College of William and Mary, and proved a very delightful break in the "war strain" for both visitors and townspeople. The officers and chairman of this committee were: Mrs. R. XI. Crawford, chairman; Miss Edith Smith, Miss Elizabeth Morecock and Mrs. C. E. Friend. The chapter maintained headquarters at the Parish House of Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, and members of the several auxiliaries took turns in caring for the work rooms each day of the week.

Mrs. Emily B. Lane, director of Women's Work, with a splendidly organized group of workers, and through the cooperation of Grove Branch, the auxiliaries, and junior Red Cross chapter, was enabled to accomplish the following work: Hospital garments and supplies, 1,000; refugee garments, 1,000; knitted garments, 250, and emergency cots equipped, 5.[33] Two of these cots were from Williamsburg, two from Five Forks and one from Grove Branch, Grove, Va. Three campaigns for worn clothing were conducted and 3,590 pounds of clothing in excellent condition were secured. In 1917 the chapter sent one hundred and twenty-five Christmas boxes to the soldiers stationed at Camp Lee.

When the "Christmas Membership Drive" of 1917 was put on, 223 names were added to the chapter roll and by 1918 the membership was 595.

The "Second War Fund" drive was put on May 20-27 and Rev. John Moncure with the aid of a most efficient committee raised the sum of $5,639.99.[34]

June, 1918, the chapter was divided by division headquarters, the two chapters to be known as James City County Chapter, and York County Chapter.

James City County Chapter continued its good work and during the epidemic of influenza, when there were no nurses and only three doctors left in the county, some of its members rendered valuable service by doing voluntary nursing at the College of William and Mary and throughout the county.

Upon hearing that the soldier students of the Balloon School at a nearby camp were forced to use an old barn for a hospital and that the ill patients had no suitable hospital garments, the chapter immediately turned over to them one hundred suits of pajamas which had just been completed in their workrooms. An interesting piece of work was that done by the patients at the Eastern State Hospital. The ladies under the direction of Miss Rosa Emory, devoted much time to the making of hospital shirts for the Red Cross. The interest and thoughtful sympathy of these invalids was most highly appreciated by the chapter.

The chapter made a nursing survey in the county during the epidemic of influenza.[35] It had the honor of having three of its members in active service, Miss Harriet Hankins in foreign service and Misses Lula and Edna Brooks stationed at Camp Jackson, S. C.

Grove Branch was most active, and kept the whole neighborhood busy helping to raise money, which it most liberally contributed to all branches of chapter work.

The Junior Red Cross did fine work in the making of property bags, sheets, pillow cases, scrapbooks and in the collection of magazines and books for the soldiers. They collected tin foil, nut shells, fruit stones, etc., gave lawn parties and bazaars [36] and raised enough money to support a French orphan.

Mr. Frank Wolf, proprietor of the Palace Theatre, kindly gave the use of the house, so the chapter might present free the movie, "Actual Life of Red Cross Worker at the Front."[37] This same courtesy was again extended when the masons gave a delightful entertainment for the benefit of the chapter.

Such, in brief, is the history of the James City County Chapter, American Red Cross. May it continue and carry on its peace-time program in the same spirit it manifested during those trying years of war-a spirit of usefulness and brotherly love toward its fellowmen.


Back in the fall of 1914 the citizens of Williamsburg began to do war relief work. A movement for the relief of the Belgians was begun in the town by the Business Men's Bible Class. Governor Stuart appointed Norvell L. Henley, chairman of this work, and those of the first committee were as follows: The pastors of all the churches (including the colored pastors), Preston Cocke, E. W. Warburton, Frank Armstead, J. B. C. Spencer and J. W. Lane, Jr., of the Bible Class, and T. H. Geddy, R. I. Hunter, Mrs. G. W. Brown, Mrs. H. E. Bennett, Misses Janette Kelly, Ann T. Chapman, Lucy Vaiden and Edith Smith of the town. Entertainments were given and the town canvassed to raise funds and so generous was the response that when the Virginia ship left the port of Norfolk, December 17, 1914, loaded with flour and useful valuable articles for the starving Belgians, Williamsburg had made her contribution of $241.70 to this most worthy cause.[38]

In December, 1915, Mr. Henry Sydnor Harrison, who had just returned from service in France, accepted an invitation, extended by the Woman's Club of Williamsburg, to speak on the war situation in Europe.[39] After his stirring and enlightening address, the "War Relief Association of Williamsburg" was organized with two general divisions; clothing and surgical dressings. The following officers were elected: Dr. H. E. Bennett, president; vice-presidents, Dr. Lyon G. Tyler, N. L. Henley, J. B. C. Spencer, Geo. P. Coleman, W. A. Bozarth, C. W. Bruton, Dr. G. W. Brown and R. L. Spencer; Miss Katharine Geddy, secretary; F. R. Savage, treasurer. Finance Committee: pastors of churches and Mrs. Van. F. Garrett, Mrs. L. W. Lane, Jr., and H. E. Jones. Hospital Supplies Miss Ann T. Chapman. Clothing; Mrs. L. G. Tyler. Packing and Transportation: Mrs. E. W. Warburton. Publicity: W. C. Johnson. Five Forks Committee: Mrs. C. F. Ayers and Mrs. A. F. Hope. Magruder Committee: D. A. Powers and E. R. Addington.[40]

The Woman's Club had charge of the buying and making of the clothing for the suffering people of Europe and more than $500.00 was expended for this purpose in the course of a few months. Aside from this work the club encouraged home gardening, thrift and food conservation, and contributed liberally to the Soldiers' Library Fund, and Red Cross Christmas boxes. Classes in first aid, with Dr. D. J. King, as instructor, were organized and a fully equipped emergency cot was presented to the Red Cross Chapter by this organization.[41]

The Educational and Civic Association, as an association, and through its individual members, was active in every department of war work. It contributed financially to the "Service League Camp Library Fund" and collected books for same, sent magazines to the munition plant at Penniman, and to various nearby camps and clubs for soldiers, sold War Savings Stamps and "Smilage Books," and held monthly meetings for speakers sent out by the government to make addresses on war topics. They also considered the subject of thrift, economy and conservation, throughout the period of the war. One of the finest pieces of work done by this organization was accomplished through its educational committee when, by valiant work, it helped to rid the city of Williamsburg of a menacing element, and succeeded in starting a "Red Circle Club" which proved a great comfort to the enlisted men during the trying period of demobilization. Mrs. Viola Ware, a most gracious hostess of this club, through her efficiency and sympathetic understanding made it a real home for the many service men who visited the club.[42]

Before the beginning of 1916 persons interested in the work of the American Fund for French wounded planned to organize a branch in Williamsburg, but hearing that the War Relief Association of Virginia was being organized decided as their chief interest was centered in the making of surgical dressings, to ally themselves with the committee of the central branch in Richmond. Some of the shipments were made direct to New York headquarters, three boxes were sent to the Red Cross hospital in Florence, Italy (a project supported by English and American residents of that city) and the remainder of the dressings were sent directly to Richmond headquarters and were sent abroad through their surgical dressings committee. The work throughout the three years was tinder the able direction of Miss Ann T. Chapman, assisted by Miss Edith Smith and Mrs. R. M. Crawford. Funds were supplied by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Williamsburg War Relief Association, the school children, camp fire girls, the women's organizations of the different churches and many individuals working in their own homes. One of the most interested persons in this work was Mrs. Harriet Richardson, who was quite an old lady of Williamsburg. She made most of the thousands of tampons sent during the entire three years, and contributed to nearly every shipment made during that period. After the local Red Cross chapter was formed no effort was made to raise money or to compete in any way with the work done by the chapter, but shipments were continued until December, 1918, and the number of dressings were as follows: 1916, 10,614; 1917, 7,976; 1918, 17,106; total, 35,696.[43]


In the historic old Court House at Williamsburg, a branch of the National League for Woman's Service was organized April 2, 1917, with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Equal Suffrage League, Educational and Civic Association and Woman's Club of Williamsburg, and the Jamestown Community League and Norge Demonstration Club enrolled as organizations, and more than one hundred women registered individually for special service in the different branches of work offered by this organization. Headquarters were secured in the Parish House of Bruton Parish Church and immediate work was begun for the American Red Cross Military Hospital. From the time the workrooms were opened until this branch of the work was turned over to the local Red Cross chapter. 144 garments were made, 60 pairs of socks and 24 pairs of bedroom slippers provided. Feathers were collected by the women of the county and 100 pillows and 100 pillow cases made, and 119 articles of clothing were shipped to Red Cross headquarters.

A large amount of money was collected for the "Comfort Kit Fund," a part of this being given by the colored people of Williamsburg, and every drafted man from the county was supplied with a well-equipped kit upon his departure for camp. The league contributed to the American Red Cross Christmas Package Fund, and to the War Library Fund. It also adopted a French war orphan who was well cared for for several years.

On July 1, 1917, a house-to-house canvass for Red Cross memberships was made and $110.00 collected in Williamsburg. This was the beginnig of the work for a local chapter of the "A. R. C." The women of the Service League collected the money, transacted all the business, entertained the representative sent from Red Cross Headquarters to help complete the work, secured the charter and turned over to the newly elected treasurer of Bruton Chapter, A. R. C., $136.00 in membership fees.

When the local Red Cross chapter began active work the sewing committee of the league offered, as a unit, to sew for the chapter. Their services were most gladly accepted as they were familiar with the work and were fully equipped to continue it.

The local chairman of the Service League acted as temporary chairman for James City County during the Food Conservation Campaign, July 10-11. The entire county was well canvassed and very few women refused to sign the pledge cards. (In the city of Williamsburg only three white and ten colored women refused).

During the fall canned goods, dried fruits, etc., were collected and 418 containers from the home demonstration clubs, girls' canning clubs and women of the Service League were turned in to the James City demonstration agent for the "A. R. C.," and seven dozen cans were shipped to Service League Headquarters at Richmond, to be sent to the Convalescent Hospital at Camp Lee.

Through the courtesy of Dr. Lyon G. Tyler, president of William and Mary College, the gymnasium was secured during the summer months and the building opened for the week ends to the visiting service men. As many as twenty-five men sometimes took advantage of this hospitality. A very interesting piece of work was done by the canteen committee of this organization. The committee met all truck trains passing through the county and distributed chocolates and cigarettes among the men and officers, provided ice water and lemonade and furnished all sorts of supplies and information to the soldiers.

During the summer, tea was served on the college campus to the men in service. This work was begun by Mrs. Lyon G. Tyler. In the beginning our guests numbered two, but before the summer was over we had anywhere from thirty to more than a hundred. A special fund was provided by the organizations and members enrolled in the Service League for this entertainment, but so generous were the hostesses and their committees and all the people of Williamsburg and the county that very little of it was spent for this purpose. The reputation of the "Sunday Afternoon Teas" in Williamsburg spread far and wide. Some men enjoyed it so much that they walked from Camp Eustis and back to spend an hour on the Campus of old William and Mary College. Many cards were received by members of the committee from boys who had been transferred to other camps, or who had gone overseas, telling how they missed that one delightful break in the monotony of the week's work in camp. After college opened in the fall this work was discontinued and after the signing of the Armistice the work of the Service League teas finished, it being an organization for the duration of the war only.

The co-operation of the enrolled organizations and individuals was splendid, the untiring interest of our county home demonstration agent Mrs. Julia B. McCoy, helped us over many hard places, and the courtesy extended by the editor of our home paper, Mr. W. C. Johnson, in keeping our work before the public, was most encouraging. The funds necessary to carry on the work were, with the exception of the money raised on two tag days, were contributed by organizations and individuals, the public always responding generously when asked to contributed to any work undertaken. The Patriotic Committee endeavored to keep flags flying from the school houses and all public buildings, requested that our national hymns be sung on all public occasions, and held special services with prayer for those who had gone from our midst and prayers asking Divine guidance to do our part with unselfish patriotism. The following officers and chairmen of the committees carried on the active work of the organization: Mrs. C. E. Friend, chairman; Mrs. Van S. Garrett, first vice-chairman; Miss Elizabeth Morecock, second vice-chairman; Mrs. Leslie Hall, recording secretary; Mrs. M. T. Shipman, corresponding secretary, and Mrs. H. E. Bennett, treasurer, (succeeded by Mrs. J. A. Cooper).

The Consulting Board, composed of members representing all organizations, included: Mrs. R. M. Crawford, Educational and Civic Association; Mrs. Lyon G. Tyler, Equal Suffrage League; Mrs. Van S. Garrett, Woman's Club; Mrs. M. T. Shipman, U. D C.; Miss Mary Farthing, Norge Demonstration Club; Mrs. Julia B. McCoy, Jamestown Community League; Mrs. C. H. Shield, Sub-Chairman, Yorktown League; I. Social and Welfare, Mrs. H. E. Bennett; 11. Commissariat, Mrs. R. M. Crawford; III. Agricultural, Mrs. W. O. Strong; IV. Patriotic, Mrs. Foster. (These four committees combined later on.) V. Medical and Nursing, Mrs. G. Peyton Nelson; VI. Motor Driving, Mrs. George Hankins; VII. General Service, Mrs. E. W. Warburton; VIII. Ways and Means, Mrs. Lyon Tyler; IX. Comfort Kits. Mrs. Fred Wheelis; X. French War Orphan, Mrs. George Coleman.[44] Mrs. C. E. Friend was local chairman.


The War Orphans of France, cared for by citizens of Williamsburg during the war, were of all kinds and from various parts of the country. Some of us had little personal communication with our proteges and some had the all too common experience of greed, not to be wondered at or criticized, when the conditions under which the children and their widowed mothers were existing are taken into consideration, but there were many of us who had much real pleasure and satisfaction from the ties which were formed between ourselves and the families of our fallen allies. Two little sisters called Drcau from St. Thois in Brittany were supported by two of our citizens who had a very warm feeling for the pretty little maids in their quaint peasant dresses whose serious little faces looked out from the photographs which were sent to their benefactors.

The Women's Service League had a very interesting charge in the person of Doxine Hudry, who was eager and willing to answer letters, and to ask questions concerning the unknown friends from whom she was receiving assistance. Doxine, with her mother and two younger sisters, was left to wrest a living from a tiny farm among the mountains of Savoie, when her father was killed in Belgium early in the war, and her letters, though ignorant and ill-written. gave us a spirited picture of life in the little community, near the village of St. Martin de Belleville. Doxine was the only child in the neighborhood with American godmothers, and evidently took great pride in the fact, and the arrival of presents which we sent her from time to time as well as our regular contribution of money, was evidently a matter of great discussion and some envy among the other children in school. Doxine's mother also wrote to us, and told us how thankful she was to be able, through our help, to keep Doxine in school. The mother was evidently better educated than it was possible for her children to be, and when she died of influenza in 1920, the lack of her assistance in Doxine's letters could be very plainly seen.

We continued our help to Doxine and her sisters, even after she reached the age at which the regular assistance of the society for the aid of the French war orphans ceased. At last, just when we were finding it difficult to keep up our contributions, as our league dissolved with the close of the war, our orphan wrote to ask our permission to marry a young man whom she represented as everything the most exacting godmother could wish. Doxine was then seventeen. We gave her our blessing, and a little silver vase as a memento of her Virginian friends, with quite a tidy little sum of money for her trousseau, and were all earnestly invited to come to the wedding. So that story ended as stories should. We continued to hear from her for a year or so, and our last gift to her was a little blanket and a rubber doll.

Another fatherless child who found a kind godmother in Williamsburg was little Henriette Pourchier in Nice. I acted as secretary to the friend who had adopted her, and corresponded with her for several years. This child was a peculiarly- interesting little person, and we became intimately acquainted with her mother, grandmother and brother Pierre, through her naive little letters. Before the father's death, they lived on a farm, but after she was widowed Madaine Pourchier got work in a hotel in Nice, while the old Grandeinere kept a tiny home for the children. They are people of some refinement, and little Henriette is being carefully educated. Her letters were delightful, quaint, old fashioned and genuine. She told of her school life, and of her summer holidays, when she was sent to some farm in the Maritime Alps, as a change from the enervating Riviera summer heat, where she tended goats on the hillside. and grew brown and strong, "but always so small, it seems I cannot grow big!" She described every detail and every- thrill connected with the celebration of her First Communion, aid vividly pictured the flowers and sunshine of the Meditterranean. So much interested did we all become in her that, in 1924, being in the south of France, my daughter and I made an expedition to the old part of Nice, where, among crooked streets and high old houses, crowded flower markets and dark old churches, we found our friend's little French god-daughter. She and her grandmother, a most sweet and dignified old lady, were in a tiny bare little flat with clean red-tiled floor, and a few pieces of heavy, plain furniture, where they gave us the warmest welcome. Henriette's godmother in Williamsburg had sent, by me, a small sum of money for the child, so, another day, we returned to Nice to take Henriette shopping. That was a redletter-day for us all. Madame Pourchier, the mother, got away that afternoon, from her work at the hotel, and event with us. Little Henriette was quite impressed by the size of the sum we had to spend. The franc was very low at that time, and the number one got for an American dollar was appalling. We wished her to spend it frivolously, misled by our besetting American misconception that expensive pleasure makes happiness, but little Henriette's grave brown eyes had seen too much scarcity to relish extravagance, and I fancy thrifty Madame Pourchier had instructed her privately. The child solemnly expressed a wish to buy a tablecloth and napkins for her "hope chest," and we sallied forth into the early winter twilight, amidst the most gorgeous display of shops, arrayed for Christmas, and, steeling ourselves against the. lure of toys, confections and fripperies of every kind, we selected a beautiful strong little linen cloth and napkins, which will probably figure at the wedding feasts of Henriette's grandchildren. My daughter. who could not bear the contrast between this sober purchase and Henriette's youth, now bore her off into one of the most brilliant departments of the big store, in which we were, and urged her to choose another gift for herself, but, even then, the child chose a work box, but with such a radiant face, that there could be no doubt of her eagerness. And it was a gorgeous work box, with fascinating tools for embroidery and lace-making, the use of which Henriette seemed thoroughly to understand.

We had tea at a confectioner's before parting, and Henriette did justice to the inimitable French pastries with a zest no light-hearted American child could surpass, and when we left her in the station, our last glimpse was of a very happy little figure clasping her two precious packages closely in her arms. And so there are growing to manhood and womanhood in France, from the northern coast to the shores of the Mediterranean, hearts that will carry the name of Williamsburg very deeply- imprinted, as a bright and blessed memory from a dark and sorrowful time.

Two elderly men in small businesses adopted a French war orphan together. There were seven French orphans adopted by citizens of the county.


The Armenian and Syrian Relief work was done through the churches, and in 1920 the organized work of the "Near East Relief" was begun in the county, the quota being $660. Mrs. R. B. Watts served as chairman the first year, and the Educational and Civic Association handled the work for the following three years, with Mrs. C. E. Friend as chairman. From 1923 to the present time Rev. E. Ruffin Jones has had charge of the work.

The result of the work for the first four years was as follows:

1920, $825.06; 1921, $1,374.42; 1922, $1,091.42; 1923, $593.00. Credited for clothing: 1922, $358.00; 1923, $98.00.[45]

Mr. Clarence Jennings, of Toano, acted as sub-chairman for the county and was untiring in his efforts to interest churches, organizations and individuals in this work, to which they responded most liberally.


The one thing of supreme importance in the minds of the women was that the war must be won. The men at the front would do their part and the women must "stand by." Women gave of their time, strength and means, and did splendid work in the sales of Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps, and were liberal subscribers to both. They knitted incessantly, and were reluctant to lay aside the knitting needles for even the shortest time. In the work of agriculture, food control and economy, and in every sphere of work, the women of the county co-operated nobly. From the city of Williamsburg each morning went a large group of women to work in the munition plant at Penniman, Virginia. Among them were women who never before had worked for pay, but who accepted the same long hours of the line and the tedious hours of the office, the same pay and conditions of those who had always been accustomed to industrial life. It has been said that on "Peacock Hill," one of the most delightful old neighborhoods of the town, when the 7 A. M. whistle blew the front door of practically every house on the Hill was heard to "open and slam shut simultaneously," for out or these homes went daily one or more workers to board the 7:10 A. M. train for the munition plant, and many of them were women. Numerous individuals labored unselfishly and whole-heartedly, and the spirit they created among their fellow workers was contagious and far-reaching.

Mrs. Lois Greenman, along with many other loyal services rendered, celebrated her seventy-sixth birthday in a most unique manner. She turned over to the local Y.M.C.A. treasurer $76.00, a dollar for each year of her life. This was a most unusual birthday celebration, a "thank offering for peace.


The Sunday following the signing of the Armistice the Williamsburg churches united in a service to give thanks for peace and victory. All the choirs of the city joined in rendering a splendid and appropriate musical program, and Dr. J. Leslie Hall was the speaker of the evening. Besides the rector and Dr. Hall, Rev. J. H. Holloway, of the Methodist Church, assisted in the service. Never before did the churches of the city join with so much earnestness and sympathy as upon this memorable occasion.[46]

In March, 1919, the Woman's Club, with very impressive ceremonies, planted eleven trees on the Palace Green to memory of the men of Williamsburg and the county who lost their lives in the service during the war.[47] Dr. James S. Wilson, of the College of William and Mary, was the main speaker, and his memorial address was considered one of the finest ever heard in this part of the country.

It was later learned that five names were to be added to the list of men who died in the service. These included, however, several names of men whose association had been with Williamsburg but whose homes were located in nearby sections of the adjoining county. Armistice Day, 1925, five additional trees were planted by Peninsula Post, No. 39, of the American Legion. Following is a list of those for whom memorial trees were planted:

George I. Clopton, Diascond, Va. killed in action June, 1918.

Nathaniel Hall Jennings, Toano, Va. Killed in action October, 1918.

Walter Menzel, Toano, Va. Killed in action July, 1918.

Irving Opheim, Norge, Va. Killed in action November, 1918.

Benjamin Laurence Leverson, Norge, Va.

Joseph Connaughton, Norge, Va.

Enos D. Lewis, York County. Died in France, 1918.

Ernest L. Lewis, York County. Killed in action, 1918.

James Tudor, near Williamsburg. Killed in action, 1918.

Bledsoe Hooper, Williamsburg, Va.

Frank Hazelwood, Toano, Va.

Madsen Thonesen, Lightfoot, Va. Died in camp, 1918.

John Wesley Cox.

George E. Hicks.

Earl Allison Thomas, Magruder, Va.

Percy Lewis Witchley. Died in Camp Lee, Va.[48]

A bronze marker bearing names and records of these men will be placed on the Palace Green just as soon as full and authentic data can be collected, the funds for same having already been provided by the Woman's Club.

The American Legion organized in September, 1919, the first steps having been taken at a "Labor Day" celebration at Norge, Va., and in due time the charter of Williamsburg Post, No. 39, was secured. The first meeting was held in the court house at Williamsburg, and the following officers were elected: Ashton Dovell, post commander; Barton I. Jensen, vice-commander; B. D. Peachy, adjutant; M. W. Foster, finance officer; Ira D. Meanly, sergeant-at-arms. In the latter part of the year Williamsburg Post, No. 39, was combined with Peninsula Post, No. 29, and became known as Peninsula Post, No. 39. The post is considering several forms of memorials for the men from this county who died in their country's service, among them the restoration of the first "House of Burgesses" in Williamsburg. On November 11, 1923, with impressive exercises held in the chapel of the College of William and Mary, Post No. 90 was merged with the local post, thus increasing the membership as well as the interest in the activities of the post.[49]

At the close of the war, when it was decided to appoint a War History Commission for Virginia the names of James City County citizens were found among those who served on this commission. Among them are Dr. J. A. C. Chandler, president of the College of William and Mary; Dr. Lyon G. Tyler, president emeritus of the College of William and Mary; Dr. James Wilson, professor of history of the College of William and Mary (during and previous to the war).

Late in the fall of 1918 the nearby munition plant began gradually to decrease its activities, and by March 1, 1919, there was quite an exodus of population from Williamsburg and the county, though housing conditions were still congested. During the erection of Camp Eustis, and for some time after its completion, Williamsburg was headquarters for the engineers in charge and the army officers on duty at the camp. Not until Camp Eustis became Fort Eustis were sufficient quarters provided to take care of these officers.

Many pleasant and lasting friendships were made during this period, and it proved a most enlightening experience for both civilians and those of the army, as each, by his personal and social contact, caught the viewpoint of the other, and by the comparison of the high cost of living in civil life with the cost at an army post, one was enabled to realize the value of government control of prices.

A little later, housing conditions improved and the shortage was relieved by some building and the purchase of "ready cut" houses sold at Penniman, Va., when the plant was salvaged. These houses were knocked down and moved great distances on trucks and barges to many different localities, a number of them being most attractively re-erected in Williamsburg and the county. The labor situation remained a problem, the shortage was acute, labor was restless, and the high war wages had unfitted industrial and farm labor and especially domestic labor, for post war conditions. The breaking up of nearby camps did not affect this community to any great extent.

The pendulum of social life by degrees swung back to normal, for, during the war period all social activities had practically ceased.

In reply to the question, "just what did the efforts and services of those at home mean to those at the front, the answer can be found in the following paragraph from a service man's letter. "There were. of course, many attentions and comforts provided at every stopping place for troops in this country, and in a different way supplied to troops abroad, reminding us constantly of the thought and support of the folks at home. I am reminded in this connection of the action of a little French girl of about four years, whom I met walking one day in the field near Beaune. This was March of 1919. As a brother officer and I were walking along conversing together one Sunday afternoon, we passed this little girl with her parents and just after we had passed I felt something touch my hand and looked down to find that she had given me a little flower which she had just plucked. She shyly went away, but you may be sure that action meant very much to us, "just a flower" given by a tiny girl!

Aside from the co-operation of churches, college, schools, organizations and individuals, the fact that the editor of the home paper was always optimistic, never allowing discouragement to creep into his editorials and always asking for the co-operation of the community, was of tremendous value in helping to carry on the war work, and the fine spirit of the letters from the boys "over there," with so little complaint of hardships, letters cheerful and full of enthusiasm and patriotism, "full of the glory and spirit of a righteous war," all tended to weld into one well-assembled piece of human endeavor James City County's contribution to the part her state played in helping this


  1. Report of Dr. J. H. Crouch, Director of County Health Work.
  2. Jamestown Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities-1901.
  3. From a late sketch of the Church by the rector, Rev. E. Ruffin Jones.
  4. Virginia Gazette, March 29, 1917.
  5. Virginia Gazette, April 5, 1917.
  6. Virginia Gazette, April 12, 1917.
  7. Virginia Gazette, May 31, 1917.
  8. Virginia Gazette, May 23, 1918.
  9. Report of Rev. E. Ruffin Jones, Rector Bruton Parish Church.
  10. Virginia Gazette, April 4, 1918.
  11. Virginia Gazette, May 3, 1917.
  12. Virginia Gazette, June 7, 1917.
  13. Virginians of Distinguished Service—Davis.
  14. Virginia Gazette, June 7, 1917.
  15. Virginia Gazette, August 2, 1917.
  16. Virginia Gazette, April 18, 1918.
  17. Report of E. Ruffin Jones.
  18. Report of Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.
  19. Virginia Gazette, July 5, 191_
  20. Report of Rev. E. Ruffin Jones.
  21. Virginia Gazette, January 24, 1918.
  22. Virginia Gazette, March 28, 1918.
  23. Virginia Gazette, September 5, 1918.
  24. Virginia Gazette, November 22, 1918.
  25. Virginia Gazette, February 3, 1916.
  26. Virginia Gazette, March 2, 1916.
  27. Virginia Gazette, March 2, 1916.
  28. Virginia Gazette, October 26, 1916.
  29. Virginia Gazette, August 30, 1917.
  30. History Committee's Report.
  31. War History Report.
  32. Virginia Gazette, June 20, 1918.
  33. History Committee's Report, Mrs. Emily B Lane, Chairman.
  34. History Committee's Report.
  35. Virginia Gazette, December 26th.
  36. Virginia Gazette, December 5, 1918.
  37. Virginia Gazette, January 7 1918.
  38. Virginia Gazette, October 10, 1914.
  39. From a report of Woman's Club.
  40. Virginia Gazette, January 27, 1916.
  41. From Report of Woman's Club.
  42. Report of Miss Ann T. Chapinan, Secretary, Educational and Civic Association.
  43. From a report of bliss Ann T. Chapnian, Surgical Dressings Committee.
  44. Report of Mrs. C. E. Friend.
  45. Report of Educational and Civic Association.
  46. Virginia Gazette, November 21, 1918.
  47. Report of Woman's Club.
  48. Report of Dr. Donald Davis, member of American Legion.
  49. Page 64, History of the American Legion, Williamsburg, Va.
  50. *Report of Dr. James Wilson, kindly given by Mr. H. L. Bridges, Registrar of The College of William and Mary.

Note: There are possible endnote numbering errors.