Tag Archives: William Thomas Graham

End of the War to End all Wars

One hundred years ago:

My great uncle, Private William Thomas Graham, was serving in France with Company F, 348th Infantry, 87th Division. The division was under orders for service at the front lines and was actually in movement when peace broke out on November 11th at 1100 hours, bringing an end to World War I.

WW1 100 Years

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Tidying Up The Gray Home

Merry Christmas from Graham Ancestry!

The following entries have been recently updated:

Jesse & Sarah Graham

  • Complete re-write of article
  • Added two new photographs of their grave markers
  • Added two images from the census
  • Expanded the Sources so that you can easily check my work!

Who Is Buried In William’s Grave?

  • Added a new detail derived from the 1900 census.

87th Division’s WWI History

I’ve been browsing the Internet to find a more in-depth picture of what the 87th Division was doing during their time in France during the First World War.  While there are a plethora of sites that recount the division’s Second World War history, in which they participated in various combat campaigns, there is little in the way of their First World War history, which saw the division used as laborers, something not quite as exciting or as historically significant as a battle.  So, I was quite excited to come across this detailed account of the division’s First World War history written by the Historical Branch, War Plans Division, General Staff, United States Army.


THE EIGHTY-SEVENTH DIVISION

(National Army.  Insignia:  Brown acorn on a green circle.)

—–o—–

The Eighty-seventh Division was organized at Camp Pike, Arkansas, in August, 1917, from drafted men of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi,  and Alabama.  After providing detachments for replacements abroad the division  was reorganized with recruits from other camps, and upon transfer to Camp Dix, New Jersey, in June, 1917[1], approximately 20,000 drafted men from New York and New Jersey were assigned.  The organization was as follows:

  • 173d Infantry Brigade:
    • 345th and 346th Infantry;  335th Machine Gun Battalion.
  • 174th Infantry Brigade:
    • 347th and 348th Infantry[2];  336th Machine Gun Bn.
  • 162d Field Artillery Brigade:
    • 334th and 335th (light),  336th (heavy) Field Artillery;  312th Trench Mortar Battery.
  • 334th Machine Gun Battalion.
  • 312th Engineers.
  • 312th Field Signal Battalion.
  • Trains.

The first element of the division arrived in France August 28, 1918;  the last September 16, 1918.

The division was reported to the Commanding General, S.O.S.[3], for duty the latter part of September.  Headquarters were established at Pons (Charente Inférieure) on September 12th.  The organizations were distributed through the base and intermediate sections, S.O.S.,  but the division did not lose its identity as a combat unit, and when the armistice was signed, it was under orders for service at the front and the headquarters and headquarters troops were actually in movement on November 11th.

Division headquarters sailed from St. Nazaire January 10, 1919,  and arrived at New York January 22, 1919.

The division had three commanding generals as follows:

Maj. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis (assigned), Aug. 26, 1917 – Nov. 18,  1918;  Brig. Gen. Robert C. Van Vliet (temporary), Nov. 27, 1917 – March 10, 1918; Brig. Gen. W. F. Martin (temporary), Dec. 11, 1918 – January 9, 1919.

Revised to 3-16-21

RPL–egm


Notes

1.  This date appears to be a typo.  The unit could not have transferred to Camp Dix in June 1917 before it was organized at Camp Pike in August 1917.  A date of June 1918 is more likely for the move to Camp Dix, as this would’ve been directly before the division’s movement to France in August of that year.

2.  My grand uncle William Thomas Graham served in Company F of the 348th Infantry.

3. Services of Supply.

Sources

Brief History of Divisions, U.S. Army, 1917-1918”, Historical Branch, War Plans Division, General Staff, United States Army, June 1921.


William T. Graham Grave Marker Slideshow

A series of photographs by Ashli B. Graham of William Thomas Graham’s grave marker at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas on Saturday, 4 June 2011.

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Obituary: Erman Graham

Originally published in the Marshall Mountain Wave on 3 May 1957.  Erman was the son of William Thomas Graham and Virgie Copeland.

ERMON GRAHAM DIED IN CALIFORNIA

Ermon1 Z. Graham, 39, died April 15, at Reedly, Calif., it was learned here this week.

Mr. Graham was born at Watts, Ark in 1918, and lived here with his family for some time.  He moved to California a few years ago, where he had made his home.

He is survived by his wife and three children, his mother, Mrs. Virgil Conley2, and one sister, Pernie.

He was converted some time ago. Memorial services were held at Cairn’s Funeral Home, April 18, 1957, 10 a.m. with Rev. J. E. Bridges officiating. Concluding services were held at the Reedley cemetery under direction of the American Legion.

Notes

1.  So far this is the only source I’ve seen for “Ermon”.  All the other records I’ve seen have spelled it “Erman”, and that is how I’ve spelled it in my own tree.

2.  “Virgil Conley” appears to be a misspelling of Virgie’s own name.  To be especially clear, her second husband was not named Virgil, but rather Grover Morley Condley.


Wartime Dispatches: Departure & Arrival of the Chicago

This Associated Press article appeared in the Daily Herald on 27 February 1919.  William Thomas Graham was a soldier in Company F, mentioned herein.

SOUTHERN TROOPS SAIL FROM FRANCE

Units of Eighty Seventh Division Composed of Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi Men.

Washington, Feb 27.—Forty-six officers and 100 men comprising headquarters of 1st and 3rd Battalions of 348th Infantry, headquarters company, supply company, sanitary detachment, Companies A, B, C, D, E, F and I have sailed from Bordeaux and will arrived at New York about March 8th, the War Department announced today.

The troops are of the 87th Division, composed of Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi troops.  The name of the vessel is not decipherable.  The men may be sent to Camp Dix from New York.

Machine gun battalions of the 87th Division are aboard the transport Magnolia due at New York on March 7.

This Associated Press article appeared in the Trenton Evening Times of Trenton, New Jersey on 8 March 1919.

PORTION OF 87TH REACHES NEW YORK

Part of 348th Infantry Arrived on Chicago, Which Docked This Morning

NEW YORK, March 8.—The transports Plattsburg and Chicago arrived here today.  The Plattsburg carried 2, 325 men, including a number of casual companies, 49th Aero Squadron, detachment of the 5th Machine Gun Battalion and three convalescent detachments.

On the Chicago were 1,060 soldiers, including men of the 348th Infantry and staff, headquarters and supply companies, headquarters First and Third Battalions, Sanitary detachment, Companies A, B, C, D, E, F and T.

The 348th Infantry, portions of which arrived on the Chicago, was attached to the 87th Division, composed of men from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Southern Alabama.

This United Press article appeared in the Bridgeton Evening News on 8 March 1919.

JUST ABLE TO WEAR THE OVERSEAS CHEVRON

NEW YORK.  March 8.—If the transport Chicago had been just a little bit speedier the men of the 348th Infantry would not have been entitled to wear the overseas chevron.  Their six months of foreign service was up last night.  As the steamer came up the bay this morning they were busy sewing single gold stripes on their left sleeves.


A Doughboy in the Golden Acorn Division

During my recent trip to Marshall, Arkansas I visited the grave of my grand uncle William Thomas Graham.  As I mentioned previously, his grave marker listed the unit with which he served during the first World War: the 348th Infantry, 87th Division.  I hit the Internet and ran several searches on the unit to see what I could learn.

The U.S. Army Center of Military History has online the entire lineage and honors of the 348th Regiment, which is the successor of the 348th Infantry.  Here is the portion that pertains to the unit’s World War I service:

Constituted 5 August 1917 in the National Army as the 348th Infantry and assigned to the 87th Division

Organized in September 1917 at Camp Pike, Arkansas

Demobilized in March 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey

CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT

World War I
Streamer without inscription

The streamer without inscription is noteworthy.  The U.S Army Institute of Heraldry states on the topic that “war service streamers without inscriptions were awarded during or prior to World War II to units located in the theater but did not participate in designated campaigns nor specified battles/locations.”  That means that the 348th Infantry served overseas in the war theater, but did not see combat.  A unit that did see combat would have the relevant campaign inscribed upon the streamer.

Searching on the 87th Division, the 348th Infantry’s parent organization, I found an article at WikiPedia (not the best of sources, but it’ll suit the purpose Golden Acornof this article) that states the 87th “was a National Army division allocated to Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi” and that it was “utilized as a pool of laborers” when it went overseas.  That seems consistent with being in the war theater but not seeing any combat.

As to the reason the 87th was nicknamed the Golden Acorn Division, well, take a look at its patch.  This patch was worn by all Soldiers in the 348th Infantry.

WWI Roster DetailI also came across a photograph of a framed unit roster for Company F, 348th Infantry.  This was an incredibly lucky find because this was the exact unit in which William served, and his name can be seen on the roster in the middle row, sixth down.

I hit the newspaper archives at Google and GenealogyBank and came across several articles about the return of the 348th Infantry from a six month overseas tour in France, landing in New York City on 8 March 1919.  Company F arrived in New York on the Chicago, a steamship operated by the French Line.  I’ll be posting some of those articles separately, but here is a postcard that shows what the Chicago looked like.

SS Chicago


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