Btry A–113th F.A.1 Greenville, S.C.2 Oct. 9–1917
My dear Papa3–
I received the card from McD4 last week and appreciate very much your thinking about me on my birthday. Bessie5 also thought of me and sent me a wire on the 5th. I have just received the Albemarle Observer6 and have enjoyed reading it very much. I have written Minton7 and have asked him to send me the Va-Pilot8 for a month or two. This was 10 days or more ago but haven’t heard from him. Please ask McD4 to see if Minton7 has received my letter and if he is going to send the paper and if not to have it sent and I will send him the cost. I don’t want to lose track entirely of happening around Norfolk9 and Eastern Carolina as long as I am in the country and we get none of that local news in any papers down here. I have also gotten the army blanket that Mary B.10 sent me. Please thank her for it. It is very acceptable as the night here are far from warm. Also please tell McD3 and Mary10 in writing to me to put “Battery A” as well as 113th F.A. as there is another Lieutenant Dixon11 in Battery B12 and several pieces of mail from you all have gone to him first and besides there are other Dixons in other batteries though not Lieutenants. Ask Mack4 to have the correction made by Mr. Story13 on his address on his paper.
We are certainly tied down here with no chance of getting furloughs. I haven’t applied for any but about 60 of our men have been trying to get leave to go home sometime this month but Colonel Cox14 by order of the general15 has turned them all down and I had to tell the Battery on Saturday that there was no chance for any of them to get home anytime soon except for very urgent reasons. Will Gaither16 is to be married on Nov. 14th and wrote me Friday asking that I wait on him. I was very much grieved to have to write him that I couldn’t get away. I was especially sorry for Will and I have been such close friends for a long number of years. Our movements are still very vague but everyone seems to think that we will spend the winter here. Beverley Royster17 and I have a tent together and we have had it converted into a little wooden house with a canvas top.18 This was done by building a box the size of the tent and fitting the tent over it. The walls are 5 ft. high and we also have a door.
I have never been so actively and constantly employed either at school or at work as I am here. We have to get up for reveille and from then until 4 o’clock PM are drilling the men. From 4 to 5 we teach the non-commissioned officers and from 7 to 8 go to school ourselves. So we have to be very much on the job all day and most of the night. However, we get off at dinner on Wednesdays and Saturdays and all day Sundays which gives us a breathing spell though sometimes we are obliged to catch up our work by studying during the rest periods on these days. Right many of the men had chills and fevers at first but now are all right. Personally I like the work very much and feel like I am getting very hard. I don’t feel like I am as fat looking as formerly but probably weigh more.
The only thing I don’t care for is getting up before day. Brownie’s19 outfit is facing on the same road with ours but is about 1½ miles nearer to Greenville.2 I see him 2 or 3 times a week. He has time off at night and can get to town more than I can. He has just been over here tonight with Ed Bond20 & Jno Bond21 and has gone off with them in my car. I told him to keep the car until Wednesday afternoon as I can’t get chance to use it until then. Whenever I go to town I turn it over to him for a while.
My pictures have just come and I will send you one when I can get them tied up. Anything is hard to get out at camp even string & paper.
We are going to get a little oil stove for our little box and hope to be able to get some comfort from it this winter.
Lieutenants in the army don’t have much money in these times of high prices. Whereas the enlisted men pay has been considerably increased. For instance, a private now gets $30.00 instead of $15.00. The officers pay has not been increased. Of course the men get rations and clothes free but officers have to pay for everything and rations and clothes are in many cases more than 100% higher. We have to pay $30.00 each per month for our board at the Regimental Mess where we have to eat.
Artillery officers have so much stuff to buy such as boots, field glasses & other instruments. Boots cost $21.50, glasses $35.00 & so on. But I make enough to live on so am perfectly satisfied. In fact I personally am not kicking at all. The only thing that worries me is to be separated from you. I do hope you are holding your own. I certainly at the first opportunity will get a furlough to see you though it will be probably a month or two before we will be allowed to get home.
Tell Mary B10 the next time she makes any chocolate fudge to send me a little by mail. The fellows down here are constantly getting a cake or some homemade candy and it tastes very good, I imagine, to eat something made at home.
With denoted love to you all
Btry “A” 113th Field Artillery1
Group photograph of Battery A, 113th Field Artillery. From the History of the 113th Field Artillery. link: https://archive.org/details/historyof113thfi00flet.
Various views of Greenville, South Carolina, 1917. link: http://cdm16821.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16821coll9/id/1268. Furman University, Special Collections Library, Greenville, South Carolina.
Minton Hughes Dixon, Sr., “Papa” or “Judge” (1849-1923)
Father of Richard Dillard, George Brownrigg, MacDonald, Mary Elizabeth, and Elizabeth MacDonald Dixon. Prominent merchant in Edenton, North Carolina. Served as a Justice of the Peace, Recorder’s Court Judge, and city councilman. Married Sallie Dillard (1860-1910) in 1886.
MacDonald Dixon, “Mack” or “MCD” or “Mac” (1897-1984)
Younger brother of Richard Dillard Dixon. Attended UNC-Chapel Hill from 1915 to 1916. Returned to Edenton, where he worked for his father. Did not serve in World War I. After his marriage in 1939, moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina where he worked as a fuel oil dealer for Sinclair Oil Company until his retirement to Nags Head, North Carolina in the mid-1960s.
Elizabeth MacDonald Dixon Vann, “Bessie” (1891-1975)
Younger sister of Richard Dillard Dixon. She attended college for two years before marrying Aldridge Henley Vann in 1912. Vann’s father, Samuel C. Vann, founded the Sterling Cotton Mill in Franklinton, North Carolina in 1895. After his father’s death, Aldridge Henley Vann managed the firm until its bankruptcy in 1932 during the Great Depression.
Democratic Party-affiliated newspaper printed between 1910 and 1926 in Edenton, North Carolina. Published weekly on Fridays. Circulation: 825.
Minton Hughes Dixon, Jr., “Minton” (1893-1960)
Younger brother of Richard Dillard Dixon. Attended UNC-Chapel Hill from 1910 to 1911. Worked as a salesman for his father from 1911 to 1916. Moved to Plymouth, North Carolina in 1916 and opened a wholesale grocer with his younger brother, George Brownrigg Dixon. Called up by the draft, Dixon enlisted in the US Navy in Norfolk, Virginia on December 13, 1917. He became the Chief Storekeeper at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Mine Plant Barracks, Portsmouth, Virginia. He continued in this role after a transfer to the Naval Training Camp in Pelham Bay Park, New York. Never left the United States during his military service. After his discharge on January 5, 1919, Dixon returned to Edenton, where he worked as an office manager for a cotton and peanut commodities broker. Upon his father’s death in 1923, Dixon assumed control of the family mercantile business.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. Formed in 1898 from the merger of the Virginian and the New Daily Pilot. Published daily in Norfolk, Virginia. Edited by William E. Cameron, a notable Democratic politician that started his political career as a Republican.
Nighttime view of Granby Street, Norfolk, 1910. Museum of the Albemarle.
Mary Beverly Dixon, “Mary Beverly” or “Mary B.” or “Mary” (1886-1959)
Elder sister of Richard Dillard Dixon. Never married, and lived her entire life in Edenton, North Carolina.
George Selby Dixon, (1895-?)
Son of a general store owner in Aurora, North Carolina, George S. Dixon was a lawyer and National Guardsman. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant upon entering federal service, he resigned in April 1918. While in the army, he met Margaret Robina Carter, daughter of a Beaufort County physician. After the war, Dixon worked as a real estate agent in Washington, North Carolina. Margaret Dixon petitioned for a divorce in 1921. By 1942, George S. Dixon remarried and lived in Buffalo, New York. Ultimate fate unknown.
Group photograph of Battery B, 113th Field Artillery. From the History of the 113th Field Artillery. link: https://archive.org/details/historyof113thfi00flet.
Hugh Latimer Story, (1879-1964)
Editor of the Albemarle Observer. Born in Eure, Gates County, Story graduated from Wake Forest College, now university, in 1905. After teaching at Ahoskie High School and working as a lumber dealer, he bought the Edenton Transcript newspaper. Renamed the Albemarle Observer, Story was the editor, owner, and publisher. After the newspaper ceased publication in 1926, Story moved to Asheville. He eventually became the editor of the News Record, the local weekly paper in Marshall, North Carolina.
Albert Lyman Cox, (1883-1965)
Commanding officer of the 113th Field Artillery. Also served as a state legislator and judge. Biography included in the North Carolina Dictionary of Biography, link: http://www.ncpedia.org/biography/cox-albert-lyman.
George Grant Gatley, (1868-1931).
Brigadier general. Born in Maine, Gatley graduated from West Point in 1890. Fought in the Philippine-American War and the Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa as an artillery officer. Sent to Camp Sevier as the original commander of the 55th Field Artillery Brigade, which included the 113th Field Artillery. However, in July 1918, Gatley took command of an artillery brigade in the 42th Division, which he led through the war. Served in the army until his death in 1931.
William Gassaway Gaither Jr., (1887-1979)
Son of the Hertford Academy principal, Gassaway grew up in Perquimans County. In 1911, he became the assistant cashier (comparable in status to a modern-day bank assistant manager) of the First National Bank of Elizabeth City. On November 7, 1917, he married Helen Virginia Robinson. Although a member of city’s board of aldermen, the local draft board called up Gaither for military service in early 1918. Selected for Cadet Officer Training School, his course started just before the armistice. Released from the army, Gaither returned to Elizabeth City. He eventually retired as vice president of First Citizens National Bank, an ancestor of the current First Citizens Bank.
Beverly Sampson Royster Jr., “Beverly Royster” (1895-1929)
Son of state legislator and Adjacent General of North Carolina, Brigadier General Beverly S. Royster Sr., Royster grew up in Oxford, North Carolina. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1914 and became an attorney. Like his father, he served in the National Guard and entered national service when President Woodrow Wilson federalized the guard in the summer of 1917. Royster eventually became a captain in charge of a field artillery battery in the 113th Field Artillery. After the war, he returned to Oxford and practiced law.
a little wooden house with a canvas top.18
Officers’ barracks at Camp Sevier. Note the tent in the foreground erected in the style described by Dixon. link: http://cdm16821.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16821coll9/id/947. Furman University, Special Collections Library, Greenville, South Carolina.
George Brownrigg Dixon, “Brownie” (1896-1953)
Younger brother of Richard Dillard Dixon. Attended UNC-Chapel Hill from 1914 to 1916, where he belonged to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Went into the wholesale grocery business with his older brother, Minton Hughes Jr., in Plymouth, North Carolina from 1916 to 1917. Enlisted in the North Carolina National Guard on May 25, 1917. Due to his college experience, selected for officer’s training on December 27, 1917. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 119th Infantry, Dixon resigned for mysterious reasons on March 27, 1918. About two months later, he reenlisted, this time in the Marine Corps. After completing basic training at Parris Island, served at the New York Marine Corps Barracks in New York City. Reached the rank of corporal. Never left the United States during his military service. After his discharge from the Marines in February 1919, moved to Suffolk, Virginia to work as a manager for Winborne & Company, a wholesale grocer. Later became a salesman for the local peanut growers’ association in Norfolk, Virginia. Ultimately returned to Suffolk, where he worked as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Benthall Machine Company, a firm that manufactured peanut harvesters, until his death.
Son of Judge William Marion Bond, Edward Griffith Bond grew up in Edenton. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, Bond practiced as an attorney before enlisting in the National Guard, where he served in the Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa. Returned to federal service after the declaration of war, he became a member of Company L, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. However, after his arrival in France, the army selected Bond for officer training school, where he emerged as a 2nd Lieutenant of Company L, 39th Infantry, 4th Division. During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Bond suffered severe wounds from German machine gun fire on October 10, 1918. Taken to a hospital in Limoges, France, he died there on November 10, 1918, one day before the armistice. The American Legion post in Edenton carries his name.
Son of a hardware store owner, John Manning Bond grew up in Edenton. He enlisted in the local National Guard regiment in 1916, which became the nucleus of Company L, 119th Infantry, 30th Division during World War I. Promoted to sergeant, he received a demotion to private in May 1918, just as his unit sailed for France. He served overseas from May 1918 until April 1919. Discharged from the army as a corporal, Bond became a clerk for the Post Office. He spent over twenty years in the federal civil service, retiring as a finance officer with the army at Fort Monroe, Virginia.