World War II Memorial

The granite tablets honoring Randolph County servicemen which now fill up a good portion of the Worth Street lawn of the courthouse are only the county’s most recent memorial to its war dead. The Confederate monument, dedicated in 1911, may have been first. The clock at the southwest corner of Sunset and Fayetteville Streets (formerly attached to First National Bank) honored World War I “doughboys”. The swimming pool and tennis courts of Memorial Park, at Church and Lanier Streets in Asheboro, honored World War II and Korea servicemen. But the smallest memorial was one that once hung in the lobby of the courthouse.

In an issue of The Courier from April 1944, the following article can be found:

“Asheboro Rotary Club Plans Memorial Service for World War Dead Friday, April 28/ To Unveil Plaque in Hall of County Court House [in] Honor of County’s Dead

“Randolph County’s war dead will be honored at memorial exercises to be held at the Randolph County court house in Asheboro on Friday, April 28th, at 2:30 p.m. The event will be the unveiling of the memorial plaque in the hall of the court house by the Rotary Club of Asheboro. The plaque will contain the names of the county’s war dead to date.

“Relatives of these men will be guests of honor on the occasion, seats having been reserved for members of their families. Representatives of the following organizations also have reserved seats for the occasion: Asheboro, Randleman and Ramseur Lions clubs; Randleman, and Liberty Rotary clubs; Kiwanis Club; Business and Professional Women’s Club; American Legion and Auxiliary; War Mothers; Daughters of the Confederacy; Randolph Ministerial Association and others. The public is also extended an invitation to attend.

“Principal speaker on the occasion will be Lt. Col. Charles C. Bowman, Chief of Staff Intelligence, First Troop Carrier Wing, at Pope Field.”

The plaque served for many years at the county’s only recognition of local residents who make the supreme sacrifice in the war. Eventually it accumulated 51 small Bakelite plaques inscribed with the names of 50 men and 1 woman; so many names in fact that they filled the original plaque and overflowed onto a small plywood board attached to its bottom.

The plaque was commissioned by the Asheboro Rotary Club and its creation supervised by Joe Ross, a former President of the club and subsequently its lifetime historian. It was evidently built by Asheboro Mayor Clyde Lucas in his shops at Lucas Industries on South Fayetteville Street, in a building that subsequently housed GE, Black and Decker, and is now Wells Hosiery mill. Stylistically it is identical to a larger plaque which hung in the lobby of Lucas Industries and exhibited the names of plant employees who were in service during the war. The Asheboro Rotary/ World War II Dead memorial was removed from the lobby of the courthouse during the 1964 renovations. The Rotary plaque and the Lucas Industries plaque were saved by Mr. Ross and preserved in the basement of his building at 100 Sunset Avenue, where they were found (by me) in 1998.

The Asheboro Rotary Club paid for both plaques to be cleaned and refinished, and the names of the World War II dead were moved to the larger plaque, where they now fit without the extra sheet of plywood. It is hoped that the original smaller plaque can now be used to honor World War I dead, and both plaques displayed in the lobby of the restored courthouse.

Note that the Home Lee Cox name plate is missing—the story is that Joe Ross gave the plate to a family member at some point. One of my real estate clients, LaRue Cox, was the brother of Homer Lee Cox and sent me a tiny newspaper clipping which records his death. Homer Lee Cox was killed in the Philippine Islands at age 19, on May 6, 1945. Robert McGlohon, the 23-year-old brother of former Asheboro Fire Chief John McGlohon, was a bombardier on a B-17 based in England when he died. Chief McGlohon remembers that Robert “and his crew crashed in 1943, leaving the little town of Polbrooke [England] on their way to the continent. Apparently the plane iced up and spun in and all but one of them were killed.”

John McGlohon remembers another, temporary memorial to soldiers serving during the war. A sign made up of 4×8 sheets of plywood nailed to posts stood at the corner of Worth and Fayetteville Streets, beside the Red Ball gas station. “Everytime somebody went into service Edgar Cheek [the local sign painter] would go down there and paint their names on the list. When somebody got killed, he’d go down and paint a star by their name.”

I don’t know the story behind each name, or the circumstances of any other person’s death. That would be a great research project for someone!

Below are the names listed on the Rotary World War II memorial:

W. Fred Allen

Robert E. Andrews

Archie L. Ashworth

Max C. Auman

Leslie E. Bean

William G. Boone

Willie H. Bouldin

William M. Buie

Walter A. Bunch, Jr.

Hartwell L. Byrd

Robert E. Cagle

David Henry Cline

Julius D. Copple

Billy S. Coward

Homer Lee Cox

James D. Crowell

Linwood Deaton

Louis D. Demarcus

Neal W. Dennis

Thomas H. Dixon

William D. Dunham

Charles T. Ferree

Williams A. Grimes

John V. Greeson

Harvey L. Hemphill

Virgil F. Hill

Carl R. Holmes

Arthur L. Hoover

Willie E. Hudson

Calvin S. Jarrell

Howard L. Jessup

Howard R. Jones

Lonnie L. Jones

Sylvester V. Kennedy

John F. Kime

Boyd R. Kimrey

James L. King

Richard W. Kirkman

Truman W. Langley

Clifford G. Lassiter

Caleb D. Marion

Alfred McElhannon

Robert A. McGlohon

Clarence R. McRae

E.K. McArthur, Jr.

Winfred C. O’Briant

Carlie B. Odom

John C. Odum

Earnest O. Nance

Robert H. Newton

Edgar L. (Joe) Pierce

Colon A. Pilkenton

Maurice M. Plummer

Jefferson D. Potts

Mildred Coleen Presnell

Glenn Fox Pugh

Caleb R. Redding

Dewey R. Reeder

Thomas J. Rierson, Jr.

Bruce L. Rich

John B. Richardson

John W. Salmond

William M. Smith

Walter D. Staley

Earnest C. Smith

Samuel W. Sechrest

Claude R. Stafford

Clarence T. Summey

Kester L. Tucker

Junior Voncannon

Harold M. Walton

Guy E. White

Clifford H. Walker

Haywood G. Walden

Charles Wood

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3 Responses to “World War II Memorial”

  1. Shelli Says:

    Hi, I am looking for more information on what is now called “Hinshaw House”. Specifically pictures of this house in the past. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Thanks,
    Shelli

  2. Tina Spruill Says:

    Haywood G. Walden was my father’s brother. We have a picture of him in his uniform. I have been trying to find out exactly how he died in WWII or Korean war. My father said he heard a trash can exploded near him and he was injured, but he was not sure. I found out through research he is buried in Hawaii and the cemetery there sent me a picture of his gravesite. any further information would be appreciated.

  3. Steve arjo Says:

    I saw on mears auction that Sylvester v kennedy’s World War Two Purple Heart and citation were being auctioned off. I understand bills have to be paid but it’s sad to me that a young mans sacrifice can be summed up in dollars and cents. It would be nice to hear that it wound up In your library or some other place of honor.
    Regards, Steve A

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