Ross S. Wilson Papers, 1860-1975

Manuscript Collection #772

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Ross S. Wilson Papers
    Creator: Wilson, Ross S
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Scrapbook (1917-1975) of U.S. Marine Corps officer, containing photographs, clippings, certificates, orders, and loose miscellany.
    Extent: 0.22 Cubic feet, 23 items , consisting of U.S. Marine Corps record of operations (First World War), newspaper clippings, awards, certificates, photographs, post cards, and scrapbook with miscellaneous items.
  • Description

    Included in the collection is a record of operations of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, Marines. This eight-page docufact was written by Captain Joseph C. Grayson, who served with Wilson in the Sixth Marines. The report details activities on the Western Front with their arrival in St. Nazaire, France, in February 1918, from Quantico, Virginia, to the end of the war. The Marines spent time at such places as Damblain, Suranze, the Verdun front, Chateau Thierry, Bois de Belleau, Soissons, St. Miheil, Melincourt Village, Thiacort, and Blanc Mont on the Champagne front. Grayson details some of the training and the battles of the 78th, 79th, 80th, and 96th companies. Company and battalion positions are given for some assaults relevant to being on the left or right flank, and assignment to assault, support, or reserve wave. He describes the hardships of trench warfare such as enduring enemy artillery barrages, going "over the top," numbers of men involved, battle casualties, and withering machine gun fire. The account recalls the famous earning of the French Croix de Guerre by the Sixth and earning of the sobriquet, "Devil Dogs" from the Germans.

    The collection contains a scrapbook with several photographs and post cards of Wilson's service on the Western Front. There is a map of Blanc Mont, typewritten orders, and packing lists. There are also military citations including one signed by General John J. Pershing, promotion certificates, a Purple Heart award, and discharge certificates. Non-military items in the scrapbook include college and family photographs, a fraternity certificate, college sports memorabilia, newspaper clippings, an Army discharge certificate for John Aitkins of the 11th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, dated 30 September 1865, and miscellaneous material.

    Other items in the collection are loose post cards of French sites, photographs, newspaper clippings, and newspapers. The photographs show Wilson in his uniform and his father. The clippings cover topics relating to Wilson's engagement and marriage, and his experiences near Mont Blanc that earned the Croix de Guerre for the Sixth Marines. Beyond some basic promotion and discharge papers there is no material pertaining to Wilson's experiences in the Second World War.

    The oversize folder contains two newspapers: a copy of the newspaper, The National Intelligencer, dated 19 June 1860, and an interesting newspaper taken by Wilson at Thiacort after entering a German trench in the battle. The propaganda paper is in English, written by Germans, with articles denouncing the British and American involvement in the war.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Ross Samuel Wilson (1894-1975), son of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Anthony Wilson, was from the state of Washington. Wilson, a graduate of the University of Washington, was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and involved with school athletics. After college, Wilson served as an officer in the 80th Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, United States Marine Corps, during the First World War. In 1918, he married Maurine Gates, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. L. Gates. He was honorably discharged after the war and reentered the Marines for the Second World War. He retired a lieutenant colonel in the Reserves and died in 1975.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    July 27, 1998, 1 volume; Scrapbook (1917-1975) of U.S. Marine Corps officer, containing photographs, clippings, certificates, orders, and loose miscellany. Gift of Mr. R. S. Karns, Washington, N.C.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mr. R. S. Karns

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Ross S. Wilson Papers (#772), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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