History Mystery - Who is Hercules?

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Is your grandfather or great grandfather among this group of draftees ready to head off to for training camp in 1917? 

 Now on view at CCHS is a case exhibit that explores the role Chester Countians played in World War I.  This group of draftees left West Chester on October 29th 1917 for training at Camp Meade, Maryland.  They were the first group of African Americans for the new National Army. Their photograph was taken in front of the Chester County Courthouse.

 At roll call at the courthouse each man received a sweater presented by Honorable and Mrs. Thomas S. Butler accompanied by May, Rose and Isabel Darlington. The Colored Auxiliary of the Chester County Hospital presented box lunches. Each man had received a Bible the night before at a special service at Bethel AME Church in West Chester.

 The draftees then marched to the Pennsylvania Railroad Station on Market Street accompanied by Liberty Cornet Band, McCall Post of the GAR, Kerney Camp of the Sons of Veterans and the United Spanish War Veterans carried the men’s suitcases.   Hundreds of local residents turned out to wave goodbye.

 The names were published in the Daily Local News, but which face goes with which name? Let us know if you can identify any of the men.  Please contact me at photo@chestercohistorical.org with any information.

 Harry S. Anderson, Rock Run

John Bratcher, Valley

Harry Cramer, Kennett Square

George M. Edward, Exton

Harry Evans, West Chester

Roland Ganges, West Chester

Charles Henry Gover, Westtown

Paul Hicks, Downingtown

Charles H. Hoaney, Embreeville

Nathan Holmes, Jacksonville, Florida

William Hyland, Paoli

Harry Ellsworth Jackson, West Chester

Samuel Jackson, Paoli

Kinsey Jones, Pocopson

Sherwood Lee Jones, Wayne

David B. Massey, West Chester

Lawrence Matthews, Rosedale

John R. Miller, East Downingtown

Benjamin Mitchell, West Chester

William C. Rollins, Downingtown

Julius Jesse Shelton, Paoli

Albert John Smith, West Chester

Horace B. Steen, West Chester

Hercules James Stevens, Exmore, Virginia

Elwood Stokes, Coatesville

William M. Taylor, Avondale

Ralph Tyndale, West Chester

Levis F. White, Kennett Square

Chester I. Williams, Parkesburg

 Looking at the faces, I can’t help but wonder what their experiences were and if they made it home to West Chester again.

 Pamela Powell, photo archivist