Chitwood  84-439 TB 95R8Sd4

The two window flags seen in the opening of this WWII section belonged to the family of James Hugh Chitwood (1921-1942) .Chitwood

During WWII, many had service flags that flew in the windows of their private homes. Blue stars represented the number of people in the family serving in the war effort. A gold star signified the ultimate sacrifice of a loss of life in the war. When the service flags flew in a window of a home, it is reported that those who  walked by would often stop and salute to acknowledge, honor, and thank those serving their country and their families’ sacrifice.

James Hugh Chitwood was born in Birmingham, Al. on May 24, 1921.  His parents moved to Valdosta, Georgia between the years 1931-37. He was a student at Valdosta High School and played a bugle for the Drum and Bugle Corp at VHS. His brother, Lessor Charles Chitwood Jr. was born just 19 months after James Hugh on December 30, 1922.

James Hugh Chitwood was in the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He landed on Guadalcanal, Solomon’s Island on the morning of August 7th, 1942 and was part of the first U.S. Ground Offensive against Japanese Forces. On August 20, 1942, he was killed by sniper fire while serving as a point man on an intelligence gathering operation. He was the first Valdostan to die in WWII and possibly the first Georgian. The gold star flag then flew in his families home.  He is buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery.

His brother enlisted in the Army the 26th of February 1943 and was honorably discharged February 1945. He died in 1992 and is buried at Westview Cemetery in Soperton, Georgia.

Millie Jean Chitwood, the sister of James Hugh Chitwood, was just 13 years old when he died. She said in a phone interview in 2009 that her brother was nine years older than she was and she always looked up to him. The Chitwood Collection was donated by her.

Chitwood is included in the WWII Calendar Book II pg 8 which can be found on this website.

Christie Collection  Acq 72-107 & 1999-14  TB 48R8Sd2, 77R9Sc2, 87R10Se3, 92R10Se2, 102R8Sb2

Wesley Renijah Christie (1918-2002) along with his twin brother Benjamin Christie were born on 1999-14-14September 22, 1918 in Parrott, Georgia. After graduating from Middle Georgia College in 1936 they joined the US Marine Corps and were stationed at Parris Island. Unfortunately Benjamin had to be medically discharged; however, Wesley not only completed the four years requirement but also worked when he was off duty in order to accumulate funds enough for his brother and he to enroll in Georgia Teachers College (Georgia Southern) in Statesboro.  Both brothers then transferred to the University of Georgia. In 1939-1940, Wesley Ren Christie worked as a drill instructor for the Marines. Upon the outbreak of WWII, Wesley Christie decided to offer his services again to the Marines on December 8, 1941.

He was assigned command over the Marine Division aboard the USS Quincy, (CA-71) a cruiser, which participated in heavy action in the European Theater and was present at the allied invasion of Normandy. However, the most exciting incidence in his Marine career he said was when Present Franklin Roosevelt used the USS Quincy as transport for his famous meeting with the “Big Three” at Yalta  which occurred February 2-27,1945.

Christie was also in the Marines during the Korean War and retired after 24 years in 1961 as a Lt. Colonial.  He was decorated twice during his Marine career.

After retirement, he completed his doctorate at the University of Georgia and met and married his wife, Constance Kinsler Christie, in 1962. Constance, “Connie,” was a 1945 graduate from Georgia State Woman’s College (now Valdosta State University). They had two sons and in 1964 he accepted a faculty position at Valdosta State College (now Valdosta State University). By 1967 he was head of the Communications Department, 1970 he became Faculty Marshall, and in 1985 he retired.  Later looking back he fondly said his drill instructor experience prepared him for his second career in teaching. According to a Valdosta Daily Times newspaper article within the Lowndes County Historical Museum’s Christie Collection (1999-14-38 AB 244), Christie also worked at Moody Air Force Base part time for ten years. He died September 22, 2002 and is buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery. For more information on his involvement in the community, please see the Valdosta State University Archives.

This is a sampling of the Christie Collection housed at the Lowndes County Historical Museum. Because this extensive collection contains a variety of materials, it is housed within different areas of the museum’s archives.  For more detailed information on the Christie Textile Collection please visit the museum. (TB 48, 77, 87, 102). For more photos and paper artifacts in the collection please also visit the main floor (AB244.)

LT Col. Christie’s USMC Dress Uniform  is on permanent display on the main floor of the museum.

Davis Collection  2015-16 TB 9aR9Sa1, 9bR9Sa2 

Joseph Polk DavisJoseph Polk Davis (1922-2000) was born in 1922 to parents  Samuel and Ruth Polk Davis and grew up in Perry, Florida. During WWII he served in the 8th Armored Division in the European Theater. When he returned home he brought back several items including a large Nazi flag and a Nazi youth knife along with small wooden Dutch shoes. Among his collection donated to the museum was his pristine 1944 Army uniform including an Ike style olive drab jacket, pants, and shirt with an interesting addition, a knitted vest.

Items such as the green vest included in this collection, as well as wool socks, wool hats, etc were  “comfort items” that the Red Cross distributed and tell the story of a community effort to bring aid to the boys fighting during WWII. The Red Cross published several patterns in magazines and newspapers. Often these were further copied by hand or type written and distributed by ordinary citizens.  Stores sold wool in the prescribed olive drab or navy blue colors in the correct weight to make the official Red Cross issued patterns. Citizens eager to comfort the boys fighting and aid the war effort, hand knitted the items and turned them into the Red Cross for distribution. These were welcomed by soldiers serving in cold climates, reminding them of warm memories of home.

After the war, Joseph Polk Davis lived in Valdosta for many years serving the community in many facets. He was the president of the Megahee-Speight Company of Valdosta as well as serving as President and Treasurer and State Insurance Chairman for the Georgia Automotive Parts Association. He served as Director of the Southern Automotive Show and on the Automotive Advisory Board for Valdosta Technical Institution. He was a member of several organizations including Shines, Elks, American Legion, and VFW and a member of the First Baptist Church. More information on the Joseph Polk Davis Collection is available at the museum.

To see more information on the Red Cross Textiles housed at the Lowndes County Historical Museum please visit our web site at https://valdostamuseum.com/collections/red-cross-textiles/

Dewberry Collection  1975-120 TB 5 R10Sb2

dewberryWilliam Rudisell Dewberry (1918-1942) was born March 26, 1918 in Stillmore, Georgia. He attended school in Adel and Valdosta where he graduated from Valdosta High School June 1, 1934. Early on he worked in Chicago as a linotype operator with the Chicago Tribune newspaper under the name “Barry” and was a member of the Illinois National Guard. On Jan 19, 1942 at the onset of WWII, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force but was granted a discharge on May 21, 1942 in order to join the United States Forces. He was attached to the 384th Bombardment Group based in England and his plane was reported missing on January 10, 1945. His awards include American Campaign Service Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Service Ribbon with one Silver Service Star for the battle in Ardennes, Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland Campaigns, WWII Victory Medal, Marksman Badge with Pistol-Dismounted Bar, Purple Heart, and Distinguished Flying Cross.

Dewberry also invented a tool for guiding navigators at night. “This instrument relates to an apparatus for the determination of geographical positions celestially, to wit, the observer’s latitude and longitude” according the the US patent description. The museum also houses the drawings of the sextant from different angles and a prototype of the instrument cradled in a wooden box made especially to hold each piece of his invention including the batteries. Though a patent was filed for in September 30, 1944, it was sadly not approved until  after his death on September 10, 1946. In addition to the prototype and its information, the museum houses his Army uniform including several of his hats, medals and military pictures, artifacts pertaining to his childhood, and his harmonica.

In March 1965 Moody Air Force Base honored William Rudisell Dewberry by naming a street within the newly constructed housing facility Dewberry Court.

Diehl, H.O.  2015-11 2015-11-02-03 HO Deihl uniform TB 86R9Se4      

Harley Olen Diehl  (1915 – 1995) was born in Ohio on a farm. He served in two different  branches in WWII, first serving with the Army Air Corps (gliders); however, when it was discontinued they were given a choice to stay in the Army or to join another branch of service. Diehl chose the Navy for the rest of his enlistment period.  The museum houses his Naval Enlisted Uniform, a white shirt with sailor collar, a black silk scarf tie, white Navy pants with buttons and a white belt and hat. His Navy sleeve patch on the uniform denotes a second class aviation radio man or radio technician.

Dodson  2012-22-06 TB 34R8Sa1

100_3683Frederic C. Dodson Jr. (1919 -1996), was a   Staff Sgt., of the  374th Fighter Squadron, 8th Army Division. He was first stationed at Moody AFB during WWII and fought oversees  in the European Theater. He married Mary Tucker Dodson June 14, 1941 in Omega, Georgia. He was separated from the Army at Camp Gordon on October 31, 1945.  His Ike jacket, donated by his sons Duane and Loren Dodson, show 1 1/2 years of oversees service by the 3 gold stripes on his left sleeve and one service stripe-a blue and silver horizontal stripe. In addition, the uniform contains his U.S. and flight pins on his lapel. His size 7 garrison hat has blue piping representing the branch of service, the Army Air Corps.

In addition,  the museum houses an Airmen Brand Label shirt worn by Dodson. This shirt was from a popular civilian clothing line that honored military style during WWII. This short sleeve summer weight woven white and blue plaid cotton shirt gives a glimpse of casual life during the war.  A photo of this is also included in the thumbnails below.

Frederic’s picture and information may also be viewed on page 12 of  A Calendar for 1996 A Family Album of WWII Memories Book Two; Valdosta Visions Yesteryears now on the museum’s web site at https://valdostamuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Part-1-1996.pdf 

Frederic’s son Loren Drue Dodson played football for Valdosta High School in 1974 as # 73. The museum houses his Georgia State Championship VHS football jacket. Though it is not pictured on this page, it is planned to appear on this museum’s page in the future under the heading Collections/ Textiles/ High School.

Loren’s jacket is currently on displayed in the High School Football Exhibit located in the 2nd floor of the museum.