My Grandpa Was a Doughboy

27 Apr

We never knew our Grandpa Miller. He died in 1935 when Dad was just five years old.

We don’t have a lot of pictures either, but there are a few from 1918. He was in the army stationed at Camp Greene in North Carolina.


This James White Miller—my grandpa—was born in Kissimmee, Florida, June 30, 1895. He was 21 when he enlisted and very shortly turned 22.

The United States entered World War I in April 1917, and my grandpa enlisted in June. I think he served all his time as part of the Quartermaster Corps at Camp Greene in Charlotte, North Carolina. He may have been assigned to the base hospital there since that’s what’s stamped on the back of one of the photos we have.

While my dad isn’t the spittin’ image of him, I see a lot of similarities. I don’t know how tall he was, but his lanky hands remind me of dad. My dad was 6′ 3″. Wish I could tell how tall his dad was.


This photo also reminds me of dad. A good lookin’ guy just hangin’ out. Leanin’ against a tree.

While he didn’t have to fight in the trenches in Europe, as far as I can tell, he was at the camp when soldiers returning from the battlefield brought the Spanish Flu home with them in the fall of 1918. The pandemic killed over twenty million people worldwide and over half-a-million died in the United States.

September 28, 1918 the first case was reported in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and the disease spread like wildfire. Entire families were wiped out. On October 4, the city of Charlotte was quarantined for two weeks. Schools, churches and public meetings were all canceled. There were 230 cases reported by 3 pm on a single day. Volunteers who survived the flu were asked to help and extra beds were set up in hospitals.

Camp Greene was also quarantined for two weeks and while the war was already winding down, the pandemic hastened the closing of the camp. Many soldiers died of flu in camp, and many others were shipped overseas to get them out of harm’s way. Ironically they were shipped off to war to avoid dying of the flu.

I’ll keep looking and see if I can turn up some more details about his military service. I have a few more pictures and I’ll save them for the update.



Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Miller


Tags: , , , , ,

7 responses to “My Grandpa Was a Doughboy

  1. James White Miller Jr

    April 27, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Thanks Jan,
    I know he had a purple heart medal (we played with it when we were kids). Mom has pictures of him in pjs and a robe like he was in the care facility for some reason. I guess the question is if he had a purple heart how are those earned, injured in battle, or injured in military service. I don’t know if his military records survived the archive building fire in 1973. I know Wes Rose’s records did not survive. I think the records M through Z were lost or at least half of the M’s. It might be worth a request to find out.
    Thanks again for your work on this.
    From James White Miller Jr

    • Jan

      April 27, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Jim,
      I don’t remember the Purple Heart, but then I wasn’t playing “army” with you guys. 🙂 Maybe Mark or Keith know more about it. I haven’t come across the picture of him in PJs yet. Let’s hope there’s a note on the back with a few details when we come across it.

  2. James White Miller Jr

    April 27, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Another thought he has a medal on his chest if we knew what it was for and how big it is we might get close to telling how tall he is.

    • Jan

      April 27, 2013 at 8:19 am

      I have a few pictures of him with other people, AND I just remembered we have ONE picture of him with Grandma. I will enlarge those medals and maybe we can find out more about them.

  3. Trisha Hare

    July 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I have seen some of these pictures before. So happy to see this.David Rose was my great great grandfather. His daughter Sarah Etta Ann Rose McMillen was my grandmother.

    • Trisha Hare

      July 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      **** Sarah “Etta” Rose McMillen was my great grandmother.

    • Jan

      July 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Hi Trisha,
      So exciting to meet a new cousin. But to clarify, these “doughboy” photos are on my dad’s side of the family and my mom is a Rose. I’ll get in touch with you and see what family information we can share. Thanks for getting in touch.


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