Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Moses Jeffreys (1891-1918)

On the World War I memorial that stands at the Square in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, is the name Moses Jefress. That surname has been spelled various ways over the years, and most commonly is seen as Jeffreys, which we will use here.

Moses Jeffreys was born Christmas day 1891 in Semora, Caswell County, North Carolina, to George Washington Jeffreys (1865-1949) and Cornelia Farmer Jeffreys (1868-1922). His family farm was in the Semora Community of Caswell County, where as a young man he worked doing general farming. It is likely that his father rented the farm or was a share-cropper. Whether Moses had a job away from the farm is not known.

However, on June 5, 1917, when he registered for military service, he described himself as "farming" and working for his father. From this document we also learn that Moses was of stout build, medium height, with brown eyes, and black hair. He was not bald and reported no disability. Moses was a single African-American male who apparently could not write his name, as he signed the registration form with his mark. He was married to Irma Jeffreys. The person notified of his death: Mrs. Irma Jeffreys, Wife, R L Box 129, Milton, N.C.

Moses Jeffreys was inducted into military service July 31, 1918, at Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina. Private Jeffreys was assigned to Company C, 344th Labor Battalion, United States Army, in which he served until his death October 9, 1918. He died overseas (probably in England), where he had been since September 25, 1918. The cause of death was pneumonia.

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It appears that Private Jeffreys was first buried in England, at Everton Cemetery in Liverpool. Below is a description of this cemetery. Grave 80?, Row 3, Plot American Section N, #288 Everton Cemetery, Liverpool, England. Buried September 14, 1920. Why he was buried so long after his purported death is not known. However, based upon his initial burial location he probably died in the hospital at Liverpool.

At some point his body was returned to the United States and interred at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. On the reverse of his grave marker at Arlington is the marking 19 89. However, the grave stone for Arlington was ordered July 1, 1935, which may be some indication as to when Private Jeffreys was buried.

Everton Cemetery

This cemetery also is described as the Liverpool (Everton) Cemetery. The address is Everton. Everton and Liverpool are geographically in the County of Lancashire, but for administrative purposes, they are now in Merseyside. The cemetery was opened in July 1880 and is used for both Church of England and Roman Catholic burials. In December 1914, Liverpool became one of the 21 Auxiliary Patrol Bases and in February 1915, the base of the 10th Cruiser Squadron. During the Second World War, Liverpool was headquarters of Western Approaches Command and a manning depot for officers and men of the Merchant Navy who agreed to serve with the Royal Navy for the duration of the war. Liverpool (Everton) Cemetery contains 55 First World War burials and 15 from the Second World War. There is a small Screen Wall memorial bearing the names of those whose graves are not marked by headstones. During the First World War, almost 700 American servicemen died in Liverpool's military hospitals and most of them were buried in Everton cemetery. Their remains were later removed to the American military cemetery at Brookwood, or to the United States. There are 71 identified war casualties here.

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