03.02.07 Twelfth Generation: Descendants of George Washington Loring (1852-1920), including David Worth Loring’s (1887-1918) Life and Death in World War I
Click on picture to enlarge.
George Washington Loring (1852-1920) was the fifth child of Lucius Pitts Loring and Mary Marsena Brunson (Loring). George lived 68 years and witnessed some difficult times. All four of his children and his wife died before him. His three daughters died as babies or in childhood. George married Nessfield Green (d. 1907) in 1881. Both George and Nessfield Loring are buried in the lot of T.W. Lee at the Sumter Cemetery. George and Nessfield Loring’s four children were: (d-21.html)
Carrie Caman Loring (1882-1890).
Mary Lucius Loring (1885-1886).
Dorothy Nessfield Loring (1894-1894). She was the fourth child of George and Nessfield Loring, but is listed here as the third.
David Worth Loring (1887-1918) was in the 13th generation down from the first documented Brunson/Brownson ancestor. He was the third child and only son of George Washington Loring and Nessfield Green Loring. He was the grandson of Lucius and Mary Marsena Brunson. David grew up and graduated from high school in Sumter, S.C. He then attended the University of South Carolina for several sessions. About 1914 when he was 27 years old, he moved to Wilmington, N.C. to work for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Several years later he married Viola Shaw (b. 1891) in 1916 at Wilmington, N.C.
David Worth Loring (1887-1918): Thirteenth Generation
David Loring, son of George and Nessfield Loring, was killed on August 24, 1918 at age 31 during World War I. He was a Second Lieutenant in the 30th Division, United States Army. He recorded some of his activities during the war in the letters he sent to his father and relatives.
Pictured to the left is David Loring and his wife Viola (probably), who was visiting him in camp in about April 1918. They had only been married two years. Viola is dressed in a fancy hat and dress. They are standing next to the "large pyramidal tents" described in Letter # 1 below. According to that letter, David's father was coming from Sumter to visit at the camp. David asked his cousin Loring to come along with his father (George Washington Loring). David said the tent was large enough for them all to have a comfortable place to sleep.
Four of the letters which David Loring wrote while in the military are presented below. One was to his father. His mother had died eleven years earlier in 1907, when David was 20 years old. Another letter was to his first cousin, Major Washington Loring Lee, who was then 43 years old. Two more letters were written to his Aunt Anna Charlotte Loring, who was 75 years old. Anna was like a mother to David. Also presented below is both a newspaper article published after his death, which describes an award bestowed upon him, and also an account of the activities of the military unit in which he served.
Letter # 1 was written on April 19, 1918, when he was in still in boot camp at Camp Sevier, Greenville, S.C. It was written to Major Washington Loring Lee (1875-1960).
Letter # 2 was written on July 15, 1918. This was after he had arrived in Europe and was already at the battle front in Belgium. It was written to his father, George Washington Loring (1852-1920).
Letter # 3 was written on August 6, 1918. It was written to his Anna Charlotte Loring (1843-1926), who was his aunt.
Letter # 4 was written on August 21, 1918, three days before he died on August 24, 1918. It was also written to Anna Charlotte Loring (1843-1926).
Newspaper Article: Anonymously written, Wilmington Star published between October 1918 and July 1919), describing the bestowal upon David of the Distinguished Service Cross.
Some General Background Information about David Loring’s 30th Division in World War I.
Letter # 1 From David Loring
Envelope addressed to:
Maj. W. Loring Lee [Major Washington Loring Lee (1875-1960) was David’s 43-year-old 1st cousin]; 415 N. Main St.; Sumter, SC
Postmark: Greenville Sevier Branch; Apr 19; 7 PM; 1918
Postage: 3 cents, [1 cent stamps - 3 of them]
Stationary: 2 American Flags crossed; CAMP SEVIER; Greenville, S.C.;
30th Division United States Army
My dear Loring;
Have been wanting to write you for some time but something always stopped me. Have no definite news as to when we are to leave here; some things look like we might leave in a month or six weeks and then other things look like we cannot possibly leave for two or three months; so there you are.
Viola had a letter from Father a short time ago saying he was coming up here Friday the twenty-sixth to spend the week-end. I would surely love to have you come at the same time, or for that matter, any time you could get off to come. Can’t you make arrangements to come with him? Please. I have a whole tent to myself, one of the large pyramidal tents and there will be plenty of room for you two to stay with me. I want to take you and Father to ride around the camp to see how we look. Am afraid I will not have a chance to come home again before leaving here and would love to have you both come.
No news much around here. Plenty of work, etc.
With best love for you all and hoping to see you next Friday.
The same “Josh” [“Josh” was pet name for David Loring]
Letter # 2 from David Loring
Pictured to the left is David Loring in his military uniform standing in camp. This is about how he looked when he wrote letter # 2 from Belgium.
Letter # 2 is to his father, George Washington Loring (1852-1920). It is transcribed below as printed in the newspaper. There is no envelope (July 15, 1918).
Letter from the Front: Lieut. David Loring Wrties from Somewhere in Belgium Where He is now Serving.
Somewhere in Belgium, July 15, 1918
My Dear Old Daddy,
Writing is rather a hard proposition over here these days. We are on the move most of the time. At present we are in a bivouac camp sleeping in our “dog tents.” Loring [Washington Loring Lee, 1875-1960, 1st cousin) knows what they are. Have had some rain lately. Looks like every time we have to move it is in the rain. Sometime ago I was up in the front line for four or five days. Did not see any one get hurt, but saw one man after he got killed by a piece of shrapnel. Wished for you, Viola and Loring to see some of the fighting. One night while up there the Allies sent out in a raiding party to take prisoners at a given hour (called zero hour). We put a heavy barrage. Then is when I wished for you three. It certainly was beautiful, but I guess it was hell for the enemy. Hope it was, for the afternoon before he shelled the position where I was and made it petty hot too. He dropped big shells al around out dugout. If one of those eight inch piercing shells had hit directly over us it would have been all off for us. One of them dug a hole big enough to bury a pair of mules just to one side of our dugout. It shook us and pretty well too. While standing out in front a shell burst about forty yards away and threw all sorts of things all over us , and small pieces of corrugated sheet iron missed a guard that was standing behind me. Another whole piece fell about 12 feet away. We had a time that afternoon. I was glad to see the straffing we gave them that night. It surely was beautiful. We were where we could see good, probably a half mile from the place the barrage fell. Our artillery guns were firing over our heads, and our M.G.’s were popping away so you couldn’t hear a man well in your ear. This was when I went up to the front line by myself for a few days observation, and you might say the guest of the company already there. I shot a M.G. those few nights probably a thousand times. Of course it was indirect fire, also at night and I could not see what results I was getting. On the way up there from our camp, when I got close to the front line, shells were dropping all along the road every now and then. One dropped as near as fifty yards in the road exactly opposite from where my party was walking along. We could hear the shrill whistle through the air, and you should have seen is “duck.” I believe this “hunting” over here for big game is more fun than hunting deer in Santee swamp at home. Wish you could be here with me and have a good ‘stand.’
Had a nice letter from Anna [?Anna Lydia Lee (Jennings), 1873-1923, daughter of David Loring’s Aunt Pauline Matilda Loring Lee 1848-1917] and Ruth [?Ruth Jennings, b. 1907, oldest daughter of Anna Lydia Lee Jennings] sometime ago telling me abut the records and how much they like and play them and wish Viola and I could be there together to hear them too. Hope I can be there by next summer. You remember all the things I was ordered to supply myself with before sailing? Well that was al bosh, for we are cut down to only 50 pounds luggage. Of course we can carry anything else we want to on our backs. Did away with my trunk, hat, cap, short overcoat and a good many lesser things. They are all supposed to be kept for us at some base and returned to us when we start home, or sent home if anything happens to us over here (hope not). Also had a nice long letter from Cox Hallie sometime back. Received one from Auntie [?Anna Charlotte Loring, 1843-1926, older sister of David’s father]last week that I much enjoyed too. She told me a lot of the local news about Sumter. Just wrote Cox Hallie today. Am sitting on a box in front of my dog tent waiting for supper. Am rather hungry too for I did not eat much dinner today—had eaten candy just before.
Every now and then we are able to get some of the famous wives to cook some eggs and potatoes and have milk, etc. One meal we had I want you to see what we had. The major was the host, and paid the bill. Wish I could sit down right now to the same kind of supper. Received a letter some time ago addressed to Lieut. David Loring, Jr. When I opened it, I found it was not for me. It was from David Loring, Sr. to his son. Then I noticed on the envelope that the original address was the headquarters Co. 23rd regiment, which was scratched out, and my address added. I wrote the Jr. a letter telling him who I was, etc. The Sr.’s address was Terminal City, Van Couver, B.C. I wonder who they are. I told the young man I thought maybe you would write his dad. Dad the flying machines are as common as Ford cars at home. Can hardly find a time during the day when you can’t see from one to fifteen at a time. Several of us rode over to a hangar a couple of Sundays ago to see them rise and light. Saw a squadron of nine leave at the same time. When they light, they just turn the machine any way they want to and run right to within twenty feet of the place the blame thing belongs to stay, same as you would an automobile.
After we went back to camp one of the planes flew over our camp, and did several stunts. Turned over backwards twice. Did a glide straight at our camp and had everybody trying to duck out of the way. The blame fool came within twenty feet of the ground just like he was out of fix some way, and was out of control. I don’t blame anyone for trying to duck.
Wish I could see you all soon, but nothing doing. Give my best lost to all at home, and at Millwood. Write when you can for I do love to hear from you. You look out for, and take care of Viola and make her do the same for you. I know you both will. Best love in the world for you both.
“Bud” [David Loring]
Letter # 3 from David Loring
Pictured to the left is David Loring mugging for the camera.
Letter # 3 below is to his aunt, Anna Loring, who was his deceased mother's older sister. She never married and no doubt spoiled him and he loved her for it, as can be seen in the letter. The letter was written on Anna's birthday. The envelope was addressed to:
Miss Anna C. Loring
415 N. Main St.; Sumter, S.C., U.S.A.
From: David W. Loring; 2nd Lt. M.G. U.S. N.G.
Postmark: Field Office; 8 AU; 18
Passed by Censor No. 6437
“Auntie’s Birthday.” Aug. 6th 1918
Some where in [this was cut out by censor - think it said Belgium]
My dear sweet old Auntie:
Tonight I am going to sleep on a bed with sheets on it! Such comfort! This afternoon I was sent for, while in my dugout (which, by the way, was being shelled) to report to Br. Hdqs. at once with all my equipment. When I got there I found out I was to go on a billeting trip. I am billeting officer for our Br. So off I set on horseback, for Div. Hdqs where I will get my instructions in the morning. Meanwhile I am to spend the night here at Div. Hdqs. And in a sure enough bed too.
Auntie, I received your nice long letter a few days, or nights, ago, just as we were leaving for trenches near the front. Of course it was raining, as it usually does when we move or go on a march of any kind.
Auntie, it surely was a good thing you were [not with] us yesterday and today. The Captain’s Hdqs. is about half a mile from my Platoon Hdqs. Yesterday, old Jerry started to shell him (Capt. Gause). The first few came so near, the Capt. and one of his Lieutenants decided they would get away from there for awhile - Just as they got up to put their coats & hats on, a big 8 in. shell dropped right in front of their dugout door (they were not hurt, so don’t get scared). It threw them both down and turned things over to a “fair-you-well.” Lt. Hardin called: “Capt., are you hurt?” No answer. Hardin commenced to feel around in the dark for Capt. G., when he put his hand in some tomato catsup which he thought was blood. “My God! The Capt. Is killed,” he cried. “No. I ain’t, dam it; get out of here,” said the Capt. Luckily, they were not hurt at all. They were blocked in, so they had to dig themselves out. After they got out, and found most of their stuff, they moved over to my hdqs. This afternoon Jerry shelled us. Dropped about 15 or 20 8 in. shells in a radius of not more than 150 yards of my hut, or dugout. I really wasn’t staying in a dugout, for I found a pretty little house with two rooms and a fireplace. It is made out of galvanized sheet iron, and lined on the inside with burlap. Nice little place, too. Wish I could have a little place like that to stay in down at the beach. A shell would drop about every minute or two. The first one dropped real near one of my guns (I have four in my platoon) and I went over to see if it had killed any or hurt any of that gun team. While I was there one dropped near an old barn where two gun teams were cooking, so I went over there to see if any of them were hurt. While there one dropped about 20 yds from a British Canteen, which was about 100 yds the other side of my house. I went over there to see how they were, & if the Canteen had been hurt. None were hurt, but the canteen was messed up pretty bad. I bought a couple of cans of spaghetti for supper that I saw lying in the dirt. About that time one dropped right at my hut, and of course I had to go see if any of my stuff was damaged. Thank the good Lord, no one was hurt and no real damage done, but it was too funny (after it was all over) to see us when we would hear a shell coming. We couldn’t tell what it was going to hit, but we all would duck.
Auntie, it is getting late so I won’t tire you out with a long letter this time. I surely enjoy your letters, they have more news than any I get. Give my best love to all.
With love & kisses for my dear old Auntie from her bad boy-
Letter # 4 from David Loring
Envelope addressed to:
Miss Anna C. Loring
415 N. Main St.
Sumter, S.C., U.S.A.
From: David W. Loring
2nd Lt. M.G.
Postmark: Field Post office; 22 AU; 18
Passed by Censor No. 3437
Y.M.C.A. stamped on envelope
Somewhere in France
Aug. 21 - 1918
My dear Auntie,
Haven’t much news, so will only drop you a line tonight. It is 12:30 A.M. and I want to take a nap as I have get up at 3:30.
Wrote Loring a letter a day or two ago also one to Father and those two letters contain all the news I know.
I suppose Viola and Edna have been down to Sumter by now to pay you a short visit. Only wish I could have been there too. Are you getting any grapes now. Wish I could pick you a basket full and help you eat them too. Did Viola ever send you one of my pictures? If she didn’t get at her and make her send it right away. Haven’t had a chance to have any taken over here but will do so at the first opportunity.
Nothing to write about tonight except I am well and enjoying myself pretty well at the present.
My boys have fixed up my little dugout better than I had at home. A cot, table, chair, Morris chair, lamp, vase full of fresh flowers, stove and hat rack. They do what cooking we have and today they found some Collards and had them for dinner; pretty good too.
Give my love to all and write when you can to your boy
2nd Lt. David W. Loring M.G. U. S. N. G.
P.S. Haven’t had a paper from Sumter yet.
Pictured to the left is a copy of an
anonymously written Wilmington Star (North Carolina) newspaper article published between October 1918 and July 1919). It describes the death of David Loring and the military award given to him.
Lieut. Loring Honored
Distinguished Service Cross Awarded Posthumously by War Department—No Ceremonies
A distinguished service cross posthumously awarded to Lieut. David Worth Loring, has been received by his widow, Mrs. Viola Shaw Loring, being presented without ceremony upon her own request. The cross is of gold with red, white and blue ribbons and bars, and of course, prized as the most precious treasure by its owners. Arrangements were to have been made for special presentation ceremonies but Mrs. Loring preferred to receive it quietly.
The service cross was awarded for extraordinary bravery of Lieutenant Loring and his unusual interest in the safety of his men, which was directly responsible for his death. The wound from which he died only a short time after it was inflicted, was sustained in the drive at Mount Kimmel last August, and was the first hard fight in which the Lieutenant’s company—Company C, 115th machine gun battalion, 30th division—had a part.
A heavy artillery fire was opened on the sector being held by Lieut. Loring and his men, so severe in fact that the young officer sent word to his men to seek shelter. Some of them failed to come in as soon as he thought they should have and he left a dugout to ascertain their safety and was mortally wounded.
Lieut. Loring before enlisting with the colors lived in Wilmington, where he had a host of friends. When Company C was organized through voluntary enlistments in this city, the deceased officer was one of the first to offer his services and was awarded a commission. He was subsequently discharged because of a physical disability. He was determined to enter the service and immediately went to a hospital to undergo an operation. He again enlisted—this time as a private—and after undergoing strenuous training again won his commission. Of all the hundreds young men who gave their lives for their country, the memory of noe is more highly esteemed in the hearts of devoted friends. Wilmington Star.
Pictured to the left is a marker for David Loring in Flanders Field, where he is buried. (d-25.jpg)
Some General Background Information about David Loring’s 30th Division in World War I
As a soldier in World War I, David Loring was a member of Company C, 115th Machine Gun Battalion, 30th Division of the Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina National Guard. The 30th Division was called the Old Hickory Division. Within it were three infantry battalions, the 117th, 118th and 119th and three machine gun battalions, including David’s 115th.
The following summarizes the activities of the 30th Division during the war. It is borrowed from R. Jackson Marshall’s book, Memories of World War I: North Carolina Doughboys on the Western Front (Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1998) and from Elmer A. Murphy & Roberts S. Thomas, The Thirtieth Division in the World War (Lepanto, AR: Old Hickory, 1936, 342 pp).
World War I lasted between 1914 and 1918. American working people had a tradition of detesting European wars. Some had migrated to the United States to escape conscription. Typically, Thomas Jefferson and Congress in the Trade Embargo Act of 1807 stopped American trade with Europe to prevent our being drawn into the Napoleonic Wars. It was only the mercantile interests that wanted intervention. Outlawing their trade cut out the very class of people who stood to profit from intervention.
In his 1916 presidential re-election campaign, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) ran on the slogan that he had helped keep America out of the war for three years and that he would continue to do so if elected. After being re-elected, he betrayed his promise in order to safeguard American capital. He helped promote a formal declaration of war on April 6, 1917 against Germany. Since it was a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight, a draft system was established for men between 21 and 31. However, David was enthusiastic about serving. As can be seen from the Wilmington Star newspaper article quoted above, he had to fight to be accepted into the military. In his initial attempt to join, he was rejected because of a physical problem. He had that problem corrected and re-applied. He joined as a private and worked his way up to a commission.
The 30th Division that David Loring would soon join had just returned from the U.S.-Mexican border when the division was called into federal service on July 25, 1917. It was ordered to Camp Sevier, near Greenville, South Carolina, to prepare for war. In October a contingent of draftees arrived to increase the division to full wartime strength of about 27,000 men.
Pictured to the left were some of the recruits at Camp Sevier doing rifle practice. They were at the 100-yard range.
In May 1918 the division traveled to New York and soon left for Europe. After a two-week voyage, the division landed in England, and then departed for France. The 30th Division was assigned to the American 2nd Corps, and attached to the British Army. In June 1918 the division underwent extensive combat training under British supervision, and exchanged American for British equipment and firearms.
On July 2, 1918, the 30th Division was sent to the British 2nd Army in Belgium. On August 16, "Old Hickory" replaced British troops on the front in the trenches near Ypres. While there the division attacked and captured German positions with a loss of 37 dead and 128 wounded.
Among those killed was David Loring. He died on August 24, 1918. About a week after David died, the division on September 3 withdrew from the front and transferred to the British 4th Army. By September 25, the 30th Division held its position opposite the German Hindenberg Line near Bellicourt, France. This was called the Cambrai-St. Quentin front. At 5:50 A.M. on September 29, the 119th and 120th infantry regiments, which were part of the 30th Division, went "over the top" supported by British tanks against the enemy lines.
Despite high casualties, the 30th Division broke through the Hindenburg Line. By that afternoon, Australian troops passed through the 30th Division and carried on the attack. The attack made by the 30th Division was a tremendous success. The division was credited as the first to break the Hindenburg Line. In addition to a large cache of enemy arms and equipment captured, about 47 German officers and 1,432 soldiers were taken prisoner. For these spoils and the 3,000-yard advance made against enemy lines, the division suffered about 3,000 casualties. This was the greatest loss for North Carolina-South Carolina since the Civil War.
The next day the division was pulled out of the battle, but "Old Hickory" returned to the front on October 5. The 30th Division engaged in severe fighting off and on until October 19, when it received orders to withdraw from combat for the last time. From July through October, the division suffered 1,641 killed, 6,774 wounded, 198 missing, and 27 taken prisoner, for a total of 8,415 losses.
For the remainder of October and until the cease-fire ended the fighting on November 11, 1918, the 30th Division was being reorganized. After the war it remained in France and was not part of the Army of Occupation. In April 1919 the 30th Division soldiers were sent home and discharged.
Only three months passed between David Loring’s death on August 24, 1918 and the end of the war on November 11, 1918.
For more pictures of David Loring’s 30th Division during World War I,
This is the web site of the North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones St, Raleigh, N.C. 27601