The Bell Tower Names: Alumni Who Gave Their Lives in World War I

Flag from the casket of Captain George Rom Hardesty, an NC State alumnus who died in WWI.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of U.S. participation in World War I, Special Collections continues its examination of the impact that the war had on the NC State students, faculty, and campus.  The post below focuses on those NC State students and alumni who died in the war.  They are honored on a plaque in Shrine Room of the Memorial Bell Tower, itself a World War I monument.  The names are:

James Henry Baugham

John K. Culbertson

Gaston Lewis Dortch

Joshua Barnes Farmer, Jr.

David Swain Grant

Thurman M. Gregory

John Wesley Griffith, Jr.

George Rom Hardesty

John Quincy Jackson

*George E. Jefferson

Aston Jensen

Grover Alphonso Jordan

Hugh Kendrick

Arthur Templeton Kenyon

Douglas H. Knox, Jr.

Almon Kemp Lincoln

John C.S. Lumsden, Jr.

John E. Lynch

George Baldwin McCoy

Wade Hampton Miller

Charles Milton Morris

Alexander Holladay Pickel

James Edwin Scott

George F. Sedberry

William Thomas Shaw, Jr.

Orin Morrow Sigmon

Basil S. Snowden

Charles Augustine Speas

James Jeffries Sykes

Frank Martin Thompson

Robert Hurst Turner

Ernest Leroy Twine

Robert Clay Waitt

James Thaddeus Weatherly

Guy Jennings Winstead

*The name George L. Jeffers was included on the plaque in error.  Mr. Jeffers was gravely wounded but not killed in the war.  Because of this report of his death in the Alumni News of November 1, 1918,  he was included on the official list of State College dead.  However, the error was caught in the very next issue of the Alumni News (December 1, 1918) where Jeffers was reported to be "Living and Getting Well." Despite this correction, the error somehow persisted and was engraved on the plaque in 1949.  Rather than replace the entire plaque, the name was altered to "George E. Jefferson" to honor the unnamed soldiers who died in the war.  George L. Jeffers, who donated toward the construction of the Memorial Bell Tower, became an employee of the Fulton County Gas and Electric Company in Gloversville, NY, as reported in the Alumni News of December 1, 1919.

The Shrine Room and Memorial Plaque were officially dedicated on November 11, 1949.  The following quote, said by Governor R. Gregg Cherry at the event, provides an apt remembrance of NC State's war dead:

“The plaque, or tablet, for this Shrine Room bears the names of a long roster of patriotic and gallant soldiers who died that you and I might live and enjoy freedom.  These names fixed upon the metal plaque that adorns this Shrine Room are only inscribed in metal but each and every one does have and shall have their names engraved upon the hearts of their fellowmen in letters which burn like gold, growing brighter with the passing of time.”

R. Gregg Cherry speaks at the Dedication of the Memorial Bell Tower Shrine Room, November 11, 1949

[July 17, 2018 addition:  The following article from the Dec. 1928 Alumni News provides some information about the military service of NC State men during World War I, including those who died during the war.


For more information about NC State's involvement with World War I, see these previous Special Collections' News Posts:

Preparing for World War I

NC State During World War I

Robert Opie Lindsay, North Carolina's Only Flying Ace

Who Was Eliza Riddick?

From Somewhere in France: Letters from Alumni in World War I

World War I and Agriculture

Fred Barnett Wheeler: Alumnus, Soldier, Councilman, Mayor

Agricultural Patriotism During World War I

Lieutenant James Malcolmson Rumple

Recipes from World War I (Part 1) - Meatless

Recipes from World War I (Part 2) - Wheatless

Recipes from World War I (Part 3) - Sweetless (Sugarless)

Faculty During World War I

Camp Polk: Tanks Come to Raleigh