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World War I Exhibit Opening Reception

  • Ker Place 69 Market Street Onancock, VA 23417 USA (map)

With Nov. 11 marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society is launching a World War I exhibit featuring Eastern Shoremen and their role in America’s part of the conflict. Begun in 1914 among European nations, the war soon spread throughout the world. The United States tried to remain neutral but declared war on Germany in 1917 after several attacks on U.S. ships by German submarines. From across the United States, thousands of men, including hundreds from the Eastern Shore, enlisted in the armed forces. Many would not see home again. From personal letters, diaries, and artifacts, the story of America in wartime is told through the eyes of Eastern Shoremen. Nineteen-year-old Allen R. Watson of Locustville served with the 115th Infantry. In letters to his family and friends, he wrote of life at Alabama’s Camp McClellan, where he trained, and the horrors of the front lines. Ellet A. Lewis of Grotons served aboard the USS Westerdyk and kept a diary detailing the month leading up to the end of the conflict. John Bowdoin Mears of Keller was an older Navy surgeon on shore leave throughout much of the war, and he wrote down the goings-on of the Eastern Shore during this time period.