Library has new resource with information about military service

  • Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013 12:01 a.m.

SALISBURY — Much of our public historical focus has recently been on the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. One of our most heavily used collections in Rowan Public Library is the North Carolina Confederate Troops Compiled Service Records.

North Carolina had more participants in the Confederacy than any other Southern state. These records on microfilm indicate a serviceman’s participation in the war effort, when they appeared at roll call or if they were absent, if they were prisoners of war or in a hospital. If you are lucky, some of the records include letters of commendation, reports or other interesting documents or correspondence.

The History Room also has pension records for North Carolina soldiers of the Civil War. These pensions were awarded to the soldier or his wife, if the soldier had died, and in some cases to his parents if they had relied on him for their livelihood. Pensions were given by the state of North Carolina, not the federal government, and were awarded at the county level. These records are invaluable for genealogical research.

With the focus on the sesquicentennial, we forget that we are fast approaching the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, 1914. Despite the fact that the Americans came late into the war, not declaring war until 1917, the United States citizens contributed greatly to this conflict.

Just recently, with the help of the Genealogical Society of Rowan County, the History Room was able to acquire a similar set of military records pertaining to WWI. These records were compiled by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which actively saved many of our older records by rewriting and preserving many local accounts of all types of activities. The World War I Service Card Files were created as a response to acts of the Congress in 1919 and 1922 requesting the Adjutant General of the U.S. provide individual states with a statement of service for the men and women from that state who served during WWI. The cards for those personnel from North Carolina were provided to the Adjutant General of North Carolina on Feb. 14, 1924. The cards contain the records of officers, nurses and enlisted men from all three branches of service.

The records seem to have included everyone whether or not they were killed in action, died of wounds or disease or were living. For example, Roscoe A. Page, born in Salisbury, enlisted on June 1, 1917, at 21 and 1/12 years of age. He was sent overseas in September of 1918 and was honorably discharged in July 1919 having suffered no wounds. A neighbor from Guilford, Lt. John Paisley, fared less well; he was killed in action in France June 21, 1918, and buried there. These cards, too, are helpful in genealogical research, often stating where the person was born, where they lived at the time of enlistment, parents or spouses, where they received military training, what engagements they were involved in during the war, their regiments and any awards. The information is listed alphabetically by person rather than by individual towns or counties. This new microfilm, a treasure trove of information, includes all service personnel in North Carolina.

Along with these newly acquired records, the History Room also provides access to Ancestry. Ancestry hosts a variety of records, including the draft registration cards of WWI. The draft registration does not indicate military service; however, 24 million or approximately 98 percent of all men under the age of 46 living in the United States actually registered. The population of the U.S. at the time was around 100 million people, so using the WWI draft registration database provides the names of nearly one quarter of the population whether they were new immigrants, naturalized or born here. Together these databases can provide a unique picture of an ancestor and provide some interesting tidbits of U.S. history.

Happy hunting.

Computer classes: Gone Phishing: How to Avoid Getting Scammed — April 15, 7 p.m., South; April 16, 1 p.m., East (registration required, call 704-216-8229); April 18, 9:30 a.m., Headquarters. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly through April 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Headquarters — Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time (18- to 35-month-olds); Wednesday, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6- to 23-month-olds); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds); Thursday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4- to 8-year-olds.)

South — Monday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time; 1:30 p.m., Preschool Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time.

East — Monday, 10 a.m., Baby Time; Monday, 11 a.m., Toddler Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time.

How Andy met Opie’s mother: April 11, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium, headquarters. Please join us for the Friends of Rowan Public Library Annual meeting. The program is free and all are welcome. The library is closed, so please enter at the Fisher Street entrance near the Henderson Law Office. Dr. Gary R. Freeze will describe the fateful and fanciful day in 1952 when everything converged to make Andy Taylor “thrice a hero.” Freeze teaches American history at Catawba College and is at work on a major exhibition for the Mt. Airy Museum of Regional History.

Books Under the Big Top: Headquarters, April 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Rowan-Salisbury Schools and Rowan Public Library have teamed up to present “Books Under the Big Top: A Celebration of Reading.” Special features include storytelling, author talks, food, book vendors and more. Festivities will take place on the front lawn and in the street and parking lot across from RPL Headquarters in Salisbury. There will be fun for all ages and admission is free.

The Edwards Family in concert: Headquarters, April 18, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. From old hymns to new gospel songs, and even original material, the Edwards Family is sure to deliver an exciting performance. The concert is free and all are welcome. The library is closed, so please enter at the Fisher Street entrance near the Henderson Law Office.

Get Money Smart at the Library: Headquarters. April 20-27 is Money Smart Week at libraries all over the country. Our library is planning the following events to help you save money. For more information call 704-216-8229.

• April 20 — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Visit the Swap Shop; trade in or trade up at the indoor yard sale where everything is free.

10-11 a.m., Find Free Money; find unclaimed cash and property in North Carolina.

11 a.m.-noon, Get Organized; learn how to get organized from professional organizer.

1-2 p.m., Turn Trash into Treasure; make crafts out of recycled books. All ages.

• April 22 — 6:30 p.m., Grow Green, Save Green; learn how to garden smarter.

• April 23 — 2 p.m., Building Wealth Seminar; learn how to set money goals and understand credit scores and reports.

Julia B. Duncan Players readers’ theater: Headquarters, April 16, 6 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. The Julia B. Duncan Players will be back at RPL to perform a special reader’s theater for children of all ages.

Teen poetry slam: Headquarters, April 23, 5:30-7 p.m. N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will be the special master of ceremonies for the evening. Each teen will be able to perform three original poems in three rounds. Winners will receive cash prizes; registration is required. For a list of rules and to register, visit or call 704-216-8234.

PAC Club: Headquarters, April 27, 1 p.m. Do you like mysteries? If so come to the library to discuss “A to Z Mysteries” and enjoy related activities and craft. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Book Bites Club: South (only), April 30, 6:30 p.m., “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Children’s art in the afternoon: Headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m., grades kindergarten-five. Join Miss Jennifer to learn basic art techniques such as printing, sculpting and painting using various art mediums. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Displays for April: headquarters, Doll Society; South, student art from Carson High; East, gems and artifacts by Sonia Neville.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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