Waller and Montgomery County Stories Generally
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Eugene Rogers Wallingford was another of Thomas Ginn Wallingford's grandchildren, one of the children of Robert Thomas Wallingford and Virginia Butts Dewees Wallingford. He was born 14 June 1905 in Waller County.
Waller County, like most other Texas counties, had only just started recording births formally in the years around that time. Eugene's birth was reported by Frank Jahn, a local doctor, as occurring in Fields Store. The family moved a few miles to the west, to Howth, several years later.
Eugene was Robert and Virginia's ninth child, though two girls had died in infancy. He had four older brothers - Robert Lee, Marvin Clear, Tee Goral "Tee" and Homer Dewees. His two older surviving sisters were Cassie May and Addie Byrd. There were to be three more children - Gladys Abbott (who died at about 2 months), George Truitt and Nannie Ruth "Nancy".
In Howth, Eugene's father Robert was both a farmer and a sheriff. One of the other children remembers him strapping on his guns before leaving the house.
Eugene appeared on the 1910 Waller County census, in precinct 2, as a four year old.
When Eugene was about 11 years old, his older brother Thomas Goral, always known as "Tee", joined the military, enlisting on 25 July 1917. Tee went overseas almost immediately after enlisting. On 27 November, the family had two sad events on the same day - father Robert died of pneumonia, and Tee was reported missing in France. Though Tee did in fact return to the family 18 months later, the loss of Robert would have been pretty difficult for a family of this size.
When the 1920 census was taken, early in January, of the surviving children only Robert Lee and Cassie had moved from home. Jennie was still on the farm, with son Marvin Clear shown as the head of the household, along with the other six children.
Possibly inspired by his brother Tee, Eugene signed up with the U.S. Marines on 15 July 1922 - he had just turned 17 the month before. He appeared to have enlisted by showing up at the Marine Corps training station at Parris Island, South Carolina. Within two months, he had passed the "marksman" course and was issued with a badge for that.
Most of the following chronology comes from the Marine "Muster Rolls" which were completed each month, to record the movements and work for each of the enlisted Marines.
Three months after enlisting, Eugene travelled on the USS Henderson to join the 100th Company, 8th Regiment, 1st Brigade in Port au Prince, Haiti. The trip down to the Caribbean took four days. He began work there as a carpenter.
On 15 April 1923, nine months after enlisting, he was promoted to the rank of corporal, and was detailed to the rifle range at Hasco, Haiti. The following month, he requalified as a marksman. In June Eugene was transferred to Port au Prince to become the assistant storeroom keeper, part of the staff of the Regimental Quartermaster. By the end of 1923 he was working again as a post carpenter.
8 January 1924 brought another promotion - to sergeant, initially by way of a probationary regimental warrant. In June Eugene was again at the rifle range in Hasco, Haiti, and qualified as a sharpshooter, a step up from marksman.
On 1 July 1924, about 15 months after arriving in Haiti, Eugene was returned (via Norfolk, Virginia) to the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia, again travelling on the USS Henderson. He was to spend the rest of that year in Virginia, though he had nearly a month on furlough in November.
In December 1924 Eugene had a 4 day sick leave recorded, with a particular note that the rules relating to taking away pay for absence does not apply, indicating the sickness was not "due to injury, sickness or disease resulting from his own intemperate use of drugs or alcoholic liquors, or other misconduct".
In January 1925, Eugene re-enlisted in the Marines for a further two years from the coming July (which would be two years from his original enlistment). It was recorded that had he chosen to be discharged, he would have been recommended for having excellent character. A few days later, he was again on his way back to Haiti, this time aboard the USS Beaufort. He embarked in Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 17 January, sailed on 29 January and arrived in Port au Prince on 14 February 1925.
The USS Beaufort had only become part of the US fleet several years earlier - the ship was a German steel-hulled collier named the SS Rudolph Blumberg, and was operating in the Gulf of Mexico, flying the house flag of Leonhardt and Blumberg, when she learned of the outbreak of hostilities in July 1914. She sought refuge at Pensacola, Florida - and was later renamed USS Beaufort!
He was stationed at Cape Haitien through most of the rest of 1925. In September he was at Port au Prince as a Navy Mail Clerk, where he remained until the following April. In October 1925, his younger brother George Truitt was based in the same unit in Port au Prince, with George Truitt being a chauffeur for the post garage.
On 2 May 1926, Eugene received his only recorded disciplinary action. He was shown as Absent Without Leave from 8am to 9:15am while on the "venereal restricted list". That word "venereal" is not at all clear in the muster records. He was sentenced to a loss of pay, amounting to $5 (again, not clear in the records). He was on full pay while awaiting his trial, and continued in his work as a Mail Orderly. On 18 May 1926, he left Haiti on the USS Kittery, having been there for nearly another one and a half years. He arrived back to Quantico, Virginia, on 18 June 1926.
He had a 3 week furlough in July 1926, and was then stationed at the Marine Barracks, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. In December he had a 5 day furlough over Christmas.
One other significant event occurred while Eugene was in Pensacola - the records sure seem to indicate that he got married! Though I have no real confirmation other than the marriage license, it seems to clear to ignore. On 8 March 1927, Eugene R. Wallingford married Jeanette Roche, the marriage being conducted by W.A. McLeod, a County Judge. Nothing is known of this marriage - I have not met anyone in our family who knew that it occurred, or what the outcome might have been. There is a "Roach" family - Arrie and Edna with their two children, Adrian (10) and Jeanette (8) - living in Pensacola in 1920. If that Jeanette is the right one, she would have only been 15 for the marriage to Eugene, who would have only been not quite 22 himself. I have not located a Jeanette Wallingford, Roche or Roach for the 1930 census that would seem to be her. We may never know more, or even if this really was a marriage from 'our' Eugene.
There is an ambiguous recording in the muster records that Eugene was transferred to New Orleans, Louisiana, in April 1927, but it may well have been simply a transfer into that regiment, while still being in Pensacola.
In May 1927 Eugene was sent to China, by way of Olonpago, The Philippine Islands. In June he was based in Tientsin, China, later being transferred to Hain Ho, China. He remained in Hain Ho (Camp MacMurray) until October 1927 - when he was again hospitalised for 5 days, this time in the Brigade Field Hospital in Tientsin, China.
Early the following year, in late February 1928, Eugene started on a trip to travel to the Marine Base at Mare Island, California, aboard the USS Henderson, sailing from Chinwangtao, China. The trip was via Manilla (The Philippines), where they stayed for two days - but Eugene had to stay behind with sickness. He remained at the US Naval Hospital in Canacao, Philippine Islands, from 7 April 1928 for most of the next several months. He appears to have come out of the hospital on 20 June.
On 14 July 1928, still in Canacao/Cavite, The Philippines, Eugene was discharged from the Marines, with a reference of excellent character, and recommended for a Good Conduct Medal and an "E. of E." (not sure what that means). Two days later, on 16 July, he re-enlisted and spent several of the following days of furlough. At the point of re-enlisting, he was made a sergeant.
In late August, a month later, he left The Philippines on the USS Gold Star, arriving 5 days later in Shanghai, China, where he was to remain for the next several months. He spent the second half of January, 1929, as well as some of February, in the Regimental Hospital in Shanghai, China.
He left China on 12 March 1929 for California, arriving in Dan Diego, California, on 11 April. He went immediately into the US Naval Hospital in San Diego. Eugene was to remain sick in this hospital for the rest of 1929.
On 24 December 1929, he died at the US Naval Hospital of disease, but I have not been able to determine what sort of disease that was. It was specified that Navy Department General Order 155 did not apply - there was no implication of absence from duty due to own misconduct. The muster records indicates that "Body sent to Jennie Wallingford (Mother) 6007 Sherman Ave, Houston, Texas."
Eugene was buried in Field's Store Cemetery (at the time, still mostly referred to as "New Hope Cemetery"). Early in January, about two weeks after Eugene's death, Jennie applied to the War Department for a headstone for the grave, which at that time did not have one. It appears to have been delivered and put into place several months later, being ordered in April and shipped in early June 1930.
Eugene's name was carried forward by the Wallingford family. Alvin Wallingford, a cousin of Eugene, named one of his children "Arthur Eugene Wallingford" when he was born on 20 November 1932. When Eugene Roger's younger brother George Truitt had his first son on 1 March 1933, he named him "Eugene Robert Wallingford", and then that Eugene used the name for his son, born in 1959.