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Profiles from the Archives: John B. Exum Jr.

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

John Burt Exum Jr. was born on December 7, 1889, in Wayne County, North Carolina, to John Burt and Gertrude Royall Exum. He grew up in the town of Fremont in Wayne County. John Exum Jr. was drafted and inducted into military service during World War I on May 26, 1918, at Goldsboro, N.C., when he was 28 years old. Exum was sent to basic training at Camp Jackson, South Carolina, at the end of May 1918, where he was initially assigned to the 156th Depot Brigade, U.S. Army.

On June 18, 1918, Exum was transferred to the Motor Battalion in Company D, 306th Ammunition Train, 81st Division. He would be sent to attend Motor Truck School at Camp Raritan in Raritan, New Jersey. Before leaving the United States for Europe, Exum was stationed at Camp Albert L. Mills on Long Island, New York.

John B. Exum Jr. sailed on August 7, 1918, for England. During his service in Europe, Exum was involved in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France. He would remain serving in France through June 22, 1919, with the 306th Ammunition Train as a wagoner. On June 22, 1919, he returned with his unit to the United States, and was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal from the U.S. Army on June 26, 1919.

After the war, John B. Exum Jr. would marry May Rose Exum, and the couple lived in Fremont, N.C. Exum would work as a farmer and an oil dealer until his death on March 29, 1957. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Fremont, N.C.

To learn more about John Exum Jr.’s WWI service, check out his collection John B. Exum Jr. Papers (WWI 37) held in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

This blog post is part of the State Archives of North Carolina’s World War I Social Media Project, an effort to bring original WWI archival materials to the public through the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ (NCDNCR) various social media platforms, in order to increase access to the items during the WWI centennial celebration by the state of North Carolina.

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the State Archives of North Carolina will be posting blog articles, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, featuring WWI archival materials which are posted on the exact 100th anniversary of their creation during the war. Blog posts will feature interpretations of the content of WWI documents, photographs, diary entries, posters, and other records, including scans of the original archival materials, held by the State Archives of North Carolina, and will be featured in NCDNCR’s WWI centennial blog.