Donate to Hurricane Recovery

Profiles from the Archives: James G. Lane

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

James Graham Lane was born on May 14, 1893, in Red Bluff, S.C., to Julius J. and Nettie M. Graham Lane. Julius Lane was a planter, and Julius’ father was the wealthy planter and physician James H. Lane. By the time America entered World War I, James Lane and his family had come to live in the community of Auburn in Wake County, N.C.

Working on his father’s farm at the time, James Lane entered military service for World War I at the U.S. Navy Recruiting Station in Raleigh, N.C., on March 8, 1918. Lane was inducted into service with the rank of a Landsman for Quartermaster (Aviation), which meant that he had no aviation experience. He was sent to the U.S. Naval Training Camp in Charleston, S.C., on March 9, 1918.

Lane stayed in Charleston until June 1, 1918, when he was transferred to the Naval Training Station at Hampton Roads, Virginia. He held the rank of Quartermaster First Class (Aviation) at Hampton Roads. On October 27, 1918, Lane was transferred to the U.S. Naval Aviation Mechanic School in Buffalo, N.Y. On October 31, 1918, James Lane was transferred again to a receiving ship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he remained through the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918.

James Lane was never sent overseas during the war. During his stateside military training, Lane wrote frequently to his older sister Bessie E. Lane, as well as occasionally to his father and grandfather. James Lane was honorably discharged while he was stationed on a receiving ship in Norfolk, Virginia, on December 18, 1918.

After the war, James G. Lane returned to Raleigh, N.C., and would marry Mary Jessamine Poole on September 17, 1919, in Wake County, N.C. The Lane family moved back to the community of Auburn, where James worked as a farmer. During the late 1930s, Lane became an associate supervisor for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Farm Security Administration (FSA), part of the New Deal program. The FSA helped with rural rehabilitation, farm loans, and subsistence homestead programs during the Great Depression. James G. Lane died on July 3, 1956, in Raleigh, N.C., and was buried in Mount Moriah Baptist Church Cemetery in the same city.

You can read James Lane’s correspondence online through the WWI collection of the North Carolina Digital Collections, a joint effort of the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina.

To learn more about James Lane’s WWI service, check out his collection James G. Lane Papers (WWI 40) 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.