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Profiles from the Archives: Joseph J. Mackay Jr.

Matthew M. Peek, Miltiary Collection Archivist

Joseph Jenkins Mackay Jr. was born on February 11, 1891, in Wilmington, N.C., to Joseph Jenkins Mackay Sr. and Katherine (or “Catherine”) Johnson Devereux Mackay. Joseph Sr. had been in the military himself, reaching the rank of captain. Prior to World War I, the Mackays moved to Raleigh, N.C., living at 439 North Person Street. Joseph Mackay Jr. worked as a pay clerk for the North Carolina Naval Militia prior to his enlistment in World War I.

During World War I, Joseph Mackay Jr. served as a postal regulating officer with the U.S. Army Infantry in France. He spent most of his time stationed in the cities of Tours, Paris, and Nancy in France. At the end of his time in military service, Joseph ended up traveling through portions of Germany. Joseph Mackay Jr. wrote often to his mother back home, describing the daily life of an American soldier in military camp and while visiting various French towns.

After the war, Mackay Jr. became a bank clerk, and would eventually work in Asheville, N.C. Joseph J. Mackay Jr. died in Asheville on October 8, 1925, of tuberculosis, at the age of 34. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, N.C.   

To learn more about Joseph Mackay Jr.’s WWI service, check out the Joseph J. Mackay Jr. Papers (WWI 18) 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.