Profiles from the Archives: Elgie D. Black

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

Elgie David Black was born on December 8, 1895, in Charlotte, N.C., to John T. and Amanda Virginia Phifer Black. By 1910, the Black family was living in Charlotte on North Brevard Street, where John Black worked as a farmer. At this time, Elgie Black was a 13-year-old office boy for a local Charlotte drugstore. Elgie Black entered military service for World War I on June 26, 1917, in Charlotte. He entered military service with the U.S. Marine Corps, and assigned to the Marine Base at Portsmouth, Virginia.

Black was assigned to the USS New Hampshire (BB-25) in the U.S. Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, as of July 15, 1917. On March 29, 1918, he was assigned to the Marine Barracks at Quantico, Virginia. Black was assigned to the Marine Corps’ Overseas Depot for additional training for service in Europe on May 23, 1918. He was assigned to Company A, 4th Separate Battalion, Marine Corps, at Quantico. Black left from the United States for France on August 26, 1918, and assigned to Company A, 1st Training Battalion, 2nd Division, Marine Corps, on October 13, 1918. On the same day, Black was assigned to the 83rd Company, 6th Marine Regiment, on October 13, 1918.

While in Europe, Black was involved in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the crossing of the Meuse River. He remained in Europe with the U.S. Army of Occupation through July 1919. On August 5, 1919, Black arrived back in the United States at Camp Albert L. Mills on Long Island, New York. He was honorably discharged from active military service on August 9, 1919, at the Marine Barracks in Quantico, Virginia.

After the war, Elgie Black returned home to Charlotte to live with his parents, and worked as a cabinet maker in a plant in the city. Black married Eula Moser [whose full name is believed to be Holly Eula Moser] on August 27, 1920, in Charlotte. By 1928, the Black family was still living in Charlotte, and Elgie was listed as being a woodworker. He worked from around 1928 to 1930 for the Howard M. Wade Manufacturing Company in Charlotte, which specialized in producing custom interiors—primarily of fine polished wood, including fixtures, furnishings and paneling—for stores, banks, churches and other similar institutions. It appears he may have also worked as a machinist by 1931 (believed to be for Wade Manufacturing). By 1934, Black was working as a fireman (possibly for the Wade Manufacturing Company as a corporate fireman).

Tragedy struck the family when Elgie’s wife Eula Black died on February 22, 1936, of leukemia. Elgie Black remarried to Lillian [last name believed to be Porter] by 1940, and Lillian’s daughter Lila Mae Porter appears to have been adopted by Elgie as a step-daughter. By 1940, Elgie Black was working as a machinist for a manufacturing company. Elgie D. Black died on October 13, 1958, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte, 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. You can follow the posts online through the official State of North Carolina WWI hashtag #NCWW1.