Profiles from the Archives: Harvey L. Teague

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist

Harvey Lee Teague was born on January 5, 1889, in the town of Wallburg in Davidson County, N.C., to Charles Henderson and Julia Angeline Stoner Teague. Harvey’s father worked as a farmer by 1900 on the family’s farm in Davidson County. By 1910, Harvey Teague was working on the farm with his father. When he registered for the draft for World War I in 1917, Teague was working as a full-time farmer on the family farm, helping to support his parents and two elderly aunts who had come to live with the Teague family.


Harvey Teague was inducted into military service for World War I on August 5, 1918, in Davidson County. He went through basic training at Camp Wadsworth—near Spartanburg, S.C.—in August 1918. Teague served during the war in Company C, 56th Pioneer Infantry Regiment, First Army, U.S. Army, with the rank of private for the duration of his service.

The 56th Pioneer Infantry Regiment (PIR) had an interesting history. It was originally formed from the National Guard unit the First Maine Heavy Artillery; later, it was re-designated as the First Trench Mortar Battery, part of the 26th Division that served with the 103rd Infantry Regiment. On February 9, 1918, the regiment became the 56th Pioneer Infantry Regiment. The 56th Pioneer Infantry was filled with draftees in August 1918, and departed for France. The regiment arrived in St. Nazaire on September 13, 1918, and was attached to the First Army.

Due to the nature of the regiment’s mission—which was acting in concert with infantry and engineers to clear obstacles and build hasty trails along the front lines of the war—it was broken up into companies and deployed across the Argonne Sector of France from October 2 to November 11, 1918. After the Armistice in November 1918, the 56th PIR became part of the U.S. Army of Occupation, patrolling areas in the American Sector until May 25, 1919. The unit was stationed in Neuenahr, Germany. Harvey Teague served overseas in Europe from September 4, 1918, to June 25, 1919, and was honorably discharged on July 5, 1919.


By 1920, Harvey Teague had returned to live on his family’s farm in Davidson County, and he took up farming full-time again. Teague remained a farmer in Davidson County for the rest of his life, supporting his aging parents. He would never marry. Harvey Teague died of pneumonia on November 15, 1962, and was buried in Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Wallburg, N.C.


To learn more about Harvey Teague’s WWI service, check out the Harvey L. Teague Papers (WWI 64) held in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C. You can view the complete digitized February 4, 1919, Harvey Teague letter online in the WWI digital collection on North Carolina Digital Collections (NCDC), a joint effort of the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina.


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.

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