Complete Set Of Tennessee Gold Star Records Available Online As World War I Anniversary Approaches

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
The United States’ entry into World War I led to tragedy for the West family from the East Tennessee community of Oliver Springs. Newspapers of the time reported that infantryman and Oliver Springs resident George Edward West carried his dying 17-year-old brother Thomas from a battlefield in France, only to be killed himself a little more than a month later.
The stories of the West brothers – and hundreds of others like them – are immortalized in the records of Tennessee’s Gold Star collection.
As the United States prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the date the country joined the conflict known as “the Great War,” the Tennessee State Library and Archives is pleased to announce that a complete set of those records is now available online.

“The U.S. entry into World War I was a somber time in our country’s history,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “As we near the 100th anniversary of that date, many people may wish to learn more about the brave soldiers from Tennessee who lost their lives while serving overseas. This online collection should make it easier for people who may not be able to visit the Library and Archives building in person to review these records and discover the heroic stories they document.”

The United States officially entered World War I April 6, 1917. About 130,000 soldiers from Tennessee went off to battle – many of whom did not return. During the war, families of soldiers hung small flags with blue stars on them to signify that they were contributing to the war effort. The families of soldiers who were killed in action changed their blue stars to gold.

Two months after the armistice was signed to end the war, Tennessee began collecting data about the state’s gold star honorees. Spearheaded by then-State Librarian and Archivist John Trotwood Moore, people throughout the state began sending information about deceased World War I veterans, including photographs, letters, service records, obituaries and mementos.

Those records, which have been stored at the Library and Archives, are now available through the Tennessee Virtual Archive. The files, documenting the service of 1,169 Tennessee soldiers, can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/TNGoldStar.

Visitors to the site can look up soldiers by their names, home cities or counties, or the branch of the service in which they served. These records may be of particular interest to genealogists since they contain information about soldiers, their parents and other family members that may have been destroyed in a 1921 fire that obliterated records from the 1890 U.S. Census.


Chester Martin: A Few Thoughts On Royalty

Some Americans will wonder at the effect that British Royalty has on their friends and neighbors, for wasn't it the defeat of Royalty that made our United States of America possible?  And was it not the strong desire of General Washington to be done with Monarchies and Royalty from across the waters? After the dust had settled following the American Revolution wasn't it the ... (click for more)

Chester Martin: When The Hercules Came To Tennessee

PLEASE BE ADVISED that I was putting the finishing touches on this story when the recent fatal C-130 accident occurred at Savannah, Ga. That tragic event, however, does not in any way diminish my high opinion of the Hercules, as its reputation has long been established - and is likely to be sustained long into the future. My story, therefore, appears here "as written". Yes, I ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Killed On Hixson Pike Saturday Night

A pedestrian was struck and killed on Saturday night on Hixson Pike. Chattanooga Police Department responded at 10:05 p.m. to a pedestrian struck at 5400 Hixson Pike.   A Ford F150 driven by Francis Lamonica, 66, was traveling north in the fast lane. The pedestrian was attempting to cross the roadway and was struck by the vehicle.   Mr. Lamonica was ... (click for more)

Aaron Biddle, 21, Shot And Killed On Basswood Drive Saturday Afternoon; Jadarius Knox, 23, Arrested For Criminal Homicide

Aaron Biddle, 21, was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon. Jadarius Knox, 23, has been arrested, and charged with criminal homicide. The Chattanooga Police Department responded around 3:45 p.m. to the 7800 block of Basswood Drive on reports of a person who had been shot.  Upon arrival, police were able to locate the victim who had succumbed to his injuries. Knox ... (click for more)

Erlanger Is Earning Its Money

First of all, I don’t know what I’m talking about. However, I do have an opinion on the facility based on my past and recent visits thereto. Secondly, if you find yourself at Erlanger for anything other than welcoming a brand new baby or something else that’s happily miraculous, you’ve either done something stupid (me); somebody else did and you’re paying the price, or, God gave ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Memorial Day, 2018

Sometime next Monday , the GrowJoy Nursery in Indiana is going to send me a dozen yellow flowers and I am going to do something with them that will be a lot of fun for me. Each of the Gold Star Perennial Mums comes in a 2.5-inch pot and costs $8.58 apiece and that includes free shipping. What’s more, for every plant GrowJoy sells, they will give $5, again from each plant, to ... (click for more)