Every Veteran Has a Story: Jackson Hale "Jake" Beavers

Private Jackson Hale “Jack” Beavers
World War I Veteran - 360 Infantry Regiment

May 12, 2022 - Born in Crockett, Houston County, Texas the day after Christmas, 1894, Jackson Hale “Jack” Beavers joined the family of Willie Winfred English and Robert Owens Beavers, Jr. At the time of his birth he had five siblings, Carrie, Hallie, Mary Frances, Robert Denton and Johnnie. In the years to come three more children would be welcomed, Charlie, Franciade and Irene. The next fifteen years his father would provide for his family as a farmer in Houston, Texas and a sawmill laborer in Lufkin, Texas where they lived on Dozier Avenue.

As Jack entered early manhood at the age of 22, the United States could no longer remain natural to the war in Europe that had been raging since 1914. Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare that took the lives of many innocent Americans on the high seas was too much. President Woodrow Wilson asked for and received from the US Congress a declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917. The selective service act of 1917 provided for three registrations, the first being June 5. On this day, all men between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register. Now a farm hand living in Houston County, Texas, Jack visited his local board at the county seat in Crockett. It was a fairly simple form, giving vitals, name, date of birth, address, where you were employed, married or single, race and gave the individual the chance to claim an exemption from the draft if they had one. Jack did not. He described himself as tall, slender, blue eyes and light colored hair. Mr. P. E. Smith signed it as the registrar.

Ten months later Uncle Sam came knocking and Jackson Beavers took the oath of enlistment in Crockett where he had previously registered. This took place on April 26, 1918, a little over a year after the United States entered the war. Now a member of the US Army he and others were sent to Camp Travis near San Antonio for basic training with Company 27, 7 Battalion, 165 Depot Brigade. A few weeks later Jack found himself at Camp Mills, New York with Company E, 360 Infantry Regiment that was part of the 90th  Infantry Division. This division was made up of soldiers from Texas and Oklahoma and would later pick up the nickname “Tough Ombres”. More training went on at Camp Mills until on June 14, 1918 Company E and the 90th Division boarded the British ocean liner RMS Olympic at the New York harbor for the ten day journey to the war in France. On the passenger list Jack listed his mother Willie Beavers of Crockett, Texas as the next of kin.

Once they arrived more training ensued. The 360 Infantry Regiment as part of the 180th Infantry Brigade participated in the St. Mihiel Offensive August 21 to October 6, 1918. It was during this time, three days from the end of the offensive, October 3 that Private Jackson Beavers was wounded in action in the Puvenelle Sector. The extent of his wound is not known but his military record says “slightly.” His unit then participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that lasted from October 31 to the end of the war, armistice day, November 11, 1918.

USS Walter A. Luckenbach

He would remain in France for another 90 days until he with his new unit, Company I of the 160 Infantry Regiment, 40 Infantry Division would board the US Navy Transport, USS Walter A. Luckenbach (ID 3171) for home. On March 6, 1919, the Luckenbach departed Bordeaux, France with 2,552 troops docking twelve days later in Hoboken, New Jersey. The voyage was reported delayed a day due to condenser troubles. The troops were then transported to Camp Mills, New Jersey for discharge processing that took place on April 12, 1919. Two weeks short of one year, Private Beavers, age 24 was once again a civilian. During this time, he and his comrades had traveled half way around the world, seen things that those at home could not comprehend and now wanting to forget the horrors they had been subjected to. He was authorized the Wound Chevron (Purple Heart), World War I Victory Medal and the honorable discharge lapel pin.

Jack now age 26 returned to his parent’s farm located in Houston, Texas where brother Robert and sister Mary Frances also resided. He would then marry first wife Sallie Lee Wright Richardson who had four children, Byron, Grace, Joe and Charles.  In 1930 they lived in Cleveland, Liberty County, Texas where Jack was now the owner of a café. The next decade would bring lots of change into his life. His parents Willie and Robert along with sister Irene would pass away. He and wife Sallie would also divorce. In the 1930’s he would remarry a lady named Mary Kate Goodson and they would have a son, Robert Jack, born in 1940. For a time they lived with wife Mary’s parents at Shelbyville and Paul Store Road, Shelby County, Texas where he was employed as a café cook.

With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii, the United States was once more at war and once more Jackson Beavers would register for the selective service draft. This time, May 14, 1942, the fourth registration or as some called it the “Old Man’s Registration.” At age 47 it was not intended that he be drafted into military service but to determine if his labor skills could be used in the war effort. The registration would provide a complete inventory of manpower resources in the United States. His registration card showed; he lived in Shelbyville, Texas; was unemployed; 5 foot, 10 inches; 140 pounds and had an identifying scar on his right wrist.

Near wars end and following the surrender of Japan in 1945 sisters Carrie and Mary Frances passed away. Jack, Mary, and son Robert were living in Orange, Texas. Little else is known until April 23, 1962 when Jack Beavers dies of pancreatic cancer at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Houston, Harris County, Texas. Fogle West Mortuaries of Houston handled the arrangements. Funeral services were arranged by the Francis Tucker Funeral Home in Center, Texas and he was buried in the Carroll Cemetery, Center, Shelby County, Texas. On May 16, 1962 wife Mary and son Robert Jack made application for his Veteran Headstone, a flat granite marker with no emblem.

“Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds”... General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing.

Day is done, Gone the sun,
From the lake, From the hill,
From the sky.
All is well, Safely rest,
God is nigh.