Clyde Armstrong Williams Papers

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Clyde Armstrong Williams Papers

Collection Number






Physical Description
Cubic feet


Clyde Armstrong Williams (1926-2010), a native of Mount Olive in Wayne County, was the son of James Henry and DeElla Blythe Williams. He attended The Citadel and North Georgia College, 1943-1944 and the former again in 1947. In late 1944 he enlisted in the U.S. Army; following training at Fort Bragg and other installations he was assigned to the 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division. Williams was first stationed in the Philippines, then served with the occupational forces in Korea, and was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 with a Medal of Honor. After military service, Williams returned to The Citadel briefly, but soon became involved in the operation of the family farm near Mount Olive.

The collection of papers includes letters written to home while Williams was at The Citadel, North Georgia College, Fort Bragg, and an unknown location in California, and also written home while stationed overseas. Some of the letters were written by his parents. There are two memoirs in the format of handwritten letters that include anecdotes and document some of Clyde's experiences (noncombat) during his time overseas. Also included are letters written during 1945-1946 from a relative, Corporal Virginia Blythe, a member of the Women's Air Corps, written to Mr. Williams' mother, with numerous refferences to Clyde. There are approximately 25 photographic negatives, apparently taken overseas, and other miscellaneous material.

Physical Location

For current information on the location ofthese materials, please consult the Public Services Branch, North Carolina State Archives.


Williams Family


State Archives of North Carolina


Available for research.

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Processed by Amanda Brill, Peace College Intern; Fran Tracy-Walls, 2011

Encoded by Fran Tracy-Walls, 2011

Clyde Armstrong Williams:

Clyde Williams (1926-2010) of Mount Olive, Wayne County, was born to DeElla Blythe (1892-1969) and James Henry Williams (1891-1949). James Henry, a farmer, was also a native of Mount Olive, a son of Robert Carr and Katherine Middleton (Pearsall) Williams. DeElla was born in Pamlico County to Frank and Locka Gordon Blythe. Note: Papers of Katherine (Kate) Middleton Pearsall Williams are in the State Archives of North Carolina as PC.1787. The finding aid of that collection can be found the State Archives website.

Clyde attended The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina at Charleston, September 1943-May 1944; and North Georgia College, Fall of 1944, but did receive a college degree. He began military service in late 1944 as a Private in the U.S. Army; following training at Fort Bragg and other installations, he was assigned to the 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division. During his service, he was stationed in the Philippines in 1945 and joined the occupational forces in Korea from 1945 to 1946

After being honorably discharged with medals of Honor in 1946, Mr. Williams attended The Citadel for a brief period in 1947, but returned to Mount Olive, where he became involved in the operation of the family farm. He and Mary Virginia Smith were married in November of 1952. In subsequent years Mr. Williams was active in the museum and Rotary Club of Mount Olive, and the planning board for revitalizing the downtown. He served on the local school board, and as a deacon in the Mount Olive Presbyterian Church.

Virginia Blythe:

Virgnia Blythe (circa 1902-1966) appeared to be relative of Clyde's mother, DeElla Blythe Williams, though not a sister, as suggested by her letters' salutations. Clyde referred to her as Aunt Virginia, but the title seemed to be honorary, based upon the family's affection and esteem. Her letters suggest that her family home during the war years was in Bluefield, Va., and by mid-1946 she was employed at an automobile dealership, apparently, and living in Bristol, Va.


Sources consulted in addition to the contents of the collection: North Carolina Death Certificates; North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2000; Social Security Death Index; United States Federal Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.

[Identification of item], PC.1765, Finding Aid of the Clyde Armstrong Williams Papers, 1943-1948, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Received as a gift 2011 from Virginia Smith Williams, Mount Olive, N.C.

Additional information on topics found in this collection may be found in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS)

Papers relating to the grandmother and other family of Clyde Armstrong Williams may be found on the State Archives website at:

The letters in this collection include those Clyde Williams wrote to home during his time as a college student at The Citadel from 1943-1944, and the North Georgia Military Academy in 1944; Fort Meade in Washington, D.C, in 1945; the Philippine Islands in 1945; and Korea from 1945 to 1946. The remaining letters from 1946 to 1948 document his arrival home and return to The Citadel. Some of the letters were written by his parents. The collection also includes two memoirs, consisting of recollections and anecdotes, written by Williams to document his military career from Fort Meade, Md. near Washington, D.C., to his station in Korea, as well as a story about a one-day pass to a town outside his base near Seoul, Korea. Included in the collection are letters from a relative, Corporal Virginia Blythe, a member of the Women's Air Corps. She wrote from her quarters at Fort Meade, Md., and Camp Adair, Oregon, and later from her family home in Bluefield, W.V. and Bristol, Va. Additionally, the papers contain photographic negatives, and miscellaneous material, including a list of officers and enlisted men in the Surgeon's Office, 24th Corps.

This collection, consisting primarily of letters, is arranged chronologically within series. The letters from and to Clyde Williams have have ith dates corresponding to Mr. Williams' movement through the following geographic areas: 1) United States; 2) Philippines; 3) Korea; 4) United States. Photographic negatives in the collection were taken primarily in Korea.

The collection consists of the following series and subseries: I. Correspondence:Letters from Clyde A. William, Written Within the United States, 1943-1944; Letters from Clyde A. William, Written From the Philippines, Korea; Letters, 1947-1948. II. Memoirs, Military Papers, and Miscellaneous Materials, 1845-1948; III. Photographic Negatives, circa 1945-1946; IV. Correspondence: Virginia Blythe, 1945-1946

The collection consists of approximately 325 items, 298 letters, 2 recollections, and approximately 25 photographic negatives and a small quantity of miscellaneous items.


  • Blythe family.
  • Williams family.
  • North Georgia College.
  • The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, Charleston.
  • United States of America. Army. 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division.
  • United States of America. Army. Office of the Surgeon. 24th Corps.
  • United States of America. Army. Red Star. 6th Infantry Division.
  • United States of America. Army. Women's Army Corps.
  • Fort Bragg (N.C.).
  • Allied occupation, Korea, 1945-1948.
  • Soldiers.
  • College students.
  • World War, 1938-1945.
  • Women--20th century.
  • Women blue collar workers--Southern States--20th century.
  • United States--Armed Forces--History--World War, 1939-1945.
  • Korea.
  • Mount Olive (N.C.).
  • Philippine Islands
  • Charleston (S.C.).
  • Wayne County (N.C.)
  • Blythe, Virginia.
  • Williams, Clyde Armstrong .
  • Williams, James Henry.
  • Williams, DeElla Blythe.

Consists of letters written by and to Clyde A. Williams. The letters to Williams are primarily from his parents.

Box: PC1765.1  
Letters from Clyde A. William, Written Within the United States

Scope and Content

The letters, a total of seventy, are all dated. There are eighteen written from The Citadel, Charleston, S.C.; six written from North Georgia College, Dahlonega, Ga.; fifteen written from Little Rock, Ark.; and thirty-one from Washington, D.C. The writer comments on his school work while at The Citadel and North Georgia College. Two report cards are included from his stay at North Georgia College. The letters also include his transition from the military colleges to Fort Meade in Washington, D.C., as well as his transition from Washington, D.C. to an unknown location in the Philippine Islands.

In a letter dated 3 April 1944, there is a handwritten composition entitled  "Tobacco Land", a story about the barning of tobacco, probably one of the main crops grown on his family's farm.

Box: PC1765.2  
Letters from Clyde A. William, Written From the Philippines, Korea

Scope and Content

The letters, a total of 135, are all dated. Twenty-three were written from the Philippines and 112 written from Korea. While in the Philippines, Williams stated his desire to not return to The Citadel after completion of his tour of duty is completed. The letters written in Korea document his thoughts and feelings about being away from home, especially during the holidays, as well as fear about the change in the draft. He expressed his desire to come home as soon as possible; and began to request information about colleges and universities throughout the country instead of returning to The Citadel. He described life on base, the job he had as a typist in the Surgeon's Office, 24th Corps, and various descriptions of souvenirs he purchased for his family and friends in North Carolina.

Box: PC1765.3  
Letters from Clyde A. Williams, Written From Korea, July - September

Scope and Content

The letters, totalling thirty-two, were all dated. Williams wrote about his desire to return home and includes details to his family about how he is going to be arriving home, and where he will be on his journey. He referred to orders to begin his return home on August 10, 1946 and his promotion to the equivalent of Buck Sergeant. Mr. Williams wrote his parents that he was on the boat on September 10, 1946 with a departure date of September 11, 1946. There are no letters documenting his arrival back to the United States.


Scope and Content

Includes letters that Williams wrote home from The Citadel in January-February of 1947; a letter from a letter signed simply London; and two letters from the father of Williams, James Henry Williams, with a note added by his mother.

The first handwritten memoir documents his experiences from his time stationed at Ft. Meade in Washington, D.C, until his arrival in Korea, April-October 1945; the second memoir was written in Korea, December 1946. There are also three military items concerning Clyde Williams, 1944-1948; approximately 20 telegrams sent from Korea and unknown locations, 1946, and undated; 15 undated postcards; and a program from a Korean garden party.

Clyde Williams: Recollections From Fort Meade, to the Philippines, Korea, April - October

Scope and Content

This handwritten memoir in letter format records his experiences from his time stationed at Ft. Meade in Washington, D.C, until his arrival in Korea. He writes of being excited about going overseas, although he is told that he would be going to Europe. After Victory in Europe (V-E Day), Mr. Williams learns that he and the soldiers with him are going to the Pacific front, instead. This recollection is more personal than the letters, and he gives more details about his personal life, thoughts and feelings, and other soldiers' battle memories.

Clyde Williams: Recollections From Korea, December

Scope and Content

This handwritten memoir in letter format records impressions when Williams and a friend are given a one-day pass to visit the town outside their base in Korea. He writes observances he sees about the environment both just outside the base and within the town itself. He writes details of the people in the town, what they are wearing, the type of houses they live in, and the items they have for sale.

Military Papers

Scope and Content

One letter from 1944 congratulates Mr. Williams on his request to join the U.S. Army. The letter tells Mr. Williams that he has achieved a satisfactory score on his Army-Navy College Qualifying Test and gives him instructions on how to enlist in the Enlisted Reserved Corps. The remaining two papers are Notices of Authorization of Subsistence Allowances, one dated 1946 and another dated 1948.

Telegrams, undated, circa

Scope and Content

Sent from Korea and undisclosed locations in the United States.Approximately 20 items, these document Williams' arrival back in the United States and the various stops he made along the way from California to North Carolina.

Postcards, undated, circa

Scope and Content

Approximately 15 postcards documenting various sights that Mr. Williams has seen during his time stationed overseas. A few postcards document his traveling throughout the United States.

Program of a Korean Garden Party, circa 1946

Scope and Content

Consists of one item: a program from a Korean Garden Party held for the members of the United States Army. The program describes the events that took place and also a small note from Williams explaining the program and his involvement.

List of Officers and Enlisted Men of Surgeon's Office, XXIV Corps: Home Addresses, undated, circa

Scope and Content

Approximately 25 undated photographic negatives with unknown locations. Photos include scenery and other members of the military stationed with Clyde Williams. Envelopes that negatives were stored in also contain three Korean units of papers money and a receipt from the Korean G. I. Store, Seoul.

This series consists of eight letters and a postcard written by Virginia Blythe to  " Dear Sister", DeElla Blythe Williams. Internal evidence, however, suggests that the two women were not actually siblings but were probably related. All but one of the letters were written by Miss Blythe while she was serving during 1945 as a Corporal in the U.S. Army's Women's Air Corps (WAC). The letters include some description of travel, the landscape and environs; daily life as a WAC, and various situations; and they refer to family members who were serving in military, and include expressions of her concern for the health of a man named Bert [relationship unknown], a patient in a military hospital in Roanoke, Va. He apparently was there for a long-term stay and experiencing what Blythe termed as mental illness. The letters also frequently make reference to Clyde Williams and his military situation; they seem written, in part, to reassure Mrs. Williams of her son's well being and to allay her concerns. Williams was only eighteen during his first year of military service.

There is one letter written 3 July 1946 from Bristol, Va., almost a year after Miss Blythe's military discharge. It includes more news of Bert; news of her brothers being discharged from the military, her hopes for a reunion. In addition, she expressed her hopes for Clyde and his prospects. In regards to the latter, she referred to a brother returning to college, aspiring to be a teacher, and utilizing the GI Bill:  "I do hope Clyde will do somthing like that, as they all have an opportunity for 4 years at something. I am too old, and the older ones don't have but about half of what the younger ones get, and they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, so I might as well forget about my part of it." Often optimistic in previous letters, Miss Blythe, conveyed an element of discouragement in describing her working conditions and salary.

Of note is an attachment to Miss Blythe's letter of 9 September 1946 from Whitney [her brother?], stationed in New Guinea: a mimeographed newsletter from the Red Star 6th Infantry Division, ca. 15 August 1945. It was titled  "Red Star Doughboys in Combat 218 Consecutive Days."