Finding Aid of the Clyde Armstrong Williams Papers, 1943-1948, PC.1765


Finding Aid of the Clyde Armstrong Williams Papers, 1943-1948, PC.1765


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 references to Clyde.

Descriptive Summary

Clyde Armstrong Williams Papers
Call Number
Williams family
3.00 boxes, 1.00 cubic feet
State Archives of North Carolina

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

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.

Preferred Citation

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

Arrangement Note


Biographical Note

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.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1944-1947


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

Letters from Clyde A. William, Written Within the United States,1943-1944


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 , a story about the barning of tobacco, probably one of the main crops grown on his family's farm.

Letters from Clyde A. William, Written From the Philippines, Korea,1945-1946


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.

Letters from Clyde A. Williams, Written From Korea, July - September,1946


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.



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.

2. Memoirs, Military Papers, and Miscellaneous Materials,1945-1948


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, 1945
Clyde Williams: Recollections From Korea, December,1946
Military Papers,1944-1948
Telegrams, undated, circa, 1944-1948
Postcards, undated, circa, 1944-1946
Program of a Korean Garden Party, circa 1946
List of Officers and Enlisted Men of Surgeon's Office, XXIV Corps: Home Addresses, undated, circa, 1945

3. Photographic Negatives, circa, 1945-1946


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.

4. Correspondence: Virginia Blythe, 1945-1946


This series consists of eight letters and a postcard written by Virginia Blythe to , 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: 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

Subject Headings

  • 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.)
  • Memoirs.
  • Blythe, Virginia.
  • Williams, Clyde Armstrong .
  • Williams, James Henry.
  • Williams, DeElla Blythe.
  • Acquisitions Information

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

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Amanda Brill, Peace College Intern; Fran Tracy-Walls, 2011; Encoded by Fran Tracy-Walls, 2011 and updated October 2019, for publication in Discover Online Catalog (DOC).