ADD COMMENTS, INFORMATION, CORRECTIONS, AND PICTURES:
We wrote the book, IMAGES OF AMERICA, JACKSONVILLE AND CAMP LEJEUNE, By Dr. Stratton C. Murrell and his wife, Billie Jean in 2001 for Arcadia Publishing. This company specializes in publishing books on local history written by people who live, or are familiar, with a specific area. Our book is a pictorial history with just enough text to make a story. After the publication of the Images Edition, Arcadia Publishing of Charleston, S.C. suggested that we should write a companion book as a part of their Voices Of America series which would be stories of this area. This seemed to be a good idea because there were many historically significant stories I could tell. I started writing some of these stories which were then published in the Jacksonville Daily News. In 2009 I developed a web page (with the help of some of the staff at the Onslow County Public Library. Estelle Carter got things going by suggesting that I should go to the library and the staff there would help me develop my ideas) with the title of local historians corner and later designated my position as editor of Digital Wings (which replaced the title of local historians corner) which is a special history link. It's really a Digital Work Book which became the companion book as suggested by Arcadia and I became my own author, editor and publisher. My stories are continually being added to and changed (see the left panel where there is a list of titles. click any title and read the story). If you would come back to the same story next week or whenever, the story would have possibly been changed and/or corrected. Dated updates are added when new information are comments arew available. This
The first part of this book is about my connections with a segment of World War War II that has never been told. My original intentions was to to write some stories that would be a companion edition to our book, but the companion developed into more significance than I had expected. It was about the 750 families who were evacuated from their land on the banks of New River to make way for the construction of an amphibious Marine Base by the name of Camp Lejeune.
I was born at Montford Point on January 11, 1928. It was a "suburb" of Jacksonville, North Carolina in Onslow County. The major economy of this area was fishing, farming, and the timber industry and it was a very busy rural area. George Gillette was born at Marines, in Onslow County which was even more remote than Jacksonville. Very few people knew that he joined the Army Corps of Engineers (10-3-2013: Just a few years ago I learned that George and Mr. Frank Smith were half brothers. Frank was the post master of Jacksonville and he was also the financial secretary of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.) and they were were not aware that he had surveyed the southeastern part of the Atlantic Coast which was of some interest to the U.S. Department of the Navy which was searching for a location for the establishment of a Marine Base for training in amphibious warfare. There was some apprehension, anger, and fear when the surveyors set up their headquarters at Sam Starling's Livery Stables (as of 2013 the location of this building is on New Bridge St. behind the building owned by Greer Garrick) And then on April 15, 1941 the Federal Government informed my family (and several others) that it was purchasing our land by eminent domain and we would have to move. This was a shock-----like a Paradise Lost, but we survived. Meantime the Government purchased 11,000 acres in Onslow County, evacuated 720 families (that's approximately 2000 people in 1941 and began construction on May 1, 1941 under the command of Col. W. P. T. Hill and built a U. S. Marine Base by the name of Marine Barracks at New River in 1942. The after shock of this catastrophic series of events was that the Jacksonville High School (which I attended) caught on fire and only the skeleton of bare walls remained in 1940. After the smoke cleared and the school children were placed in temporary quarters, Japan bombed our naval base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 (and the name Marine Barracks at New River was changed to Camp Lejeune in 1942) and all Hell broke loose in Onslow County as thousands of troops came to Camp Lejeune for special training and as a shipping out area to the Pacific.
Later on, in 2008, I realized that this was a unique experience and that it should be developed, and published, in a unique way. It had to be more than just a book like our book which was published in 2001. I contacted Mr. Philip Cherry, the Director of the Onslow County Public Library, and told him what I wanted to do. He had recently attended a seminar in Durham concerning the preservation of county history and my project tied in with what he wanted to do in the future. Since this was a project which would be beneficial to the county he agreed to have his staff to help me design a special web page in 2009. More research indicated that this web page was a special history link and it needed an appropriate title like: DIGITAL WINGS-A LITERARY VEHICLE IN CYBERSPACE. It was like a data storage area for local historians. The first registered deposit in Digital Wings was, THE ADVENTURES OF A CUB REPORTER (see the details as this title was developed into a story). It was a collection of some of my stories. As of 11-18-2012 only two historians (Dorothy Brantly and Viola Jarvis) have submitted any stories. As o March 6, 2015 no one has added any stories
As I wrote more stories for Digital Wings, I found that it was more than just a web page and it was more than a history link. It was a special kind of work book and it's potentials expanded as I used it. People could actually see a story as it was being written with updated information and they could add to it for further discussion with the author. Editors could check it out like looking over a menu and ask the author to develop the story for their magazine or records as needed for a particular time. (Our State was the first to use this particular method when they published CUB REPORTER in the June 11, 2011 issue). The Jacksonville Daily News was responsible for giving us the opportunity for writing our book, Images Of America: Jacksonville And Camp Lejeune. Further experience with the staff motivated me to design Digital Wings as a new method of writing a book whereby it could be linked to a computer for additional stories and data without depending upon the whims of a publisher. In this way I was the editor and publisher of any thing I wanted to write. And the staff at the Onslow County Public Library added the finishing touches. At the present time (in 2012) the principle goal of our project is to record stories and information that will be of some information to future generations, but probably would not be of interest to the usual publisher. This information would focus on the coastal area of North Carolina and its connections with the rest of the world. Some of the stories may be repeated in a different context which is part of the plan as a work book. Different people will tell the same story in a different way and at times different authors and those doing historical research will arrange the material indifferent ways. Part of the plan will be to have a directory on file which will be a list of those who used the information from Digital Wings and how to obtain a copy of how they used this information. Basically, all of this material is a work book and all of the information in it will be organized into a regular book at a later date.
Louise Murrell at Montford Point By Dr. Stratton C. Murrell