Mixsonian Larry


Wilbur In the War

In 1917 the German Foreign Minister sent a telegram to Mexico inviting them to join the war as Germany's ally against the United States. In return, the Germans would finance Mexico's war and help it recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  The British intercepted the telegram and passed the information on to the United States.  President Wilson released the telegram to the public which then became known as the “Zimmerman Telegram”.  This combined with Germany sinking seven US merchant ships, President Wilson called for war on Germany on April 2, 1917.  The United States having in real army at the time, the Congress passed the Selective Service Act on May 18 and proceeded to draft 2.8 million men.   The local papers published lists of the men that had been called up to serve their country. Even with the war going life on the farm continued.

Mr. J. D. Mixson of the Wacahoota section of old Marion, is in town today. He says the farmers in that part of the country have had an exceptionally good run of crops this season, and prosperity reigns.

The Ocala Evening Star, November 12, 1917  

In April of 1918 Wilbur Mixson received a letter from the Selection Board that he had been called up. J.D. Mixson was both proud and worried when his son Wilbur Darlington was called up.  Within a few days, with little more than the clothes on his back, Wilbur was ready to go.  From the farm his father took him in the wagon to the train station in Williston where they were surprised to see quite a crowd of people there to send him and other local boys off.  Wilbur was happy to see another boy he knew, Charlie White and they sat on the train together.  On his way home J.D. prayed that his son would return from the war.

Wilbur Mixson off to Army Camp
The Ocala Evening Star April 27, 1918


J.D. Mixson was both proud and worried when three of his sons got called up, Henry Walkup, Wilbur Darlington and Charles Ben.  Within a few days the boys with little more than the clothes on their backs were ready to go.  From the farm their father took them in a wagon to the train station in Williston and said his goodbyes, praying that the Lord would send his sons back to him.   From Williston, they took the train to the army base in Jacksonville. From there Wilbur tells he then went on to New York where he was quickly trained in Camp Mills.  After a few weeks of training, he was transported to Europe on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri.     Their ship convoy arrived in Liverpool England where they spent a few days before taking a ship to France, followed by a train to Valadon Doubs France.  From there Wilbur said they “Hiked all night under heavy pack, going over old trenches and barbwire entanglements.”  After eating corned willy for breakfast, the troop helped build a bridge and support trenches under heavy fire.  They were just ready to go over "the top", on November 11, 1918, “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” when orders to cease fire came in.  

The Ocala Evening Star, Nov 11, 1918

After camping in pup tents on "no man's land" for a few days Wilbur's company, after several long hikes, including one on Thanksgiving Day, stopped in Vanvey, Cote d’Or in January 1919 to support the Engineer Corp build roads.  After finishing up there, Wilbur acted as honor guard for review of the 81st “Wildcat Division” before the King and Queen of Belgium and General Pershing and then in April as special guard at a review of General Pershing’s division.  (Read full story about Wilbur in the War)

While Wilbur survived the war and returned home, he was scarred both emotionally and physically from his experiences.

Wilbur in France - WWI
Wilbur (marked with x) in France WWI


Young Men of Marion County Who have “Signed Up"


 Flemington, Precinct No. 3

Ben Mixson
 Henry Walkup Mixon

Wilbur Darlington Mixson

The Ocala Banner, June 15, 1907  


 Dunnellon, Precinct No. 24

W. J. Mixson

The Ocala Banner, June 29, 1917

Mixson’s from Florida serving in World War I
Thomas Goodwin Mixson #869
Charles Ben Mixson #843
Wilbur Darlington Mixson #842
James Augustus Mixson #871
Edwin Selby Mixson #804
Rufus Walter Mixson #801
William Tunno Mixson #19899

The headlines in the Ocala Evening Star that day had considerable news about the battle front in France, some of the lines:

British Retire From Baillieu; Local Success for French;  German Airplane Plant Burned; Rationing  

April 16, 1918, Charles Benjamin Mixson dies at the house of his brother James Darlington Mixson and is laid to rest in the Flemington cemetery

Updated 10-15-2022