William Means Stewart, Jr., oral history interview 1, 2019 August 1
- 2019 August 1
In this interview, William “Bill” Stewart shares memories of his life growing up in the Newell community near Charlotte, North Carolina, of his college days at Elon College in the 1930s, and of his military service in World War II. He tells about his parents and grandparents and the family’s farmland, recalls hearing his Civil War veteran grandfather reminisce with other veterans about the war, describes the Newell community, and talks about trips into Charlotte, then a town of 20,000. He explains how he ended up at Elon College and met his wife and recounts his experience at Fort Bragg as a Staff Sergeant and member of the Supply Corps, as well as his deployment to the Pacific theater, including accepting the surrender of a Japanese doctor, interacting with civilians in Japan, and flying over the area where the atomic bombs were dropped. He relates anecdotes of playing high school baseball against Billy Graham, being picked up hitchhiking by radio personality Grady Cole, talking with General George Patton at Fort Bragg and General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines, and meeting Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as a child. Other topics include farming and hunting, childhood chores and pastimes, attending church, buying his first car, and his school days at Newell School, including memorable teachers and classmates, some of whom went on to play professional baseball. Mr. Stewart also speaks briefly about his career after returning from World War II and his connection to Charlotte College.