Charles Walter Crummer (August 24, 1894–August 22,1934)

By Evan Murray

Early Life

Charles Walter Crummer was born in Palatka, Florida, on August 24, 1894, to his parents Walter and Maria (nee Proffitt).1 He lived in Palatka with his parents and five brothers until sometime between 1900 and 1910 when the family moved to St. Augustine where he would remain until he was drafted into the military on April 1, 1918.2 Before entering military service, Crummer received enough education to read and write, although it is unclear where he learned.

Military Service

Draft Registration Card of Charles Walter Crummer

He listed his occupation as a chauffeur in his 1917 registration card as shown here.3 He served as a Private in the 151st Depot Brigade until April 24, 1918, and then in Company A of the 367th Infantry of the Ninety-second division until his honorable discharge on April 2, 1919.4 Crummer served with the 151st at Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, before going overseas to France with the 367th Infantry from June 10, 1918, until March 1, 1919. He traveled on the USS America. The Ninety-Second served in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign.5

The Ninety-Second Division, one of two black combat divisions, suffered from the racism of this era. Before it left the United States, the government scattered its units across the country. As a result, it never trained as a division. White officers scapegoated the units’ black officers for the difficulties an inexperienced unit might face in their first battle. Despite this racism, Crummer’s regiment was cited for its distinguished conduct in the Meuse-Argonne campaign. One battalion of his regiment received the French Croix De Guerre for its performance in the last big offensive of the war. One company in his regiment, it may have been his Company A, was cited for its heroism “Under intense shell fire of gas...lasting two hours the company maintained its advanced positions staying there without any shelter finally repelling the enemy raid and capturing one prisoner.” It was the action of his regiment and division, alongside other American divisions, that led the way to victory.6

Post Service Life

Death Record of Charles Walter Crummer

Crummer returned to St. Augustine after the war and worked as a laborer while he lived with his mother, Maria.7 Sometime between 1920 and 1927, he moved into a new house with his new wife Jennie.8 He worked as a shoe repairer. They lived together until his admission to a national veterans’ sanatorium in Johnson City, Tennessee, in 1928 due to chronic pulmonary problems and a spinal condition.9 Crummer lived there for six years until his death due to septicemia and complications from diabetes in 1934, as detailed here in his death record (Figure 2: Death Record of Charles Walter Crummer).10 Five days after his death, Crummer was interred in Section A, Plot 37 at the St. Augustine National Cemetery.11


1 Charles Crummer - Tennessee, Death Records, 1908-1958, Database, Ancestry,

2 Charles Crummer - 1900 Federal Census, Database, Ancestry,

Charles Crummer - 1910 Federal Census, Database, Ancestry,

WWI Service Cards - Charles W Crummer. Also, WWI Service Cards - Charles W Crummer, Database, Florida Memory,

3 Charles Crummer - WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Database, Ancestry,

4 See footnote 1.

5 “151 Dep Brigade,” “Black Soldiers Mattered,”

Charles W Crummer, WWI Service Cards.

6 Emmett J. Scott, Scott’s Official History of The American Negro in the World War (Chicago: Homewood Press, 1919), 174-175.

7 Charles Crummer - U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Database, Ancestry,

8 Charles Crummer - U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Database, Ancestry,

9 Charles Crummer - U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938, Database, Ancestry,

10 See footnote 1.

11 Charles Crummer - “U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962,” Database, Ancestry,

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