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World War I soldier Sgt. William Singleton Morris honored with new headstone

granite headstone for placement on a new grave (Tim Evanson/Flickr)

Gone, but not forgotten.

Sgt. William Singleton Morris was killed on July 15, 1918, during World War I in France.

Buried there, initially, Morris’ family later had the body of their loved one exhumed and reburied in Milledgeville’s Memory Hill Cemetery.

Morris’ grave had been without a headstone all these years.

The soldier’s grave is now marked by a new headstone, donated at no cost by Williams Funeral Home in Milledgeville. The new headstone was erected shortly after 9 a.m. Monday to honor one of the soldiers from whom the Morris-Little American Legion Post 6 in Milledgeville is named.

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The other soldier, Pvt. James Franklin Little, also of Milledgeville, died two days after being gassed on Aug. 8, 1918, during World War I.

Little is buried about 200 yards away from Morris.

“Sgt. Morris didn’t have a headstone and we’ve always felt he deserved one,” said John W. Griffin, who serves as commander of the Morris-Little American Legion Post 6 in Milledgeville.

Morris and Little were once cadets at Georgia Military College.

“When they were killed, their classmates decided to rename the post because it was known back then as American Legion Post 6, the sixth post in Georgia to be formed at that time,” Griffin said.

A group of veterans from GMC actually decided in July 1919 to form an American Legion Post here in Milledgeville. A temporary charter was approved on Aug. 11, 1919. The local American Legion Post 6 was then founded.

“After Morris and Little lost their lives in World War I, the charter members decided to name the post after their two classmates, Morris and Little,” Griffin said. “After submitting the name Morris-Little to the National Organization, the permanent charter was finally approved on Nov. 11, 1927.”

And since that time, it has been called the Morris-Little American Legion Post 6.

Morris joined the Army as a private in Spartanburg, S.C. He later was transferred to Fort Screen Georgia. He was deployed overseas in May 1918, where he took part in the battles of the Aisne, Chateau-Thierry, as well as the Champagne-Marne Offensive, according to Griffin.

Little, meanwhile, was attached to the 327th Infantry, Headquarters Company, 82nd Division. Like Morris, he was deployed overseas to on May 10, 1918.

He was exposed to gas while engaged in battle on the front lines in the Toul Sector in August of that same year and died two days later.

Griffin said the names of Morris and Little were submitted to the national organization of the American Legion, a charter was approved on Nov. 11, 1927.

Griffin said he greatly appreciated Williams Funeral Home erecting a new headstone at Morris’ grave.

“I’m so appreciative of what they did to honor Sgt. William Singleton Morris,” Griffin said. “It’s nice to live in a community where people still care about each other so much.”

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© 2020 The Union-Recorder