Charles Yates

Charles Murray Yates (1889 - 1954)

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Charles Murray Yates
Born in St. Tammany, Louisiana, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Franklinton, Washington, Louisiana, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 2 Jun 2019 | Created 6 Jul 2012
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Charles Yates lived in Louisiana.
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Charles was born in 1889.[1][2] He was the son of John Mousley "Jack" Yates and Sarah Blocker. Family legend says he was named for Catherine Elizabeth's husband Charles Douglas Murray. According to Juanita Gayer, "Uncle Charlie was something of a dreamer. As a young man, he was very handsome with black curly hair and black eyes. He loved to play the violin. Mother was very fond of him and he of her. She always felt that he should have been trained for something other than farming."[3]

He traveled throughout the Southwest in 1913, presumably in search of work, or maybe just to see the world. We have family letters to his sister Kate from Albuquerque, Texas, East Las Vegas, and Ratoon, NM. He writes of the cold, and the carpentry work he is doing:

Dear Kate
I arrived at this place last night and it was snowing to beat the band when I got up this morning it was about 6 inches deep but I dont feel the cold much somehow. I havent decided whether I will go to work here or not there is a big Saw Mill here and they get their timber about ninety miles west of here I think I will go out their tomorrow. I am all right hoping this will find you all the same.
your Bro
CM Yates[4]

1917 finds him back home, and in a bit of trouble with the law, as he, Eugene Morgan and Sam Varnado were fined "$10 and cost, or 30 days" for "drinking in public place."[5] Later 1917 saw him on the road again, as he registered for the draft in Douglas County, Colorado, showing his employer as the "E I du Pont de Nemours Powder Co." in Louviers, Colorado. [6] This company was a predecessor of the company known today as DuPont. The Douglas County plant made dynamite. The "Castle Pines Connection" writes about Louviers:

Let’s start in 1906 ... The American West was experiencing extraordinary growth in mining and transportation. So much so that E. I. DuPont de Nemours of Delaware (DuPont) sought a new location to manufacture dynamite. In May of 1906, a young DuPont engineer discovered Toluca, finding its rolling hills and location ideal for the company’s newest dynamite plant. After purchasing 1,800 acres the locale was renamed Louviers, for a wool growing town in France from which Éleuthère Irénée du Pont hailed.
Plant construction began almost immediately. There was but one goal: to manufacture high explosives for commercial use. Early on, the work force had no place to live, surviving in tents, caves, and box-board shanties. Known in the east as a beneficent company, DuPont decided to incorporate a company town into the project, furnishing simple, 384-square-foot cottages built on railroad ties, management homes, and eventually a village clubhouse, still operating today (including a two-lane bowling alley and library).[7]. The Village Clubhouse still exists and is on the National Register of Historic places.

Bowling may have been fun, but making dynamite in those days was a dangerous business:

While DuPont had a marvelous safety record, there were seven total accidents according to Marlene Thomas, town historian. None were pretty. The first, in 1908 took the life of Luther Heckman. Only a head and finger were found later. Such was the nature of industrial accidents in a TNT plant. The next accident caused three fatalities. The coroner opined glibly that “it is the history of these accidents that nothing remains but a hole in the earth and bodies torn to shreds.”[7]

Charles writes home in a letter to his brother Fred:

Louviers Colo 5/24.1917
Dear Fred
I thought I would write you a few lines to night. Am purty tired though am working in a powder factory here it sure is hard work to but I am getting good wages am getting three dollars a day but I could stand any thing a while for that price and you are liklely to get blowed up guess I just as well get blowed up here as by the Germans. I see by the paper that we have all got to regeister by the fifth of June that is between twenty one and thirty. I have found out I cant regester here I will have to have a card from there sent here and sign it and send it back. I don’t know how it is but you can find out. And send it right away
How is the crop hope you have got a good one. How did your sheep turn out all right I hope and hope you get a good price for your wool. Louviers is a factory town about twenty miles from Denver I was at Denver sure is a pretty town well I will close for this time with love to all.
Your B
C M Yates[4]

Well, Charles Murray didn't get blown up in the powder factory. Instead, he was inducted into the army on July 31, 1818, as a Private. He first served in the 18th Company, Casual Detachment, until Sept 1 1918. After that he served in the 61st Spruce Squadron[8] "The Army of the Woods" was in charge of harvesting spruce in the Pacific Northwest:

By the time the United States entered the war in the spring of 1917, the Allies were in des­perate need of flawless, lightweight, and strong lumber to build the aircraft needed to over­come the trench warfare stalemate and to battle the Red Baron over the skies of Germany.[9]

Bob Swanson, a historian compiling information about the Spruce Squadron, writes:

The soldiers in the field worked directly for contractors, who were, for the most part, the existing lumber companies. The Army enforced minimum requirements for work hours, lodging, and food, which in most cases exceeded anything seen before in the woods. In some cases, soldiers built their own barracks as part of the camp construction, while others lived in tent cities, much like a military base. Soldiers working at mills near towns were often lodged in local hotels.
The soldiers of the Spruce Squadrons were initially in the Signal Corps, since it was this organization that began and oversaw all Army aviation. The term "squadron" would normally be applied to a flying group, but it was also used for these small construction and logging units. Many of these soldiers were itching to go "over there" and take part in the real fighting, but their labor was needed in Oregon and Washington.[10]

Bob Swanson has an excellent photo collection of the Spruce Squadron here, on Flickr. Take a look - maybe you will find Charlie in one of them!

Charles wrote home in a letter to his brother Fred on September 5, 1918:

I am helping to fall spruce here I get four Dollars a day and board they sure is some spruce timber here to some of it is seven and eight feet through and about a half mile high well I will close for this time as it is getting late how is Papa Suse said he got a bad fall but dident say how.[4]

The 61st Spruce served in South Bend, Washington from September 1918 until November 1918, when they returned to Vancouver Barracks, and was mustered out in January 1919. [11]

1930 finds him at home on the farm in Franklinton with wife Wiletta, LelaBelle (9), C Maurice (7), John D (6), Jack (4), Albert (2) and baby Clothilde. [12]

He passed away in 1954 and is buried in Edwards Cemetery.[13]

Charlie's letters are uploaded at:


  • 1900 Census: 11 years old and living at home. [1]
  • 1910 Census. Living in Township 5, Ward 2. Folsom[2]
  • Letter from Juanita [3]

  • Letters in family collection[4]
  • The Era-Leader - Thu, Feb 15, 1917[5]
  • WWI Draft Registration Card[6]
  • Louviers – Colorado’s only bonafide “boom” town [7]
  • Service Record from 1818 to 1919 - Spruce Squadron[8]
  • Article on the Spruce Squadron. "The Army In the Woods: Records Recount Work of World War I Soldiers In Harvesting Spruce Trees for Airplanes" [9]
  • Bob Swanson The U.S. Army Spruce Squadrons in the First World War[10]
  • Bob Swanson, Listing of Spruce Squadron Units [11]
  • TODO - Marriage records
  • 1920 US Census: Just married. [14]
  • 1930 US Census: Wiletta, LelaBelle (9), C Maurice (7), John D (6), Jack (4), Albert (2) and baby Alice.[12]
  • Application for Military Headstone[15]
  • Poole Funeral Home Records 1916-1960. [16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Year: 1900; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 2, Saint Tammany, Louisiana; Roll: 583; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0079; FHL microfilm: 1240583 Description Enumeration District : 0079; Description: Ward 1 including Madisonville Town Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Year: 1910; Census Place: Folsom, Saint Tammany, Louisiana; Roll: T624_531; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1374544 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Notes by family historian Juanita Gayer, given to Boone Yates Richardson, and uploaded [[Space:Family_History_-_Notes_from_Juanita_1978| here].]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 All of Charlie's letters are uploaded at:
  5. 5.0 5.1 Title - The Era-Leader - Thu, Feb 15, 1917 - Page 3 Publisher The Era-Leader Publisher Date Thu, Feb 15, 1917 Publisher Location Franklinton, Louisiana
  6. 6.0 6.1 U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Castle Pines Connection - Saturday, August 01, 2015
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Louisiana World War I Service Records, 1917-1920", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 February 2017), Charles M Yates, 1918.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Army In the Woods" Kathleen Crosman, Oregon His­torical Quarterly, vol. 112, no. 1 (Spring 2011), From
  10. 10.0 10.1 The U.S. Army Spruce Squadrons in the First World War, Updated April 10, 2017
  11. 11.0 11.1 Listing of Spruce Squadron Units:
  12. 12.0 12.1 Year: 1930; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 1, Washington, Louisiana; Roll: 824; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 592.0; FHL microfilm: 2340559 Enumeration District : 0001; Description: POLICE JURY WARD 1 Source Information 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Find A Grave: Memorial #104155027
  14. Year: 1920; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 1, Washington, Louisiana; Roll: T625_635; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 132 Description Enumeration District : 0132; Description: Police Jury Ward 1 Source Information 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  15. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data: Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.Applications for Headstones, compiled 01/01/1925 - 06/30/1970, documenting the period ca. 1776 - 1970 ARC: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.Source Description
  16. Poole Funeral Home Records 1916-1960, Washington Parish Louisiana Submitted by Bonnie Dier Transcribed by Washington Parish Family History Society Date: June 16, 2012. Accessed June 13, 2018

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Charles by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Charles:

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Charles is 27 degrees from Lizzie Griffiths, 24 degrees from Fred Rogers and 17 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.