Cabarrus Troops Called to the 
Mexican Border on June 24, 1916

Headline of The Concord Times, June 19, 1916.

During the early 1900s, the United States found herself with a very uncomfortable neighbor to the south. The violence of Mexican revolution frequently spilled across the border into Texas and New Mexico. After Mexican bandit and general Pancho Villa deliberately killed over 30 Americans and burned Columbus, New Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson called the nation's militia to arms.

In June 1916, Company L of Cabarrus County assembled for the trip to the Mexican border. The 65-man National Guard unit quickly recruited the additional manpower needed to meet war strength of 142 men. On Saturday, June 24, Company L departed by train for Camp Glenn, Morehead City, NC, to be placed under the 1st North Carolina Infantry, Colonel J. T. Gardner commanding. By September, Company L was camped at El Paso, Texas for border patrol.

Luckily, Company L was able to return home to Cabarrus on February 8, 1917, where they found a big homecoming awaiting them. According to the Concord Times, they arrived by train at 3:00 a.m., but remained on the train until 8:30 a.m. and then marched to the court house where they were met with a large reception and parade. Unfortunately, the worsening war in Europe again forced Company L to recruit to full war strength in March of the same year.

The below photograph of Company L was taken on July 20, 1914, two years before their Mexican border action and three years before entering World War I. It shows the company assembled on the side steps of the Post Office building (corner of S. Union and Foard Streets), facing Foard Street. The only man positively identified is company artificer (blacksmith who makes fuses, shells, grenades and other armaments) John F. Barnhardt, fourth from left, front row. The man in front of Company L is probably Captain Louis A. Brown, president of Brown Construction Company, the building seen at top right.

Cabarrus County National Guard Company L. Photo taken July 20, 1914, donated by John C. Barnhardt, courtesy of Concord Library, Lore Local History Room.

The roster as reported by The Concord Times was as follows:

Captain: L. A. Brown   
First Lieutenant: R. C. Thompson
Second Lieutenant: Z. B. Thornzurg
First Sergeant: J. A. Benfield
Quartermaster Sergeant: C. E. Clark

Sergeants: J. M. Rowe, W. L. Elliott
W. M. Dorton, C. N. Alston

Corporals: L. W. Stallings, J. W. Elliott,
M. H. Caldwell, Jr., C. H. Wadsworth
E. D. Fink, R. Y. Safrit

Cooks: D. H. Hathcock, P. P. Cook
Musicians: J. B. Raiford, G. A. Ritchie
Artificer: J. F. Barnhardt
Clerk: F. R. Bost

Courtesy of the Concord Library, Lore History Room


  1. I have the original document promoting Louis A. Brown to Captain, dated 1917. Contact me at 419 357 0247 if interested.


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