Jefferson Davis headstoneMembers of the Centreville American Legion Riders are pictured Sunday morning, July 24, during their annual recognition of the late county resident U.S. Army Private Jefferson Davis who died during WWI fighting for freedom on the battlefields of France. Since the Centreville Legion was founded in the 1940s, “Jeff Davis Post 18”, was named for him, honoring his memory, as he gave all in service to his nation. From left: Barry DeMaris, Bob Lewis, Bob Pyfer, Kevin Morgan, John White, and Gene Whitaker.

QA's Jeff Davis recalled as hero for sacrifice made to his country in WWI 

By Doug Bishop 
via the Bay Times newspaper (MD) web site

CENTREVILLE — Founded in the 1940s, American Legion Post 18 was named for a local Queen Anne’s County hero, county born and raised Jefferson Davis of Church Hill, who was the first county resident to sacrifice his life while fighting for freedom, supporting the Allies during World War I. Davis died July 24, 1918, during the Second Battle of the Marne (France), July 15 — August 6. This past Sunday marked the 104th anniversary of his death.

Post 18’s 1st Vice Commander Ken Huddleston, who serves as well as American Legion Riders Director, and is also an American War historian, said, “That battle was a major turning point in fighting on the Western Front in 1918, not long after the Americans arrived in Europe. American divisions along the Marne and Champagne played a decisive role in halting the last German drive. The Allies then went on the offensive. On July 18, the French Army, which included multiple American divisions, initiated a series of offenses that eventually pushed the Germans back from the Marne. This indicates that Post 18’s namesake (Pvt. Jeff Davis) was in the middle of ground zero of the First World War, where the tide was changed. He paid the ultimate price for liberty 104-years ago.”

Huddleston also quoted famed WWII General George S. Patton, Jr. who said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

Thousands of “doughboys” as they were nicknamed, were killed in the horrors of trench warfare in the Aisne-Marne region. Many of Davis’ comrades are buried in the nearby Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. His body was transported home to be buried in his native county and state.

Over the years, numerous local residents, many who have moved here from other places, have been confused by the name “Jeff Davis Post 18.” The confusion comes from the former President of the Confederate States of America, during the Civil War (1861-1865), bearing the same name. However, Jefferson Davis of Queen Anne’s County is of no relation to the former Confederate president. It’s easy to see why some confusion takes place, because of the same names, however, totally different circumstances, times and places from American history.

Amid the confusion, residents and local Legion members have been angered over the assumption that the Legion would bear the name of a man whose name is associated with racist overtones.

Knowing the history of the Legion’s namesake, members were quick to refute those ignorant assumptions, stating “nothing could be further from the truth.” Members of Jeff Davis Post 18, only wish to educate, and bring justified honor to the local hero.

Read the entire article on the Bay Times web site.

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