Friday, May 28, 2021

Remembering Cecil Goodwin Callaway

Cecil Goodwin Callaway, son of Claude Parkis Callaway and Sarah Lucile Wray, was born in Union Point, Greene County, Georgia on November 19, 1922. I have not found any records to show that Claude and Sarah had other children so believe Cecil was an only child. He was the nephew of the wife of my 1st great grand uncle, Nathan Lawrence Lankford. Nathan married Cecil’s aunt, Olivia Callaway. Cecil and I have no common relative.

On April 8, 1930, Cecil, his parents, and widowed grandmother Julia Askew Callaway, lived in the Mill Settlement on the South East Side of Union Point. His father worked as a bridge carpenter for the steam railroad so would have built and repaired bridges for the trains that ran through the area. The Callaway family lived in a rental home. At age 7, Cecil attended school, but at this point, was unable to read or write.

On April 12, 1940, the Callaway family lived in Union Point, the same house they’d been living in since at least 1935. At age 17, Cecil worked 15 hours a week turning socks at the hosiery mill. The 1940 census record shows that Cecil had worked 15 weeks in 1939, receiving an income of $50. His father now worked as a water supply mechanic for the steam railroad with a yearly income of $1,560.

The U.S. officially entered World War II on December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like many young men, it wasn’t long before Cecil was standing in line. Although he lived in Union Point at the time, Cecil went to DeKalb County, Georgia on June 30, 1942 and registered for the World War II draft. He was 19 years old at the time and worked for the Georgia Railroad Pump Gang in Union Point. Cecil was 5’8”, weighed 206 pounds, had brown eyes and hair, and a dark complexion.

Cecil's World War II registration card

Cecil married Sara Margaret Phelps, daughter of Paul Phelps and Ellie Maude Jones, on August 15, 1942. Their wedding probably took place in Union Point but I don’t have a record to prove that. With the newlywed’s life just beginning, it was only months before they would be torn apart with Cecil enlisting as a private in the U.S. Army at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia on January 27, 1943. His enlistment record noted he had received four years of high school education and his civil occupation was foremen, transportation, communications, and utilities. Cecil served with Company E in the 164th/168th Infantry Regiments, 34th Division. I learned that he was injured from a February 23, 1944 article published in The Atlanta Constitution: “Wounded in action in the Mediterranean area were: … CORPORAL CECIL G. CALLOWAY, husband of Mrs. Sarah M. Calloway, of Union Point … .” 

Wounded in Action in the Mediterranean Area
The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, February 23, 1944

At some point, Cecil was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Sadly, he was killed in action by an artillery shell in Italy on May 30, 1944 during the Battle of Anzio. According to Wikipedia, “the Battle of Anzio was a battle of the Italian Campaign of World War II that took place from January 22, 1944 to June 5, 1944.” Cecil was 21 years old, leaving a grieving widow at home in Georgia. He was buried at Wisteria Cemetery in Union Point. His father applied for a military marker on February 12, 1949.

Wisteria Cemetery, Union Point, Georgia

Application for Headstone or Marker (image from

Remembering Sgt. Cecil Goodwin Callaway who died in Italy while serving his country—77 years ago this Memorial Day weekend.


  • Battle of Anzio;
  • Cecil C. Callaway, U.S., World War II Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942–1954.
  • Cecil G. Callaway, U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938–1946.
  • Cecil Goodwin Callaway, U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925–1970.
  • Cecil Goodwin Callaway, WWII Draft Registration Cards for Georgia, October 16, 1940 – March 31, 1947.
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 21 May 2021), memorial page for Cecil Goodwin Callaway (19 Nov 1922–30 May 1944), Find a Grave Memorial ID 73112961, citing Wisteria Cemetery, Union Point, Greene County, Georgia, USA ; maintained by Samuel Taylor Geer (contributor 46925792).
  • National Archives and Records Administration; Hospital Admission Card Files, ca. 1970 - ca. 1970; NAI: 570973; Record Group Number: Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army), 1775–1994; Record Group Title: 112.
  • Sara Margaret Moon obituary, the Sechrest Funeral Service website;
  • U.S. Federal Census, Union Point, Greene County, Georgia, 1930, 1940.
  • When Did America Enter WW2?, History on the Net, © 2000–2021, Salem Media, May 19, 2021;
  • World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel, 1946.
  • Wounded in Action in the Mediterranean Area, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, February 23, 1944.

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