William Hipes Kidd was Born May 12, 1893, or 1896, depending on sources, in Bedford, Virginia, to Charles Wesley Kidd and Vinnie Luther Meadow Kidd. The 1900 US Census lists the year of his birth as 1896.1 His birth registry has him listed as being born in 1896.2 All other records list his date of birth as 1893. He had three sisters and one brother. His dad was a farmer. His mother died in 1903 at the age of 28.3 His father remarried Cordelia Fobbs sometime before 1910 and they had four additional children.4
In 1910, William and brother Ezra were both working on their father’s farm. He registered for the draft in June 1917 while living in Low Point, Woodford County, Illinois. He was single with red hair and blue eyes and working as a farm laborer for Joe Bennington.5 He enlisted July 31, 1917, 6 and served with Co. A, 164th Infantry, 41st Division.7
On November 26, 1917, the first elements of the 41st set sail from Hoboken, New Jersey, for France, with the last units arriving on 6 February 1918. The 41st was the fifth U.S. division to arrive in France. Upon arrival, the division was designated as the 1st Depot Division and ordered to the St. Aignan training area. The division was then broken up and formed into training cadres for the instruction of replacements for combat divisions at the front. The division was selected as a replacement unit and its men used as individual replacements for other divisions.8 The division functioned as a replacement depot.9 It did not go into combat as a unit. Most of its infantry personnel went to the 1st, 2nd, 32nd and 42nd Infantry Divisions where they served throughout the war. William was sent to the 2nd Division.10
The 2nd Division, during the war, was twice commanded by Marine Corps generals, the only times in U.S. military history that Marine Corps officers commanded an Army division. They fought in every major U.S. engagement.11 They came out of WWI as the most decorated American division of the American Expeditionary Forces. William was assigned to the 4th Machine Gun Battalion, Co. A.12
St. Aignan also became the camp from which troops were sent home. It was not uncommon for men to downplay their health conditions so as not to delay their going home. One thing that would delay a departure for home was if they had missing documents. William was injured at some point during the war as he received a Purple Heart, but no information could be found. His daughter, Silvia, said he lost part of his little finger on his left hand during the war, but she did not know the circumstances.13 Men were put into casual companies according to where they were from in the U.S. The casual companies were formed out of men who had been wounded or recently discharged from a hospital—men, in a word, disqualified for replacement service.14 When 100 men were added to the casual company, they were sent home.
William was to return from Bordeaux, France, on February 16, 1919, on the S.S. Buford, and is listed on the passenger list but his name was crossed off. He was listed as being part of the St. Aignan Casual Co., No. 917 (Missouri), a Private with 4th MG Bn (Machine Gun Battalion), and had NO TAGS written under his name where the serial number should be.15 It is possible that his trip home was delayed due to the missing dog tags. He was later discharged on August 26, 1919.
On Christmas morning 1927, he married Audrey Clede (Doore) McDonald in Clark County, Missouri.16 She was a successful partner of the Doore Hotel. William had been working for the Prairie Pipeline Company for two years at the time. He had served 19 months overseas with the famous 2nd Division. They lived at the hotel. During the 1930 US Census, they were still living at the hotel. He was a truck driver on the State Road. Also living at the hotel were Clede’s son from a previous marriage, Kenneth Kurtz, her parents, O.P. and Laura Doore, a boarder, and a maid.17 That summer, the family attended the Donnellson Fair.18
In June 1932, William received a contract to haul material for new pavement on Highway No. 3 between Ft Madison and Donnellson, Iowa. The gravel and sand for the road was dredged from the Des Moines River. William would then haul it over 16 miles of dirt road. The work on the road provided 300 men with employment for three months.19 In October, William had an ad in the Clark County Courier for delivery of coal, saying he was furnishing Putnam County’s best coal for $4.75 per ton.20
At the end of 1932, Clede divorced William and went back to her former name.21 William continued delivering coal and had raised his price to $5 per ton with extra charges for farms and rural schoolhouses.22
William married Edna May Shaffer on New Year’s Day, 1934, in Kahoka, Missouri. He had a profitable business in trucking and gravel hauling at the time.23 During 1934, William did some work for the City of Kahoka for which he was paid out of the street fund for hauling gravel and trash on clean-up day. He made $14.50 for those two jobs.24 In 1935, William and Edna went to Rock Island, Illinois, where they both had employment, William with International Harvester Company.25 Sylvia Jean Kidd was born to William and Edna on October 12, 1936. She was eight pounds.26 At some point they moved to Keokuk, Iowa.
He helped build a new building for Farmers Mutual Insurance Company working with expert bricklayers in Kahoka in October 1937.27 Two years later, Edna filed for divorce from William and requested custody of their child.28 Edna and Sylvia stayed in Keokuk until Sylvia was 7 ½ years old. Sylvia said that she did not see her father again until she was 25 years old when she was visiting her Aunt Myrtle in Kahoka. Myrtle Best ran the boarding house that used to be the Doore Hotel. William heard they were in town and asked to see Sylvia. He visited her a few times after that in the Quad Cities and asked that when he died to have him buried at the Rock Island National Cemetery.
In April of 1942, William had to register for the WWII draft. At that time, he was living in Kahoka and worked for Harold Boggus in Revere, Missouri.29 In December of 1942, William married Leona May Henry Pruett.30 She had been previously married to James Wesley Pruett, but he died in 1918. She had three children. William and Leona did not have children together. She died in 1962.
In approximately 1970, William’s daughter, Sylvia, and family were visiting in Missouri and went to a Cardinal baseball game when the Cincinnati Reds were playing. They went to the game with William who bought all their tickets and specifically bought box seats right behind home plate because he wanted to see Johnny Bench play, who is regarded as the greatest catcher of all time. In 1968, Johnny Bench was Rookie of the Year and would later go to the Hall of Fame. He was the backbone of the Reds for years. Well, at this particular game, Johnny was not catching but playing left field. William was so disappointed as he bought those special seats so he could see him catch. It was also 100 degrees that day and William spent most of his time out of his seat in a shady area. During 1970, Johnny played other positions during 22 games of the season, including first base and all three outfield positions.31
William died August 26, 1977, in Kahoka. Sylvia believed he died from a heart attack. He was buried at the Rock Island National Cemetery as he requested. No obituary could be found.
12 Veterans Bureau Index Card
13 Personal interview with Sylvia Jump on the telephone on August 11, 2022, William’s daughter