Grayson L. Wilkerson (1917/05/18)
Grayson Lacy Wilkerson, son of L. A. and Flora Wilkerson of the Vine Hill district of Santa Cruz, was born in Pomona, California, on September 16, 1898. On his mother's side he had descended from the Lacy family who were pioneer residents of Santa Cruz. Young Wilkerson, along with his brother Robert and sisters Bernice, Lois and Helen, accompanied their parents to Santa Cruz where his father became the pastor of the First Christian Church. Grayson spent his formative years in Santa Cruz and attended local elementary schools; however, there is no record of his attending a local high school.
California Adjutant General Office records indicate that when Wilkerson enlisted in the US Army on April 13, 1917, he listed his residence as Keeler, California. He was assigned to the cavalry branch and sent to Fort McDowell located on Angel island in San Francisco Bay for processing.
Possibly it was due to overcrowding, unsanitary conditions or the lack of medical attention at the post that brought about the "pneumatic" illness that Wilkerson contracted. A US Army Surgeon General's report indicated that there were six deaths among recruits at Fort McDowell during May 1917. On May 18, 1917, Private Grayson Lacy Wilkerson died of left lobar pneumonia. His body was returned to Santa Cruz and interred in Evergreen cemetery.
(CAG; Santa Cruz County Burial Permits 1905-1938, Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz Cnty, 2001; SCSf May 22, 1917 8:3;