In an article written in the Santa Maria, CA Times, Sat., Nov. 10 1979, the story of Edith Plummer Davidson highlights her military service and that of her husband Ford Davidson, sons Verner and Hugh, as well as their daughter Althea.
In the account, Edith was 25 when she marched into a recruiting office and joined the Navy at the call of Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels. It was the first time in our nation's history that women were allowed to wear the uniform and serve in the Navy.
Edith finished boot camp and was assigned to the Boston Naval Yard where she served as a paymaster. During this time, a deadly influenza epidemic struck. Seven of her fellow female yeoman died, leaving Edith and one other to carry on. "It was terrible," Edith recalled during the interview for the article. "Every morning we'd see the caskets being lowered. Four or five at a time. Just plain pine boxes, the Chelsea Naval Hospital couldn't even get caskets."
She recalled the end of the war, "We went wild the night the Armistice was declared. That night we all went to the Boston common and celebrated before we attended a victory party aboard the USS Virginia which was in drydock in Boston."
Edith was among the women yeoman who marched in the victory parades. The Yeoman (F) carried their colors down the streets of Washington, New York and Boston before President Woodrow Wilson and then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
It is family tradition that Edith served on the USS Constitution during the war. Although the ship had long been decommissioned and has served as a museum since 1907, it is not known what Edith's duty assignment was at the time.