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WWI: From the Press
News of Carroll County Boys & Important Local Issues


Transcribed and contributed by Joe Conroy.

[Coordinator's Note: Some of these transcriptions contain
language as it was written at the time and by today's
standards is not considered to be politically correct.]


The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

2 Jan 1919
Page 1

From Gus Jessen

Chassigny, France, Nov. 28, 1918.

Mr. Glen Van Schoick,

Arcadia, Iowa.

Today is the big day at home, but I suppose I will spend it "hanging" around the old village or may be shoot a little crap and "enjoy" my beef stew or beans and what ever the mess sergeant chances to have for mess. I'd like to be in the old burg (Arcadia) or any place in the U. S. today. I bet it is some day, say nothing of the celebration when peace was declared. But Glen may be it wasn't good news for us although we had just left the lines a few days. Boy, I saw some action. We went over the top near Verdun right after the (??) had been cleared for some time. I suppose you had been reading about the advancing Yanks. Well we were in that bunch. The 82nd division sure did its bit, also held what we had taken until relived. Wish I could give you an eye description of what I saw or what I endured, but I don't think you can realize it. I don't know how I escaped with my skin but I guess God had his way. Just as the lieutenant says "When you hear the whine of shells, the bursting of shrapnel, the hum of machine gun bullets, the awful positions the dead are sometimes in, a missing arm here, a leg lying here, the wounded shrieking, their prayers, their curses, then you can have the idea of a fatalist." That all goes with the advancing Yanks. Believe me it's no fun lying in a shell hold half filled with water or go several days without eats unless you rob some dead Boche's pack or some detail is lucky enough to come up with chow. Many time I've fell into a shell hold along side of some one gone "west" or a dead Boche but whenever I found the latter I never stopped for souvenirs. I was only too glad to take myself back.

After our drive your uncle treated us like a real guy, giving the bunch a furlough which we spent in a city, a summer resort in the mountans. Sunny France, I call it. It was the best part of France I had seen up to this time. Say it was real life, living like a white man again. Sleeping in a real bed and eating our mess at a hotel table. We all stayed in hotels and lived like a tourist, arise or retire whenever we liked. The city afforded good amusements likewise, great on scenery as it was in the mountains. The greatest amusement was what the Y. M. C. A. Casino put out as theatres, dancing, band concerts, etc. Later on we rejoined our company, which had to be refilled. Now we are in a little village trying to whip the men into shape by doing a little drilling, etc.

I did see a few nice cities while near them such as Nancy, Toul, Havre, Clarmont, Dejoun, Monchanin and others. Nancy is some place, street cars and anything a fellow wants if he has the francs but as a rule I've never been short of francs. Now since peace is at hand the next question is when do we sail? I think it is soon, although no orders to that effect. I hope I'm home at Christmas or even New Year's. I just want to flirt with the State of Liberty once more, also parade down Broadway sober or stewed to the eye brows. I hope so before New York goes dry. I did see Broadway before we left Camp Upton and I long to see her again. I always did have the ambition to cross the ocean and I still have it.

Well Glen I hope the Spanish flu passed up your home and that ever one is well and having the best of luck. I suppose you are still pushing the ball for Mohr & Maher and likewise trying to finish school. Glen this is all I am able to sling so will close, hoping I see you soon I remain in the best of health, as ever,
Gus Jessen.

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

2 Jan 1919
Page 1

John Greteman Writes

In a letter sent while en route to Germany with the American Occupation army John Greteman, son of B. Greteman of Willey, sends greetings of the season.

In the course of his letters he writes: "I was just twenty-one days on the front and I am glad to still be alive. I am with a machine gun company now and carry a revolver instead of a rifle. The machine gun shoots at the rate of 500 shots a minute. Along the Meuse river is where we had tough fighting or moving rather. The mud was two-feet deep and the Germans were retreating so fast that we had tough work to keep up with them. At Clery Le Petite we crossed the Meuse river. Everything is slow to proceed. We are now hiking from ten to twelve miles a day. Don't know how far we will travel today. Our sleeping quarters are getting better. We are sleeping in abandoned houses and sheds now and although there are no roofs left on the buildings, still it beats lying in shell-holes and dugouts filled half with water and bullets whizzing about. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month was sure a happy occasion. About ten thirty that morning word was passed that firing must cease at eleven o'clock. Just a few minutes before eleven a couple shots whizzed close by. I don't know how soon we will be shipped back. I think we boys that were in the fight will do guard duty in Germany. The disabled ones and wounded of the hospitals will be sent home. The engineers are busy rebuilding brides and roads. Everything is busy. I sure know what work is. Had my first cigar today, the first in two months."

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

2 Jan 1919
Page 1

From William Naber

December 1, 1918.

Dear Folks and All:

Just a few lines to let you know I am feeling fine, and hope the same of you all. Well how is everybody over there? I am in a hospital now. Had a touch of the grippe, but I am alright again. Don't know when I will get out of it again. I guess they will soon be sending the boys back to the States. I don't know when I will get to go back. Well the only thing is to keep well and I will be alright.
I guess everybody is through picking corn or are busy doing so. That's something you do not see over here at least I have not seen any.

We are having pretty nice weather here. It is commencing to get cold. I think it does not get cold here as early as it does in the States.

I suppose you had a big Thanksgiving dinner, and so did we. The turkey did not get here, but we had goose and chicken, which tasted just as good. I will tell you what we had for our dinner. We had goose, chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, apricots, dried apples, lemonade, bread, and pumpkin pie. It sure was fine, and after we had that eaten we got two pieces of home made candy, a handful of English walnuts, two cigarettes and two apples each. We get good eats, and good care. The Red Cross surely treats us fine.

Well as news is scarce, and I am getting tired of writing, I think I will close my letter for this time, hoping to see you soon, I remain as ever, your loving son and brother,

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

9 Jan 1919
Page 1

Clerks Mustered Out

Privates L. H. Mohm, of Glidden, and John Bowers, of Le Mars, were called to Des Moines early this week for the purpose of being mustered out of the service. These men are limited service men who have been employed in the office of the local board for several months past, and their service is now at an end. Considerable work yet remains to be done on the records of the local board, but this will be handled by chief clerk J. M. Ralph, who will probably remain in service for an indefinite length of time.

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

16 Jan 1919
Page 1

Memorial at St. Joseph's

Memorial services were held at St. Joseph's church Sunday evening for the members of the parish who met death as a result of going into the service of their country in the late war. A large attendance turned out to do honor to the memory of the departed who are rightly look upon as the most precious part of the parish's contribution to the cause. These are: Michael Kerwin, Carl Hamill, George Coates and Miss Kathleen Kenebeck, the latter dying at sea while on her way to Red Cross service in France. The death has been reported of John J. Sullivan in France, but this is not confirmed. Hugh T. Gibbons, reported dangerously wounded in November and near death for a time is reported to be slowly recovering.

The sermon which paid tribute to those making the great sacrifice was preached by Father McCarty and the church's program was offered up for the departed and for those still in the service. The ceremony concluded with a benediction.

After the Memorial services the monthly meeting of the Holy Name Society was held in the school hall. The business of the meeting being briefly concluded, a stirring address on the life and character of Theodore Roosevelt was given by County Attorney Drees. The speaker was at his best on this congenial subject and paid a worthy and eloquent tribute to the great American which was thoroughly enjoyed by all present.

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

23 Jan 1919
Page 1

George F. Coates

Friends of the late George F. Coates who left Carroll on July 21st to enter the U. S. Army, will no doubt be pleased to hear that the official report to his wife and other relatives from the cemetery committee of the U. S. and also from a Red Cross nurse, who attended his funeral, states that he died in a base hospital near the city of Brest, France. He received Catholic funeral services by a priest who is a chaplain in the U. S. Army, and also a military funeral.

Though his relatives are consoled some by the knowledge that his body is laid away in mother earth instead of in the ocean, still the getting of this news confirms the fact that he is gone, never to return to those who loved him much, but did not refuse to give him up freely and willingly to God and his country when she called him.

This great United States, that we all love so well, has never sacrificed a son purerer in soul, nor cleaner in body than George Coates, and he went before his God with nothing undone that he could do for wife and friends. May he rest in peace.
By one who knew him well.

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

30 Jan 1919
Page 1

Death of Louis Meis

Louis Meis, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Meis of this city, died at Camp McClellan, Alabama, Monday morning, January 20, after a three weeks illness with influenza which developed into pneumonia. Before entering service he was employed by Albert McNabb in the garage and would have returned to this city within a few days to take his former place if death had not interfered with his plans.
Louis enlisted in the mechanical division of the army and was sent to Highland Park, Des Moines, June 15, to take his training. From there he was transferred to Camp McClellan, Alabama, in August.

When it became known that his sickness was serious his brother, Will, and sister, Louise, left immediately to be with him and were there at the time of his death. He did not seem to take his illness seriously and assured them that their visit would be short as he would soon be well again. His remains were accompanied to Carroll by his bosom friend, Private William H. Harrison. The body reached this city Friday night and the funeral was held Saturday morning at S.S. Peter and Paul's church, in whose faith he died, fully fortified with the last sacraments of the church. The funeral was a military one, the home guards attending in a body and the pall bearers were boys who also had been in service, Fred Trecker, Will Kerwin, Bernard Daley, Edward Dopheide, Henry Conway, and Frank Bicheit.

Company C. of McClellan, Alabama, of which he was a member, sent a beautiful flower wheel, representing the Paige car wheel, which car he took such delight in driving at camp as well as at home and enjoyed telling the boys of its merits.

Louis was born in this city January 28, 1892, and was an industrious, hard-working young man, willing to put himself to an inconvenience to serve others. Besides his parents he leaves his wife and a little son, Leonard Anton, 7 weeks old, whom he has never seen. He also leaves three brothers, John, Will and Joe, and three sisters, Louise, Mayme, and Clara.

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