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The Spanish American War & Linn County

In 1898 it became evident that the friendly relations then existing between Spain and the United States must soon terminate. Missouri as a state was deeply interested, and when the news was flashed over the wires telling of the disaster that had overtaken the “Maine,” her patriotic citizens were among the first to demand that the lives of those brave men be avenged. When at last war was declared and President McKinley issued his call for volunteers, Linn county was among the first to respond, offering the flower of her young manhood in defense of the nation’s honor. The sectional feeling (if there still remained any) engendered by the great Civil War was forgotten, and the sons of the men who had fought under the “Stars and Bars” together with those who had carried the “Stars and Stripes” vied with each other as to which could be first to wipe out with their blood, if necessary, the deadly insult which had been hurled at us as a nation. In response to the President’s call, steps were at once taken to recruit a company in Brookfield and Linn county, and the active work of enlisting men for the war was soon under way. Many of the best young men of the city and county offered themselves to the service, and a company of 100 men was soon formed and the following officers elected:

  • John H. Goldman, captain, Brookfield, Missouri

  • Downey Milbourn, first lieutenant, Linneus, Missouri

  • Henry J. West, second lieutenant, Marceline, Missouri.

  • John W. Wrenn, first sergeant, Marceline, Missouri.

  • David F. Fawks, quartermaster sergeant, Marceline, Missouri. 

  • Ephriam P. Banning, sergeant, Brookfield, Missouri.

  • Thomas A. Scott, sergeant, Rothville, Missouri.

  • William D. Brown, sergeant, Laclede, Missouri.

  • Benjamin E. Bowyer, sergeant, Linneus, Missouri.

  • Charles W.  Wright, corporal, Brookfield, Missouri.

  • William T. Lamme, corporal, Laclede, Missouri.

  • George P. Fawks, corporal, Carrollton, Missouri. 

  • William Olinger, corporal, Marceline, Missouri.

  • Robert O’Donnell, corporal, Carrolltown, Missouri.

  • David S. Bramhall, corporal, Unionville, Missouri.

  • Charles E. Crumley, corporal, Marceline, Missouri. 

  • William’Trippler, Jr., corporal, Linneus, Missouri.

  • Jasper Knight, corporal, Linneus, Missouri.

  • William Hoar, corporal, Brookfield, Missouri. 

  • Samuel H. King, corporal, Brookfield, Missouri.

  • John A. Conners, artificer, Brookfield, Missouri.

  • Henry Coleman, wagoner, Hazelhurst, Mississippi.

  • Guy M. Kerr, musician, Brookfield, Missouri. 

  • Charles E. Plummer, musician, Milan, Missouri.

The above list represents the commissioned and non-commissioned officers when they were mustered into United States service on July 20, 1898. In this connection it may be well to note that among the young men who were active in recruiting the company was William J. Carlon, of Brookfield, who was elected its first lieutenant, but on account of defective eyesight was unable to pass the rigid examination imposed by the United States government and, much to his regret, was rejected from the service. The drilling of the company was begun in earnest, and young men who, a few days before, were filling the peaceful occupations of farmers, clerks, or that of their professions, were answering to the stern commands of their officers to “fall in, about face, forward march” and other military orders. This company became Company A of the Sixth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, which was mustered into the United States service on July 20, 1898, at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and honorably mustered out on May 10, 1899, at Savanna, Georgia.  When the day arrived for the boys to leave home to scenes of activity, Brookfield and the entire county turned out en mass, escorted them to the train, and wished them “God speed” and success to their arms. The company was first sent to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, where their military education was continued until August 11 and 12 of the same year, when they were removed to Camp Cuba Libre, Jackson- ville, Florida, arriving there on August 15. The regiment was en- camped at Jacksonville until November 7, and during that time suffered a loss of two men by death, William S.  Busby, of Brookfield, Missouri, and August Ramm, of Walnut Hill, Illinois.

On the above mentioned date the camp was changed to Camp Onward, at Savanna, Georgia, and while there death again visited them, its victim  being John A. Burns, of Brookfield, Missouri. During the time the regiment was encamped, prior to their embarkation, many of the boys were taken sick; due largely to the poor sanitary conditions existing and the radical change of climate, a number being discharged for disabilities caused from the exposure of camp life. On December 21, 1898, the long-wished-for order came to embark, and the boys began to think that they were going to get a taste of real war; but they were doomed to disappointment, for the haughty manners of Spain had been trailed in the dust, and her navy swept from the high seas, before our boys were given a chance to display their valor in a single engagement. The regiment was taken to Havana, Cuba, in December of 1898, where it was held in reserve until it was proven beyond a question of a doubt that their services were not needed. It was then returned to the United States and duly mustered out at Savanna, Georgia, on May 10, 1899, having been in the service a little less than one year.