NEGenWeb Project
Merrick County

Merrick County News


Scrapbook of Mrs. C. J. (Elizabeth) Dittmer

Contributed by Lois Dittmer Fairfield.

Scrapbook page 2

Hans Hugo Dittmer

overseas early in the spring, and it is presumed belonged to one of the units who helped stem the rush of the Hun in June. Doubtless he was in the thick of the offensive started July 18, in which the American army covered themselves with glory and made the first break in the German line. As indicated above his death came three days later.
     Hans was twenty-four years old the 5th of March. He was born at Minden, Iowa, where he lived until he was five, when the family came to Nebraska, where they have resided on the farm every since. He grew to manhood here, attended the public school and was an industrious and competent young farmer, and probably those sterling qualities of obedience and ability are the principal reasons for the fact that he was up among shock troups when death came.
     In addition to his father and mother he is survived by four brothers and several sisters. Three of the brothers are registrants, but have been given deferred classification for agricultural reasons.

First War Victim

     Clarks has passed under the rod, the first sacrifice to the god of war being Hans H. Dittmer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dittmer, living east of town. His death occurred in line of duty at the front, and was announced to the parents in the following message, received Thursday afternoon.
     "Washington, D. C., Regret to inform you private Hans Hugo Dittmer officially reported killed in action July 21. -- McCain, The Adjutant General."
     Hans was a member of the first contingent that left here last fall, and went to Camp Funston about October 1st. A short time later he contracted measles followed by an attack of pneumonia. He was very sick for a time. He came home for a short furlough early in the winter, and on his return was transfered to the Fourth Infantry. He sailed



     On last Sunday afternoon memorial services were held in the Presbyterian church in honor of Private Howard A. Mowry, Co. F., 3rd Iowa Infantry, who died somewhere in France of gun shot wounds on April 27, 1918. Private Mowry was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Mowery of this place. He was born in Shelby June 17, 1895. Soon after the United States entered the war against Germany he determined to offer his services in defense of the national honor and on June 7, 1917 he enlisted at Villisca, Iowa. He landed in France last December. In addition to a large number of relatives and friends he leaves a father and mother, one sister Mrs. James Evans, who resides near Shelby, three brothers, John of Harlan, Homer who is in training at Fort Logan, Colorado, and Everette who is at home awaiting a call to the service


     The memorial services were impressive and were attended by a large number of people. Besides the friends and relatives from this vicinity, a number were present from the neighboring towns to pay a tribute to Shelby's first soldier who had lost his life in defense of the nation. The church was beautifully decorated with flags and a portrait of the young man. Many floral offerings were in evidence. At the request of the family the Church choir sang "The Vacant Chair" and "Just Before the Battle, Mother". The pastor of the church Rev. O. C. Carden, after reading a Scripture lesson and offering prayer delivered an address in which he set forth the principle that it is through the sacrifice of life itself that makes possible the growth of liberty and freedom in the earth. He closed his address by reading at the request of the family Will Cressy's poem, "When the Blue Stars Turn to Gold." Rev. F. B. Moore pastor of the M. E. Church in Tennant then offered prayer. The next speaker was the Rev. D. J. Shenton pastor of the local Methodist church. His address was one of comfort and consolation to the bereaved family and relatives. He justified the part we are as a nation taking in the conflict, lauding the young men who are willing to offer themselves for the maintenance of our national honor.

     Private Mowry was a member of the Presbyterian church having been received on confession of faith January 31, 1915. He had a wide acquaintance in the community having always lived here. His death has stirred the entire community and our citizens realize as never before that as a nation we are at war. Shelby is proud of its young men who have gone forth to lay down their lives, if need be in the service of our glorious and beloved nation.

Scrapbook page 3


        First Merrick County Boy to
fall upon the Battlefield of France,
Killed in Action July 21, 1918.

Memorial Services      
     Very Successful

     The memorial services held Sunday morning in the Congregational church in honor of Hans Hugo Dittmer, first Merrick county boy to fall in the war, was attended by many more people than could get in the church. Rev. Kraemer, who was to conduct the services had been taken sick the night before, and Rev. Van Buren preached a very able memorial sermon.
     The home guard from Polk came over about forty strong, and with the local company marched from down town to the church. A. F. Schrawger, civil war veteran marched at the head of the parade and carried the flag, assisted by J. M. Lumadue, another veteran of the struggle of long ago.
     The church was very prettily and patriotically decorated with flags and bunting, and there were several wreaths to the memory of the first man from Clarks and Merrick county to give his life in defence (sic) of freedom.



Died July 24, 1919 of wounds
received in action.



Home Guards Attend     
     Memorial at Polk

     32 of the Clarks home guard company attended the Gestrine memorial services at Polk Sunday. There an immense crowd there, being estimated at close to three thousand people. Seven companies of the guard were present, from, Polk, Osceola, Stromsburg, Bradshaw, Shelby, Hordville and Clarks, over three hundred in all,
     A parade was formed and marched several blocks around the town finally winding up at theatre building, where the services were held. The meeting was held over the second time in order to allow some of those who were not able to get in at first to hear it.
     The Methodist minister preached a very patriotic and instructive sermon, and delivered a splendid eulogy to the memory of the first Polk county boy to fall upon the field of battle.
     Quite a number of people from this side of the river outside of the guards attended.

NOTE: Extracts of Polk Cemeteries from "Our Polk County Heritage" show an F. Severt Gestrine b 1896, d 1918; buried at Polk Cemetery. (See Polk County website) We cannot explain the difference in death year in this photo caption.


Leslie Beck Dies At Training Station

     Leslie Beck, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Beck died Sunday night in the hospital at the Great Lakes Training Station, Chicago of pneumonia, following an attack of influenza. The body was shipped home Wednesday, arriving that evening on Number 15, accompanied by a sailor.
     The funeral was held from the family home yesterday afternoon and was largely attended.
     Interment was in the Pierce Chapel cemetery.
     Thus is the honor roll of this patriotic community swelled by the addition of another of her gallant sons, whose life goes as a part of the price young manhood must pay for those of us who are denied the right to actively participate in this struggle.
     Leslie Beck was a perfect type of physical manhood. He enlisted as a volunteer in the navy in July, and was about 19 years of age. His death came after a very short illness, the first telegram in regard to his condition reaching here only a few days before his death. None of the family went back to see him, as they were advised they would not be allowed in his presence because of the epidemic from which he was ill.
     This paper goes to press too early to have any of the particulars of the funeral.

NOTE: Gravestone at Bureau Cemetery (Pierce Chapel) shows death year as 1918.


T. E. Graves Killed In Action Sept. 27

     A telegram to Henry Graves yesterday conveyed the sad news that his brother, T. E. Graves was killed in action somewhere in France on the 27th of September.
     He left here last fall among the first drafted men, and had seen considerable service. He was a big, bluff, hearty fellow and our guess is that he gave a good account of himself before the Heinies got him.

NOTE: Theodore E. Graves was from Gothenburg, NE (Dawson County). State honor list shows his death was announced from Washington DC on 21 Nov 1918.


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© 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Lois Dittmer Fairfield, T&C Miller