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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Sergeant Ralph P. Snook Died In World War I

Dallas Bogan on 28 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page
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"I do solemnly swear that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and will serve them honestly and faithfully against their enemies, whomsoever." These words were repeated by Ralph P. Snook as well as by millions of men and women who have honored our country by serving in the Armed Forces.
Sergeant Ralph P. Snook served in World War I in Company E, a unit of the First Regiment Ohio National Guard. It later became a unit of a Depot Brigade and was merged into Company E, 147th Infantry, 37th Division, at Camp Sheridan, Alabama. It was here that Ralph trained and became a true American soldier.
After basic training Sgt. Snook traveled to Camp Lee, thence to Hoboken, N.J., from which point he sailed with his company to Brest, France, June 22, 1918. The 37th Division was next assembled in the Beaumont area with preliminary plans to go to the front. The Division next traveled to Southern France, Alsace Lorraine, into the Baccarat Toul sector.
Sgt. Snook and others of the 147th, on July 25th, were engaged in trench warfare. Ralph, along with others, was often requested to do outpost duty, always with the enemy close-by. German prisoners were taken and handled by Company E, and because of his excellence in the performance of this duty, Ralph was promoted to Sergeant.
On September 23, the 147th moved north of Ricourt to Boisede Parois in anticipation of the Argonne Forest campaign. On the 25th the men advanced toward Avicourt, a German held fortification. Attacks of a large measure were evidenced with the line of battle extending from the English Channel on the north to Belfort on the south.
The engagement of the greatest battle of the war was now underway. The Allies, with their multi-sized guns and cannon, were relentlessly fighting for their lives. It is sad that this battle was fought, for within a little over a month the Armistice was signed. On September 28, with the battle raging to an unheard of degree, the opponent persistently delivered fierce resistance. Men were being gassed, shot and falling in droves, many being mortally wounded. However hard the enemy fought, it was not enough to stop the onward march of the Allies. Among those wounded heroes on this day was Sgt. Ralph Snook. He was immediately carried off to a field hospital, thence to base hospital No. 31, where he was received by the Red Cross. On October 9, 1918, Sgt. Snook died of his wounds. A Higher Power had now taken him to report up There.
The local American Legion Post, which was named in honor of this fallen compatriot, was in charge of the service. Chaplain Wm. R. Hughes of Miamisburg conducted it at the South Lebanon cemetery on June 5, 1921. This was said to have been one of the county's largest funerals. Folks from all parts of the county and country arrived to show their respect to this fallen defender of the flag of the United States.
Most deserving of praise was the manner in which the ex-servicemen paid tribute to a dead comrade. They not only presented themselves in grand fashion, but also provided funds for the day's service. One hundred and twelve men, most of who served in Company E with Sgt. Snook was in parade dress, while twenty or thirty marched in civilian clothes. Also present were three or four Spanish American War veterans; the Civil War veterans were too feeble to march and occupied seats reserved for them at the church.
A special space was reserved for Major Earl McCreary, Ralph's Captain in the service. A select railroad car transported most of the ex-servicemen to South Lebanon, while many found it more practical to make the trip by automobile. Citizens from Morrow and Mason were also present under the direction of Post Commander Paul Kemper. Headed by the Harmon Hall band, they marched to the residence of Sgt. Snook's father, Mr. R.D. Snook, and escorted the body to the church. South Lebanon neighbors in large numbers tipped their hat as the funeral procession passed. The Lebanon Boy Scouts controlled the crowd until the relatives could be seated. Chaplain Hughes paid a lasting tribute to Sgt. Snook. Members of Company E served as pallbearers and firing squad personnel.
Ohio's Senator, Warren G. Harding, later to be President of the United States, wrote to Ralph's father. In his letter he offered his condolences:
My dear Mr. Snook,
I have just noticed the name of Serg't Ralph Snook among those who have given their lives in the service of their country. I know how futile it is to attempt to lighten your sorrow by any words of sympathy, but I do want you to know of my interested share in your grief and my pride in the sons of Ohio who have so gallantly made the supreme sacrifice in the great cause of the Republic in this epochal conflict to maintain our ideals of liberty and civilization. May this knowledge serve to temper your great sorrow.
Very truly yours,
Warren G. Harding.

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This page created 28 July 2004 and last updated 23 March, 2011
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