Since this past April marked the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War One, often referred to as “The Great War,” I thought readers might be interested in learning a little more about Rush County’s participation in that conflict.
What prompted me to pick this topic was the view of the rows of white crosses I can see from my window on the courthouse lawn.
What follows are excerpts about the county’s participation in WWI from the “Genealogy Trails History Group” website. “War had been raging with unprecedented intensity and barbarous cruelty for nearly three years [when] Congress declared war on Germany. All Europe was ablaze, every nation of importance was an armed camp. Immediately after the declaration of war, this country forgot everything but how…to drive the Hun from bleeding France and Belgium. Soon millions of men were in camp. Thousands already were in the field, having joined the Canadian, English or French forces. Transportation was the great problem, for the ocean was alive with submarines and the seas scoured by German raiders. But this problem, like all others, was solved, and two million soldiers under the Stars and Stripes were soon in Europe, and among them hundreds from Rush county. Only two units were organized in Rush County, but the miscellaneous enlistment was large. Company B, Fourth regiment, Indiana National Guard, under Capt. John H. Kiplinger and Lieutenants Blacklidge, Kreber and Gartin, with 132 enlisted men left on August 19, 1917, for Camp Shelby, near Hattiesburg, Miss. Here, as everywhere, state troops lost their identity and became United States troops, so that tracing Rush county men is made most difficult. This company from Rush County, with few exceptions, reached France, many of them seeing hard fighting.
“The second military organization formed in Rush County after the declaration of war, was a sanitary corps, which was recruited by Dr. Lowell M. Green, of Rushville, in July, 1917. The unit, consisting of thirty-three men, thirty-one of whom were residents of this county, was mustered into the Federal service on August 5, as the Infirmary of the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Field Artillery. After a month’s training at Camp Wolfe, in Rushville, the company was ordered to Fort Benjamin Harrison, at Indianapolis, and on September 28, was transferred to Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Miss. Prior to their departure from Rushville, a mess fund, raised by popular subscription, and aggregating $725, was presented to the officers and members of the company as a patriotic offering of the citizens of the county.
“One of the happiest movements to honor the new company was the raising of funds for the purchase of a company flag. The formal presentation of the flag was made the occasion for the largest, the most inspiring, local demonstration of the year’s war period.
“On Sunday, August 19, Company B received telegraphic orders to proceed to Camp Shelby, at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on the following day. When it became known that the military unit was to start for the training camp, a mass meeting was called in Rushville, and arrangements hurriedly made for a community dinner to be served in the Knights of Pythias hall at noon on the day of the company’s departure.
“After the dinner the company marched to the court house grounds, where farewell addresses were delivered by Judge Will M. Sparks and Rev. M. W. Lyons. Later the company entrained and a great crowd witnessed its departure. After long delay and much hard training the organization finally landed in France. It was returned to the United States and mustered out in January 1919.
“During the time of America’s participation in the World war 3,318 men and fourteen nurses from Indiana paid the supreme sacrifice. This number includes all those who were killed in action, who died from wounds, of disease, and those who died from accidents or other causes. Of this number seventeen men were from Rush County, as follows, the name of the deceased soldier, with next of kin and post office address being given: John Frederick Beale, Mrs. Hattie J. Beale (mother), Rushville; Raymond T. Boring, Mrs. Mary Boring (mother), R.F.D. No. 3, Rushville; Elbert H. Cox. Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Cox (parents), Rushville; John W. Deerin, Mr. and Mrs. George Deerin (parents), R.F.D. No. 6, Rushville; Charles E. Garrison, Mrs Flora Pea (sister), Rushville; Walter Gartin, Mr. and Mrs. James W. Gartin (parents), Rushville, now living at Whittier, Calif.; Oval Harlan Green, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Green (parents), Milroy; Raymond Hamilton, Mrs. Edith Hamilton McKee (mother), Rushville; Marshall Ney Innis, Mr. and Mrs. Wade H. Innis (parents), Milroy; William C. Jackson, Mrs. Flora Jackson (mother), Rushville; Ross V. Kennedy, Mrs. Katherine V. Kennedy (mother), Carthage; Frederick Kessler, Fred Kessler (father), R.F.D., No. 2, Manilla; Lewis M. Kirkpatrick, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Kirkpatrick (parents), R.F.D. No. 9, Rushville; Cyrus E. Patterson, Mrs. Myrtle Hittle (sister), Manilla; George Lewis Posey, Mrs. Alta Posey (widow), Rushville; Raymond B. Rardin, Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Rardin (parents), Milroy, and James Joseph Shanahan. James Shanahan (father), R.F.D. No. 8, Rushville. Source: Gold Star Honor Roll: A Record of Indiana Men and Women who died in the service of the United States and the Allied Nations in the World War, 1914-1918.”
That’s –30—for this week.