This is the continuation of a series of stories about men who died in World War 1, and whose photographs appeared in a publication called “Our Nation’s Roll of Honor.” The original post and explanation can be found at this link. There will also be a complete listing of all the names researched at that same blog post.
LOST FACES OF WORLD WAR ONE: Our Nation’s Roll of Honor — Part Thirteen
William Dewey Kershaw was born 13 March 1898 in Coffeen, Montgomery County, Illinois , son of John Wesley & Seyrena/Ceyrena A. (Lawson) Kershaw. He was killed in action 29 May 1918 at the Battle of Cantigny in France. he was the first Montgomery Co. IL boy killed in action.
He enlisted 4 April 1917 and served as a Private,
Company E., 18th Infantry, 1st Division. Originally buried in France, his remains were returned to the United States in 1921. He is probably buried in the Coffeen area, but his burial spot is unknown.
He grew up in East Fork, Montgomery Co. IL, in a family of mostly coal miners. Siblings included: Ora, Belle A., Alvin, Lula M., Jesse E., Nellie F., Eula P., Thomas F., Clem E., Mildred and Doris Marie.
The Kershaw-Harmer Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1306 in Taylor Springs is named in his honor (along with Tony F. Harmer who also died in WW1) and was established in 1939.
John E. King, son of James Monroe & Nancy J. (Macon) King was born and grew up in Asheboro, Randolph County, North Carolina. He enlisted in the regular Army of the United States at Charlotte October 1915.
He saw active service on the Mexican border, at one time suffering a wound in his neck when chasing bandits who had captured a man and two girls at Big Bend, Texas. He went to France in the summer of 1917 with the first of General Pershing’s soldiers. At the time of his death, he was in the Signal Section of Head Quarter’s Company, 18th Infantry, 1st Division. He was wounded on 28 May 1918, and died from those wounds on June 2, 1918. He was cited for bravery and for meritorious service.
He was first buried in Flanders, France, and then in April of 1921 his body was returned to Asheboro, attended by a military escort. He was 21 years old at the time of his death. He is buried at Flag Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery, Asheboro NC.
He was the grandson of Vinson & Louise (Cramford) King, and great-grandson of Frank & Mary (Malone) King. See the following newspaper clippings for more details, and information about his siblings.
The Courier (Asheboro, North Carolina) 13 June 1918, Thu–FIRST RANDOLPH MAN SLAIN
Private John E. King, of Asheboro Star Route, Gives Life in Battling With the Hun
The dark shadow of the war was cast over Randolph county last Sunday morning, when Mr. J.M. King, Asheboro Star Route, received the following telegram from the War Department: “We deeply regret to inform you that it is officially announced that Private John E. King, infantry, died June 2, from wounds received in action.”
Private King enlisted in the regular army of the United States at Charlotte, October 1915. He saw active service on the Mexican border, at one time suffering a wound in the neck when chasing bandits who had captured a man and two girls at Big Bend, Texas. He went to France last summer with the first of Pershing’s soldiers. At the time of his death, the Randolph boy was in the Signal Section, H.Q. Co., 18th Infantry, 1st Division.
Private King was in the 22nd year of his age. He is survived by his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. King and several brothers and sisters.
The Courier (Asheboro, North Carolina) 11 July 1918–PRIVATE JOHN E. KING DIED A HERO
Mr. J.M. King of Asheboro Star Route, has received a personal letter from Capt. G.T. MacKenzie, of Headquarters Company, 18th Infantry, France, in regard to the death of his son, Private John E. King who died June 2, from wounds received on May 28. Capt. MacKenzie, who was Private King’s immediate commanding officer, speaks in highest terms of the young soldier who gave his life for his country. Assuring Mr. King of the sympathy of himself and Private King’s comrades, apt. MacKenzie complimented the father on having such a son, “who, in the face of greatest danger, offered himself as a sacrifice freely and honorable for the sake of those at home.” Private King was characterized as a “true friend and a brave comrade, always ready to do his share of whatever hardships might arise.” Mr. Corbett Scott, of The Courier force, who was a boyhood friend of Private King, received a letter from him, dated May 24, just four days before the mortal wound was received, in which the soldier expressed himself as enjoying life. Private King said that he had received some copies of The Courier and had enjoyed reading them very much. He was especially in “Over The Top,” by Arthur Guy Empey, which he said seemed to be a true picture of life in the battle area, so far as he had seen.
Private King spoke of the fine what crops in France, but thought it unfortunate that the French people make the wheat into black bread. However he said the black bread went like chocolate cake.
22 Aug 1918, The Union Republican, Winston-Salem, NC
Mrs. J.M. King, Asheboro Star Route, on Monday, received a letter from the Treasury Department with an enclosed check of $57.50 which is a monthly payment on her son John E. King’s $10,000 insurance policy. Mr. King died in action on June 2nd. His parents received notice on June 1st that he had taken out $10,000 insurance. The letter from the Treasury Department says the payments will be made from the 3rd of June 1918 to June 3, 1938.
14 April 1921 The Courier (Asheboro, North Carolina): BODY OF PRIVATE JOHN E. KING ARRIVES in ASHEBORO. Burial was at Flag Springs April 3rd.
The body of John E. King arrived in Asheboro Saturday April 3. Mr. King was killed in action near Cantigny, France, June 2nd, 1918. For some time it was thought that Mr. King was the first Randolph county soldier to make the supreme sacrifice. Later it was found that Eddie Sledge was killed about May 28th, and so far we are able to ascertain that he was the first Randolph county soldier killed in the late war.
Mr. King had a splendid record. He was cited for bravery and for meritorious service. He joined the army at the age of 18, serving on the Mexican border for a year and a half, after which time he went to France as a member of Headquarters Company of the 18th Infantry, First division. He was 21 years of age at the time of his death. His body was buried in Flanders fields and was taken up and arrived in New York March 18th. The body was accompanied to Asheboro by a military escort. Mr. King was a son of Mr. and Mrs. J.M. King of Asheboro. He is survived by both parents, and give brothers: C.C. [Charles C.], J.C. [James C.], Ross, Wister and Kermit; and two sisters: Annie [Anna D.] and Ila. The funeral was held at Flag Springs, April 3rd, the service being conducted by Rev. W.F. McDowell. He was assisted by Mrs. Angel Cox. Mr. McDowell, having passed through a similar sorrow as that of Mr. and Mrs. King, spoke feelingly of the death of the young man. His son, Sergeant T.J. McDowell, was also killed in France. The young man acting as military escort told Mr. King that there and now thousands of bodies lying at Hoboken waiting to be taken to their homes in different parts of the country. Sergeant McDowell’s body has reached New York and will probably arrive in Asheboro the last of the week.
The news of Sergeant Harry Kleins’s death in Europe, Killed in Action in World War I was published in several newspapers on June 27, 1918. His burial record shows that he died 20 May 1918 at the age of 23 (just prior to the Battle of Cantigny, that began on May 27th of 1918). Just prior to Cantigny, the United State’s 1st Division entered the front lines west of Montdidier (Somme) as part of a French corps and army. Possibly Harry Klein was part of this group.
Harry Klein was born February 1894 in Austria [Sasow, Galicia], son of Victor/Widgor & Lena Klein. He immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1895, when Harry was about a year old. He grew up in Manhattan, New York City (1900) and in Newark, New Jersey (1910), where his father was involved with glass-making.
In 1910 while his family was living on Broome Street in Newark, New Jersey, a then 15-year old Harry Klein was working as a “wrapper” in a local department store. He died in France prior to June 27, 1918, and is buried in Union Field, adjacent to B’nai Abraham Cemetery, in Newark New Jersey [see online burial registry just below].
A newspaper clipping during that time corroborates my separate research. The Evening World (New York, New York) 26 June 1918 Wednesday. “Sergt. Harry Klein, killed in action was born in Austria 23 years ago and came to this country in his infancy with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wigdor Klein. After seven years’ residence in Manhattan the family settled in Newark and lived at No. 209 Broome Street where they had a grocery business when Harry, the oldest son, enlisted with the Regular army four years ago. He was in the first contingent of American troops which sailed for France. He is survived by his parents, three brothers, and two sisters. “
Jewish Online Burial Registry
Name: Harry Klein
Hebrew Name: Zvi Yehuda
Birth Date: abt 1895
Death Date: 20 May 1918
Age at Death: 23
Burial Plot: Row01-#06R
Burial Place: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Father Name: Abigdur
Other Comments: Oesterriche Ungarishe
Cemetery: Union Field
Cemetery Address: 532 South Orange Avenue
Cemetery Burials: 109
Cemetery Comments: The main entrance is on South Orange Avenue in Newark between South 19th Street and Grove Street. It is adjacent to B’nai Abraham Cemetery. The cemetery extends south from 532 South Orange Avenue to 14th Avenue in Irvington.
Besides his parents, his family consisted of siblings, Jacob Klein (b 8 Feb 1892 Austria), Annie, Elsie, Yettie, Nathan, and Aaron. Harry’s father Vitor/Wigdor Klein was born in July 1869 in Austria, and arrived in the United States March 15, 1895. He was naturalized at NY District Court in Brooklyn NY on June 7, 1902. His occupation: glassware.
Edward G. Kohl was born 27 Feb 1900 in Missouri,
son of a meatcutter and his wife, Julius & Sarah A. (Tayon) Kohl. His siblings included: Mattie, James, Frank, Virginia, Charles, Elmer, Edwin, Alice and John.
He was a Private 1st Class, Company K, 138th Infantry
35th Division at the time of his death on 27 Sep 1918. During WW1 the 35th Infantry went overseas on 7 May 1918, arriving on 11 May 1918 in Le Havre, France. The 35th Infantry served in the Vosges, Alsace, and in the Meuse-Argonne from 21 to 30 September 1918, during the time that Private Edward G. Kohl was killed. His division had 7,296 casualties, 1,018 of those killed in action. [See history of the 35th Infantry]. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri.
Elwood Floyd Kresge, son of Wilson A. & Clara (Roller/Royer) Kresge, was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, November 2, 1891. According to his published biography, “His mother, becoming an invalid when he was not yet seven years of age, he went to live with his aunt, Mrs. E.J. Royer, coming to Northampton in 1901. He enlisted in the air service, July 19, 1917, and was commissioned a pilot, April 25, 1918. He sailed for France, August following and fell at Coblenz [Germany], April 25, 1919. He was a member of the Grace Reformed congregation.”
Elwood’s father was a commercial salesman of woman and ladies hosiery. He had one sibling, a brother Harold Wilson Kresge, who died in 1960 and was never married.
Elwood F. Kresge had enlisted in the aviation corp in July 1917, and took the ground course at Ohio University. He was transferred to Rich Field, Waco, Texas, as an aviator. After finishing the training there he went to Camp Dick, Texas; then to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and to complete his aerial training to Talioferro Field, Fort Worth, Texas. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in 25 April 1918, and assigned to 278th Aero Squadron until his death.
Elwood F. Kresge served overseas August 15, 1918 to death on 25 April 1919 in an “aeroplane accident.” World War I had officially ended on 11 November 1918, but his squadron remained in Europe. The book, Welcome home: Official souvenir, Northampton, Pennsylvania, compiled by Rev. John Baer Stoudt explains what happened:
“The Third Army staged a so-called carnival on an island in the Rhine, in which the Air Service played an important part by furnishing aerial feats for the spectators. My own group, together with various observation outfits were elected to stage the show. From the 278th, Kresge and Moore were sent up here to the show, they being the pick of the Squadron for the mission. Their program consisted of a photographic contest, message dropping, etc., competing with Salmsons, Bregnets and other two place machines for speed, accuracy and general efficiency. I met Kresge and Moore upon their arrival in Coblenz and was with them the greater part of the time up to the time of the fatality. Both were very much enthused over their prospects, Kresge did some exceedingly good flying, always playing the game safe and using his head. No fancy flying or fool chances at all, perfectly sober and cautious, just one of those unforeseen accidents in which Fate seems to play so strongly.”
“On the day of the crash, Kresge landed on our field, and the mechanics put chucks under his wheels and tested out his motor, which he thought to be missing. After the test and some minor repairs, he took off, his motor running perfectly, climbed to about 300 feet and began to circle the field. The nose of the machine was seen to suddenly drop and the machine dropped into a vrille, crashing into the ground with terrible force. Both Kresge and Moore were instantly killed, being badly mangled. The machine did not catch fire.”
…. “There is no doubt in my mind but that something, either the observer’s foot, his camera or a gun magazine fell into the cockpit, jamming the rudder, for considering the sudden dip of the nose and the way in which he used his motor and elevators to escape…. shows me conclusively that his control was jammed…. Shortly after the crash I examined the controls, but things were so broken up and scattered that nothing could be ascertained. Our doctor, ambulance, etc, arrived shortly, they were quickly released, but both had been instantly killed.”
“I personally saw that Captain Heisen was notified, assumed charge of the personal effects, procured metal caskets, and arranged for the funeral. Capt. Heisen arrived the next day and we buried them today, just behind the airdome–a solemn informal affair, but one which hurt me greatly. I shall have crosses made and erected showing their names and organizations and in the event you or any of his relatives come this way to witness.”
The body of Elwood F. Kresge was removed in a later year to the United States. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.