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Stories of Service

You can search for the name or unit and you will get a list of the stories that contain them.

A Tradition of Service Logo 75William Anderson

Submitted by: Nathaniel Jenkins, Jr. {Grandson}

5a6631ecdba2d Croix de Guerre

William Anderson was born around 1894. William Anderson served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


My grandfather, William Anderson, a South Carolina native, was a real American War Hero. He was a quiet and warm man, a jack-of-all-trades born in the late1800s, and he lived a humble life in Asheville, North Carolina. He was part of an all-black regiment that fought with French soldiers against the Germans during World War I.

When my mother would take me and my sisters to visit him, he would frequently show us his medal that he had tucked away in an old tarnished tin Sucrets box. The medal, shaped like an Iron Cross backed by crossed swords, was marred with time; and it had an aged green and red ribbon attached. My grandfather would beam with pride every time he displayed the medal, but as little kids we didn’t fully understand the significance of his pride. Apparently, he wanted his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know what he'd done--and to be proud of him.

Many years later, I discovered that Grandfather Anderson's efforts on the battlefield earned him a coveted French medal, the Croix de Guerre or Cross of War, for bravery in combat action. That's the same honor given Audie Murphy, the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II.

Read more: William Anderson

Fred Hitner

Submitted by: Robin Hitner {Great Nephew}

Fred Hitner image

Fred Hitner was born around 1893. Fred Hitner served in World War 1 with the United States Arm . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, I was told that I had great uncle from Nashville, named Fred Hitner, who died in WWI. His name is listed on a World War I memorial statue located in Centennial Park in Nashville that I visited several times growing up. My dad had a picture of his grave and cross located in Belgium (see attached). It appeared to be a temporary mass grave. We had no pictures of himself in our possession. Unfortunately, my dad did not have much information on Fred except for his parent’s names and what look like a typed draft of an obituary.

This unofficial obituary stated that he “lost his life in Waeregham, [Waregem] Belgium in the service of his country on November 11, 1918.” I could never find an official newspaper obituary. Other documents such as the Gold Star Records from the Tennessee State Library and Archives listed the same date and place. I thought how interesting that he died on the last day of war. I became extremely interested in finding out how and where he died.

Knowing that Fred was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, I paid a visit to see his grave. To my astonishment, he had no gravestone. His father and his second wife are buried on the other side of the cemetery. Again, this speaks to my belief that my great grandfather disowned Fred. Fred was buried next to his mother, maternal grandmother and his first stepdad Martin Givens. I talked to the cemetery office manager who instructed me on how to obtain a free headstone from the Department of Veterans Affairs. I only had to pay the cemetery to set up the gravestone.

Around 2014, a cousin gave me a copy of a certificate of recognition presented to Fred’s father by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. It included his picture, enlisted date of service, branch of service, and that he died from wounds on 11/11/1918. The picture is the only one I have of him. I believe this information came from the Gold Star Records.

Read more: Fred Hitner

John Elco

Submitted by: Josh Hanna 

John Elco mugJohn Elco served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 7, 1917-1919.


Seventeen year old John William Elco traveled from his home in Donora to Pittsburgh to enlist in the Pennsylvania National Guard on June 7, 1917, less than a month shy of his 18th birthday.

Elco became a machine gunner in the 111th Infantry--part of the Keystone Division praised by General Pershing. His overseas service in 1918 was with E Company of the 19th Engineering Regiment (Transportation Corps) in France..

He left France in April 1919 but had a lifelong affinity with the US Army, serving again on the home front in WWII where he rose to the rank of Major in 1944 in command of the 3rd Battalion, 10th Regiment. He was finally discharged from the service on June 1, 1951.

Read more: John Elco

Harry Malott

Submitted by: Gerri Brown

no photo 300Photo submitted by Jody McDonald, 1st cousin 2x removed.Harry Malott served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 04/03/1917-11/1918.

Story of Service


Veteran of World War 1
Enlisted - April 3, 1917 – Discharged-Nov. 1918
Landing in Hoboken, New Jersey
Paraded in New York City, N.Y.

On April 3, 1917 Harry Malott and his cousin Oliver Smith came to Canton, Illinois to enlist in the army in World War 1. Harry returned from the War In 1918. He had been wounded a couple times but never went to a doctor. His cousin Oliver was killed in battle in World War 1. Oliver is buried in France.

When applying for enlistment in the U. S. Army on April 3, 1917, when weighing in Harry was too light and they were going to reject him. He left and drank a lot of water to add weight and returned to weigh again. He was sworn in April 6, 1917, Company 1, 18th infantry as a Wagoner. He served overseas in Europe in World War 1 in France and Germany.

Returning home after the war ended. The troop ship was previously a cattle transport boat, & to keep down sea sickness he said that he ate onions that were kept in crate to feed the whales. Upon returning to U. S. soil the ship landed in Hoboken, New Jersey & the group of soldiers were transported to New York City where along with other soldiers they paraded through the center of New York City . When they landed thy left guns, mess kit, Cups, etc all in a large pile. He later was able to retrieve a mess kit and metal cup (not his own).

Read more: Harry Malott

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Ollis Bryant Ferguson

Submitted by: Robert Bruce Ferguson {great-nephew)

Ollis Ferguson image

Ollis Bryant Ferguson was born around 1887. Ollis Ferguson served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Ollis Bryant Ferguson was born in 1887. Ollis was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1918. He had a brother and several cousins at the French front. Unlike so many, Ollis survived The Great War.

After Ollis was inducted at Kelly Field, Texas (near San Antonio); he attended aviation school. Ollis served overseas from June of 1918 until September of 1919. He was in several aero squadrons, but his precise duties are a mystery. At one point during the war to end all wars, he was reportedly shot down while working for the “British Air Service.”

Ollis enlisted as a Private but left the service as a Sergeant 1st Class.

Read more: Ollis Bryant Ferguson

William Anthony Hemmick

Submitted by: Patricia Daly-Lipe {great niece}


5ca385b91412a Pictures 0 mugWilliam Anthony Hemmick was born around 1886. William Hemmick served in World War 1 with a non-government service organization. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


In 1917, the United States entered World War I. Cardinal Gibbons had been a chaplain in the Civil War and shared some of his experiences during that war with William. Thus, when William, who had by then been ordained, requested permission to serve the troops, Cardinal Gibbons agreed.

Father Hemmick arrived in Paris August, 1917, and became Captain in the "Croix Rouge." His sensitivity, his bravery, his compassion were felt by all who knew my great uncle. He served on the front lines at the battle of Picardy, giving last rights and burying the dead.

After the war, when he returned to Washington, great uncle William was proclaimed the "Patriot Priest of Picardy" by the Army and Navy. He returned to Paris and established the American Catholic Welfare Centre for all those who had been traumatized by the war.

Read more: William Anthony Hemmick

Harry Henry Zoleman

Submitted by: Patricia Smith {granddaughter}

Harry Zoleman image

Harry Henry Zoleman born around January 17,1895. Harry Zoleman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


My grandfather was the first of many who listened, from his hometown of Doe Run Mo. Who went from Private First Class in 1918, came to sergeant.

His daughter was my mother, Leora Zoleman Simon. She got a lot of items from his picture when it hung in living room wall for many years, where his eyes were following every where you would go.

My grandfather had pictures of his company L 138 th infantrymen, where he served in the war with, where they all on a ship called Missanabie, going to Saint-Nazaire France, 1918.  I am very proud of my grandfather, wish I had got to know him.


William C. Anderson

Submitted by: Donna Blews {Granddaughter}

William J AndersonWilliam J Anderson born around 1899. William Anderson served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


William Anderson was born in New Britain, Ct. Grew up in New Britain,Ct.,and joined the Connecticut National Guard ...he was E.Pvt.,Co.I,1st Regt.Conn.Inf.,N.G. Feb 22, 1917...he was called to service March 26, 1917 and then drafted into the U.S. Service August 5,1917.

He was transfered to Co.I,102nd Infantry., R.S.O.152, 26th Yankee division...he served in France and fought at St.Mihiel, Verdun, Chateau Theirry, Siechwprey and was wounded in action twice, severely on July 22, 1918  in the right leg and loosing his left index finger. He became part of the AEF September 16, 1917 to March 25, 1918.

He was honorably discharged April 4th, 1919.

Read more: William C Anderson

Joseph M. Connors

Submitted by: Claude A. Poirier {Commander, American Legion Post named after Veteran}

Joseph Connor image

Joseph M. Connos was born around 1893. Joseph Connors served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1911 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


The history of Legion Post #139 is intertwined with the history of the town tor the past half century, the post having celebrated its jubilee year In 1969, along with the National American Legion.

Early 1n 1919, Edward N. Wilson, expressing the sentiment ot the majority of returned WWI servicemen, applied to the Mass. state secretary of the American Legion, Leo A. Spillane, for permission to form a local American Legion post. A formative meeting as held an July 19, 1919 at the Ayer Board of Trade, with 35 men present.

Dr. Bertrand H. Hopkins was elected temporary chairman and Mr, Wilson temporary secretary. It was voted unanimously to form a post and to apply for a charter.The name of the Post was decided on after contemplating six names submitted by a committee. It honors Sergeant Joseph M. Connors, Machine Gun Company, 26th U.S. Infantry, First Division, who was Killed in Action.  Sgt. Connors fell in the battle for Exermont, near Very, on the heights of the Aire, on October 4, 1918.

Read more: Joseph M. Connors

Edward Otis Martin

Submitted by: Lynne F Loss {great niece}


edward martin mugEdward Otis Martin was born around 1897. Edward Martin served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service


Edward Otis Martin was born in Orleans, Indiana in 1897. Enlisted in WW I in the Army Medical Corp. as a Private. Attached photo of his unit. His name signed as ED.


Read more: Edward Otis Martin

Wilbur Raymond Welton

Submitted by: Randy Harvey {Great Nephew}

Wilnur Raymond Welton

Wilbur Raymond Welton born around 1892. Wilbur Welton served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Wilbur Welton enlisted on September 5th,1917 and underwent training at Camp Sherman, Chillcothe Ohio. Upon completion of training he was assigned to the 83 Infantry Division, Co. F, 308th Engenieers.

Welton was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on May 21st, 1918 while serving in France from February 27, 1918 to June 10th, 1919. He was Honorably discharged from service June 1919.

Wilbur Welton went on to very good job after his Army experience, married and had one son. He died in August 1969 in Elwood City Pa. He lies resting at Eastlake Cemetery alongside wife Abigail, in North Kingsville Ohio just a few hundred yards from the house that he was born in.

Read more: Wilbur Raymond Welton


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