Madison County ILGenWeb                              


Births      Black History      Cemeteries      Census      Churches      Civil War Prison      County History      Deaths      Links      Marriages

Military      Miscellaneous      Newspaper Clips      Obituaries      Paranormal      Photo Album      Piasa Bird      Schools      Site Map

Surnames      Wann Disaster      Wood River Massacre

Home Page


Madison County During World War I


Post War News and Information


Back to World War I Main Page


FENSTERMAN, MARY - Shot by Sister During Celebration of Armistice
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 12, 1918
The peace celebration of Monday morning was the cause of the shooting of Miss Mary Fensterman of 519 Lawton street, by her sister, Miss Clara Fensterman, in an accidental manner. The condition of Miss Fensterman is not considered serious and no bad complications are expected by the attending physician. On hearing of the armistice being signed, the Fensterman family arose and went down town, returning home about 6 o'clock. When they got home Miss Clara Fensterman got out a revolver and was going to load it when it exploded and accidently shot Miss Mary Fensterman. The shot went in at the side, down toward the abdomen. A physician was summoned who examined the injury and stated that it was only a flesh wound. The bullet did not come out and the physician did not make any attempt to get it, fearing to create a more serious condition. Today Miss Fensterman was reported as resting easy. Upon hearing the good news yesterday, the Fensterman family was highly elated, as their son and brother, Ben Fensterman, is serving the colors in France. The Misses Fensterman are employed at Western, and have made shells for the boys to fire into the Germans. Recently the family received a letter from their son and brother, in which he wrote that he was unpacking boxes of Western shells which he knew his sisters had assisted in manufacturing. The Fensterman girls are daughters of Mrs. Emma Fensterman. The family recently came here from Bunker Hill to reside.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1918
The funeral of Mrs. B. Wiemers, who died from joy at the prospect of her son, Grover, returning alive from France the day after the armistice was signed, was held today from the home southeast of Bethalto, and was attended by many neighbors and friends. Services were conducted at the home, and burial was in the Bethalto cemetery. Mrs. Wiemers [sic] was the mother of 12 children, and six of them were at the funeral. The other living one is a United States soldier "over there." She was more than 80 years old, and it is said was completely overcome with joy when she heard the peace news. Reaction followed and she collapsed.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 19, 1918

One soldier has announced that he will present a whistle to his mother, in order that he will get up PROMPTLY in the morning and be dressed in time for breakfast. While on the other hand, another stated he will proclaim martial law if anyone has a whistle or gun in the house. Some wise gink will make a fortune selling a book of instructions on dressing in civilian clothes. A married old-timer has threatened his wife with a divorce if she ever serves him prunes after the war. At restaurants we may be apt to forget and say, "Waiter, bring me some ham and eggs. No. AS YOU WERE. Make it a steak." In our sleep, we may be reciting the general orders. Some wives will be smart and devise general orders for the household. As our employers enter the office, we may, through force of habit, arise quickly and stand at attention. Even ex-officers may become absent-minded and say, "Rest," upon seeing his friends. We'll never forget to salute (we can't after the way it's been pounded into our craniums). Unconsciously, we'll salute many people when we intend merely to say, "hello." At our meals, we are apt to pick up our plate, glass, knife, fork and spoon and walk around the table for "seconds." By the way, many of us will have to learn how to use a knife and fork again. Smelling salts should be on the table for the first few weeks of civilian life, for we may faint upon seeing butter, cream, sugar, hot cakes, and homemade pie. Squirrel hunters may suddenly think of "Ready! Aim! Fire!" and spoil their chances of getting the game by unconsciously going through the positions. Perhaps many will see if their right arm is "horizontal and parallel to the ground." Instead of "Giddap," farmers to tomorrow may use, "Forward, March," and "Halt," instead of "Whoa!" Husbands may experience a shock when wifey dear says, "We'll have a little K-P tonight." Wifey will learn how to wash without soap, sew without a thimble, and cook without grease. Soldiers learn lots of handy (?) things.  - Camp Pike Soldier.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 19, 1918

We'll all feel gay, when Johnny comes marching home. And Johnny is going to come marching home, and a good many Johnnies at that, from present indications. Press dispatches tell that at Camp Dix, N. J., orders have been issued for the immediate demobilization of the depot brigades and the development battalions at that camp, and the indications are that what will take place at Camp Dix will take place at all the other camps with surprising swiftness. A few Alton boys are still at Camp Dix, though most of them were sent overseas long ago. In this country, at various places, are perhaps 150 Alton boys, scattered here and there, who will come home with the first move at demobilization. That will give considerable relief to shortage of help in many industries and in many places of business and on some of the farms in this vicinity. Many of the boys who are in camps in this country have been there for a long time, having failed to pass the overseas examination, or having been kept in this country for work here for which they were specially adapted. A few of the young men who won commissions in the first officers training schools were never sent out of the United States. It is probably they will be among the first to be discharged with the demobilization of the troops in the home camps.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 16, 1918

The Telegraph today carries an advertisement for Campbell & Reed, announcing that they will hold a public sale Saturday, December 28, of all the equipment and the appurtenances of the war horse stock yards near East Alton, where many thousands of "war horses" were kept during the war. The sale will dispose of an immense amount of lumber and other property that was used in the stockade. It was from this stockade that the stampede occurred early in the history of the stockyards. One night the animals escaped, and hundreds of them wandered over the country doing great damage to themselves and the property over which they traveled. It is said on good authority that the stampede cost Campbell & Reed $100,000. The made settlement with the farmers who claimed losses, and later on they received a check for the full amount from the British government. In addition to damaging property, the horses hurt themselves, many of them dying, some being killed by trains, and some contracting incurable diseases. It was one of the biggest stampedes ever know, and the cost was probably the heaviest. The place has not been used for a long time, as the British government disposed of its horses and ceased to buy horses some time ago. The buying of horses for use in the armies of the Allies in France was a big enterprise that brought millions of dollars to horse owners. They helped clean up the stock of horses ahead of the general beginning of use of motor trucks, which have taken the places of the horses that were sent over to war.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 17, 1918

Alton is beginning to receive back into her population dozens and dozens of the soldier boys who have been in training camps in this country. Some of these who have been longest away have not been sent back, though they have been in camps in this country all the time. It is expected that the boys from overseas will soon be strolling in on their home folks. It is believed that some Alton boys have landed at New York in the last few days, some of them wounded. Those severely wounded and still unrecovered from their wounds will probably be sent to hospitals in this country to finish their convalescence, but those who have recovered may be sent to their homes as soon as they can undergo a physical examination. Many Alton homes are anxiously awaiting tidings from the boys overseas, some of whom still remain unheard from for a long time, and their names have not been published in the casualty lists.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 17, 1919

Not a man carrying a discharge from the service is being rejected when he applies for a job at the Standard Oil Co., Wood River refinery, according to a man who has been watching. The Standard is doing its utmost patriotic duty in giving the preference to men who have been in the service of their country and have come back looking for jobs. Whether this is a country-wide order of the Standard Oil Co., or is merely a manifestation of the sympathy of the heads of departments at the Wood River plant, is not stated. The Telegraph's informant said that while many, many civilians who apply for work at the refinery are refused, as there is not enough work for all, no man who can show he has been honorably discharged from the government service goes away without being given work, when he applied. It is up to the applicant, after that, to make good. The Standard has not yet begun to receive the materials which will be used in constructing the big addition to the Wood River  refinery, but much work is being done preparatory to beginning the construction work, and the soldiers have plenty to do. It is expected that the construction work will be well under way within a few weeks at the Wood River refinery.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 15, 1919

Eight Alton young men who have been serving in the 37th Division, Ohio National Guard, are expected home today or tomorrow from Camp Grant, where they were discharged after nine months' service overseas. They were given their discharges Sunday at camp. The boys left Alton April 30, 1918 for Camp Dix, N. J., and were transferred from there to Camp Lee. They were used to help fill up the Ohio National Guard Division before it sailed for France. This division saw some hard fighting, and was one of the divisions which, after the Germans began their retreat across the Rhine, was detailed to follow them up. First the division was in the Vosges sector and got their training under fire. The Alton boys in this division were in the great drive along the Meuse river and in the Muese-Argonne offensive, which ended at the gates of Sedan. This division also was placed under the direct command of the King of Belgium. Altogether these Alton boys saw much active service and come back home with a duty well performed. Another party of soldiers, consisting of John Balley, J. C. Adams, Burr Barton, Ben Rose, William Alexander, Edward Derwin, arrived home this morning. They have been in the 30th, or Old Hickory Division, which had a very active part in the last few months of the war and suffered heavy casualties. It was this division that captured some very strong positions on the Hindenburg line near Beilicourt, Sept. 29 on a front of 3,000 yards.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 28, 1919

A tablet is to be erected in Alton to the memory of the Alton boys who lost their lives in service, and steps will be taken at once to carry out the plan proposed and voted upon last Saturday by members of Ninian Edwards Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. The tablet containing the name of the Alton boys will be a work of art, and will be placed on the city hall or in some other place of equal prominence. The committee in charge of the work of getting up the tablet is headed by Mrs. O. G. Norris. Alton has a long list of names of boys who lost their lives after donning the uniform of Uncle Sam, the last being that of Carl Scherer, who died Saturday night at Camp Shelby, Miss., after a two days' illness. Among the boys who have answered the call of death are:


Maurice Walter Edward Kniery Fred Glassbrenner Harry Engelhardt Elden Betts
Dolph Barker Charles Maguire Joseph Lippoldt William Epps Cary Waples
Frank Caldwell Carl Scherer Bert Russell Earl Osborne  





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 30, 1919

A great patriotic parade for Alton to be held next Wednesday is being planned by the Publicity Committee of the Victory Liberty Loan. It was given out today by Joseph Goeken, chairman of the committee, that it had been decided to go ahead with the patriotic parade, and that those invited to take part are all men who have served their country in any uniformed branch of the service. The returned soldiers, sailors, marine and aviators are asked to wear their uniforms and help make a fine showing. In addition to these, the women of the Red Cross have been invited to participate in the parade, as they did once before. The Western Military Academy with its band will be in the lineup, and so will the White Hussars band and the Upper Alton Drum Corps. Bands nearby also are invited to come. The parade will be for all returned men who have served their country, but primarily will take in the soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators of the Alton district, which comprises Alton, Godfrey, Wood River, and Foster townships. The plan is to form the parade at the baseball park in the East End about 7 o'clock next Wednesday evening, and to move west to the city hall where there will be speech making. The committee is trying to get some special features for the parade. Also: A smoker is announced to be held Monday night at the armory on the riverfront for all men who have returned from the service. It will be a get-together meeting for them, and arrangements will be made then for the men to participate in the parade.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 8, 1919

Alton's first parade of war heroes was held last night when about 200 discharged men marched in an effort to boost the Victory Liberty Loan. In the parade also were the White Hussar Band, the local unit of the Red Cross, the colored members of the Red Cross, two wounded men, Leo Willis and Jason Bramhall in an automobile, the soldiers, sailors and machines, and the Western Military Academy cadets and the Upper Alton Drum Corps, in the order named. Preceding the soldiers was a colorguard, composed of a soldier, sailor and marine. One soldier carried a complete pack to give Alton people an idea of how much a soldier carries when on the march. The soldiers were applauded as they passed the crowds on the streets. The men of the 30th Division formed one unit, and the remainder of the men formed three platoons, completely officered, and were followed by the navy unit. The scene as the boys marched through the streets was one that was most impressive. It was easy to see who the lions of the evening were - it was the boys who had seen service overseas and those who had offered to go overseas but had not been fortunate enough to go, and especially it was the two lads who rode in the ambulance, victims of German missiles. There was always a little demonstration from some, as the soldier boys came in sight, but it was evident the crowd was in no mood for handclapping, no mood for cheering. A city like Alton that went over the top on every work that came up had deeper sentiments expressed by its works, than could be expressed by mere lip service or outbursts of cheering. As the boys who have come home swung through the streets, there would be some handclapping, but nothing like a general uproar. The observer in the crowd noticed that the crowd seemed to be impressed and laboring under emotions that were too deep for uproarious expressions. Many are still waiting for their boys to come home; some will never see their boys; and others were just simply so glad to see the boys home there was no chance for anything but just to enjoy the scene in quiet and silence. There were many expressions of a purpose to have one big reception later on, perhaps on the Fourth of July when the boys come back. Then there will be cause of uproar and cheering. It is the sentiment generally that a city like Alton, which showed patriotic devotion as any city in the state has shown, and as few anywhere can at the right time, when nearer the whole number of Alton's soldier boys are home. In the meantime, the only right thing is to buy a Liberty Bond or two of the Victory issue. The soldiers in the Victory Loan parade last night were treated to a feature or real camp life. Gus Crivello, formerly a Knight of Columbus secretary at Texas camps who marched with the soldiers, appeared as a real "Casey" armed with chocolate, gum and cigarettes, provided by the local council of the organization. When he appeared in his secretary's uniform bearing his gifts, the former soldiers gave howls of "Casey, here's Casey." The cigarettes, gum and candy were distributed among the former service men. There was also a former Y. M. C. A. secretary, W. A. Rice, in the parade.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 4, 1919

That none of the boys who went from the Alton industrial district are being left jobless on their return from service of their country's flag, is the statement made by Manager E. B. Seitz, of the Alton Board of Trade, on authority of employers in the district. The Telegraph is informed that employers declare they are hiring all the young men who come back from the service, provided they went from this vicinity. The employers do not intend to guarantee work to all soldiers who may come here, if they come from other places to Alton to seek work. It is considered that under the circumstances, the Alton plants are doing their full duty if they take care of the boys who went away from here. One of the best places for soldiers to get work has been the Standard Oil Refinery at Wood River, where a large number of returned fighting men have been given places regardless of whether they worked there before or whether they went from Alton. The Alton industries were much expanded during the years since the European war began in 1914, and it naturally would be difficult to get work for all men in those plants which have now contracted their working force. There has been no necessary idleness in Alton on the part of the returned soldiers, as all of them are being put back in jobs of some kind until better ones can be had for them. Today word came that Arthur Lemmon, John W. McCann, and John Drulard, would be home from service with the Prairie division, and that jobs were needed for them. The word was sent on that jobs could be had at once.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1919

Alton staged an unannounced homecoming for returning overseas men at Union Depot this morning when a number of people met the 5:45 Chicago and Alton train to greet a group of soldiers recently discharged, the largest to come home at one time. Parents, sisters, brothers and sweethearts gathered at the depot before the train's arrival. Fifteen returning heroes, having done their share in ridding the world of Prussian despotism, and discharged after being in quarantine at Camp Grant, were fondly greeted. Mothers, with tears in their eyes, tear of joy, proudly embraced their hero-sons. Several young boys walked with adoration at the side of their "big brothers," done with the duty of fighting and now returning to the quiet of civil life. One woman at the station was Mrs. Dalph Barker, widow of one of the first Alton men to make the supreme sacrifice on the field of battle. Having made the priceless gift to her country, there was no one for her to greet. She awaited the return of Thomas J. Mooney, who knew of the circumstances of her husband's death, and who first sent word to Alton that Dolph Barker had given up his life for his country, that she might hear more of his deeds and death on the field of battle. The fifteen men this morning formed the largest number of soldiers who have returned to Alton at one time. Among them were Thomas J. Mooney, Roscoe Poole, Robert Lewis, Carl Lenhardt and Herb Powell. Every day Alton men who helped chase the Hun back across the Rhine are returning home. Joseph Hartmann and Joseph Rumple, formerly of the 129th Infantry, who spent 48 consecutive days in the trenches, returned home yesterday. William Schaeffer, formerly assistant manual training instructor in the local public schools, who was ordered to the front just before the armistice was signed, returned home last night.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 25, 1919

The Telegraph has been requested to give publicity to the fact that the recruiting officer at the army recruiting station over the First Trust and Savings Bank, will receive applications of soldiers for the Victory buttons, awarded to those who fought in the World War. A circular issued in part is as follows:  Referring to letter of April 24, 1919, from the Adjutant General of the Army, Subject, "Victory Buttons," and circulars Nos. 187 and 206 W. D., 1919, these buttons are now available. The first quota of buttons were ordered sent direct from the factory to the recruiting officers. Later quotas will be furnished through your zone supply officer. The first buttons distributed are silver. They are for issue to the soldiers wounded in the World War, and it must be so certified on the soldier's discharge certificate. The bronze buttons for the men in the service between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1919, and who were not wounded, will be ready for distribution in a short time. Ex-soldiers desiring to obtain the Victory Button will present to the recruiting officer his original discharge certificate, or a true copy thereof, prepared by a notary public. The discharge certificate will be stamped by the recruiting officer, certifying that either a bronze or a silver button has been issued. Rubber stamps for this purpose may be obtained from your zone supply officer....





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 27, 1919

The meeting of the Madison County Medical Association today at the Alton State Hospital was a reunion of the men who served their country during the war. Thirty physicians of the county entered the service, and most of them have returned and again taken up their practice. The members of the association with their wives and ladies attended the meeting today. The principal address was delivered by Rev. Alfred E. Ewert, formerly a chaplain in the 77th Division, the first to pierce the Hindenberg line. Rev. Ewert, whose home is in Whitehall, is well known in Alton, having made a number of addresses here during the Victory Loan drive. The meeting and address of Rev. Ewert were followed by refreshments and a general renewing of acquaintances. Of the thirty Madison County physicians who entered the service, nine were from Alton. All of these, save two, have been discharged from the service and are again practicing. These are Capt. Fred Wade Jones, stationed at Camp Merritt, who is expected home in a month; and Capt. Harry S. Seiwell, who is stationed at A. E. convalescent camp, number 2. The Alton doctors who entered the service, and the ranks they held in the medical corps of the army, follow:   Major J. B. Hastings; Capt. Fred Wade Jones; Capt. Mather Pfeiffenberger; Capt. Harry S. Seiwell; Lieut. L. S. Hayes; Lieut. A. P. Robertson; Lieut. W. A. Day; Lieut. G. L. McKinney; and Lieut. M. R. Williamson.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1919

Tomorrow at dawn Alton will start her combined celebration of the Fourth of July and her welcome to the returning soldiers. The celebration promises to be the best of the kind that has ever been given in the city. The real program will start at 8:30 o'clock in the morning, and from that time until midnight there will be something moving every minute. The returning soldiers and sailors will be the guests of honor, and they will be admitted to everything without charge. It is expected that about five hundred soldiers in uniform will take part in the parade which is to be held in the evening. The program will start officially at 8:30 o'clock. At that time the soldiers and sailors will assemble at the Spalding Building to march to the Military Mass. The Military Mass will be celebrated at the new orphanage site at 9:30 o'clock in the morning. The Benld Band will arrive in Alton at 10 o'clock in the morning, and after playing a short concert on the city hall square they will go to Rock Spring Park where they will furnish the music for the Alton Poultry Association picnic during the afternoon. The poultry association has made plans to handle thousands of people during the noon hour and the afternoon. A chicken and fish dinner will be served all afternoon. There will be all kinds of stands. A band concert, dancing, races, and a boxing match are some of the features that will be offered there during the afternoon. While the picnic is being held at Rock Spring Park during the afternoon, the Moose will play the East Alton team at Three Eye League Park. This should be a good game of baseball. The program for the evening will start at 6:45, when the soldiers, sailors, and the men in charge of other parts of the parade will assemble at Three Eye League Park. The committee in charge of the parade is expecting no less than five hundred soldiers to take part in the parade. Uniform for soldiers will be regulation without blouse. Overseas caps or campaign hats may be worn. Sailors will wear blue uniforms, white hats and leggings. Let us see every soldier, sailor and marine in the parade. The line of march is as follows:


1.  Grand Marshal & Aides 5. Red Cross 9. Y. M. C. A. 13. Fraternal Organizations  17. Floats
2. Benld Band 6. Colored Red Cross 10. Western Cartridge Band 14. Drum Corps 18. Decorated automobiles
3. Soldiers, Sailors & Marines 7. Salvation Army 11. Alton Reserve Militia 15. Boy Scouts  
4. Colored Soldiers 8. Knights of Columbus     12. Post Office Employees 16. G. A. R. in automobiles  


The parade will start promptly at 7:30 o'clock. This will be followed by the river parade, which starts at 8:30 o'clock. As it becomes dark, the boats will be lighted with colored fire, and the parade will merge into the fireworks display on the river. The fireworks will be discharged from two barges out in the river. This will close the celebration excepting the dancing, which will continue at Rock Spring Park until midnight. The committee in charge of the celebration are promising that it will be better than Alton has ever seen before. The street parade will be one of the longest ever held in Alton. The line of march will start at the Three Eye League Park, and will go west on Broadway to State, and then to West Third, then up Belle street to Ninth and return to the city hall.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1919

Alton had a gala Fourth of July yesterday. On the First Independence Day after the close of the greatest war in history, the people celebrated. Crowds attended every event. At the military field mass on the Hayner tract yesterday morning, at least 3,000 people were in attendance. Thousands visited Rock Spring Park during the day, and last night, for the parade and fireworks display on the riverfront, it is estimated that 10,000 people gathered. It was said today that so great was the success of yesterday's observance of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the suggestion to make the general observance of the Fourth an annual affair would meet with unanimous approval. Everyone is pleased with the result of the general celebration, and everywhere could be heard suggestions that such an observance be held annually. It was the first time in many years that the city attempted a general celebration. In past years there have been picnics, races, fireworks and other events, but never in recent years has a general celebration been attempted. It was attempted yesterday, and was a success just as great as could be expected of 30,000 American citizens showing their joy at the victory in the war and the return of soldier heroes. Early yesterday morning the crowds began to gather downtown. First came the parade of returned soldiers and Knights of Columbus going to the military field mass. Special cars, filled to capacity, carried crowds to the Hayner grounds, and hundreds were taken there in automobiles. Early in the day the influx of people to Rock Spring Park was started. Countless automobiles from the country and nearby towns carried people to the park. Early in the afternoon the park was crowded with thousands of people. All afternoon crowds arrived at the park in street cars, automobiles and on foot. Late yesterday afternoon the crowd began assembling downtown for the parade and fireworks. Market street from the depot beyond Third street was lined with automobiles. Autos were parked on Third street, and on many streets, running north and south, from Broadway to Front street. The crowd waited for the parade, and when the appointed time came and nothing had been seen of the parade, the crowd still waited. More than an hour the throng awaited the tardy appearance of the parade. The parade was headed by Thomas Morfoot, grand marshal, who was followed by a group of policemen. Next came the Benld Band. Then came soldiers headed by officers. Among the officers were Capt. Lucien B. Coppinger, recently returned from France, where he did staff duty, and William B. Levis, who wore two decorations for bravery. There were two platoons of discharged soldiers, a total number of about 1_0. The soldiers were followed by sailors, led by Lieut. J. M. Maxfield. The sailors were followed by the Alton mail carriers. Next in the parade were representatives of the American Red Cross, followed by women of the colored branch of the Red Cross. Several floats and automobiles brought up the rear of the parade. One of the largest turnouts was the letter carriers who marched in a march. With them marched the clerks, including Louis Bissinger, Mr. Bissinger, although the oldest clerk in the office, refused to ride and walked the entire distance from Washington street uptown. The carriers wore their new ____ which arrived yesterday. The carriers brought with them a handsome flag, but turned it over to the soldiers who were minus one. The immense throng then waited for the fireworks. The crowd was the largest seen downtown in years. The levee and Front street were packed with people. The crowd extended up Market street to Third. The whole of city hall square was a mass of humanity. On all streets running north and south crowds gathered. People could be seen in most windows. A crowd gathered in Riverview Park and other high points in the city to view the fireworks display. The display of fireworks was said by many to have been the most beautiful Alton ever saw. Pictures of President Wilson, General Pershing, and the American flag were greeted with thunderous applause. The observance of Independence Day was a glorious success. Alton people, intensely patriotic, answering every call made upon them during the war, showed their joy yesterday. During the war there were few celebrations. The minds of the people were concentrated upon the one big task, the winning of the war. Alton celebrated the signing of the armistice and the ending of hostilities. But yesterday Alton had an opportunity to honor the heroes who changed the tide of the battle at Chateau Thierry; had a chance to honor the men who told the French they "did not come to retreat, but to fight;" had a chance to honor the boys who performed the greatest feats of the world war, and performed quickly; had a chance to honor the men who showed German's great Prussian guard the way wars are fought in the American way; showed them how to fight. And Alton honored those heroes. All the pent up energy, gathered during the war, was thrown into yesterday's celebration. And the celebration was one to fill with the joy the heart of every red-blooded American. Alton struggled to help win the war. Alton sent men, gave money to back up those men, and Alton honored, joyfully, those men on their return. A crowd estimated at 3,000 made up of people of all creeds attended the military field mass on the old Hayner tract, the site for the new Catholic Orphanage, yesterday morning. An altar was erected at the spot where the old Hayner homestead, at one time one of the most fashionable in Alton, formerly stood. At one side of the altar was a platform for the Knights of Columbus Choral Club of St. Louis. Members of the local council of the Knights of Columbus, under whose auspices the mass was held, gathered at the Spalding building, and headed by the Upper Alton Drum Corps, marched through the business section of the city and then to the Hayner grounds. The Knights were headed by returned soldiers in uniform, two of whom carried the American and Knights of Columbus flags. A firing squad of the local company of the Illinois Reserve Militia was also in the parade. The celebrant of the mass was Rev. Fr. E. L. Spalding, V. G., and Rev. Fr. F. B. Kehoe was deacon, and Rev. Fr. M. A. Tarrant was sub deacon. Rev. Fr. Costello acted as master of ceremonies. Members of the Knights of Columbus in army and navy uniforms acted as altar boys and acolytes. The mass was sung by the St. Louis Knights of Columbus Choral Club, an organization of thirty men, who dressed in white uniforms. Their singing was commented upon as one of the best examples of choir singing heard here in years. At the elevation, following the blowing of taps, a volley was fired by the Reserve Militia firing squad. At Rock Spring park the large corps of workers of the Alton Poultry Association were unable to serve the immense throng. Crowds rushed the many stands with the result that all records were in danger of falling. Up to four o'clock, 325 cases of soda water was sold. A large quantity was sold even after that hour. The country store did a remarkable business. Everything in the store was sold, and then people began buying the decorations. Several people purchased bouquets of flowers that had been used for ornaments. The dance floor in the pavilion at the park proved too small for the crowd. The number of people made dancing difficult, but neither the crowd nor the intense heat dampened the ardor of the dancers, and they celebration the Fourth in that manner. All concessions at the park were free to soldiers and sailors in uniform, they being provided with tickets with which to purchase refreshments. The proceeds of the picnic will be used by the poultry association in promoting a big poultry show here, which, it is planned, will eclipse any previous attempt. One member of the association today proudly asserted that the "money will all be spent in Alton."





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 15, 1919

With the exception of three, all the boys who left the Fosterburg neighborhood to go to war have returned. In addition to these, two of the boys will not be back, as one was killed and the other died in the service. Fosterburg is getting ready to have a big homecoming for the boys some time the latter part of August. It is said by prominent Fosterburg people that the band there will cooperate with a committee not connected with the band, and jointly they will arrange a great day. There will be some speaking and a day of feasting for everybody. Following the homecoming, the Fosterburg folks are planning to have a public gathering of the people to listen to an address by W. C. Reavis, superintendent of schools in Alton, who will discuss school subjects with the patrons of the Fosterburg schools.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1919

Wood River is to have a home coming for the soldiers this evening, and according to the plans it is going to be one of the biggest celebrations that Wood River has ever had. One hundred and fifteen boys from Wood River, who served their country in the army or the navy during the war, will be the guests of honor. Any other soldier who wears his uniform will be a guest of honor at the celebration this evening. On account of the hot weather, all Wood River boys who have been in the service will not be required to wear their uniforms, provided they have registered. The committee will have no trouble distinguishing them and seeing that they receive the proper treatment. Boys from out of the city who attend the celebration will have to wear uniforms. But the celebration is not for the soldiers and sailors only. If you have a grain of pep in your system, and want to see the biggest celebration Wood River has ever held, tonight is the time to be there. Everything will be free for the soldiers, and the dancing and programs will be free for everyone else. The committee in charge will give every soldier a ticket with which he can purchase $2 worth of any kind of refreshments he may desire. Ladies committee will be stationed at the drugstores and confectionery stores to sell the cigars, tobacco, ice cream, candy and cakes. "Wood River is going to try and make every boy feel he is at home," said Mrs. M. F. Manning, general chairman of the celebration today. "We want every citizen of Wood River to turn out to the celebration. We want to show the boys we are just as glad they are back as they are to be back." The celebration will start at 6 o'clock this evening, with a band concert at the bandstand. Shortly afterwards an address of welcome will be made by Mayor S. A. Beach. This will be followed by an address by City Attorney Thomas Williamson. Then the dancing will start. The dancing will be conducted in the street and in the dance hall. Several thousand people will be present for one of the biggest dancing parties that Wood River ha sever seen. Of the Wood River boys who went into the service, all came back with the exception of one foreigner. Among those who were wounded were: Jean Reilly, Charles Baker, Gus B_ngert, George Lange and Dick Thompson. Gene Baker was gassed and never fully recovered his health. After being back for several months he underwent an operation, from which he never recovered....





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 8, 1919

It was fully worth going to war with its hardships and its heartaches to get such a reception as the Wood River people gave their returned soldiers last night. What started out as a real joy killer for weather in the morning, terminated in a beautiful evening and moonlight night, and all Wood River and a goodly portion of Alton turned out to bid the Wood River boys welcome. A bandstand and speakers stand was erected at Whitelaw and Ferguson avenues, and before the time of the general program, the Wood River band played a concert for hundreds of persons who occupied the benches along the sides of the street. This section of the business district for a distance of three blocks was staked off so that autos could not travel there. The managers of the Wood River reception to their soldiers had everything under system. You bought a little ticket to get refreshments from a stand on the streets, these tickets were good in the ice cream parlors and at the stands on the street. By the time Mayor Beach stepped on the speaker's stand to give the opening address of the homecoming celebration, that part of the business district of Wood River staked off was filled with men, women and children, and crowds were pouring in from every direction. There were hundreds of automobiles filled with people that came down from Alton, and the state road for a time looked like Michigan boulevard in Chicago on a bright Sunday afternoon. The spirit of good will and of good nature seemed everywhere, and in the big crowd one could hear many tongues being spoken, all voicing the good humor of the occasion, all intent on making the homecoming to the Wood River boys just as happy an event as possible. After the hottest day of the year there came relief on the day planned for the homecoming of our soldier boys. It was predicted it would be the best affair ever given, and it certainly was. Fully four thousand people were present, and every man, woman and child seemed to be having a big time. The music by the Wood River band, who played three selections, was following by the welcoming address by Mayor S. A. Beach. At the close of his speech the mayor introduced Thomas Williamson, who made a delightful talk. The band played during the evening. The dancing was in the new store building of A. G. Burnett and on the Ferguson avenue block. The ladies served delicious cream and cake at the Owl druggistry, Ratz-Riggs, Princess and University. There were over two hundred cakes. Everyone had plenty, and ate, drank and were merry. The dancing continued until 1:00 a.m.  Everyone agreed that it was "some block party," and the biggest and best ever pulled off in these parts. There were present many people from East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Mitchell, Jerseyville, and Alton. Ex-Mayor Beall and a party of friends from Alton were on the block.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1919

The return of Edwin Bauer today, after 2 years and 4 months service in the navy, marks the return of the last member of the Evangelical church, who was in the service during the war, and completes a remarkable record made by that church. Sixty-three members of the church were in the service. Though many of the young men saw service overseas, and several of them went "over the top," many of them several times, not a man in the church received even a scratch. Now that Bauer has returned, every one of the 63 men is home. When the state of war with Germany was proclaimed, there was a flourishing society at the Evangelical church called the Young Men's Society. Soon the ranks of the society were depleted until every member of the society had entered some branch of the service. When only a few remained, it was decided to disband, as the remaining members were awaiting their call. The money in the treasury was turned over to the church and the society was officially disbanded. When the society was disbanded it was while American soldiers were fighting on the western front, and even the most optimistic would not say that the young soldiers would return alive. But the Evangelical church, which gave 63 men to the country, has every one of them back, and may be that the society was disbanded only for the duration of the war, as plans are being made to reorganize.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 17, 1919

Godfrey said "Welcome Home" yesterday afternoon and evening with a cordiality that made all her sons who had served their country feel that it was worthwhile. The attendance at the entertainment given in the Godfrey Congregational church was far greater than was anticipated, but the ladies of the township had taken the chance of preparing for an immense crowd, and they found that their foresight had not been wasted. The unveiling of the tablet to honor the young men who had served their country was a very interesting feature of the program. The bronze tablet, which was unveiled in the Congregational Church, carried but one "Gold Star," Ovid Radcliff, and the unveiling was done by his mother as a special mark of honor to the woman who bore a hero who gave his all for his country. The speechmaking was done by William P. Boynton, Gilson Brown of Alton, and Thomas Williamson of Edwardsville. The three speakers made eloquent talks and delighted the audience assembled to attend the dedication and unveiling of the memorial tablet. The White Hussars band furnished the instrumental music, and proved a big feature of the entertainment. The banquet was another gastronomic triumph of the ladies of Godfrey township. They have long had a reputation for their fine cookery, and the reputation is so widespread that there was an immense demand for places at the table. It took over four hours to get everybody fed who wanted to sit down, and the returns from the supper were all that the ladies had hoped for. The returned servicemen were special guests of honor at the banquet. The various collections present interested everybody. There were collections of Indian relics, antiques, war relics of the last and preceding wars, and a display of fruit and flowers that kept everybody busy enjoying them. Ribbons were awarded for the various displays. The collections shown at the homecoming were among the best that have been assembled in this vicinity in many years. The homecoming festivities turned out to be a great triumph for the committee, which had labored indefatigably to make it a success and to leave no doubt in the minds of the boys that everybody at home was proud of them and proud of the record they had made for Godfrey township. There was general felicitation over the fact that while Godfrey had done her full share, there was the fortunate feature that there had to be but one gold star to add any sadness to the occasion. In the course of his remarks, Mr. Brown commented on the fact that the first contingent that went out of Alton for the war, the naval reserves, was led by a Godfrey boy, Lieut. J. B. Maxfield. William P. Boynton made a very fine speech, which was the principal effort of the program of speechmaking. It was patriotic in its character and full of appeal to the boys who had entered the service, and to the members of their families and their friends present. c. C. Ellison made a talk on the subject of the American Legion.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 13, 1919

Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Kasteen of Bethalto were among the many people of that section who celebrated the first anniversary of the end of the great war last Tuesday, Armistice Day. It was more than an anniversary of the war's end for them, for on that day the stork arrived, bearing a bouncing baby boy. Mr. and Mrs. Kasteen were happy at the recollection of the victory of democracy, but their joy was supreme when their first child was born on that day. Because November 11, 1919, will go down in the history of the Kasteen family as a red letter day, Kasteen and his wife decided to honor that day, and so they named their first born "Armistice." The parents are mighty proud of their "Armistice," and already have planned a great future for him.


Back to the Top



Copyright Bev Bauser.   All rights reserved.