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"Were every city in the country to show a like cooperation [such as Alton's] between the women and people at home and those who are in the service, this country would have the greatest army the world ever saw. It would have a morale, the like of which could not be torn down by all the cannons, bombs and atrocities in the Germany army."

                                         Rollie Cook, Captain


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Madison County During World War I


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Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 3, 1917

Unable to resist the call to arms, Dr. H. R. Lemen, a prominent practicing physician, is already doing all in his power as a patriot. He has volunteered his services to look after the health of any of the soldiers who have been stationed here guarding the Alton bridge, and he is not accepting any pay for his services. In a bunch of men there is always likely to be need for a doctor, and Dr. Lemen, knowing this, voluntarily took up the task of looking after them and ministering to them. He served six months in the Japanese army in the war between Japan and China, and he also served 3 1/2 years in the United States army during the war in Cuba and the Philippines. He threw up a good practice in Alton when war with Spain broke out, enlisted as a private in the 16th Regiment, U. S. Regulars, and on the field of battle was promoted to a surgeon, with the rank of Lieutenant. Dr. Lemen isn't saying now just what he will do if there is a call for medical men. It would mean much to him to give up a lucrative practice in Alton and go to serve the army at a much less salary than his practice yields him in Alton. Dr. Lemen belongs to the old reserve corps, and is not subject to call unless he desires, but his friends are wondering just what his action will be. Even if Dr. Lemen does not decide to give more service to the government, Alton will not be without a representative in the medical department of the army, as another Alton doctor is a member of the new officers reserve corps, and is subject to call to duty.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1917

There was a formal presentation of a gold watch to Dr. H. R. Lemen as one of the losing incidents of the stay of members of Co. B., First Missouri, at Alton. Dr. Lemen, in the four months the company has been stationed here, has been the company physician. He has taken care of the physical health of the men, and they manifested their appreciation by planning a surprise for him. He was summoned to the barracks on the riverfront, and there Capt. Larrimore gave the doctor a handsome gold watch, of one of the prettiest patterns, and of a make that is known for its excellent time keeping qualities. Dr. Walter Day, Dr. Lemen's assistant, also was remembered. He was given a handsome case and big box of cigarettes. The money was taken from the company fund by vote of the men.





Source: August 16, 1917

The Jennie D. Hayner Library, in keeping with the other libraries of the country, will receive all books which the people of Alton wish to send to the different camps and cantonments, and when a sufficient number is received will box them and send them out. Any book, either novel or non-fiction, will be received; any book that will be apt to appeal to the mind of the men encamped. This movement has been taken up all over the country, and large number of boxes are being sent to each camp. Alton will be sure to do her part in contributing books which will be used for the soldiers' entertainment.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 23, 1918

Expressive of the feeling of the commanding officers of the various companies at Camp Taylor, in which Alton boys are training to whip the Kaiser, Capt. Rollie R. Cook of Co. E, 333rd Infantry, has written the members of Alton Chapter, Daughters of Isabella. Because the letter shows that efforts of Alton people have a strong effect on the boys in camp, and the complete backing up the boys get at home is the best thing that can be done for them, the Telegraph publishes the letter in full, as it may impress others who have not perhaps taken as much interest as they should in the soldier boys in all branches of the service. The Telegraph has helped to the best of its ability by sending copies of its paper to the boys wherever they may be, to keep them in touch with news from the home folks. The letter follows:


"Co. E, 333rd Infantry, Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., January 18th, 1918. Miss Catherine Burns, President, Daughters of Isabella, Alton, Ill.  My Dear Madam: Permit me to thank you on behalf of the Alton boys in this organization for the package which arrived yesterday containing the 50 "housewives" made by the girls of your city. This was one of the most useful packages that has been received by this, or any company. It is needless for me to tell you that in the army, men are called upon to do many things to which they are unaccustomed. One of these requirements is a neat and orderly appearance, which they can only acquire through the use of a needle and thread. Where to keep these useful articles, and how to find them when needed, has been a problem to the boys. This, I am glad to say, has now been solved by you and your friends. In the "housewives" the Alton boys of this company will not only have a place to keep their needles, threads, etc., but one that is compact, and if properly taken care of, always ready at hand. I would like, while the occasion presents itself, to compliment you and the girls of Alton for the splendid work they are doing for the boys who have answered that noblest of all calls - the call to the service of their country to fight for democracy and to stamp out of the world for all times that viciousness found in the autocracy of the Prussian Empire. The boys are entering it willingly, and in the spirit that means victory for our cause, but that spirit can be greatly enhanced by proper cooperation from home. It was my great fortune when I came here to be placed in command of a company made up largely by men from Alton. I say "great fortune," not only because the boys themselves have the proper spirit, but because the people of Alton have done so much to keep up that spirit. Were every city in the country to show a like cooperation between the women and people at home and those who are in the service, this country would have the greatest army the world ever saw. It would have a morale, the like of which could not be torn down by all the cannons, bombs and atrocities in the Germany army. Again, thanking you and your organization for the splendid gift to the Alton boys of this company, I beg to remain, Yours very truly, Rollie R. Cook, Captain, 333rd Infantry.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 15, 1918

Louis Villere, a native of France, is doing his bit making very suggestive and forceful cartoons bearing upon this world war, and displaying them in the windows of the stores about the city. The cartoons are on cardboard, about two feet square, and are attracting a lot of attention. They bring to mind forcibly the devastation being wrought by the Kaiser, and they say more mutely than columns of print will sometimes say on the same subject. Among the cartoons are pictures of the Devil and the Kaiser, and the Devil is whispering in the ear of the Kaiser: "Since when did you begin calling me God?" Another cartoon pictures the Devil asking the Kaiser: "Why do you call me God?" Another one pictures the grinning skull of death, and the pictures of the Kaiser and of the Devil. The latter is asking: "Who is to blame?" and death is pointing a long, bony finger at Bill in answer to the question. There is another cartoon picturing the Old Man with the Scythe, and he is talking to the Kaiser, telling him: "Thou has done well, and as thou hast sown so shalt thou reap." Villere conducted a restaurant in Wood River for some years, and came to Alton about eight months ago. He conducted a lunch counter here until recently, when he sold out. As a cartoonist he shows undoubted talent, and he says he is making and exhibiting cartoons solely for the purpose of drawing the attention of the public more forcibly to the alliance existing between the Kaiser and the Devil; also that it is "Me und der Teuful," [Me and the Devil] instead of "Me und Gott," [Me and God] that the Kaiser really means when he talks of the murdering partnership of which he is the junior, but bloodiest member.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 1, 1918

The children of the Alton public schools have collected fruit pits enough to furnish the charcoal from which 150 gas masks for soldiers can be made. The collection was made in two weeks. It takes 7 pounds of seeds to furnish the necessary material. The schools made the following contributions: Irving, 125 pounds; McKinley, 28 pounds; Washington, 49 pounds; Humboldt, 130 pounds; Lowell, 52 pounds; Horace Mann, 80 pounds; Garfield, 162 pounds; Douglas, 10 pounds; Lincoln, 165 pounds.  Garfield and Lincoln made the best per capita records.




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