By Allene Maloney
Twenty-eight young men from Grundy County died while serving in the Armed Forces during World War I. Eleven of these men were killed in action and 17 died as a result of illness or diseases, including tuberculoses, influenza and bronchial pneumonia.
The United States formally entered the war on April 6, 1917, and fought until Armistice was declared at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The first man from Grundy County who was killed in action was Lt. Commander Walter E. Reno. He lost his life while in command of the U.S. Destroyer "Chauncey" during a collision in the "war zone" on Nov. 19, 1917. Two junior officers and 18 enlisted men also perished. Reno graduated from Trenton High School in 1901 and was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy on Sept. 7, 1901. Company D, organized here of Grundy County men, participated in a six-day battle at the Argonne Forest in France from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1, 1918. Six men from Grundy County died. The first, Pvt. William Harry Hall, was killed on Sept. 26. Sgt. Richard Ernest O'Brien and Earle M. Weed died on Sept. 27. Maj. William Dale Stepp, died on Sept. 28. Sgt. Floyd F. McLaughlin and Pvt. Albert N. Prosser were killed on Sept. 29. Four more men from Grundy County were killed in action in France. Lt. Wilford Fair, a medical doctor, died on Oct. 6, 1918. Lt. Henry Russell died on Oct. 14, 1918, Cpl. Joseph Lewis Norton died on Nov. 1, 1918. No date of death was found for Andrew J. Carney. Grundy County men who died of diseases contracted while in military service for World War I were:
• Ernest Lee Berry, Galt, died of bronchial pneumonia on Oct. 9, 1918, in France. His body was brought home and buried at the Berry Cemetery.
• Raymond Carnes, Galt, died of influenza on Nov. 9, 1918, at an Army training camp, burial at the Galt Masonic Cemetery.
• Erving Charles (Roy) Carpenter, Laredo, died of pneumonia on Oct. 10, 1918, at Great Lake Naval Training School, burial at the Stucker Cemetery.
• Harry W. Corbin enlisted on Sept. 6, 1918, and date and location of death were not found.
• Lea O. [Lee Otto-ed.] Flesher died on Oct. 14, 1918, after a short illness at Camp Pike, AR, burial at the Masonic Cemetery.
• Frank Garner, Spickard, died of pneumonia on Oct. 22, 1918, at Camp Custer, MI, burial at the Spickard Masonic Cemetery.
• Sgt. David Fulton Gentry died of influenza on Nov. 16, 1918, at Camp Cody, Deming, N.M., burial at Bolivar, MO.
• Len H. Hill died of influenza on Oct. 5, 1918, at Camp Merritt, NJ, burial at the Rural Dale Cemetery.
• Sgt. Bea F. Hyten, Company D, died of pneumonia on Dec. 31, 1917, at Camp Doniphan, OK, burial at Stanberry, MO.
• Pvt. John Russell Israel died of pneumonia on Feb. 11, 1918, at Camp Doniphan, OK, burial at the Maple Grove Cemetery.
• Alfred Kern died of influenza on Oct. 22, 1918, at Camp Bowie, Waco, TX.
• Samuel H. Laird, Hickory, died in 1918 at an unknown location and is buried at the Bratton Cemetery. He enlisted on Nov. 7, 1918.
• Ertit Okel (Dick) McAtee, Brimson, died of tuberculosis on Nov. 2, 1918, at Waynesville, N.C., burial at the Bratton Cemetery. He had served for three months in France.
• Floyd McClure, Galt, died on Oct. 17, 1918, at C.C.A. Development Batt. No. J, burial at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Galt.
• Pvt. Alvin Dale Pickett died of pneumonia on Nov. 1, 1918, at Camp Pike, AR, burial at the Berry Cemetery.
• John Irving Roberts died of pneumonia on Nov. 6, 1918, in Lucknow, India.
• Harry Sink died of pneumonia on Oct. 14, 1918, at Camp Funston, Ft. Riley, KS, burial at the Maple Grove Cemetery.
Editor's Note: Information for this news article was gathered at the Grundy County Jewett Norris Library. During the past few years, many volunteers have worked countless hours to list, by date, all death notices and obituaries published in the Trenton Daily Tribune, Trenton Weekly Times, Trenton Daily Republican, Trenton Weekly Republican and the Trenton Republican-Times from the earliest dates of these newspapers to the present. These publications have been microfilmed and the names of all deceased have been alphabetized by year. Ms. Maloney used this information and the names published in the "Grundy County World War I Veterans" book found at the Grundy County Courthouse to determine that 28 young men from Grundy County died during World War I. Several years ago, Ms. Maloney similarly researched the men from Grundy County who died in World War II. That information was published in a book for sale at the Grundy County Museum.
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Larry Flesher, Washington County, MO