Dowagiac World War I Veterans Memorials
Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan
Few citizens recognize the importance of the sentiment inscribed upon this memorial to those that fell during World War I. We should never fail to understand that each man on the battlefield has particular value to the community that he left. When the call to arms is made and men march forward each community gives up some of its' value to the nation...therefore an investment is made.
Fifteen men from the City of Dowagiac are listed on this honor roll and eleven from Cass County.
One of the Cass County men was 1st Lt Efton James, Commander of Co K, 61st Infantry, 5th Division. He died October 14, 1918 in Verdun when a shell fragment hit him. The community probably looked upon his loss as a very large investment. He had been an outstanding football player for the University of Michigan, graduating in 1915.
30 Year old Harry Surran was a simple farmer when he was called to service and assigned to the ANREF "Polar Bears" of the 339th Infantry. He died of pneumonia in Brenika, Russia on October 14, 1918. Private Dwight Shingledecker was another of the "Polar Bears" that died of disease, he at Archangel, Russia on September 11, 1918. A few months later his friend Corporal August Richey also died at Archangel, but the cause of death is unknown.
Private Ward Stillson was from Mason and he died in 1919... his body was returned to lie at rest in Adamsville cemetery under a stone that reads "Over There in Mayen, Germany." And Private Ward Kline lies at rest in France, in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery not far from Private David H Starrett. Also at Meuse-Argonne is 26 year old Private James L. Buckley, who had been married only six months when he enlisted.
I couldn't find much about Corporal Floyd Ibbotson, other than the fact that he was a member of Battery D of the 15th Field Artillery Regiment and was awarded three silver stars. Not to be confused with the Silver Star Medal, these small stars were awarded and placed upon the World War I Victory Medal and signified the reciepient had done a valorous deed of note. The 15th must have been a very special group of men. The "Indianheads" participated in six major engagements during their time in France and 25 of their number were awarded AT LEAST three silver star devices and some as many as five.
Karl F Dyer and Max Smith Moore were both fulfilling their bit as members of the Student Army Training Corps, although from different schools. S.A.T.C. men were enlisted while still attending classes at their universities. The students were paid $30 monthly and still attended classes but were housed in newly built barracks buildings and were expected to train in trench warfare tactics, learning skills that would be used "over there."
Yes, the investment made by Cass County was large. An especially large number of these men were college trained - at a time when it was commonplace for a young man to leave high school well before 12th grade in order to help out on the family farm.
N 41° 58.887', W 86° 6.606'