Memorial to our veterans who served American in World War I

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If you know of veterans in the families featured on this site who served from the end of the Spanish American War through World War I and would like them listed here please contact me with the details. I am certain that the list below is not complete.

World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, and The War to End All Wars, was a global war which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths. The United States originally pursued a policy of isolationism, avoiding conflict while trying to broker a peace. This resulted in increased tensions with Berlin and London. When a German U-boat sank the British liner Lusitania in 1915, with 128 Americans aboard, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson vowed, "America was too proud to fight" and demanded an end to attacks on passenger ships. Germany complied. Wilson unsuccessfully tried to mediate a settlement. He repeatedly warned the U.S. would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, in violation of international law and U.S. ideas of human rights. Wilson was under pressure from former president Theodore Roosevelt, who denounced German acts as "piracy".  Wilson's desire to have a seat at negotiations at war's end to advance the League of Nations also played a significant role.  Wilson's Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, resigned in protest of the President's decidedly warmongering diplomacy.

The era of modern warfare begins with World War I.  An arsenal of deadly weapons first appeared: aircraft filled the air; the first effective tanks rolled over the ground; machine guns decimated the enemy; poison gas killed or maimed thousands of troops.

In January 1917, after the Navy pressured the Kaiser, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. Britain's secret Royal Navy cryptanalytic group, Room 40, had broken the German diplomatic code. They intercepted a proposal from Berlin (the Zimmermann Telegram) to Mexico to join the war as Germany's ally against the United States, should the U.S. join. The proposal suggested, if the U.S. were to enter the war, Mexico should declare war against the United States and enlist Japan as an ally. This would prevent the United States from joining the Allies and deploying troops to Europe, and would give Germany more time for their unrestricted submarine warfare program to strangle Britain's vital war supplies. In return, the Germans would promise Mexico support in reclaiming Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

After the British revealed the telegram to the United States, President Wilson, who had won reelection on his keeping the country out of the war, released the captured telegram as a way of building support for U.S. entry into the war. He had previously claimed neutrality, while calling for the arming of U.S. merchant ships delivering munitions to combatant Britain and quietly supporting the British blockading of German ports and mining of international waters, preventing the shipment of food from America and elsewhere to combatant Germany. After submarines sank seven U.S. merchant ships and the publication of the Zimmerman telegram, Wilson called for war on Germany, which the U.S. Congress declared on 6 April 1917.

The United States was never formally a member of the Allies but became a self-styled "Associated Power". The United States had a small army, but it drafted four million men and by summer 1918 was sending 10,000 fresh soldiers to France every day. In 1917, the U.S. Congress imposed U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans as part of the Jones Act, when they were drafted to participate in World War I. Germany had miscalculated, believing it would be many more months before they would arrive and that the arrival could be stopped by U-boats.

The war was ended by several treaties, most notably the Treaty of Versailles, signed on 28 June 1919, though the Allied powers had an armistice with Germany in place since 11 November 1918.  On November 11 an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne. At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 — the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month — a cease fire came into effect. Opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions. Canadian George Lawrence Price is traditionally regarded as the last soldier killed in the Great War: he was shot by a German sniper and died at 10:58.


CARL CLEMENT CORBETT, (Summit County, Ohio); Served in France in 1918 where he was the victim of a poison gas attack, which he survived.  To date, I have been unable to find his service record.  I visited Uncle Carl in the VA hospital near Sandusky, Ohio in 1960.  Carl was the son of Arthur Corbett and Clara May Fridinger born in Akron, Summit County, Ohio on August 25, 1900 and died at the age of 63 in a long term care facility near Sandusky on February 12, 1964.  He never married.  Carl was the brother of my grandfather Arthur Edmund Corbett. 

(Note:  a Carl C. Corbett, born in 1900 in Ohio, enlisted in the U. S. Army in Akron, Ohio on October 26, 1942.  If this is Uncle Carl, previous to finding this enlistment record, I had no knowledge of his service during World War II.)


CORPORAL MADISON ELLSWORTH TROWBRIDGE (West Virginia), 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army; killed in action in France on October 9, 1918, one month before the armistice.  There is a marker for Corp. Trowbridge among the Tablets of The Missing At Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France.  There is also a headstone in the Maplewood Cemetery, Kingwood, Preston Co., W. Va. engraved "CORP. M. E. TROWBRIDGE 1899-1918."  It is located in the Trowbridge plot with Madison's grandparents James McGrew Trowbridge and Sarah Ann (Snider) Trowbridge.  It is possible that the family had his body returned from France and buried with his grandparents.  Madison was born on May 4, 1899, the son of Joseph Madison Trowbridge (1865-1941) and Zonie Farnsworth Holyfield (1858-?).



LOY W. WESTFALL, ELECTRICIAN, SECOND CLASS, (Ohio), enlisted in the U. S. Navy at Cleveland, Ohio on March 28, 1917 at the age of 25.  From April through October 1917 Loy was assigned to a receiving ship in New York, N. Y.  and then to the submarine base at New London, Connecticut until January, 1918.  From March until May 1918 he was again assigned to ships based out of New York.  From May until Armistice Day on November 11, 1918 he was assigned to the USS Princess Matoika.  He was honorably discharged on October 19, 1919 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago.  When he enlisted his residence was listed as 555 W. Thornton Street, Akron, Ohio which was the address for his parents, Nathaniel and Luvenia (Trowbridge) Westfall.

Source: Ohio Military Men, 1917-18 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the World War, 1917-1918. Vol. I-XXIII. Columbus, OH, USA: F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.


JOHN BASSET WHITSITT, PRIVATE, U. S ARMY, (Oklahoma); details are unknown at this time; proof is the veterans marker in the Woodward, Oklahoma cemetery.  John was born August 28, 1888 in Greenwood, Franklin County, Kansas and died January 27, 1973 in Woodward, Oklahoma.  He was the son of Ancil Bassett Whitsitt and Lurana Honeyman of Guthrie, Oklahoma and the grandson of Joseph Whitsitt and Elvira Foster of Deputy, Indiana. (Source from granddaughter, Rachel Collier).

STANLEY EUGENE WHITSITT, (Missouri); currently, no details of Stanley Whitsitt's military record are known.  He was the son of George Washington Whitsitt and Ella Hagenbuch of St. Joseph, MIssouri and the grandson of Joseph Whitsitt and Elvira Foster of Deputy, Indiana. He was killed in 1918, probably in France, during the war.  Source is Elva K. Whitsitt (deceased), sister of Stanley and a Whitsitt family researcher.  Her grand nephew, Timothy Whitsitt of Carbondale, Colorado provided me with Elva's family chart.

DR. SCHUYLER ADDISON WHITSITT, (Indiana); Dr. Whitsitt enlisted in the Army Hospital Corps as a contract surgeon between 1917 and 1921.  Afterwards, he joined the Army National Guard and served as a Captain in the 150th Field Ambulance Corp, U.S. Army at Madison, Indiana where he lived and practice general medicine.  Dr. Whitsitt was the son of James Crawford Whitsitt, grandson of Joseph Whitsitt and Elvira Foster of Deputy, Indiana, great grandson of William and Martha (Woodward) Whitsett and great great grandson of Samuel and Margaret Whitsitt of Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky.  At this time nothing more is known about his military service during and after World War I.

Ronald N. Wall
Updated: 08 May 2011