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,
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
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
(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.)
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: Ancestry.com. 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,
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.