Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Category: Family History (Page 2 of 2)

A Doughboy’s Christmas

There are undoubtedly many accounts of Christmas in the army, and many better than the one I’m about to serve up. I’m even sneaking in someone who is not a Kansan.

That would be my great-uncle, Homer S. “Jack” Shaffer (1893-1973), who with few exceptions like World War I, spent his life in the coal mining community of Vintondale, Pennsylvania.  Jack served in the Medical Detachment of the 305th Engineers, 80th Division–the Blue Ridge Division, with its motto, “Vis Montium”–“Strength of the Mountains.” more

Kansas WWI Family Values, Part I

This may not be what you’re thinking.

William E. Connelley’s History of Kansas State and People devotes 74 pages to Kansas and the World War.  Because it came out in 1928, it’s not the worst place to start for information about that period.  But because it’s Connelley, perhaps two questions should be asked: more

Aftermath: The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy

One of the things often repeated by the National World War I Museum and Memorial and others is that World War I is the war that changed everything.  As a result, it is important to consider what happened after the war that came about as a consequence of it.

In the summer of 1919 the Army wanted in part to show off the machinery that helped win the war to the public.  A cross-country tour could accomplish this, and in addition it would demonstrate the need for better roads.   With this goal, they had no idea how bad some roads would be.  The convoy could also be used for recruitment purposes. more

The Latino Soldier–Rudolph A. Negrete

A May 26, 1997 article in the Topeka Capital-Journal indicated that Rudolph (Rodolfo) A. Negrete was likely the only ethnic Mexican war hero from Kansas.  At this point, it’s difficult to argue the point.

Negrete was born in Mexico on July 27, 1896.    According to the 1997 article, his mother was killed in the Mexican Revolution, and shortly thereafter he and his father came to the United States.  They tried their hand at farming near Horton, but by 1915 they were in Topeka working at the Santa Fe shops. more

Home Front: Eagles Quilt

No, this has nothing to do with the 1970s band.  But if it gives you a peaceful easy feeling, that’s fine.

Elizabeth Marthaler Stauf was a Swiss immigrant to the United States in the late 1870s.  She came first to Hiawatha and then to Marysville, where she spent the rest of her life. more

Home Front: The Return of Paul Knoblauch

Among communities conflicted by the Great War, those whose families included relatively recent German immigrants were particularly affected.  Anti-German sentiment weighed heavily against them at times, even if they were steadfastly loyal to their new country.

Consider Paul C. Knoblauch, who was born at or near Colwich on March 15, 1892.  His parents had immigrated from Germany nearly twenty years before his birth, but because they were surrounded  by other immigrants, they kept speaking and observing the German language and customs.  Paul himself could speak German fluently. more

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