The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.
Private Frank Fox from Duluth, Minnesota was killed in action on his second day at the Front. In the aftermath of the Battle of St. Mihiel Fox was hit by shrapnel while in the trenches. His mother, who filled out the Gold Star Roll, believed that the lack of training and desire to simply get bodies to the Front is the reason for her son's death as she notes that he had only began training for the front lines at the beginning of September.
He always claimed to be well cared for in service but was rushed to the front with practically no training (notice dates). He was killed instantly the 2nd day at the front.
"Fox, Frank L." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.4.3B
"Austria Extends Peace Invitation" and "Americans Make Great Progress" - Freeborn County Standard. September 16, 1918
Private Linton Skobba was captured on the last day of the Battle of St. Mihiel after going over the top of the hill toward the German line on September 12th. He died in a German POW hospital in Kreuznach from wounds received in action the day he was captured. A comrade who was captured with him wrote to Skobba's parents when he was released to tell them of the circumstances surrounding their son's death.
"Skobba, Linton C." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota 114.D.4.6F
"Yanks Wipe Out St. Mihiel Salient, Reach German Border, Capture 13,300 Prisoners, Gain 12 Miles in 24 Hours" and "Yanks Drive Foe Back to Wontan Line" - The Minneapolis Morning Tribune. September 14, 1918
Sergeant Jacob Gorgoschlitz of Saint Paul, Minnesota, died on this date while leading the first wave of an attack of the German trenches in St. Mihiel, France. After coming over the first line trenches, he was shot in the forehead and died instantly. In a telegram that was received by his parents after his death by a friend in the military David Huxford, Gorgoschlitz predicted his own death before they had went into the attack.
"Gorgoschlitz, Jacob J." Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.4.3B
This draft registration certificate was issued to Theodore E. Hawkins from Fulda, Murray County, MN when he “submitted himself to registration on this day in 1918. This card was issued “in accordance with the proclamation of the President of the United States” and was signed by registrar John Hyslop.
Minnesota Historical Society Collections, 1996.226.1
"French Smash Jars Foe Line" and "Yankees Endure Murderous Fire" - The Daily People's Press. September 11, 1918
This letter was sent to Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation in Saint Paul from Lester Strouse, who was stationed at Camp Mills, in Long Island, New York. In it, Strouse thanks the Congregation Board for allowing him to postpone his temple dues while he is serving in the war. Strouse states that he hopes "to get back to civil life & resume my dues as soon as we have finished strafing the Kaiser."
Mr. O Wolf,
St. Paul, Minn.
Dear Sir: Your favor of the 4th, advising the Board had released me from dues during period of the war rec'd & I wish to express my sincere thanks for this action. Regret my finances will not permit me to do my share toward support of the temple now but hope to get back to civil life and resume my dues as soon as we have finished strafing the Kaiser. With best wishes
Lester J, Strouse
Co. D, 333 Mch. Gun Bn.
Camp Mills, L.I.
Sept 10, 1918
Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation Papers. Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul, Minnesota. P758
This is a diary entry written during the war by Granville "Granny" Gutterson on this date. Granny spent most of the war stationed near Houston, Texas, at the San Leon Aerial Gunnery School. He was in the first class of students who were trained in bombing and aerial gunnery. After this, Granny was commissioned as an officer and taught at San Leon until November of 1918. In this diary entry Granny talks about all of his friends leaving for Hoboken, New York, to be sent overseas while he has to stay in America. Due to this, he confined many pilot instructors to the post for violating field rules, meaning none of them were able to go overseas either. Granny is anxious to go across and fight, even though it would mean losing a promotion, as he feels he's more expendable than others who have people depending on them.
Mon. Sept 9
[...] All my pals have left for Hoboken, and you know what that means. It sorta gets under my skin to have them go and me stay, and as the fellows say: "Granny's on the warpath. Watch your step." I feel just out and out "ornery". Yesterday I confined seven pilot instructors to the post for a week (six 2nd Lts. and one 1st Lt.) for violating field rules. To-day I stuck five more for a week each, (including the Assistant Officer in Charge of Flying and two State Commanders) so that keeps over half the staff on the post and parts of Hdqts. staff. I wish you could have heard them rave. I'm beginning to show some evidence of what I must admit is poor judgment, but it's the result of a bad case of "oversea" sickness. Everyone tells me I'm foolish, and that I'm giving up a good position and a chance at something better, but I want to get across. I've got an easy job since I've gotten things going so that there's not nearly as much work as at first, and anyone, almost, could take care of the work now. [...] Boy, I wouldn't have the face to face anyone after this mess is cleaned up and admit that I, a single man with no one dependent on me, had been an instructor or officer in charge of some work or field for a couple of years, while married men or men with dependents had "gone West," doing my work in France. [...] I'd rather be pushing up daisies in France when this mess is cleaned up than be on instructional work in this country. Surely, some one has to do it, but let those who want to, do it. I don't want to!
Gutterson, Granville. Granville: Tales and Tail Spins from a Flyer's Diary. Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota History Center, St. Paul. D570.9 .G76