trenchWhat:  Fighting in the Trenches: Schaumburg Township Veterans of World War I.  [An exhibit]

When:  The month of October 2014

Where:  The second floor of the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg

Over 100 years ago, on July 28, 1914, the Great War began when Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and Russia.  For the next three years all of Europe was entangled in a messy land war that involved huge losses of life and little progression by either the Allied or Central powers.

By 1917 it had become obvious to the Allied countries that they desperately needed both the financial and manpower assistance of the United States if they were going to succeed. Up to this point, the United States had resisted joining the Allies in their fight despite the loss of 159 American lives in the 1915 incident of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.  This attitude changed when the Germans sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico in early 1917, promising them parts of the United States in exchange for their assistance.  Thus the die was cast for America joining the war on April 6, 1917.

A draft was soon organized on June 5, 1917 and young men across the United States from the ages of 21-31 were required to register.  Another draft followed on June 5, 1918 and included any men who had turned 21 since the prior year.  An even more comprehensive draft was held three months later on September 12, 1918 and called for any men between the ages of 18 and 45.

During these registration periods, approximately 75 men in Schaumburg Township dutifully filed their cards with the draft board.  The majority registered in the first draft on June 5, 1917 and more followed at various times in 1918.  Of this number, 26 men served and they are as follows:

  • Henry Bartels
  • Albert Fasse*
  • John Freise
  • Albert Gathman
  • Henry Harke
  • Louis Hattendorf
  • Arthur Heide
  • Ernest Heim
  • Thomas Ford Hislop
  • Herman Knake
  • Herman Kruse
  • Elmer Nerge
  • George Nerge
  • Louis Henry Nerge
  • Harley Ottman
  • Alfred Quindel
  • Justin Rose
  • Ernest Schultz
  • Emil Sporleder
  • August Stein
  • Charles Stein
  • William Stein
  • Herman Thies
  • William Thies
  • Robert Voightmann
  • William Wede

*Albert Fasse was the only soldier who did not return home.  He served as a private in the Army’s 131st Infantry Regiment of the 33rd Infantry Division and died on October 10, 1918 in the Battle of the Argonne Forest. He is buried in Romagne, France at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.

On Sunday, October 5, 1919, a welcome home celebration for the returning men was held at the Schween Oak Grove Pavilion which was located in today’s Timbercrest subdivision.  Festivities included a parade, speakers, baseball game, wrestling match, dinner and dance.

This month, October 2014, we too honor the men of Schaumburg Township who served our country so well.  It should be noted that many of the families of these men had been in this country for a mere 60 or 70 years.  Their willingness to send their sons to fight in the “war to end all wars” was a testament to their patriotism and pride in the adopted country that this close-knit community now called home.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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