This small booklet contains all the known men and women who participated in World War 1 and claimed their home of record as Stephenson County, Illinois. By participation, this record does not limit this to soldiers, but also contains the records of those men and women who served the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., and other non-fighting positions. This book is free to read or download.
Of the men who entered the Great War from Stephenson County fifty died in the service of their country. Some died in the camps and hospitals, and some on the battlefields in Europe. They made the supreme sacrifice for their country and will be immortalized in the history of the Republic.
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia July 28, 1914. Germany declared war on Russia, August 1, and on France August 3. August 4, Germany invaded Belgium and the same day England declared war on Germany. Thus the Great War began.
America’s efforts to maintain neutrality were not successful. Germany’s war vessels sank American merchant ships, and the lives of American citizens were lost. April 2, 1917, the president of the United States read his message to a special session of the Congress, asking the Congress to declare that a state of war existed between the United States and Germany. April 6, 1917, the Congress declared war against Germany.
Sometimes alone, and sometimes in small groups, the enlisted men of Stephenson County left home and loved ones, to enter the service of their country. The Selective Service Law was soon efficient, and large groups of stalwart young men from all parts of the County met in Freeport, listened to a patriotic address at the Courthouse, received a flag from Mother Allington, and, escorted by the Freeport High School Band and Cadets, marched down Stephenson Street, through cheering crowds of thousands of citizens, to the train and off to the Great War. One of the first groups to go into the service was Company L, of the Illinois National Guard.
By personal inquiry, by advertising, and by correspondence Mr. E. A. Hoefer and his office force attempted to secure the record of each man from Stephenson County. A large number were not reported. A study of records of those reported shows that the men from Stephenson County entered practically every branch of the service. Not counting the men in the navy, many of whom served in the war zone and in European ports, 371 men from this county served overseas. Of the total number reported, 392, were in the Infantry, 171 in the Artillery, 92 in the Navy, 63 in the Engineers, 73 in the Student’s Army Training Corps, 58 in the Air Service, 42 in the Quartermaster’s Service, 39 in the Medical Corps, 36 in the Machine Gun Companies, 33 in Head Quarter’s Companies, 29 as Musicians, 22 in the Marines, 24 in Motor Transport Service, 22 in Supply Trains, 24 in the Signal Corps, 19 in Ordnance, 19 as Bakers and Cooks, 18 in Depot Brigade, 15 in the Cavalry, 6 in the Balloon Corps, 6 in Chemical Warfare, 10 in the Radio Department, 4 in the Ambulance Service, 2 in the Tank Corps, 3 in the Veterinary Service, and one, each, in the Sanitary Corps, Submarine Service, Photograph Department, and Motorcycle Corps. Four men entered the Y. M. C. A. Service.
Ten women of Stephenson County entered the service, four in the Red Cross, two as army nurses, and one, each, as librarian, yeowoman, hospital corps, and Y. M.C. A.