WWI – Cpl. Vern E. Swingle, U.S.M.C.

Left to Right: Eugene Swingle (brother), Vern Swingle, Walter Burkowitz (uncle) and George Swingle, (brother), Circa 1910.  Photo Courtesy Don Linderoth

   Vern Erwin Swingle was born in Manistique on May 10, 1896 to Charles and Lena Swingle of 128 South Houghton Avenue. He grew up in Manistique and graduated from Manistique High School. After graduation, he worked in this city until obtaining employment in an automobile factory in Pontiac, Michigan.

     Swingle enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in Detroit the day after America’s entry into the war in April of 1917. He was the first Manistique soldier to go overseas and the first to lay down his life for his country. Swingle was killed in action in France on June 11, 1918. He served in the 6th USMC Regiment, 2nd Division. A few weeks before his death, Swingle wrote to a friend in Manistique about the horrors of war. “A fellow doesn’t know what war means until he gets up at the front line and sees a village ripped to pieces by big gun fire—all in the space of a few minutes.” Read More...

Ruth Ward – WWI Red Cross Nurse

Red Cross Nurses Hat from World War I – SCHS Archives

June 14, 1918

Somewhere in France

Dear Folks,

     Settled at last for now and at work, and near the front. I sure have seen some wonderful country and some historic settings, and I am so perfectly well for all my travels.

     Our boys are sure in it from accounts of their wounds and how they got them. We are sort of a second dressing station, and we evacuate almost as soon as they enter, getting as much treatment as is possible to give them.  I am certainly glad to be here, even though it is dangerous, there is the fact that you can be of so much good when the time comes to do it. And if you are always on your guard, you will find that it helps to be as President Wilson said, “Watchful waiting.” I can just hear the distant bombing of guns from here. Read More...

WWI Remembrance – The Home Front

     With America’s entry into World War I in April of 1917, life changed dramatically for citizens across the country, including those living in Schoolcraft County. A series of sweeping war regulations were established by the administration of Woodrow Wilson regarding food, fuel, the financing of the war effort, the treatment of “enemy aliens” and the stifling of dissent.

     The United States Food Administration sought to conserve foods such as beef, pork and wheat through voluntary action. Staples like sugar and flour were rationed. George Nicholson, of the White Marble Lime Company, was appointed as local food administrator. Monday, Wednesday and one meal daily were designated as wheatless. Tuesday and one meal daily was to be meatless. Saturday was porkless. The edicts from the Food Administration were published weekly in the Pioneer Tribune, with compliance being achieved through social pressure. Every family was expected to prominently display the Food Administration emblem in their home. Read More...