Mobilizing For War – April 1917

     With America’s entry into World War I in April of 1917, the citizens of Schoolcraft County rallied to support the war effort and President Woodrow Wilson’s call for troops. By Sunday morning, May 6, 1917, the first large contingent of young men left Manistique for Camp Custer. They had enlisted in the 33rd Michigan Infantry, a National Guard unit which was later federalized and became part of Company M of the 125th United States Infantry.

     Carl Thorborg of Manistique reported on the send-off of the troops for the Sault Evening News. “A parade was formed at the corner of Cedar and Walnut Streets which was led by the Home Guard, followed by the W.O.W [Woodsmen of the World], Knights of Pythias, Elks, citizens and the volunteers under the command of Percy Patterson, who arrived for that purpose Saturday night.” Music was provided by the Woodsmen of the World band and the Manistique band.  American flags seemed to be waving everywhere.

     When the parade finally arrived at the depot, the ranks were opened, and the volunteers filed through the entire length as the crowd clapped and cheered. Many tears were shed as the soldiers said good-bye to their loved ones. Many would never return.

The above photo is ½ of a panoramic view of the Soo Line Depot in Manistique taken on May 6, 1917. Some of the volunteers can be seen in the front row wearing tags on their coats.

This is the other half of the panoramic photo taken at the Soo Line Depot in Manistique. Note the large sign with a photo of Woodrow Wilson and the message “Stand By the President.”

     Mrs. Edmund Ashford, representing the St. Alban’s Guild of the Episcopal church was at the depot and presented each volunteer with a sewing kit containing needles, thread, buttons and other items. Carl Thorborg reported that Schoolcraft County had about 50 young men who had volunteered for military service and no doubt many more would follow.

     Among the volunteers in the 33rd Michigan Infantry who left Manistique on that day were Elias L. Garrett, Edward R. Monroe, Sylvan M. Rubin, Lynn Hollenbeck, William A. Beloungea, Everette F. McCormick, Henry J. Fisher, Joseph Isaac, Bernard E. Tatrow, Henry L. Norton, G. Dale Morrison, Laurence Tully, Fred Fiebernitz, Arthur O. Drevdahl, Henry Davis, Edmund M. Nelson, Julius Williams, Jesse B. Wharfield, Joseph D. Robare, Gaylord P. Leach, Earl Belchor, Elmer J. Terrian, Abraham Martin, Joseph B. Pattinson, Oscar Johnson, and Paul W. Redeker. 

The above photo of volunteers headed for Camp Custer was taken on Sept 17, 1917 in front of the Schoolcraft County Courthouse. The men are standing next to Manistique’s Civil War cannon. Starting from the far left, Mike Lindberg, Unidentified, Axel Marine, John Lindberg, Axel Cooper, Unidentified, Unidentified, Ed Jenerou, Unidentified, Herb Morrison, Unidentified, Unidentified, Gordon Robare, Unidentified, Unidentified, Unidentified, William Tufnell, Unidentified, and Herb Gray.

     The historical society will be featuring photos and biographical information regarding many of the World War I soldiers from Schoolcraft County. If you have a photo and information regarding a relative who served in the Great War, please contact us at P.O. Box 284 in Manistique, or by using the “Contact Us” tab at the top of this page.

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