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.
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 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.