Veterans Day — originally called Armistice Day — occurred on Nov. 11, 1918. This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of that first World War.
As the historian for Macedon, I wanted to recognize those individuals who fought in this war. In this article I’ve tried to identify all of the individuals from Macedon who were involved. I apologize in advance if I have overlooked anyone.
As we celebrate Veterans Day, let’s remember the dedication and sacrifice that so many have made for our country and the responsibility that we must keep it special.
Far away from the fighting, in a small rural town along the Erie Canal, the people of Macedon once again answered her country’s call. The newspapers of that day were the Palmyra Courier and the Macedon Promoter. Each of these papers published Macedon’s honor roll. Each was slightly different.
The article from the Macedon Promoter (no date), included the following: “OUR HONOR ROLL. Below we give a list of young men from this community who are now in the service of their country endeavoring to make it possible for all peoples great and small to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We should appreciate your assistance in making this list complete and accurate in every way.”
In addition to these men, I was made aware of a resident named Alphonso DePaepe. Mr. DePaepe enlisted in the army while living in Lyndon Station, Wisconsin. He was a private in the Army’s 3rd Battalion, Co. 1, 317th Infantry. He moved to Macedon and raised his family. His son, Morris C. DePaepe, was also an Army veteran. Both were members of the Macedon American Legion, Philip Steiger Post No. 494. I also located the grave of John Van DerMallie, Army, located at the Macedon Village Cemetery.
If you are aware of any other WWI veterans, please feel free to contact me at historian@macedontown.net.
Armistice, or an agreement to ceasefire, was declared at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The following letter was published in the Macedon Promoter (no date). Perhaps the writer was Harold Jennings. He was the only Harold that I have a record of from Macedon.
“SAILOR’S LETTER — Thursday Nov. 14, 1918
Dear Folks:
Today has been one big affair here. This morning we all passed in review down through and around a large number of battleships. It was quite a sight. All the ships were full dress at eight in the morning and remained so until sunset. Our column was a long one extending probably two miles or so. We passed by just as colors were raised this morning. There was some noise too. All ships fired twenty-one salute Presidential salute. The sight was something to be long remembered. On all ships the men were in dress uniforms and at the rails, on deck, on gun turrets, and other things. Bands played the national airs of all the Allied countries.
All were feeling good and happy. To hear the cheering and shouting was too much for one to really comprehend all at once and it has lasted all day. Many of the sailors from allied vessels received liberty ashore and work in general, was suspended. There must have been eight or ten thousand of them ashore. We saw them this evening waiting for their boats to come for them. We went into dry-dock this afternoon near the landing and could witness it all. I can just imagine what it is in the United States.
This is a day late but I wish grandfather a happy birthday which was yesterday. I hope that you have not sent too many packages of things which will not keep, for a longer delay than usual may occur in reaching me. I guess every-one is glad. I will try and send some souvenirs from our next place, should we get there before long. We are all hoping for as little delay as possible.
There are many things which I would like to see if the opportunity comes. There is a Chaple of Bones that I want to see, and several lodges. I would very much like to visit them. I think but am not certain, that the Knights Templars had their origin on the island.
How is that kitten of Charles’s? It must be playful and nearly large enough to run around a good deal. Did you say it was a thorough-bred. I might get one but animals on a ship are too much nuisance. In fact I do want one on board. I hope to see that one in the spring.
I am well and hope that you are all in good health. I need nothing that I know of.
Harold.”
“World War began in 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and lasted until 1918. During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers).” (bit.ly/2FDruVZ)
The World War began in 1914. It wasn’t until April 2, 1917, that President Wilson went before Congress to deliver his famous war message. On April 6, 1917, both houses of Congress had voted in favor of a declaration of war. It was on that date that New York mobilized. “Prior to the U.S. entry in the war there was a significant pacifist movement in New York and considerable support for relief efforts to Belgium and other European communities. Eventually over 500,000 New Yorkers were in military service, the largest contingent from any state.” (“A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York’s Response to the Great War: A guide to Records Relating to World War I” — New York State Archives 1993)
The following is a message given by President Woodrow Wilson and Gov. Charles S. Whitman. (“A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York’s Response to the Great War: A guide to Records Relating to World War I” — New York State Archives 1993)
“TO THE SOLDIERS OF THE NATIONAL ARMY:
You are undertaking a great duty. The heart of the whole country is with you. Everything that you do will be watched with the deepest interest and with the deepest solicitude, not only by those who are near and dear to you, but by the whole Nation besides. For this great war draws us all together, makes us all comrades and brothers, as all true Americans felt themselves to be when we first made good our national independence. The eyes of all the world will be upon you, because you are in some special sense the soldiers of freedom.
Let it be your pride, therefore, to show all men everywhere not only what good soldiers you are, but also what good men you are, keeping yourselves fit and straight in everything and pure and clean through and through. Let us set ourselves a standard so high that it will be a glory to live up to it and then let us live up to it and add a new laurel to the crown of America.
President Woodrow Wilson (1917).”
“TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK:
New York’s pride is in the pride of things done. Her leadership is no more due to her great wealth or her large population than to the patriotism of her citizens and the uses to which her wealth is put. In every war in which this country has engaged, she has shown a spirit of sacrifice that has made her preeminent among the States.
In this war New York has outdone her own history. Over 175,000 of her citizens have gone into the fighting forces of the country. To the Red Cross, our citizens have given over $30 million dollars. One-third of the two previous Liberty Loans, or $2,457, 382,1000, was subscribed with this State.
On the battlefields of France, the Frontier of Civilization, our men are today fighting that this country may endure as a great nation. They are fighting for us. On us is the sacred obligation to meet sacrifice with sacrifice. I call on every citizen of this State to do his duty, and by subscribing to the Third Liberty Loan, prove to the men at the front that we are doing our part in the world fight against savagery.
Gov. Charles S. Whitman (April 6, 1918).”
Linda Braun serves as historian for the town of Macedon.