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16 Memorialized Students

Gabriel L. Adams

Herndon, Northumberland County


September 15, 1895- September 28, 1918

 Gabriel Adams was born in Jackson Township in Northumberland County, the son of Edwin C. and Alice Seville Adams of Herndon.  He grew up in Herndon and helped out on the family farm.  Gabriel entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in September of 1910 at the age of 15 in the College Preparatory Program, and graduated in June of 1913.  In an unfortunate twist of fate, his roommate while at Bloomsburg, Maxwell Straub of Herndon, also died in the war.

Gabriel enrolled at Bucknell University after graduation and studied there for several years, but during his junior year had to leave school to help out at home.  In May 1918 he entered military service in Sunbury and trained at Camp Meade, Maryland, with Company M of the 314th Infantry, 79th Infantry Division.  In July the company went to France for more training and was finally sent to the trenches on the frontline in late September.

The company became part of one of the major drives of the war near the city of Verdun.  What happened to Gabriel was communicated to his parents by a good army friend, James Snyder.  Snyder wrote the letter several days later while recuperating at a base hospital.  On September 28 they were involved in fighting all day, and that night dug into a hole for protection.  But a German shell hit the trench, wounding Snyder and killing Gabriel.  As James Snyder said about him in the letter, "You can always be proud of Gabe's army record as he was always loyal, faithful and friendly  to everybody and always did his duty in a manly manner.  I have missed him very much and share with you the grief you mourn for so noble a son and friend ..."

Although buried in France, a memorial marker was placed in the family plot in Herndon Cemetery, alongside which would be buried his father in 1920 and his mother in 1945.  His family mourned Gabriel's loss: his parents, sister, and brother John.  An intelligent, studious, and energetic young man with a bright future was gone, another terrible loss in a terrible war.


Herndon Cemetery



  The Memorial tablet for Gabriel Adams, who was buried in France


    The tablet for Gabriel Adams at right, with his father Edwin (middle) & Mother, Alice (left)


A beautiful view looking west from the Adams family plot across the Susquehanna River Valley

John Henry Andres, Jr.

Bloomsburg, Columbia County


April 3, 1887- October 5, 1917

Harry Andres was born in Jersey City, the son of John Henry and Elizabeth Andres.  They moved to Bloomsburg while Harry was young, and he graduated from Bloomsburg High School in 1904.  That fall he entered the Normal School in the College Preparatory program with a concentration in medicine. Harry was not alone there, since his sisters Daisy, Helen and Martha were also students.  He graduated on June 27, 1906, and went on to earn a degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1911.  He interned for a year at Cooper Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, before moving to Duluth, Minnesota.  He had a successful practice there, and was on the medical staff of the Duluth public school system.

Dr. Andres went into military service in 1916 as a commissioned officer and surgeon with the 3rd Minnesota Medical Corps, attached to the 125th Field Artillery Regiment.  He was initially stationed at the Mexican border during the time when bandits such as Pancho Villa were crossing over into the United States and killing American citizens.  In September of 1917 he returned there with the field artillery regiment and was based at Camp Cody in Deming, New Mexico.  On October 4, Lieutenant Andres went on a short trip to El Paso, Texas with another officer, Lieutenant Charles Ramshaw, a chaplain for the regiment.  They saw a moving picture show and had supper that night, but before it was over, early in the morning of October 5, Lt. Andres was found dead in his hotel room.  

The El Paso coroner and military decided he had committed suicide during a period of temporary insanity.  The field artillery regiment's commanding officer, Colonel Eva, reported that Lt. Andres had been brooding and melancholy for some weeks prior to the incident.  His family, however, insisted that he had been in good health and was enjoying his work, and could not possibly have taken his own life.

Members of the regiment were shocked and saddened to hear of his death.  The officers praised Dr. Andres highly for his soldierly qualities, while the enlisted men remembered his kindness and consideration.  He had been one of the most popular officers in the Minnesota regiments.

Harry Andres returned to Bloomsburg one final time on October 9, 1917, accompanied by a military escort.  Funeral services with full military honors were held in El Paso before the trip back home.  A second service was held on the 10th at his parent's home, and he was buried nearby in New Rosemont Cemetery.  He left behind his grieving parents and seven sisters, who had lost their only son and brother.  They could not accept the account of what had happened to him, nor could a friend of his from Duluth, Ted Jones, who had served for six months in the military with Dr. Andres.  He stated that he knew Harry very well, and his high opinion of life and the place in the world he hoped to fill.  Mr. Jones could not believe that Harry could have taken his own life.  The founders of the Memorial Pinery did not believe what had happened either, and Harry Andres is proudly memorialized with the rest of the students of the Bloomsburg State Normal School, for having lost his life in service to his country.

Reese Davis

Forest City, Susquehanna County



No Photograph 
Currently Available


October 14, 1894 - September 27, 1918



Reese Davis was from Forest City in Susquehanna County and entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in September 1910.  He was enrolled in the College Preparatory Program and graduated on June 26, 1912.  He went on to earn a medical degree in 1916  from the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and was employed as a resident physician by the State Hospital in Scranton when he enlisted in the British Expeditionary Forces in July 1917.  Lt. Davis was believed to have been killed near Cambrai, France, on September 27, 1918, as part of the Battle of the Canal du Nord, at a base hospital while serving as a member 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards.

It was not until five years after the war that the school recognized that Davis should be included in the Pinery, possibly when his body was returned to the United States from France in April 1924 and buried in Hillside Cemetery in Forest City. An American Legion Post in Lackawanna County was named in his honor and his name was added to the bronze tablet installed on the Pinery boulder in November 1924.  One of the previously undesignated trees was selected to recognize his service to his country.

John Henry Hodder

Wilkes Barre, Luzerne County

March 27, 1892 - February 27, 1919

 John Henry "Jack" Hodder was born on March 27, 1892, and enrolled at the Bloomsburg State Normal School in March of 1915.  He was an excellent athlete, and during his time in school played center on both the football and basketball teams, serving as captain of the latter in 1917, as well as a star pitcher in baseball.  He was president of the class of 1920, a member of the Calliepian Literary Society, and the Kappa Delta Phi fraternity.  He participated in a Halloween masquerade in 1917, and four days later left school to join the navy.  Hodder enlisted as a machinist's mate 2nd class on December 11, 1917, and was involved in convoy duty aboard the U.S.S. Seattle.  He traveled across the Atlantic to France seven times, and was promoted to machinist's mate 1st class on September 5, 1918.

John Hodder was honorably discharged on February 15, 1919, and returned to Scranton and his wife Florence.  But in a sad twist of fate he became ill with pneumonia and died twelve days later on February 27 at the age of 26.  After having survived the war and German U-boats he was felled by illness.  Hodder was also survived by his mother Margaret and three sisters.  The funeral was held on March 3, and he was buried in Nanticoke Cemetery with military honors.

As his mother wrote to the normal school registrar, Francis Jenkins, the week after the funeral, "We are very grateful for the testimonials of sympathy expressed by so many normal school people and surely feel that my dear boy was thought well of by the folks at your institution.  I know he was very happy while among you and I rejoice in the fact that in his short life there were the years at Bloomsburg Normal School."


Nanticoke Cemetery

Nanticoke, Luzerne County

A close view of the marker for John Henry Hodder. 85 years of weatehring have made it difficult to read.


The marker with a WWI memorial, but no flag.


The stone for John Hodder in the foreground, all but lost in the midst of a large city cemetery. He was buried here alone, with no other members of his family.

Howard Earl Krum

Danville, Montour County

September 15, 1896 - October 21, 1918

Special thanks to American Legion Post 40, Danville, PA for providing the photograph.

Howard Earl Krum was born September 15, 1896, the son of William I. and Harriet Krum.  He was from the Danville area near Grovania, and entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in September of 1912, just before his 16th birthday.  He graduated with a degree in the commercial course on June 27, 1915, and for two years taught school in Cooper Township.

He entered the military as a private and was stationed with Company G at Camp Lee, Virginia.  In early October of 1918 he was one of many who contracted influenza, and was ill for more than two weeks.  He became critical and was visited by his two brothers, Theodore and Arnold.  When they arrived he was ill with pneumonia, but began to show some improvement.  They left on Friday, October 18, but found out the following Monday he had passed away.  Howard Krum returned to Grovania one final time, and his funeral was held on Saturday, October 26 at his parent's home.  It was attended by many family and friends, and he was buried in Lazarus Cemetery in Cooper Township, Montour County.


Lazarus Cemetery

Cooper Township, Montour County




Howard E. Krum in Lazarus Cemetery. The Krum family stone can just be seen at far right, and to its right are buried his parents, William and Hariett.

John Ray Kunkel

Kulp, Columbia County

December 9, 1889-February 3, 1918

John Ray Kunkel was born on December 9, 1889, the son of Jere and Mary M. Kunkel of Kulp, near Catawissa. He entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in 1908, and graduated with a degree in the regular course on June 28, 1911. Following graduation, he taught in school including one term as an assistant principal of Locust Township High School, and for one year as principal of a high school in McKean County. He gave up that position because it was so far from home and his parents. Prior to entering military service, he was a teacher at Houck School in Roaringcreek Township. He had a bright and promising career ahead of him, and was especially fond of United States history, in particular, the Civil War. He could readily describe the battles, names of commanders, and give the results of all the great campaigns.

When Kunkel first entered the U.S. Army in October of 1917, he was stationed at Camp Meade, Maryland. In November, he sought an exemption from serving because of his parents, who were dependent on him as their only child and in need of his support, as his father was over 60 years old at the time. But the claim was eventually denied, and he was sent to Camp Greene, North Carolina as a part of Company E, 39th Infantry Regiment. He sent letters home to his parents stating that he was enjoying the army life. In January 1918, he became ill and underwent an operation on February 1st. He died of emphysema (a buildup of fluid in the lungs) and measles two days later, at the age of 28. His body was brought back to Kulp, and the funeral was held on February 8th at the Methodist Episcopal Church. The building was too small to hold all of the friends who had gather to honor Kunkel's memory. As the officiating pastor stated, "the man who gave his life for his country, even though he died from natural causes, was a hero just the same as the man who was killed on the field of action." He was then taken to Creveling Cemetery in Columbia County where he was buried. 

John Ray Kunkel was twice honored with a living memorial. In addition to his place in the Memorial Pinery, a tree to remember him was planted near the Kulp High School building, during a service led by both elementary and high school students. His parents had lost their only child, and the "War to End All Wars" had claimed another victim. 

Creveling Cemetery

Columbia County



John Ray Kunkel in Creveling Cemetery.
To the right are the headstones for his parents Mary and Jere.

William C. Montgomery

Orangeville, Columbia County

February 2, 1896 - February 26, 1919

William Calvin Montgomery was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Montgomery and graduated from Orangeville High School in 1912.  The following September he entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School, and while there was a member of the Philologian Literary Society, participated in their 1914 play, and belonged to the Y.M.C.A.  In the 1915 yearbook he was described as being a tall, sleek fellow with dark hair and an innocent look, and it was felt that one day he would be crowned with success.  Montgomery graduated on June 23, 1915 with a degree in the normal course.

Following graduation he went to New York where he began his teaching career, married a widow with three children, Mary Berg, and together they had a daughter, Mary Alice.  His first job was for one year in Altmar, NY, and then he taught two years at Montauk on Long Island.  Montgomery was called up in June 1918, and even though he could have claimed an exemption because of his family obligations, he chose instead to honor his country by going into the service.  He reported to Berwick on June 28, went first to Camp Lee, VA, and then on to France where he arrived on August 10.  Montgomery finally got into combat on in October and went "over the top," only to be wounded after advancing a short distance by a machine gun bullet below the hip.  He sent letters to his parents from field hospitals, stating that he was recovering as well as could be expected, and continually hoping he would soon be sent home.  But that did not happen until after he had died on February 26, 1919, from pneumonia and resulting complications from his infection. Montgomery was buried on Long Island, in Cedar Lawn Cemetery, East Hampton.

William Montgomery was survived by his parents, a brother and three sisters, in addition to his wife and four children.  He did not have to go to war, but his desire to serve his country was too strong, and in the end he gave his life in doing what he felt was right.

Gilbert Mord Neuburger

Freeland, Luzerne County

No Photograph 
Currently Available


September 20, 1880 - September 27, 1918



Gilbert Neuburger was born in White Haven in September 1880, the son of Joseph and Hannah Neuburger, who had emigrated to the United States from Germany.  He came to Bloomsburg and graduated from the Bloomsburg State Normal School College Preparatory Program on June 27, 1900.  Gilbert later earned a medical degree and first practiced medicine in Philadelphia, where he served on the staff of the Jewish Hospital and in 1906 was promoted to senior house surgeon.  Dr. Neuburger then moved to Wilkes-Barre, where he was a physician and radiologist at Mercy Hospital.  In 1912 he came back to Philadelphia, and became an authority on the use of x-rays and the benefits of electricity for treating various diseases.  When war was declared he gave up his practice and was commissioned as a Senior Lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy.  Dr. Neuburger was stationed at the League Island Navy Yard base hospital, but became ill on September 20, 1918,  first with Spanish influenza and then pneumonia and died at the hospital one week later on September 27 at the age of 38. 

The funeral was held three days later, and Gilbert Neuburger was buried in Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Philadelphia with full naval honors.  He was survived by his wife Corinne, one child, two brothers and three sisters.  This was a very difficult time for the family as another brother and sister had also died during the previous year.  Gilbert was called a genial, whole-souled young man, who was faithful to his profession and his life work.  A caring physician who could have helped save many more lives during his lifetime had had his career tragically cut short. 

Hawley B. Olmstead

Taylor, Lackawanna County


No Photograph 
Currently Available


January 30, 1892 - February 15, 1918



Hawley Brownell Olmstead was born in Dalton, Lackawanna County, the son of William Hawley and Sallie Olmstead and grew up in Taylor. He entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in September 1908 and took classes there for nearly three years before leaving in February, 1911. Olmstead later attended the University of Virginia, entered military service from Chicago, IL, in April 1917, and was sent overseas to France as part of the 161st  Field Hospital. Arriving on January 13, 1918, a month later he contracted pneumonia and died on February 15 at a hospital in St. Agnan. Although buried in France at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, there is a grave marker for Olmstead in Dundaff Cemetery, Lackawanna County.

Walter Page

Mt. Pleasant Mills, Snyder County

November 27, 1894 - July 18, 1918


Walter Page was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Page, and entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in September of 1915, as a student in the Special Course.  In June, 1917 he passed entrance examinations for the military, and was accepted as a musician in the infantry and went to Fort Slocum, New York.  He first became a member of Company I, later Company A, 9th Infantry, which was sent over to France.  In October he wrote to a former classmate of his in Bloomsburg:

"Arrived in France at last, reaching port Thursday evening.  It was fifteen days on the beat and glad to stand on solid ground again.  I was not very sick, only missing a few meals, but some of the fellows were pretty bad.  I haven't seen much of the country yet, but it is just like the stories of ancient times.  They seem to be about 75 years behind time, and are in the "bicycle age" yet.  The girls don't walk; they ride bicycles and there are only a few automobiles."

"I have been homesick a thousand times already to get back to school again.  It did seem hard the day school opened.  I could imagine you fellows coming up the front walk and shaking hands, and I wasn't in it!"

"You ought to see what an appetite I have now.  Believe me, if I could strike the old strings and mattress we had last year I would sleep for a week.  I haven't slept in a bed since I came in the army.  We sleep on the ground and it is as hard as a rock.  I lie on one side until I get sore and then roll over.  Talk about getting tough!  I'll carry a tooth-pick in my Sunday vest pocket when I get back."

But Walter Page never did get back to Bloomsburg.  He was severely wounded on July 18, 1918, and listed as "missing in action" on August 12.  It was not until March 5, 1919 that his father received official word from Washington that his son had died of his wounds the previous July.

Meryl Grace Phillips

Muncy Valley, Sullivan County

July 23, 1889 - May 19, 1918


Meryl Grace Phillips was the daughter of Mary and Maynard J. Phillips, and received her early education in Muncy Valley and Benton.  She entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in September of 1909 for two years in the Special Course, and later graduated as a nurse from the Williamsport Hospital.  She eventually became assistant superintendent of the hospital, and then in November of 1916 moved to the same position at the Bloomsburg Hospital, which she capably filled while in charge of the operating room.  When war broke out in 1917 Meryl was determined to go to France as a Red cross nurse, so enlisted with a unit at Jefferson Hospital.  When she received a telegram on March 27, 1918 notifying her to prepare to report for duty she immediately resigned her position at the hospital and made ready.  In token of their appreciation the doctors and nurses of the Bloomsburg Hospital presented her with a purse of gold as a farewell remembrance.

Meryl left Bloomsburg on April 1 for Lakewood, New Jersey where she was stationed, awaiting transportation to France.  Her letters home repeatedly expressed her desire and eagerness to get into active service.  But on May 8 her family was notified she had developed pneumonia and was seriously ill at U. S. General Hospital in New York City.  The family rushed to her side, and one week later her father sent a telegram that she was very low and that no more mail should be sent to the hospital.  Three days later Meryl died on May 19, 1918.

Meryl Phillips was the eldest daughter of Judge Maynard J. Phillips, and was survived by her father (her mother having passed away in 1915), and by her two younger sisters, Helen and Maizie.  Maizie Phillips had a further connection to the Memorial Pinery when she took over in January 1918 as principal of Millville High School for B. S. N. S. graduate Earle Robbins, who went into the service, died the following September, and was also remembered as part of the pinery.  A large memorial service for Meryl was held on May 22 at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Bloomsburg, now Wesley United Methodist Church.  Trustees, nurses, and members of the Bloomsburg Hospital medical staff were all in attendance, along with members of the local Red Cross chapter.  During the service the minister read the following action taken at a meeting of the Board of Managers of the Bloomsburg Hospital:

"Miss Phillips possessed in a marked degree the Christian graces which qualified her in a special manner for her life work.  Her services as Assistant Superintendent of the Bloomsburg Hospital for nearly two years were rendered in a faithful and conscientious manner, and it was indeed a loss to the Hospital when she heard and heeded the call of her country to a broader field of activity and resigned her position on April 1st last.  With her accustomed zeal and impelled by a heroism to brave every peril and if need be sacrifice life itself, she pursued her preparation for a transfer over the seas, when an inscrutable Providence permitted what proved to be a fatal disease to terminate her career on earth.  Her life was as truly given for her country as if permitted to accompany her associate members of the Jefferson Unit across the seas.  The precious memory of Miss Phillips will long abide with the Officials, Staff, and Nurses of the Bloomsburg Hospital."

The following day she was taken to Sonestown in Sullivan County, where she was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery overlooking the town.  Meryl Phillips was under no obligation to risk her life for her country, but her sense of duty was too strong, and in the end she gave her life in the pursuit of saving others.  The following poem that appeared in the Bloomsburg Morning Press on May 28, 1918 summarizes her life and sacrifice.


In Memory of Miss Meryl G. Phillips.


Her beautiful life is ended 
To us it seems all too soon 
Tho her spirit immortal is shining 
While we still live on in this gloom. 
The sick and afflicted will miss her 
The voice that they loved is stilled 
How can her home ties be kindled? 
How can her place be filled? 
Though are hearts are bowed low in sorrow 
Of this we dare not complain 
We must trust in the comforting promise 
Our loss is her eternal gain. 
Methinks she was needed in heaven 
Where all is such wonderful love 
Perhaps she is caring for soldiers 
Who are living with God above.


Mrs. John M. Sheerer 
Shickshinny, PA


Hillcrest Cemetery

Sonestown, Sullivan County


Meryl on the left with her parents to the right. Her mother passed away in 1915 and her father in 1920.


A view of the hills overlooking Hillcrest Cemetery. A very peaceful and beautiful location.

Earle Sheridan Robbins

Eyer's Grove, Columbia County

September 19, 1890 - September 29, 1918


 Earle Sheridan Robbins was the son of Ira and Mary Robbins, and he grew up in Columbia County, graduating from Millville High School.  He entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in the fall of 1913, graduating in the College Preparatory program in the Latin Scientific Course on June 23, 1915.  While in school he was a member of the Y.M.C.A. and the Calliepian Literary Society, and played basketball on his class team his final year.

After graduation Robbins became a teacher in the Centre Township High School, and then principal of Millville High School.  He continued work during the summers by teaching history and geography in the Benton Summer School, and showed exceptional promise for a long career in education.  But it was not to be, as he was drafted at the end of 1917.  By a coincidence the new acting principal of Millville High School was Maizie Phillips, sister of Meryl Phillips, who is also memorialized in the Pinery.

Robbins was originally scheduled to leave before Christmas, but shipped out from Berwick for Camp Meade, Maryland on January 10, 1918.  Ten men left that morning on the train, and a parade honoring them marched through town to the station, accompanied by veterans of the Civil and Spanish American Wars.  While at Camp Meade Robbins was assigned the position of book-keeper at the base hospital, and was soon promoted to sergeant.  During the summer he was captain of one of the camp baseball teams, continued to do well, and by September had won a second lieutenancy.  But he never got a chance to enjoy his new rank.

On Thursday, September 26, Robbins' parents received word that he was critically ill with Spanish influenza.  They went immediately to Camp Meade with their son Wade and Maizie Phillips, and were with Robbins when he died.  His body was taken to Bloomsburg under military escort, and then to his parents' home.  The funeral was held on October 2, 1918 at the Methodist Church in Eyer's Grove, and he was buried in Kitchen's Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant Township, Columbia County.  Earle Robbins was survived by his parents, two brothers, and two sisters.  They had suffered a great loss, as did all the current and future students at Millville High School that no longer had their principal and educational mentor.  This loss was expressed by Earle's mother Mary, who had the following words carved on his tombstone, "If we live a pure life like him, we shall all be reunited."


Kitchen's Cemetery

Mt. Pleasant Township, Columbia County


The Robbins Family.  Earle on the right with his parents.


Kitchen's Cemetery.  Located next to a small country church in northern Columbia County.

Maxwell Augustus Straub

Herndon, Northcumberland County

December 5, 1895 - July 21, 1918

Max Straub was the only surviving child of Alba Moyer and John Arthur Straub, and grew up in Herndon along the Susquehanna River, where his father sold dry goods, shoes, sporting goods, and general merchandise.  Max entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in March of 1911, where he was a roommate of fellow Herndon native Gabriel Adams, who sadly became another student remembered in the Memorial Pinery.  Straub took classes until January, 1915, when he enrolled in a business course at the Lancaster Business College, after which he helped his father out in the family general store.

At the beginning of June, 1917 Straub enlisted as a private in the Bucknell Ambulance Unit at Allentown, and after several months of training was sent to France.  His letters home related the many thrilling experiences he had while crossing the Atlantic and at the battle front.  He was involved in action several times, but on July 15, 1918 he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The French were pulling a heavy cannon up to the front lines with a tractor, which happened to break down as it passed the post where Straub was stationed.  While a machinist was trying to locate the trouble a German plane flew over, and the pilot on seeing the cannon dropped a bomb.  It landed 40 feet from Straub and a French soldier, exploding and wounding them both.  A second bomb killed the machinist and three other soldiers, while wounding five.  Straub was hit by nine pieces of shrapnel, including one that punctured his stomach.  Even though he was severely injured, he said that the others should be attended to first, before he was taken to a hospital.

Max Straub was operated on, but the injuries were too severe, and he died in Fleury-Sur-Aire one week later on the night of the 21st.  He was conscious until the end, and five minutes before he died he asked for his mother and father.  He was buried in France as a private first class with military honors.  For his devotion to duty he was given a Citation for Bravery, and the French awarded him the Medaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre with palm.  The war crosses pinned to the flag over his coffin were sent to his parents.  Their grief at his  loss was deep and profound, for as John Straub wrote to the normal school registrar Francis Jenkins on August 26, 1918:

     "I am sure we are proud to hear that you are interested in our Dear, Dear Son Maxwell, who gave his all for his country.  He died a hero.  But Oh! it is so hard to lose your only boy.  We just think it can't be that our Dearest One in this world will never return to his Dear Parents."

Yet another family would never be the same, and a brave young man who only sought to do his duty and serve his country gave his life for it.  A memorial tablet was placed in the Herndon Cemetery overlooking the Susquehanna River, and his parents would end up being buried alongside it.  His parents never forgot him, and Mrs. Straub was a proud member of the Gold Star Mothers of the Philadelphia Chapter of American War Mothers.  In her will she wanted Max's medals and citations from the United States and France to go to his namesake, Maxwell Straub Gregg, the son of Flint M. Gregg of Brownsville in Fayette County.  The sacrifice of Maxwell Straub had meant so much that a child was named in his honor.


Herndon Cemetery

Jackson Township, Northumberland County


The memorial tablet for Maxwell Straub, who was buried in France.


The memorial stone for Maxwell Straub, and flag from Memorial Day to honor his memory and sacrifice.


The Straub family stone, with the tablet for Maxwell Straub at right, his mother Alba in the middle and father John to the left.

Thomas Turner

Bloomsburg, Columbia County

October 12, 1888 - October 25, 1918


Tom Turner was born in Port Carbon, PA, the youngest of three children of Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Ada Turner.  The family moved to Bloomsburg in 1894 where his father began work as a book-keeper.  But tragedy struck the family early, when Tom's mother died in 1897 at the age of 40, and his father caught pneumonia and passed away at 49 in 1901.  Tom was then supported by his uncle, Charles W. Miller, who was a trustee of the Bloomsburg State Normal School.  Miller paid Tom's way through school, and he graduated from the College Preparatory Program on June 27, 1906, having begun his studies in September of 1903.  He then went on to earn an engineering degree (an AB in Geology) from Leland Stanford University in California, from which he officially graduated in May of 1914.  Before then in 1913 Tom already had a well-paying job working for a mining company in eastern Siberia.  He was there when the First World War broke out, but was forced to leave after the Bolshevik revolution began.  He went first to San Francisco, and then to Alaska where he continued work as a mining engineer.

Turner joined the army, and hoped to get back to Siberia with the American troops fighting the Communists.  But before going there he boarded the Canadian-Pacific steamship Princess Sophia at Skagway, Alaska on October 23, 1918, bound for Vancouver, British Columbia.  The next day a storm came up and the ship ran aground on a reef.  When the weather turned calm it was decided not to remove the passengers, with hopes the high tide could move it off the reef.  But a second storm hit on Friday the 25th, which lifted the steamship across the reef and to the bottom of the sound.  The loss of life was terrible, with 268 passengers and 75 crew members dead, along with over $1,000,000 in gold.

Tom Turner's uncle in Bloomsburg, Sherman F. Peacock, was told the tragic news by Tom's brother Warren, who was working as an aide to the commandant of the San Francisco Navy Yard.  Another intelligent, well-educated young man was lost, and he never had a chance to serve his country.  But his story was not quite over, because in July of 1919 his body was found when divers worked to raise the steamship, no doubt to recover the gold.  Tom made one final trip back to Bloomsburg, where he was buried on November 8, 1922 in Old Rosemont Cemetery on the hillside overlooking the town, next to the parents he had lost many years before.

Old Rosemont Cemetery

Bloomsburg, Columbia County

1889 was mistakenly put on his gravestone as his year of birth rather than the correct year of 1888


The Turner family stones. Thomas is to the right of his parents, both of whom preceded him in death.

Karl Groff West

Danville, Montour County

November 27, 1895 - November 5, 1918

Special thanks to American Legion Post 40, Danville, PA, for providing the photograph.


Karl West was from Danville, the son of Mr. And Mrs. I. D. West, but beginning in the fall of 1904 at the age of 8 he attended the model school at the Bloomsburg State Normal School, which was a campus elementary school for training student teachers.  He went to the model school for five years, finishing in the spring of 1909.

In August of 1917 he went to France to begin flying school, and was commissioned a first lieutenant as a pilot in 20th Aero Squadron, 1st Day Bombardment Group.  By the last full month of the war he was an experienced pilot, and in October 1918 participated in every raid made by the squadron in the Argonne-Meuse sector, earning him a citation for exceptional devotion to duty.  West was also commended for having shot down a German Fokker plane on October 23.  The war was almost over, but he would not live to see it end.

On November 5, six days before the armistice took effect, a group of eight planes, including Lt. West's, was sent on a bombing raid far behind enemy lines.  Before reaching the objective they were attacked by fourteen German planes, but were able to continue on to drop their bombs on the town of Monzin.  At this point six more Germans attacked, and West's plane was seen spiraling down.  It was thought the motor had been hit, causing it to stall.  The enemy continued to fire at the plane as it fell, but before it had begun its fall West shot down at least one of the Germans.  The plane carrying Lt. West was last seen bursting into flames after crashing.

A hero had died, and as Karl West's good friend Lt. Lewis H. Turnbull wrote in tribute:

     "I cannot speak too highly of Karl's work at the Front.  He was a brave and courageous officer and a credit to his Organization.  Karl was always eager to go on all bombing missions and was an exceptionally good flyer.  His loss was deeply felt by the entire squadron.  In his last combat Karl bore himself with his accustomed bravery, and he went down only because of the overwhelming odds against him.  He died a noble death for his country."

David Owen Williams

Scranton, Lackwanna County

February 7, 1880 - April 25, 1918

David Owen Williams was born on February 7, 1880, in Swansea, Wales, immigrating to the United States with his mother in 1887, where they joined his father in West Scranton. He developed into an excellent pitcher and enrolled in January 1898 at the Bloomsburg State Normal School. While he succeeded in his studies, graduating in June 1900, he made his mark first on the Normal School baseball team, going 24-6 in four years, and then during the summers played professional baseball. His first experience was for a team in Honesdale in the summer of 1898, where he teamed up with another young pitcher from Factoryville, Christy Mathewson. Williams, a lefthander, taught the right-handed Mathewson how to throw a floater pitch, later termed a screwball. For Christy it became known, when perfected, as his fade away pitch, which helped him win 373 games in the major leagues and become part of the inaugural class in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Williams continued to impress on the mound and in late 1901 was signed to a contract by the Boston team in the American League, then called the Americans and later the Red Sox. Unfortunately for the 22-year-old Williams, he suffered arm troubles for the first time and only appeared in three games in 1902, before seeing his major league career end before it had really begun. He continued in professional ball in Pennsylvania, most notably in Altoona, before finally moving west in 1906 to first Kansas City and then Sioux City, Iowa. It was there he met and married his wife, Laura. Two years later it was on to Duluth, Minnesota, and finally the nearby town of Hibbing. Williams continued to pitch and play first base and outfield in the summers, while working for the town as first a patrolman and then a juvenile officer.

His leadership abilities apparent, Williams was elected captain of the local National Guard unit, Company M, in 1915. In the summer of 1916 the company was sent to the Mexican border and, in August 1917, following the United States entry into the First World War, was called into active duty. The company was shipped to New Mexico to train at Camp Cody near Deming. Williams and his men, now part of the 125th Field Artillery Regiment, trained that fall and into the following spring. Unfortunately for Williams, by March the influenza epidemic, which would sweep the world in 1918 and kill millions, hit Camp Cody and he fell ill. It was hoped Williams would recover and he was transferred to an army/navy military hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas. But his condition worsened and he died on April 25, 1918, at the age of 38. His body was taken back to Scranton for the funeral and then Captain David Williams, one of the best athletes in Bloomsburg University history, was laid to rest in the Dunmore Cemetery, in a ceremony with full military honors. He was honored in his adopted home town of Hibbard when the American Legion Post started there was named for him, and in Bloomsburg in the World War I Memorial Pinery. They were fitting tributes to a man held in high esteem for both his skills as an athlete and leadership as a soldier.


Dunmore Cemetery

Dunmore, Lackawanna County


The final resting place of Captain David O. Williams


Dunmore Cemetery

The Williams family stone is in front of the tree at left. Also buried in the plot are his parents and two sisters. This cemetery is a place for the living as well, with workers tending the lawns and people strolling through the grounds for exercise. 

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