Grave of Cpl. James P. Clark of Company F, 108th Infantry, 27th Division – Somme American Cemetery
Vol. 4, No. 39
Amidst the commotion of political malfeasance, the excitement of football season, and the stress of a new school year comes the centennial of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The massive campaign initiated on September 26, 1918 marked the beginning of the end for Imperial Germany. Over 1.2 million American soldiers participated in the advance that spanned the nearly 50 days leading up to the Armistice of November 11th.
Over the last three years, I have authored numerous pieces on the men of Company F who marched across the fields of the embattled French countryside. All of that research culminated with the opportunity to stand upon the hallowed ground that refused to release the bodies of so many young men. Now that 100 years have passed, a little interest has stirred up locally in an effort to commemorate this monumental anniversary.… More
Volume 3, Issue 36
A quiet drive through the French countryside reveals the sprawling fields of golden wheat and green stalks of corn, the wind rushing through the hedgerows, and faint sounds of cattle. The openness of the landscape is broken up by the occasional town that contains century-old homes, churches, and schools, with the irregular modern buildings that house every amenity needed for the local community. After passing eastward through the small village of Bony, one is greeted by an immense marble structure that displays the French phrase “Morts pour la patrie,” or “To those who died for their country.”
The Somme American Cemetery, situated on 14.3 acres of rolling countryside in the Picardy region, is the final resting place for over 1,800 men who died during the assault on the Hindenburg Line on September 29, 1918. The cemetery was peaceful while a small crew of caretakers meticulously aerated the grass amidst the rows of marble crosses.… More
Vol. 3, Issue 20
Established in 1920, the Sheret Post #35 American Legion Band operated for over twenty years under the direction of William Melville of Rochester. The Livonia school band director joined the organization on April 18, 1930 and remained as the director into the 1950s.
After the conclusion of World War Two, the band was an active participant in dedicatory programs and memorial parades throughout the county. During the dedication of the statue of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Fatima, erected on the front lawn of St. Joseph’s Rectory in May of 1947, the Legion Band led the parade and furnished a beautiful rendition of the national anthem following the ceremony.
This photograph, taken by Fred Holt, shows the Legion Band marching out of St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Annual Memorial Day exercises typically included a parade from downtown Albion, to St. Joseph’s Cemetery, and finally to Mt. Albion Cemetery where veteran gravesites were decorated.… More
Volume 3, Issue 15
With an 82 to 6 vote in the Senate, the United States Congress declared war upon Germany 100 years ago on April 6th. After campaigning in 1916 on the claim that he “kept us out of war,” the Southern Democrat Woodrow Wilson had reneged on this promise after asking a special joint session of Congress for the declaration just days earlier in 1917.
Men throughout Orleans County heeded the call to service by enlisting with local National Guard regiments or enlisting directly with federal units. Howard G. Hinckley, a Medina resident, was one of the men who signed up for service within a week of the declaration of war. The son of Thorn and Allie Garter Hinckley, Howard was raised on South Academy Street in Medina where his father worked odd jobs as a carpenter. The 22 year old was mustered into service with Company F of the 3rd New York National Guard, the unit stationed out of Medina’s Armory.… More
Volume 2, Issue 44
Seventy-six years ago, on October 24th, the young men of Company F, 108th Infantry departed Medina for training at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Led by four officers, the 129 enlisted men proceeded from the Armory on Pearl Street to the New York Central Railroad Depot. At the helm of the parade was Albion’s Sheret Post Band, acting as official escorts, and led by Gen. John S. Thompson the acting parade marshal. The young men of Orleans County were later dispatched to Camp Forrest at Tennessee in June of 1941 for war maneuvers, roughly five months before the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
It was a mere twenty-three years after the men of Company F were dispatched for federal service on April 26, 1917 during “The Great War” that these men of our “greatest generation” so bravely left their homes to defend the world against tyranny and oppression.… More
Volume 2, Issue 23
Memorial Day was a weekend for self-reflection for many Americans, while others find enjoyment in spending time with family, vacations, and cook-outs. One noticeable presence during this past holiday weekend was the outcry of citizens asking for the greater community to remember the true meaning of the day; an opportunity to honor those men and women who gave everything for our country. Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” stands as a statement that every American should memorize.
One thing that Orleans County does not lack is the appreciation and support of our veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. In October of 2008, the Company F Memorial Committee dedicated a monument to the memory of those men who served out of Medina’s Armory with the 3rd N.Y. National Guard and the 108th U.S.… More
Revisiting Old Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 1
This photograph depicts the surviving members of Company F, 108th Infantry of the 27th Division who served with the American Expeditionary Forces during the First World War. Taken sometime in the 1920s, the image shows the men from Orleans County standing on the front steps of the Armory in Medina. When Woodrow Wilson announced the United States’ entry into the war on April 6, 1917, Europeans had been engulfed in total warfare for the previous three years and were wedged in a stalemate thanks to the evolution of military technology and tactics. When the men of Company F landed on the shores of France in the late spring of 1918, French and British troops had already started the process of forcing the Germans back across the Franco-German border. With the help of the A.E.F., the war would come to a conclusion roughly six months after the majority of U.S.… More
Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 9
A day to remember those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice over the last 239 years, Memorial Day serves as an occasion for each and every citizen to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy. “Decoration Day,” as it was called, has its roots in the Civil War when loved ones decorated the graves of their dearly departed soldiers. Today, we continue that tradition by adorning the graves of our veterans with flowers and flags.
Over the next four years we will commemorate the passing of the centennial of the First World War. A horrific and deadly conflict that was said to be “the war to end all wars,” took the lives of several dozen Orleans County citizens over the course of nineteen months. Our families sent over 1,000 young men to face the horrors of war and upon their return, the physical and emotional scars would remain for the rest of their lives.… More
Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 3
ALBION – Pictured here is the family of John Galashan Sheret, Sr. of Albion. An immigrant from Newhills, Scotland, John came to Albion where he was employed as a block breaker. He later served as Secretary of the International Union of Paving Cutters of the United States and Canada.
Pictured in this photo (standing left to right) are John Jr., James, and Egbert. Seated, left to right: John Sr., Andrew, Marian, Anna, and Elsie. The photograph was taken circa 1906.
Egbert served with the Machine Gun Battalions, known as “Suicide Squads” during the Punitive Expedition in Mexico. Immediately following his return to New York City in 1917, he requested a transfer to the 3rd NY National Guard, Company F in Medina to serve with his brothers James and Andrew.
On Sept. 29, 1918, the 27th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, containing the 108th Infantry and Company F, led a courageous charge on German defenses at the Hindenburg Line.… More