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Origins of American Legion Posts were once explored and revealed
American Legion
MEMBERS OF AMERICAN LEGION McCormick-Rose Post 308 in Gays Mills presented a plaque to the Gays Mills Lions Club in appreciation of the Lions’ generous donation toward construction of the new building where they are standing. The Legion hopes to have the building, located on Sunset Ridge Avenue, open for use later this spring or early summer. On hand for the occasion were, from left David Gibbs, Dana & Bob Van Hoesen, John Gibbs, Post Commander Lewis Knutson,Vice Commander Ken Meyers, Jim Welander, Legion Chaplain Roger Dalberg and Nichelle Lewis.

McCormick-Rose American Legion Post 308 and William Schoville American Legion Post 220. They’ve been around about as long as anyone can remember and the names are taken for granted by most people.

Investigation shows the posts were named for local young men, who lost their lives while in service to their country during World War I. 

The Soldiers Grove Post was named for Private William Warren Schoville, a member of Company L of the 128th Infantry. He was born in August of 1896 to James and Rachel Schoville of Soldiers Grove. He entered service January 2, 1918, at Madison and trained at Jefferson Barracks, Mo. 

Schoville arrived in Europe in March and was killed in action May 29, 1918, near Cantigny, France, the first Soldiers Grove soldier to be killed in action in that war.

William Schoville Post 220 was granted a charter by the National Executive Committee of the American Legion on November 13, 1926. The 15 charter members were Joseph Cummings, Galen Blair, Otto Peterson, Clive Ambrose, Vernie Coher, Salmer Asperheim, Donald McDowell, Earl Benson, Ross Grim, Clarence Thompson, Clarence Errickson, Arthur Mickelson, Frank Turner, Jerry Daly and Earl Alexander.

Since being chartered in 1926, there have been 36 post commanders, the first being J. L. Cummings. Many have served more than one year. 

The officers are currently as follows: Commander, Mark Udelhoven; Vice Commander, George Read; Adjutant, Jay Boesch; Color Guard, Ken McCormick; Chaplain, Frank McCoy; Financial Officer, Kara Sheehy.

The Gays Mills Legion Post was named for two young servicemen. Charles William McCormick was born February 1, 1897, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank McCormick of the Rolling Ground area. He entered service on April 19, 1917, at La Crosse and trained at Camp Douglas and Waco, Texas. Three months after entering service, he was made 1st class private and two months later a corporal. He was a member of Company B, 128th Infantry, 32nd Division. He arrived in Europe March 4, 1918 and fought in the battles of Alsace Lorraine, Chateau Thierry and Juvigny-Soissons. He was killed by a machine gun bullet in the stomach during the battle of Juvigny on September 4, 1918.

Miss Grace McCormick received a letter from a friend of her brother, after he was killed. The letter was sent from Luxemburg on November 28, 1918. The friend consoled Grace, told her what a fine soldier he was, and said, “Charles now rests in an American cemetery near Vixy, France with the rest of our men who fell in that action.” A memorial tombstone for Charles is located in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Gays Mills.

Not as much is known about Walter E. Rose, the second young man for whom the Gays Mills Legion Post is named. He was born October 8, 1896, in Crow Hollow, rural Gays Mills.

The Crawford County Honor Roll of 1917, 1918 and 1919 says that he was a member of Co. A, 23rd Rec. Co., C.A.C, and the son of Walter Rose of Boscobel. He entered service December 10, 1918, at Madison and went direct to Jefferson Barracks, Mo. He died there from influenza on January 18, 1919, and is buried in the Mt. Zion Cemetery.

The Gays Mills American Legion Post was chartered December 28, 1920, by the National Organization of the American Legion. Charter members of the post were Rantz Snoberger, Harland Hays, Carl Anderson, Wallace Coon, Fred Rand, Harry Helgerson, E. C. Chestelson, F. C. Lincicum, Willard Copus, Frank McCurtain, John Gaffney, William Mook, Bennie Vold, Charley Spencer and Mike O’Leary.

Lewis Knutson is the present commander of the McCormick-Rose Post 308. The other officers include Vice Commander, Ken Meyers; Adjutant, Ed Heisz; Color Guard, Charley Coleman; Chaplain, Roger Dahlberg; Sgt. at Arms, Nate Stevenson; Financial Officer, Melissa Fradette.

The book, Crawford County Honor Roll of 1917, 1918 and 1919, from which most of this information was taken, belongs to John Ryan of Rolling Ground. The forward in the book reads:

“To the boys from Crawford County: We greet you, we congratulate you, and we welcome you home again to your relatives and friends, your homes and your firesides. We appreciate you and love you the more because of your patriotism, your heroism and your prowess as shown in your devoted service to our country and our ideals of government for which you offered your service and even your lives.

“You have earned for yourselves and your country great and everlasting credit and reknown by your active participation in the great World War for Justice, Liberty and Democracy. We feel assured that your efforts and sacrifices, and those of your comrades who fell beside you, shall have made feasible permanent world peace - the greatest gift to human kind.”

In 1920 it was assumed the ‘World War’ was the war to end all wars. History, however, has proved that wrong.

The book, compiled, edited and printed by H. E. Howe & Son, Prairie du Chien, is a compilation of the names and records of the soldiers from Crawford County who served during 1917, 1918, and 1919 in the ‘World War,’ together with a brief summary of home activities in support of their efforts. The book was dedicated to the Gold Star Mothers, who lost sons in the war.