By BOB PALMER,
Negotiators in a rail car hidden in a French forest looked at the calendar and opted for a poetic end to the costliest war in human history, to that point. At the 11th hour on the 11th day in the 11th month of 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front.
World War I lasted more than four years and cost almost 20 million civilian and military lives. WWI ended with an armistice many credit as the underlying cause of World War II.
Marion County, population slightly more than 10,000 in the 1910 Census, played its part sending many of its young men to the front once the United States entered the war in 1917.
Friends called Newton LaPrade Rogers, “Cap.” His service to his country would carry a high price. “He was the oldest brother in my mother’s family,” John Kelsey recalled. “Cap was born in the Mimms Chapel area. He served in France and was gassed with chlorine gas.” Cap survived the attack but suffered with lung ailments the rest of his life.
Several observances are planned to remember veterans of World War I as well as veterans of the other wars the United States has fought. At 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10373 Commander John Cooper will lay a wreath at the Memorial on Austin Street.
On Saturday, a free lunch for all veterans and their families is planned at the American
Legion post, sponsored by local American Legion and VFW posts. Reservations are requested by calling (903) 601-3508. The Martha McCraw Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in association with the Excelsior Foundation will honor veterans also on Saturday Nov 10 at 2 p.m. at the Jefferson Playhouse. The program will include a presentation on the military service of Jeffersonian, H. R. Brantley. The public is invited. Coffee and cookies will be served afterwards in the RuthLester Memorial House.
Kelsey has compelling memories of his “Uncle Cap.”
“Cap” Rogers was born February 10, 1890 as the first child of Bennett Boggess Rogers and Nephra Whitworth Rogers on a 240-acre farm near Mimms Chapel in Marion County. His nickname was given to him as a small boy by the laborers who worked at his father’s sawmill in the Cypress River bottoms near Mimms Chapel.
According to family folklore, Cap’n got his nickname because he was large for his age, inclined to pitch in with work at the sawmill at an early age and was said to be always “in charge.” “Cap registered for the draft in June 1917 then immediately volunteered for
military service. Again, according to family folklore, his basic training took place at a hastily constructed facility, Camp Bowie National Guard Camp near Ft Worth, Texas,” Kelsey said.
Upon completion of basic training he was immediately shipped to a demarcation point on the East Coast. He arrived with the American Expeditionary Forces in France in early January 1918 with some of the earliest of the Doughboys to engage in combat. At some point he was exposed to poison gas, probably chlorine. The damage inflicted on his lungs by that gas severely impaired his health for the remainder of his life. He suffered from severely damaged lungs and eventually contracted tuberculosis.
“Like many thousands of World War I veterans who were gassed in combat, my Uncle Cap spent many years in and out of tuberculosis treatment centers in Shreveport and Pineville Louisiana as well as Tyler, Texas,” Kelsey said. “I recall visiting him with my family at the facility in Tyler. I was only six or seven years old and was not allowed direct contact with tuberculosis patients.
“We would visit in a room that separated visitors from the patients by a large glass wall. My PAGE 1 cousin, Beverly Rogers Simmank, recalls visiting him under similar circumstances. She and her brother Joe and their dog Ladybug were taken to visit Cap in a similar isolation room. Ladybug was persuaded to do some tricks as entertainment for Cap behind the glass.”
The Feb. 14, 1918 issue of the Jefferson News printed a list of Marion County men serving in World War I. The list included: Sublette Moseley, B.F. Morrison, Bene Oppenheim, Roy R. Taylor, Victor Meyer, Sgt. John R. Collins, Eugene Meyer, Will Sullivan, Willie Gray, Richard Tribble, Edward Proctor, Lt. W.C. DeWare, Lt. Kistenmacher, Capt. C.C. Braden, Barrelle Fitzgerald, Sgt. S.J. Atkin, Sgt. D.D. Sullivan, Sgt. M.J. Bennefied, Harry Jones, W.B. Stallcup, Cpl. James F. Woods, Dan Hayes Zachry.
A survey of Oakwood Cemetery by John Nance revealed World War I markers for the following: Ellis Irvin, C. Sims, M.W. Lynn, O. McCasland Ortelle, Lee Calcute, Hen. Leroy Mardy, R. Martin, Will. Hood, Tom F. Brooks, P.E. Fielder, Will F. Sullivan, Robt. L. Rowell, Will L. McDaniel, Juluous B. Poulan, R.F. Taylor, Reed Price, Will Irving Price, Clyde Dean, John Wade Moody, James B. Mosley Jr., Al Becker, Andrew William Davis, Leo W. Wood, H.L. Rogers, Joe Frank Mazac, James hall Gilbert, Sim Hall, Fremont C. Vanderveer, John Darnell Peerson, Al Taylor, John M Vines III, Edwin Bruce Wazicker, W. Curtiss DeWare, Eugene Meyer Jr., S.F. Brown, Alex Brown, John Markos, Chester R. Harmon, Charles Henry Bowman, James Stokley, Oscar Durrum.
Ed Proctor, 17, was killed in France in 1918.
If you know of a name that has not been included in this list, please email it to Editor@Jimplecute1848.com so that it may be included in the online publication of this article.
Print Subscription for Marion County & Surrounding Counties (Online subscription included)
Your online subscription will begin the next Thursday. Print subscription will begin in approximately 1-2 weeks. Thank you for your subscription and for reading the “Jimp!”