Carlisle Area Historical Society

Saving History for Tomorrow



CARLISLE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 23, 2019

FROM THE BOARD

Dear CAHS Member,

Lights! Camera! Action! Forget the lights and camera, but get ready for action. We spent last year acquiring the Lustron house, and focusing on researching/planning member programs/benefits. Wait until you see what 2020 brings! We want to focus on YOU, the member. We are planning programs and activities that are of interest and beneficial to you. Look for a schedule in your January newsletter.

Personally, I invite you to contact me, or any Board member, to share your thoughts, suggestions, and questions. Our new official phone number is 515-989-9999 an easy one, so call Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, and someone will be available to assist you.

If you have children and/or grandchildren, or even if you don’t, stop by the Randleman House on Beggar’s Night for a Halloween treat. And I hope you will join us for homemade Chicken and Noodles at the Fall Feast coming up in November. In December, for the first time, we will decorate both houses on our campus. If you would like to help in any way in any of these events, just call and let us know. We welcome everyone to participate as much or as little as you choose or are able.

I’m very excited to introduce you to new member benefits and programs beginning in January. Below find the complete list of the board of directors.

Vice-President Dr. Mark Randleman, Treasurer Melody Kirk, Secretary Neil Ruddy, Melissa Hawk, Mike Kinter, Arden Owens, Larry Watkins, Alfonso Gumucio

Sincerely,

Sharon Hill

President, Board of Directors

Carlisle Area Historical Society

515-989-9999

PresidentCAHS@gmail.com

Holiday Tea

The holiday tea will be held December 7 at 1:00 the theme will be Downton Abbey Holiday Tea. If you would like to help decorate for Christmas or want to attend call 989-9999. Volunteers are needed.

NEW 2020 CALENDARS


The new calendars are ready. They are the same price as last year $20.00. Call 515-989-9999 to order yours. If you can’t pick it up we will arrange delivery. Out-of-towners will be mailed for $5.00.

Front page on calendar: First little league team in Carlisle. How many do you know? We printed all the names in the calendars.


WE HONOR THEM BY REMEMBERING

Carlisle cemetery was the setting for the 3rd annual cemetery walk, on Saturday, October 12th. With the harvest moon as a spectacular backdrop, and the help of Carlisle teacher, Jon Wright Carlisle High School students and Larry Watkins, represented citizens of Carlisle now passed. Those honored citizens were ‘brought to life’ through actors who provided information about their lives and how they contributed to the unique history of the Carlisle area.

Featured citizens were:

Blanche Lanning, portrayed by Kiera Jors, Harry J. Wright, portrayed by CAHS member, Larry Watkins, Deacon F.E. Scoville portrayed by Ethan Overton, the Strawstack Murder victim played by Cheyenne Lewis, John Mehaffey portrayed by Ethan Bailey Margaret Church Hull by Kiera Jors

The story of Taps, by Narrator and Guide, Dr. Mark Randleman

Teacher Jon Wright Ethan Overton, Kiera Jors, Cheyenne Lewis and Ethan Bailey Larry Watkins

CARLISLE AND THE RAINBOW DIVISION DURING WWI

World War I began in 1914, but the United States didn’t declare war on Germany until three years later, in April 1917.

Six men from Carlisle died in that war – John H. Mehaffey, Everett D. Powers, Don J. Killen, Eli Grover Conklin, Robert O. Snelson and Donald J. Marsh. Today one can see these names inscribed on the iron gates at the North Park entrance. When the Carlisle American Legion Post was formed, they used the first letter of five of the last names to form the name of the local Post – PMCKS. Other men from Carlisle also served in the Rainbow Division, and returned home alive. And many men from Carlisle served in other units. In all, 102 men from Carlisle and Hartford served in WWI.

When we declared war, our military was unprepared. Our country didn’t have a well-organized army. President Woodrow Wilson told the Secretary of War to form a regular army division from the small standing army we already had and they became the First Division, nicknamed ‘The Big Red One’.

Then, the President wanted another division – one that would represent and help unite the whole country. Douglas MacArthur, then a major, chose National Guard units from 26 states and Washington D.C. and put four regiments together stretching across the country like a rainbow. In fact, it was MacArthur who first suggested “Rainbow” as the Division’s name. The Rainbow or 42nd Division was activated in August. And it included Iowa’s 168th Infantry Regiment.  Because so many men had rushed to enlist when war was declared, Iowa ‘s 168th Infantry was made up of three regiments. It was the only Iowa National Guard unit to participate, intact, in the hostilities in France. It was commanded by John Joseph Pershing. Other Iowa Guardsmen and regular soldiers served overseas, but they were split up and sent to other units who had been decimated by battle and saw active service with those troops.

The 168th had a terrible ocean crossing – mechanical problems that sent the ship back to harbor, sea-sickness, Spanish Flu and a measles outbreak. When they arrived in France in November things didn’t get better. Their shelters were unheated. They drilled in snow and mud. An epidemic of scarlet fever and spinal meningitis broke out among the troops and they spent days in quarantine. The French and English, who had been at war for three years had to teach them trench warfare. Also, there was a general feeling among the men that General Pershing and his officers looked down on them because they were National Guard instead of regular army.

Iowa’s 168th spent Christmas of 1917 in France. The Regiment hosted 400 French children at a Christmas celebration at the church in the village of Rimaucourt. Two American soldiers dressed as Santa Claus gave presents to the French children and a French band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The children received dolls, horns and balloons.

.

In February, 1918, they found themselves in a town in France called Luneville. The town was peaceful. There had been no fighting there since 1914. By mutual agreement, both Germans and French had been sparing the villages; neither side used gas, and shots were seldom heard during the daytime. That ended the day some Rainbow soldiers took position over No Man's Land, the space between enemy lines. Presently some Germans left their trenches to wash some clothes in a shell-hole – in full sight of Americans. This wasn’t unusual. The Germans had washed clothes in that shell-hole before without incident. On their side, the French had peacefully smoked their pipes in the evening on top of their trenches. It was one of the benefits of their agreement. But some of the new Americans had a different idea. They opened fire and Germans scattered back to their trenches. The French officers, berated the Americans for their faux pas and feared a reprisal. “What the hell?" one of the Americans said later. “I came out here to kill Germans, not to sit here and watch 'em wash clothes." But the French officers were right. At 4 a.m., on March 5, the Germans came over the trenches, and the Rainbow Division had its first taste of battle.

During the next ten months the Rainbow Division fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the War. They were at Baccarat, Esperance-Souaine, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne and Essey-Pannes. They fought at Ourcq River, the Chateau-Thierry counter offensive, St. Mihiel, Verdun, Champagne Woevre and the final great Allied offensive at Meuse-Argonne.

They received many awards for heroism - the Italian Croce di Guerra, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Belgian Ordre de Couronne, the French Croix de Guerre, the French Legion of Honor, the French Military Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Distinguished Service Medal.

After the Armistice the 168th served in the German occupation for several months. Finally, they sent them home. One officer wrote that as their ship pulled out of the Brest Harbor at sunset, the men - who had been so eager to fight just two years before - took off their hats and stood quietly in honor of their fallen comrades as they watched the French coast fade from view. They sailed into New York Harbor on April 21, greeted by screaming whistles and bellowing fog horns. Iowa had sent a delegation, which came out in tugboats to greet the Iowa soldiers. When it came alongside the giant liner, with a large sign saying “Iowa Greets the 168th,” a mighty roar went up from the Iowa soldiers and again when they passed the Statue of Liberty. Back in Des Moines the regiment was welcomed with the largest parade in Iowa history. People came from all over the state to cheer and welcome the 168th. With eyes straight ahead they marched down Walnut Street, then over to Grand and to the Capitol where they were reviewed one final time by their commanding officer and by the Governor of the State of Iowa.

Unfortunately, the Armistice that ended this war didn’t reflect the honor of the men who served so bravely, on both sides, many of whom gave their lives. The Government wanted a “memorable” armistice and came up with an idea they thought had great merit. They decided to end the war on 11/11/11; the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. Since the cease-fire was prearranged, everyone knew in advance the war would end on November 11. The Germans signed the agreement at midnight on Nov. 10, Paris time, but because the agreement had specified an end to the war at 11 a.m. Paris time, the governments and military decided the fighting would continue until that hour. Those extra eleven hours, from midnight to 11:00 a.m. cost thousands of other soldiers their lives. They never got to go home.


 

Sergeant Donald J. Marsh,

May 27, 1895 - Oct. 16, 1918

168th Infantry Regiment, Co. B

Killed in the attack on Cote de Chatillon while leading a platoon in a daring dash across open ground swept by machine gun fire. He served as “gas” sergeant.


 

Private Eli Grover Conklin

Dec. 14, 1888 – Oct. 23, 1918

210th Corp. of Engineers, Company A at Camp Funston, Kansas

Died of Spanish flu and pneumonia at Fort Riley Kansas.


Private Everett D. Powers,

Dec. 1896 - May 2, 1918

168th Infantry Regiment, Co. A

Gassed in action at Pexonne, France

Private Robert O. Snelson,

April 10, 1899 - July 26, 1918

168th Infantry Regiment, Co. B

Killed by a high explosive shell at Chateau Thiery.


 Private Donald J. Killen,

June 27, 1896 - Sept. 23, 1918.

168th Infantry, 42nd. Div. Co. A

Fatally wounded in the St. Mihiel attack while defending his post.


  


Private John Harvey Mehaffey

 1885 - July 28, 1918

109th Infantry Regiment, assigned 28th. Div. Co. L

Killed in action at Aisne, France


I

Panoramic photo showing 168th Infantry, Rainbow Division, assembled on Iowa State Capitol grounds. Des Moines, Iowa. May 15, 1919.

Rainbow Unit Insignia


The original version symbolized a half arc rainbow and contained thin bands in multiple colors. During the latter part of World War I, and during post-war occupation duty in Germany, Rainbow Division soldiers modified the patch to a quarter arc, removing half the symbol to memorialize the half of the division's soldiers who became casualties (killed or wounded) during the war. They also reduced the number of colors to just red, gold and blue bordered in green, in order to standardize the design and make the patch easier to reproduce.


Memorial to the Rainbow Division in Fere-en-Tardenois (France)


The man who commissioned the sculpture said:

"I have seen dead American soldiers and they always look like a rag doll," "There's nothing honorable about, it. Nothing heroic looking about it. Death is a mess, and the artist captured that with that figure." The bronze depicts two men. A man in WWI military garb wearing a hat that covers his face as he looks down at a dead man in his arms.  The dead man's clothes are torn, one boot is missing, the other is loose and untied and his shirt has been almost completely torn off.


CARLISLE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 23, 2019

FROM THE BOARD

Dear CAHS Member,

Lights! Camera! Action! Forget the lights and camera, but get ready for action. We spent last year acquiring the Lustron house, and focusing on researching/planning member programs/benefits. Wait until you see what 2020 brings! We want to focus on YOU, the member. We are planning programs and activities that are of interest and beneficial to you. Look for a schedule in your January newsletter.

Personally, I invite you to contact me, or any Board member, to share your thoughts, suggestions, and questions. Our new official phone number is 515-989-9999 an easy one, so call Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, and someone will be available to assist you.

If you have children and/or grandchildren, or even if you don’t, stop by the Randleman House on Beggar’s Night for a Halloween treat. And I hope you will join us for homemade Chicken and Noodles at the Fall Feast coming up in November. In December, for the first time, we will decorate both houses on our campus. If you would like to help in any way in any of these events, just call and let us know. We welcome everyone to participate as much or as little as you choose or are able.

I’m very excited to introduce you to new member benefits and programs beginning in January. Below find the complete list of the board of directors.

Vice-President Dr. Mark Randleman, Treasurer Melody Kirk, Secretary Neil Ruddy, Melissa Hawk, Mike Kinter, Arden Owens, Larry Watkins, Alfonso Gumucio

Sincerely,

Sharon Hill

President, Board of Directors

Carlisle Area Historical Society

515-989-9999

PresidentCAHS@gmail.com

Holiday Tea

The holiday tea will be held December 7 at 1:00 the theme will be Downton Abbey Holiday Tea. If you would like to help decorate for Christmas or want to attend call 989-9999. Volunteers are needed.

NEW 2020 CALENDARS


The new calendars are ready. They are the same price as last year $20.00. Call 515-989-9999 to order yours. If you can’t pick it up we will arrange delivery. Out-of-towners will be mailed for $5.00.

Front page on calendar: First little league team in Carlisle. How many do you know? We printed all the names in the calendars.


WE HONOR THEM BY REMEMBERING

Carlisle cemetery was the setting for the 3rd annual cemetery walk, on Saturday, October 12th. With the harvest moon as a spectacular backdrop, and the help of Carlisle teacher, Jon Wright Carlisle High School students and Larry Watkins, represented citizens of Carlisle now passed. Those honored citizens were ‘brought to life’ through actors who provided information about their lives and how they contributed to the unique history of the Carlisle area.

Featured citizens were:

Blanche Lanning, portrayed by Kiera Jors, Harry J. Wright, portrayed by CAHS member, Larry Watkins, Deacon F.E. Scoville portrayed by Ethan Overton, the Strawstack Murder victim played by Cheyenne Lewis, John Mehaffey portrayed by Ethan Bailey Margaret Church Hull by Kiera Jors

The story of Taps, by Narrator and Guide, Dr. Mark Randleman

Teacher Jon Wright Ethan Overton, Kiera Jors, Cheyenne Lewis and Ethan Bailey Larry Watkins

CARLISLE AND THE RAINBOW DIVISION DURING WWI

World War I began in 1914, but the United States didn’t declare war on Germany until three years later, in April 1917.

Six men from Carlisle died in that war – John H. Mehaffey, Everett D. Powers, Don J. Killen, Eli Grover Conklin, Robert O. Snelson and Donald J. Marsh. Today one can see these names inscribed on the iron gates at the North Park entrance. When the Carlisle American Legion Post was formed, they used the first letter of five of the last names to form the name of the local Post – PMCKS. Other men from Carlisle also served in the Rainbow Division, and returned home alive. And many men from Carlisle served in other units. In all, 102 men from Carlisle and Hartford served in WWI.

When we declared war, our military was unprepared. Our country didn’t have a well-organized army. President Woodrow Wilson told the Secretary of War to form a regular army division from the small standing army we already had and they became the First Division, nicknamed ‘The Big Red One’.

Then, the President wanted another division – one that would represent and help unite the whole country. Douglas MacArthur, then a major, chose National Guard units from 26 states and Washington D.C. and put four regiments together stretching across the country like a rainbow. In fact, it was MacArthur who first suggested “Rainbow” as the Division’s name. The Rainbow or 42nd Division was activated in August. And it included Iowa’s 168th Infantry Regiment.  Because so many men had rushed to enlist when war was declared, Iowa ‘s 168th Infantry was made up of three regiments. It was the only Iowa National Guard unit to participate, intact, in the hostilities in France. It was commanded by John Joseph Pershing. Other Iowa Guardsmen and regular soldiers served overseas, but they were split up and sent to other units who had been decimated by battle and saw active service with those troops.

The 168th had a terrible ocean crossing – mechanical problems that sent the ship back to harbor, sea-sickness, Spanish Flu and a measles outbreak. When they arrived in France in November things didn’t get better. Their shelters were unheated. They drilled in snow and mud. An epidemic of scarlet fever and spinal meningitis broke out among the troops and they spent days in quarantine. The French and English, who had been at war for three years had to teach them trench warfare. Also, there was a general feeling among the men that General Pershing and his officers looked down on them because they were National Guard instead of regular army.

Iowa’s 168th spent Christmas of 1917 in France. The Regiment hosted 400 French children at a Christmas celebration at the church in the village of Rimaucourt. Two American soldiers dressed as Santa Claus gave presents to the French children and a French band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The children received dolls, horns and balloons.

.

In February, 1918, they found themselves in a town in France called Luneville. The town was peaceful. There had been no fighting there since 1914. By mutual agreement, both Germans and French had been sparing the villages; neither side used gas, and shots were seldom heard during the daytime. That ended the day some Rainbow soldiers took position over No Man's Land, the space between enemy lines. Presently some Germans left their trenches to wash some clothes in a shell-hole – in full sight of Americans. This wasn’t unusual. The Germans had washed clothes in that shell-hole before without incident. On their side, the French had peacefully smoked their pipes in the evening on top of their trenches. It was one of the benefits of their agreement. But some of the new Americans had a different idea. They opened fire and Germans scattered back to their trenches. The French officers, berated the Americans for their faux pas and feared a reprisal. “What the hell?" one of the Americans said later. “I came out here to kill Germans, not to sit here and watch 'em wash clothes." But the French officers were right. At 4 a.m., on March 5, the Germans came over the trenches, and the Rainbow Division had its first taste of battle.

During the next ten months the Rainbow Division fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the War. They were at Baccarat, Esperance-Souaine, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne and Essey-Pannes. They fought at Ourcq River, the Chateau-Thierry counter offensive, St. Mihiel, Verdun, Champagne Woevre and the final great Allied offensive at Meuse-Argonne.

They received many awards for heroism - the Italian Croce di Guerra, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Belgian Ordre de Couronne, the French Croix de Guerre, the French Legion of Honor, the French Military Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Distinguished Service Medal.

After the Armistice the 168th served in the German occupation for several months. Finally, they sent them home. One officer wrote that as their ship pulled out of the Brest Harbor at sunset, the men - who had been so eager to fight just two years before - took off their hats and stood quietly in honor of their fallen comrades as they watched the French coast fade from view. They sailed into New York Harbor on April 21, greeted by screaming whistles and bellowing fog horns. Iowa had sent a delegation, which came out in tugboats to greet the Iowa soldiers. When it came alongside the giant liner, with a large sign saying “Iowa Greets the 168th,” a mighty roar went up from the Iowa soldiers and again when they passed the Statue of Liberty. Back in Des Moines the regiment was welcomed with the largest parade in Iowa history. People came from all over the state to cheer and welcome the 168th. With eyes straight ahead they marched down Walnut Street, then over to Grand and to the Capitol where they were reviewed one final time by their commanding officer and by the Governor of the State of Iowa.

Unfortunately, the Armistice that ended this war didn’t reflect the honor of the men who served so bravely, on both sides, many of whom gave their lives. The Government wanted a “memorable” armistice and came up with an idea they thought had great merit. They decided to end the war on 11/11/11; the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. Since the cease-fire was prearranged, everyone knew in advance the war would end on November 11. The Germans signed the agreement at midnight on Nov. 10, Paris time, but because the agreement had specified an end to the war at 11 a.m. Paris time, the governments and military decided the fighting would continue until that hour. Those extra eleven hours, from midnight to 11:00 a.m. cost thousands of other soldiers their lives. They never got to go home.


 

Sergeant Donald J. Marsh,

May 27, 1895 - Oct. 16, 1918

168th Infantry Regiment, Co. B

Killed in the attack on Cote de Chatillon while leading a platoon in a daring dash across open ground swept by machine gun fire. He served as “gas” sergeant.


 

Private Eli Grover Conklin

Dec. 14, 1888 – Oct. 23, 1918

210th Corp. of Engineers, Company A at Camp Funston, Kansas

Died of Spanish flu and pneumonia at Fort Riley Kansas.


Private Everett D. Powers,

Dec. 1896 - May 2, 1918

168th Infantry Regiment, Co. A

Gassed in action at Pexonne, France

Private Robert O. Snelson,

April 10, 1899 - July 26, 1918

168th Infantry Regiment, Co. B

Killed by a high explosive shell at Chateau Thiery.


 Private Donald J. Killen,

June 27, 1896 - Sept. 23, 1918.

168th Infantry, 42nd. Div. Co. A

Fatally wounded in the St. Mihiel attack while defending his post.


  


Private John Harvey Mehaffey

 1885 - July 28, 1918

109th Infantry Regiment, assigned 28th. Div. Co. L

Killed in action at Aisne, France


I

Panoramic photo showing 168th Infantry, Rainbow Division, assembled on Iowa State Capitol grounds. Des Moines, Iowa. May 15, 1919.

Rainbow Unit Insignia


The original version symbolized a half arc rainbow and contained thin bands in multiple colors. During the latter part of World War I, and during post-war occupation duty in Germany, Rainbow Division soldiers modified the patch to a quarter arc, removing half the symbol to memorialize the half of the division's soldiers who became casualties (killed or wounded) during the war. They also reduced the number of colors to just red, gold and blue bordered in green, in order to standardize the design and make the patch easier to reproduce.


Memorial to the Rainbow Division in Fere-en-Tardenois (France)


The man who commissioned the sculpture said:

"I have seen dead American soldiers and they always look like a rag doll," "There's nothing honorable about, it. Nothing heroic looking about it. Death is a mess, and the artist captured that with that figure." The bronze depicts two men. A man in WWI military garb wearing a hat that covers his face as he looks down at a dead man in his arms.  The dead man's clothes are torn, one boot is missing, the other is loose and untied and his shirt has been almost completely torn off.