On Sunday, Nov. 11, the world will reflect on the 100th anniversary of World War I ending. The world changing event began on July 28, 1914 and ended at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
The newspapers of Mineral County do not reflect the beginning of the war in the July 29, 1914. The Western Nevada Miner had been giving short briefs of the upcoming conflict but the newspaper reported on Aug. 1, 1914 that “Transports have been long in readiness at Galveston, Tex. to take the United States troops encamped nearby to Vera Cruz, Mexico, which is within striking distance of the Mexican capital.
As the world was watching, business in Mineral County continued. Douglass, an old mining camp near Mina, shipped out their first bullion amounting to $2,500. Managers of the mill had been on site to tour the mine and mill.
In September of 1914, the call for men to enlist into the military begins. “England, France and Russia, Now linked together against Germany,” the Western Nevada Miner reported in their Sept. 12, 1914 issue. “…bound together by the triple entente and now fighting Germany and Austria.” Spain was reported to be the only power in Europe not in any alliance.
Times were truly changing for Mineral County. Margaret Foley a suffragist orator who had been campaigning across the state of Nevada held an open air meeting in Mina on Sept. 30, 1914. Her outdoor air suffrage meetings made her the first woman to start campaigns against political candidates opposed to woman suffrage. Many have stated, “She has the rare gift of moving men by the power of her superb reasoning.”
Echoing the latest presidential election, advertisements screamed, “Made in America – Get on the Job! Are you proud of America? Do you want to see our factories hum and our stores thrive and our offices hustle? Then by only “Made in America” goods. Keep our workers busy. You’ll ten keep yourself busy.”
Among the personal and local events column that was popular during this era, there are no notices of men enlisting into any branch of the military, though records show that many men from Mineral County answered Uncle Sam’s call to duty.
The year 1915 in print doesn’t mention much about the war. Small blips from oversea wires talk about condition overseas, but the Western Nevada Miner gives very little notice to those serving.
For those who did not register for the war, the University of Nevada advertised that they open Aug. 28, 1916 with courses in arts; science; electrical; mechanical; mining and civil engineering. No tuition and low living expenses.
Even if the local newspapers were not reporting on the war, it doesn’t mean that members of the county weren’t being drafted.
Beginning in 1917, the draft began pulling men from all over the county, despite race, social status or age.
Between 1917 and 1918, over 1,000 men filled out their draft cards. It is hard to accurately gauge exactly how many men returned to the county after the war as they listed their hometowns such as: Ulinto Acciari from Gragnano, Lucca, Italy; Sirio Ferretti of Doro, Bellinzoona, Switzerland; Yunoshin Isoshima of Oakayamaken, Japan and John Nickolieb of Ubdina, Croatia, Austria.
The year 1918 was tragic for residents. There would be three confirmed deaths of men from Mineral County.
On March 24, 1918, Joshua M. Battin who was born at Millvieu, Pa. in February 1899 volunteered to serve from Schurz where he had been an employee of L. Little since July of 1916 as a truck driver. Battin would serve with the 823 Aero Squadron until his death by disease on March 24, 1918. When his father, Edwin P. Battin of Millvieu was notified of his son’s death, he is quoted as saying, “He was thoroughly dependable, reliable and honest in every respect. He was far above the average boy.” Private Battin’s name is now on the Roll of Honor for Mineral County.
One of the hardest things for a newspaper editor to do is report the death of someone’s loved one. But on Feb. 10, 1918, J. Holman Buck, editor of the Western Nevada Miner had to announce the death of his son, Everett Nathaniel Buck. Everett was born in Rockdale, Texas on April 26, 1895 to J. Holman Buck and Minnie Alzo Cowart Buck. His mother died when the boy was only eight years old. Following in his father’s footsteps, Everett was a bright writer and had an interest in mining.
On the day that war was declared with Germany, Everett was working with his brother at their mine. The two boys went down into Mina and on April 7, 1917 sent their names for enlistment to the Army. The brothers were accepted at Fort McDowell, Calif. and assigned to Troop H, 1st Calvary. While drilling in Calexico, Calif., Everett was overcome by excessive heat. He would not recover and on Feb. 10, 1918 died at Fort Bayard, N.M. His brother, Joseph would reenlist on August 1919 and would be stationed at Camp McKinley, Fort Rizol, Philippine Islands.
There were others from Mineral County who would not come home to their loved ones. Private John (Jack) Francis Doherty of the 141st Company, Motor Transport Corps, 17th Grand Division who enlisted on June 15, 1918 would die in an accident on Feb. 6, 1919 in LaGorp, France. His mother Nellie Doherty would mourn her son’s loss.
Private Battesta Mancassola, Company C, 5th Field Signal Battlation, 3rd Division a native of San Bartoloeo, Italy enlisted on March 29, 1918 and died on Oct. 13, 1918 near Cunel. He was killed in action. His father, Charles Mancassola of Mono Lakes, Calif. would be notified of his son’s death.
Private Orville James Olson, Battery E, 384th Field Artillery, 91st Division, enlisted on Oct. 19, 1917. The Warsaw, England native would die in the capital city of the Carson City on Nov. 12, 1919 after contracting a disease while serving his country.
Private John Franklin Shain, the namesake of the Hawthorne VFW Post, was born in California. He enlisted on Sept. 18, 1917 and died of disease on Aug. 26, 1919 of disease. His next of kin in California was notified.
Succumbing to pneumonia, Adolfo Siri, a native of Sassello, Italy was a private for Detachment Company, 118th Engineer Regiment. He died on Oct. 10, 1918 at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana. His brothers Ernest and Andrew Siri of Luning would notify their parents, still living in Italy.
And final solider to pay the ultimate price was Private Wilbourne Stock, a student at the university of Nevada in the Section B, Students Army Training Corp. Only a soldier for 13 days, Stock would pass away at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada from influenza and pneumonia. He left behind a wife, Rachel Stock and son, Wilbourne, Jr. of Luning.
On Nov. 11, 1918, Germany formally surrendered and all nations agreed to stop fighting while the terms of peace where being negotiated. The Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919 would validate the end of a war that left nine million soldiers’ dead and families all over the world grieving for their loved ones.