Barber County, Kansas.  

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The Barber County Index, October 16, 1918.


J. Clark Reeves and Willis Nixon
First Barber County Boys to Fall on Field of Battle.

Flags at half-mast in Medicine Lodge on Friday were the silent bearers of the sad news that two of her sons had fallen on the field of battle in France and thereby had given "that last full measure of devotion" to their country. J. Clark Reeves, son of Mr. and Mrs. Asa Reeves, and Willis Nixon, stepson of Mrs. B. E. Nixon and brother of Harry B. Nixon, died of wounds received in action on September 12th. the distressing news was telegraphed to the parents on Thursday night about 10 o'clock. It came as a great shock to all of the relatives. There had been no previous information of the boys having been wounded and the loved ones at home were poorly prepared to receive the terrible message.

Both of these fine young men were in Company C of the famous 89th Division which has been so frequently praised by Gen. Pershing and the Allies. The 89th has been in active service since the latter part of August and has had a very prominent part in the tremendous victories achieved since that time. Many other Medicine Lodge and Barber county boys are in this Division and there is much anxiety lest there should be more such unwelcome tidings in store for other parents.

Our community has been fraught with great sorrow the past week on account of much sickness and other deaths, but these two are unusually sad and the grief of those who mourn is far more keen because of the distance which has divided them and their loved ones, but their grief is a profoundly sacred grief and they are at once glorified in the hearts of every American citizen who will always cherish a solemn and grateful memory of these heroes who gave their all to the cause of liberty and humanity, and who honor the families who have been called upon for this supreme sacrifice.

Both of these young men went into training at Camp Funston last April and landed on foreign soil about the middle of June. They went into intensive training immediately after landing and into active battle two months later. They died as they had lived - patriotic, fearless, Christian young men who never shirked a duty and they leave the richest legacy, one that can not be measured in terms of money, a knowledge that in death they have triumphed and earned the undying gratitude of mankind.

The following is an extract from a letter received from Private Reeves to his parents. It is the last letter they have from him and was written August 27th. It shows what kind of mettle was in the excellent American soldier:

"I certainly do like trench life when it isn't too muddy. The big shells don't bother me any, only make me duck my head. The French say the Americans are crazy, get ziz-zag (meaning drunk) and go over the top. Believe me, we didn't come over here just for a pleasure trip. We came on business and we mean business - liberty or death - but give us liberty. I suppose you can see what we are doing by the papers. What I mean by 'we' is the allies. We are as one, fighting side by side. All of us are well. We have things pretty nice here - have moving pictures at the Ys and plenty to eat. Some people think we are having hard times but I can't see it that way.

I am still a child of God and will be until the end, so goodbye mother and father, and pray for us and we will be back in a few months."

"From your soldier lad,"

Clark's age was 27 years, 5 months and 16 days. He was born in Eagle township in this county and spent practically all his life here.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!