Barber County Kansas
The Barber County Index, November 27, 1918.
Sharon Soldier Killed
Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Skaggs of Sharon received the sad news conveyed in a government message, on Monday, stating their son, Herschel, was killed in action in France, November 2nd, just nine days before the war ended. This is indeed distressing news to Mr. and Mrs. Skaggs as well as to their friends.
Mr. Skaggs is the third Barber county boy to fall in battle. Clark Reeves and Willis Nixon of this city were killed in September, but as the casualty lists have not yet been published completely there is no certainty that there are not others.
These sad tidings detract much from the joy that has been heralded over the nation when peace was declared.
On Sunday, October 19th, 1921 the last earthly honors were paid Private Herschel Skaggs when his body was laid to rest in the Attica cemetery.
Herschel Skaggs was born March 8, 1894, near Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas, and was killed in action near Sedan, France on November 2, 1918. At the time of his death he was 25 years, 8 months and 25 days of age.
The following obituary was handed us by one of his friends.
September 30, 1921, Mr. and Mrs. Skaggs received a telegram from the government stating their son's body would arrive at Hoboken, N. J. about October 6th and would be sent to Attica, Kansas.
A second telegram stated the body would arrive in Attica on the nine o'clock train, October 14th.
A number of relatives and friends accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Skaggs to Attica to receive the body.
The American Legion of Attica met the body at the train and carried it to the City hall. At three o'clock on Sunday, the American legion of Attica, assisted by the Anthony Legion and the Sharon ex-service boys formed a military parade at the City Hall and marched to a funeral air to the High School building, where an open air service was held.
The crowd was estimated to be over five thousand people, and was said to be the biggest gathering ever attending a funeral in the county.
No Governor, Congressman or even a president deserved a more public funeral than this boy. Why not? He was given the honor because of his qualifications by the War Department to act as an orderly for a Brigadier General and he gave his life in the service for which he was chosen.
Nothing was more self-sacrificing than this heroic deed, and nothing has touched my heart strings or caused a more sympathetic feeling than the mental picture of this lad choosing to do his duty, and forgetting his own safety when called upon to discharge his duty.
The father and mother, brother and sisters should feel truly proud of the gallant service and honorable record of the boy who gave his life in the service of his country. The heritage to the family record, and ETAOIOIO (sic) of an honored name has been added to the family record.
The floral offerings were profuse. The family as a last appreciation to their boy - the only token one can offer to a departed one - was a large pillow of flowers. The citizens of Sharon offered a spray of chrysanthemums. The American Legion contributed a nice circle of flowers with the name Legion worked into it.
The funeral was in charge of Ray Williamson and great credit should be given him for the assistance he gave the boys in detail work. I don't believe I ever saw arrangements carried out with such precision. Even the horses seemed conscious of the occasion as when the band played the funeral march, with drums muffled, they seemed affected by the music.
Major Hawk was chaplain. The pall bearers were from Sharon and composed mostly of boys who saw hard service with Herschel in France. They were Chance McReynolds, Henry Kuehn, Eli McDaniels, Vernon Coleman, Mace Neal and Joe Whelan.
The body was carried to the door of the City Hall. A. L. Kearnes, captain of the guard and firing squad gave the command "present arms." The body was carried past the guard and under dipped colors to the caisson and placed in position. Then, with the command "forward march" the parade moved with a slow tread the band playing a funeral dirge.
Willard Johnson, mounted, led the procession; next came the colors, made up of one color sergeant, two color bearers and two color guards.
About ten paces behind the colors came the Anthony Military Band of thirty pieces, then the guard and firing squad. Behind the guard came the caisson, drawn by four iron grey horses. The horses were led by two ex-sailors and two ex-soldiers. The pall bearers walked beside the caisson supporting the casket and beside the pall bearers marched the guard of honor.
Behind the caisson marched the soldiers, then came the mourners and friends in cars. When the cortege arrived at the school house the casket was lifted from the caisson while two guards took their places, one at the head and one at the foot of the casket.
After a quartet sang Rev. Kelly of Harper took charge and delivered address that will remain long in the memory of those who were so fortunate as to hear it.
The procession then marched to the Attica cemetery, about a mile away, where all that was mortal was laid away in Kansas soil.
Major Hawk had charge of the ritual at the grave and the firing squad fired the last salute.
Draft Registration card: Herschel Skaggs, Sharon, Barber County, Kansas.
United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.
Herschel Skaggs served in Co. "I", 353rd INF., 89th DIV., U.S.A., A.E.F.
Photo of Soldiers in Co. "I", 353rd INF., 89th DIV., U.S.A., A.E.F.
Listing of Soldiers in Company I, 353rd Infantry, 89th Division
(Scroll down the page)
History of The 353rd Infantry Regiment
Other Barber county men in Co. I were: Lyle Bullock of Sun City; Newton M. Cornwell, Aaron E. McDonald, James R. Vaughn and Lester Dell Ikerd of Kiowa; Bertie S. Hayes and Willie Mader of Medicine Lodge.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!