Lots of changes came to America after the conclusion of World War I. Even though the United States was only involved in “The Great War” for a short time at the conclusion of the conflict, the effects on the country were great.
When the German leaders signed the armistice on November 11, 1918, the actual fighting ceased, but it also ushered in a contentious time of “making peace” after the war. American President Woodrow Wilson had laid out a plan for the post-war world in his “Fourteen Points” speech to Congress in January 1918. Wilson sought to do away with practices that could lead countries into war – such as abolishing secret diplomacy and having treaties be “open covenants openly arrived at”. President Wilson also advocated for the creation of a “League of Nations” to preserve peace and insure justice for all.
When the Paris Peace Conference began after the war ended, Wilson was an active participant and became the first American President to travel to Europe. Although the leaders of the victorious Allies (Great Britain, France and Italy most notably) sought retribution from and punishment for Germany and the other Central Powers, Wilson petitioned at the Paris conference for justice and lasting world peace. To this end, the formation of a “League of Nations” became a part of the Versailles Treaty.
In America, the country had to realign the nation’s economy and social order from a wartime footing back to what it was before the 1917 entrance into the war. Often, it is hard to go back to where you were before – especially on a national scale. Indeed, some of the American troops stationed in France and the Western Front did not return to their homeland. Instead, several thousand American soldiers joined with British, French and Japanese forces in fighting in Russia’s Great Civil War from 1918-1920. The military invasion that invaded Russia was supposed to stop the Communists from taking control there, but the venture proved unsuccessful.
Back in America, the Russian venture stoked fears that Communists might come after the United States next and fostered a time of mass hysteria known as the “Red Scare”. Government agencies were created to look everywhere for “Commies” and any disruption were blamed on the “Reds”. And there were plenty of disruptions in the United States after World War I.
Labor strife was rampant in America as the country shifted back to a peacetime economy after the war. During the war, higher wages and benefits had kept the workers of American factories working long and hard to support military and other wartime needs. Workers did not want to loose what they had which led to strikes across the country. The police went on strike in Boston and the National Guard was called out to maintain order. A failed strike against U.S. Steel left 18 workers dead in bloody confrontations.
Racial friction also intensified after the war ended. During the year after the Armistice, 70 African-Americans were lynched in the United States, including 10 Black soldiers in uniform. A six-day race riot in Chicago in the summer of 1919 left 38 dead.
A reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan appeared in America in the 1920s. The newer KKK was anti-black, anti-foreigner, and anti-Catholic in philosophy and was no longer just an organization of the American South. The new Klan spread into the Midwest and even the Kickapoo Valley. (Check my earlier two writings of the “Local History Notebook” published in September 2016 where the KKK in La Farge is discussed. These can also be found on my history blog.)
The observance of Memorial Day also changed after World War I. In 1868, General John Logan had issued an order that May 30th should be set aside as a day of remembrance for those soldiers who had died in America’s Civil War. The order by General Logan specifically called “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades”. Forty years later, America was still celebrating “Decoration Day” at the end of May, but now had a new group of fallen soldiers to remember. New names were added to the honor roll of fallen warriors that were read in the cemeteries of La Farge.
Soon after the war ended, young men in the military began to return to their hometowns. Most of the earliest to return were still stationed in training camps in the United States awaiting ships for the crossing to Europe. By early 1919, some of the men who had been on the Western Front were also returning to the Kickapoo Valley. One of the boys from La Farge never came back.
Glenn Jones was the son of Reverend D. G. Jones and his wife. Reverend Jones was the minister for the church at Potts Corners and the family lived on Weister Creek. Glenn attended high school in La Farge as a “boarding” student (rural students at that time were not part of the school district in La Farge and had to pay tuition to attend. Many of them boarded in the village while attending school.), beginning in 1912. He can be seen in the front row of that iconic photograph of the 1912 LHS Football Team, staring with wide eyes from beneath his leather helmet. Glenn also participated in other sports while attending school in La Farge. He was an active and well-liked student.
In his Senior year at LHS, Glenn Jones participated in the local LHS oratory contest and was a member of the cast of the LHS Senior Class Play performed for the community at the Opera House on Main Street of La Farge. A month later, at the end of May 1916, Glenn joined fifteen of his Senior classmates for the La Farge High School graduation ceremonies, also held at the Opera House.
A few weeks after that commencement ceremony in 1916, there was this item in the “Local News” section of the La Farge Enterprise newspaper, “Glen Jones, Floyd Rittenhouse and Layton Perkins were Yuba callers Saturday.” It is supposed that some young ladies of Yuba may have been the impetus for the visit.
Later, Reverend Jones and his family left the La Farge area where he preached at other churches in Wisconsin. Glenn probably went with his family when they moved, but he may have remained in La Farge. When America entered the war in the Spring of 1918, Glenn Jones joined the military. He trained at Camp Grant, a huge American military training facility located near Rockford, Illinois. Glenn Jones was a member of the 47th Infantry, Company E, which was formed in May 1917 and organized in June at Syracuse, New York. The unit was fighting on the front lines of the Western Front in France by July 1918. In the six months of his time in the service, Glenn Jones attained the rank of corporal.
In the October 10, 1918 issue of the Enterprise, mention of the La Farge lad was made in the “Local News” column, “A report has been circulated that Glenn Jones had been killed in France. At this writing confirmation of this report has not been received.” Several months went by, including the Armistice signing to end the war, before La Farge’s newspaper could get the confirmation about Glenn Jones.
“Mr and Mrs Geo. Burnard received a card Wednesday from Rev. D. G. Jones of Pardeeville, which stated that their son Glenn was killed in France sometime between the 3rd and 13th of August. The report had reached them sometime ago that he was missing but nothing definite was learned until this time. The sad news of Glenn’s death is a severe blow to his parents and relatives and they have the deepest sympathy of their many friends in this village.” – from the La Farge Enterprise, “Local News” section, January 2, 1919 issue.
The United States lost 50,280 men in World War I including La Farge’s Glenn Jones. Glenn Jones was killed in action on August 7, 1918 while cleaning out a nest of machine gunners with hand grenades in the Argonne Forest region. He was wounded with a shot to the leg and died before he could be evacuated. The body of Glenn Jones was buried in a military cemetery in France alongside his fallen American comrades.
The body of Glenn Jones was later returned to the United States on August 4, 1921 and was buried with full military honors at the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia. The La Farge V.F.W. Post 9075 was named after Corporal David Glenn Jones to honor La Farge’s only World War I veteran killed in action.