The government message announcing the casualty has
not been received here as yet. Parents of the young
man were informed of the tragedy through a letter of
condolence from a comrade in the same company with
young Waters. According to the letter, private Waters
was killed in action August 10. Few details of the
fatal engagement were given.
Private Waters, previous to his military career,
was prominently know in Waukon and throughout the
section as a stock buyer. He is twenty-six years of
age, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Waters.
Note: Ralph's parents were
George A. Waters and Martha Jaquis Waters (George
As first wife). While working with a mare
and colt Ralph was pulled from the horse and
broke his leg wich never healed properly, he
walked with a limp, yet he was inducted into the
Body of Soldier Back From
Waukon newspaper article,
Waukon, Ia., Jan. 7Special. The body of
Ralph D. Waters, who was killed in action in France,
arrived in Waukon Friday, accompanied by a military
escort from Chicago, and funeral services were held
from the Presbyterian church Monday afternoon,
conducted by Rev. Dr. VanNice. Internment was made in
the old Post township cecetery [sic] Tuesday
afternoon. Ralph was the first Allamakee county boy
to give up his life on the field of battle in France,
having been killed at the Battle of Chippley Ridge in
the Somme offensive on August 9, 1918, at the age of
33 years and two months.
Ralph left Waukon with the contingent of February
25, 1918, going to Camp Dodge, and was transferred
after two months in Huston, Texas. Leaving there May
9, he went to New York from which place he sailed May
20 arriving in France May 30. He entered the trenches
on June 7, and just two months and two days later, on
August 9, met his death. His body was exhumed from
its first isolated grave on April 23, 1919, and was
buried in American cemetery No. 443, where it
remained until again taken up recently to be brought
home for burial in its final resting place, the body
arrived in New York on December 15.
When, at the close and after the greater portion
of soldiers had arrived home the American Legion Post
was organized in Waukon, it was named the Ralph D.
Waters Post in honor of the memory of their first
comrade to pay the great price, and the American
Legion post at Waukon will stand a monument to his
Following the funeral services Monday, which were
attended by the band and a large company of legion
members in uniform, the body was taken to the Legion
hall where a guard of soldiers was established to
remain with it until Tuesday, when accompanied by a
large delegation of mourning relatives and friends
and a military escort from the Legion post that bears
his name, it was taken to the cemetery in Post
township near the old Waters home, for burial.
Story of Ralph D. Waters
Post Namesake Told
Waukon newspaper article,
The following account of the life of Ralph D.
Waters, for whom the local American Legion post is
named, was prepared by the Junior auxiliary at the
Memorial day season.
Ralph D. Waters was born on May 9, 1888, in
Mitchell county, Iowa, the son of George A. and
Martha Jaquis Waters. When he was ten days old his
mother passed away. Ralph D. Waters lived in Mitchell
county with is father and step-mother and also with
his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Herb Waters near
Postville, and later in Waukon. He was a livestock
buyer with his uncle, Herb Waters.
On February 25, 1918, he was inducted into the
United States army at Waukon. He took his basic
training at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, and later was
sent to an army camp in Texas. In May, 1918 he was
with Company H, 131st Infantry. On August 9, 1918, he
was killed in action at Chippilly Ridge on the River
Somme, 15 miles east of Amiens, one of the battle
scarred cities of France in World War I. He was
killed instantly by a machine gun bullet through his
heart at the age of 30 years.
Burial was in a French cemetery until the winter
of 1920-21 when Waters's body was disinterrned with
many others and brought to this country. The body
arrived in Waukon on Jan. 1, 1921 with military
escort. On Jan. 3, 1921 funeral services were
conducted by Rev. R. Van Nice at the Presbyterian
church. The following day the body was taken to the
Minert cemetery near Bethel in Post township,
Allamakee county and laid to rest beside his mother.
He was given full military honors at his funeral and
Ralph D. Waters never married. R. J. Waters,
former deputy sheriff of Allamakee county was his
brother. The American Legion post of Waukon was named
after him as he was the first soldier from Waukon to
lose his life in action.
Notes: Ralph served in Company
H 131 Infantry 33 Division. The funeral was held
at the home of his father on Harden Street,
Waukon, Iowa. The cemetery he is buried at is
also called the Old Post Cemetery to get to it
you take the Cherry Valley Road out of Postville
and turn left onto Minert Road. The marker is
located in the center of the cemetery as you
start up the hill.