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St. Clair Willcox (1917)

WILLCOX

Posted By: Mary Welty Hart
Date: 9/8/2007 at 21:39:51

The Winterset Madisonian
Winterset, Iowa
Wednesday, December 26, 1917

ST. CLAIR WILLCOX Dies Of Pulmonary Tuberculosis
Death Invades Co. A Abroad

A government message came on the evening of Christmas day to Frank Willcox, notifying him of the death of his son, St. Clair, from pulmonary tuberculosis on Dec. 23d. This was the official notification from General Pershing of the bare facts sent in accordance with the government's custom. Mr. Willcox is seeking further information through Adjt. Gen. Logan, but it is hardly probable that he can furnish any details yet.

Clair Willcox was eager to join Company A last summer, when the company was being raised to war strength, but circumstances prevented his enlistment then. When the selective draft was made, Clair, whose number, 126, was the fourth drawn in Madison county, took advantage of permission granted to selected men to enlist as volunteers for a short period, and thus joined Company A, July 23, 1917, while they were in camp at the Country Club grounds.

Several years of experience as assistant in Niblo & Herring's drug store, qualified him for service in the hospital corps, to which he was transferred. While the Rainbow division was a Camp Mills, Clair was among those who were sick, and sent to the hospital with a severe cold in his lungs, which bordered on pneumonia. He sailed from this country on Nov. 24th, but where his death occurred in unknown at present.

St. Clair Willcox was born near Patterson, Oct. 4, 1895 and had a lot of friends, both young and old, who will recall his cheery, pleasant greetings and sorrow over his sudden death from disease.

Winterset will feel his death deep, in that it is the first invasion by death of the company's roster since it left Winterset last summer. Those who have sons in the service will sympathize with Mr. and Mrs. Willcox in their sad bereavement so full of suspense and uncertainty.
________________________

The Winterset News
Winterset, Iowa
Wednesday, January 2, 1918
Page 1, Column 4

At the Methodist church Sunday afternoon, Winterset paid its first tribute to its soldier dead the great war, by holding memorial services, for St. Claire Willcox. The services were opened by Rev. Countermine of the First Presbyterian church. Rev. Stewart of the United Presbyterian church read the memorial and followed it by a short address. Rev. Giddens, pastor of the church, followed with a memorial address paying an eloquent tribute to the young man and those who have given their lives for the country. The memorial read by Rev. Stewart follows:

St. Claire Willcox was born near Patterson, in Madison county, Iowa on October 4, 1895. Here he grew to young manhood and made a place for himself in the hearts of his associates and those who came to know him. On July 3, 1910, his mother died leaving him a boy fourteen years of age to the care of his father.

As a young man he secured a position with the firm of Niblo & Herring, where he remained as a trusted clerk for nearly four years. He then accepted a position in a drug store at Maxwell, Iowa where he worked until the first part of last July.

The fire of patriotism burned in his heart and the love of country made its appeal and with these he turned aside from the private duties of life and voluntarily enlisted in Company A of the Third Iowa National Guards at Winterset, Iowa. Later this company became a part of the 168th U. S. Infantry, 42 Division of U. S. army. He was transferred from the ranks of a private to the Sanitary Detachment, Hospital Corps. He was among the company that set sail for the battle front but after some days at sea were compelled for some cause to return to Long Island. Here he was taken sick and was sent to the hospital at Camp Mills, Hempstead, N. Y., and when the company gain sailed he was not able to go with them, but after having sufficiently recovered, was sent on a later ship.

The facts of his later sickness are not known as a telegram from the war department to his father stated “no particulars of his son’s death given out at present”, but it is presumed he suffered a relapse from his recent illness and amid the joys of a Christmas Day partly made joyous by receiving a letter from him on Christmas morning was at the eventide turned into a day of sorrow by receiving a message from the war department reporting his death on December 23, 1917, somewhere either in England or France.

He was 22 years, 2 months and 19 days old, a young man of sterling qualities, with courage to brave dangers and to his duty as a true American citizen. He leaves to mourn his death, a father, stepmother, stepsister and stepbrother of the immediate family.

Together with these is one whose heart had been pierced with the arrows of love and after nearly three years of wooing found their hearts beating as one but as duty to his country had been made clear the heart throbs of lovers were sacrificed for the cause and as St. Claire Willcox marched away with the blessings of a father he also carried with him the smile of Miss Ruth Smith, of Des Moines, his betrothed, parting to meet no more and today with the sorrowing loved ones she mingles her tears with theirs.

He will be remembered and mourned by his comrades, his Madison county associates and a host of friends.

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