A look back at Iowa's contributions to the Great War.



John Wasmer


Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
January 25, 1918
Youth Volunteered Last April When Barely Eighteen Years of Age and Joined Co. K
Was Transferred to 168th Infantry Now in France.

John Wallace Wasmer is the first LeMars youth to die in the service of his country. News of his death somewhere in France was conveyed to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Wasmer, in a telegram from the war office at Washington, D.C., received on Tuesday morning. The dispatch signed by Adjutant General McCain said: ³Deeply regret to inform you that first class private, John Wasmer, infantry, is officially reported to have died of pneumonia.

The news of the young manıs death was a great shock to his family and friends as only a day before letters were received from him, saying he was well and enjoying life.

John Wasmer volunteered for service last April when barely eighteen years of age and joined Company K, Second Iowa Infantry. The company went into training at Camp Faber. With sixty-eight other Plymouth County boys from Company K, he was transferred to the camp at Des Moines, and attached to the 168th Infantry. The regiment was ordered from there to Camp Mills, Long Island, and left for France on November 14.

John Wasmer was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Wasmer, of this city. He was born on April 19, 1899, at Monroe, Louisiana. When a baby his parents moved from there to Sioux City, and when he was four years old they went to Hawarden. John received his education in Hawarden, attending St. Anthony's school. The family moved to LeMars four years ago from Hawarden. John assisted his father in the laundry business and later was employed with Kilburg-Rickabaugh company being in the employ of that firm when he joined the army.

He is deeply mourned by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Wasmer, his two sisters, Marie, of this city, and Aloysius, who is attending school at Clinton, his aunt, Mrs. J. A. Prairie, and his cousin, Mrs. A. J. St. Onge, of Sioux City, and a large number of friends.

John Wasmer was a member of Trinity council, Knights of Columbus, of this city.

John Wasmer was willing to fight for his country and his friends say it was the proudest day of his life when he first donned Uncle Samıs uniform. His early death is to be regretted but a lasting consolation to his grief-stricken parents and sisters is that he died in helping to uphold the just and righteous cause of freedom.

Members of Trinity Council, Knights of Columbus, are in communication with the adjutant generalıs office at Washington, D.C., in regard to whether the remains can be shipped home for interment, but up to yesterday afternoon had received no definite reply.

-transcribed and submitted by Linda Ziemann  Iowa Old Press an IAGenWeb Special Project