Hamilton County, Iowa
Webster City, Iowa
(Written by Max Maxon.
Nov. 10, 1982 issue)
Co. C and their role on the Mexican border?
As Veterans’ Day, 1982,
arrives, it would be good to think
back and consider the many area men who answered their country’s call,
times of special emergency or in times of war.
When America was in danger
of an invasion from Mexico,
President Wilson called for troops to handle that problem.
On June 18, 1916, Iowa
answered that call by sending 4,500
of her National Guardsmen to the border. One of the major units
call was Co. C, Second Iowa infantry, which was mustered into federal
June 28, 1916, and arrived at Brownsville, Texas, July 27.
Started in 1884
Co. C dated back to October,
1884, when it was mustered into
service under Capt. F.E. Landers and was then part of the Sixth Iowa
In 1892 the unit was transferred to the Fourth Iowa Infantry, being
into federal service May 25, 1898, during the Spanish-American war
men were mustered out Oct. 30, 1896, with the 52nd Iowa
March 16, 1899, it was reorganized as Co. C, 52nd Infantry
transferred to the 56th Iowa Infantry in 1902. On July 4,
was transferred to the 2nd Iowa Infantry.
When the Mexican border
emergency flared up, the Webster
City unit was headed up by Capt. A. M. Martin; First Lt. C. J.
Lt. N. L. Soderholm and First Sgt. H.R. Mahoney.
Sergeants included Barnett,
Meller, Wedding, Norton, Smith,
Strever, Burleson and Knight. Corporals included Richardson, Gilmore,
Bonebright, Wedding,. Tewalt, Calkins, Loring, Cheever and Morgan.
Among the privates were
Adams, Aubrey, Anderson, Britson,
Butler, Cain, Cave, Calkins, Caldwell, Donovan, Draper, Davis, Evonah,
Gaddis, Gordon, Hess, Hyatt, Henry, Hall, Jensen, O. Jones, Jondell,
Leeper and McCleary.
Also, McKay, Norton,
Nicoloff, Oleson, Oxley, Patterson,
Pardoe, Philbrook, Richardson, Smalley, Swanson, Silvers, Sexe, Shell,
Smith, South, Sweazy, Willson, Winchell, Wilcox, Walterman, West,
Weedman, Remy, Terry and Yockey.
According to a booklet
published under the title of “Iowa
Troops in Mexican Border Service, 1916-1917,” and loaned to the Daily
Journal by George Worthington, the Iowans found campsites that were
with brush and cactus, not a clear space anywhere large enough on which
pitch a tent.
They soon had their cars
unloaded and escort wagons
assembled. Axes began to ring out and the cactus and brush were loaded
wagons. There were no horses or mules to draw the wagons, but the men
in and pulled the loaded wagons to the edge of the camp area, dumped
returned for another load.
By nightfall, a place large
enough to pitch tents had been
cleared, bunks were made on the ground and the Iowa troops turned in
for a much
The Iowa camp turned out to
be one of the finest in the
entire valley and reportedly was the pride of the district commander.
added that “the regular officers pointed with pride to the Iowa troops
their camp, as a model for the regular army to pattern after.”
Eight deaths occurred during
the stay in the south, but all
were of an accidental nature and not due to any illness.
The Iowa troops entered into
many contests, baseball,
football, polo, drills, shooting and “Iowa always brought home the
won many first prizes and in shooting won the world championship.
The Iowans stood guard on
the Rio Grande for six months
under trying conditions, and as the booklet comments, “They have worked
and have set a standard of proficiency that no other troops have ever
They returned home better men, morally, physically and more patriotic
who stayed at home.”
The Webster City boys
returned home March 23, 1917, and
received a tumultuous welcome, with the Chicago and North Western
grounds being jammed with happy residents.
The Freeman-Tribune on March
24 described their arrival home
as follows; “The CNW grounds near the passenger station were packed
humanity yesterday afternoon when the special train bearing the boys of
drew slowly into the city amid the blowing of whistles and the waving
About half the city’s population was at the station long before the
hour, and by prearranged signal the fire whistle blew as the special
Jewell. The streets were soon filled with happy faced people hurrying
welcome the boys who marched away amid the tears and prayers of the
population last week in June, 1916.”
A big parade was formed, and
they marched up a flag-lined
Second St. Three days later a giant banquet was held in the Elks room
ladies of the Methodist church prepared and served the dinner, which
followed by an emotion-filled program.
Not Much Rest
Co. C, however, did not get
much opportunity to relax as
World War I was building up on the horizon. The president declared war
Germany April 6 and then came a hectic period of recruiting more
build the unit up to war strength. By June 5, the company was up to 156
headed up by Captain Martin; First Lt. Jennings; Second Lt. Soderholm;
Sgt. Verne Tewait and Mess Sgt. James W. Wedding, who, incidentally,
first local man to die in action overseas in World War I.
On Aug. 22, orders came for
the Second Iowa regiment to go
to Camp Cody, Deming, N. M., and on Aug. 27, the local contingent
Thus ended any rest the Co.
C members may have tried to
enjoy following their return home as heroes from the border March 23,