William Pieper

Pieper, William
Private First Class, Headquarters Company
Died July 28, 1918
Son of Mrs. Catherine Pieper, Luverne, Minn.
Private Pieper died of wounds received in action on July 28th.

He was a member of the 37th platoon, which had been ordered to the front to destroy some machine gun nests.  Just before the gun had been placed there were observed by the enemy artillery which opened fire. 
A fragment of high explosive shell struck Private Pieper in the side. He was immediately started for the hospital, but died before reaching it.
~Source: The Price of our Heritage, Published 1919, page 203

His obituary which appeared in the LeMars newspaper:

Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, Sept 13, 1918, page 1.

William Pieper Enlisted in Company K and Saw Service on the Mexican Border – Was Member of Famed Rainbow Division.

Will Pieper, a Remsen boy was killed on July 28, 1918, in France while fighting for his country. The news of his death was conveyed to his mother who is now living at Luverne, Minn. in a letter written by his commanding officer, Capt. W. H. Nead of the 168th Infantry. He was killed in the Chateau Thierry drive while serving with the cannon platoon of the company.

Wm. Pieper was the youngest member of the family of eleven children. He was born on a farm east of Remsen twenty-four years ago, and lived on the farm after the death of his father eighteen years ago. He has constantly made his home there and was a popular young man among his many friends. On April 21, he married Miss Elizabeth Heymann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Heymann, also of Remsen and the young widow, together with one boy, Clyde, who is now two and a half years old survive him.

In 1916 he joined the National Guard, becoming a member of Co K., Le Mars, and with his company gave service on the Mexican border during the trouble there. He returned home and remained until was again ordered off for duty, and sailed for England last January and from there was sent to the French battle front.

He became a member of the famous Rainbow division and was one of the first boys of this country to see active fighting service. He furthermore has the distinction of being the first Remsen boy to join the National Guard at the time of the Mexican trouble, and when he joined the Rainbow division he did so by choice, as the boys who were sent over at that time were given the opportunity of remaining home for some time longer.

William Pieper is survived by his mother, who lives at Luverne, Minn. And the following brothers and sisters: John, Mrs. John Breiholz and Mrs. Albert D. Ohlendorf, of Remsen; Mrs. C.J. Koerner, of Oyens; Mrs. John Willenburg, of Carroll; Fred, of Colfax, Iowa; Henry and Mrs. Pieper of Minden, Iowa; Mrs Frank Peters, of Clarke, S.D.; Mrs. Elmer Flickner, of Sibley, Iowa.

Memorial services for the dead soldier will be held by the people of Remsen and vicinity at the Grand opera house Sunday evening.

His body was returned to Iowa for burial in 1922:

LeMars Globe-Post, Feb. 2, 1922
We just received word from the Pieper post of Remsen that the body of William Pieper, who was killed in action will arrive in Remsen this week and that burial will be on Friday, Feb. 3. Pieper Post has extended an invitation to WAsmer Post to attend all members desiring to go should appear in uniform.

Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, Feb. 3, 1922, page 1.

Wm. Peiper Killed at Chateau Thierry Buried at Remsen Today.

The body of Wm. Peiper, the first Remsen boy to die overseas during the World War, reached Remsen on Wednesday afternoon and will be buried on Friday. The services will be held in the opera house and will be conducted by Rev. Wahlers, of Christ Lutheran church. Wm. Pieper Post, American Legion, of Remsen, will be in charge of the services and Legion men generally have been invited to attend.

Wm. Pieper was wounded in the fighting at Chateau Thierry, July 28, 1918, and died the following day. He is survived by one brother, John, of Santa Cruz, California, and three sisters, Mrs. C.J. Koerner, of Le Mars, Mrs. Albert Ohlendorf, of Remsen, and Mrs. John Willenburg, of Carroll, and his mother.

LeMars Globe-Post
February 6, 1922

Body of William Pieper Brought to Final Resting Place for Burial

The Remsen Bell-Enterprise: The funeral of William Pieper, hero of the
world war who lost his life in battle on French soil in the summer of 1918,
will be held Friday afternoon of this week, the members of the Pieper Post
American Legion, to have charge.

The body landed in Brooklyn several days ago and was started on its homeward
journey Monday evening, arriving here yesterday.

All arrangements for the military funeral to be held Friday afternoon were
completed before the body arrived, and all honors due to one who gave us his
life in active military service will be accorded the remains during the

Legion officers have notified all members, as well as members of the women’s
auxiliary and others who served in the country’s fighting forces during the
late war, to be present. The organizations as well as all other ex-service
people will meet at the legion club rooms over the Mersch & Duster
establishment in time to begin a march to the Opera House promptly at 1
o’clock, when the services will commence.

Rev. Fred Wahlers of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church will have charge of
the sacred services at the hall, the legion men to take charge and conduct
their exercises at the grave. Use of the Opera House was decided upon
because of the large crowd that is expected to help honor the memory of
Remsen’s first and only human sacrifice in actual combat during hostilities
in the Great War.

LeMars Globe-Post
February 9, 1922

Body of Private Wm. Pieper, First to Die, Accorded Military Funeral

Remsen, Iowa, Feb. 9—Special: The body of Private William Pieper arrived in
Remsen Friday morning from Omaha and the funeral was held Friday afternoon
at 1 o’clock.

Private Pieper fought with the famous 168th infantry, Rainbow division
overseas and it was in the Battle of Chateau Thierry on July 28, 1918, that
he was killed in action at the front lines.

Private Pieper was buried with full military honors and the Pieper post of
the American Legion of this place together with many other soldiers of posts
in neighboring towns, marched to the cemetery in a body to pay tribute to
the last rites of their dead comrade. Addresses were given by the Rev. Fred
Wahlers of the Christ Lutheran Church of Remsen and also Rev. Alten of

~Thanks to Linda Mohning & Linda Ziemann for their research and transcriptions of the book article and newspaper articles.