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  American Flag.jpg George "Emmett" LILES was born December 21, 1895, on a farm near Ellston in Ringgold County, Iowa, the son of Lemuel M. LILES (1864-1948) and Anna B. LILES (1875-1969). He attended the Dickson Rural School [a.k.a. Mount Vernon School No. 2 of Union Township], passing his Eight Grade Examination with the highest honors in Ringgold County. Emmett attended Ellston High School and attended Sunday School and church at Oak Hill Chapel.

He was inducted into the U.S. Army during World War I on February 24, 1918. Emmett was Camp Dodge in Des Moines where he was assigned to Company D of the 117th Infantry. He received high honors in marksmanship on the rifle range. Emmett was sent overseas.

After arriving in Europe, Emmett was sent to Belgium for action and was killed at Bellecourt, France on September 28/29, 1918. He was reported missing in action at that time and actual verification of his death was not received until August of 1919. His grave was located in a cemetery in France until 1921 when his parents had his body returned to Ellston for burial in the Pumptown Cemetery located north of Sun Valley Lake.



  The Emmett LILES Unit 541 and the American
Legion Auxiliary were organized on September 12, 1921. Over the years they have honored those who have, or are currently serving our country. They have sent boxes of food, clothing and other items for those fighting the war and helped the families that are left behind. They have also donated to Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Heart Fund, the Cancer Fund, and the Sister Kenny Fund. The Ellston Park and playground are in part from the Legion. They give Military Rights at funeral services, present the Color Guard at parades, and hold Military Services at the Oliver, Ellston, Pumptown, and Cromwell-Haight Cemeteries every Memorial Day. The Avenue of Flags was established in May of 1995 with Memorial contributions from one of the legion members, Naomi CREVELING. There are now [2009] 63 flags that decorate the Ellston Cemetery every Memorial Day and 66 flags at the veterans’ gravesides. The unit raises money with poppy flower sales, bazaars, auctions, dinners, quilt raffles, and the list goes on.

SOURCE: WWI, WWII, & Korean War Casualty Listings,

Submission by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2009; updated September of 2009

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