Kossuth County

Thomas George Wagner






In the thick of the battle at Pearl Harbor was William Turner, son of Mrs. Jessie Turner. Harold Felter, formerly of Irvington, is in the air corps at a field bombed there. Robert J. Ditsworth is on the Portland, a ship stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Thomas Wagner, St. Joe, has been stationed on the West Virginia battleship reported sunk in the first attack at Pearl Harbor. On the California there is Ferdinand Koppen and Arnold Becker, both of Lakota, and this ship was also recently stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Edward Klein, St. Joe, is reported a member of the crew of the Oklahoma battleship reported set afire by Japanese bombs and possibly lost.

Source: Kossuth County Advance, December 9, 1941

Two St. Joe boys in the war area are Edward Klein of the Oklahoma, and Thomas Wagner of the West Virginia.

Source:  The Humboldt Republican, Friday, Dec. 19, 1941


ALGONA—Mrs. Peter Schmidt of St. Joe received a letter this week from the navy department stating that her son, Thomas G. Wagner, was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7.  This was the first communication she had received since Nov. 29.  All letters and Christmas parcels sent him had been returned marked “unclaimed.”

Wagner enlisted in the Navy three years ago and had been home once since his enlistment, shortly after entering the naval training station at Great Lakes, Ill.  He moved to St. Joe about 15 years ago from Swea City.  He attended the St. Joe, Livermore and Algona schools.

Wagner was on the U.S.S. West Virginia, which was reported sunk in the first raid on Hawaii.  This brings the Kossuth casualty list of known dead to three.

Survivors are his parents, two sisters, Dorothy and Mary Wagner; three half sisters, Sarah, Cecelia And Donna Schmidt, and a half brother, Michael Schmidt.

Source:  Mason City Globe-Gazette, March 12, 1942

Thomas Wagner Killed in Pearl Harbor—Son of St. Joe Woman

Mrs. Peter Schmit, of St. Joe, has been notified that her son Thomas Wagner was killed in Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, last.  The letter came from the United States Navy department.

The letter was the first word Mrs. Schmit had of her son for months.  Letters and Christmas packages to him had been returned.

He had entered the naval training school at Great Lakes.

Young Wagner came to the vicinity of St. Joe about fifteen years ago and attended school there and at Algona and Livermore, it is reported.

Source: The Humboldt Republican, Friday, March 13, 1942

Thomas G. Wagner Brings Kossuth Casualties to Three
Was Killed Dec. 7, in Pearl Harbor Attack by Japanese

ALGONA—In a letter sent by Frank Knox, secretary of the navy, stating, “It is hoped that you may find comfort in the thought that he made the supreme sacrifice upholding the highest traditions of the Navy, in the defense of his country” was the first word to Mrs. Peter Schmit of St. Joe that her son, Thomas George Wagner, seaman first class, had been a victim of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7.

This brings the Kossuth casualty list of World War II up to three known deaths.  William H. Kennedy, 24, Titonka was the first reported and William G. Turner, 21, Algona, the second.

Thomas George Wagner was born Oct. 4, 1919, near Gerled and lived in the Gerled-Ledyard vicinity until 1927, when he moved to St. Joe.  There he attended grade schools and two years at the Livermore high school.  He was graduated from the Algona high school in 1938.  He was a star athlete in both Livermore and Algona high schools and played on the football, basketball and track teams.  He was a member of the Livermore debate team and took parts in the school plays.  He was a member of the St. Joseph Catholic church.

May 1, 1939, he enlisted in the Navy and took his basic training at the Great Lakes naval training school.  He was later sent to Bremerton, Wash., and from there to San Pedro, Cal.  In April, 1941, he was sent to the Hawaiian islands.  Thomas was a seaman first class in the radio division and had been in the U.S.S. West Virginia.

His father preceded him in death 17 years ago.  His mother, two sisters, Dorothy and Mary survive, besides four half-sisters and brother, Sarah, Cecelia, Donna and Michael Schmit, all of St. Joe.  Grandparents surviving are Mrs. Jacob Wagner of Clinton, Mo., and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Rowell, of St. Joe.

Source:  Mason City Globe-Gazette, March 14, 1942 (photo included)


Memorial services for Thomas Wagner, who was killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, were held at St. Joseph’s church on Monday, March 16, at 8:30 o’clock.  Father George J. Theobald was celebrant at the Requiem High Mass which was sung for the repose of the soul of the departed.  Many members of the parish were present at the Mass.

The catafalque was impressively draped with the stars and stripes.

Father James Duhigg of Livermore gave an appropriate sermon, using for his text the words, “What greater love can man have than that he lay down his life for his friends.”  He enlarged upon the heroic sacrifice that this young man had made in behalf of his country and for the safety and freedom of his friends.  “Thomas Wagner was one of the first to give his life,” said Father Duhigg, “but thousands of other young men are offering their services and may they be willing and prepared to give their lives for the presentation of those ideas which are so dear to all of us.”

Present in the sanctuary was Father Nick Becker of Bancroft, a friend of the late Thomas Wagner.

Source: Algona Upper Des Moines, March 24, 1942


ST. JOE—The Memorial Requiem High Mass for Thomas G. Wagner, 22, son of Mrs. Peter Schmitt, who was killed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th, was well attended Monday morning at 8:30 o’clock.  Rev. Fr. Duhigg of Livermore, delivered the funeral sermon.

Source:  The Humboldt Republican, Friday, March 27, 1942

80 Kossuth Men Officially Listed As Casualties In War


Eighty men from Kossuth county lost their lives while in the service of their country in World War II.


Wagner, Thomas George
Killed in action at Pearl Harbor, 12-7-41. Mother: Mrs. Peter Schmitt, Bode, Ia.

Source: The Algona Upper DesMoines, Tuesday, January 22, 1946 – page 7.