Young Man Gives Up Struggle After Hard Fight—Funeral Tomorrow
At the quiet hour of the early morning of yesterday James A. Vosika who had suffered for several days from that insidious disease, tuberculosis, passed to his eternal rest. Four several days he had been at the point of death and a few hours before he died he passed into a quiet sleep and passed away without awakening. Mr. Vosika’s ill healthy dated back to about seven years ago when he was hooked by a cow and received a serious injury in one of his lungs, which was followed by a hemorrhage. Later on, he received treatment in a sanatorium and recovered his health, although his lungs remained weak. A few months ago he suffered an attack of influenza and from the effects of this he never fully recovered. James A. Vosika was born in Webster County, Iowa, on July 9, 1896, the son of J.J. Vosika. The family moved to Olivia in 1912 and four years later on Oct. 24, 1916, James was united in marriage to Miss Veronica Kvech, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Kvech, who with two young children survive him. Other surviving relatives are his parents, four brothers, and two sisters, all of this place. James Vosika was a young man of kindly nature and bright promise. He possessed rare natural ability as a machinist and had his life been spared would have taken a foremost place among the electricians of the country. His death in the springtime of early manhood, when life held out bright hopes and prospects, and when his young family was so in need of his love and care, is sad in the extreme. Public sympathy goes out to the bereaved wife and little ones in their great sorrow. The funeral will take place tomorrow morning at nine o’clock at St. Aloysius Church.
Published in the Redwood Gazette November 11, 1993, written by staff writer Vicki L. Gerdes
FRANKLIN – Seventy-five years ago today, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an historic treaty was signed which would put an end to what was then referred to as the “the war to end all wars.” And on that same day, Ed. J. Wilkinson received word that he would be going home to the wife he had married just six months earlier. Three children, 15 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granchild later, Wilkinson was feted Wednesday night with a special dinner and ceremony in his honor. Wilkinson, 97, is one of an estimated 30,000 World War I veterans who have survived to see the 75th anniversary of the Armistice Day which ended the first war to have ever been fought on a global scale. The Lyon County native grew up on a farm between Echo and Vesta, the oldest of seven children. Scarcely a month after his marriage to wife Lily, Ed was drafted by the U.S. Army to serve his country as a member of the 622nd Field Signal Battalion.
He departed by train from North Redwood in June 1918. Wilkinson remembered how, as the train continued on its journey to New Mexico, it would frequently stop to pick up new recruits. “There were 12 carloads of us by the time we arrive (in New Mexico),” he said. The first night after their arrival, the new recruits took one look at the meal which had been prepared for them, and promptly dumped it in the mess basket. “The food was all right, but everything was all mixed together in one (helping),” Wilkinson recalled. “That first time no one would eat it, but the mess hall manager said, ‘Wait three days — it won’t be empty.’ And he was right — he knew what would happen once we got hungry enough. After three months of basic training at Camp Cody, Wilkinson and his fellow soldiers were ready to make the trip overseas. “They drilled us hard,” he said. But they never got the chance to prove their fighting skills. Shortly before getting their orders to ship out, the battalion was quarantined with influenza – which was a deadly epidemic which ravaged the camp and left few untouched. “Carl Hultquist (from Belview) and I were the only ones who didn’t get it,” Wilkinson said. Day after day, the group would eat and sleep outdoors, to prevent stale air from infecting those who had not yet fallen prey to the flu’s symptoms. Though temperatures frequently reached 100 degrees during the day, the air would cool rapidly at night. Soldiers were given two planets to go underneath them, and another two for on top. The fact that there hadn’t been any rainfall in the area for three years created another problem. By moring, the wind had kicked up so much sand up on top of them that the blankets were difficult to lift off, Wilkinson said. The drifting sand s also made meals rather unpleasant. “The wind would come up, and kick the sand up into our food,” Wilkinson said, adding that they were required to eat their meals regardless — sand and all. Besides the sand, the two things Wilkinson remembered most about Camp Cody were the “rattlesnakes and cactus.” In fact, Wilkinson remembered a time when, as usual, the line for the latrine (bathroom) was excruciatingly long, and suddenly, everyone inside came racing out full tilt. One of the men had found a rattlesnake by one of the urinals. “We had to wait until someone went in and shot the snake before we could go back inside,” he said. “It was a long wait.” Still, he survived all these misadventures, and three months later, was among those who left Camp Cody to receive their discharge papers. “By the time the quarantine was over, so was the war,” Wilkinson said. As the flu epidemic had by that time spread throughout the U.S., the group traveled from camp to camp until they reached on which wasn’t quarantined, in Camp Dodge, Iowa. They spent the next few days waiting for their official discharge. Upon returning home, Wilkinson resumed farming in the Vesta-Echo area. With the “four good horses” which his parents and Lily’s parents had kept for him while he was at Camp Cody, Wilkinson resumed the occupation upon which he had embarked prior to being drafted, at the age of 19 — farming. He also worked on the road rews which helped to build State Highway 19 from Morton through Gibbon. Wilkinson recalled how culverts in those days were made big enough to enable cows and cattle to us them as paths to cross under the highway. In the early years, the Wilkinsons moved around from farm to farm, as the depressed farm economy caused one operation after another to close down. We would start a job, and stay a couple of years, then the farm was sold or the bank foreclosed…we had to move three or four times before I bought my first farm by Franklin, in 1939,” Wilkinson said. He and Lily stayed on that farm until 1961, when they moved into Franklin. Thirty-five years later, Ed still lives in his own home and drives his own car, though he admitted that, since Lily died three years ago, “it’s damned lonesome sometimes.” He spends his time on various woodworking projects, when he’s not visiting with friends and family. Thought slightly embarrassed by all the attention, Wilkinson was nevertheless honored when he received word that he and the other men who survived to see the 75th anniversary of the end of World War I would be receiving commemorative medals. The Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation based in Chicago, Ill., had created a medal patterned after the World War I Victory Medal given to all those who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces during that war. Surrounded by a laurel wreath with symbolizes honor, the medallion is also encircled by a blue band bearing the inscription “75th Anniversary of World War I” at the bottom. The blue color signifies loyalty and devotion to duty. On the reverse side is an oak branch, representing strength and acknowledging the sacrifices and contributions of the veteran who fought for the freedom of this country. The inscription, “They Came on the Wings of Eagles” comes from the historic World War I American Memorial Monument, located in St. Nazaire, France. Also inscribed on the medal are the words “A Grateful Nation Remembers” and the commemorative dates, 1918-1993.
More than 150 people came to the Cedar Mountain Elementary School cafeteria Wednesday night to watch Wilkinson receive his medal. As his daughter, Faith Bock, said in her address to the group, “We feel very privileged that we’ve had him with us for so many years. “Sometimes he has asked ‘Why me? Why am I the one who is left?’ But we are very grateful that he is still here with us.”
Besides Wilkinson, there are sever other known World War I veterans in Redwood and Renville counties, who have also been awarded one of these medals: Arnold Miller, 93, of Wabasso. Charles Selle, 94, of Buffalo Lake. Frank Gaasch, 96, of Morton. Harold Dirks, 96, of Olivia. Richard Schuetz, 96, of Buffalo Lake. Axel Christopherson, 96, of Morgan. Carl Davidson, 100, of Belview.
A large crowd of enthusiastic fans turned out to witness the basketball game between the high school students Tuesday evening. The game was well fought, clean and full of pep throughout, showing the good sportsmanship of the players. The “Lame Ducks” put up a good fight the first half, defeating the “Windless Wonders” 8 to 6. In the second half the “Windless Wonders’ got their second wind and by good team work rolled in the five baskets and held their opponents scoreless. The final score was 16 to 8 in favor of the “Windless Wonders.” Good team work was one of the leading features of the game. The Seventh and Eighth grades furnished the audience with an interesting game between quarters. Louie Carruth and Don Castle starred on their respective teams. This game shows the wonderful material Morton has for a basketball team in the future. The line-up was as follows: “W. Wonders” “L. Ducks” E. Donlon rf. J. Ederer C. Simon lf. A. Simmons W. Ewert rg. W. Buth E. Simon lg. L. Ederer F. Orth c. W. Castle Field Goals: Donlon 5, Orth 3, Simmons 2, Castle 1, Ederer 1. Referee: Haig, Time Keeper, McGowan.
The town Basketball quint journeyed to Fairfax and played the fast team of that place defeating them 26 to 17. Both teams showed plenty of speed but passing and shooting were far from accurate. The first half ended 4 to 1. Donlon and Fadden each scoring a field goal and Frank of Fairfax a free throw. The second half both teams displayed better work and the score increased. Fairfax will come here in the near future with the intention of taking us to defeat. Watch for posters. Mgr. Daun is arranging games with the neighboring towns and a number of fast games will be played here. Line Up Morton Fairfax Gaasch R.F. Dickmeyer Fadden L.F. W. Frank Daun C. Fullerton Donlon L.G. Michelson Patzwald R.G. L. Frank Manecke Sub. Pullen Baskets: Gaasch 3, Daun 4, Fadden 3, Patzwald 2, Donlon 1, W.Frank 2, L. Frank 1, Dickmeyer 1, Fullerton 3; Free throws: Frank 3. Referees: Buckely and Brown
Editor’s Note: Gaasch, Daun, Donlon and Patzwald all served in World War I and were on the 1915-1916 Morton High School Basketball team coached by Archer H. Martin that went on to be District Campions.
Published in the November 21, 1919 Morton Enterprise
Boys Win Game with Score of 41 to 13 — Girls take Game with Score of 20 to 12
The basketball season for the Morton High School opened Friday, Nov. 14, with a double game against the teams of the Morgan High School. The games were played in the hall at Morgan. The results from the point of view of the Morton school were highly gratifying–both games being won, the girls’ game with a score of 20 to 12 and the boys’ game with a score of 41 to 13. The girls’ game was fast and well played. The Morton girls were forced to work for all the scores they obtained. The Morgan girls’ team was rather light, but was made up of fighters. The teams line up as follows: Morton Morgan L. Penhall C A. Dahms B. Greenslit R.C. P. Bublitz M. Beckman F. H. Albrecht L. Mahowald F. A. Janotta M. Kothlow G. B. Nelson C.Carruth G. A. Scheffert J. Ford Sub. M. Caaka H. Orth Sub. B. Jones
The boys’ game was fast and rather rough. A considerable number of fouls were called on both teams. The Morgan boys were clearly outplayed from the beginning of the game. Their team work had been well planned but was not executed with sufficient speed to score very often. The Morton team played a fast game throughout, although the second half showed more accuracy in passing and basket shooting than the first. Orth, Castle and Donlon, the center forwards of the Morton team kept the ball around Morgan’s basket most of the time. The boys’ teams lined up as follows: Morton Morgan E. Donlon F. Bublitz W. Castle F. Zakka F. Orth C. Jackson L. Ederer G. Berdan L. Greenslit G. Anderson J.Ederer Sub. Tyvoll C. Simon Sub. E. Simon Sub. Price of Morgan referred the girls’ game. Morgan of Morgan and Harry Donlon of Morton refereed and umpired the boys’ game. Daun of Morton acted as scorer and timekeeper. The Morton teams have an excellent material and a fine start for a successful season. Although handicapped for practice space it is hoped that he initial pace can be continued.