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Divide County farmers become heroes when called to war

Posted 11/07/17 (Tue)

Divide County farmers become heroes when called to war

By Cecile Wehrman

Company C of the North Dakota National Guard formed in Crosby during the early days of World War I. By forming a local company, it was reasoned, the men could serve overseas together.

Of the approximately 400 Divide County soldiers whose records survive, about one-fourth signed up before the unit was federalized in July 1917, but nearly everyone who joined or was drafted that summer carried the Company C designation -- at least until they arrived at Camp Dodge, Iowa.

There, a farmer might become a wagoner; a salesman, a cook. There were buglers, machinists  and supply train laborers. A local attorney, Lester Smith, later killed, was selected for officer’s school and assigned to an artillery unit. A few Crosby men entered the Navy.

Most, however, were assigned to the infantry, ultimately engaging in some of the most critical campaigns of the war, evidenced in part by the silver stars 10 of the group were entitled to wear -- and by the deaths of 35 men.

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