Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

ALBION IN WORLD WAR I

Albion Recorder, December 8, 1997, pg. 4

A month ago we celebrated Veteran’s Day, originally known as Armistice Day dating back to Germany’s surrender on November 11, 1918. Downtown Albion was the site of several parades during World War I as the community pulled together to support its young men who were being inducted to go “Over There” (as the song goes) to fight for our country. Many of them were trained at Camp Custer near Battle Creek. In the Michigan Archives in Lansing are the Petition for Citizenship applications of numerous European immigrant factory workers, including from Albion, who applied for U.S. citizenship from Camp Custer.

Two large “waves” of soldiers from Albion were sent into the service. The first occurred on Saturday, July 14, 1917 when over 100 men who had just enlisted were given a big send-off via a parade in downtown Albion, with the Hon. Washington Gardner as the main event speaker. The list of enlistees is printed in the Tuesday, July 17 issue of the Recorder, page 2. Various branches of service are listed, such as the Army, Navy, etc. There is even one name from Albion listed as joining the Dental Corps. That was local dentist Dr. Grove W. Dunham.

The next “wave” came as a result of the draft on Tuesday, June 6, 1917, a massive “register for the draft” parade was held in Albion, in which 902 young men registered. Washington Gardner led this event also. All eligible persons signed up--white, black, and aliens. A break-down by precinct of those registering is printed in the Wednesday, June 6, 1917 issue. For example, in the 1st precinct, 328 persons registered: “Of these, 149 were native born white Americans, 45 colored Americans, and 134 Aliens. 41 native born Americans registered as having no dependents,” stated the Recorder.

A big draft lottery was held on Friday July 20, 1917 in Washington, D.C. The previously assigned numbers of 178 Albion men were drawn for immediate induction into the service. The very first person from Albion drafted into World War I was a John Pasuk (no relation to yours truly) an immigrant worker at the Albion Malleable Iron Company) who lived at 913 Austin Avenue. The draft had a profound effect upon local life, as men from all parts of the community were called out to serve their country.

Of particular interest to historians and genealogists is the full registration list of 902 draft age men from Albion, and Albion and Sheridan Townships which is printed in the Friday, July 20, 1917 issue of the Recorder and is several pages long. This is an excellent reference in determining who was living here at the time, three years before the 1920 Federal Census.

This week we present a photograph of Albion’s “blooper” parade--the “false” Armistice Day Parade of November 9, 1918. The Student Army Training Corps soldiers stationed on the Albion College campus during World War I turned out and marched in downtown Albion to celebrate the War’s supposed end. But the actual armistice and cease fire order did not occur until two days later. In this photograph we see the soldiers marching in the 200 block of S. Superior St.


The “false” Armistice Day Parade of November 9, 1918

Next: ALBION HOSPITAL WAS ONCE LOCATED ON WEST ASH STREET

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All text copyright, 2013 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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