The 11th Hour on 11th Day of 11th Month

Reporter in Residence
Monroe Mouse

On a recent night scamper I noticed new objects in two first-floor display areas. There are photographs, posters, and uniforms, surrounded by very interesting artifacts. I decided to do a little research, since I know it helps to understand what one is seeing if he or she has some background information.

I checked the computer (trusted sources only), files, and old newspapers. I soon realized the exhibits are about the First World War, which started in 1914 and soon became a global conflict. No wonder it was called “The War to End All Wars.”

My research revealed that during that time, local newspapers kept the residents of Monroe County informed of the events happening around the world, even though the United States did not enter the war until April 6, 1917.

You may have been told stories about family members — men and women — who played a part in the war. My mouse family does not have too many WWI stories to share. I do know, however, that many of my ancestors immigrated to North America by jumping aboard troop ships returning home from various European ports!

Looking at a photocopy of the first draft lottery results for Monroe County, printed in the July 13, 1917, Stroudsburg Times-Democrat, I learned that Calvin Yohe from East Stroudsburg, holding draft lottery number 258, was the first person from the county to be inducted into the Army.

I also found out via a newspaper clipping dated June 12, 1917 that the first person from the area killed in the war was Floyd Treible, age 23, from North Water Gap.
Floyd was in Canada, and “when the call came, he immediately enlisted.” He died in the trenches, fighting alongside the Canadian forces.

Records in the Mansion library show that at least 1,000 soldiers from Monroe County participated in WWI. That number does not include women, many of whom nursed wounded soldiers when they were brought back home or actually traveled to Europe to help the cause. Such was the case with Elizabeth French Ramsey, R.N., a local nurse who joined the Red Cross and later served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1917 to 1919 at the U.S. Army Base #10 in France.

Women in the community helped in many other ways, too, by knitting and sewing warm clothes for soldiers or, as Stroudsburg’s Althea Staples did, organizing the local Liberty Loan committee.

World War I is called the first technological war. It brought forth the use of tanks, nerve gas, trench warfare (by the way, mice are very good with trenches and tunnels), U-boats, airplanes, and advertising. When you view the exhibit, be sure to look at the Victory Liberty Loans posters, which showcase the patriotic duty of buying bonds to help finance the war. Americans gave more than $23 billion to the war effort.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the warring countries signed an armistice, an agreement to stop fighting. Eight million men had died fighting on three continents. Millions more soldiers and civilians were wounded. It was, as all wars are, terrible.

The exhibits made me think a lot about fighting — the bravery and the sadness. It gave me a new understanding of the doughboy statue I saw when I wandered down to Stroudsburg’s Courthouse Square last fall. Unveiled in 1924, it was initially a tribute to the 34 Monroe County soldiers who lost their lives in the fight. In the early 2000s the statue’s tribute was expanded to include all men and women who showed bravery and valor in WWI.

On the 11th day of the 11th month of 2018, it will be the 100 year anniversary of the armistice, and I will wear my doughboy helmet.

The Mansion exhibit will be up throughout 2018. blogEntryTopper