Thunder Butte

June 05, 2008

Joe Shockley Goes to War

My great-uncle, Joe Shockley, served in the trenches in Europe in World War I. I knew him briefly as a child in California, but he was not a man in his later years to say very much. When my grandfather homesteaded just northwest of Thunder Butte, Joe – who was my grandmother’s brother – set himself up on a place not far away in Glad Valley. So, it was with great interest that I found the following news story on the web that describes the circumstances under which Joe went off to fight in the Great War, as it was then known.

The following is excerpted from “Time Marches On,” by Thelma Frame, writing in "South Dakota's Ziebach County, History of the Prairie", published in 1982 by the Ziebach County Historical Society, Dupree, SD and available here:

“The banner headline of the September 27, 1917 [Dupree] Leader reads "Citizens of County Bid Boys Farewell." Saturday last about 9:30 a.m. 16 young men left for the Cantonment at Fort Riley, Kansas, the second contingent from Ziebach County to the training camp. A parade in the morning previous to the arrival of the train was one of the largest seen here for some time past. The parade started at the High School at about 8 o'clock headed by the Dupree band. Following were members of the Red Cross, then the teachers and pupils of the Dupree School, Veterans of the Civil and Spanish Wars and the new soldier boys, then the citizens generally, bringing up the rear. The march on the street continued north until opposite the Fox Ridge Hotel, thence to the depot where the new soldier boys formed a line facing the crowd. After several patriotic airs by the band, a short talk by attorney Henderson, and a song by the school children, the crowd formed to bid the boys a farewell and godspeed, then awaited the arrival of the train. While waiting for the train, Mayor Shelton, in his usual good way, suggested that a purse be taken for the boys and passed the hat. A neat sum was collected, which was turned over to Mr. George Wakefield Till who was selected by the local board to take charge of the men.

“About ten minutes before the departure of the train, the boys were once again called in line and marched into the coaches. As they took their places a cheer went up amidst the smiles and tears of all.

“The men who were honored that day were: Gustave Yeshko, George Diermier, William Nelson and George Jennerson from Dupree; Frank Rosenstock, Jack Neigel, John Held and George Till from Eagle Butte; August Hanneman and George Sargent from Redelm; Willie Krone and Charles Kercher from Isabel; Oscar Nelson, Harry Olson and Joseph Shockley from Glad Valley and Leo Sinkey from Lantry.

--Mike Crowley
Mike Crowley Thursday, June 05, 2008


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