Nevada is known as the "Battle-born" state for its very controversial admission into the Union in 1864. It was granted statehood during the Civil War as a political maneuver to add another "free state" and secure the wealth of its Comstock Lode on the side of the Union, when its population scarcely justified territorial status. When the first Mormon settlers came to White River in 1898 the Spanish-American war was in progress with much talk of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, but this conflict touched the settlers only indirectly. However in the conflicts of the twentieth century residents and former residents of the Valley have been active participants.
Having achieved freedom for itself in war, America, as a nation, has become a champion of human rights and whenever it has entered into war the popular attitude has been protection of the weaker nations against aggression by the stronger. When World War I started in 1914 most Americans were in strong opposition to the political aspirations of Kaiser Wilhelm II as leader ofthe German people. Nevertheless it was the sinking of the Lusitania with Americans aboard that precipitated the entrance of the United States into the war April 6, 1917.
The Valley, like Americans in general, rallied to the cause with patriotic fervor. They bought war bonds, raised "Victory gardens", observed wheatless or meatless days, used substitutes, such as potatoes in their bread, to save precious wheat. The wheat raised in the Valley and the short-lived flour mill served a useful purpose at this time. The people gathered scrap iron and tinfoil, clothes and anything that might be useful to the war effort, sewed, knit sweaters, socks and blankets, rolled bandages and raised money in a variety of ways. The M.I.A. girls, under Ruth B.Gardner, raised a crop of potatoes and used the money they received for war bonds. The children could buy "Victory stamps" for twenty-five cents, fifty cents or a dollar and when they had collected enough, convert them into bonds. This is a quote from Effie Read's history, "Mrs.Maude Savage wove a rag carpet and it was donated to the Red Cross to be auctioned. After making its rounds in this county, it was last heard of in Reno, being advertised as the "Widow's Mite". They also supported the boys who went into the service, thirteen from Lund and the Sunnyside ranches and four from Preston, with letters, packages and money.
A number of the Lund boys were sent overseas almost as soon as they were inducted. Neil Gardner enlisted in the Air Force before he was twenty-one (the age for the draft) and was the first of the boys to go overseas. Lorain and Gideon Hendrix were assigned to serve as cooks and were with the forces in France in that service for the greater part of the war. Henry Mathis and(Oliver) Merlin Peacock went to France very early with the infantry.
After eight months Merlin was gassed while participating in a training program for gas warfare and was hospitalized back in the United States. Later he was sent home on a furlough. When he was returning to his base, he was killed along the route in February 1919, the only Lund casualty, and his body was sent home for burial. We have this from his army record, "Oliver(Merlin) possessed one of those characters which made him loved and respected by all who knew him. He went ready and willingly to defend his country. He did his part well and offered his all as a good American." The only other casualty from the Valley was Frank Bradley (Donahue) an Indian boy raised by the Bradley's in Preston.
LaVerne Whipple was also sent overseas soon after he was inducted. Shortly after he arrived in France, John and Rose Whipple received word from the War Department that he had been wounded. They did not receive any more word from him or of him for eight months. When a letter finally came, Joe Oxborrow, after he brought the mail from Ely, made a special trip to carry the letter to Whipples' ranch although it was not their regular mail day.
Loraine Ivins, Sam Sinfield and Steel Reid, in the Field Artillery, spent many months together training at Fort Lewis, Washington (Camp Lewis then). Steel Reid wrote, "Sam and a bunch of other guys are learning to be cooks. They are learning in our kitchen so we are paying for their education but it isn't too bad." Loraine was sent over a few weeks ahead of the others for training in communications but their whole division was sent to France in the summer of 1918 and they saw action in the last heavy fighting before the Armistice was signed. Some of them were gassed in the operation. Steel's lungs were damaged so badly that he died at an early age from the effects.
When the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, New York, London and Paris had their parades and Lund had its parade, too. The school, under Clarence B. McMullin, quickly assembled banners and noise makers and marched past every home in town spreading the good news. The parade started on a high note and gained momentum as townspeople came out to cheer and joined the march. Rebecca Sinfield joined the marchers with her dishpan and beaters and made more noise than anybody. No war since has ended with such jubilation. This was the end of all wars and our sons and brothers would soon be home!
We were wrong on both scores. Wars seem never to end and many of the boys were stationed in Germany with the Army of Occupation from months to years. Steel Reid, Sam Sinfield, Loraine Ivins, Henry Mathis and LaVerne Whipple were sent to Germany immediately after the fighting ended. They had more freedom, now, however, to tour and see the sights. In fact Vern Whipple joined a contingent of the Barnum and Bailey circus that was touring Europe and entertaining the troops, and performed rope tricks and did trick riding dressed as a woman. Most of the local boys were home by the next summer, perhaps because they were needed on the farm, and they were each welcomed with a dancing party.
These letters sent from overseas are characteristic.
ROOMS OF THE CITIZENS' COMMITTEE
for the convenience and pleasure of our
Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y. Headquarters Co.
February 8, 1918 161 Infantry
A.E.F. New York
I received your welcome Christmas card. It has been over a month coming across to me. We are all feeling fine and having a good time. Myself and Gid are both working in the kitchen cooking. It is sure a fine job. I always like that kind of work. Just imagine yourself helping to cook for 250 men, it is sure some job.
This is sure some country over here in France. It seems like spring. Everything is pretty and green.
There are some pretty French lassies here. I think I will pay transportation fees back to the old U.S.A. for one when I come back. What has been taking place around Lund since we left? Has Mick made any hit with the school teachers yet? When you see Zella H. tell her Ihave been looking for a wedding invitation from her but it has not come yet. I hear Ellis andGlen have both got married.
When I start back I am going straight for Utah and never stop 'til I get there. I think that is the system, go where you are not known. Tell Mick to let me know if he can't get one ofthe teachers and I will bring him back a school teacher from here that sure can teach him totalk French. I think I will take a few lessons myself. Has Laveta gone back to school? If she has give me her address. If I am here long enough I might learn to cook or get me a cook, Idon't know which.
Tell Mick every time I drink wine or champagne I always think of him. Well, I will haveto stop writing or I will be late for Church. Whenever you have lots of time just sit down andscratch the cook a few lines.
L. H. (Lorain Hendrix)
On Active Service with the
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
April 22, 1918
Somewhere in France
Miss Vera Carter
I just received your letter. I was quite surprised but glad to hear from you. I didn't know whether you would get my card or not.
I think Gid's and Loraine's cooking agrees with them. They are getting so fat I tell them their Mother won't know them when we get back. We dine mostly on beans, bacon andprehistoric prunes for dessert. We have some good old ancient hash of course; and on Sundays they made some dandy good doughnuts, but I think they need a little experience in making cream cake and apple pie.
We have some good times at Y.M.C.A. The other night we were entertained by some actors from New York. They played 2 nights but played the same both nights. The title of itwas Baby-O-Mine. We sure enjoyed it. There are moving pictures three nights a week and always something doing every night..There has only been a few days since we hit France that it hasn't rained. If we get a day that the sun shines we feel like we were missing something.
We haven't seen or heard from Vern Whipple. The boys wrote him but they haven't received an answer from him. We fellows have quit having birthdays since we came over here. We don't figure on getting any older 'til we get back. Tell all the old batches left at Lund if they want us to bring some French girls back for them to send us their orders before they are all gone. Tell them it won't take much to keep them. They can live on snails. They can carve them out a pair of wooden shoes out of any kind of wood. They don't need to spend any money for washing machines. They just take their clothes down to the creek to wash them, using a rough rock for a wash-board.
France is all right but America is better. I think France would be a nice place to travel through in the summer time. All over there are small hills covered with trees and grass. We fellows are all well and fine. The longer we stay in the army the better we like it. Well, this is all for this time. Write again, we soldier boys are always glad to hear from our friends at home.
I remain your friend,
Pvt. Merlin Peacock
Hdq. Co. 161 U.S. Inf.
A.E.F. Via N.Y. City
World War II started when Hitler and his master race set out to conquer the world in 1939 butthe United States was not drawn into the conflict until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December7, 1941 and Germany and Italy declared war on the United States on December 11. This war lasted until 1945 and the boys in the service had many horrendous experiences. Space and access limit us to just a few examples.