New WWI memorial to go up across from Vet’s Stadium, see full list of 190 names…

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Come May 25, another memorial will take its place across from Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium. Like the other memorials that list those from Erie County who died in the nation’s wars, this one, too, will carry the 190 names of those who died in World War One.

We all learned from the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., that carrying the names of those who gave their lives has a power that goes beyond statues or images. The names bring home to memorial visitors the ultimate, personal cost that war inflicts.

The Erie County World War One Centennial Committee recognized that power in 2018 as it sought to place a memorial with those who died in World War One in Erie, a memorial that would carry the names of those from Erie County who made that sacrifice.

The May 25 dedication on State Street across the street from Northwest Collegiate Academy will be open to the public, but it’s the descendants of those who died that the Committee especially hopes can attend.

“We hope that people who knew of those on the list or are related to them will come to the dedication,” said Mary Jane Phillips Koenig, the committee organizer. “If they can be there it will make this dedication and the memorial so much more important and relevant.”

The committee is sharing this list with local news media to post on their websites so anyone with an interest can check through it and, the committee hopes, attend on May 25 at 2 p.m. 

Determining whose names would go on the memorial required an extensive search and verification process, some of it over the last few months, and some of it starting decades ago.

Lake Shore Industries is now at work manufacturing a cast aluminum memorial four feet high and five feet wide with each of those names on one side and inscriptions on both sides tasking us all not to forget. 

The starting point for the list was a book published by the American Legion in 1920: Erie County Pennsylvania in the World War 1917-1918.   Looking much like a yearbook, it includes a list of 154 men who died, along with the names and photos of 1953 more who served. As far as anyone knew that was the only such list in Erie County. You can occasionally find the book at a yard sale, estate sale or the back shelf of a used bookstore.  Multiple copies are on the shelf at the Heritage Room at the Blasco Library.

For the memorial committee, this book was the starting point. Committee members strongly suspected there had to be more. The nature of the book, with its misspelled names and disorganized placement of men’s photos in no apparent order – not even alphabetical – backed those suspicions.

Luckily, the committee has local resident Mark Steg as a member. In the 1990s, Steg, an amateur historian and militaria collector, took it on himself to put the names of those in the book into a database. He typed each name into a Lotus database, noting the page each name and photo were on and the military unit when included. He stored the database on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. 

Over the years, Steg said, he would add to the overall list as he came across a set of dogtags, personal gear or equipment from a local veteran who had passed away. On one of his forays, Steg came across a printed placard, or banner, printed a few years after the war that carried the names of those who died. This placard had some names not included in the book. Steg added them to his database.

Later, he saw a similar placard at the Erie County Historical Society – same graphics and design – but this one had more names than the first.  Those went onto the database, too. 

In 2018, Steg joined the World War One committee and brought his list. By then the list of those who died had grown to around 184. Some he wasn’t sure of. He also had nagging doubts that this was everyone with a connection to Erie County.

Committee members Ann Silverthorn and Bill Welch joined with Steg to start checking. Steg had already made extensive use of Ancestry.com. On that website he could check the names on his list against draft registration records, Army Adjutant General Office (AGO) records, Pennsylvania military pension records, and an online copy of a book title “Pennsylvania in the Great War,” which is essentially a list of those from Pennsylvania who died in World War One. There’s one for each state, and a complete list on other sites. For those who want to look for themselves, here’s the link: https://archive.org/details/soldiersgreatwa02doylgoog/page/n7.

The three checked the names on Steg’s list and checked the Pennsylvania list. Some names came off; other names came on. By the time they finished, they had 187 names of U.S. military servicemen who died in battle, died of wounds, died from accidents or died from sickness, especially from the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. 

How did some names come off? In some cases, they found the man had not died until decades later. Others had no verifiable connection to Erie County: no county address, no county birthplace, no relatives left behind in Erie County, nothing. If they had at least been in that 1920 book or listed on some other Erie County memorial – notably the one in North East – they stayed on anyway.  The reasoning was that if someone in Erie County took the trouble back then to get the name into the book or onto a memorial, there must, indeed, have been a connection.

And then there are the three men who died serving with a different army. Salvatore Savatierre is on the North East memorial. He had been in North East, went back to Italy in 1915, joined the Italian army and died in 1916. Walenty Jakubowski and Stephan Wnorowski, Polish immigrants living in Erie, joined Haller’s Army to fight under Polish colors against the Germans. Local Polish-American researchers found their names and Steg verified them.
And that takes the total to 190. 

See all 190 names below:

LEO G. ALLEN
HERMAN R. ANDREWS
JAMES M. AUSTIN
SIDNEY W. BABCOCK
CLAYTON O. BALL
JOHN BARAN
EDWIN N. BARNES
ROMAN BARNICKI
WALDECK BARNITOWSKI
JOHN H. BEAM
HARRY F. BEATTY
RUDOLPH E. BECK
HENRY J. BECKER
FRANK BELTINOKOFF
JAY W. BENJAMIN
PERRY S. BIGELOW
ARLO A. BLACK
WILLIAM J. BOETGER
XAVIER BOLTZ
CHARLES F. BOWER
JULIUS F. BROSCKI
SAMUEL CANU
ELMER C. CARRIER
HENRY CARSTEN
WILLIAM C. CARTER
KENNETH P. CARTER
VINCENZO CASSANO
MIKE J. CASSIDY
GUERINO CELLINI
STEVEN M. CHAPMAN
ROMAN M. CHESALAK
JOHN E. CHRISTENSON
WACLAW CIESLICKI
GEORGE CLARE
OAKLEY COBB
HOWARD B. COBLENTZ
JOSEPH E. COFFEY
RICHARD L. COLLIER
GEORGE V. COOKE
TIMOTHY J. COUGHLIN
JOHN B. CROOK
ANDREW CULL
ANGELO DAMBORINO
ANSON L. DECOURSEY
WILLIAM DENGLER
ROSS V. DOUGLAS
JOSEPH E. DUDENHOEFFER
MICHAEL DUGAN
CARL G. EBISCH
JOSEPH J. EICHELSDORFER
LOUIS B. EISWEIRTH
SYLVESTER J. ENGLISH
CHARLES A. FARBER
JAMES J. FEENEY
FRED W. FEGERT
CLARENCE A. FOLINE
MARSHALL FOOTE
OLIN H. FORD
VICTOR C. FRANKE
GUILO FREDO
HENRY FRIED
LUDWIG GALCZYN
ROBERT J. GIEK
SAMUEL A. GILLESPIE
CLARENCE A. GOEHMAN
EDWARD J. GOETZ
ARTHUR W. GREINER
ADAM GROMCZUSKI
FRANK J. GRYGIER
IGNACY HADERNY
ROY HAMER
LAWRENCE HAMILTON
HARRY D. HANES
CLAIR T. HANLEY
EDWARD J. HARMON
ANDREW M. HARTMAN
LEWIS HAWLEY
FRANCIS J. HEARD
LESLIE A. HENRY
HOWARD F. HIGGINS
WILLLIAM HOEHN
JOHN HOKANSON
WILLIAM S. HOLCOMB
WALLACE B. HOLLAND
ARTHUR J. HONARD
ELWOOD HOOPER
WALENTY JAKUBOWSKI
AUGUST R. JOHNSON
CARL R. JOHNSON
ERIC L. JOHNSON
LOYAL JOHNSON
CLYDE F. JONES
GORDON KAEMMERLING
LESLIE F. KESLAR
CHARLES P. KIBLER
LEONARD W. KIGHTLINGER
NORMAN L. KING
ALFRED KING
GUY M. KLECKNER
MICHAEL KOROTKI
CLARENCE A. LaFINE
JOHN R. LAIRD
DeFOREST A. LAWSON
LYNN L. LEBARON
HOWARD N. LOBAUGH
FRANK LUCI
EDWARD A. LYNCH
KENNETH MACBETH
REID D. MARCH
GEORGE W. McCLOSKEY
LESLIE L. McGAHEN
JOHN D. McGARRY
LESLIE H. McLEAN
JOHN P. McMAHON
LESLIE B. MERRITT
RALPH METZ
ANTONI MIAZGA
BONIFUSS MILLER
FRANK MILLER
HAROLD M. MILLER
EARL A. MORLEY
ALBERT E. MORTENSON
EDWARD J. MULLIGAN
NEAL H. MURPHY
WILLIAM MURPHY
JOHN T. MURRAY
CARL W. NEFF
FRANK E. NIEMIC
ALEX OLIKES
WALTER PALUKE
GEORGE M. PARKER
JOSEPH H. PARSONS
GLENN L. PAULSON
MICHAEL PAYNE
FRED L. PENCE
JOSEPH PISANI
WILLIAM J. PLEGER
MAX J. POHL
WALTER POHL
WLADYSLAW B. POZYK
FRANK PRZUDRYGA
EDWARD J. QUINN
ROY RACHEL
RICHARD K. REZNOR
LAWRENCE H. ROLAND
JOSEPH RUDTKISKIE
FRANK E. RUNDELL
JOHN RYAN
JOHN RYCEZ
JOHN SARAN
SALVATORE SAVATTIERE
CHAUNCEY F. SCHADE
JOHN J. SCHLEY
AUGUST SCHUSTER
IRWIN SCHUTTE
SALVATORE SCIARRONE
BERT E. SEAMENS
WILLIAM C. SENNETT, JR.
GALE B. SHAUBERGER
CLYDE V. SHIREY
RUSSELL W. SILVERTHORN
ADOLPH SIMONSEN
WILLIAM M. SIMPSON
IRWIN T. SMITH
LELAND J. SNOWDEN
RAYNOLD SOEPKY
CHRIST S. SPATHIS
OSCAR F. SPENCER
VINCENZO SPERDUTO
WALTER E. STUHLFADT
ALBERT B. SQUIRES
JOHN L. SYBRANDT
STEPHEN SZUMIGALA
EARL L. TEED
ARCHIE W. THOMPSON
FRANK TUTTLE
HOWARD K. UHLER
STANISLAW UL
EDGAR C. WAINRIGHT
EDWARD E. WARNER
ARLO B. WARREN
JASPER N. WASHBURN
JOHN WASIELEWSKI
RICHARD F. WEBB
LLOYD H. WEDDIGE
E. J. WENDLING
STEFAN WNOROWSKI
RALPH R. WOOD
FRANK E. WRIGHT
ARTHUR F. YOUNG, JR.

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