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James Bethel Gresham

James Bethel Gresham, (August 23, 1893 – November 3, 1917) was the first Hoosier serviceman and perhaps the first American serviceman to die in World War I, along with Private Merle Hay, Glidden, Iowa and Private Thomas Enright of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1]

James Gresham
Born(1893-08-23)August 23, 1893
McLean County, Kentucky
DiedNovember 3, 1917(1917-11-03) (aged 24)
Artois, France
BuriedLocust Hill Cemetery, Evansville, Indiana
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1914–17
RankCorporal
Unit16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Monument at the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren, Arkansas

Contents

Early lifeEdit

James Gresham was born on August 23, 1893 in McLean County, Kentucky. In September 1901, his family moved to Evansville, Indiana, where he attended the Centennial School and he later worked in local furniture factories.[2]

Military service, death, and legacyEdit

 
Monument to James B. Gresham, Merle D. Hay and Thomas F. Enright, designed by Louis Majorelle, erected November 1918 in Bathelémont, destroyed by the Germans in October 1940

Gresham enlisted into the U.S. Army on April 23, 1914 with his service beginning at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri. By June 1914, he was serving in El Paso, Texas under General John J. Pershing. He shipped out from Fort Bliss for France with the first American soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force in June 1917. Just before daylight on November 3, 1917, Gresham was killed along with Privates Hay and Enright during an early morning raid by the Imperial German Army near Artois, France. Two days later, on 5 November 1917, Enright, Gresham, and Hay were buried near the battlefield where they had died. An inscription marked their graves: "Here lie the first soldiers of the illustrious Republic of the United States who fell on French soil for justice and liberty."[3] Later in 1921, the body was moved to its current resting place in Evansville, Indiana. As a memorial, as the first American casualty of World War I, a house in Evansville was built in his honor and given to his mother, Alice Dodd.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Cpl. James Bethel Gresham". www.usgennet.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  2. ^ "Cpl. James Bethel Gresham". www.usgennet.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  3. ^ "Cpl. James Bethel Gresham". www.usgennet.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  4. ^ "Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library". www.evpl.org. Retrieved 2015-12-15.

External linksEdit