St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Remembering WW1 Thru the Eyes and Words of 1918 Warriors: Thanks Mrs. Schiller

Last May saw the beginning of uploading a series of old newspaper articles from the 1918-1919 time frame which were originally published in Pittsburgh by one of their cracker jack reporters who spent time in France with the troops. These articles were transcribed by my geni-buddy Lynn B. 

Thought you'd enjoy seeing one of the articles as we get ready to honor the women in our lives.  After reading this article, check out the other 50 or so we have found at

You're sure to be needing your hanky, or at the least, an American Flag to salute and a mama to hug!

Jan. 19, 1919
Charles J. Doyle
Special Correspondent of The Gazette Times in France
Mrs. William Bacon Schiller Works Every Day in Hospital – Many of Her Patients Heroes of Old Eighteenth Who Fell in Terrific Combats.
Paris, Jan. 17. – (Delayed) – Fifteen months of tireless work nursing American doughboys finds one of Pittsburgh’s most prominent women, Mrs. William Bacon Schiller, still smiling at her post in France.  But her labors of mercy are almost finished now, and she is planning to leave for home in a few weeks.
That was and suffering bring out the finest qualities is strikingly shown in the case of Mrs. Schiller.  She is the wife of the president of the National Tube Company, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation.
About 18 months ago Uncle Sam issued an urgent call for volunteer nurses.  Among the patriotic women and girls who heard and heeded that call was Mrs. Schiller.  Although she always had been accustomed to every comfort that ample means and an assured social position could give, this mother of three fine boys volunteered and was accepted.
Mrs. Schiller knew nothing about nursing when she placed herself at the disposal of her country.  In fact, she knew practically nothing about hospital work.  But all this has been changed, and when I saw her today in her strikingly becoming nurse’s garb, almost engulfed in bandages, dressings and other surgical paraphernalia, it was quite evident that her capability had been developed into splendid harmony with her devotion.
She was busily engaged arranging medicines for the morning round of the hospital as I entered and we had our talk while she worked.  I tried to induce Mrs. Schiller to tell me some of her remarkable experiences during her long term in France, but she evaded any personal touches and insisted on dwelling exclusively on the great work done by others.
Mrs. Schiller, I learned, has been “on the job” for six days a week since she came to France, sometimes seven, but she evidently feels fully repaid by the appreciation shown by the gallant Yankees.  She spoke of having attended a number of Pittsburghers, mostly members of the Eightieth Division.  While she avoids allusions to her own part of the work being done at the hospital, she is ready enough to talk of “the boys.”
A visitor to the hospital who sees Mrs. Schiller as she goes about her work, looking in every way the typical Red Cross nurse, finds it hard to realize that she has a son old enough to be in the service.  This is the case, however, Morgan Schiller being an ensign in the Naval Aviation Corps.  The mother had hopes that her boy would be sent to France and they could enjoy a happy reunion, but he was instead detailed to Seattle.
The hospital where Mrs. Schiller has been giving her time and labor is one of the finest operated by the American Red Cross in France.  It is known as No. 1, and is located about three miles from the center of Paris.  It is an imposing structure, designed to house a magnificent college, but had not been completed when the war started, and the building was turned over to the Red Cross.
While walking along a corridor of the big building I noticed a ward furnished by the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company.  One of the many comfortable cots was donated by Mrs. Henry W. Oliver of Pittsburgh, whose name appears on a neat plate above the bed.  Lying on this cot was a smiling doughboy, Private Harry Seymour, who told me he was a farmer from New York state.  He has been occupying this cot since October 28.  He received a severe shell wound in the leg, but has so far recovered that he is able to walk on crutches.
Although the government changed the designation of the old Eighteenth Regiment, N.G.P., to the One Hundred and Eleventh Infantry, there is a sentiment and pride in the old organization that leads to the use of the old name by the thousands of Pittsburghers over there who have followed the career of the regiment during the past year.  The old Eighteenth say great fighting at a number of critical points, and the importance of the achievements of the Pittsburghers and the whole Twenty-Eighth Division is partly indicated by the long list of heroes who gave their lives in France under the Stars and Stripes and the flags of the Allies.
Among the good people of France, particularly the surviving defenders, the memory of the Pittsburgh fighters will be forever recalled by the names of Chateau Thierry, Fismes, St. Mihiel and the Argonne Forest, all desperate conflicts where the sterling Keystone State guardsmen contended and fell in valorous exploits.  At present the infantry and artillery are divided by hundreds of miles.  The doughboys are, with the division headquarters, billeted near Toul, 200 miles east of Paris, while the artillery, which recently operated in the Belgian sector, has been moved to the area between Paris and the seacoast.
About a month ago the Twenty-eighth Division was ordered into Germany to form part of the army of the occupation.  One regiment was already on its way to Luxemburg when the first orders were countermanded and it was brought back.
Sergt. Allen McCombs, 927 Beech avenue, North Side, Pittsburgh, an athletic youngster who was a member of the old Eighteenth, is a fine specimen of the type of soldiers that constituted the regiment.  Almost fully recovered from a machine gun wound in the leg, Sergt. McCombs and I met in the beautiful Red Cross hospital where, he said, “a man couldn’t be sick if he wanted to and didn’t want to leave when he got well.”
Sergt. McCombs is a graduate of the Scottdale High School, where he played on the football eleven.  After leaving school he took a position with the Pennsylvania Railroad and joined the Eighteenth as soon as he was old enough.  He was leading a platoon of Company I in rushing a nest of machine guns during the terrible fighting in the Argonne woods when he went down with a bullet in his leg.
“But one day’s treatment since I was struck is worth all the hardships we went through,” said the sergeant, who has all sorts of vivid tales of the actions of his division.  When he recovered sufficiently he was given clerical work in the hospital, where he seems to be a prime favorite with patients and nurses.  In the parlance of the doughboys, the handsome soldier “has it pretty soft.”
Private John Danknichy, aged 21, a flaxen-haired Slavish boy of McKees Rocks and Esplen, is another who is manfully upholding the traditions of the old Eighteenth.  He is recovering from a severe machine gun wound in the thigh received near the Aisne River.  It was an exceedingly ugly wound.  When located by the stretcher bearers it was found difficult to get him to a first-aid station, but because of the seriousness of the case they started back through a heavy shell fire.  For a time he lay between life and death, but the wound is now healing and he is able to walk with a cane.  John was an employee of the Pressed Steel Car Company.

Ahh, genealogy.  Here's to you, Mrs. Schiller, and all the other women who have served America and our veterans.  I like to think you were there nursing my grandfather when he was wounded and gassed in France.
©2012 AS Eldredge

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