Highland News Leader

Alhambra family gets word their soldier is MIA: August 1918

After World War I was over and won by the Allies, the problem was breaking up the German empire and awarding the Allies with additional German territory, getting retribution from Germany for war debts and establishing new countries as buffers against Germany. All of this took time.

“The various peace treaties had changed the face of Europe. Nine new countries had come into being or had been revived. Other borders had been radically redrawn, and the collapse of the four defeated empires was effectively confirmed.

“The two nations of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were created from the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the Czech’s receiving Sudetenland (which was mainly German speaking), plus Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. While Yugoslavia received the southern Slav lands of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.

“Austria, the heart of the old empire, became a poor, small, land-locked country… Its grand imperial buildings in Vienna sat like a crown on the head of a pauper — a constant reminder of its former greatness.” (Quotes from History of World War I by Marshall Cavendish from Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library, thanks Kathy Kessels.)

Now back to World War I in the Grantfork area. Pvt. Albert Frederick Liebler, 1891-1918, soon after reaching Camp Zachary Taylor, near Louisville, Ky., was quarantined with measles. He then took seriously ill with pneumonia. He died in Louisville on April 4, 1918 and was buried April 8 at St. Gertrude Catholic Cemetery in Grantfork. Liebler was the first World War I soldier of the Grantfork area to be returned for burial.

Roy Worstell, who does my genealogy, has written out Liebler’s genealogy and gives a listing of all of his brothers and sisters and their families. A few of them remain in the area. Albert’s mother, Mrs. Pauline de Talleur Liebler, had moved to Edwardsville after the death of her husband, Philip Liebler, in rural Grantfork. Other survivors were three brothers, Robert, Joe and Sam Liebler, and three sisters, Mrs. Lawrence Hollander, Miss Elsie or Elsa Liebler, later was Mrs. Walter Sievers Sr. and Mrs. Otto Brockmeier, all of Edwardsville. Albert’s father Philip Liebler had died Dec. 9, 1916, just a year before Albert. Albert’s sister, Ida Liebler (Mrs. George) Vineyard of Grantfork had died Nov. 14, 1915, just two years before. Albert’s was the third death occurring in the immediate family within three years.

In the Highland Leader of April 9, 1918, it was reported: “At least 10 Army service men from Highland, Nelson Glock, June 1917; Clarence Lory, Fulbert Beck and Roland Bleisch, last August; Willis Lerische, during the winter; more recently, Clarence Hoefle, Gerhard Clemens, Richard Spellerberg, Orville Spengel and Walter Bosshard, were in service in France. Also several Navy men were in active naval service on convey ships and men of war, a great showing for Highland.” (This quote is also from the Highland Leader of April 9, 1918. Thanks to Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library and Shawn Riggs.)

Alhambra also had some bad news: “On Aug. 4, 1918, Pvt. William H. Behrhorst, the 26-year-old son of William Behrhorst of Alhambra, was missing in action. By Sept. 1, the family had a letter from William H. stating that he had been gassed, was in the hospital, recovering and was in a replacement camp, where he would be examined to determine his fitness for further service. He has a brother also in the service.” (This Behrhorst quote received from Doug Garbs, former partner of the Highland American newspaper in the 1980s, now of Mascoutah.)

Now back to Pass in Review for more overseas veterans of World War I.

“Pvt. Rapley T. Peek, 18, son of Mrs. Lulu M. Peek, of Tulsa, Okla., formerly of Highland enlisted on Jan. 16, 1918 in St. Louis, Mo., Jefferson Barracks, and was assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, Trench Artillery and was in France by June 20, 1918. He transferred to the 5th Division and saw action on the St. Mihiel front, Toul sector near Metz in October 1918. He was in the Army of Occupation and was discharged May 7, 1919.

“Sgt. Edwin E. Peter, 24, the son of John Peter, enlisted in Wisconsin National Guard on April 9, 1917 and was sent to Camp McArthur, Texas, Co. H, 127th Infantry, 32nd Division. He arrived in France on Feb. 18, 1918. After French training, he saw action in Alsace sector, May 21-July 19; then Cierges and Fismes, July 29-Aug. 21, when he was gassed near Juvigny. He returned for the Meuse-Argonne offensive on Oct. 15. He was in the Army of Occupation at Selters, Germany, and was discharged May 17, 1919.

“Pvt. Aaron S. Phillips, 23, son of Richard Phillip, was called June 24, 1918 and was sent to Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., and assigned to Co. H, 129th Infantry, 39th Division. He arrived in France in August 1918 and was transferred to Battery E, 340th Field Artillery, 89th Division and saw action on the Verdun sector in September and the Toul front in October. He was in the Army of Occupation and was discharged on June 5, 1919.”