When the First World War was over and the victory for world democracy had been won, the question of a fitting memorial to commemorate the brave deeds and heroic sacrifices of our boys in the service was given serious thought in many communities in the United states. The boys who had participated in the most stupendous enterprise in which the nations of the world had ever engaged, had merited a recognition more enduring than mere verbal or written words, eulogizes and encomiums. Many lives had been given in the contest for ideals which even in our country would wither and parish without perpetual re-vitalization by those most interested in maintaining a high standard of democratic virtues in this republic.

The people of this community had made unlimited contributions to the winning of the war. Some two hundred twenty-five of our best young manhood had responded to their country's call for men. Of this number nine gave their lives in the service.

But while these men were a part of the nation's military establishment, those who remained at home were ever mindful of the duty they owed their government and of the sacrifices necessary to support the boys "over there." The Liberty Loans were over-subscribed, every Red Cross call was met with quick response to duty, all the appeals from the war activities boards for funds were most generously responded to, and our people gladly submitted to "war rations" to contribute to the winning of the great struggle for continued universal liberty.

This magnanimous spirit of mingled love and sacrifice survived the war, and when the boys began to return to there homes the thought of a fitting memorial as a grateful recognition of their services found lodgement in the minds of many of our people. The custom of the centuries to recognize heroism and commemorate great events by erecting monuments of bronze and stone did not make a popular appeal. If the American soldiers fought to make democracy universal, why should we not supplement their achievements by building to make the structure of our own democracy more enduring.

This led to the thought of a community building as a suitable memorial. Fremont had no large auditorium where the people of the community could assemble, no recreational center for the use of its young men and young women, no place for indoor athletics, no public library and reading rooms. These could be provided for in a community building. Thus the idea was developed and the need for such a building became more generally recognized. The Men's Club became interest in the proposal and the agitation for a Soldier Memorial Community Building spread rapidly. In response to the public interest the City Commission called for a special election on December 23, 1919, and by a large majority the people voted to bond the city for $60,000 for the purpose of erecting a community building in memory of those who gave their lives for their country.

World War I

The young men from this community who gave their lives for their country in the great struggles for World Democracy during World War I were:

C. C. Upton, born in Fremont, March 9, 1893, died at Noyers, France February 17, 1919
John Garret Frens, born near Fremont, Jan. 17, 1896, died in France, November 12, 1918
J. Howard Schoolmaster, born in Fremont, September 28, 1894, died at Great Lake Training Station, Great Lakes, Ill., January 8, 1918
William Hutchinson, born near Fremont, April 25, 1896, died in France, October 20, 1918
James Tiesinga, born near Fremont, July 28, 1890, died at Camp Custer, Michigan, October 20, 1918
Benjamin Lambers, born near Fremont, July 3, 1897, died at Ann Arbor, Michigan, October 23, 1918
Don M. Dickinson, born in Sheboygan, Michigan, in 1898: Officially reported missing in action July 15, 1918
Glenn Taylor, born near Fremont, March 1896, died at Camp Custer, Michigan, October 16, 1918
Albert Siems, born at Fremont, December 28, 1895, died at Goblenz, Germany, February 2, 1919
Clyde Milton Crabtree, born 5 Jul 1894, Big Prairie Twp, Newaygo County, Mich died 12 Oct 1918, killed in action in France. He is buried in France.

World War II

German War Prisoners in Newaygo Co.


Casualties of Newaygo Co.

John Edward Darling Jr.
First Lieutenant Darling was killed in action on May 18, 1970.
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