Good Morning, fellow history enthusiasts. Join us tonight at Willard Library at 6:30 to hear the story of Sgt. Frederick Myler, the mysteries surrounding his death, and how his family was impacted by his death in World War I.
Today is the 99th anniversary of the death of Evansville soldier Sgt. Frederick Myler who died on 9/22/1918 near Thiaucourt, France. Fred came to Evansville as a young adult, having already served in the Navy from ages 17-20. He had broken his leg after falling in the rigging of his ship which led to his discharge. Originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, he joined his father and brothers to work as a potter at National Pottery in the city. After his injury healed up, he became quite the powerhouse in athletic events at the company picnics in Garvin Park.
Fred was well known and popular on the West Side. He came from a large family of 8 brothers and sisters. His parents were proud of their German heritage. He married Mayme Dunn in 1911 and their two children coming quickly after. Like many young couples, they had their struggles in their early years. They often found themselves in Circuit Court for minor issues where they would exchange words and the judge would engage in a little marital counseling. Mayme once charged Fred with failure to support their child but the charges were dismissed after he promised to spend less time at watching the games at Bosse Field and driving around with his friends. They reconciled and seemed to find peace for a time after that.
Fred was distraught at the sinking of the Lusitania by the Germans in 1915, perhaps due to his time as a sailor. He felt strongly about fighting against the Germans, despite his parent’s wishes that he return to Germany to fight for them. Shortly after the sinking, he traveled to Canada, lied on his enlistment forms, and found himself in the 2nd Pioneer Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.
He returned home in 1916 following the death of his 18 month old daughter, Lowessa. Instead of returning to the Canadian Army, he enlisted in the U.S. Army upon U.S. entry into the war. Fred had to enlist under an alias, John Keller, as he was AWOL from the Canadian forces. He served with Company M, 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division, first in Camp Dix, New Jersey, and later in combat overseas. He took part in the St. Mihiel Offensive, which was the first U.S. led offensive in the war. Sgt. Myler’s Company was called to be the lead element on the Raid on Mon Plaisir Ferme, near Thiaucourt, France, on 9/22/1918. The raid kicked off at 1:00 in the morning. They were needed to hold a road on the outskirts of town for 20 minutes so engineers could destroy the buildings and trenches German troops had been using as cover. Company M was successful in holding the line but the victory came at a high price. Twenty-three men were killed, including Sgt. Frederick Myler.
He was laid to rest in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery just outside of Thiaucourt until 1922 when his remains were repatriated to Arlington National Cemetery. Today he rests in Section 18, Grave #4441.
Today we honor and remember fallen soldier Sgt. Frederick Grant Myler. May he rest in peace.
Archives staff have been hard at work attempting to save a 100 year old map of Evansville. The map below had been folded 8 times and placed in an envelope for much of that time. The blue bin in the photo serves as a re-hydration chamber used to get moisture back into this brittle document. Once it was able to be opened without tearing, we used the weights on top of the blue bin to help flatten the map over the period of a week. Today, we are repairing the rips and tears that are ever present in a map this old. It is coming along nicely! Look for it this fall at the Evansville Museum of Art, History, and Science.
Check out this week’s discovery! Found in a shuck related to a libel case from 1912, this article came from one of Evansville’s African American newspapers, The Negro Press.
Elvira Roach sued for $10,000 in damages, almost a quarter of a million dollars in today’s money, over a dispute in the women’s auxiliary of the Knights of Pythias. She claimed an group of women conspired to slander her good name with the article below.
We have been exploring our World War I era records (1914-1918) in honor the 100th commemoration of the U.S. entry into the war. Unique local pieces from that period keep popping up. Check out this large map of Evansville from 1917! It is in remarkably good shape.
Did you know that the Clerk’s Archives chronicles the judicial impact of the Prohibition era in Vanderburgh County Courts? Court records contain search warrants from Prohibition Enforcement Agents and show the many creative ways people in Evansville tried to circumvent liquor laws. From gin hidden in secret compartments of the suitcases of traveling salesmen to New York bootleggers sneaking into the Longbranch Roadhouse (now the University of Evansville’s Peterson Gallery on the corner of Lincoln and Weinbach) all aspects of Prohibition era criminal activity appear in local court records.
This piece recalls Evansville’s bilingual past. Due to large numbers of German immigrants public notices and advertisements were often printed in both English and German.
The Southwestern Indiana Collections Connection Association’s 4th Annual Meeting is coming up on Monday, April 3rd. If you are affiliated with a cultural heritage institution in the southern Indiana region, we’d love to see you.
Staff, volunteers, interns, board members are all welcome to this free event.
To read more and register, simply go to…
1917 German National Bank Ledger