LET US REMEMBER
by Susan Dechant, Researcher for the
Northeast Washington Genealogical Society
During my research into the names of our war casualties already on our monument, I came across others that possibly should be honored there too. Some of the names came from newspapers, some from people who contacted me, some from other references that I found. After considerable research, I suggest that the following 16 are perhaps qualified to have their names added if Stevens County and the American Legion decide to update the monument. Originally the monument was designed to hold 156 names. After removal of the name Stanley Backer, who I believe is the same person as Stanley Packer, there will be only seven spaces left. At the very least, these 16 need to be remembered too and that is my purpose here.
Pvt Amos Beck
was listed in a book titled “Soldiers of the Great War” published in 1920 listing by state the casualties of World War I (the “war to end all wars”). His entry indicated that he died of accident and his hometown was Ford. Here is his story….. Amos was born 31 December 1892 in Reardon, Lincoln Co, Washington, to Frank and Margaret (Timmons) Beck. His father born in Indiana, resided in Lincoln County by 1888. His mother, born in Iowa, also resided in Lincoln County by 1890. They met and were married in 1891 in Spokane. Both were teachers and the newly married Becks, as well as Margaret’s Timmons family, are listed in the 1892 state census for Stevens County. In 1898 both Frank Beck and Jesse Timmons (Margaret’s father) are granted homesteads in the Walkers Prairie area. Amos’s parents were divorced in 1913 and Margaret later married Levi Cunningham. In an excerpt from “Pioneers of Happy Hill” by Jim McMillan, “About 1915, after Mrs. Frank Beck had separated from and divorced her husband, she married Lee Cunningham and moved with her children into the Cunningham house. It was crowded and I recall that Amos Beck, who was later killed in Europe in the first World War, built on a room to the house as a gift to his mother on his last furlough before going overseas.” Although there is some conflicting information about the circumstances of his death, it appears that Amos died 15 October 1918, age 25, in the Argonne Forrest of France while serving with the 305th
Infantry Regiment, 77th
Division. It was not until the following March that his mother was officially notified of his death. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France. In 1930 his mother applied for the Mother’s Pilgrimage to visit her son’s gravesite. We do not know if she was able to make that trip. His parents are both buried in Spokane, his father, Thomas “Frank” Beck in the Fairmount Memorial Park and his mother in a mausoleum in Riverside Park Cemetery. (My thanks to my co-researchers for their help with this soldier: Lora Rose, Gary Sheehan, and Karen Struve)
I reported on the next soldier in the February 2012 issue of this publication as his body was sent back to the states with two other soldiers whose names are already on the monument (Joseph Christman and Edgar Theobald). Perhaps his name should be on the monument too….
Pvt. Ernest Davis was killed in action 27 September 1918, age 24, in the battle of Argonne (the same day as Willis Oaks). He was born 7 March 1894 in Caney, Kansas, to James Roll and Lola (Mayer) Davis. The family was living in Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1900 then moved to Ferry County in 1904 arriving by train at Boyds. James Davis was granted a homestead in March 1910 for 160 acres in the Deadman Creek area. Davis Lake is named for him. Ernest attended the Godfrey school across the Kettle River from Boyds until the Sherwood school was built along the State Road in 1906 (Deadman Creek area). He entered service 14 June 1918 and was sent to Camp Lewis. He was first assigned to the 157th infantry but was later transferred to Company D 109th infantry in September. He sailed for France 8 August 1918 and his regiment was immediately sent to the front. His body was sent to Colville in September 1921 and he was buried at Highland Cemetery where his parents are also interred.
SSgt William Hogan, age about 23, was killed in action 21 May 1944 while serving with the 345th Bomb Group, 501st Bomb Squadron as an aerial photographer. His plane was shot down over New Guinea and all six on board were lost. William was the son of John and Rose (Mencham) Hogan born in 1921, probably in the Flat Creek area of Stevens County. His father resided in the Northport area before his marriage to Rose, then moved the family to the Chewelah area by 1930. William was a graduate of Jenkins High School and enlisted into the Air Corps in April 1942 at Geiger Field in Spokane. He served overseas for one year before his death. His name, along with the names of the other five crewman aboard the plane, are on a marker at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents are buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane. (name and photo obtained from a news item in the Chewelah Independent dated 8 June 1944)
Pfc Dudley R Kelly, age 20, was killed in action 22 February 1945 on the Island of Luzon, Philippine Islands, while serving with the 127th Infantry. Dudley was born 23 April 1924 in Fruitland, the son of Martin "Dude" and Millie (Ross) Kelly who later divorced. Dudley lived in Fruitland most of his life, part of the time with his mother and part time with his grandparents, James L. & Pearl Ross, while his mother worked in the apple packing sheds in Wenatchee. Dudley became one of Washington state's noted mountain climbers before enlisting in September 1943 in Spokane. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Steve Stephens and was interred in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California, 11 February 1949. In a moment you will read about his uncle, Luther Ross, who was killed just two weeks later on Iwo Jima. (name and information from Dee Biegler, Spokane)
Pvt. Ira Theodore Rathke, age about 40, died 2 April 1943 in Spokane when the automobile in which he was a passenger crashed. He was serving in Co. C of the 863rd Engineers. Ira was born in 1903, the son of Emil and Anne (Schulty) Rathke. His parents were living in Edwall, Lincoln County, when they married in 1902 and that is probably where Ira was born. By 1910, the family was living in Clayton where Emil was a butcher. Ira attended schools in Clayton and Deer Park and later worked at the terra cotta plant in Clayton before he enlisted in December 1942. His body is interred at Fort George Wright and both his parents are buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Ellensburg. (name appeared on a list of casualties in the Colville Examiner dated 26 May 1945; information and assistance from Peter Coffin of Clayton-Deer Park Historical Society)
Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Forrest Stephen “Buddy” Riggs
, age about 23, died 15 November 1942 aboard the USS Preston
when it was sunk at the Battle of Guadalcanal. From wikipedia: “Approximately 8 minutes after the enemy was engaged, Walke
was hit. Soon after, Preston
, preparing her torpedoes, was struck. One salvo from Nagara
had put both firerooms out and toppled the afterstack. Her fires made an easier target and shells came in from both port and starboard. The fires spread. At 23:36, she was ordered abandoned. Seconds later she rolled on her side. She floated for another 10 minutes, bow in the air; then sank, taking 116 of her crew with her.” Forrest was born in 1919 probably in Vermillion County, Illinois, to Forrest and Mildred (Stevens) Riggs. By 1930 the Riggs family was living in Wenatchee, but Mildred’s mother and step-father were in the Forest Center precinct here in Stevens County. Forest Jr does not appear in any census here in Stevens but, according to a news item in the Valley Record
dated 17 December 1942, he graduated from Springdale High School and does appear on the Springdale Roll of Honor list. He enlisted in the Navy in March 1938 and served on board the USS Preston
from June 1938 until the end. Forest received the Purple Heart and his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. He was survived by his wife Judith and an infant son who both lived in San Francisco at the time of his death. His father, a World War I veteran, is buried in the Wenatchee City Cemetery. I was unable to determine where his mother is buried, but his grandmother, Alice Morgan(?) Stevens Gillingham, and many of the Gillingham family are buried in the Springdale Cemetery. (name from news item in the Valley Record
17 December 1942)
Pfc Luther Oliver Ross
, age 23, was listed in a news article appearing in the Colville Examiner
dated 24 March 1945 as a casualty from Fruitland. Research indicated he was killed on Iwo Jima. There is some confusion about his actual date of death as he was wounded 20 February and the family thought he had been killed. But he returned to active duty and was wounded again on 4 March. He died on 6 March 1945 without regaining consciousness. He was serving with the 2nd
Marine Division, the same division as Ira Hayes, one of the six Flag Raisers on the famous Iwo Jima photo. Luther was born 10 October 1921 in Fruitland to James L. and Pearl E. (Allison) Ross, the youngest of eleven children. The Ross family lived about four miles northeast of Fruitland, their ancestors being pioneers of the Washington Territory. Luther enlisted in December 1942, mustered in June 1943, initially stationed with the 3rd
Parachute Battalion, 1st
Marine Parachute Regiment, 1st
Marine Amphibious Corps. In January 1945 he was mustered into the 2nd
Battalion. He never married although he was engaged at the time of his death, but he was survived by five sisters and two brothers. He was awarded the Bronze Star and was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California, 14 April 1948, three years after his death. His parents are buried in the Hunters cemetery. (information shared by Dee Biegler, Spokane)
Tec 5 Grade Albert J. Sandaine, age 23, was killed in action 25 September 1944 in Italy while serving as a medical technician with the 351st infantry regiment, 88th Infantry Division. Albert, a Native American, was born 3 March 1921 (or possibly 1922 or 1923 according to different records). He was the son of Arthur and Alice (Pichette) Sandaine who were married at St. Regis Mission in May 1918. The family lived in the Boyds / Kelley Hill area. Albert enlisted in November 1942 and saw a lot of fighting overseas. “After two months of aggressive patrolling, the regiment participated in the smashing Fifth army drive that helped to liberate Rome (in June 1944).” This regiment fought almost continuously for five months. “In addition to being the division’s first regiment to enter combat, the 351st was its first regiment to arrive overseas, first to arrive in Italy, first to earn a distinguished service cross and first to receive a battlefield promotion.” Albert was buried in the Little Mission Cemetery (also known as Pia Mission) on Kelley Hill. His father died in 1934 and mother in 1940 and both are also buried there. He was survived by two sisters and five brothers. (name from 1969 article in “20 years ago” column of the Statesman-Examiner)
Pfc Charles Milton Wingham, age 19, was killed in action 15 March 1945 on the island of Luzon in the Philippines while serving in Co A, 149th Infantry, 38th Division. He was born 9 February 1926 in Colville, the son of Harold and Dorothy (Davis) Wingham. The family resided in Colville until 1933 when his father was employed by the Union Oil Company and was first stationed at Newport, then Chewelah, and then Ritzville. Charles attended grade school in Colville and then Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane. His father died in 1941 and his mother eventually married George Oswalt. Charles enlisted in April 1944 at Fort Lewis and had been overseas since December. He was survived by his mother and one sister, and was buried in the Riverside Park Cemetery in Spokane in October 1948. His father and his Wingham grandparents (Charles and Isabelle) are buried at Highland Cemetery. Charles was a pioneer business man of Colville, coming to the area in 1900 and establishing a meat market. (name from news item in the Colville Examiner 29 April 1945)
Pfc Edgar Eugene “Gene” Moore, age 20, was killed in action 15 June 1951 while serving as a member of Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division in Korea. He was born 31 December 1930 in Kettle Falls to Edward G. and Constance (Price) Moore. He attended grade school in Colville and high school in Northport. The family is listed in the Boyds precinct in 1940. Gene enlisted in August 1950 and was sent to Korea the following January. His body was returned for burial at Highland Cemetery in November 1951. He was survived by his parents, one brother and his grandfather, Dean Price of Northport. Private First Class Moore was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.
(name from news item in Statesman-Examiner 2 Nov 1951)
Pfc Antoine “Tony” Samuels, age 21, was killed in action while fighting the enemy in North Korea on 24 September 1951. He was a member of Co. B, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. Tony, a Native American, was born 25 March 1930 on the Spokane Indian Reservation, the son of Edward and Louise (Moses) Samuels. The family appears in the 1930 Spring Valley census and in the 1940 census for the Walkers Prairie precinct, where Tony’s father indicates that he is working on the clearing project for the Grand Coulee Dam. Tony attended school in Ford, the family later moving to Spokane. Tony was buried in the Hubert Cemetery near Ford in January 1952. His parents and grandfather are also buried there. Private First Class Samuels was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. (name from news item in Statesman-Examiner 18 Jan 1952)
Pfc Steven Wilbur Hamilton, age 19, was killed in a military vehicle accident near the demilitarized zone in Korea 30 May 1968. Although not serving in Vietnam, he did die in service during that war. Steven was born in Colville 8 March 1949, the son of Sidney Judd and Wilma (Murdock?) Hamilton. He attended school in Kettle Falls. It appears that his parents divorced when he was young as he spent most of his early life with his grandparents, Wilbur Ross and Alice Hamilton who owned an orchard in the Peachcrest area. Steve worked in the orchards in the Kettle Falls area and in a glass shop with his stepfather, Norman Cameron, in Colville before entering service in April 1967. He took basic training at Fort Lewis and specialized training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After a two-week leave at home in September 1967, he went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, prior to going to Korea in November 1967. His grandfather Hamilton had been stationed at Fort Lewis during WWI and his father had been stationed at Fort Sill in WWII. At the time of his death, Steve was serving in the motor pool division with the U.S. Army. He is buried in the Meyers Falls Cemetery at Kettle Falls as is his father and grandfather. (name submitted by June McNitt)
As we all know, we are once again at war and we have once again lost more Stevens County boys, this time in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Army Spec Ryan Michael Bell, age 21, was killed 5 March 2007, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations in Salahuddin province, Samarra, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Five other soldiers died in the same explosion. Ryan was born 24 April 1985 in Portland, Oregon, to Michael and Sheryl Bell, but listed his hometown as Colville when he enlisted. He graduated in 2003 and dreamed of becoming a doctor. He graduated from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, and joined the Army in May 2004. Before he was deployed to Iraq, he served with his unit in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Bell liked the outdoors, singing, dancing and watching sports. His father indicated that Ryan was "a walking sports encyclopedia." He was survived by his wife, Terri Bell; stepchildren, Jason and Tyler; his mother Sheryl Vickery, of Spokane; and father and stepmother, Virginia Bell, of Colville.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin Harris Todd, age 29, died 26 January 2009 from wounds sustained when two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters crashed in Kirkuk, Iraq, during a night reconnaissance. Three others died in the incident. He was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. Benjamin was born 4 October 1979 in Colville to Alan B. Wiley and Marti Todd. He lived his early life in Orient until the age of ten when his family moved to Colville. He completed his education there in 1997 where he played high school football and joined the local search and rescue unit as a teenager. He enlisted the first time in March 1999 and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, serving two tours in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. He had re-enlisted in October 2004 and again in January 2005. While on leave in 2004 he met Shelly Gordon and they were married in April 2005. He graduated from flight school in June 2007 and was deployed to Iraq in October 2008. He had wanted to fly since he was nine years old. Benjamin was survived by his wife, Shelly, daughter Ashlyn, mother Marti Todd of Colville, father Alan Wiley of Orient; and brothers Nick and Daniel. He was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously for acts of valor in combat. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Colville. There is also a monument in Arlington National Cemetery with the names of all four soldiers who were killed in that crash.
1st Lieut. Forrest Pinkerton Ewens, age 25, was killed in action supporting Operation Enduring Freedom 26 June 2006 in the Pech River Valley, Afghanistan, when his all-terrain vehicle struck an improvised explosive device during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York. Forrest was born 15 Apr 1981 to Michael and Carol Ewens. He spent some of his early years in the Gig Harbor area near Tacoma. In 1992 the family moved to the Summit Valley area where Forrest and his twin brother, Oaken, and other brothers, Eli and Steven, attended the Summit Valley School and then Jenkins High School. He graduated with the class of 2000 and went on to graduate from Whitworth College in 2004. While at Whitworth, he married 1st Lieut. Megan Jagelski. Forrest was a talented athlete in track, football and wrestling and according to his friends and teachers, an “incredible leader.” He is to be remembered as an outstanding young man of character and purpose by students and faculty alike. Forrest was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Staff Sgt. Wyatt A. Goldsmith, age 28, died 15 July 2011 at Camp Bastion Hospital, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenade fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Staff Sgt. Goldsmith was a combat medic treating an Afghan commando when the attack happened. He lost his life in an effort to save someone else’s. He was a Green Beret soldier, serving his third overseas deployment, and was the recipient of three Purple Hearts. Wyatt was born 21 September 1982 in Redmond, Washington, the son of John W. and Lorie L. (Torgerson) Goldsmith. He attended grade school in Kirkland until 1994 when the family moved to Colville. He was a 2001 graduate of Colville High School and a member of the 49 Degrees North Ski Patrol. Wyatt entered service in the U.S. Army in June 2004 as a Special Forces recruit. He is survived by his, parents, John and Lorie Goldsmith, Colville; and by his sister, Nicole Goldsmith, Seattle. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal. He is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery in Colville.
This ends the stories of these heroes. If any family member would like a copy of my research, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will be happy to share it with you. I again want to express my thanks to all those families that shared information about their loved ones. These soldiers and their families need to be remembered for their courage and sacrifice.