Thursday, April 7, 2011

The War Comes Home to Hobart

Most of the Kostbade family got together on Christmas Day 1917 for dinner. William and Emma were surrounded by six of their eight children: three boys and three girls, ranging in age from 24 to three. Even Mabel had come over from Gary with her husband, Lee Blake. Only two were missing — 19-year-old William Jr., who was stationed at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and 18-year-old Edward, now with the army in France.

The family was just finishing their dinner when they heard a knock at the door — a messenger with a telegram from the War Department.

Kostbade telegram

Edward had been among Hobart's first volunteers after the declaration of war. He had been stationed at Syracuse, New York when he volunteered to join an infantry regiment bound for France. His volunteer spirit had won for him the sad honor of being Hobart's first World War I casualty.

Two days later the News carried the text of a resolution passed by the Hobart town board, recognizing Edward's service and extending condolences to his family.

William Jr. got leave to come home from Camp Shelby and mourn with the family. There could be no proper funeral. William Sr. had wired to the War Department asking whether it were possible to bring his son's body home, but he had not yet received an answer.

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
♦ "Edward C. Kostbade, First Hobart Boy to Be Killed in War." Hobart News 27 Dec. 1917.
♦ "Resolution." Hobart News 27 Dec. 1917.
♦ "Young Life Sacrificed in France." Hobart Gazette 28 Dec. 1917.

1 comment:

Janice said...

How horrible to receive this news on Christmas Day!