William Harrison Metzker, 21 March 1919, World War I, Comanche County, Kansas Hosted by RootsWeb, 
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William Harrison Metzker

The Western Star, March 21, 1919.


Harrison Metzker, American Expeditionary Forces, 89th Division as a member of Co. L. 353rd Infantry, the A1 1-Kansas Regiment.

At left: Harrison Metzker, American Expeditionary Forces, 89th Division as a member of Co. L. 353rd Infantry, the A1 1-Kansas Regiment.

A Memorial Service in honor of Harrison Metzker, who lost his life while in one of the big battles in Northern France, will be held in the Christian church in this city on next Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The service will be in charge of Rev. J. T. Wheeler, the pastor. The public is cordially invited to be present. A special invitation is extended to all returned soldiers and sailors to attend in uniform.

The Western Star, March 28, 1919.

Memorial Services for Harrison Metzker

The memorial services in honor of Harrison Metzker which were held in the Christian church in this city at 11:00 o'clock a.m. on last Sunday were attended by a large crowd which completely filled the church. The interior of the church was beautifully decorated with flags and bunting, all of which suggested the patriotic nature of the exercises.

The pastor, J. T. Wheeler, preached an appropriate and practical sermon from the text, "Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank - they were not of double heart," I Chron. 12:33.

Some selections by a selected choir and a vocal duet by Mrs. E. E. Pounds and Miss Thelma Pounds were much enjoyed. Between 20 and 25 soldiers, one sailor and one marine were present in uniform.

The local draft board - Dr. T. H. Crawford, W. P. Sanders and Geo. Hearldson - were present and were occupants of reserved seats with the boys in uniform. The services formed a tribute to the heroic part which was taken in the great war by Harrison Metzker, who lost his life November 1, 1918, in the battle of Argonne Forest.

Gold Star Mothers' Supreme Sacrifice

Last week Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Metzker, who live southwest of Coldwater, were officially notified that their son, William Harrison Metzker, had made the supreme sacrifice. The report said that he had died November 1, 1918, but gave no particulars. This was but ten days before the taking effect of the armistice. The notice had been long delayed, as have the last of the casualty lists.

This week they have received word from Graves Registration service that the grave of the fallen hero is at Landres-et-St. Georges, Ardennes, France. This is about thirty miles northwest of Verdun and about eight miles west of the Meuse River. It was here that the 89th Division, in which Harrison served had some of their hardest fighting, this is just north of the Argonne wood. It is presumed that Harrison was killed in action and was buried where he fell.

Harrison Metzker was one of the men of which Comanche County could well be proud. Soon after the entry of America into the war, he felt called upon to enlist. He offered his services with the Marine Corps, with the regular Army, with the Navy and every other branch where he thought there was a chance for him to get in but each time was turned back. Some years ago he had received an injury to his shoulder and this kept him from the service for a long time. Finally he was passed by the Local Board in the selective service and was successful again when examined at Camp Funston.

Even after being accepted by the Local Board he could not well bide his time, and on his request was sent to camp ahead of his time to replace someone whom the Local Board could not locate at the time. He was truly a patriot. He was sent from here to Camp Funston on April 25, 1918. He was assigned to the 89th Division as a member of Co. L. 353rd Infantry, the A1 1-Kansas Regiment. He went with this division through all the fighting until the time of his death.

So far as is known, Harrison is the only one from this immediate section who was called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. We mourn his loss and reverence his memory.

The Western Star, August 18, 1933.


Mrs. Frank Metzker of this county is one of the "Gold Star" mothers who are now seeing France, and taking a look over the World War battlefields and cemeteries of that country. They are making the trip as the guests of the United States Government. The mothers were taken to France on the Steamship President Roosevelt. Shortly before landing in France, or on July 30, Mrs. Metzker wrote a letter to her daughter, Mrs. J. M. Cline, of this city, and we are permitted to print it. Mrs. Metzker says:

"Dear Nerva and all the family,

This is Sunday and they say we are 1605 miles from New York. They say we will get to France Thursday. The ocean was awfully rough. Friday so many ladies got very sick. (I didn't) and you can tell them all I haven't been sick and am ready to eat every meal. We get three meals a day and then lunch in the forenoon and afternoon. I am feeling fine and so is Mrs. Burns of Wichita. But the lady from Pratt is in bed and has been there most of the time since Friday. They had memorial services this morning. It was nice. Mr. Woodring and wife are on this ship. He made a good talk. They will come back with us. But we will come back on the S. S. Washington. They say it is a larger ship.

"Well, we are having the best time. They fix everything for our comfort. They even have picture shows and dancing. I go to the picture shows, but I haven't seen them dance yet. There are over six hundred on ship and one hundred seventy "Gold Star" mothers.

"Well, yesterday and today are fine. I wish I could hear from home. I thought I would hear in New York, but didn't. Well, you can tell every one as I can't write to all.

"Will close, with lots of love to every one.


P. S. Well, this is Monday morning. Last night they had preaching and singing. It was good. It doesn't seem like being with strangers. They are so good to us and wait on us so much. They say we will see land Wednesday and we will Get to France Thursday. Well, this is all this morning ."

Gravestone of William Metzker At right: Gravestone of William H. Metzker, Private First Class, U.S. Army, 353rd Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division. Entered the Service from: Kansas. Died November 1, 1918. Buried at Plot F, Row 38, Grave 28, Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France.

October 18, 1918:
From Our Soldiers and Sailor Boys : Harrison and George Metzker
"Mr. and Mrs. Frank Metzker of this county have two sons in France, Harrison and George. We are permitted to quote as follows from letters received recently from the boys who are on active service with the American Expeditionary Forces."

Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagnee, France.

Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Metzker received official notification this week from the War Department that their son, Harrison Metzker, had died in France on November 1. The last letter Mr. and Mrs. Metzker received from Harrison was written on October 28. At that time he was well and appeared to be getting along all right. It seems a little strange that it should take the War Department three months to get notice to the parents of Harrison's death. Such, however, is only another illustration of how the machinery of war sometimes moves very slowly in such cases. Mr. and Mrs. Metzker have the sympathy of all and too, they have the assurance that their son died in the worthiest of all good causes - the cause of Liberty and Righteousness in the world. -- The Western Star, 31 January 1919.

WWI Draft Registration card for William Harrison Metzker of Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas.
Draft Registration card: William Harrison Metzker of Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas.

United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.

More information:

From Our Soldiers and Sailor Boys : Harrison and George Metzker, The Western Star, October 18, 1918.

ELZA HOLMES WRITES FROM FAR AWAY FRANCE, The Western Star, November 11, 1921: "Tell Mrs. Metzker that I visited her son's grave a few days ago, and it is nice and well kept, and if she will write a request I may be able to get a picture of it, although they are very strict about such things."

Minerva Frances (Metzker) Cline, sister of Harrison Metzker.

Lula Agnes (Metzker) Gregg, sister of Harrison Metzker.

Robert Edwin Metzker, brother of Harrison Metzker.

WWI News Articles from Comanche County, Kansas

The Adjutant General Department:
List of Comanche County Men Who Died During WWI

Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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