The Greenfield Historical Society will hold its 2017 Cemetery Stroll on Monday, May 29 at the Greenfield Cemetery on North Washington Street.
The event will begin immediately after the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies which begin at 10 a.m. with a parade down Jefferson Street and a stop for the placing of wreaths at war memorials on the City Building lawn. From there the procession heads down Washington Street and enters the Greenfield Cemetery where a formal ceremony will take place.
“With 2017 being the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, the stroll is featuring some of Greenfield’s Doughboys of that war,” the historical society said in a news release.
The war began in August of 1914 and ended on Nov. 11, 1918. The United States entered the war as an ally of France and England on April 6, 1917. It was the influx of American Expeditionary Forces that provided the troops to stop German advances into France, forced their retreat, and ended the war. Some of the bloodiest fighting and largest military offensives took place in the American Defensive Sector, the news release said.
“After the United States entered the war, Greenfield became active with preparations for the war. A recruitment tent was set up on the lawn of the town hall. That spot was later marked with the planting of a maple tree which grew into a fine tree and was finally removed many years later when age took its toll,” the news release said.
Company G of the 166th Infantry of the 42nd Division – the famous Rainbow Division – was mustered into service on July 15, 1917 with 80 members. The company went into camp at Chautauqua Park (the present site of church campgrounds on North Washington Street in Greenfield). Then on Aug. 13, the men boarded a train bound for Camp Perry near Port Clinton, Ohio.
The company arrived in France on Nov. 1, 1917 and after training there for several weeks, it was sent into the war zone in January of 1918. It was involved in action from that time until Nov. 11, 1918, when the armistice was called. Company G then entered Germany, where it served as part of the Army of Occupation until April of 1919. Then it sailed from France, returning to the United States. Of the 143 men who left in August of 1917, only 119 of them returned to Greenfield.
Soldiers who lives will be highlighted during the cemetery stroll include Carl Herman Zimmerman, Charles Ray Rinehart, William Ogg, Robert A. Smart, Joseph Edward Wolfe, Donald Shofield McClain, Harry Mills, Robert Anderson Duncan, Donald and William Pettiford and Harry Loggans.
The historical society will have tents set up for shade and members will be available to greet walkers and answer questions.
“Come out at 10 a.m. Monday for the parade, help the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield to honor our fallen heroes and stroll the though the cemetery learning about Greenfield men who served during World War I,” the news release said.