M.A.C. World War I Casualties

4 09 2018
memorial grove plaque

Memorial Grove plaque located at the Beal Street entrance to campus, next to Sarah Williams Hall.

World War I took a toll on the small college known as Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University).  Many alumni lost their lives during the conflict.  Below is a list of our gold stars.

April 9, 1917: John Woodbridge (short course student, 1915) was believed to be the first person with a M.A.C. connection to die during the war.  He served with the 72d Highlanders, Canadian Infantry.  Woodbridge was killed at Vimy Ridge, France.

February 6, 1918: William R. Johnson (class of 1912) became the first alumnus to die during WWI, when the SS Tuscania sank off the coast of Scotland.  He served in Company F, 6th Battalion 20th Engineers.

William Johnson

from the 1918 Wolverine yearbook

March 8, 1918: Earl Halbert, class of 1920, died at 22 years old of “broncho pneumonia.” He was a private in Company A, 126th Infantry, U.S. Army.

March 16, 1918: Donald A. Miller, class of 1916, died from diphtheria at the Naval Rifle Range in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He was a Yeoman, 3rd class, U.S. Navy.  Miller was 24 years old.

March 29, 1918: Burrell F. Smith, class of 1919, was a private in Company G, 338th infantry, U.S. Army.  He died of broncho pneumonia at 22 years old.

Burrell F. Smith, class of 1919

Burrell F. Smith, class of 1919

April 21, 1918: Norman F. Hood, class of 1915, died at a field hospital from injuries received in action at Monthairon Le Petit. A member of Company G, 23rd Infantry, U.S. Army, he was “buried at [the] American Cemetery of Monthairon (Meuse) Grave 13.” Hood was 26 years old.

June 13, 1918: Gordon Webster Cooper, class of 1918, died of injuries sustained in an airplane crash at Barron Field, Texas. U.S. Army PFC Cooper had finished his 8-week training course with honors. The 23-year-old was the first M.A.C. aviator to die during WWI.

Gordon Cooper

June 15, 1918: LaVerne Thompson Perrottet, class of 1919, died at 22 years old when a shell made a direct hit on his front line trench. He was fighting in the Chateau Thierry sector of France and was buried in the Bois de Belleau.

L T Perrottet

LaVerne T. Perrottet, class of 1919 (portrait: Wolverine yearbook, grave photo: Find a Grave)

June 19, 1918: PFC Louis Kurm Hice, class of 1918, 23 years old, was wounded on June 16 and died on June 19, 1918. He served in Headquarters Co., 119th Field Artillery, U.S. Army.

louis hice

July 1, 1918: Leonard Crone, class of 1913, age 27, was killed in an airplane crash in England. He was a lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps.  He enlisted in the Canadian Flying Forces at Toronto, Canada.

Leonard Crone

The M.A.C. Record; vol.23, no.35; August 30, 1918

July 8, 1918: Thomas William Churchill, class of 1915, died from heart failure following an operation. The 27-year-old Alpha Psi member was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Veterinary Reserve Corps. He was buried at West Point.

Thomas Churchill

July 9, 1918: Lester P. Harris, class of 1917, died from wounds received during a German air raid near the village of Catenoy, France. A street in Johnson City, Tennessee is named in his honor.  For more information visit the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association (https://etvma.org/veterans/lester-p-harris-7073/)


Lester P. Harris (Image source: East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association)

August 1, 1918: U.S. Army 1st Lt. Donald C. McMillan, class of 1915, served with Company G, 126th Infantry.  He served overseas from February 17, 1918, until his death at age 27 from wounds received in action.  He was buried in cemetery 404 in Bezu-Saint-Germain, France.

Donald McMillan

August 5, 1918: Edwin Harold Ewing, class of 1917, died from wounds received in action during the Second Battle of Marne.  He served in Company G., 32nd Infantry of the Michigan National Guard from June 19, 1916 to September 23, 1917, and in Company I, 126th Infantry until his death.

August 10, 1918: U.S. Army Corporal William B. Lutz, class of 1920, Battery A, 119th Field Artillery, was killed in action at age 20. Lutz fought near Chery, Marne, France.

August 10, 1918: Cosmer Magnus Leveaux, class of 1917, died on August 10, 1918 at 21 years old. He was a corporal in Battery A. of the 119th Field Artillery. Leveaux was killed in action at Chateau Theirry.

Cosmer Leveaux

August 12, 1918: U.S. Army PFC Samuel Rottenberg, class of 1919, age 22, was killed in action. He served overseas in Company A, 1st Infantry, from May 22 until his death.

Samuel Rottenberg

Samuel Rottenberg (image source: Wolverine yearbook

August 19, 1918: Frank Huston Esselstyn, class of 1918, died from wounds received in action on August 11. He was a member of the National Guard 119th Field Artillery company and  fought in France.

frank esselstyn yearbook

August 22, 1918: 20 year old U.S. Army PFC George Smith Monroe, class of 1918 was killed in action.  He served overseas with Battery F, 119th Field Artillery from February 26 until his death.

August 31, 1918: U.S. Army Platoon Sergeant James Shrigley Palmer, class of 1918, was killed in action in Juvigny, France while leading his platoon to the attack. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre and Silver Star Citation.

James S Palmer-text of citation-from The_City_of_Detroit_Michigan_1701_1922

Text of James S Palmer’s citation (source: The City of Detroit Michigan 1701-1922)

September 1, 1918: William H. Rust, class of 1918, died on September 1, 1918.  He was a 1st Lieutenant in Company K, 125th Infantry until his death.  He was wounded in action on August 29 while in battle Near Juvigny (Aisne).  Rust was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.  The citation states “The only remaining officer of the company, he led it to the attack with bravery and remarkable energy.  Was killed near the objective which had been assigned to him.” Rust was 25 years old.

September 25, 1918: Olin C. Luther, class of 1919, was killed in action at age 24. He served in the Headquarters Co., 122 Field Artillery, U.S. Army. He participated in the St. Mihiel, defensive sector engagement.

September 27, 1918: Otto William Wissmann, class of 1920, was a Seaman 2nd Class with the U.S. Navy Reserve Force. He died at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, at 21 years old.

September 27, 1918: Ernest Elwin Peterson, class of 1915, died of lobar pneumonia at age 28. He was a corporal with the Medical Detachment Signal Corps.

Ernest Peterson

October 2, 1918: Hubert B. Wylie, class of 1917, died from Influenza lobar pneumonia at 23 years old. He was a private with the U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps, Company D, 307th Repair Unit.

H Wylie

October 7, 1918: Alanson Bartlett King, class of 1919, age 23, died from lobar pneumonia. He was a Master Engineer, Junior Grade with the Headquarters Company 107th Engineers, U.S. Army, and served overseas from January 30, 1918 until his death.

October 8, 1918: U.S. Army 1st Lt. Frank M. Stewart, class of 1918, died at 26 years old. He served with Company C, 111th Infantry. He participated in the Argonne Forest engagement and died of wounds at Bois de Chatel field hospital.

October 10, 1918: Herbert J. Sheldon, class of 1914, was killed in action at the age of 28. He was 1st lieutenant in Company G, 125th infantry and was acting as intelligence officer of his battalion. Sheldon served overseas from July 22, 1918 until his death.

Herbert Sheldon

October 10, 1918: Eugene E. Ewing, class of 1915, was killed in action at age 25.  He belonged to Company A, 18th Infantry at the time of his death. Ewing fought in the Battle of Verdun and the Metz advance.

Eugene Ewing

October 11, 1918: Samuel Robinson McNair, class of 1920, died from bronchial pneumonia on the hospital ship, the USS Mercy. He served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Alabama as a Seaman 2nd class. He was 21 years old

October 17, 1918: PFC Harold R. Siggins, class of 1917, died of pneumonia. He served with the U.S. Army 591st Ambulance Service. His illness was worsened because he had been gassed rescuing a damaged vehicle from a heavily shelled area. His lieutenant wrote; “He is missed by everyone of us. He was our brother.”

October 19, 1918: U.S. Army Private Erling F. Edwardson, class of 1913, died from pneumonia at 27 years old.  He was part of Battery C, 119th Regiment, training detachment.

October 19, 1918: U.S. Army Corporal Rudolph T. Lekstrum, class of 1917, died from wounds received in action. He served with Company A, 107th Field Signal Battalion and was involved in offensives in Chateau Thierry and Soissions sectors. He was 25 years old.

R Lekstrum

October 31, 1918: U.S. Army Major Ira D. MacLachlan, class of 1910, died of wounds received in action at the age of 31. He served with the 125th Infantry and was buried at the Military Cemetery Mars Sur Allier in Nievre, France.

October 31, 1918: Stevenson P. Lewis, class of 1916, age 25, was in killed in action in Romagne, France.  He served with Battery E, 124th Field Artillery, and the American Ambulance Field Service in France.  He was “Awarded [the] Silver Star….this officer was posthumously promoted to First Lieutenant of Field Artillery by the President”

November 5, 1918: U.S. Army Colonel Robert Sylvester Welsh, class of 1894, was killed in action. He was with the 314th Field Artillery and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious services. He was buried at grave 88 in Argonne American Cemetery, France.

Robert S Welch

November 13, 1918: Laurence J. Bauer, class of 1918, enlisted in the Reserve Corps at Chicago, Illinois on July 27, 1917, and was called into active service on June 1, 1918.  He died of wounds received in an airplane accident at a French hospital at Bar Le Duc.” He was buried at Central Cemetery 542, France.

L J Bauer

November 14, 1918: Garth J. Williams, class of 1919, was a U. S. Army private for Company C., 321st Machine Gun Battalion and served overseas from July 30, 1918 until his death.  He was severely wounded on September 15, 1918 and died from a perforated duodenal ulcer on November 14.

G J Williams

December 2, 1918: Farquhar L. Smith, class of 1920, was a U.S. Army private in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 160th Depot Brigade. He died of broncho pneumonia at 22 years old.

December 27, 1918: U.S. Army 1st Lt. William Thomas McNeil, class of 1913, died at 28 yrs old, from wounds received in action near Bois Belleau. He served overseas with Company I, 101st Infantry from January 23, 1918 until his death. He was buried at cemetery 290 Friodes (Meuse) Grave 293.

Wm Thomas McNeil

This list was compiled by Catharine Neely, who completed a joint internship with the MSU Archives & Historical Collections and the MSU Museum during the 2017-2018 academic year.  Please note that this list may not be complete. If you have information about additional M.A.C. alumni who died during World War I, please contact the University Archives (https://lib.msu.edu/branches/ua/ContactUs/)

Below is a slide show of certificates from the State of Michigan Adjutant General’s Office with information about some of the M.A.C. alumni who died during World War I.  The certificates are part of the Frank S. Kedzie papers (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-1-8.html).





Written by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist

Scrapbook History: Leon L. Budd

21 01 2015

The Michigan State University Archives hold materials that are decades and even hundreds of years old. Recently, pulled from the shelf was a scrapbook from a student that graduated from this university in 1915, exactly one hundred years ago.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Leon L. Budd’s memory book has specific pages for events to record throughout his college career. He records the scores of various sporting games and writes “Yell – Rah! Rah! Rah! Uzz! Uzz! Uzz! M-A-C!”. There is even a section for interactions with professors, where Budd notes that one of the most valuable lessons he learned was to “study chemistry”.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

The next section lists his dear friends, along with their happiest memories at Michigan Agricultural College. “It’s never late till 12 pm and it’s early after that” wrote John S. Hancock of Hart, Michigan. Budd’s friends proved to have some fun with the advice “If you can’t be good be careful”. A couple students bonded over their hall placement with the saying “To Hell with Wells and Abbot its Williams Hall for us” and the rivalry continued “To H—L with Williams – Wells is The Gentlemen’s Dorm”.
The happy thoughts did not disappoint, below are a few favorites:
“Of what shall man be proud of if he is not proud of his friends”
“MAC did it”
“RAH! RAH! For M.S.C.”
“Eat, drink, and be merry”
And of courses they remind us that Michigan’s cold hit this generation as well; “It’s so cold in here that the thermometer is froze”

The chants and songs during the football games shows just how much tension there was (and continues to be) between State and Michigan. Here are just a few of the “College Yells”:

We’ll rub it into Michigan, Michigan, Michigan;
Rub it into Michigan, M.A.C. can.
On to old Michigan.
Rub it into Michigan, M.A.C. can.

Hi-le, hi-lo, hilo,
Michigan’ chances grow slimmer and slimmer
Hi-le, hi-lo, hilo
Michigan’s chances must go.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

School dances were also recorded, with marks next to the name of the dances done at a party. Budd attended quite a few dance parties during his time at Michigan State.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Mr. Budd also has some memorabilia from days as an engineering student. One poster depicts a skeleton at a desk with an open book to “MAC valves”. The bottom of the poster reads “=Ye=Faithful=Engineer=”.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

The following pages are filled with pictures from Leon Budd’s time at MSC. They include the “Fresh-Soph Rush. 1912. ’16 vs ‘15”, places on campus, his friends, his love interest, and himself. Following those are pages of classic scrapbook findings, the football program, class schedules, and newspaper clippings from the games.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

We really get a glimpse into life at Michigan State during Leon Budd’s time here. The buildings have changed, the style is different, and the course options have diversified, but the smiles and comradely seen between Budd and his classmates seem to be an everlasting effect of time at Michigan State.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 – UA 10.3.124

Written by Laura Williams

Pioneers of International Education: Onn Mann Liang

26 03 2013

Onn Mann Liang can be seen here in 1926, in his graduation cap and gown.

International students have been studying at Michigan State University for over 140 years, which the Archives’ new exhibit – International Students at Michigan State – outlines over here.  Recently, the scrapbooks and work documentation of one such student, Onn Mann Liang, have been uploaded to our On the Banks of the Red Cedar website almost in their entirety.  These donated materials provide the story of Liang’s life, mainly in pictures and a few brief correspondences, from late high school until the year before his death in 1957.


Being an Engineering major, Liang seemed to have a fascination with bridges. This image is one of many he took of various bridges while in the US, and it shows him on campus standing on a small wooden structure.

Liang was one of a

group of twenty international students who studied at MSU in the 1920s, and he can even be seen in the first photo of the International Students exhibit with the International Studies group known as the Cosmopolitan Club (back row, third from the right).   His scrapbooks from the time he spent at MSU reveal how immersed he was in the campus lifestyle.  His photographs include images of himself and others canoeing and walking alongside the Red Cedar River or alternatively around the major sights of campus, such as Beaumont Tower or the Greenhouses; the pictures also reflect his interest in bridge engineering – multiple artistic shots of various bridges around MSU have been included.  These campus pictures are


Liang was a prolific photographer, especially of MSU’s campus. This particular image appears to be on a bank of the Red Cedar River.

inter-mixed with oddly familiar and nostalgic college scenes of Liang looking perturbed at large drafting desks, reclining on lawn chairs, exploring nearby cities like Ann Arbor, and

finally posing in his long-awaited cap and gown.  While he was still attending school, Liang was known for the quality of his photographs (even winning a few awards), and his shots were good enough to open a photography studio in Lansing.


Liang took this picture while in Chicago in 1928. The La Salle Street bridge is foremost in this image, but another two can be seen in the background.

After completing his undergraduate studies in 1926, Liang spent the next six years in the US travelling to various cities while also working for the Michigan State Highway Department.  Scrapbook images of Chicago show such famous buildings as the Tribune Tower as well as the La Salle Street Bridge – which was built and completed throughout the year of 1928, and, as a bridge enthusiast, could very well have been the reason for Liang’s visit to the city.   Within the next two years his travels also brought him to Buffalo, before he came back to Michigan and began working full time with the Highway Department.  Some of Liang’s final photographs include him among coworkers at the Department, prior to his return to China in 1932.


This image shows Onn Mann Liang and his wife on their wedding day in 1936.

Wedding photographs from 1936 and registration documents as a Civil Engineer show Liang’s quick integration back into Chinese life.  Employment papers from the same period reveal Liang’s work as a primary engineer of dyke and bridge plans throughout his native country, which, just as with his time spent at the Michigan State Highway Department, was a direct application of the education he received from MSU.  After processing the Liang scrapbooks, it becomes apparent that he carried that education with him, even up to the last years of his life.  The final image of the Liang scrapbook shows him on a return trip to San Francisco alongside his wife and son – with the Golden Gate Bridge receding behind.

Built For Students, By Students: History of the MSU Union

9 05 2011

The end of finals breathed back life onto MSU’s campus. Last week seniors were walking around in their caps and gowns, lawns were filled with celebrating students, cars bustled through streets attempting to find a parking spot, moms and dads were helping with move out, and Grand River once again had people walking its sidewalks. The earlier part of last week however was polar opposite. Few students were in sight as we crammed and studied for the ever so dreaded finals week. Most of campus was barren, however there were two buildings that were full of commotion. The MSU Union and Library seemed to be the go-to spots for studying. As I walked into the Union to grab a cup of coffee (one of many may I add), I remembered looking at many photos here in the Archives of the building in its earlier days. When I came in and was ready to research for a blog entry, my decision on what to write about was quite simple…

The creation of Union buildings on campuses around the US was an up-and-coming trend at the turn of the century. The Michigan Agricultural College wanted a Union of their own and began a committee to be in charge of overseeing the project in 1905. Funds however were scarce so only the architectural drawings and alumni support occurred at this time. It was not until 1915 when the idea of building a MAC Union was revived. The graduating class pledged $5 from each student and with the help of the Alumni Association began the plans to construct an MAC Union. The original plan was to convert College Hall into a union building. This plan was approved and as the interior of College Hall was being revamped in August of 191, the building collapsed.

The Committee yet again began raising funds to create a brand new building to act as a union but also to serve as a memorial to the soldiers who fought in World War I. The projected budget for the project was about $500,000. Pond & Pond Architects, who also planned the unions of University of Michigan and Purdue, were hired to design the new building.  The Groundbreaking ceremony took place on November 19, 1923 and was followed by what was called “Excavation Week”.

“Excavation Week” for the MAC Union was one that will forever be remembered as it was the first of its kind in the nation. Lasting five days from November 19-24, the media covered the event. Movies were taken primarily so the students can see what they looked like and the event yielded great progress.  Male students were divided up into a total of 30 teams. The names of the students were listed in The Holcad newspaper and students were instructed to look there for the day and time of their shifts. Each shift would have a leader; the leaders included: W.C. Johnson, Don Clark, Matrice Taylor, A.C. MacIntyre, Harold Archibold, Elmer Perrine, Bub Kuhn, Ted Frank, J.L. Kidman, and Dutch Allen. The morning shift would work from 8am-12am and then break for lunch. The afternoon shift came in at 1pm and worked until 5pm. Students were required to work four hours before they were excused for the day. Excavation week was very labor intensive but also had its fun activities as well. There were daily appearances by the Swartz Creek and Varsity bands, the girls would bring out refreshments, and the campus faculty would also engage in the digging activities. Competitions were also set up. Each day there were two teams and the team who accomplished the most work at the end of the day would win a prize. There was also a thermometer gauge kept on the site to keep track of the overall progress.

As a result of a lot of hard work and sweat, the MAC Memorial Union building was opened on June 12, 1925. At the time of its opening the Union was quite different than it is today. The main entrance was off of faculty row (currently West Circle Drive), there were 11 dining rooms (some were available to both men and women, and some available only to men), 10 conference rooms, a 2-story assembly hall, separate lounging rooms for men and women, a barber shop, a beauty parlor, a Billiards room (for men only, of course), and a total of 16 guest rooms each with its own bathroom.  The building was the center of life on campus. Constantly full, men and women would mingle, people would enjoy a nice lunch, and guests were able to stay overnight so they could experience college life with their friends. Over the years, the Union has undergone many changes and renovations to be what it is today.

Since its opening nearly 86 years ago, the MSU Union has seen a lot of events, traditions, and changes. Here are a few interesting facts that you might not have known about the Union:

  • Leonard Jungwirth, the same artist who sculpted Sparty, sculpted the artistry around the fireplaces at the first floor lounge
  • Samuel Cashwan, the same artist who sculpted the agricultural sign at the Abbot and Grand River intersection, sculptured the outside decoration above each of the doors at the Union.
  • On May 15, 1952, General Douglas MacArthur and his wife were in attendance at a banquet being held at the Union in which he was an honorary guest. For privacy purposes, the General and his family took a service elevator. The elevator ended up getting stuck and the MacArthurs were trapped inside for nearly 25 min. Upon exiting the general was absolutely furious…this event however didn’t deter him from coming back to our campus, for in 1961 he returned to deliver the commencement address (although I’m willing to bet that he did not step foot in the Union elevators!)
  • Do you know of those tables in the Union Grill area that have all of the etchings in them? – Do you know where they came from or whose names they are? In the 1950s-’60s, there was a “Senior Room” located by the Union Grill. This was a dining room designated specifically for seniors. These wooden top tables were located in this eatery and when the seniors graduated, they would etch their names into the tables.
  • Card playing has always been a favorite pastime of students. In the late ’50s, the administration believed that the frequent card playing going on in the Union Grill was a bad reflection of campus. They believed that students were supposed to be pursuing intellectual past times instead of playing cards all day. So in 1960, card playing was officially banned from the Grill. Instead of playing here, card rooms were opened on the 4th and ground floors for students to play the decks.
  • At one point in time, the Union had pinball machines! In 1971 the Union management agreed to install Pinball Machines in the Billiard Room. However, these were taken out when the room underwent renovations.
  • Often times when students are hungry and looking to grab a quick bite, they will head over to the Union Grill to grab some grub. Did you know that in the early 1930s hamburgers were only 30¢! In a 1968 publication, students were complaining that price skyrocketed to 40¢! Oh what I would give to only pay thirty or forty cents for a burger.

So, after reading this, I encourage you to go explore the Union and think about what it was like almost 50 years ago. I know I would give anything to go back in time and have an ice cold Coke at the Union Grill!

**For more pictures visit the MSU Archives & Historical Collections Flickr Page — MSU Union pictures!**