WW I Casualty Laid to Rest in 1921

(01/10/2002)

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 5/26/1921.

Victor Hamilton Rests
Impressive Funeral Services for Grantsville Hero
(By Edwin M. Hamilton)

Victor Hamilton, whose funeral was held here Friday afternoon, was a son of the late John M. and Mrs. Minnie Hamilton.  He was born April 18th, 1896, and was killed in France on July 22, 1918, at the age of twenty-two years.

On April 30, 1917, twenty-for days after America's entering the then called European War, he enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army, and was assigned to the 28th Infantry Regiment of the First Divison.  On June 8, 1917, he sailed, with the first contingent of American soldiers, to France, prior to which he had been made a corporal in a machine gun company.  In October of that year his division moved into the Toul sector, being the first American unit to occupy a front line position.  In the following May (1918) his outfit moved north where the Spring drives were beginning to rage.

On May 29th the world was thrilled with the news of America's first real engagement, when the 28th Infantry supported by the machine gun company of which Victor was a member, marched into Cantigny.  The American troops withstood the more serious counter-attack, and from then the First Division took its place by the side of the seasoned veterans of France and England.  The movements of this division as well as of the others which had come from America, were swift, until on July 18 it held a sector from Soissons slmost to Chateau-Thierry.

Four days later, on July 22, the battle was reaching the climax, and Germany had begun to sicken with the thought that perhaps, after all, a nation three thousand miles away could halt their dreams of empire.  A new feeling of security came to those who had fought against imperial domination, and the hope that civilization was not to be smothered was quickened.

On July 22, therefore, there was a complete reversal of the military situation.  Death could not have fittingly ended Victor Hamilton's life until that condition had been brought about.  In his usual vocations he would not have left the field of action while the cause for which he fought was going backward.  But, on the 22nd, when the armies of righteousness were on the long but certain march to victory, a machine gun bullet found its way to his heart.  In the middle of a command to his squad while moving to an advanced position, the soul sped from it tenement of clay.

The task for which Victor Hamilton died was not completed that day.  It was not completed on November 11th, when the armistice was signed, nor is it yet finished.  The cause is old, but it will never be a complete realization so long as men place a higher value on material things than on eternal principles.  Those who live merely in a jealous bickering sphere, more anxious to destroy than better a fellow man's condition, are not in touch with the things for which Victor died.  He surrendered every obligation the world might have owed him.  He tossed to the winds his ambition to a place in a profession.  He gave his life and all that life held for him, that the things which make life worth while might remain for his friends.  "Laid down his life for his friends."

Those of us who remember the personal side of his life recall his unfeigned goodness, his splendid humor and practical philosophy.  Hours could be spent with him and he would discuss any subject from Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to the Zodiac.  We are told by James Bryce that the four virtues by which men rise to unusual success are intellect, energy, courage and independence.  Victor possessed these to a marked degree.

Those who knew him are aware of the continuous effort he made to develop his intellect.  He believed, with Emerson, that the world, after all, existed for education, and he got more satisfaction from learning a thing than later from knowing it.

He was energetic in every task he undertook.  He supplemented the question "What?" with the query "Why?".  In work he was more mindful of his responsibility than of the emolument.  Play was to him work in another from.

Courage was not to him a synonym of "boldness".  Physical bravery was a superfluity if not necessitated by a moral cause, and did he ever find that he had committed an error, he deemed it more an act of courage to retrace his step than to defiantly cling to his wrong.

He possessed the true independence which dies not dare.  He did not consider it more necessary to be independent of the opinions of others than to be independent of his own prejudices.  Independence to him meant freedom to accept or reject; a duty at all times, as well as a right.

In a very great sense Victor is not dead.  It is true that his smile is gone and his voice is stilled, but the principles for which he so usefully lived and so nobly died are still among us, the things which he personified.

The funeral was conducted at the M.E. Church, South, on Friday afternoon by Rev. J. Smith Dye, pastor of the local Baptist Church, who drew from the life and death of the young man a most impressive lesson.  A brief, but (illegible) eulogy was spoken by Hon. Albert G. Mathews, superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School, and teacher of the class of which Victor was a faithful and consistent member.  His remains were then borne by his late comrades, members of the American Legion, to Bethlehem cemetery and deposited by those of his father and two brothers.

The military escort, under direction of Lt. Ray Wilson, and composed of friends of the deceased, was very impressive, orders being executed perfectly.  The church was beautifully draped with bunting and flags by the ladies of the church, and, with the lovely floral offerings of the American Legion and the people of the town, presented a most beautiful spectacle.

Victor Himilton is survived by his mother, Mrs. John M. Hamilton, and by eight brothers and three sisters, all of whom except Mrs. Brook Fetty, of Washington, D.C., were home for the funeral.


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