Washington Island Military Archive

Washington Island Military Archive

American Legion Post #402 - Gislason-Richter Post of Washington Island

American Legion Post #402 - Gislason-Richter Post of Washington Island

 

 

Welcome to the Washington Island Military Archives

This is a collaborative effort to remember those who served in the United States military from Washington Island, and to a small extent the few who came from Rock Island during the time when people lived and worked on that island.

washington-island-military-archives-1It should be noted that the Military Archive was assembled from a trove of material, much of it in the Island Archives, as well as from family memorabilia and genealogical material.  Attached to some of the names is also a set of interviews that I, John Gay, did with a number of members of the American Legion.  These interviews were done in league with a major archival effort currently being conducted by the Library of Congress and where copies of these interviews are stored.  They may be accessed at the Library of Congress by simple inquiry.

The Washington Island Military Archives is a result of my original effort of working with a Chicago area library on the Library of Congress initiative to record the stories of our people in service for posterity.  Members of the military, from whatever war or period of service, would be interviewed for at least a half hour to tell their story of service.  Most interviews were about an hour in length.  These interviews were then converted by a very patient transcriber into a document which was then presented to the service member for editing and correction.  The final copy was then sent in both audio and transcribed form to the Library of Congress as a repository of history.  More than 100,000 have been recorded so far, some two dozen from Washington Island.

In the midst of that undertaking it seemed that maybe an effort should also be made to record in one grouping the stories of all the Islanders who served in our military from the time of human occupation.  The pictures in the American Legion hall seemed to want to tell a story, but there was no story.   So we began to search the Island Archives.  I called the Wisconsin Military Museum in Madison hoping for help, but was told,  "No problem, there are only five who were in service."  I said, "Well there happen to be over 200 of them buried in our cemetery."  And I went to work scouring any trove of information I could find.  We are above 540 at the moment with some still unaccounted for, I am sure.  The material includes a tribe of Indians who were led to fight the British General Braddock in the French and Indian wars, and a few who are only names supplied by the original Island settlers and about whom there is no other information.  Many were from the Civil War where documents are scarce and sometimes misleading.

This archive is incomplete.  We need the input from our readers to fill out the great vacuum of facts about many of these men and women.  Please do what you can to complete the small bios presented here.  They deserve it.  They are all important, they all served.  To add to these files send or bring your material to the American legion, to the Island Archives or to the Island Library.  Additionally, you may use the contact form below to email us. These men and women of our military will appreciate it.

Thank you for your consideration.

—John Gay | November 2016

We Need Your Help

If you have any information that can be added to the archives, it would be a great honor to the military soldiers and will help make this memorial more complete.

Qualifying Precedents

  • Being born and raised on the Island, or
  • Being buried in the Island cemetery, or
  • Whose name is on the monument near Bethel Church, or
  • Who died in service but are buried in some other cemetery around the world, or
  • Who came to the Island after service and lived and died here, or
  • Who became an active member of the American Legion Post #402

STORIES FROM THE ARCHIVES

Qualifying Precedents

  • Being born and raised on the Island, or
  • Being buried in the Island cemetery, or
  • Whose name is on the monument near Bethel Church, or
  • Who died in service but are buried in some other cemetery around the world, or
  • Who came to the Island after service and lived and died here, or
  • Who became an active member of the American Legion Post #402

Collaborate With Us

The qualifying conditions are not meant to exclude other criteria, but are to keep the list to those who can claim some long term allegiance to the Island rather than just transient people who may be resident for a short time and then go to other off-Island residences.  As it is, there are well over 500 names on the list and room for more as they become available.

Thus, in order to give a fuller understanding of the individual, we have undertaken to fill out a small biography of the serviceman as an individual apart from his military service. We can see him as a useful member of the Island community. We can also connect him to the rest of the Island families, and, to an extent, how they have influenced today's residents and the development of the Island. Some families have had members involved in various wars down to the present.

We said this was a collaboration, and it is. In the upper right hand corner of each page is a small reference code. It names the various sources of information relating to each serviceman. Much of the information has been taken from the Door County Advocate (noted as DCA), The Tidings and The Observer which have been referenced and which are stored in various boxes and notebooks in the Island Archives in the town office building. References such as B10 F2 name specific files in the Island Archives. Eric Greenfeldt, Janet Berggren, Dave Raup, Steve Reiss, and Dick Purinton have been very helpful in pulling out those materials for this work. Generally birth and death dates, marriage details, etc. are derived from the database known as RootsMagic.

To those who want to use the Military Archive in hard copy form, there is a set in the Island Library, in the Island School, in the Island Archives in the Rutledge Room of the Town Building, and also in the American Legion Building on Main Road.  Rick Heinemann also has a copy which he is using for historical reference.

This archive is incomplete. We need the input from our readers to fill out the great vacuum of facts about many of these men and women. Please do what you can to complete the small bios presented here. They deserve it. They are all important, they all served. To add to these files send or bring your material to the American legion, to the Island Archives or to the Island Library. Additionally, you may use the contact form below to email us. These men and women of our military will appreciate it.

Special Thanks to Eric Greenfeldt, Janet Berggren, Dave Raup, Steve Reiss, and Dick Purinton

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