Harvey Rogers’ Story

Armistice Day was established to honor the day peace finally arrived – Nov. 11, 1918, ending World War I. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent. It brought an end to four years of war which crippled Europe and left 17 million dead. This is the story of how WWI touched our little family.

My grandmother, Edith Kehl Edwards, told me about her cousin Harvey as we looked at the photo of his family. She was very old at that time – many years had passed – as we sat on her sofa with the box of old photos, probably 45 years ago. I remember the look in her eyes as she put herself back in that long ago time and those long ago emotions.

Harvey Earl Rogers was born in 1889 to a Morgan County, Illinois farm family, and 1 of 10 children of George Washington and Nancy Caroline (Fanning) Rogers. Grandma’s mother and Harvey’s father were sister and brother, and Edith and Harvey grew up together. He was eight years older and she adored him.

You can see from the Rogers’ family photo that they were of quite modest means. The father is wearing rough work clothes, and he does not sport a watch and chain. The mother wears no jewelry to adorn her simple dress. There were many mouths to feed. Grandma said they always struggled to get by because George was adverse to hard work. He preferred to take the occasional auctioneer job and play his fiddle at dances, rather than farm.

Harvey went to Montana to farm as a young man and that’s where he was drafted into the army, serving in Company L of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. They landed in France in June of 1917 and became the first U.S. regiment to fight and suffer casualties in the trenches during WWI.

In September, while going through my late mother’s keepsakes, to my great surprise and amazement I found a letter from Harvey to his “little cousin” Edith dated Aug. 30, 1918. This letter had been carefully saved and passed down and I was reading it for the first time almost 100 years to the day after it was written! Edith was 21 when she received it, and soon to be a bride. In his letter Harvey explained his job as an automatic gunner. As a farmer writing to a farm girl, he told her the different way the French farmed and the crops they raised. He joked with her and teased her about still being single. He was in good spirits, assuring her that he was in less danger now, no longer at the Front. However, he was shortly to return to the Front, per the 16th Infantry Regiment Association – “Arguably the regiment’s most gallant action was the grueling drive that liberated the little village of Fléville in the Argonne Forest region on 4 October 1918.”

Armistice arrived just a few weeks after Harvey wrote his letter home. His family celebrated with great relief that their prayers had been answered – he survived the war. His regiment would be home in a few months, after helping the French recover from the devastation. Then, the letter from the hospital chaplain was received by his parents, relating the terrible news that Harvey contracted an illness – probably Spanish Flu – and died in the army hospital on Feb. 15, 1919. He did not come home. He lies at rest on the French countryside with his countless comrades in the beautiful Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial.

Thanks to Grandma’s love of her cousin and her sharp memory, we know his story. And now, thanks to the letter she saved, we catch a glimpse of Harvey’s personality and the affection he felt for his family back home. Rest in Peace, Harvey Rogers. Rest in Peace.


Click to hear
the moment the guns ceased


For more photos, follow this link to the original post:
Harvey Rogers’ Story and Photo Gallery

Sacrifices Forgotten, Now Remembered

Paul Echols has made it his mission to identify police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in years gone by in Southern Illinois. His purpose is to ensure that their sacrifices are not lost to memory. He gathers information about the circumstances of their deaths and submits their stories for inclusion in state and national memorials. I have the privilege of taking the names of these officers and tracing their descendants, in hopes of finding living family members who might wish to know that their parent, grandparent or ancestor is being honored and remembered. Some then attend the memorial ceremonies, which are quite impressive.

These photos are of Constable Earl Dixon with his children and of the Police Memorial Ceremony in Springfield, Illinois in 2014 honoring Dixon and other officers who lost their lives. Constable Dixon lived in Mounds, Illinois and was killed in the line of duty in 1935, leaving a widow and five young children. I was able to find Mr. Dixon’s only surviving child, age 87. What a joy it was to speak with him and explain that his father’s sacrifice was remembered and he would be honored at the state and national level.

I am a retired police officer and now full-time criminal justice instructor. I have known Juli for many years and have always admired her support of crime victim rights. When I started researching historic cases of police officers killed in the line of duty (for nomination to the state and national memorials), I ran into the problem of trying to find the families of these fallen heroes. I reached out to Juli for her help. She immediately agreed to volunteer her time and expertise. Some of these officers were killed over 100 years ago, so it seemed like an impossible task. Amazingly, she was able to find relatives in most of these cases. The families are elated that their loved ones lost so long ago can now be honored and recognized for their sacrifice. Thanks Juli, on behalf of all these police families!  (Paul Echols, 2015)

He lost his life in the line of duty in 1935 at Mounds, Illinois.

Constable Earl Dixon lost his life in the line of duty in 1935 at Mounds, Illinois.


Photo by Paul Echols, 2014

Police Memorial Ceremony, Springfield, Illinois

Testimonials: Sheryl Shetley, Landman

We appreciate all you guys do & we can sleep at night knowing if  “Search & Genealogy Services” can’t find them, they can’t be found & we can pass them on as petition recommended without reservations as to whether we’ve done all that can be done. Thank you all for that & the great service we get from you.

AND… Thank you for reporting to us on urgent matters as quick as you do & giving us the heads-up on out of the ordinary situations & details.

When people do a great job, I like to tell them so…..

Keep up the great work…….

Sheryl Shetley, Contract Landman
Texhoma Land Svc., Inc. representing
Antero Resources Appalachian Corp.

Testimonials: Steve Hopkins, Land Manager, Earlsboro Energies Corporation, Oklahoma City

“Juli has found mineral owners or their heirs who have been missing since the 1930’s. Her service allows me to focus on what I’m best at, while she finds missing owners and provides me with all of the back-up documentation for clear title. I’m more effective in a competitive lease environment and it makes the pooling process go much smoother when I can testify that I’ve done absolutely everything I can to find someone! She found a land owner for me in one month after a private investigator searched for 2 years and failed. Not only did she find the owner, she identified all 42 of the owner’s surviving heirs!”

– Steve Hopkins, Land Manager, Earlsboro Energies Corporation, Oklahoma City