FALLS IN ACTION IN FRANCE
North Vernon Plain Dealer & Republican, August 1, 1918
Mr. and Mrs. James Hester, of this city, have been notified of the death of their son, Matthias J. Hester, of the American
Expeditionary Forces, overseas. The official telegram was received Saturday evening and announced that he had been killed in action on July 15th.
The news of his death has cast a gloom over the entire county, especially over North Vernon, where Matt Hester was known by almost everyone and
liked by all who knew him. His death is the first to occur among the Jennings County boys of the New National Army, wnd that fact that he had been
called upon to make the supreme sacrifice, in active service, so soon after induction into the army, renders his death remarkably sad, and the sympathy
of the community is extended to his bereaved parents, sisters and brothers.
Matthias J. Hester was twenty-eight years of age. He was born in North Vernon and with the exception of about a year when he
was employed as a machinist a Racine, Wis., he spent his life here. He was educated in St. Mary's Parocial School and was a faithful member of St. Mary's
Catholic Church, being also a member of the St. Aloysius Young Men's Society of that congregation.
On Friday, April 29th, he went, with an increment of Jennings County draftees to Camp Taylor, Ky. He was placed in Company M.,
112th Regiment Infantry. He was at Camp Taylor only four weeks when, with his regiment he was sent to an embarkation camp in New York and his arrival
overseas was announced in less than two months after his induction into the army.
While in New York, he wrote his mother a most cheerful and consoling letter telling her how well he was being treated, how fine
was army life, how willing and anxious he was to go abroad to take his part in the world's great conflict, and charging her not to worry about his welfare.
His mother received another letter from him after his arrival which was the last word the family had had until the sad news of his death.
And now, though a sword of sorrow pierces their hearts, the parents find consolation in the fact that their son's death has
been a noble one, and when time has dulled the keen edge of grief, the heads that are now bent in sorrow may be lifted in proud memory of the son who
gave his life for his country and in defense of suffering humanity.
North Vernon can now add another gold star to its service flag, the first being in honor of Captain Myron Bertman, who died
overseas last September, shortly after having gone over with one of the first regiments of American troops. Perhaps we are entitled to another. If the
Sergeant Ralph Barker, whose name occurred in the casualty list, a week ago, is really the Ralph Baker from North Vernon. And while we hope and pray
daily for the safety of the boys at the front and in the camps our hearts are stirred with a great pride for we know that in the years to come, Jennings
County will have an undisputed place on the honor roll of the nation.
DETAILS RECEIVED OF MATT HESTER'S DEATH
November 17, 1918 - North Vernon Plain Dealer
Mr. and Mrs. James Hester this week received a letter from Captain G. C. VanGoethem, of Company M., 112th Infantry, of which their
son Matthias Hester was a member, answering their questions for details of his death.
Captain VanGoethem stated in his letter that Matt Hester was one of the first killed at the Battle of the Marne on July 15th and
that his death was caused by a piece of shrapnel which hit him in the forehead. He stated that he died shortly after being injured. The letter contained
special mention of Matt's courage as a soldier and his practice of his religion in army life and it was a great source of consolation to the bereaved family.
You may use this material for your own personal research, however it may not be used for commercial publications without express written consent of the contributor, INGenWeb, and