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War's End Brings Bad News for Ashland Family

The front page of the Ashland Tidings on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1918, caught up with the news that the small Oregon town had longed for.  The headline read: “The War is Over – Germany Accepts Allies Peace Terms at 12 O’clock Sunday Night.”

  
 
Gov. Withycombe had declared Monday a legal holiday in Oregon on Sunday. In San Francisco, bells tolled and it was reported that many celebratory bombs exploded in the city. In Washington the president ordered Gen. Crowder to cancel military draft calls for 252, 000 men.
 
For many families, while the news of the end of the war brought joy, the anxious wait for their loved ones to return from the war was still with them. Ashland residents Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Smith had only received one letter from their son Archie, who had been drafted that summer and sent quickly to the French front. 
 
Two weeks after the war ended, the Ashland family received a telegram informing them that their son  had died in action in the fields of France on Sept. 27, just a month after sending his one and only letter back home.

 
 
 
 
Sources: "The War is Over." Ashland Tidings 12 Nov. 1918: 1. Print; "Received Tidings that Son had fallen in Battle." Ashland Tidings 26 Nov. 1918: 1. Print.
 

Christopher Shockey has been a long-time JPR listener and contributor. He lives on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley with his wife, Kristen. He enjoys supporting both the Southern Oregon Historical Society and JPR by digging up regional stories for As It Was.