Introduction to Famous First Fourteen
The information for this section was taken from the July 4, 1919 issue of the Semi-Weekly New Era newspaper in Hallettsville, Texas. The photograph of the Famous First Fourteen was taken
by H.J. Braunig on the steps of the Lavaca County Courthouse on September 4, 1917.
Mr. Jimmy Garner of Hallettsville, Texas provided a copy of the actual photograph to be used on the website.
Probably no group of men ever conjugated in this county ever caused as much comment and excitement as did the first fourteen selective service men who were called to the colors on September 4, 1917.
You remember how we marched with them to the train and wished them God’s speed as the train bore them away to what fate, we knew not. You remember how mixed our thoughts were; how hope and fear chased each other back and forth across our anguished souls; and who we wondered if ever we should see these boys again following the peaceful pursuits of life, back safely from the hell of strife and bloodshed; and how we prayed for the best and prepared for the worse.
Front row, left to right: Tesch, McKay, Rathke, Garner, Purdum, Squyes
Middle row, left to right: Schmidt, Pavlu, Zappe, Poth, Ely
Back row, left to right: Morrow, Rogge, Strauss
During World War I many war-training camps were established in the United States including Camp Gordon. Camp Gordon was named for John Brown Gordon, who was a major general in the Confederate army, a Georgia governor, a U.S. Senator and a business man. The camp was located in Chamblee, northeast of Atlanta, Georgia and was one of the state’s largest army cantonments. The camp opened in July of 1917 and is still under operation today as Fort Gordon.
Soon after being drafted, two of the Famous First Fourteen, Joseph Strauss and Henry Zappe, were transferred to Camp Gordon.
Postcard courtesy of Don Minear