By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Last week, meeting in a special session, the Carter County fiscal court authorized the judge executive to begin a project that will repair the WWI memorial doughboy statue and place him on a new base. That new base, like the old concrete one that is slowly crumbling away, will include four large brass plaques. Those plaques contain the names of every man in Carter County who lost his life in defense of American interests and the liberty of our European allies.
WWI was a new kind of war, not just for America but for everyone. A thoroughly modern war, using thoroughly modern weapons, it resulted in losses of life on a scale never experienced before as nations literally dug in and engaged in the horrors of trench warfare. Carter County was not immune to these losses, and the four plaques accompanying the doughboy bear witness to the tremendous sacrifices of local families whose proud sons put themselves in harm’s way in defense of the ideal that is America.
Flipping through the pages of Uncle Jack’s scrapbook this week, which chronicles the period near the end of the war and the beginning of the process of bringing our native sons home from the European front, we noticed an article that stuck out.
What we saw there, among calls to purchase war bonds and to save your flour for a soldier, was a list of wounded. We can only imagine being a family member of those named therein. The mix of gratitude that they escaped inclusion on another list, combined with worry about the nature of their injuries, must have kept many a mother up at night; alternately crying in joy at an answered prayer and in worry of what their son’s prospects for recovery might mean for their future.
The names listed here are by no means a complete list. They are among the last added to a list that touched every nook, cranny, ridge and holler of Carter County, and they don’t include that long list of dead that adorn the plaques underneath the doughboy statue.
If you are interested in knowing more, we encourage you to support plans to rehabilitate the doughboy memorial and read the complete list of names from the plaques that are still up along with the two that will be put back up once a new base is procured. It may be over 100 years ago at this point, but there are surnames listed here that you are bound to recognize. The names of families that shaped, and continue to shape, the core of Carter County. Names that are worth remembering.
Editor’s Note: This is the 12th in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. We thank Sally James of Sally’s Flowers in Olive Hill for sharing her uncle’s collected clippings with us and the community. – Jeremy D. Wells, editor, Carter County Times