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World War 1 Focus of Oswego Museum Program

Mar 27, 2017 01:02PM ● Published by Steven Jack

A century ago this spring, on April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, beginning the nation’s participation in what its belligerents called “The Great War.”

To mark this year’s anniversary, Oswegoland Heritage Association Board member, genealogist and librarian Tina Beaird will present “Northern Illinois in the Great War,” at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, at the Little White School Museum, 72 Polk Street (Jackson at Polk), just two blocks from Oswego’s historic downtown business district.

Thousands of Illinois residents served during the war including many from Kendall County and the rest of the Fox River Valley, including men who both volunteered for service and who were drafted, as well as women who volunteered.

Area residents’ lives profiled by Beaird during the presentation will include Oswego Township farmer Harvey L. Eichelberger, Will County native Mary “Mae” Morrissey, Plainfield native Angus McDonald, influenza victim Private Vernie Foutz, and Wheatland Township native John W. Swackhammer,

Unfortunately, most military records for those serving in the Army during war were lost in a devastating 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Some 80 percent of the records on personnel discharged from Nov. 1, 1912 to Jan. 1, 1960 were destroyed. Baird will offer tips on how to use alternate techniques to research ancestors who served during that period. The presentation will especially highlight those who served from Kendall, Kane, and Will counties as well as the women who volunteered with the Red Cross, the military services’ women’s auxiliaries, and the YMCA.

Admission at the door is $5. Proceeds benefit the museum.

Regular museum hours are 
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call the museum at 630-554-2999, send an email to, or check the museum web site,
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