Libertyville’s World War I Veterans

As we enter 2018, we look back one hundred years to the last year of World War I. We explored Libertyville during WWI in a previous post. Now, over the course of the next several months, we will profile some of the men with Libertyville connections who served during the Great War.

Courtesy of Jane Brown Ahrens


Ernest H. Brown
(1889-1965), a second-generation Libertyville resident was working for Schanck Hardware assembling farm machinery when he registered for the WWI draft in June 1917. He was inducted September 19, 1917. He was part of battles at Meuse-Argonne, St. Michel, Aisne-Marne, and Noyon-Montdidier.  After finishing his service in Germany, he was honorably discharged September 27, 1919  as a Corporal in Company G, 18th Infantry. Upon returning home, he was worked as a plumber. He married Anna Swanson in 1920 and had three children, Paul, Carolyn Ann, and Carol Jane. He was a charter member of American Legion Post 329.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guy L. Grinnell (1895-1991), a Kankakee, IL native, served in France during the war. He married Myrtle McElroy in 1924 and moved to Libertyville in 1925, settling at 144 E. Church St. They had one son, Robert. Mr. Grinnell held posts as Fire Chief, Libertyville Township Supervisor, and was a Lake County Board member from 1956 to 1969.  He was a carpenter and painter by trade. Mr. Grinnell was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Libertyville Masonic Lodge #492, and American Legion Post 329 before moving to Texas in 1986.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On display in the Ansel B. Cook House. AM-2483.

Oscar Firnbach (1896-1954)  was 21 when he registered for the WWI draft in June 1917 in Arlington Heights. He enlisted May 27, 1918 and headed for Europe on the ship Duca Degli Abruzzi out of Hoboken, NJ on October 14, 1918 with the rest of Battery D, 117th Field Artillery, 31st Division.  He would serve in the U.S. Army until January 17, 1919. He resumed work as a carpenter after discharge. Magdalen Dietz became his wife about 1921 and by 1924 they were living in Libertyville.  The couple did not have any children. They moved to Waukegan for a time, but were back in Libertyville by 1959. Firnbach was  a member of Libertyville American Legion Post 329 and several Catholic service organizations including the Holy Name Society of St. Joseph’s Church. His uniform is on display in the Ansel B. Cook House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Mimi Anderson.

Byron Prosser (1895-1969) was born in Port Washington, OH and came to Libertyville at a young age. He lived with his cousins, the Appleys, on the family homestead at 830 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Before and immediately after the war, Prosser worked as a press feeder/printer for the Lake County/Libertyville Independent. He was almost 22 years old when he enlisted October 9, 1917. Known all his life as an accomplished musician, Prosser served as a Musician 3rd Class in the 333rd Field Artillery Regiment of the 86th division. He was discharged January 19, 1919. At his passing, he was retired from a printing job at the Keystone Printing Service of Libertyville. Mr. Prosser was a charter member of Libertyville American Legion Post 329.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society is compiling a list of those who served in WWI and has identified over 100 men so far.  If you know of  someone from Libertyville who enlisted or
someone who served and then settled in Libertyville, please contact the Society. They are interested in photos, stories, and memories of these brave and patriotic men. Please call Jenny Barry at 847-362-2330 x1132 or send an email to info@lmhistory.org.

Sources:

  1. Ernest Brown. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Publication Number:M1509, Record Group:163, Year Range:1917-1918, NARA. Accessed via Fold3, December 15, 2017.
  2. “Mr. Brown.” Independent Register, May 20, 1965, p.2.
  3. Ernest H. Brown. Enlistment Record. Courtesy of Jane Brown Ahrens. Copy on file in Local History File – World War I, Cook Memorial Public Library.
  4. Ernest H. Brown. Honorable Discharge from the United States Army. Courtesy of Jane Brown Ahrens. Copy on file in Local History File – World War I, Cook Memorial Public Library.
  5. Ernest H. Brown. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  6. 1920, 1930 & 1940 U.S. Federal Census entries for Ernest H. Brown. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  7. 1920, 1930 & 1940 U.S. Federal Census entries for Guy L. Grinnell. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  8. “Grinnell.” Waukegan News-Sun, December 19, 1991, p.4D.
  9. Guy Looker Grinnell. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Publication Number: M1509, Record Group:163, NARA. Accessed via Fold3, December 15, 2017.
  10. Guy Looker Grinnell. Illinois, County Marriages, 1800-1940. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 20, 2017.
  11. Libertyville telephone books online, http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/search/collection/cookmemo11/searchterm/telephone%20directory/field/all/mode/all/conn/and/order/title/ad/asc. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  12. “Mr. Firnbach.” Independent Register, August 7, 1969, p 8.
  13. Oscar Nicholas Firnbach in the U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/27550399. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  14. NARA. Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938; Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938, Record Group:92, Year Range:1910-1939, Ship: Duca Degli Abruzzi, List Type:Outgoing. Accessed via Fold3, December 15, 2017.
  15. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 for Oscar Nicholas Firnbach. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  16. 1930 & 1940 U.S Federal Census entries for Oscar N. Firnbach. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  17. Oscar Firnbach (1896). Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File. Accessed via Fold3, December 15, 2017.
  18. Oscar Nick Firnbach. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Publication Number: M1509, Record Group:163, NARA. Accessed via Fold3, December 15, 2017.
  19. Byron Richard Prosser. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Publication Number: M1509, Record Group:163, NARA. Accessed via Fold3, December 15, 2017.
  20. 1920, 1930, & 1940 U.S. Federal Census entries for Byron R. Prosser. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.
  21. “Byron R. Prosser Rites Set for Friday.” Independent Register, September 9, 1954, p.8.
  22. Byron R Prosser in the U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963. Ancestry.com. Accessed December 29, 2017.

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