This past April, the United States has been remembering the one-hundredth anniversary of our involvement in World War I. While working in the archives, Paxton Presbyterian found a map and key to twenty-five trees planted in memory or honor of twenty-five members of Paxton who took part in “the war to end all wars.” Next time you come to Paxton, check out the left display case in the new entrance area. You will find a flag with 29 stars – four gold and twenty-five blue.
The four gold stars represent four of our members who died during the war: Mary Holmes (an Army nurse), Lt. James Galt Elder, Sgt. Daniel Attick, and Sgt. Fred K. Kent. Lt. Elder died in France on July 31, 1918 (about eleven weeks before the end of the war) and is buried in our churchyard.
The twenty-five blue stars represent our members who served and survived. They were: Lt. Raymond Holmes, Yowoman Hazel Kent, Pvt. Robert H. Rutherford, Capt. Jackson Boyd, Lt. Col. McPherson Rutherford, Pvt. Raymond Thompson, Herbert Wyers, Lt. Earl Kunkle, Earl Daugherty (married Catherine Martin in Paxton in 1922), Nelson Barber (also in our churchyard), Pvt. Edward Elder, Chester Wester, Lt. James Boyd, C. Max Woshle, Pvt. William Auen, Pvt. Leroy Landis, Pvt. Luther Lupp, Pvt. Robert Reed (married Mildred Sheesley in Paxton in 1926), Pvt. Spencer Grundon, “Cloveu,” and Archer Owen. Not all ranks and name information are available at this time.
Also in the case is a small Testament that was presented to and carried by Lt. James Galt Elder. Born in 1895, James was a descendant of Rev. John Elder, “the Fighting Parson.” He graduated from Mercersburg Academy and Princeton University and when America entered World War One, he entered the service. He died in France on July 31, 1918 – three and a half months before the end of hostilities. He is buried in Paxton’s Churchyard.
When you go past the case, please look for this flag and think of the sacrifice made not only by the members represented by the stars but also their families. They deserve to have their memories remembered and honored.
Paxton Church – Spreading the Word for NEARLY 300 years.