Benjamin Bartlett Baldwin
Benjamin Baldwin was born on March 24, 1889 in Mendon, Adams County, Illinois to Mr. and Mrs. George H. Baldwin. After graduating from Mendon High School he started at Knox in the fall of 1907. He was part of the Class of 1911, but he left after his junior year to attend the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri. After graduating from the ASO, he practiced medicine in Jefferson City, Missouri. In May of 1917 Baldwin left his medical practice and enlisted in the American Expeditionary Force. He trained at Fort Riley, Kansas. After completing his training there he was commissioned to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in Company D of the 355th Regiment of the A.E.F. He was then granted a brief week-long holiday leave to spend time with his family and his fiancée, Alta Elizabeth Frisbie.
Alta Frisbie also grew up in Mendon and attended Knox College, but she left after three years to go to Rockford Women’s College, where she graduated with a B.A. She taught at Loraine High School and soon after married Benjamin Baldwin on December 26, 1917. Their marriage announcement in the Quincy Illinois Herald gave a brief description of the ceremony: “It was a military wedding, as befitted the nuptials of a soldier, and Lieut. Baldwin wore his uniform of olive drab, while Christmas decorations of red and green, with holly, cedar, and red carnations, blended with the red, white and blue of the flag, which was draped in the parlor where the ceremony was performed.”
Just one day later, Baldwin’s furlough ended and he was assigned to duty at Camp Funston, Kansas. On June 2, 1918 his regiment sailed to France. Tragically, during the Battle of Argonne Forest, he was shot while leading his men over the top (meaning that his unit climbed out of the trenches they were stationed in to assault the enemy head-on). Baldwin stayed in field and base hospitals for 45 days afterward and wrote letters home to his family and friends, and to his wife, who had recently had a baby girl. However, due to his wounds and bronchopneumonia, he died on Dec. 19, 1918.