Army

"I have stood over many of our men as they drifted out into the great unknown..." -- Ray Lee Sauter, Knox College class of 1912

Ray Lee Sauter

Ray Lee Sauter

Ray Lee Sauter survived World War I and later became a prominent attorney in Sterling, Colorado. In this following letter, he recounts the death of a fellow soldier.

John M. Baker, a member of Knox's class of 1919 and a future faculty member, regaled Dr. W.E. Simonds, the college's Dean, with stories of his time and training and his feelings after the armistice was signed. Baker observed of his peers that "We are all mighty youthful, I guess for the spirit of the gun fire sets our blood tingling .... It is only when we return to camp, and see the barracks so recently occupied by the men who are now in the great work over there that we realize that it [war] isn't fine, but means death perhaps - but even suffering sounds fascinating when you are strong and well and far away." 

Lyman Thompson, an instructor in Journalism at Knox, wrote to Dr. Simonds about how anxious he was to go to France and help win the war for the Allied powers. 

Lyman Thompson

Lyman Thompson

Lieut. Hugh Rosson

Lieut. Hugh Rosson

Not all men who served in the military served overseas. High Rosson, Knox College class of 1916, wrote to Dr. Simonds at Knox of his disappointment in not being selected to go to Europe to fight. But he distinguished himself nonetheless in his duties stateside, writing in July, 1918:

"I am in charge of one of several new companies being organized and will this week receive three hundren men in the company; it is a fine chance to really do something and should I make good there will probably be a promotion in store for me."

Rosson went on to have a distinguished military career, serving in the Second World War and subsequent conflicts, including in Vietnam. He retired with the rank of General.

Charles Hanna, a Knox student and Fiji fraternity member, served in the First World War as a Colonel. He survived that war, but died while in service during World War II. 

Edwin Gerth showed his connection to Knox's campus in his letter to the Dean, writing, "Since we were called away last spring, Knox has shown every evidence that she has not forgotten her soldiers and you may be sure that they have not forgotten Knox."

Charles Nicholson, serving overseas in France, was also still invested in campus life - he spared the time in his letter to Dr. Simonds to hope that Knox had defeated its traditional rival, Monmouth, in the Thanksgiving foorball game. Nicholson also wrote about celebrating Christmas in the army: "Christmas afternoon all the French children in the vicinity of this camp were invited to a Christmas tree celebration .... I believe it did us more good to see the happiness on the faces of those children than anything we have seen since we have been in France."

Fred Lorch wrote to Dr. Simonds about a traumatic train accident he experienced while serving in France. Lorch appreciated France's "old-fashioned beauty" and commented that "One feels how much war is hell when one knows that miles and miles of just such beautiful and peaceful country has been destroyed and trampled down." 

Frank Connor wrote fondly about Knox to Dr. Simonds, saying that "I often think of you and the courses I took from you while at Knox .... Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day and I was just thinking about how much I would enjoy seeing Knox College wallop Monmouth in a good lively football game. But I guess I'll have to wait until another year for that." 

Lieutenant Colonel Charles D. Center served in France during the war, and was noted in an article published in The Knox Alumnus as one of the highest-ranking men from Knox to serve. 

"Knox Colonel in France"

"Knox Colonel in France"