[Note of explanation on a photo that appeared with this article: Photo of of a World War I soldier "Frank Echterling (1895-1964). He was born on a Brunswick farm, the son of Julius Echterling, who built the famous round house and barns. He was a brother of former Lowell area residents John and Raymond Echterling and Cordula Schutz. He later moved to Hessville, where he was a building contractor."]
Many pioneers were in the service of their country during the wars of the 19th century, and many of their descendents also served in this century. Memorial Day is a time set aside to honor their service and their sacrifice.
Some of them gave their lives during "the war to end all wars," World War I. Three thousand three hundred and fifty-four sons and fifteen daughters from Indiana made the supreme sacrifice between 1916 and 1918. The stoty of their heroism and the devotion to duty which led them to die in the armed forces comprises one of the most sacred chapters in the history of the state.
William N. Stenerson, fireman, 3rd class, was the first soldier to die during World War I from the Three Creeks area. He was the son of James N. and Celina Stenerson and was born July 2, 1897, in Chicago, Ill.
His family moved to the Lowell area in 1903, where William was a farmer at the time of his enlistment in the Navy on Dec. 3, 1917, at Indianapolis. He was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Station north of Chicago, and then was transferred to New London, Conn., where he lost his life by drowning on July 19, 1918, at the Submarine Base. His sister, Julia Miller, lives east of Lowell.
Percy Howard Surprise, US Army private, was the son of Ernest and Lola Surprise and was grandson of Peter Surprise, Lake County pioneer of 1833. Percy, who was born in 1896, attended the Eagle Creek one-room schoolhouse and helped his parents on the farm until his enlistment in the Army on July 1, 1918, at Crown Point.
He was sent to Camp Taylor, Ky., and assigned to Battery B, 36th Filed Artillery. He passed away during a serious influenza epidemic on Oct. 9, 1918, and was buried in Lowell.
Milo A. Thomas, corporal in the US Army, the son of Emery M. and Esther Thomas, was born July 17, 1886, at Hamlet in Starke County and moved with his family to Lake County in 1888. He was working as a carpenter at the time of his enlistment on June 27, 1918, at Crown Point.
He was sent to Camp Sherman, Ohio, where he was assigned to the 19th Company, 5th Training Battalion, 158th Depot Brigade. He embarked for overseas Sept. 9, 1918, with Company M 336th Infantry 84th Div.
He died of pneumonia about a month later on Oct. 10, 1918, at Base Hospital No. 3. He is buried in American Cemetery, Menezterel, Montigmac, Dordogne, France. He had three brothers, Aldus, John and Don, and two sisters, Clara and Mary.
As a corporal he was in charge of a squad of automatic rifles, and according to his captain, he was a dependable leader who kept his men cheerful and happy.
William D. Peterson, private in the US Army, the son of George F. and Mary A. Peterson, was born Aug. 22, 1890, at Lowell. He worked as a plumber when he entered the service on Mar. 9, 1918, at Crown Point.
He was assigned to the 160th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Tx. He was then transferred to Parkfield, Tenn., where he, too, died of influenza on Oct. 14, 1918, at the Base Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.
Floyd A. Lambert, private in the US Army, was the son of Henry and Susan Berwanger Lambert, born on Aug. 8, 1895, at Hammond. His family moved to Lowell, where he lived on Castle St. for many years.
Sometime before his enlistment in the Army, he was working as a clerk at the Lowell Post Office. Three times he signed up for the service, but was rejected due to poor eyesight. He insisted that there had to be a job for him somewhere, and the authorities finally agreed.
He enlisted at Crown Point on Sept. 23, 1918, and was sent to Columbus Barracks, Ohio, where he was assigned to the 25th Recruiting Company.
In less than a month he died of pneumonia (Oct. 6, 1918). His father was at his bedside. He left two brothers, Charles and Raymond, and one sister, Helma. Burial was at St. Edward Catholic Cemetery in Lowell.
The large monument of granite at the Senior Citizens Park in downtown Lowell honor those who served their county in the 19th century. There is also a memorial stone honoring the dead of World War II at the Lowell Cemetery.
The names of the honored dead of World War I have never been chiseled in granite in this area, but they will be soon on a new memorial honoring all the men and women who served their country during the wars of the present century. Since fall 1986, the Tri-Creek Hoosier Celebration '88 Committee has worked hard to plan this new monument, now being erected near Lowell Cemetery and the Lowell Fire Station. The names of World War I veterans who died in the service, as well as the names of those who lost their lives during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, will be honored on four stones, with the center stone dedicated to all men and women who served their country.
Plans for the dedication of this monument are being made for the spring of 1988. The Three Creeks area can be proud of this accomplishment, funded through the generosity of the people of all three townships.
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