The Lowell Tribune, Dec. 27, 1917, lists Will Stenerson as serving in the Navy (page 6, column 6).
From The Lowell Tribune, Oct. 24, 1918:
William Stenerson, Lowell, Navy, drowned July 19, at New London, Conn.
This article from an unknown source was found in the Local History Files at the Lowell Public Library (LH--Vital Statistics, vol. 2, page 31):
The military services for William Stenerson was held on the public square in Lowell last Thursday at 2 p.m. He was buried with full military honors. The square was filled with friends who gathered to pay their last respects to the first of the boys from this town who have given up their lives while in the service of their country.
The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. E.F. Winkler, pastor of the Christian church. He was assisted by Rev. C.A. Brown, Rev. W.J.R. Simmons, Rev. Edson Worley and Rev. Charles Scholl. Rev. Winkler preached a powerful sermon. The music was furnished by Mrs. Harry Sanger, Mrs. F.L. Weakly, Rev. Winkler and Mel Griesel, with Mrs. Raymond McCarty presiding at the piano. Mrs. John A. Taylor sang a solo.
After the services were completed on the square, the column was formed in the following order: Lowell Boys band, G.A.R., Sons of the Veterans, Boys' Drill Corps, Girls' Drill Corps, Town Council, Red Cross, Shelby band, soldiers, sailors, ministers in autoes, pall bearers, hearse, chief mourners, relatives and citizens. The long column then wended its way to the cemetery where the sailors performed their last tribute of respect to a dead comrade by firing three shots over the open grave, and the bugler then sounded "taps."
William Nichols Stenerson was born in Chicago, Ill., July 2, 1897. He died at the submarine base at New London, Conn., July 19, 1918, at the age of 21 years and 17 days.
He lived in Chicago until he was nine years old when his father died, after which he moved to Lowell, Ind., with his mother and three sisters, where he has resided until he answered his country's call by volunteering for service in the U.S. Navy on Decemer 3, 1917. After his enlistment at Indianapolis he was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Station for training. Being anxious to see active service, he volunteerer to go to the submarine base at New London, Conn., Mar. 12, 1918, where he met his death July 19th, being drowned.
With his mother and sisters he had been a regular attendant at the Church of Christ and the day before he left Lowell, on Sunday, December 2, he confessed his Lord and Master, and obeyed his command by following him the ordinance of baptism uniting with the Church of Christ at Lowell. He was a young man of exemplary . . .[can't read the print] . . . all who know him. Early in his youth he began to assist his mother in the support of the home. He took great interest in the education of his sisters.
He leaves his mother, Mrs. Celina M. Stenerson; three sisters, Edith, Julia and Bertha Stenerson; three aunts, Mrs. J.C. Palmer of Hammond, Ind., Mrs. P. Seramur and Mrs. F. Bodach of Chicago; three uncles, M.E. Nichols and Chas. Stenerson of Chicago, and M.A. Nichols of Lowell; also a number of cousins and a host of friends to look up to the life that has been exalted by sacrifice for his country and humanity.
The following were among those from out of town who attended the funeral: Mrs. and Mrs. Frank Bodach and sons. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stenerson, Mrs. Peter Seramur and daughter, Miss Lena Johnson, Mrs. Charles Johnson, Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. G.T. Larson, Mrs. Edward Jastrow, Mrs. Fred Holst, of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Palmer of East Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Nichols and Elery Nichols of Hebron.
Will was held in the highest esteem by the Y.M.C.A. secretaries as evidenced by the following letter of condolence received by his mother from one of the Y secretaries at New London:
Submarine Base, New London, Conn.
Mrs. Celina Stenerson,
July 22, '18
My dear Mrs. Stenerson:
In behalf of our Y.M.C.A. secretaries here I want to express our sorrow and deepest sympathy with you in the loss of your son. We knew him well and had the highest regard for him. At the time of the accident when the doctors were working on him, we prayed earnestly for his restoration, but to no avail.
It is a comforting thought to know that he was a fine, Christian young man and ready and prepared to meet his Maker. I have had several good talks with hiim about his personal life; know that he was living true to God. He was well liked by all who knew him and always made a good impression on those whom he met for the first time. He had such a wholesome, pleasing manner, was so opened-faced and true. He was one of the few of whom on a short acquaintance we could say, "We loved him." I believe he had a bright future before him in the Navy, for he was ambitious and beginning to attract the attention of his superior officers.
Why he was taken we cannot tell, but this we know, that he is now with his Father. My wife and I lost our first child--a girl at three years--and we can feel with you somewhat. This letter is an expression of all of us secretaries, and we hope it may bring some small comfort, at least, to you in your bereavement. But it is only God who can carry us through our trials. The words of Jesus in John 14 are the most comforting I know at a time like this, and I hope they may bring you some peace.