January 19, 2017

The Madison County World War I Project

Matthew Urtz, Madison County Historian

The Madison County World War I project was an offshoot of a project we undertook in 2013.  Each year in October we host Archives Day, usually displaying documents from our archives.  In 2013 we decided to “create new archives.”  Partnering with local libraries, we created a list of all WWII soldiers from the county that had died while serving.  We also created displays featuring WWII posters from the Hamilton Historic Commission, as well as photos, newspaper clippings and journal entries from veterans, families and others.  At each library we interviewed a local WWII veteran, recorded it, and donated a copy to the library.  The “Archives Road Show” was so successful that we started going through old records in search of any county records pertaining to WWII. 

While researching for the 2013 Archives Day we found a box that housed the book Madison County’s Welcome Home for her Sons and Daughters who served in the World War from 1917 to 1919, published in 1919 by the Oneida Dispatch Press and Madison County’s WWI register.  Each source has its own unique information.  Madison County’s Welcome Home … features photos, rosters, how local universities, businesses and community associations responded to the war and stories from soldiers and nurses.  The County Register featured enlistment or draft dates, soldier’s names, regiment and company information as well as newspaper clippings, death information and miscellaneous information. 

With assistance from the County Clerk’s Office, Madison County Veterans Office and a number of local libraries, I compiled as much information as I could from the above sources and more, and continue to update the list as more information becomes available.  Our goal is to have as comprehensive a list about our World War I veterans as possible.   I am currently working on a presentation that will correspond with the list, offering a view of what Madison County was like and what local soldiers and nurses experienced during the “Great War.”  It will be featured at the  Madison County Archives Day within the next three years.