Thursday, October 19, 2017

World War I and Two Brothers

Sometimes, when working on a family tree, one comes across an event where you want to know more than just the stated facts. This happened to me with two brothers who both served in France during World War I, were both injured, and one received the Purple Heart. The brothers are Marven Crow (1895-1969) and Clinton Crow (1893-1969). 

On June 5, 1917, Clinton registered for the WWI draft. He was living in Clare, Iowa, and working as a “tiler.” Shortly thereafter, on June 17 1917, Marven also registered for the WWI draft. He, too, was living in Clare, Iowa, and working as a farm hand. [1]

Pvt. Clinton Crowe
By August 1917, Clinton was a Private in Company D, 349th Infantry Regiment – organized at Camp Dodge, Iowa - and was assigned to the 88th Infantry Division. The regiment trained for combat and arrived in France in late 1918. The 349th saw minor combat in Alsace just before the war ended, and the 88th Division as a whole suffered only 78 total casualties. [2] Clinton may or may not have been one of the "counted" casualties: He had , however, been gassed. Patti Knight Sedillo, Clinton's granddaughter, remembers her mother stating that “grandpa had contracted pneumonia after he was gassed and laid in a barn for many days while the weather was very cold and damp.” 

By September 1917, Marvin was a Private in Company M, 90th Division,
Pvt. Marven Clinton
357th Infantry Regiment, 179th Brigade – organized at Camp Travis, Texas. [3] Like Clinton’s regiment, Marven’s also prepared for combat. However, the 375th’s regiment combat experience in France was completely different than that experienced by Clinton’s regiment: Marvin and his fellow soldiers found themselves in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in northeast France.

The Battle of Saint-Mihiel was a major World War I battle fought from September 12-15, 1918, involving the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and French troops under the command of General John J. Pershing against German positions. It was the first and only offensive launched solely by the United States Army in World War I, and the attack caught the Germans in the process of retreating. [4]

Marven is the person in the upper right-hand corner.
On September 23, 1918, Marvin received a severe injury during a battle in which the entire rest of his squad perished. This incident happened as a continuation of the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. According to the Stars and Stripes, Marven lost his right arm.  However, they may have meant he had lost the use of his right arm. His discharge papers state the suffered a "shrapnel wound to his right shoulder"; and, at the time of his discharge, he was in "poor" physical condition. The drawing from the Stars and Strips, next to this paragraph, does show his right arm in a sling.

Shadowbox displaying
Marven's WWI mementos

Marvin was awarded the Saint Mihiel Victory Medal (pictured in the upper left-hand corner) for his participation in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Purple Heart Medal for the injuries he suffered. These medals are visible in the pictured shadowbox.

After the war, both men went on to get married, have children, and live successful lives. It is interesting to note that they both died in 1969.

Note: Patti Knight Sedillo, Clinton's granddaughter and Marven's niece, was very helpful as a source for this blog. She provided all the photographs and personal information regarding the brothers. Clinton and Marven are my biological 3rd cousins once removed, and Patti is my 5th cousin.

[1] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918., 18 Oct. 2917,
[2] "349th Regiment - Lineage and Honors Information." 349th Regiment, 19 Oct. 2017.
[3]  Von Roeder, S-Sgt. George. Regimental History of the 357th Infantry.
[4]  Hanlon, Michael. "The Story of the American Expeditionary Forces: The St. Mihiel Offensive.", 20 Oct. 2017,

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