Written by Sarah Alden, narrated by Sarah Alden, Cooperstown Museum Studies Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta. Research year 2023.
You are now standing before the Little Falls WWI memorial, dedicated to just some of the six hundred and thirty-four men who served between the years of 1917 and 1918.
There are three hundred and twenty-three names listed here, most of whom were members of St Mary’s Church.
Many of the men from Little Falls served in the 27th division, who referred to themselves as “O’Ryan’s Roughnecks” after their commander Major General John F. O’Ryan. Much of their fighting was done shortly before the end of the war, between the months of August and November of 1918. The war ended officially on November 11th, at 11 am, and most of the boys from Little Falls began their journey home. Unfortunately, twenty-four men never made it back. Twelve lost their lives during combat, and twelve succumbed to the Spanish influenza, which had hit the armies badly that summer.
Even for those who were not injured or killed, the war was still a horrific ordeal.
A Little Falls man by the name of Myron Jones who served with the 24th Infantry Regiment, an African American company, wrote to his friend back home, saying “it is very lonesome here. You go to bed with a gun and get up with a gun… Glendie is dead, my friend. He got shot so I think it is my time next.”
Dedicated by member of the US House of Representatives Homer P. Snyder six years after the war came to an end, this memorial may have served to remind the community that although they suffered a great loss, they had made it through together.