Chapter 5
Valton in War

Five years after Valton was laid out, preliminary to become a town, the very unpleasant thought of was broke suddenly upon the consciousness of the people. When war was about to break loose in the South, a letter was written by a recent settler to his father in England. It deserves being copied here because it sheds much light on the conditions of things at that time.

Feb. 15, 1861

Dear Father,

It is four years since I have written you and I an ashamed that I have neglected to write, but hope from this time forth to keep up my correspondence to you. I have bought 220 acres of land in the town of Woodland, county of Sauk, State of Wisconsin, on which I am now living. I have a wife and two children. The oldest is a girl two years, the youngest about 11 months old. Our boy we call William Wilson, our girl Martha Elizabeth. Brother Sam is here. He has been sick since last April. First he was attacked with inflammation of the lungs and has not been able to work since. Simeon has 80 acres of land and lives one half mile from me. He has three children living. James was well when Sam. left. He has a wife and one child.

I have married an American women and live happy and agreeable together. And probably I am permanently settled. I have one yoke of cattle, two cows, and hog, and I had one cow that died three days ago. I killed nine fat hogs this Fall, sold four of them and the others I kept for myself. The land is heavily timbered and as rich as any you would find in old England. I have about thirty acres under cultivation and raise wheat, corn, potatoes, oats, barley, rye, turnip and every thing that is raised on a farm.

We are all well with the exception of Sam, we have our health as well as we ever had. We like this country better than England for a man can make money and make a living and do not desire to come back to England to live again. Brother Sam has a mare to ride so he is better off than he would be in England. And now I will tell you something about the state of America, we are on the verge of a Civil War and perhaps before you get this there will be fighting done in the South and to what will be the end no one can tell. But if on compromise is made, the country will be destroyed.

And when you write I would like to know about things at home. Who sister Elizabeth married, and how they get along, how Ruth and her husband are getting along, and how your health has been, what Abraham and Jacob are doing and whether they intend to come to this country, and if they do, not to get married till they get here. I think they can do better to come here single.

I have had my name changed to John Mortimer. (It had been Bull.) When I came to America I thought that there was no one by my name here and so I went by the name of Mortimer and I entered my land and got married by that name and so I had to apply to the legislature and have it changed, which they did and therefore when you write to me you call me by that name.

We would all like to see you. I do not think I will ever come back to England and therefore we may not meet unless you should come to see me. How is Mother?

With much respect I remain your son,

John Mortimer
Oaks Post Office
Sauk county, Wisconsin

The letter that was on page 30 was kept by the family in England until one of the descendants, Thomas Buckingham, began writing to my father, James Mortimer, around 1930. During the years that Mr. Buckingham wrote to father, he sent the letter that has been reproduced. It was a thrill to see this old letter. It was sent to Reedsburg free press where it was copied for their paper. At present Celi and Rhiny Hendricks are in possession of the heirloom.

The Civil was did come that was forecast in the letter above and a number of men and boys from Valton volunteered to serve the country in this time, to make sure that there would be a country to live in when they came back, a country more like the kind they have already learned to love and serve.

The following men went to join the Union Armies :

These sketches I remember hearing the old Veterans tell. One man, a very raw recruit, could not remember which was his right and left foot. So the Captain, a resourceful man, tied hay to one foot and straw to the other. Then he marched the man around saying, hayfoot, strawfoot, hayfoot, strawfoot, ect.. That man learned to march.

One of the men from Valton was displaying his interest in a large cannon one day. To his surprise the gunner said "Just watch me hit that man standing on the hill." He aimed the cannon, fired and cut the poor fellow in two pieces.

They used to tell how friendly the Southern soldiers would get at times with those of the North. They would get in talking distance and even exchange things.

Even to day it makes news when a young man goes off to war and does his share of fighting on he was before he is of draft age. That is what WM. Shore did during the Civil War. But he was regretful after getting in the service that he had gone so soon.

First World War (1914-1918)
Not many men from Valton went during the short time that the U. S. was cooperating in the conflict to drive Germany back across the Rhine. But there was a large number that had to register, including all who were up to the age of 45. Several had just gone to Madison when the news came that the Armistice was signed. There was quite a bit of grim agony in the weeks before the Armistices, not only from anxiety of the war but the dread scourge of Influenza which affected nearly every home, sending some to the very door of Death. Schools were closed and church services suspended their Sunday services. The few who remained well sacrificed their time and ran the risk of getting the flu to care for the sick ones.

When the Armistice was signed Valton shared the rejoicing with the whole country. I can remember being out in the yard at home when we heard the good news. My father garbed the shot gun and as he held it skyward, shot it into the air in celebration. He was so excited he forgot to hold the gun with both hands and it ripped a hole in his hand just back of the thumb.

It was to be regretted that less information is to be found about the men who fought in this war, than I have given for the men in the Civil War. To the best of my knowledge the following men were in the first World War: Albert Ginter, Glenn Good, Joseph Landsinger, Lewis Manglos, George Shore, Glenn Shore, Lee Beier-was given the duties befitting a conscientious objector.

Albert Ginter was the only Valton boy who saw actual fighting. He was up front with his group when a bullet hit his arm. This caused partial paralysis. He received treatment in a hospital in Iowa. Albert had no relatives in Valton. Anna and Noah Mortimer were his guardians.

Joe Landsinger was drafted in July of 1918 and was sent across in six weeks. He received his training at Camp Grant, Ill. and was in the infantry. When he went across he was in England a week before going on the France. Joe didn't get to see any of the actual fighting. He was discharged in April 1919.

The Shore brothers, Glenn and George, were in the Navy and Merchant Marines respectively.

Second World War (1941-1945)
This is the war that really affected Valton in a big way when nearly thirty boys and men left the town and community before the end of active hostilities in the Summer of 1945. This history includes most of the boys in the Valley of the Little Baraboo down to Bethel. In point of time it included those who went into service since the was ended up to the Korean theater. Around ten have been called in the last eight years. Some have served their required term of service are home again as civilians.

Two families have the distinction of having four boys leave for service. The Glenn Mortimer boys and the Janechek boys, saw some real action on the battle line. I shall record their excellent records and the records of others in the next few pages.

The following boys saw a term of service in the second World War. They are given in alphabetical order.

The boys mentioned above were called and saw active service during the second World War. There were others who are listed below. At this time no information is at hand or they would receive the same space that has been given to the others.

Alfred BulinFrancis Owen
Percy CoxRoger Piehl
Alance GibeautCyrus Rott
Rollis GibeautWagne Thacher
Harold Mortimer

1948 and into Cold Korea

World unrest and war is still claiming our boys. We now pay tribute to the boys who have been called since Germany and Japan surrendered. They have gone out to face the danger and homesickness, loneliness and doubt, suffering and fatigue that comes to the strongest as well as the weakest. Of all who have already served or are serving, it is truly remarkable that there has been but one casualty thus far. The boys named in the following lines are listed in the order of their induction.

Thanks are due those who were helpful in sending the information about all the boys who have been in the service on our country during the last few years. Many of them have gone through more mental and physical discomfort in two or three years than most of us will have in a life time. They have been returning equipped with grown up ideas and an ambition to make up for the time spent away from a preparation for life's occupation.

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