World War I Roster Book – my Grandfather’s from the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion
My grandfather was in Company B of the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion in World War I. I wrote an article about letters he sent back previously. I also had a roster book for his company which, in May of 2013 I donated to the outstanding National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. At the time, I did not take pictures or scan the pages of the booklet, and due to the previously mentioned article, I have been contacted by people asking if their relatives name appeared in the roster book. On a recent trip to see best friends Vercie and Lisa, and to see the Green Bay Packers beat their Kansas City Chiefs, I fixed that mistake. Many thanks to Jonathan Casey, the Director of Archives, for setting up the book so I could photograph it. And lots of thanks to my friend Vercie and my gorgeous wife for gently holding this old roster book gently open.
The book is only a few pages long, but there is so much history embedded in it that I will put full-sized photos of each page here (and send back to the museum).
There is no date stating when this book was printed. One would assume it was after the war was over and the Company released. My grandfather made it back to the states in May 1919
This is a list of those killed in action or dead of disease. Thankfully it is a short list with only five names listed.
Enlisted with Rank and Address
There are seven pages (and a bit) of enlisted men, sorted by rank and then alphabetically (at least most of the time). There are 181 names listed. My grandfather, Corporal Ellis Edmond Ketchersid, is listed on the second page of this list. The list included the city, state and in some cases the “Street or RFD” address for each man.
The 132nd Machine Gun Battalion was part of the 36th Division, First Army in World War I. The 36th was called the “Texas-Oklahoma” Division, but as can be seen in the list of City/State pairs there were men from other parts of the country .
The first page includes 16 Sergeants, including the 1st Sergeant, Supply Sergeant, Mess Sergeant and Stable Sergeant. All are from Oklahoma or Texas, except for the Supply Sergeant from Alabama and one of the Sergeants from Illinois.
Wounded or Transferred
The next three pages in the book list those members of the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion who have been wounded or transferred for other reasons. If the roster is accurate there were 5 men killed (from the initial page of the roster book) and 18 wounded, all in “action near Somme Py, France on October 8th 1918.”
The 132nd Machine Gun Battalion shows its roots with the Captain and one of the 1st Lieutenants being from Texas.
There is a Private 1st class Paul Jackson listed in the roster book. I have to assume my grandfather got this roster book from him, based on this inscription at the back.
They most likely did not know each other before enlisting. Paul Jackson’s home city in the roster is Cherokee, OK, which is in the north part of the state near the Kansas border. My grandfather’s home city is listed as Gould, OK, which is in the southwestern corner of the state. Gould is near Altus, OK, where he lived when we would visit him when we were kids.