State Historic Site

 (From "In the World War")

Trail End

JAMES DONALD LEAPHART, born in Brookfield, Missouri, in 1895, was a self-employed farmer living in Clearmont when he registered for the draft in June 1917. He was inducted into the Army in September 1917 and served stateside with the 44th Infantry. By the time he was honorably discharged in December 1918, he had attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. 

A few days after his induction, Leaphart penned a letter - signed by himself and seventeen other Sheridan area recruits - thanking Sheridan for its support. We don't know for sure if Leaphart wrote the letter himself (he attended Missouri State University) or copied it from a standard thank you letter suggested by the Army, but its sentiments are nevertheless sincere.

Of the seventeen recruits who left Sheridan on Sunday, September 23rd, three - Carlyle Henry Prichard , Jesse Albert Surrena  and Roy Henry Eaton  - would not return. See below for more about their fate.

Letters Home - James Donald Leaphart & Friends

We only have photographs of James Donald Leaphart, Earl Gordon Haywood, Jesse Albert Surrena, Earl Willard Long and Henry William Price. If you have photographs of the other soldiers mentioned in this letter and would like to share them with us, please send a note to

To the people of Sheridan and Sheridan County:

The members of the second contingent of the national army who left Sheridan Sunday, September 23rd, desire to thank the people of Sheridan and Sheridan County for the many useful tokens of friendship presented to us on our departure from home and to express our sincere appreciation of the farewell entertainments given us as a mark of your confidence in us to do the things our country calls upon us to perform.

Whatever the future holds in store for us, we hope never to forfeit the faith you have reposed in us.

We are hardly soldiers yet, but you have known us from childhood and you may expect us all to do our duty in war even better than we did our work in peace.

When the last foe of our country has been vanquished, we will return and deliver to you the escutcheon as clear of stains as when placed in our keeping.

Throughout that time, we will cherish with deepest appreciation your kindly acts, your genuine friendship and the honors you have bestowed upon us.

  • ​James Donald Leaphart (Clearmont, farmer; age 22, born in Missouri; unmarried; 2nd Lieutenant, 44th Infantry; stateside service)
  • Carlyle Henry Prichard (Carneyville, teamster; age 22, born in Iowa; unmarried; Private, 168th Infantry; killed in action in France; buried at Arlington National Cemetery)
  • Earl Gordon Haywood (Sheridan, locomotive machinist; age 23, born in Cambria WY; unmarried; Private First Class, 26th Engineers; fought at Meuse-Argonne)
  • ​Joseph Virgil McMahan (Sheridan, locomotive fireman; age 26, born in Missouri; married; Sergeant, 346th Field Artillery)
  • Jesse Albert Surrena (Carroll, farmer; age 24, born in Banner WY; married; Private, 163rd Infantry; died of bronchitis at Aix le Baines, France)
  • John Thomas Miller (Dietz, teamster; age 29, born in Austria; single; Wagoner, 115th Engineers; fought at St Mihiel) 
  • Henry William Price (Sheridan, locomotive fireman; age 22, born in Iowa; unmarried; Private First Class, 364th Infantry; fought at St Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Ypres; gassed)
  • Robert Giles Hall (Ucross, farmhand; age 22, born in Nebraska; unmarried)
  • Roy Henry Eaton (Verona, farmer; age 24, born in Missouri; unmarried; Private, 168th Infantry; killed in action at Badonvillier, France; buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France; first Sheridan County soldier to be killed in action in the war)
  • Vincenzo Parmere (Carneyville, mine driver; age 27, born in Italy; unmarried; Private, 163rd Infantry; served overseas)
  • Lee Thomas Lewis (Clearmont, telegraph operator; age 22, born in Missouri; unmarried)
  • Frederick Valentine Portz (Sheridan, bank teller; age 28, born in Cheyenne WY; unmarried; Sergeant, Quartermaster Corps; stateside service)
  • Joe Kawulok (Ranchester, miner; age 24, born in Austria; unmarried)
  • James Pearl Weber (Sheridan, locomotive engineer; age 28, born in Nebraska; unmarried; Wagoner, 31st Engineers; served overseas)
  • Earl Willard Long (Passaic, cook; age 25, born in Sheridan WY; unmarried; Sergeant 1st Class, Quartermaster Corps; stateside service as an instructor at the School for Bakers & Cooks)
  • Barney McLain (Sheridan, horsebreaker; age 22, born in Texas; unmarried; Private 1st Class, Auxiliary Remount Detachment; stateside service)
  • Frank Harold Weirick (Sheridan, chiropractor; age 28, born in South Dakota; unmarried) 
  • Bert Gross (Sheridan, storekeeper; age 23, born in Lithuania; unmarried)