Above: The only known photo of Allen B. Pinkston from the Gratiot County Herald; Pinkston’s draft card; the final resting place of Allen B. Pinkston in Richland Township Cemetery.
Allen Bernard Pinkston is one of thirty men who paid the ultimate price for serving our country during World War I. His story is one of the most tragic of the thirty for one reason: so little is known about this young man aside from his service and his death.
Pinkston was born February 6, 1892 in Sedalia, Missouri to Thomas and Annie Pinkston. Allen appears to have been one of five sons and two sisters. At one point his parents moved to the Crystal area. Allen listed his occupation as being a farmer before he enlisted at Camp Custer on September 21, 1917.
Upon entering the service, Pinkston was assigned to the 338th Regimental Field Artillery, Battery B. From there, he was sent to Camp McArthur on November 2, 1917 and joined the 119th Field Artillery, Company D of the 125th Infantry.
Pinkston became the next Gratiot County man to die in the summer of 1918 when he was wounded in the head on July 31. He died three days later from his wounds on July 2 in a hospital. He was buried in the Aisne Cemetery and it was not until late October of 1920 when his father petitioned to have his son brought home. About this time a Detroit veteran by the name of Burgess Iseman wrote to the government asking where Pinkston and another Gratiot man, Leslie McLean, were actually buried in France. One of the situations that families of the dead faced was not knowing in 1918-1920 about where their son actually had been. Iseman’s letter, the government’s response to it, and the note that Allen Pinkston’s body was being returned started to bring some closure to the Pinkston family. During the following spring of 1921 the government started the procedure of sending home to his family in Vestaburg, Michigan.
While Allen Pinkston had ties to Montcalm County, the only news article about his death that his name was placed on the Emerson Township service flag. His death, represented by a Gold Star on the flag, was one of the 31 stars on the flag. This must have accounted for why Gratiot County later claimed him as one of their losses during the war.
After his arrival home and a funeral in Vestaburg on July 21, 1921, Allen Pinkston was laid to rest in Richland Township in Montcalm County. Allen Bernard Pinkston was twenty six years old when he died.
Copyright 2018 James M Goodspeed