Thirty Who Dared to Serve Gratiot County in the World War – Part 20: Earl E. St. John: “I Was From Breckenridge, and My Service was Cut Short.”

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Above: Earl St. John’s marker in Ridgelawn Cemetery in Breckenridge; St. John’s registration card.

        Earl E. St. John was born on October 2, 1896, in Wheeler, Michigan to Levi and Mary St. John. Earl also had two older sisters, Ethel and Sarah. In 1910 his father was farming and renting a farm in Wheeler. Before Earl ever join the military he experienced personal hardships because his mother and both sisters died. At one point his father moved to Horton, Michigan, and Earl also lived in that area before being drafted in the late summer of 1918.

        On August 28, 1918, Earl St. John entered Camp Custer, and he became a private in Company H of the 78th Infantry.

       Less than six weeks later, Earl St. John became sick when the Influenza Epidemic reached Camp Custer. On October 8, he died from complications of broncho-pneumonia. He was pronounced dead, and the Army decided not to do an autopsy.

         Instead, St.John’s body returned to   Breckenridge. It cost his father $59.75 to have his son sent home. After the funeral took place,  Earl was buried in   Breckenridge’s Ridgelawn Cemetery, where he rests today.

Earl St. John was a single man who died just one week after his twenty-second birthday in the service of Gratiot County.

Copyright 2018 James M Goodspeed

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