The 1918 celebration parade in Kokomo takes place when local soldiers came home. 
Herald Photos / Provided by Howard County Historical Society
The 1918 celebration parade in Kokomo takes place when local soldiers came home. Herald Photos / Provided by Howard County Historical Society

The Howard County Historical Society was chosen as the county’s representative to honor the people and businesses that sprung to action to assist the boys’ fight during World War I. 

These people and businesses will be recognized during the Historical Society’s annual meeting on Oct. 17, as the meeting will commemorate the centennial of the United States’ entrance into World War I and the people of Howard County’s rush to aid the war effort. 

Peggy Hobson, chair of the society’s events committee, said she’s proud the Howard County Historical Society was chosen as the county’s representative in honoring those people and those events from 100 years ago.

“We are excited to share the stories of how Howard County stepped up to help win the war,” Hobson said. “Few of us today know very much about that time in our history. The state of Indiana, as part of a nationwide initiative, felt it was important that we remember and acknowledge the sacrifices of our grandparents and great-grandparents in World War I. The state committee then accepted applications from local communities who wanted to recognize at the local level the 100th anniversary of the United States entering the war effort.”

The Historical Society dove into the extensive archives and utilized C.V. Haworth’s (Hall of Legends 2016) book, Howard County in the World War, to uncover stories of locals and their contributions to the war effort. Using these stories, re-enactors will share the stories of those who served or volunteered.

“It’s unusual to have such a comprehensive picture of a community’s role in a conflict as significant as WWI, and the picture it paints is of a community and a country that are far more personally committed to a war than anything we’re accustomed to nowadays. It also shows how the industrial base built up during the gas boom was put to work in the war effort and how, in some respects, the war production helped save that industrial base,” said Dave Broman, Executive Director Howard County Historical Society.

Guests of the annual meeting will be treated to the ghost of C.V. Haworth, who will discuss the work or organizations like the YMCA, Knights of Columbus, and Chamber of Commerce. The ghost of Charles Munkenhern will talk about the various government contracts he brought to Howard County, and Ora Butler will share how he, as a local sheriff, helped run the county’s chapter of the American Protective League. The ghost of C.V. Haworth also will share the story of Sgt. E.F. Reed, who was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. County historian Jonathon Russell also will speak.

Memorabilia will be displayed, including letters, medals, photographs, and other artifacts. Any community member who wishes to share personal items from World War may do so by contacting Hobson at 765-271-0039 or mpzhobson@gmail.com.

Remembering and learning about America’s greatest international conflict since the American Revolution is vital to keeping history alive, Broman said.
“WWI has become a forgotten war,” Broman said. “It was a huge conflict with terrible consequences, some of which still affect our lives. The men and women who served are all gone now, and we don’t think much about them or the battles they fought.

“One of the stories we’ll tell at the program is that of a real American hero. It’s a story that gives me goosebumps. Sgt. E. F. Reed of Kokomo didn’t make it home, but his unselfish and courageous actions made sure that many in his unit did.”

Tickets for the meeting are on sale for the event at the Howard County Historical Society (1218 W. Sycamore St.) or online at howardcountymuseum.org for $45 ($35 for HCHS members). The event takes place Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at Rozzi’s Continental Ballroom, 920 Millbrook Lane.