05 Apr

Milton E. Cresap 

May 6, 1889- October 22, 1918

Milton Cresap was  my 2nd cousin, 4x removed.  Our shared common ancestors  were Van Swearingen Cresap (1788-1863) and Sarah Justus Cresap (1790-1864), who were born in Maryland, but settled in Marion, Ohio.

Milton was born in Sibley, Iowa on May 6 , 1889. He was the oldest son of James Franklin Cresap and Mary Elizabeth Spencer Cresap.

As a young man, Milton moved between farms and worked as a laborer.  In June 1917, the draft for WW1 was called. Milton registered in Dickinson, Wisconsin,  where he was currently working. He had a long talk with the draft registrar.  He explained that he was torn. His younger brother Daniel had just signed up, and he felt obligated too as well.  However, with Daniel leaving, he was to return to his father’s home to help at the home farm.  The registrars told him to go help his father, until his number was called. 

A year later,  in July 1918, he was called to duty. He left with 20 other boys and men for Columbus, Ohio for training. 

Allegedly, because he had offered to enlist at the time of the draft, he was asked what his preferred job would be. He selected a machine gunner and he was sent to Camp Hancock Georgia. On July 13th he was put in the 43rd, 4th group MGTC. On September 1, 1917 he was transferred to school, Company 122 Machine gun school. 

On October 8, 1918 he wrote to his mother saying he was not well, but told her not to worry as he was not very sick. On the 10th he wrote again, saying he was in bed, but it felt like he would "get along ok." On October 18th the family received a telegram saying he was seriously ill. On the 23rd the word came that he had passed way on October 22, 1918.

The body arrived Wisconsin on November 4, and was brought to the home of his parents. The guard who accompanied the remains home said “We all loved him, his captain wept when told of his death”

2nd Lieutenant INF John A Worthington wrote these words to his parent:

“Your son was an excellent soldier and his death is mourned by the officers and men of his company. His name may be just catalogued with the heroes who die on the battlefield of France, for he too gave up his life that the world might be safe again.”

 A very short service was held in the families home. The funeral was private,  due to the pandemic, but the yard was full of sorrowing friends and neighbors. The flag drapped casket was placed in the yard where neighbors could pay their respects. His only brother Daniel could not attend, as he was serving in France. His sisters and parents were present.

He was survived by his devoted parents, his only brother Daniel, his sisters, Stella and Mary, at home, and Mrs. Ed Richards of Greenwood, Wisconsin. 

He was laid to rest in Lynn, Wisconsin at Lynn Cemetery


 “Montgomery,” Spirit Lake Beacon, Spirit Lake, Iowa, Oct 31, 1918, 8, online database with images, https://newspaperarchive.com/spirit-lake-beacon-oct-31-1918-p-8/.

Genealo, “Milton Edmond Cresap,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44974330, 30 Nov 2009.

“World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 ,” ancestry.com, https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=6482&h=71643744&ssrc=pt&tid=80061917&pid=190197958570&usePUB=true.

“Obituary of Milton Edward Cresap,” Spirit Lake Beacon, Spirit Lake, Iowa,  Nov 7, 1918, 5, online database with images,  https://newspaperarchive.com/spirit-lake-beacon-nov-07-1918-p-5/.

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