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Nov. 11, 1918 - the biggest demonstration in Bluffton's history

Word flashed over the wire that the Armistice was signed


The biggest demonstration in the town’s history began Monday morning at 3 o’clock, Nov. 11, as word flashed over the wire that the Armistice was signed. Whistles, bells and auto horns heralded the Allied victory from dawn until dark.

Bluffton celebrated the end of the Great War in an all-day-long event on Nov. 11, 1918. The Bluffton News coverage stated it was the biggest demonstration in the town's history.


Following is the Nov. 14 Bluffton News account of the Armistice. And, following that story are several additional Bluffton News reports leading up to Nov. 11


Nov. 14, 1918

The biggest demonstration in the town’s history began Monday morning at 3 o’clock, Nov. 11, as word flashed over the wire that the Armistice was signed.


Whistles, bells and auto horns heralded the Allied victory from dawn until dark. The noise increased in volume from 3 o’clock on, and a big parade organized, marched up and down the main street Thorofare, terminating with the building of a spectacular bon fire in the square.


Shortly before seven o’clock a second parade formed, headed by a part of the citizen’s band and carrying Bluffton’s service flag marched thru the town serenading every home in Bluffton.


The cry, “The armistice has been signed,” resounded over the community as the people celebrated the rolling down of the curtain on the greatest tragedy of mankind.


The afternoon celebration topped all such performances ever held in the community – 65 autos gaily decorated in bunting and flags, were in a parade containing organized marching of every organization in Bluffton.


To a packed crowd N.W. Cunningham delivered the address of the day following a flag raising ceremony. The evening program found the churches filled with large audiences holding praise and thanksgiving services.


Taps were sounded for the first time in Bluffton Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 o’clock. As the call was given the flag was lowered from the flag pole in the church park. The call will be sounded here every afternoon.



Memorial services for Corporal John Wenzinger, the Bluffton boy who made the supreme sacrifice on the western front, will be held in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Friday morning, The service will be conducted by Rev. Father Mulligan.


A piece of a German airplane sent by Carl Mumma from France is on display in the Bluffton News window. The souvenir was sent here to his mother, Mr. Z.T. Mumma, by her son, who is in the mechanical department of the army.


A card has been received from Robert F. Murray, Richmond, Va., that his brother, Joseph A. Murray, Co. B., 116th machine gun battalion, has arrived safely in France. Prior to his departure he was stationed for 15 months at Camp Wheeler, Ga.


A good photograph of Harry Anderson who is in France appears in the News office window.


Dr. Evan Basinger of Camp Taylor, who was called home on account of the death of his brother, Willis Basinger, returned to camp Wednesday.


June 6, 1918

With two of the seniors absent “somewhere in France,” 16 degrees were conferred at the 18th annual commencement of Bluffton College Friday morning. The two seniors in the service are Paul Welty and Edwin Stauffer. Four faculty members are also in the service and were unable to participate in the commencement services. These are G.A. Lehmann, H.W. Berky, Oliver Kratz and William Egly.



A letter from Pvt. Rene Klay from somewhere in France states that some of the “Boche” captured were 14-year-old boys chained to stakes so they could not retreat.


Clarence Lugibill, who left for the Columbus Barracks with the Allen County boys last Wednesday, thought that he had been sent to Camp Gordon Georgia.


What Congress is doing in wartime was discussed by Congressman B.F. Welty in the church park Saturday night before a good sized crowd. Preceding the address was a short vocal program given by Miss Vera Coburn who will leave in the fall for France with a concert company where she will help entertain the allied soldiers behind the lines.


Arthur Santschi, a former Bluffton boy, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Santschi, south of town, enlisted in the navy last week.


Oct. 3, 1918

“I am sleeping in a pup tent just back of the firing line and can hear the big guns roaring and rattling like thunder storm,” writes Earl Good from France to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henson Good.


Although his heart dropped almost to a zero point when the big shells burst near him, it never stayed there long enough to give me cold feet, writes Corp. Char. Hilty from France.


Miss Hulda Schumacher, a trained nurse, left Wednesday morning for army hospital service in a South Carolina training camp. She is the daughter of Jacob Schumacher of Lawn avenue.


Oct. 14, 1918

“Although it is nervous work at first, stalking Germans in no man’s land comes to be a great sport,” writes Elmer Bowers from France. “The other night while out on patrol we met the Germans and drove them back to their own trenches.”


You can’t help but grow when you carry 100 pound shells all day writes Rene Klay, son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Klay. Rene is one of the youngest Bluffton boys in the service, and finds that carrying shells around builds up a man in short order.



Oct. 30, 1918

Harold Woods is recovering in an Army hospital as a result of the accidental exploding of a shell fuse near the front lines. The Huns had bombed the area repeatedly and after a cessation of firing the soldiers were cleaning up the debris when the fuse exploded. Woods was hit by a flying splinter as he was working in an ammunition dump.


Walter Badertscher writes that the manpower of the Germans is waning for the prisoners captured are of all ages. From mere boys to men of 50 and 60 are brought in and many of them are actually pleased to be captured. Badertscher is a mechanic in the supply department of the Army in France.



One of the many impromptu parades in Bluffton on Nov. 11, 1918, was this one. Persons in the front row are Ruth Strublar, Marie Ringleman and N.E. Beyers. They are in an unidentified portion of Main Street - see the interurban rails in the street's center.



Bluffton College students hold two newspapers announced that Armistice is signed. The student in the dress hat, second from right, is either Floyd or Lloyd Pannabecker.

Another parade downtown Bluffton shows citizens on a truck turning from Main to Church Street.

Later in the day another parade followed by a program on the Presbyterian Church lawn took place. This photo shows the crowd. Note the decorated bicycles.

A portion of the lead story from the Nov. 14, 1918, Bluffton News.

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