Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

A few weeks ago in impressive ceremonies at the Christian church last respects were paid to Edward L. Shoemaker, the first Warsaw boy to be killed in the Korean War.

Thirty-five years ago this week, a similar service in honor of another soldier killed in action, was held at the local Presbyterian church. This service took place on Sunday, Oct. 23, 1921, in honor of John C. Peterson, the first Warsaw boy killed in World War I.

Peterson was born in Warsaw on Oct. 12, 1897. At the age of 19 he enlisted in the local military unit, Co. H of the Indiana National Guard. Company H was not called into service immediately upon the United States declaration of war in April of 1917. They spent several months drilling and recruiting here at Warsaw. On Aug. 5 they pitched their tents on the Golf Links between Warsaw and Winona Lake and began intensive training.

On Aug. 20, a selected group of twenty-one members of the company were ordered to report to Fort Benjamin Harrison. John C. Peterson was one of the members of this group. these boys became members of the 150th Field Artillery of the famous Rainbow Division which arrived in France in the latter part of October.

John C. Peterson took part in the battles of Lorraine, Champagne, Marne, St. Mihiel, and Mountfaucon. On Oct. 9, 1918, he was in charge of artillery horses when stray machine gun fire from a German plane struck and killed him. the Germans were firing at an American observation balloon.

Peterson's body was temporarily buried in a cemetery near Mountfaucon, France which was to be its resting place until it was shipped to our country three years later.

The Warsaw American Legion Post is named in honor of this World War I private. the bodies of both Peterson and Shoemaker were laid to rest in Oakwood cemetery.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Oct. 25, 1952