NEW ULM, MINNESOTA'S FIRST WORLD WAR I CASUALTY
Photo: Brown County Historical SocietyNew Ulm, Minnesota’s first World War I casualty occurred April 2, 1918 when Corporal Benjamin J. Seifert was killed in an aeroplane accident in Scampton, England. Seifert was born to Mr. & Mrs. Christ Seifert in Milford Township, Brown County, Minnesota March 11, 1895. The family moved to New Ulm in 1910, where he graduated from New Ulm High School. After attending Mankato Commercial College he engaged in several businesses, the last being in Valley City, North Dakota. He was called to service by the Brown County Draft Board, and left for training at Camp Dodge, Iowa in September of 1917.The Seifert family was notified of Benjamin’s death April 6, 1918 by a telegram from M. C. Cain, Adjutant General, in the War Department in Washington, D. C. which read: “We deeply regret to inform you that it is officially reported that Corporal Benjamin J. Seifert, aero squadron, died of aeroplane accident, April 2nd.”
Further information and detail came in a letter from W. R. Castle, Director of Communications of the American Red Cross, also with headquarters in Washington, D. C. “The accident occurred … at the American section of the aviation camp at Scampton, Eng., which is near Lincoln. It was caused by the machine run by Lieut. Hugenin getting out of control, when flying low. It pitched Lieut. Hugenin out and then crashed into a machine on the ground, killing Corporal Seifert and Private Krantman. All three men were killed instantly, so you know at least that there was no suffering. Your son’s commanding officer, Lieut. Hampton, told our representative that he thought most highly of Seifert; that he considered him to be one of the best men in the organization and that in the past he had relied upon him in every way. This, I know, you will be glad to hear, because it will show you that your son not only died in the course of duty, but that his excellent performance of duty had enabled him to do such good work that he was respected by his officers.”“The funeral of the three men took place with full military honors on April 8 and they were buried in Newport Cemetery in Lincoln. The graves in this cemetery are always taken excellent care of by the British authorities. The American Red Cross had a beautiful spray of flowers put on each coffin and nothing was omitted that would possibly have been done in the way the family would have wanted it done. As soon as the graves are in order photographs will be taken and sent us to forward to you.”The remains of Corporal Seifert were returned in November of 1920 and re-buried in the New Ulm Catholic Cemetery. His grave marker reads:——————————————————–U.S American Photo ofLegion Logo SeifertCorp. Ben J.SEIFERTCorp. Seifert was among the first fromthe Brown Cty. area to be drafted intoW. W. I.. And the first to give his life forhis country in an aeroplane accident.Post #132 was given his name onApril 23, 1921.1895 – 1918Donated by American Legion Post 132———————————————————Footstone reads:BENJAMIN J.SEIFERT1895 – 1918————————————————————————————A flagpole in the New Ulm City Cemetery’s Veterans’ Section was erected in Seifert’s honor, and includes a memorial plaque.
Minnesota Boys on Way to Camp Dodge, Iowa 21 September 1917
George J. Glotzbach was appointed temporary captain of the contingent of World War 1 draftees in a parade down Minnesota Street in New Ulm, county seat of Brown County, Minnesota 21 September 1917. (Glotzbach is lower left in the photo at the head of the column, dressed in the dark suit, soft cap with visor, white ribbon on his left lapel.) The parade is crossing Center Street at about 3:25 p.m.**********The 26 September 1917 issue of the weekly New Ulm Review reported: “DRAFTED MEN ALL PERSISTENT TO GO, BROWN COUNTY BOYS GIVEN A HEARTY FAREWELL ON WAY TO CAMP”“The drafted men were given a great send-off by the citizens of New Ulm and Brown county, when the day came for them to depart for Camp Dodge, near Des Moines, Iowa last Friday. Notices had been mailed to the men telling them to assemble at the Armory in this city at 8 o’clock a.m. …All during the day people from different parts of the county began arriving in town, all intent on giving their boys a farewell that they would all remember for the balance of their lives. …there were several thousand people and hundreds of automobiles in town. The streets were ablaze with flags and bunting in honor of the boys. …the parade which was to have left the Armory at 3 o’clock, did not move until twenty minutes later. A large delegation from Sleepy Eye brought the band from that town, and that organization took part in doing honor to the boys.”“Parade With Three Bands”“The procession was headed by Hofmeister’s Band, and contained, besides the departing soldiers, the New Ulm Concert Band, members of the G. A. R., ladies of the Red Cross, the Sleepy Eye Band, and hundreds of New Ulm and Brown county citizens. Geo. J. Glotzbach of Sleepy Eye had been appointed temporary captain of the contingent of soldiers, and John F. Gerber, lieutenant. At the Northwestern passenger station an extra coach had been left on a side-track, which the boys boarded as soon as they reached the depot. About one hundred citizens accompanied them as far as Mankato. …At Mankato the train was met by a policeman, who directed them to the Methodist church, where supper was served to the soldiers by the ladies of that society. The Brown, Lyon, and Lincoln county contingents, headed by the Concert Band and followed by their New Ulm escorts, marched to the church. The procession was lead by Sheriff Julius and L. G. Vogel, with Captain Glotzbach in command. They were joined in Mankato by the Le Sueur and Blue Earth county contingents, and late in the evening, after a street parade, which was headed by the New Ulm band, boarded a special train, and pulled out for Des Moines.” **********Glotzbach was assigned to the 351st Infantry, 88th Division. In September 1918 the 88th was sent to France where Glotzbach supervised German prisoners-of-war who were rebuilding roads. Now a sergeant, Glotzbach was selected for officer’s training, but the Armistice was signed before his training began. He was honorably discharged 6 June 1919.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *George John Glotzbach was born in Sleepy Eye, Brown County, Minnesota 1 July 1895 to George Ulrich and Eva (Black) Glotzbach. George J. attended schools there, and following graduation went to work in his father’s business, Glotzbach’s Clothing Store, on Main Street, Sleepy Eye. Upon discharge from the Army Glotzbach resumed work in his father’s store. He married Anne Hillesheim in Holy Trinity Catholic Church in New Ulm 12 August 1919. They had three sons, all born in Sleepy Eye: Charles George b. 15 May 1920; Donald James b. 3 December 1921; and John William b. 7 February 1923.George J. Glotzbach died 24 April 1925 at age 29 following a tragic automobile accident about eight miles north of Sleepy Eye on Highway #4. All businesses and schools in Sleepy Eye closed for the funeral with full military honors. Every American Legion Post in Brown County sent a representative. He was buried in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Sleepy Eye, MN 27 April 1925.by George Linus Glotzbach, (George J.’s nephew) 907 Cottonwood Street, New Ulm, MN 56073 (507) 354-2097
New Ulm, MN, 24 September 2013
Photo credit Brown County Historical Society