Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Honoring Our Veterans

In honor of all veterans, in commemoration of Veterans Day on November 11, we offer a tribute to a World War I veteran from Sandusky. Wilford Schleicher was born in Sandusky on October 30 (or 31), 1895. A sales manager for the American Crayon Company, his life changed dramatically in 1917, when he was called to service when the United States entered the Great War that had been going on in Europe since 1914.

Wilford Schleicher was enlisted into the United States Army on September 20, 1917, and assigned to Company K of the 329th Infantry, 83rd Division. He was trained at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, where most of Sandusky's recruits went for training. In June of 1918, he and his fellow soldiers departed the United States for the war zone of Europe. By October of that year Corporal Schleicher had been promoted to sergeant. After honorable service in the French war zone, he returned to his native land on January 31, 1919 and received his honorable discharge about two weeks later.

Like most other men who served (unfortunately not all), Wilford Schleicher returned to his normal life, back home in Sandusky. He went back to work at the American Crayon Company, and worked there for nearly fifty years; he was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He lived on Polk Street with his wife, Gladys, who died in 1974. Mr. Schleicher died in November 1982, at age 87.

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is privileged to have two scrapbooks compiled by Mr. Schleicher. One scrapbook (two pages of it are shown above) contains photographs of his military adventures, along with mementoes such as postcards, military passes and other official documents, and a wrapper for a candy bar from the Red Cross Canteen. The other scrapbook consists of newspaper clippings describing the war and local soldiers. Additionally, the archives holds many other items relating to the First World War, a war little understood by most Americans.

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