Friday, June 3, 2016

Some Gave All Continued

In my prior post on this blog I told the story of Orin Snyder from Salt Creek who lost his life in France during World War I.

Orin wasn't the only soldier from Salt Creek who lost his life.   The Rotary flagpole in the park actually has three names listed.  Orin was the only one who had been raised in Salt Creek.  The other two had come to the area for work in the oil fields.  88 men from the Salt Creek enlisted during World War I and these three never returned.
Orin Snyder
Wm McClafin
John M Speckbacher

The flagpole had originally been placed in the old park on the bluff overlooking today's football field in Midwest, Wyoming.  It was moved when the new park was built in the 1980's and the old park abandoned.

Arbie William McClaflin is listed on the census records for Clark, Wisconsin as a child and was still there as late as 1910.  He was born in 1901 making him the youngest of the three.  He had a twin brother, Merill Mahlon.  He was only 17 when he was wounded in battle, passing away two days later.  I was unable to find out much about him or his family.  I don't know if he was in the Salt Creek area by himself working or if his entire family moved with him. claims this is a picture of him as a young child. The placque in Midwest has his name wrong.  William was his middle name and the first name was Arbie. Perhaps he went by his middle name?

He is the only one of the three buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C.  His last name is misspelled, omitting an L.

Arbie W McClafin
116 Ammo Tn
41 DIV
Jan 23, 1918


The third soldier, John M. Speckbacher, was from Buffalo, Wyoming and his draft card states he was working in Salt Creek as a pumper for Midwest Refining and was unmarried.  It also shows he had been in the infantry for the state of Wyoming for six years and had attained the rank of corporal.

 Born in 1887, Max (his middle name was Maximillan) was the oldest of the three when he died in 1918 at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. He was born in the Big Horn Basin near Spring Creek (Ten Sleep).  *Spring Creek is also the site for the infamous Spring Creek Raid which killed three shepherds in 1909 for bring sheep onto cattle range crossing the deadline.

John M Speckbacher
Pvt Med Dept
September 17, 1918

He had re-enlisted on July 23, 1918 and had only been in the service again for 2 months when he was killed.   His obituary appeared in the Buffalo Bulletin and he is interred in Willow Grove Cemetery, Buffalo, Wyoming.   The American Legion applied for his military headstone in 1937.

From the Buffalo Bulletin dated 9/26/1918:
Max Speckbacher, another Johnson County boy, died at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and the remains were brought to Buffalo for interment, the funeral services being held in City Hall Tuesday afternoon, and were conducted by the Odd Fellows, of which organization he was a member.  He was in the United States service and was stationed at Fort Des Moines.  Deceased was born on Spring Creek in the basin country and has lived his entire life in this county.  He was a young man of good habits, industrious and conscientious and had friends by the score in Buffalo where he was known.  He the stepson of August Linder and a brother of Tony Speckbacher of Casper, both of whom survive him.  Besides these members of the family he leaves a half brother and half sister, John and Pauline Linder.  Moxie was one of the boys. It was always a pleasure to meet and in his death we lose a good citizen and the government a good soldier.

In two short years, we will be acknowledging the 100th anniversay of the end of World War I.   May the horrors of war never visit again.