There were approximately 210 people from the Story City area that served in the military during World War One. Of those 210, 11 men lost their lives while in service. Throughout 2018, the Historical Society will be paying tribute to these 11 soldiers in the Herald on the 100th anniversary of their death. The ninth soldier from the Story City area who died was Clarence Olson on Oct. 30, 1918.
Clarence Olson was born in Jewel on May 20, 1894. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Olson. At the time of the war, Clarence was working as a farm laborer on his father’s farm in Ellsworth Township, Hamilton County. Clarence was one of 207 men drafted in July of 2018 from Hamilton County. He was inducted at Webster City on July 26 and from there headed to Camp Gordon, Georgia.
Clarence went into a replacement company and was soon sent overseas on Sept. 1, 1918. He served in France with the 163rd Infantry and at the time of his death was with Company M of the 316th Infantry. Clarence’s death was not reported until the Dec. 5, 1918 edition of the Herald as notice did not reach the community until the week prior. Clarence was killed in action during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. This campaign lasted for 47 days from Sept. 26 through the signing of the Armistice on Nov. 11. The battle cost over 26,000 American lives.
From the article in the Dec. 5, 1918, edition of the Herald announcing Clarence’s death, “Arrived in France, he was sent to an American company to replace men lost and was soon in the very thick of the fighting, probably in the sector east of Verdun, where the Americans did much heavy fighting during the closing days of the war and where they took the important city of Sedan the week prior to the signing of the armistice.”
A memorial service was planned for Dec. 15 but had to be postponed due to the closing of churches, schools and public meeting places because of the influenza outbreak. The Board of Health lifted the general quarantine on Dec. 20 and a service was held for Clarence at the Randall Church on Dec. 22. Clarence Olson’s remains were brought home from France in October of 1921. An impressive funeral service was conducted by Reverend Paulsrud. Clarence was laid to rest at the Mount Olive Cemetery in Randall.
As we remember Clarence Olson and all of our Gold Star soldiers throughout this year, let us not forget that they gave their all for liberty and peace.