Sherman County citizens expressed their patriotism almost from the beginning. Veterans of the Civil War and Indian Wars settled here.
The Sherman County Historical Society published lists of veterans of the Civil War and Indian Wars, World War I draft registration lists, stories about World War II Camp Rufus, the World War II Veterans Historic Highway and Red Cross auxiliary activities, and the stories told by veterans in the twice-yearly historical anthology, Sherman County: For The Record.
During World War I, the Red Cross Auxiliary offered aid to dependent families of soldiers and sailors, prepared hospital linens, bandages and surgical dressings, educated and furnished equipment to nurses and nurses’ aides, and raised money for their work and the Red Cross headquarters. They knit sweaters and socks and made sheets, pillowcases, towels, bandages and slings. Quilts and crochet bedspreads were raffled to raise funds for their work.
For many years the American Legion posts were a strong presence in the county. In 1982, the Moro American Legion post donated their meeting hall to the Sherman County Historical Society for use as a museum with the understanding that one room was reserved for their meetings and the preservation of military artifacts. The museum opened in 1983 and an exhibit, Patriotism, Pride and Anguish, print copies of veterans’ stories, and a patriotic community bulletin board, reflect that relationship.
The Civil War
Compiled by Sherry Woods Kaseberg and Chris Sanders, the information presented covers records for Civil War veterans who lived in Sherman County and is derived from several sources, including cemetery records in Sherman County, Kent, Grass Valley, Moro, Rose, Sunrise, Wasco Methodist and Emigrant Springs, and Chris Sanders’ transcribed obituaries from the microfilmed copies of the Wasco News, Wasco News Enterprise, People’s Republic, Grass Valley Journal, Moro Bulletin, Moro Leader, Moro Observer, Sherman County Observer, and Sherman County Journal.
Veterans of Indian Conflicts
The Country’s Indian conflicts touched Sherman County residents and their families in Kent, Wasco, and at the mouth of the Deschutes River.
Spanish – American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict fought between Spain and the United States in 1898, and it too touched the residents of Sherman county, Oregon. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of the USS Maine in Havana harbor leading to American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence.
World War I
Sherman Countys young men boarded trains bound for training camps and women formed Red Cross Auxiliary units in order to do their part. Frank von Borstels World War I Diary in Sherman County: For The Record #1-2 and Loy Cochrans 1919 letter to his father from Germany in For The Record #10-1 offer personal and sobering accounts of their experiences.
World War II
World War II stories written by veterans and their families include accounts of action in the Pacific, Europe and Africa, the Merchant Marine and Home Front support activities. Second generation Isami Tsubota and his family, uprooted from their Maryhill farm during the war and then displaced by the waters behind The Dalles Dam, established businesses in Biggs Junction.
Foreign wars continues to have an impact on Sherman County. The Korean conflict was based on the division between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north and the Republic of Korea in the south, both of which claimed to be the government of the whole country.
The Vietnam War was a war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975 and cast a shadow across Sherman County. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies and the South Vietnamese army was supported by the United States, Philippines and other anti-communist allies.
Sherman County Historical Museum volunteers and editors of Sherman County: For the Record produced a permanent exhibit, Patriotism: Pride and Anguish, to honor Sherman County’s fallen, veterans, and the American Legion post members who donated the building in 1982 for use as a museum. At the center of an exhibit that displays military artifacts is a round table where visitors may study veterans’ stories in binders. Learn more through their stories.
I will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. It is not the Constitution as I would like to have it, but as it is, that is to be defended. The Constitution will not be preserved & defended until it is enforced & obeyed in every part of every one of the United States. It must be so respected, obeyed, enforced and defended, and let the grass grow where it may. ― Abraham Lincoln