Irvin I. Cruts (1918/01/15)
Mrs. Cruts' soldier boy was buried tenderly "Over There."
Irvin I. Cruts was born in Stewartsville, New Jersey, to Mr. and Mrs. Reuben H. Cruts on August 13, 1888. He remained in Warren County where he spent his formative years and attended local schools. After completing his education, he worked at a cement plant near his home as a craneman on a steam shovel.
Desiring adventure, Cruts traveled through Canada and into the Western United States, finally settling in Santa Cruz, California. In Santa Cruz, Cruts worked on a dairy farm near Arana Gulch. When the dairy went out of business, he found work at the Portland Cement Plant in Davenport as a millwright.
With the outbreak of World War I, Irvin intended to enlist but chose to be drafted with his friends in order that they might remain together. Private Cruts who was described as short and stout with brown eyes and dark hair was sent to Camp Lewis, Washington, for training and then ordered to Camp Mills in Hempstead, New York, for over-seas assignment. While awaiting shipment to Europe in December 1917, Cruts visited home for the last time.
Upon arrival in England Irvin wrote his mother indicating that he was feeling well except for a slight cold. When he reached France, that slight cold had developed into pneumonia and on January 15, 1918, Private Irvin I. Cruts was found dead. A newspaper reporter interviewed his mother in New Jersey and she shared a final touching message of his service life and death.
"I'm proud my brave boy was in the service of his country when he died. He was proud of his uniform. He loved his country, and he made himself a good soldier. He told me some of the men hated to be in the army, but he said he found it best to be cheerful, to do everything willingly, and to make the best of a rough life. When he was here in December, he said every American young man must prepare to do all in his power to make America win this war. He didn't grumble when he didn't get his pay on time, when he had to sleep in tents during the cold weather, and when he had short rations, as he often had in traveling and at certain camps. He was a soldier through and through and that's why he was sent abroad ahead of some who were drafted at the same time in Santa Cruz, California. I am sure they will bury him tenderly over there. I'd like him brought back home, but that may not be. He's there for America and that's some consolation."
Mrs. Cruts' "Soldier Boy," Irvin, is buried in the Meuse- Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.
(WWIDR; ABMC; SCSn January 31, 1918 8:3)