|Charles C. Nelson of Sherburne
County, in uniform in service WWI
From SHC photo collections:
April marks the century anniversary of United States involvement in World War One. On April 6, 1917 Congress declared war against Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and their allies. In the coming year, no doubt, a number of historians will commemorate the war activities of the United States.
For Sherburne County, the war began earlier than April 1917. As part of the Minnesota National guard, in 1916, young men from Sherburne County served as border guards in Texas and New Mexico. The escapades of Pancho Villa along the Mexico-Texas border led to the stationing of National guardsmen all along the border. General John “Black Jack” Pershing commanded Minnesota Guardsmen ordered into national service in July 1916. Some historians maintain the United States eventually would enter the European war. The work on the Mexico border served as training for the European theater.
The Minnesota Guard served for less than a year in New Mexico before they returned home. Almost immediately after their return to Sherburne County, the guardsmen were called into service in France. Additionally, in 1917 and 1918, more than 100 young men received the draft call for service in World War I. The war also impacted the home front, with rationing, Red Cross activities, and other programs to support the war.
Sherburne County entered World War One before the actual declaration of war in April 1917. As the year 2017 progresses, we will commemorate and honor the county and the events during this traumatic period.