Friday, August 29, 2014

round WWI dog tags of Mt. Pleasant man



Here's something interesting to think about over Labor Day weekend.

We recently received a cart full of various materials related to Isabella County (Mich.) history. One of the folders documents Harrison H. Saylor. He was born in 1896 in Mount Pleasant (Mich.), the son of Catherine and Henry. Harrison served in WWI, playing in the Army band with the rank of Musician first class. He served about a year in France. Later , Harrison graduated from optometry school in Chicago . He practiced in Detroit until he retired in 1968. Harrison was a Shriner, 1918-1981. He played various horns for them. He also played the cornet in 1917 in the Republic Band in Alma and for the American Legion. He married Gladys Williams in 1932. They never had children. He died in 1981 and she was still alive in 1998 at the age of 97.

front of tag with his name

The collection includes photographs of Harrison and his family, biographical information, and his WWI dog tags.
They are round, not the elliptical shape from WWII. Dog tags evolved with wars. I remember reading that in the Civil War men pinned their names to their uniforms in the hope that someone would identify them if they were killed, bury them with a headstone of some sort, and notify their families.
back of tag with his ID#


both tags on a cloth strip

One of the  images is unusual. It is of Harrison and his unit, presumably all musicians, with their sleeves still rolled up having just been inoculated prior to begin shipped to France. Some are pointing to the inoculation spot/scar.

just inoculated, Harrison is on the far right
We have a few WWI collections at the Clarke, but not many. One of my favorites includes a beautiful scrapbook of a U.S. Army Corps nurse Harriet M. Huebel.

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