Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
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|Pvt. Elwood Digby Colton
7th Anti-Aircraft Battery, Coast Artillery Corps.
March 10, 1897 - October 24, 1918
During the heat of the conflict many opportunities presented themselves of escaping death, or at least undue exposure, by a slight flinching from danger. Elwood Digby Colton, however, not only did his duty faithfully, but in a beautiful spirit of self sacrifice and altruism faced danger while helping those who were in distress. He was born March 10, 1897. When he completed his primary education at the Harlan Avenue School, he attended the local high school for two years. After leaving school he was employed by the Fischer Bros. Grocery. Later he accepted a position with the Rumford Baking Powder Co., of Chicago. In July, 1916, he returned home and two months later he enlisted in the army. In October he was sent to Jefferson Barracks, and on November 3, 1916, he was transferred to Ft. Barrancas, Florida, where he was assigned to the Medical Department of the Post Hospital. In July, 1917, he was transferred to the Regimental Infirmary, Fifty~sixth Infantry, Chattanooga, Tenn. In September, 1917, he was assigned to an Ambulance Company at Camp Greenleaf. In February, 1918, he was transferred to Fort Cas~well, N.C. In May he was sent to Camp Mills, and was assigned to the anti-aircraft service. On June 10, 1918, Colton sailed for France, and arrived at Brest ten days later. A few days later he went to Langres where he remained but two days. After a visit to Paris, he received a special course of training near St. Denis. On August 25, 1918, he left for the front. His battery was divided into two sections. He went to Pont-a-Mousson. His spirit of self sacrifice prompted him to go back to the hospital at St. Julian to see the wounded boys, and give them all the help he could. For this altruistic spirit the boys were proud of him. The trip from Friancourt to Verdun lasted four days and nights. Many of his comrades suffered from the Spanish Influenza. Colton ministered to their wants, and further endeared himself in their hearts. His unselfishness ultimately proved fatal to him. As a victim of the Spanish Influenza he was brought to Base Hospital No. 18 at Bazoilles. The epidemic developed into broncho-pneumonia. For the last two days oxygen was used, but he did not recover. He died October 24, 1918. Two days later he was buried in the American Military Cemetery No.6, Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, Department of Vosges. The grave is situated on a slope between the woods and the Meuse River. Many tributes were paid to his heroism by men with whom he came in contact during his long experience in service. Comrade Allison of Hendersonville, N. C., said of him: "He died a brave and true soldier and comrade." A letter from Captain Ladd said: "Private Colton was attached to my battery as medical attendant, and was one of my most faithful and dependable men. He came to his death through exposure in attending his sick comrades." _____ Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record, Compiled by Heiman Blatt, Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920 pp45-47.
April 15, 1998