Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
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|Pvt. Cleveland Hicks
Co. B, 333rd Infantry, 84th Division
July 8, 1894 - November 4, 1918
Although Cleveland Hicks entered the service from Evansville he traveled extensively throughout the South until he was a youth of sixteen. He was born in DeKalb County, Alabama, July 8, 1894. The family moved to Nashville, Tenn., Boonsville, Miss., Birmingham, Ala., and several other towns in Alabama. In the South, Cleveland Hicks worked in cotton mills. When he came to Evansville six years before he entered the service, he worked in a local cotton mill for a short time, and then he was employed in furniture factories. He belonged to the local furniture labor union, and the Salvation Army. He entered service June 25, 1918, and was sent to Camp Sherman, Ohio. He was assigned to Co. B, 333rd Infantry. In September he went to New Jersey, and then sailed for France. There he was afflicted with the influenza which developed broncho-pneumonia. His illness lasted but a few days. He died in Base Hospital No.42, November 4, 1918, and was buried in France. The following letter of comfort was sent to his mother: "You have no doubt received a cable telling you about the death of your son in our hospital here. I know that many questions will arise during these dark days and I want to answer a few of them. Your boy came to us suffering from a had attack of the influenza. It soon developed into pneumonia and in spite of all the tender care of nurses and doctors, he passed away at 6:40a.m., Nov. 4. It is hard to have loved ones pass away when they are so far from home. One keeps thinking and wondering about his care and those who comforted him. It certainly is a comfort to me to be able to assure you that no boy ever had more skillful attention in his own home. And the nurses and doctors as well as all the rest of us love these boys and give them all that it is possible and well for them to have. "Your son had a military burial. The casket was covered with the flag he loved and died for. Six of his comrades carried him out. At the grave the Chaplain, who had comforted him when he was ill, conducted the service while all the soldiers stood at attention about the grave. Then we lowered the casket and the bugler sounded taps. A little cross with his name and number was raised and then we left him to sleep with his comrades all about. There is no more fitting place for a soldier to sleep than in this friendly French valley with those who fought with him for freedom. "The cemetery is on the sunny slope of a quiet hill. Above the slope is a forest of trees turning brown and gold in the autumn crispness. Below are green meadows dotted with herds tended by little children. These little children love our brave boys too, and stand at attention with their little caps in their hands when we pass them with our soldiers who have paid the price of their lives. And then lower down is the river winding along among the trees. even yet the wild flowers linger in the sheltered places-falming, red poppies and yellow mustard. "I am a representative of the Home Communication of the Red Cross and I want to do all I can for those who mourn at home as well as for the boys over here. It is a glorious, but a better thing a son to give this great cause. But since I am here I know so much better how righteous is the fight and any mother should be proud to give her boy for the FREEDOM of us all. No man could have a more beautiful death. So we sympathize with you in your sorrow and we envy you your sacrifice. May you be spared to long enjoy the freedom for which he gave his life." _____ Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record, Compiled by Heiman Blatt, Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920 pp85-86.
October 25, 1998