German Shell Explodes, Killing Brother
Left: William "Allison" Cooley was killed in action, 29 Sept 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. He was the only soldier from Lucerne, Missouri to have been killed during World War I. Right: Allison's younger brother, McCabe Cooley, served in same unit and was knocked down in same explosion that killed his brother. This loss was surely devastating, as they were not only brothers but they were also very close friends. McCabe would survive the war and live to raise a family. McCabe never spoke much of the war, although he did name a son, Allison Claude "Jack" Cooley.
Parents and Siblings:
Araminta D. Johnson and Joseph William Cooley were married March 11, 1886 in Lucerne Mo. They gave birth to seven children. The first two were daughters that died in infancy. The others were Claude, Chloe, Vernal, William Allison, and McCabe the youngest.
William Allison was born April 13, 1898, and was raised by his father and Chloe who was the oldest sister. His mother died January 22, 1902, a little more than a year after his brother McCabe was born.
McCabe Cooley was born November 22, 1899.
McCabe enlisted in the Army before his brother Allison who was a year and a half older. McCabe evidently misstated his age because he was only 17, not 18 as he indicated when enlisting on April 28, 1917.
Allison and his brother McCabe were both in the Machine gun Company 140th, Infantry, 35th Division. They were only a few feet apart when Allison fell. McCabe was knocked down by the explosion of the bomb that killed Allison, but he was able to rise and advance with his Company."
France, February 4, 1919
Joseph W. Cooley, Lucerne, Mo.
My Dear Mr. Cooley:
I am the Chaplain 140th; and have been for 18 months. I saw McCabe yesterday. He is looking well and has made a fine record. He has done his duty and in every way has been a son in whom you may well be proud.
He and William A. joined the 140th Infantry Church last September. It is an "Allied church" and means that the Christian men of the regiment are working together, and promise to report for duty their first week home at their home church.
Of the men in this church, ninety per cent were killed or wounded in the six day drive in the Meuse-Argonne, Sept. 26- Oct 1.
This shows the actively Christian men were to be depended upon, and is probably the largest percentage of causalities known, almost twice as many as were suffered by the regiment as a whole.
The little cross enclosed is given to each man and in view of the history has become a badge of honor.
William A. joined a week before he went into the Argonne. He was killed September 29, and is buried near Chaudron Farm House, with his grave plainly and regularly marked. His body will be brought home after all is over, if desired.
I am sending you his War Cross and Membership card. It will be a comfort to you to know that he went into the battle in the name of the Lord, with a heart prayerful and unafraid, and with the full determination to do his Christian duty.
I know it is hard to lose him, and that your heart is heavy. But it will be some help in bearing your burden to know that he died bravely, nobly and as a Christian who is ready to do his full duty. And God was with him in that hour. I am sure he suffered very little.
You have two splendid boys. You must think of William A. as far more alive than we are. He has laid down his life for the right. He has borne your name with honor and given it a high place in history. For these were the men who won the war and who make America what she is.
In your sorrow you must also thank God for what he has given you--two sons, brave, clean Christian gentlemen. Men to be trusted anywhere. Men with high ideals and true to them. For such a man as William A. Cooley, death has no sting, and over him no grave can have a victory. He has followed his Master in the way of sacrifice and with Him won the victory.
With deep sympathy for your sorrow, and the prayer that God may give you strength and comfort, I am
Evan A. Edwards,
Chaplain 140th Infantry
(Rector Trinity Episcopal Church, Lawrence, Kansas)
Aug 17, 1921 Article
The following was published in the Unionville Missouri Republican August 17, 1921.
"The body of William Allison Cooley who was killed in the Meuse Argonne Offensive was returned to Lucerne on August 12, 1921. Funeral services were conducted from the Methodist Church of which he was a member. Rev. W.A. Pollock preached the sermon. He was buried with full military honors by the American Legion Post at Lucerne which bears his name "Allison" as he was known to many of his friends. Enlisted on the 13th.day of the month, was in the service 13 months, was born on the 13th. day of the month and was buried of the 13th. Allison was the only Lucerne boy to lose his life in the World War."
After the War:
Allison Claude Cooley (Son of McCabe) writes, "My father McCabe told me when I was young man that he preferred the big city life rather than the small country farm life, and as I can recall he rather liked Paris France. He must have spent some time there during WW1. Shortly after WW1 he moved to San Francisco California, and found employment in a menís clothing store as a salesman. He met my mother Marie Hennequin in San Francisco, and was married there on April 4, 1920.They had two boys, Howard McCabe, and Allison Claude "Jack" Cooley. McCabe had a very good personality, and a good sense of humor. In his younger days he did a lot of deer hunting and fishing for stripped bass in the Bay Area. The last fifteen years of his life he was employed as a Theatre Manager in several different theatreís in Oakland California. At the age of 58 January7, 1958 he passed away from a heart attack. his fourth one. His doctor said that the first one should have taken him, but that he had such a strong desire to live that he would not give up, and worked to the end."
Thanks to Allison Claude "Jack" Cooley (son of McCabe Cooley), of Merlin, Oregon, who provided text and photos for this sketch.