St. Louis Brothers: Oliver and Archibald (Archie) Vie

Contributed by Jim Brasher, of Albuquerque, NM

Archie and Oliver Vie were two brothers who were born in St Louis to Harrison Alfred and Mary Dunn Vie; Oliver in 1886 and Archie Dec 18, 1888. They were from a large family whose parents emigrated from England circa 1869 with another Vie brother named William Vie. This large family consisted of six sisters and two brothers all of which were born in St Louis. Because of the war, their family always felt they were deprived of a continuation of the family name. Neither Oliver or Archie ever married. But the patriotism in the Vie sisters never died or failed and grew even stronger over the years, which they passed down to us.

William Vie also produced a large family and contributed a sacrifice to Americas war effort. This sacrifice was, Fred Vie, and like Oliver Vie, has his name inscribed on the Black Marble monument at Soldiers Memorial at 14th and Pine in downtown St Louis. 

Both Oliver and Archie were living at 810 La Beaume Street with their sister Grace Ashton when they entered the army. (This is now a fire station) Oliver was a five year veteran by the time Archie was inducted in 1917. Oliver was sent to the Texas-Mexico border after he enlisted in 1913 and wrote many exciting letters home to his sister Grace which have been preserved by Grace's descendants, Leslie Cantu and Christine Overbeck. These ladies plan to contribute Oliver's letters to the San Jacinto National Monument in Texas due to their historic content. Oliver's letters were full of lynching's, Texas Rangers, western shoot outs, train raids, murder, ranch raids and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. But there was always a compassion he felt for the little guy, such as the Mexican Peon. The letters indicate that Oliver had been promoted to sgt by 1917 and he was preparing to be shipped overseas. 

By Jan 30, 1918 a letter was sent from Paris with a sensor's name on it and it was later discovered that Oliver had been committed to combat action in Belleau woods near Soisson, France. Oliver was in the very first group of Americans sent to France to fight in World War One and he believed that the Germans were causing the unrest along the Mexican border to keep America out of the war. It was March 13, 1919 when sister Grace received a letter from the International Red Cross, after interviewing some of Oliver's comrades, that in part read; "We affectionately called him General. I last saw him July 19th at Soissons. We were advancing at the time. Vie was at an observation post looking for a man by the name of Grant whom he found dead. He, Vie, was wounded in the neck. I have not heard of him since." Other letters indicate that Oliver, instead of reporting to an aid station, continued to fight on and was later killed by an artillery barrage.

A letter home dated May 15, 1918, from Oliver, says that he had heard that Archie is now in Paris and hopes to see him. There is no indication that the two brothers ever met in France before Oliver was killed. Archie was sent to an undisclosed location in France where his unit was heavily gassed and where he experienced the true horrors of war. He served from June 3, 1917 to April 26, 1919. This battle hardened soldier became a victim of what was then called "Shell Shock." He was laid to rest, not too far from his brother Oliver, at Jefferson Barracks on August 13, 1966. Archie spent the majority of his life in a Veterans Hospital in Danville, Illinois after he returned home from war. (1923 to 1966)

Oliver Vie was killed in Action on July 18, 1918 during the battle for Belleau Woods near Soissons, France  Oliver was assigned to the 26th Infantry-1st Division-Company K and lies at rest at Jefferson barracks. (Oliver is pictured at right.)


Archie Vie, like his brother Oliver, also served in France during WW1 but was not killed in action. Archie served in the Artillery and was gassed at an undisclosed location and returned to St Louis in 1919. This soldier came home both physically and mentally destroyed. It was called "Shell Shock" and caused Archie to spend the remainder of his life in a VA hospital. During WW1 Archie was assigned to "Battery C-18 Fld Arty-3rd div." Archie, too, lies at rest at Jefferson Barracks.

 

(Archie is pictured at left)
Images and information contributed by Jim Brasher, of Albuquerque, NM, grandnephew of Archie and Oliver Vie. He is the grandson of their sister, Mabel Vie.

 

 

See also Jim Brasher's story about Archie's and Oliver's sister, Mabel Vie (that married two World War I soldiers).

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