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Write of the Death of
Joe Stephens

Contributed by Jim Reavis

Letters from France tell he fell like a hero Northwest of Verden

             Details of the death of Joseph Van Stephens, who gave his life for liberty and for his country, fighting in France, have reached Mr. And Mrs. Arthur Scott, with whom he made his home many years.  Mrs. C. C. Horn of Pilot Rock, received two letters from France, one from the captain of the soldier’s company, and the other from the chaplain, and both letters have been sent to Mr. Scott.

            Mr. Stephens was graduated from the Enterprise high school and received a scholarship at Whitman college.  Walla Walla, which he attended until he was called to the army.  He cam back to Enterprise to report fro service, and was accepted at Camp Lewis, May 3, 1918.  The report of his death reached here early in December, and it was thought he had fallen Oct. 1.  Corrected information is that he was killed Sept. 30.

            The letter from Capt. Walter Brinkop, maching gun company, 364th follows:

            Corporal Joseph V. Stephens, who was a member of this company, was killed on September 30, 1918 (correct date of death), at a point about 1500  SOMETHING GOES HERE

            Corporal Stephens was an ideal soldier.  He was like by his comrades and officers, and the latter repose great trust and confidence in him and witnessed by his warrant as Corporal.  He was never found wanting, but served faithfully in the battles and shedding of that historic offensive until he fell in action.  We are all proud of your brother and our other men who made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of Liberty and Justice.  We believe you, too, should be proud, and you should feel compensated in a slight degree for you great loss in knowing that he died fighting for those high ideals and in the greatest battle in the history of the world.

            Chaplain Bryant Wilson of the regiment wrote as follows:

            I write to you as the Chaplain of the 300th Infantry concerning the death of your brave brother who has given his life for the cause of democracy and righteousness.  The representative of the Red Cross, who is attached to or regiment, made a special effort to get the death story of each man and he undoubtedly has written you.  It will be some comfort to you to know, not only that your brother died the heroic death of a soldier of freedom, but that he was given a Christian burial and was tenderly laid to rest with a religious service in which tribute was paid to his unselfish sacrifice and the blessing of Almighty God was invoked on behalf of him, his dear ones and the cause for which he gave the last full measure of devotion, also after the Division was relieved from the line appropriate memorial services were held in which tribute was paid by all his comrades to his unselfish sacrifice.  From such honored death we who are living take increased devotion to our victorious cause.

   All graves were carefully marked and the records turned in to the Graves Registration Headquarters, S. O. S. France, which will be your source of information.  All personal effects were by order turned over to the nearest quartermaster, who will sooner or later communicate with you.

   It has been my desire since the battle to communicate to you the high esteem in which your brother was held and our pride that he was a member of our regiment, but our Division has been in such constant movement that I have found it impossible until now.

   The deeds in which your brother took such an honorable part will be written large on the pages of history and future generations shall rise up and call him blessed because of his unselfish giving of his life for the redemption of this world from injustice and barbarity.  And you at home share in this high and sacrificial honor.

   May God, the source of all grace and consolation, be your constant comfort and stay.

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