It was 100 years ago today the the Bloomer Advance informed it readers of the death of Martin A. Treptow. The full announcement from the Thursday, Sept. 26, 1918 issue is below, and is followed by a letter from a close comrade that ran in the Oct. 3, 1918 Advance issue.
Martin A. Treptow Makes The Great Sacrifice On French Battle Field
Word was received here on Friday noon that Martin A. Treptow had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on the battlefields of France. He was killed in action on July 29. Martin was serving as a private in Co. M, 168th Inf., 84th Brigade, 42nd Division, known as the Rainbow Division, having enlisted from Cherokee, Iowa. This division has been in the thickest of the fight and the battle in which Martin lost his life will be recorded in history as one of the most important of the war.
Martin Treptow was born in the town of Eagle Point in January 1894. He grew to manhood in this community and was working at Cherokee, Iowa, last summer. When the call came for volunteers he enlisted on July 15, 1917 and landed in France with his regiment in the early part of December. His parents received their first letter from him from France on Christmas day. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Treptow, one sister, Mrs. Jos. Gehring of this village, and three brothers, Albert, a soldier in a Texas army cantonment, Arthur of Baraboo and Clarence, who is still at home.
The Cherokee, Iowa, Democrat, is speaking of his death, copies the following from the Saturday Blade:
On the day the Yanks went across the Ourcq and up the hill, Private M.A. Treptow of Iowa ran his last race from to the battalion. He had almost reached his goal when a machine gun dropped him.
Later, in the pocket of his blouse, they found his precious diary. On its first page he had written something that many of his company has since copied into his own diary. It was this:
“America shall with war;
Therefore I will work;
I will save,
I will sacrifice,
I will endure,
I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the whole issue of the struggle depended on me alone.”
Treptow had called this “My Pledge” and thereto he had subscribed his name.
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The following letter was received by the Albert Treptow family the past week from Wm. J. Klema, Co. M, 168th Inf., who was with Martin Treptow when the latter was killed in action in France on July 29. Mr. Klema was “Trep’s” chum while in the service and the information regarding the details of the tragedy will be of interest to his friends in Bloomer:
Somewhere in France,
Aug. 13, 1918
Dear Friends: I don’t know if anyone else has written to you people or not, but Martin and I were very close friends and we often told one another that if anything ever happened to either of us, the other would write home.
I extend to you people my most heartfelt sympathy and so do all the other boys of the company. You should be the proudest people on earth, for Martin was an ideal and very honorable man and died the most honorable death a man can die. I know it is very, very hard for you but am sure that you are brave and that you look at the better side. No man can do more for his country and one can give more than you people gave.
Martin was widely known and well liked by all. Everyone always had a glad hand or a cheerful “hello” for “Trep” as he was usually called.
We became acquainted at Cherokee, Ia., when he enlisted there. Last winter we were bunkmates. Martin told me so much of his home and you that I feel like I know you. He often told me, “Bill, as soon as I set foot on American soil, I am going home.” Sometimes when we were not so very well fed or when it was cold and we had no warm place to go, he would say, “Bill, I wish you and I were sitting at mother’s table and feeling the heat of father’s fire.”
Martin was a fine soldier and not once do I know of when he was in trouble. He was killed while running with a message and had nearly reached his destination. It was a very dangerous job but he did it without a murmur and seemed to be glad to be able to do such an important thing.
I know it will help you to know that he did not suffer the least as he was killed instantly by a large shell which struck right at his feet.
He is buried along the side of several other comrades. A small wooden cross is at the head of his grave which is neatly mounded up. Flowers were placed on his grave. His grave will be taken care of and if it is ever in my power I shall do all can to make it look well.
I am not sure just now what became of all his personal belongings but if you people want to know anything about him or if there is anything you would wish me to do, I will be more than pleased to help you and I want you to feel that you are not putting me out in anything you ask.
I only hope you people will look at the best side of it and be proud. It is very hard for you, I know, but you can have the satisfaction of knowing that your son and brother was a most honorable fellow.
PVT. WM. J. KLEMA,
Co. M, 168th Inf.