Friederich (Fred) G. Altwasser
The Eighth Child of Gottlieb Altwasser and Euphrosine Beier
Fred Altwasser and Lottie DuggerBy Jack Milner, grandnephew of Fred Altwasser.
Friederich (Frederick) Altwasser was the eighth child of Gottlieb Altwasser and Euphrosine Beier. He was born on July 8, 1891, in Minjatin, Province of Wolhynia, Russia, arriving in Canada with his parents, one brother and two sisters on August 12, 1905. They were aboard the ship SS Dominion out of Liverpool on August 3, 1905, bound for Quebec and Montreal. The ship passenger list for that voyage contained the names of Gottlieb Altwasser, his wife Euphrosine and their four children: Julianna, Carl, Frederich and Olga. Their destination was Yellow Grass Saskatchewan.
Canadian Land Grant records show that Frederich Altwasser was granted the SE-14-7-27-W2 quarter section located just north of the town of Verwood, Saskatchewan. Under the Dominion Land Grant System in Canada, any person who was the sole head of a family, or any male over 18 years of age could homestead 160 acres of Dominion land, the entry (filing) fee being $10. Entry by proxy was possible. A homestead could be reserved for a son not yet 18 years of age.
Saskatchewan Archive file #1520882 contains the Homestead Patent application for SE-14-7-27 W2, signed by Fredrerick G. Altwasser on June 5, 1911. He was a British subject, "by my Father's Naturalization" (December 12, 1909) and had been granted entry to the property on May 15, 1908. Mr. J. Rutherford, the Local Agent of Dominion Lands in Moose Jaw, recommended the application on July 27, 1911 as being in compliance with the Dominion Lands Act. Fred stated his age as 22 years although he had not yet reached his 20th birthday.
The name of Fred Altwasser appears on a list of those applying for entry into the United States at the border crossing of Eastport, Idaho on November 13, 1912. This is his first visit to the United States and he is going to visit his sister Florence Greger in Portland, Oregon, with 87 dollars in his possession. All the other information appears to be correct, but he said his birthplace was Bresnes (Berezno), Russia and he was 22 years of age.
We know he left Canada for the first time on November 13, 1912 and had moved to Montana by October 20, 1913. He found work as a mechanic in Saco, Montana, homesteaded in the area and later moved to Albany Oregon.
Fred's Montana Homestead
If you look closely at the photograph of Fred Altwasser in his U.S. Army uniform you will be able to make out the shoulder patch of the 91st Infantry Division. He is also wearing a campaign ribbon and has a single gold "V" service stripe fixed on the lower left forearm for service in France. He participated in the St. Mihiel Offensive, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the VII Army Corps offensive which helped drive the enemy east across the Escaut River (Belgian name - Schelde River )
The 91st Infantry Division "Wild West" Division - battle cry: "Powder River! Let'er Buck!" trained at Camp Lewis from 5 September 1917 until it shipped out, on 21-24 June 1918, for France, where it served with distinction.
The 91st Division was Constituted on 5 August 1917 at Camp Lewis, Washington. The Division soon thereafter departed for England in the summer of 1918. In September 1918, the Division's first operation was in the St. Mihiel Offensive in France. Serving under the U.S. Army's V Corps, the Division fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and successfully helped to destroy the German First Guard Division and continued to smash through three successive enemy lines.
Twelve days before the end of WWI, the Division, as part of the VII Army Corps, helped drive the enemy east across the Escaut River (Belgian name - Schelde River ).
The Division was awarded separate campaign streamers for its active role in the Lorraine, Meuse-Argonne and Ypres-Lys campaigns. In 1919, the 91st was deactivated at the Presidio of San Francisco.
Frederick G. Altwasser
Served The United States of America
The Battle of St. Mihiel
When the USA declared war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) under the command of General John Pershing to the Western Front. By May 1918, there were over 500,500 US soldiers in France.
The German held St Mihiel salient was chosen for the US Army's first offensive. Pershing and 300,000 troops assembled at this sector in early September. The German High Command, aware the attack was coming, ordered a partial withdrawal of troops.
The withdrawal was still in progress when the US Army attacked on 12th September. A secondary assault, by 110,000 French troops, took place three hours later. Over 1,400 aircraft under the command of General William Mitchell, supported the advancing US and French troops. On the first day the main attack advanced 9 km to reach Thiancourt and the the French troops captured the village of Dommartin. By 16th September, the entire St Mihiel was under control.
Battles of the Meuse-Argonne
On September 26, 1918, nine American divisions and three French divisions lined up along this approximately 25 mile stretch of the western front which extended from about ten miles east of the Meuse River through the Argonne Forest to the west. The objective of the operation was to sever the German army's supply line along this front sustained by a railway that extended from Metz, France northwest to Sedan, France. An allied attack which gained control of this railway would divide the German army. Once divided, it was unlikely that Germany could continue its operations in France and Belgium. The capture of the railroad hub at Sedan would break the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders and force the enemy's withdrawal from the occupied territories.
The Meuse- Argonne campaign was the largest American military operation during the First World War and was the greatest American battle of the First World War. By the time the three hour artillery barrage concluded at 5:30 on the foggy morning of September 26, 1918, the U.S. Army had deployed more explosive power in this region than was used during the entire American Civil War. Approximately 1 million Americans participated in the Meuse-Argonne operation by the time it concluded with the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
In six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. It was a very complex operation involving a majority of the AEF ground forces fighting through rough, hilly terrain the German Army had spent four years fortifying. The bulk of the forces engaged in the initial onslaught had to be transferred from the St. Mihiel Salient ---- assaulted less than two weeks earlier ---- to a new jump off line north and northwest of Verdun. This new section of the front extended thirty miles east to west. The reshifting of forces in such a short period of time was one of the great accomplishments of the Great War. These logistics were planned and directed by Col. George C. Marshall.
Final Confrontations on the Western Front in World War I.
Following the German retreat from the Marne River in July, General Ferdinand Foch and the Allied high command designed a series of convergent and practically simultaneous offensives against the shaken German armies. One was a joint operation in the Meuse valley toward the Mézière and Sedan rail centre. The Americans proceeded west of the Meuse River, the French west of the Argonne Forest. The Americans faced the most difficult natural obstacle, the dense Argonne Forest. General John Pershing's opening surprise attack advanced 5 miles (8 km) along the Meuse River but only 2 miles (3 km) in the difficult Argonne Forest sector. Attack after attack edged deeper into the Germans' defensive position, and on the 11th day of the American offensive, the Germans recognized that they were outflanked and retreated to avoid capture. Meanwhile the French advanced steadily across the Aisne lowlands. By October 31 the American forces had advanced 10 miles (16 km), the French had advanced 20 miles (32 km), and the Argonne had been cleared of German troops.
Hard fighting continued in the Meuse-Argonne sector during October. More than 1,000,000 Americans participated in the battles. On November 10 the Allies reached Sedan and cut the rail line there. The Armistice was declared (November 11) before a final offensive against Germany itself could begin.
Ypres-Lys 19 August - 11 November 1918.
That part of the Western Front extending from the English Channel south through Ypres, and thence across the Lys River to the vicinity of Arras, was manned by an army group under King Albert of Belgium composed of Belgian, British, and French armies. In late August and early September the British Second and Fifth Armies, assisted by the American II Corps (27th and 30th Divisions), wiped out the Lys salient. When the Germans began retiring in the sector south of the Lys in October to shorten their lines, King Albert's army group attacked along its entire front. By 20 October Ostend and Bruges had been captured and the Allied left was at the Dutch frontier. In mid-October Pershing dispatched two American divisions — the 37th and 91st — to the French Army of Belgium, at Foch's request, to give impetus to the drive to cross the Scheldt (Escaut) southwest of Ghent. A general attack began in this area on 31 October and continued intermittently until hostilities ended on 11 November. The 37th Division forced a crossing of the river southeast of Heurne on 2 November and another farther north at the site of the destroyed Hermelgem-Syngem bridge on 10 November. Casualties of the two divisions in these operations totaled about 2,600. From 19 August to 11 November about 108,000 Americans participated in the Ypres-Lys Campaign.
About the Schelde River
Also spelled SCHELDT, French ESCAUT, river, 270 miles (435 km) long, that rises in northern France and flows across Belgium to its North Sea outlet in Dutch territory. Along with the Lower Rhine and the Meuse rivers, it drains one of the world's most densely populated areas. As a waterway, with its numerous branch canals and navigable tributaries, it serves an area including the agriculturally important Flanders Plain, the Belgian textile centres, the coalfields of northern France, and the industrial complex of Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing. The chief tributaries of the Schelde are the Scarpe and Lys on the left (west) bank and the Dender (or Dendre) and Rupel on the right.
91st Infantry Division Links
Fred married Charlotte (Lottie) Alma Dugger on March 17, 1923 in Vancouver, WA, USA. His Golden Wedding Anniversary announcement said they lived in Albany, Oregon until 1927 when they moved to Portland. There were no children from this marriage.
Lottie was born January 2, 1901 in Denlow. Missouri but was raised in Boring, Oregon. Her parents were John Harden Dugger, born in Kentucky and Ada Williams, born in Illinois. On October 26, 1998 Lottie was certified as a life member of the Valiant Sellwood Chapter No. 92, Order of the Eastern Star located in Portland Oregon.
1927 - 1928 Anecdote
Email from Art Domes August 7, 2000.
One event that I was told about took place in about 1927 or 1928. Fred and Lottie drove up from Portland, Oregon, to Verwood, Sask., in a Chevy touring car, (canvas curtains). As Jack said in his story, Fred was a good mechanic. He had to stop a couple of times along the way and make adjustments to the connecting rod bearings. I think they were about a week making the trip one way. I understand that they had also brought along a tent to stay in at night. I know Fred and Lottie were not alone but I can't recall who else was on the trip with them. Every time I recall that story I can only say that Fred must have been braver than Buffalo Bill. Roads for cars must have been only rutted trails in those days.
I still have a tricky little tool that Fred gave me sometime in the 1940's. It was a type of screw driver that would attach itself to a slotted screw head so that you could insert it in a hard to get at place. It still works fine.
A Fred G. Altwasser, of 6020 SE Center Street, Portland Oregon filled out an application for a Social Security account number on December 5, 1936. The J.J. THOMAS Service Shop located at 626 SE Stark employed him. The names of his mother and father were not filled in and his birth date was given as July 8, 1893 in Germany (subject to later verification). He said his age was 43 at the time of application. The Social Securities Death Index lists his birth date as July 8, 1891, which is a correct match. (NB this is a Julian calendar date) Obviously, the birth date was later verified to be July 8,1891, and perhaps the place of birth was also corrected.
Fred Altwasser was a mechanic and worked in Montana and later in a garage in Albany, Oregon, before moving to Portland. There he worked for the City of Portland as a mechanic. Marge (Johnson) Gregor knew Fred and says he was wonderful. He could fix any car. A great mechanic!
In March 1942 Fred wrote a four-page letter to his newly married nephew Julian Altwasser. His return address on the envelope was written as 2/4 W. 27.
Silver Wedding Anniversary
Golden Wedding Anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Altwasser celebrated their golden wedding anniversary March 18 with a reception for families and friends at Kern Park Christian Church. The Altwassers were married March 17, 1923, in Vancouver, Washington and lived in Albany, Oregon until 1927. They have been residents of Portland for 44 years.
On December 12, 1980, Lottie wrote this letter to her niece Alice Attwater in Canada describing the circumstances of Fred's death in 1980.
Frederick Altwasser, November 30, 1980.
July 9, 2000
Hi Jack,..........we just had a phone call tonight from Marge Gregor to let us know that Aunt Lottie (Mrs.Fred) had died on July 6, in a foster home at the age of 99. She would have been 100 years old on January 2, next. The funeral will take place on July 12.
Lottie Alma Altwasser - Obituaries Home Page - The Oregonian
A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, 2000, in Lincoln Willamette Funeral Directors for Lottie Alma Altwasser, who died July 7 at age 99. Mrs. Altwasser was born Jan. 2, 1901, in Denlow, Mo., and was raised in Boring. Her maiden name was Dugger. She was a homemaker and a member of Kern Park Christian Church. In 1923, she married Frederick Altwasser; he died in 1980.
Survivors include nieces and nephews.
Private interment will be in Lincoln Memorial Park Mausoleum. The family suggests remembrances to her church.
Memorial Card for Lottie Alma Altwasser
August 7, 2000 Hi Marge,.......... Thank you for looking after the memorium for Aunt Lottie, I
really appreciate that. Last Personal Glimpse Fred was my favourite uncle. He liked children, and I felt it was regrettable that they had none. Lottie was a pretty lady and both had nice dispositions. Fred had a little hearing impediment resulting from damage while serving in the United States Army during World War I.
August 7, 2000
Hi Marge,.......... Thank you for looking after the memorium for Aunt Lottie, I really appreciate that.
Last Personal Glimpse
Fred was my favourite uncle. He liked children, and I felt it was regrettable that they had none. Lottie was a pretty lady and both had nice dispositions. Fred had a little hearing impediment resulting from damage while serving in the United States Army during World War I.
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