BY THE TIME America joined the war in April 1917, Harvey Ellsworth Lonabaugh was already a seasoned soldier. A member of the Wyoming National Guard since 1908, he had already served on the Mexican Border, fighting the forces of Pancho Villa in 1916 and 1917. After the Guard was nationalized into the 148th Field Artillery, Harvey - now Major Lonabaugh - was sent straight to France.
Born in Wyoming in 1891, Harvey was a graduate of Sheridan High school, the Culver Military Academy, and the University of Nebraska. Like his father, Ellsworth Eugene Lonabaugh, Harvey went to work as a lawyer.
Following his discharge, Harvey returned to Sheridan, resumed his law career, and was elected county attorney in 1920. Still active in the Army Reserve Corps, Harvey represented Wyoming at the Army War College at Washington D.C., in 1923. Sadly, utilizing his service pistol, he took his own life in January 1924, in his Manhattan (New York) hotel suite. He is buried in Sheridan.
The following letter was printed in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise in May 1918.
State Historic Site
(From "In the World War")
I have not heard from you for some time, but as I have been traveling all over France in the last month, it is no wonder.
I have been ordered to the front and am up there now awaiting assignment. I do not know the new unit to which I am assigned, so cannot give my new address. I doubt if you will hear from me very often now as we are very busy here, especially while the Boches [a derogatory term for a German soldiers] are putting on the big show with the British.
I am away from all of the old gang now, and know no one up here.
The scene up here is entirely different from my old station. Here you see war and action on every side. I heard my first guns yesterday. Gas seems to be the most dangerous thing they have to cope with, outside of their heavy attacks. I have not received my gas masks yet, but will get some soon, I expect.
It is very rainy and muddy now and not at all the kind of day one would choose for a walk or ride.
From The Sheridan Daily Enterprise: "In a postscript, the writer adds that he has just received his orders to go to the front and that all of his officers think him lucky."