On October 8, 1918, Alvin C. York won the Medal of Honor, becoming the most decorated American soldier of World War I. York was an expert shot with a pistol and a rifle. He learned to shoot growing up in the mountains around Pall Mall Tennessee near Jamestown. He took out 32 German machine gun nests and killed 28 enemy soldiers. In addition, York single handedly captured 132 German POW's. This action was part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The war would last another month, ending on November 11, 1918. York was born on December 3, 1887 and died on September 2, 1964 at the VA Hospital in Nashville when I was 14. One of my favorite movies of all time is Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper. The movie has many historical inaccuracies. The battle scenes are accurate and regardless of the inaccuracies the movie captures the essence of the man. He was a true Christian in every sense of the word. He turned down the equivalent of one million dollars in today's currency for commercial endorsements. He didn't want to exploit his fame. In his mind it was blood money. His conscience told him that killing was wrong but he felt he had to kill in order to save the lives of his men. One tactic that York used to kill Germans was the same tactic he used to kill a flock of wild turkeys. He would shoot the last turkey in the flock and work his way forward. The turkeys up front were not frightened and wouldn't scatter. They were unaware that they were being picked off one at a time, rear to front. This was depicted in the movie. Besides his bolt action Springfield rifle, York also used a 1911 model 45 caliber pistol. In the movie Gary Cooper used a German Luger.
My grandmothers family, the Frogges, were from Jamestown and Pall Mall. Many of York's closest friends were Frogge's as were his worst enemies.There is a Frogge Mountain near York's home and the Frogge's are buried near York in the same cemetery. My mother-in-law Margaret Traughber Phillips was born on October 8, 1918. Her mother, Grace Traughber Brown told me that she was 16 when she delivered Margaret. Nashville's General Hospital was so crowded with flu patients that day that she delivered in the hallway. Five patients died that day. The Spanish flu was raging across Europe and the United States. Some estimates say that one third of the worlds population was wiped out by the Spanish flu pandemic. The second picture is Frogge mountain that can be seen from the York home. It was named after my great great great great grandfather Arthur Robinson Frogge. The first settler in the Valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf River was Conrad, or Coonrad Pile, the great, great, grandfather of Alvin York. Among the very first after Coonrad was Arthur, who became a friend of Coonrad, and was a combat veteran of the War of 1812, fighting in the battle of the Thames against Tecumseh.
|Artist rendition of York's heroism on October 8, 191|
|October 8, 1918, Alvin York, seen in the middle rear of the two German officers, bringing in 132 German prisoners back to the American lines. Counting York there were only 8 men guarding 132 prisoners.|
|Sgt York standing on the hill where he killed 28 Germans and captured 132|
|York in New York wearing his medals|
|Alvin and his mother Mary in Pall Mall|
|Alvin and Mary York|
|Alvin with Benjamin Butler York|
|The mountain in Pall Mall where York prayed|
|Alvin York's house in Pall Mall|
|An Alvin York Turkey shoot|
|Gary Cooper with York before the New York premier of Sgt York|
|York wetting his sights|
|York teaching his son to shoot|
|Alvin and Gracie's grave in Pall Mall|