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In Memoriam

“(To Jett Falls, our one-time pupil)

“Somewhere in France, where duty led,
“He fills a patriot grave.
“The lark sings high above his head,
“Only the lark knows the hallowed bed,
“Where lies our soldier brave.
“Sacred the ground where a soldier sleeps,
“Who came at his country’s call.
Onward the tide of battle sweeps,
Only the lark o’er his bosom weeps,
Yet he gave to the world his all.”
Author not named.[1]

“Jett FALLS Formal Portrait” [5]

Jett (Jetty; Johnny) FALLS (June 16, 1889 Cushman, Independence County, Arkansas, USA[2] – Nov. 5 or 6, 1918 France[3, 4]), son of Solomon FALLS Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) JOHNSON.

Medium height & build, reads Jett’s WW I Draft Registration Card dated June 5, 1917; with blue eyes and black hair.[2]  Employer at the time, the “Honey Grove Cotton Oil Co.” — aka the Lamar [County] Cotton Oil Company, Paris, Texas, where Jett works as a day laborer at the [one word, can’t read]-mill.[2]

The official Washington, D. C., telegram sent Jett’s father Solomon Falls, dated 5:14 p.m., Nov. 5, 1918, gives Jett’s death date as Nov. 6th.[3]

The Telegram From Washington [3]

A 1919 letter of sympathy from M. M. Hoffman, Jr., the Chaplain of Jett’s Division, the 359th, informs Solomon FALLS that Jett was killed at the Meuse-Verdun Sector on Nov. 5th.[4]  (No information is given as to the specifics of Jett’s death.)  A handwritten note at the bottom of the letter adds, “He is buried in this sector with a number of his companions and has a cross at his grave.”

FALLS, Jett_Lttr fr military informing his parents he's dead_Portal To Texas History

The Letter From The Chaplain [4]

Then there is the death date on Jett’s grave marker at Restland Cemetery in Roxton, Lamar County, Texas, USA, where he was later re-buried:  it reads a confusing Nov. 2, 1918.[6]  I account for the differences between the first two as perhaps, time zones??  But I don’t know how to account for the Restland Cemetery grave marker date… (?)

Reads Jett’s hometown obituary:

“Information came to Mr. and Mrs. Bud Falls last night from the War Department that their son, Jett Falls, had been killed in action, having met his death on the field of battle November 6, five days before the end of the fighting.

“Jett Falls entered the service early in the summer of last year and went to Camp Travis. Mastering the soldier’s trade, he was assigned to duty as bayonet instructor and was thus engaged when the German threat at the French capital hastened the movement overseas of America’s youg army. He was a member of Company E, 359th Infantry, a regiment of the Ninetieth division, and went to France with that now famous unit.

“Those of us who knew and loved Jett Falls, with his quiet, unassuming manner and unfailing devotion to duty are filled with sorrow, and sympathy for his stricken parents and relatives.”[1]

Photos of Jett Falls in Europe during the actual war:

“Jett FALLS By A Tunnel” [7]

“Private Jett FALLS By Public Walkway” [8]

Jett may have been a Private at the time of the above photo, but a New York newspaper has him as a Corporal at the time of his death:

PERSHING ARMY CASUALTIES
“The Globe And Commercial Advertiser, New York, Tuesday, December 17, 1918.”

“Corporals”
6th name down:
“Falls, J., Roxton, Texas”[1]

While hoping the reader isn’t o.d.-ing on all this material, the following Roxton newspaper piece, from the time of Jett’s re-burial there, is such a heart-breaker 😥 that I simply couldn’t exclude it…

“On the same evening, just after the corpse of the fair child was laid in the silent city of the dead, a flag-draped casket from foreign shores, was brought to Roxton Cemetery and Jett Falls, son of Mr. & Mrs. Solomon Falls of Paris, was laid to rest in the soil from which he went to die on a far-flung battlefield at his country’s call.  We told of Jett’s life and death when the news that he had fallen in France reached us but we feel constrained to repeat that he had been a pupil of the writer in years agone and we loved him for his manliness, his obedience, his studiousness and we grieve with his heart-broken parents and brothers and sisters and all who loved him that his young life was the price of his sacrifice to America’s needs.  Rev. Long held a brief service at the cemetery here though the funeral was held at the home of his parents in Paris.  His mother ws prostrated under the renewed grief and was unable to attend his burial.  His brothers and one sister were here and a host of friends and neighbors of the family in Paris came out with the casket.  One sister, Mrs. Bill Smith, remained with her mother and Mrs. Joe Griffin accompanied her father to the last sad rites.  May God temper the winds to the shorn lambs of His fold and make this grief less poignant with Time, the healer of all life’s ills.”[1]

Jett FALLS’ Texas Grave Marker  —  Inscription:  “A precious one from us has gone.  A voice we loved is stilled.  A place is vacant in our home  Which never can be filled.  God in his wisdom has recalled the boon his love had given.  And though the body slumbers here, the soul is safe in heaven.”[6]

Rest in peace soldier. You’re not forgotten.
___

This Falls-surname line — part of my ancestry & collateral kin via my paternal great-grandmother Alta Maria FALLS, wife of Great-Grandpa Granville Smith GREGER — is often hypothesized by fellow researchers to have Scottish origins, but:  with my recent Ancestry.com DNA results of “64% Scandinavia, 15% Great Britain, 9% Ireland” (along with six other “Trace Region” amounts of from 1-to-5%), I say it’s Irish. 🙂  Just my two cents on the matter. 😉  [Jett’s blue eyes & black hair?  Irish, I declare. 😀 ]
___
ENDNOTES

1. “Newspaper Clippings Relating to Jett Falls Death,” clipping, date unknown; ( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3177/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

2. “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” “Jett Falls,” Texas, Lamar County, Ancestry.com at http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=6482&h=16457679&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=180018248833&usePUB=true , accessed July 23, 2016.

3. “Western Union Telegram to Soloman Falls,” letter, date unknown;( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3188/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

4. “Letter Informing Soloman Falls of Jett Fall’s Death,” letter, 1919;( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3186/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

5. “Jett Falls Formal Portrait,” photograph, date unknown; ( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3192/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

6. FindAGrave.com memorial no. 17725812, “Jett Falls,” at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=FAL&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GSst=46&GScntry=4&GSsr=1641&GRid=17725812& , accessed July 23, 2016.  Photo of grave marker used here, contributed to FindAGrave by Deanne (Hardy) McKinney.

7. “Jett Falls by a Tunnel,” photograph, date unknown; ( texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3189/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

8. “Private Jett Falls by Public Walkway,” photograph, date unknown; ( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3191/m1/1/?q=FALLS : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.
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