POST 202 HISTORY - Herbert Williams
Herbert Williams, son of W. P and J. A. Williams, was born September 18, 1895. His comrades in arms in WW I thought highly of him and his heroic actions as the inscription on his grave marker states: “Enlisted in the World War June 2, 1917. It is one’s privilege to say of this modest and unassuming youth, whose mortal remains rest here, that in his courageous sacrifice at the head of his Division in the Argonne, closed the service of a perfect soldier, bringing a never to be forgotten honor to his organization, those of his blood and to his community. A Comrade.”
“Herbert Williams, for whom the American Legion Post #202 of Columbia, Missouri, was named, was a Missouri National Guardsman. He was killed in action September 30, 1918. Williams was a member of Company F, of the 139th Infantry Regiment. He died a hero during the fourth day of the Argonne Offensive. Williams was killed in action while rushing a machine gun nest. This action took place near the French village of Exermont.
The body of Herbert Williams was returned to Columbia, October 12, 1921. The interment of the body took place in the Goshen Cemetery, after an impressive military service at the University of Missouri, October 17, 1921. Some of the prominent people who participated in this memorial funeral were: Dr. J. C. Jones, Acting President of the University of Missouri; Rev. J. D. Randolph, Chaplain of the Herbert Williams Post #202; General Peter Traub, Commanding General of the 35th Infantry Division, of which Herbert Williams was a member at the time of his death; Governor Henry Allen of Kansas; and Governor Arthur M. Hyde of Missouri. (A Brief History of the American Legion Herbert Williams Post Number 202 compiled in 1969 by Buell B. Cramer, Post Historian.)
“You can’t say too much for Herbert Williams when speaking of the boys who did their part. He will measure up with any of the boys in the A. E. F. [American Expeditionary Force], according to his comrades. He was no picture show here but a real one. His body now lies closest to the front at the Argonne. He died with his hand on his automatic peppering the Germans as fast as he could shoot.” (Source unknown but possibly the Evening Missourian, Columbia, Missouri 1918)
According to another article, probably also the Evening Missourian, the 139th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Division was originally made up entirely of volunteers from Boone County.
Note: his body was not returned to the United States until October 1921. His gravesite is in Goshen cemetery south west of Ashland. This is a beautiful site across from Goshen Primitive Baptist Church on a hillside above the Missouri River.
Directions: From Columbia Take US-63 South and take the Ashland exit. Turn right onto Broadway for 1 mile. Broadway will turn into Route M. Stay on Route M for 7 miles. Take a left at the bottom of the hill on West Cedar Tree Lane. Note: You will pass East Cedar Tree Lane before arriving in Wilton (do not take this road).
The membership of Post 202 should be proud that our Post is named after such a genuine American hero.
Herbert Williams American Legion Post 202
3669 Legion Lane
Columbia, MO 65201