Tender Tribute Paid to John McLean, Who Died in Action

Emmett Index, June 27 1918

Saturday's papers gave the name of John McLean of Pearl in the casualty list - the first of Gem county's soldiers to give his life for the cause of human freedom. He was the third son of Mrs. Dave McLean, one of the old settlers of Pearl, but who moved to Boise a short time ago after the death of her husband. He was 18 years and 7 months old. He enlisted in the marines at Portland, Ore., April 26, 1917, and arrived in France February 27 of this year. His last letter home is dated May 10, and in it he told of being transferred from the 120th to the 8th company of the U.S. marines. He was having a fine time and was well pleased with the service and his prospects. It is assumed he went to the front soon after that and fell fighting in one of the fierce marine actions of the past few days. He is survived by his mother, six brothers and one sister. One of his brothers, Kenneth, is in the army, in Battery B of field artillery.

The following tribute, written by F. B. Turner of Pearl, represents the sentiments of the people in that section and gives the stranger an impression of the fine manly young man that he was: "This whole community was shocked and a realization of the war was brought to us in Saturday's casualty list. John McLean, light-hearted, laughing, happy John, was listed as killed in action. Raised from infancy here, he left us one short year ago and enlisted in the marines. He was home on a furlough in October to see his parents and friends. Little did we think as we gathered at the farewell party given in his honor and saw his bright, eager face and the manly soldierly bearing he presented in his country's uniform that we would soon by mourning his loss - a victim of the Prussian murderers - and the thought comes to us, "Who will be next?"

"A mere handful of people residing in the hills, we have on our honor roll - all of whom resided here or as boys attended our school - one drafted man and 14 volunteers. Twelve of them are in France, an honor roll of which we are proud. We have answered the government's calls and over-subscribed our quotas. But how trivial seems our part in comparison with the sacrifice this 18 year old boy has made for his country! And if there are any of us who have not given what we could - given until it hurts - how small they must have felt as they, "Killed in action," this boy John McLean!

"The heartfelt sympathy of the entire community goes out to his bereaved mother in this her double sorrow - the loss of her boy and his father within the last five months - and we hope and pray that another son who is in the signal corps in France may be returned to her safe and may John's sacrifice act as a boomerange and goad all who knew him to redouble their efforts in all that is required of us to help win the war for liberty and humanity, so that his sacrifice shall have not been in vain.

Good-bye, John.



Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise attributed, all photos and text are the property of Gem County Historical Society

Serving Gem County since 1973.

Hours
Wednesday - Saturday 1:00pm - 5:00pm & by appointment    ::    Extended hours during The Cherry Festival in June.