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World War I: Rain Day Boys

Between July 28-29, 1918, Greene County, Pennsylvania, lost 18 young men, killed or mortally wounded on a battlefield in France during WWI. Throughout the course of the war at least 60 local soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice.

Greene County, Pennsylvania's Fallen Soldiers

Pipes grave, Suresnes American Cemetery. Photo by Candice Buchanan, 2018.

From its rolling hills where sheep flourished to its small-town bricked roads, Greene County, Pennsylvania, parted with over 1,000 soldiers and civilian volunteers who pledged to fight for freedom and democracy abroad and left home bound for the Great War. The National Guard Armory in the county seat of Waynesburg, brought the reality of war to town swiftly, as they were fast recruiting and training over 150 local boys who became part of Company K, 110th Infantry, 28th Division. Marched off to training before the end of Summer 1917, other soldiers soon followed them, spreading Greene County's citizenry across the many Commands of the American Expeditionary Forces. On July 18, 1918, at Vierzy, France, Joseph Horner Bissett, fighting with the 2nd Division, became the first Greene County soldier to fall in battle. Ten days later, between July 28 and 29, 1918, the community sustained the largest loss of life in a single battle, ever in its military history, when 18 of the hometown Company K soldiers were killed or mortally wounded in the Battle of Grimpettes Woods near the villages of Fresnes-en-Tardenois, Cierges, Courmont, and Roncheres, France. By war's end, Greene County, Pennsylvania, mourned at least 60 fallen heroes. We remember these 60 fallen here in stories and images, and tributes from those they loved. Through honoring them we aim to salute all who served in this great struggle for a greater sense of right and good round the world.

A Brief History of the Rain Day Boys (Recorded for Virtual Rain Day Festival 2020)