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Adams County had 1,074 men and 12 women in the military in World War I, 53 of whom died while in service, becoming Gold Star soldiers. During this war, the practice of displaying a flag with a blue star was begun to signify that a family member was fighting in the war; when a soldier died, the blue star was changed to a gold star. The term “Gold Star” soldier came to represent a member of the service who died during a time of conflict, and is still in use today.

Adams County’s Gold Star soldiers were described in a book published in 1921 by Percy S. Eichelberger and Paul L. Foulk entitled Adams County in the World War: April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918. A copy of this book came to my possession from my mother, Rena Bower Young, a niece of Paul Foulk and his wife Mary Bower Foulk, whose families were from Adams County (Foulk from Mt. Pleasant Township and Bower from New Oxford). Mary was the younger sister of my mother’s father, Chester Allen Bower. They also had an older brother, two older sisters, and a younger brother, Charles Edward Bow-er (called Charlie). Both Chester and Charlie served in the Great War; Chester with the Army’s 79th Division at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France (September to November 1918), and Charlie with Medical Supply Depots at Camp Merritt (New Jersey) and Camp Mills (New York). Chester survived the war and returned to New Oxford in 1919. Charlie perished from the influenza pandemic while stationed at Camp Mills in October 1918. Thus, the Bowers of New Oxford were a Gold Star family. [excerpt]