We Will Remember Them: A Tribute to Asburians in WWI – Asbury University
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We Will Remember Them: A Tribute to Asburians in WWI

November 12, 2018

As a student worker in the Asbury University Archives, Charlotte Staudt ’21 has been researching the effects of WWI on the Asbury community. Below, she shares some of her findings.

Seventy-eight Asburians served during WWI. Pictured above is Roy. O Shehan ’17, an Academy student who fought in France.

As we observe Veteran’s Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, which brought World War I to a close, Asbury University has the opportunity to reflect on and remember the great and numerous sacrifices of those who served at home and abroad during the First World War.  

When the call for men went out in 1917, Asburians were ready to serve their country, even to the greatest sacrifice. Seventy-eight Asburians served during WWI. Four were killed: two from illness, and two were killed in action. One of them, Eugene Stuckenburg, was not an Asbury graduate, as he only briefly attended the high school on the campus. However, Asbury was still proud to count him as one of her own.


Asbury student Verne Wymore ’17 was killed in action during the Battle of the Argonne Forest on Oct. 23, 1918.

Verne Wymore ’17 was another Asbury student who made the ultimate sacrifice. Born Feb. 1, 1895 on a farm south of Kingman, Kan., Wymore attended Asbury during his junior and senior years, majoring in science. While at Asbury, he was the orator for the class of 1917 and a member of the Athenia, a literary society. He is described in the 1917 “Asburian” as quiet, but worth knowing, and very intelligent. According to an article in the “New Era” (Asbury’s student newspaper), he wanted to serve on the mission field. He was ordained to the Methodist church and pastored a church in Irvine, Ky., before being called upon to serve his country.  

Wymore served from Oct. 5, 1917 to Oct. 23, 1918 as a private in Company B, 353rd Infantry, 89th Division, and felt that “his being in the army was the call of God.” He fell in the Battle of the Argonne Forest, Oct. 23, 1918. Another soldier from his hometown tried to help him, but it was too late. Wymore was mortally wounded and urged his comrade to continue fighting. He was described by his hometown paper as “a fine type of young Christian gentleman. Conscientious and painstaking, he made friends with all, shirked no task, and performed his full duty faithfully and well, until called upon to make the final great sacrifice.” When news of his death reached Asbury, the “New Era” stated, “Asbury now has four gold stars on her service flag.” 

Asbury also found many ways to “keep the home-fires burning,” and support the men “over there” during World War I. Asbury had a student training corps on campus, and according to an article in the May 1918 “New Era,” the college and the city of Wilmore hosted Liberty Day, which was a day of patriotic addresses, and a parade. Classes were cancelled in the afternoon to allow students to participate. Students were encouraged to buy Liberty Bonds and thrift stamps. Supporting the war fund was one way to contribute, and the necessity of conserving woolen materials did away with uniforms and caps for a year.

There was no hesitation about service for the boys at Asbury. The following is an excerpt from an editorial by Sam. A. Overstreet ’18, titled “Patriotism vs. Ambition,” as it appeared in the Jan. 1918 edition of the “New Era.”

“Gladly I give all which has been freely given to me. Must lives be sacrificed for the defense of her integrity and to keep unstained her spotless name? Take mine. Must she send men in the cause of humanity for the defense of Womanhood, the protection of home and the safeguarding of civilization of which she is the custodian? My life is thine. Send me.”

Perhaps it is fitting to close with this prayer from J.J. Davis, class of ‘19, and editor of the “New Era”:

“God grant to them grace and courage to fight a good fight and if it be His will, bring them back some glad day to the old U.S.A., better men than they were before. Holiness in its broadest sense and patriotism in its highest sense, join hands in the great combat for that which is just and right.”