From Frohna to France – A WWI Wagoner

Henry and Martha (Fischer) Palisch were blessed with a new son on October 12, 1891.  They named this new boy Rudolph Martin Palisch.  Because he never married, he has no descendants, but his story is a fascinating one.

Rudolph’s father operated the Palisch General Store in Frohna, and by 1910, according to that year’s census, Rudolph was already working as a clerk there.

Palisch Store

Then in April of 1917, the United States entered into World War I.  This was would bring a very conflicting thought to many of the folks in Perry County.  People of German ancestry would be put into the position of going to war against their own previous homeland.

Rudolph registered for the WWI draft in October of 1917.

Rudolph Palisch – WWI draft registration

From an application for a military plaque to be put on Rudolph’s gravestone, we can find information about his service in that war.

Application for Gravestone Marker

Rudolph served as Wagoner in the 313th Ammunition Train.  After doing a little digging, I found out that this was part of the 88th Division in the U.S. Army.  I even found the uniform patch for that division which was designed to show two red 8’s crossing each other diagonally.

88th Division Patch

This division received its military training at Camp Dodge, just outside Des Moines, Iowa.  It was under the command of Maj. Gen. Edward H. Plummer.  From there, the troops were sent to France.  These troops returned to America in 1919.  War records indicate that the 88th Division experienced 27 deaths, 63 wounded, and 9 taken as prisoners.

An interesting article describing the work of a Wagoner in the Army can be found online.  Click on the link below to read it.

I will post some of the wagoner’s duties here:

The Wagoner must have a thorough knowledge of the following:

1. The adjustment of the harness, driving, and the methods of receiving, stowing, and caring for cargo, and of securing loads on the wagon.
2. The nomenclature of vehicles (wagons), harness, spare parts, and accessories, and where they are carried on the vehicle.
3. How to groom, water, feed, and care for animals.
4. How to clean and care for vehicles, harness, and equipment
5. How to harness and unharness animals
6. How to hitch and unhitch animals
7. How to lash loads
8. How to repair his vehicle if need be
9. How to handle animals effectively


When Rudolph returned after the war, he apparently began a garage business.  The 1920 census lists him as operating his own garage.  The 1940 census says that Rudolph was a mechanic.  One can imagine that Rudolph became skilled at servicing Model T’s, Model A’s, and other automobiles of that era.

Rudolph died in 1949 at the age of 57.  Here is a photo of his gravestone in the Concordia, Frohna Cemetery.


19 thoughts on “From Frohna to France – A WWI Wagoner

  1. There is an excellent printed reference of WWI soldier ranks titled “How to Know the Rank of a US Soldier”. This document was published in 1918 by Rand McNally.

    The insignia for the Wagoner rank is a wagon-wheel, and is pictured on page 56 of this document.

    Pay for a Wagoner is listed on page 63 of the same document, and places the Wagoner pay at the same level of a Corporal ($36/month.)


  2. Thank you for your site. My father was a Wagoner in WW I. He passed when he was 70 years old in 1970 and I (his daughter) was only 25 years old. My Mom was only 49 as there was 21 years difference in their age.


  3. Nice site. My grandfather also was a Wagoner in Co. F. 47th Inf. in WWI. The information provided here is greatly appreciated!


    1. My Dad was in the Wagoner Sup Co. 49 Inf. during WWI. He passed in December of 1958 at the age of 72. They, too, were a great generation.


  4. Thank you for the great information! My grandfather also served as a Wagoner in Company C of the 316th Ammo Train, 91st Division in France and Belgium.


  5. My Grandfather, Samuel John Dalious, was also a wagoner for the 304th US Army during WWI, maybe they met and were friends. I hope so.
    Thank you for your sons service. Oorah!


  6. Thanks for this. My grandfather also was a Wagoner in WWI. He was severely wounded at Chateau-Theirry but recovered.


  7. Wonderful site. Learned much about the life and duties of my great grandfather. Thank you very much.


  8. I am glad I found this site. I have been trying to find out just what a Wagoner did. My Grandfather was a wagoner during WW1. He served in the 41st Company, 11th Battalion, 160th Depot Brigade then Battery D, 42nd Field Artillery until discharge.


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