Body of Soldier Hero Interred Near Elgin
Elgin, Bastrop County, Texas
October 6, 1921
The body of Corporal Alfred J. Kerlin, who was killed in action on November 1st, 1918, in France, arrived in Elgin last Friday and was met at the depot by a large delegation, accompanied by the Elgin-Carlson-Kimbro Band and members of the American Legion.
The body was taken to the home of his parents, a few miles north of Elgin and was buried in the Richland cemetery Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock.
The funeral services were conducted by the Henry A. Lundgren Post, American Legion, with full military honors.
The local minister, Rev. Zucher, and acting Chaplain Gieske, of Austin, assisted in the exercises. Music was furnished by the Elgin-Carlson-Kimbro Band.
Fully three thousand people assembled to pay the last sad tribute to this fallen hero who so valiant fought and gave up his life for his country.
Corporal Kerlin was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Kerlin. He was born at Richland November 22, 1893, was a consistent member of the Richland Lutheran church and took active interest in Sunday school work.
He enlisted in the service September 1st, 1917, and was trained at Camp Travis, Texas, and Camp Mills, New York. He was a member of 1 company, 360th regiment of infantry, and sailed for France on June 13th.
After passing through some severe fighting and being cited for bravery, he was struck by a piece of shell on November 1st and died in the first aid hospital a few minutes later.
An extract from the citation fro bravery, issued from the headquarters of the 90th division is as follows: "... I company" 360th regiment (among whom was Corporal Kerlin) went into position about two kilometers in advance of their company, captured two heavy German machine guns with their crews of twelve men each, and placed the captured guns in position for counter attack. They held to position taken in the face of the most severe fire and made possible the advance of the remainder of the line to that place.,
Another report of the fighting in the action which occurred on September 12th at St. Mihiel, referred to above was as follows:
Colonel H.C. Price, who commanded the 360th was told by the French officers that no army could ever cut through that position and withstand the machine gun fire that the Huns would pour into it; but he replied, "I will go through if it takes every man I have!" They went through with a loss of only 276 men.
For thirty-three hours after this regiment went thru, the French officers would not believe the report and sent three different details of officers up to verify the report. In 19167, the French had lost 123,000 men trying to take this position. In preparing for the drive the Americans and French artillery consisting of 1000 pieces of all caliber, had laid down the heaviest bombardment ever known and at 6 o'clock a.m. the infantry went over.
A coincidence worthy of mention is the fact that Gabriel Larson, who enlisted and served all along together with Corporal Kerlin, they being close comrades, was killed by the same shell which killed Kerlin; their bodies were brought back on the same ship, and Larson was interred at Austin at the same day and same hour as funeral of Kerlin.
Arthur Schroeder, living near Elgin, was also wounded by the same shell which killed Kerlin and Larson.
It makes the heart of very true Americans throb with pride when we read the obituaries of soldier after soldier who made the supreme sacrifice in the great conflict, that were all real heroes--every many of them were recorded as doing more than their duty. Every one of them showed bravery and daring unequaled by the soldiers of any nation on earth. And this heroism, this bravery, was what ended the great war so quickly in our favor.
May their souls rest in peace, and find an eternal reward in an everlasting home.