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March 17, 2006
Oroville Register December 25, 1918
(found by Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Committee member, Joan Lee)

Chico, December 24, 1918
While seeking aid for a comrade in distress under a murderous German, machine gun fire, Wyatt Arbuckle, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Arbuckle, made the supreme sacrifice in France. Some of the details of his death have been received here in a letter to the father from Corp. H. B. Spicer, Headquarters Company, 159th Infantry, who gleaned them from a Chico boy who was with young Arbuckle in the shallow ditch where he died. An Oroville boy, lying outside, in the path of a rain of Hun machine gun bullets, was wounded and calling for help. As Arbuckle started to his assistance from his own none too secure point of safety, he was shot down. He was one of five who had passed safely through a grilling fire to an objective. The letter was written by Spicer at Pont du Metz on November 24, he says; “Wyatt Arbuckle and a number of others were transferred, and within a week were in the trenches. They were in the Argonne woods, where the Americans and French made such a great name for themselves. That battle was terrible, but they held on and advanced day by day, forcing the Jerry’s back, back to the land from when they came, bloodthirsty and with their brutal ideas. “It was in the evening when they were observed to go over. Their objective was a road over which for a while before German supplies had been going. Wyatt and one other Chico boy, also an Oroville boy, were in the first wave. They were advancing in three waves. Along this road were scattered German machine gun nests. “After the order to go over had been given and the rush made, it seemed that only five had reached the objective in the face of heavy machine gun fire. They were Wyatt and the other Chico boy, also the Oroville boy, and a sergeant and a corporal. The Oroville boy, it seems, had been hit during the advance. There was a shallow ditch on either side of the road, and the two Chico boys and the sergeant were on one side, while the Oroville boy and the corporal were on the other side. The Oroville boy called out to Wyatt and the others to come and help him back to the trench, but in the face of that machine gun fire it was impossible to move. When he called again and it was last call he ever gave, Wyatt raised his head slightly in the face of that machine gun fire and said,” Why doesn’t someone get that machine gun?” Those were his last words. The other Chico boy got away after lying there almost ten hours, and had only slight wound. He told me the story.”

January 20, 1919 Oroville Register

News that Pvt. James Toland, of this city, had been killed in action was received on Saturday afternoon by his mother, Mrs. Priscilla Toland of this city. It had been September 21th since a letter had been received from Pvt. Tolalnd, but the fact that his name had not appeared in the casualty lists nor was there any information of his death in Washington gave a basis for hope that he might have escaped. On Saturday, however the fateful telegram telling of his heroic death was received from the War Department at Washington. Pvt. Toland left Oroville for Camp Lewiston, April 21st. On July 4th he sailed for Europe with the 316th Engineers, 21st Division. His last letter told of active service. Pvt. Toland was born in Honcut on May 1, 1887. The greater part of his life was spent in Oroville where he learned the trade of blacksmithing.(Part two next week)

Stu’s Notes: So long ago, a long forgotten Oroville boy dies “over there” fighting for the survival of the free world as we know it so well. His story will be in two parts. I first heard of his name in our wonderful Pioneer Museum on Montgomery Street, and years ago a news clip from the other Oroville paper, thanks again Jan Rose Bales. In the basement is a section for the Veterans. A letter on display there was written by Young Florence Danforth, later to be Mrs. Florence Boyle, who in her life in Oroville wrote many historical articles. All Historians of Oroville know of her. She was known to write to many servicemen over the years. Many she didn’t even know. In those days letters were about the only way for our young men to hear about back home. Her letter came back unopened. You can see it on display, Friday, Saturday and Sundays, at the Museum. The letter was to young John Toland. We think this it the young man from Oroville in the first story above. This letter was found by Betty Boyle Davis, daughter of Florence, after her mother’s death. Also in the Pioneer Museum is the diary of Betty’s father during the World War, as it was called then, more on that diary to come. Also, “WOW” it’s a small world, last weeks story on Young Richard Jensen who died in Korea. His Great Niece is my neighbor around the corner. More on their young hero’s story to come.