From the Kirksville Daily Express, March 27, 1942:

Kirksville cherishes the fact that four great military and naval figures—Gen. John J. Pershing, Gen. Enoch B. Crowder, Admiral Arthur Willard and Admiral Robert E. Coontz—all lived here in their youth.

But Col. J. E. Rieger, who commanded the former Kirksville National Guard company in France, reminds that there is another name which should be highly revered.

He said that a young Adair County soldier saw his lieutenant wounded during the American offensive in the Argonne Forest on Sept. 29, 1918.  The lieutenant dropped where a hail of bullets and shrapnel made it likely he never would rise again.  This soldier thought something should be done about it.

He did something.  He went out and got the wounded man, in full view of a German machine gun crew, and carried him to safety.  After he deposited him in the arm of comrades, however, the rescuer was hit by a bullet and fell mortally wounded.

His name was Sergeant Levi A. Griswold.  He was living near Yarrow and working on a railroad section crew at the time his enlistment in Company C, Fourth Missouri National Guard, in 1917, and is now buried at Yarrow.  The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded him posthumously.

Col. Rieger says heroism that impels a man to risk his own life to save the life of another man is entitled to as much esteem as the heroism that accrues to leadership which brings victory in armed conflict.

Funeral services were conducted for Sergeant Griswold by MacDougall-Lowe Post in the summer of 1920 at Pierceville Church with burial in a near-by plot, approximately one mile north-east of Yarrow.

Griswold was born in the vicinity of Yarrow, July 19, 1892, the son of Socrates and Lettie Thompson Griswold.  he was residing at Yarrow and employed as a section hand at the time of his enlistment in Co. C of the 4th Missouri National Guard on August 5, 1917.  The Distinguished Service Cross awarded to him was presented to his mother in public ceremonies in Kirksville on November 22, 1919.1

  1. P. O. Selby, Adair County’s War Record: From Pioneer Days to and Including 1942 (Kirksville, Missouri:MacDougall-Lowe Post No. 20).