John W. Ivens, for whom the American Legion Post #42 at Grand Canyon, Arizona is named, was born in Pewaukee, Wisconsin on June 3, 1893. He died in France on June 24, 1918 from injuries suffered in a gas attack during the night of June 17-18. John Ivens spent his early life on a farm in Wisconsin. He came to the Grand Canyon in 1911 and the Fred Harvey Company employed him for a short time. Some time later, he left and wandered about working on farms and telephone lines. Hearing the "Call of the Canyon", he returned in 1916 and this time secured employment with the Kolb Brothers. John remained with them until he volunteered for Army duty in 1917. His Army record follows: September 30, 1917: Enlisted in Flagstaff, Arizona and reported for training at Fort Riley, Kansas. He transferred to Camp Kearney in San Diego, California where he remained in training until March 1918. At this time, he volunteered for immediate deployment to France. April 1, 1918, he sailed to France. Upon his arrival in France, he was promoted to Private First Class and attached to Company C, 2nd Field Signal Battalion. June 17-18, 1918, along the division Axi of Laison, near Coullmelle, France, he suffered fatal injuries in a gas attack. In 1920, Emory C. Kolb wrote for detailed information concerning the death of John Ivens to Headquarters, First Division, Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky. The following is excerpted from the reply: Our records show that Private Ivens was seriously gassed in action during the night of June 17-18, 1918 at Coullmelle, France. Master Signal Electrician Emerson E. Mull, now present with the 2nd Field Signal Battalion at this station, states as follows: On the night of June 17-18, 1918, I was in charge of three telephone test stations along the Axi of Laison, near Coullmelle, France. Each of these stations was manned by a Sergeant in charge and three reliefs of four men each. Private Ivens was a member of one of these in charge of Sergeant 1/cl John Kallman, #198626, Co "C" of this organization. During the night, the Germans laid down a mustard gas attack and Sergeant Kallman's test station was in this gassed sector. The men stayed by their posts throughout the attack and the attack and the result was all twelve men and the sergeant in charge became gas casualties. The Sergeant lost his eyesight and five of the men afterwards died, of which Private Ivens was one. I personally assisted in carrying the men back to the First Aid Station, from where they were later evacuated to a hospital in the rear. Very Sincerely Yours, signed W. H. Dukes, Lieut. Colonel, A. G. Dept., Division Personnel Adjutant. Although his father was alive at the time of his death, John Ivens' military records reflect that he has named Emery C. Kolb of Grand Canyon, Arizona as his nearest relative. For this reason, the notice of casualty and death was sent to Mr. Kolb instead of Mr. Ivens in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. A Captain Robinson of Flagstaff also appeared on his records as a relative. John Ivens became the first reported casualty of WWI from this section of Arizona.



View more photo galleries by Post 42 in Grand Canyon, Arizona