In this part of the Great Olive Poisoning story, we will take a look at who Col. Charles C. Weybrecht was. The following information comes from William H. Morgan’s recounting of the story as part of Rodman Public Library’s Oral History Project.
Charlie Weybrecht was a big man physically with a warm and winning personality to match. He was liked by all who knew him and I cannot imagine his having an enemy. He particularly liked young people and I never tired of the many stories he told to me and my friends.
From an early age, the military had a strong appeal to Charlie Weybrecht. He was a student of military history and joined the Ohio National Guard. During the Spanish American War he served as a Major in the 8th Ohio Regiment. After his return from Cuba he resumed his business career, but retained his commission in the Ohio National Guard.
By 1916 Charlie Weybrecht had attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. That year the Ohio National Guard was called into Federal service and dispatched to El Paso, Texas during the time Brig. Gen. John 3. Pershing was chasing the bandit Pancho Villa around northern Mexico, following Villa’s raid on Columbus New Mexico. Villa was a folk hero to the Mexicans so had little difficulty in keeping ahead of the pursuing gringos. The expedition was called off and the Ohio National Guard returned home.
April 1917 soon came up and with it the declaration of war against Germany. The Ohio National Guard again called into Federal service became a part of the regular army as the 37th Division. The 8th Ohio Regiment to which Charlie Weybrecht, now a full Colonel, commanded, became the 146th.
The 37th Division first trained at Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, Alabama. Later moved to Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, then to France.
During the late summer of 1918 the 37th Division engaged in heavy fighting in the Meuse Argonne offensive on the Western Front. This was indeed a traumatic experience for Col. Weybrecht. He was a very kind man and felt personally responsible for the welfare of the boys under him, many of whom were killed or severely wounded. A personal tragedy came when his nephew, Edgar Weybrecht, B.F.’s son died of pneumonia in Belgium. Col. Weybrecht told Dad after his return, that the glamor of war had disappeared for him forever.
Following the Armistice on November 11th, Col. Weybrecht was assigned to supervising the embarkation of men and supplies of the A.E.F., for return to the United States from the port of Nantes.
Col. Weybrecht enjoyed the work at Nantes and did an excellent job for which he was commended. His return home was delayed and he did not reach Alliance until July 1919.
Emily Weybrecht too was very popular. She had a vivacious and outgoing personality. She drove a gasoline-powered car as early as 1913 or 1914, which was somewhat unusual at that time. Some of the women drove electrics, but that was about the extent of women’s lib in the teens.
Tomorrow: Who threw the dinner party?