Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Died of Disease
Date of Service: WWI
Home Town: Clearbrook/ Evensville
Edwin Koxvold was born August 26, 1889 in Alexandria, Minnesota to John E. and Mathea Engebretson Koxvold. The Koxvolds had emigrated from Norway in 1881 and settled in the Alexandria area before moving to Evansville, Minnesota where the Koxvold children attended school. Edwin had sisters Emily, the oldest, Josephine and Clara and brothers Oscar and John. The kids were confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran in Evansville, Edwin on October 16, 1904.
Edwin’s older brother Oscar had moved to Clearbrook in 1913 where he opened a harness and shoe shop. In 1916 he married Jerdine Jensen of Clearbrook and they farmed in Leon Township along Highway 92. Oscar was Justice of the Peace and Clerk for Leon Township for several years. Edwin’s brother John also moved to the Clearbrook area where he was the manager of a store for A.T. Nilsson in Weme. He married Eleanor (Ella) Opheim whose brother Lewis was Register of Deeds in Clearwater County. Edwin moved to Clearbrook too and roomed with his brother John in Leon Township.
Edwin was working as an assistant buttermaker at the Clearbrook Creamery when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917.It is not known exactly when he was drafted, but it is known that he was sent to Camp Pike, Arkansas, a National Army Cantonment named after Zebulon M. Pike. Cantonments were responsible for equipping, examining and classifying drafted men, selecting and training specialists, and filling regular Army and National Guard divisions to authorized strength by training and forwarding replacement troops.
Camp Pike was established in July of 1917 to serve as a training camp for infantry.
Edwin’s unit departed from Boston on June 22, 1918 aboard the S S Bohemian, a steamship from the Leyland Line which had been tasked with troop transport during WWI. The manifest stated that he was “Co. 11th Camp Pike June Automatic Replacement Draft Infantry.”
What happened between the time Edwin arrived in France and the end of October, 1918 is unknown to us. It is known, however, that he was placed in Company I, 23rd Infantry. That is the unit he was in when he caught the dreaded Spanish influenza. The virus diverted urgently needed resources from combat support to transporting and caring for the sick and the dead during the American Expeditionary Forces’ Meuse-Argonne campaign which began September 26 of that year. Influenza with its complication of pneumonia killed more American soldiers and sailors during the war than did enemy weapons. Young, strong Edwin Koxvold was among the rolls of the thousands who died on October 20, 1918.
Although the Koxvold family was notified of his death, his body did not come home until 1921. He was loaded aboard the USAT Wheaton on April 26, 1921 at Antwerp, Belgium along with the bodies of 2,793 other war dead. The death ship arrived at Hoboken on May 18, 1921.His family buried him in Mound Grove Cemetery, Evansville where he had grown up. His brother Oscar named his newborn son after Edwin in August of 1920: Warren Edwin Koxvold.