Bio: Pickett, Lee F. - Spencer area WWI War Casualty


Surnames: Pickett, Mais, Jensen, Parrette, Vanderhoof

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

Lee Francis Pickett was born and reared in Spencer and completed ninth grade at Spencer Public Schools. Following his graduation from Rice Lake High School in 1912, he taught rural schools in North Dakota for some time. From September 1915 to May 1917 he was a student at Oshkosh Normal School, specializing in Industrial Arts. Being an accomplished musician, he was assistant director of the student band while there. A call came in May 1917 for college men to go into Officers Candidate School at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois, and although he was due to graduate in the summer, he left school to report to Ft. Sheridan for training". About November 30, 1917, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant and left Spencer January 10, 1918, to sail for France, he left the United States with four fellow R.O.T.C. lieutenants and was assigned to the Yankee Division. In May he received a citation for having led a group of men on a successful night raid of the German lines. During the second battle of the Marne he was wounded and again cited for bravery. He was the only Company Officer still able to maneuver and, although shot in the leg, continued to lead his men. His citation reads in part, "For your gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on July 20 to 25, 1918, though wounded continued to lead vour platoon under fire." After hospitalization he rejected an offer of a "behind the lines" job, having an urgent desire to return to his men at the front where he arrived October 25. He was killed in the Argonne October 30, 1918.

Depot Agent John Mais, with the telegram in hand, started to the Post Office on what he would afterward describe as the longest walk he would ever take. He stopped enroute at the garage (now Jensen's Motors) where Polly Parrette Vanderhoof was working as a mechanic. She drove at once to the Parrette farm to break the news to her mother, Lt. Pickett's grandmother.

Later there would be letters of tribute and high praise written by his commanding officer and other fellow officers. A Street in Ft. Sheridan would be named in his honor and the Legion Post in his home town would bear his name. But now a jubilant town that had but a short time ago rejoiced with merrymaking over the end of the war, was plunged into sadness as they mourned with their highly respected and well-loved Postmistress, the loss of her only son.



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