Members of American Legion Irwin-Easley Post 118 of Cassville attended the unveiling of a new veterans display at the Barry County Museum last Thursday.
The display is a shadow box of historic memorabilia created by Evelyn and Lawrence Miller and placed on loan with the museum. The box contains items relating to the military service and deaths of Sgt. Hal Angus Irwin and Green Easley who were both killed during World War I.
Irwin was the first Barry County resident killed in World War I and Easley was the last. The local American Legion Chapter was named after the two men when the chapter was chartered back in 1919.
Irwin, a member of the Army's 360th Infantry, was killed on Sept. 12, 1918, near Norroy, France, at the age of 27. His death occurred during the first major U.S. offensive of World War I launched under General John J. Pershing.
According to an account of his death that Irwin's parents, George and Martha Irwin received, Irwin died heroically. He was shot after leaving the safety of his dugout to alert the artillery that the area was receiving heavy fire from the Germans.
Easley, the son of Robert and Katie Easley, died on Nov. 10, 1918, in France at the age of 28. His death occurred one day before the Armistice.
Last week's unveiling ceremony was attended by the Millers, who are descendants of the Irwin family, and Bill Easley, whose grandfather was Green Berry Easley's first cousin.
The shadow box contains correspondence and telegraphs the Irwin family received following their son's death as well as a commendation letter and the folded American flag that was placed on Irwin's casket.
"A lot of what is in the display was found in a leather satchel that Lawrence inherited after his mother died," said Evelyn. "The items were passed on to Lawrence's mother from George Irwin, who was Hal's father."
Information about Green Easley's death was added to the display, which will remain on permanent display at the Barry County Museum. Currently, the shadow box is included in the museum's temporary Veterans Day display.
This display as well as other interesting items of Barry County history can be viewed daily at the museum, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.