In my last blog post I wrote of Charles Holloway’s service during World War I and his subsequent death as a result of poison gas while stationed in France. I’d be remiss if I neglected to share his brother Oscar’s story as well.
Oscar was a veterinary student at Ohio State University and a ROTC cadet when he registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. (1) Stub, or Stubby as he was known, joined the newly formed Veterinary Corps, whose purpose was to maintain the health and treat the large number of mules, horses and dogs used in France during World War I. Falling under the umbrella of the United States Army Medical Department, the Veterinary Corps was formed in 1916.
“The American Expeditionary Force required large numbers of animals to accomplish a variety of missions ranging from cavalry mounts, artillery transport to logistical supply and ambulance service. The rugged and muddy French terrain was better suited to animals than gas-powered engines.” (2)
Like his brother Charles, Oscar served in the Meuse-Argonne Defensive sector and was stationed there from 14 March 1918 to 8 May 1919. (3) Treating the innumerable wounds, broken bones, and illnesses of the over 165,000 mules and horses used must have been mentally and physically staggering.
Oscar and Charles survived the war and after the Armistice was signed in November 1918, the brothers remained in France to take in the sights. For two small town boys from Ohio, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The boys returned home and Oscar wed Georgia Moore in Champaign, Ohio, on 10 June 1920.(4) Oscar and Georgia settled in Piqua on the same street as Oscar’s parents (the 500 block of South Main Street in Piqua was known at the time as “Holloway Row” because the parents and their children all lived on the same street).
Oscar set up a veterinary clinic in town and after two years of marriage, he and Georgia welcomed a son, Oscar Eugene to the world. Oscar was highly-respected in Piqua and he eventually opened another clinic in Springcreek Township, about five miles east of Piqua.
On 6 May 1930, Oscar was driving on the Statler Pike east of Piqua when he collided with a car driven by Arthur McBeth. The collision forced Oscar to swerve, causing his car to overturn twice due to speed and momentum.(5) Oscar suffered a severe skull fracture which led to his death the following day. Oscar’s wife Georgia became a widow with a seven-year-old son overnight. To make matters worse, Oscar and Georgia had lost a child in January of that year. The death of Charles in 1922 and Oscar in 1930 were no doubt overwhelming for their parents, William and Nellie Craig Holloway.
Oscar was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua, near his brother’s plot. Oscar’s eldest brother William became administrator of his estate and sued Mr. McBeth, the driver of the car that forced Oscar off the road. A jury later awarded $2,500 to William for damages; a small consolation for the loss of a father, husband, brother and son. (6)
Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Franklin; Roll: 1832031; Draft Board: 4, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Record for Oscar Irwin Holloway.
2. http://veterinarycorps.amedd.army.mil/history/ww1/ww1.htm, retrieved 9 Sept 2016.
3. Ancestry.com. Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.
4. Record for Oscar Holloway and Georgia Moore. Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XDC4-56Z : 8 December 2014)
5. Piqua Daily Call, 6 May 1930, page 10.
6. Piqua Daily Call, 8 November 1930, page 43.