November 4, 1918: Tough day for Duluth Doughboys

On this day in 1918—and the following day as well—the war in Europe took a heavy toll on soldiers from the Zenith City. Duluth native Howard C. Quigley was killed in action in the Argonne Forest. Quigley had been working at the Duluth branch of the American Bridge Company when called into service on April 26, 1918, at Duluth. As a private in the infantry he was a member of Company D, 360th Infantry, 19th Division. Albert C. Steiner, who grew up in Duluth and worked as a farmer, also died fighting in France that day as a member of Company E of the 307th Infantry. The next day the war took the life of John Fairgrieve, Jr., a well-known salesman for Duluth’s Knudson Fruit Company. A native of Scotland, Fairgrieve was sent to Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico, to train with Company E of the 388th Infantry. There he became ill—likely with the Spanish Flu. That same day in France Duluthian Frank F. Johnson died of wounds received in action in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Meanwhile, Duluth’s Albert Carl Robertson had been confined to a hospital bed, suffering from wounds obtained during battle in the Argonne forest on October 18, fighting with Company D of the 310th Infantry. He did not live to see November 6. Just five days later the armistice was signed, ending the war. Duluth’s first casualty of the war, E. P. Alexander, Jr., is also connected to November 4. Son of Duluth real estate magnate E. P. Alexander, he left his young bride and a job as a civil engineer to volunteer for the Army, becoming a First Lieutenant with the 509th Engineers. He went to France and died of the flu at St. Nazaire, promoted to captain the day of his funeral. He was born November 4, 1891.

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