World War I - Third Infantry, Company
This photo was probably taken by Caleb
in June or July of 1917. It shows Company C of the Iowa National
Guard (now mustered into federal service) as it prepares to ship
out for Europe. Note that the men are already in uniform here.
As Guard troops, they would also have already been trained for
combat. Moreover, since the Iowa National Guard had recently seen
active duty in Texas along the Mexican border (guarding the border
from incursions by Poncho Villa's forces) some of the men pictured
here may even have seen combat by this time.
In the Creston archives are dozens of
similar "troop train" photos from the Spanish-American
War / World War I era. These photos, taken by a number of different
photographers employed by the local papers, record the pride with
which Creston sent its native sons off in defense of their country.
Since Caleb sold his studio in 1917,
this would have been one of the very last photos he ever took.
It's possible that this photo was taken by his successor at the
Agnew Studio, Bert Brown. However, I have not seen any similar
outdoor shots taken by the studio under Brown's ownership, and
I assume that Brown wasn't interested in doing such photos. Thefore,
I believe that this photo was taken while Caleb still owned the
Some additional background info on this
photo provided by the Iowa
Genealogical Web Project:
August 5, 1917 all men who had been mustered into National Guard
service were drafted into U. S. service. This took the Guard entirely
from under the control of the state. By the latter part of August
all Iowa units had left the state. Iowa Guard units sent into
the service were all efficient, but it so happened that only one
of them, the Third Iowa Infantry (168th U.S. Infantry) experienced
any battle field service.
This regiment was a part of the 42nd or Rainbow, division, and
was a composite organization, composed of the third and parts
of the First and Second Infantry regiments. Three-fifths of the
enlisted men of the Third, when it left Iowa, had been for some
time in the ranks of this regiment. Two-fifths were Guardsmen,
transferred from the First and Second Regiments. As a result it
was truly a representative Iowa National Guard unit, and its brilliant
achievements on the battle fields reflects credit upon the National
Guard as a whole.
More info can be found on the subject
of this photo at the following web page, where you can even find
a roster of names of the men shown in the photo: