The celebration was described as the greatest reception accorded service men by a city its size – one thousands locals attended. Mayor Charles Berry acted as Grand Marshal. The parade included three autos carrying 18 Civil War veterans. Others being celebrated were the Spanish American War veterans, and hundreds of returning troops representing all branches of the armed forces. The parade included the Sons of Italy band, Patton’s band, and the Follansbee High School band. Patton’s band of Steubenville was organized by W.B. Patton in 1893. It was a popular parade band of the day.
Among the activities scheduled was a football game between the Follansbee Tanks and the Toronto Tigers resulting in a 0-0 tie. The game was played at the Duquesne Street field. Among the many other activities was a huge ox-roast, evening dancing with Caputos band of Pittsburgh, and a spectacular fireworks display.
The Cross Creek District sent 350 servicemen to war. Seventeen sacrificed their lives. A souvenir program was issued listing the names of all of the District soldiers. The Follansbee Review noted, “It is hardly probable that an event will occur within our lifetime to compare with the Service Men’s Welcome Celebration …”
Front cover of 1919 Homecoming Program – Paul Freese
Excerpt from 1919 memorial service to Follansbee boys killed in WWI
Picture of 1919 Follansbee parade showing Red Cross women. Photo courtesy of W. Va. State Archives.
- Steubenville Herald Star, “Great Home Coming to Service Men,” October 6, 1919, p.8.
- Steubenville Herald Star, “To Give Medals to Cross Creek District Heroes at Home Coming,” October 1, 1919, p. 6.
- Steubenville Herald Star, “Every Service Man That Ever Lived Here Invited to Big Reception,” October 2, 1919, p. 7.
- Steubenville Herald Star, “Follansbee Tanks and Toronto Tie,” October 6, 1919, p. 4. Follansbee Review, “Welcome Celebration For District Soldiers Enjoyed by Multitude,” October 10. 1919, front page.