The above pin is a very rare one from September of 1919. It was given to veterans of WW1 from Aston and Middletown Twps. at their Welcome Home Reception.
CHESTER TIMES – September 5, 1917
FAREWELL TO ASTON’S BOYS
Metropolitan Display of Patriotic Fervor by People of Rural Community for Army Recruits
Patriotism in its richest glow was exhibited last evening by the men, women and children of Aston and Middletown Townships in a farewell reception to 42 young men of these communities who are soon to go into the world war.
It was an occasion that will cling to the memory of the thousands who witnessed it, and become more and more cherished as a fragrant recollection as the years go by.
The farewell was held in the Casino at Glen Riddle, and conducted on a truly metropolitan scale. It had been arranged that the 42 young men should assemble at Rockdale Hall at 6:30 o’clock and be escorted by Rockdale Band to the Casino. This procession was an inspiring sight to behold. Twilight had deepened into the dusk of an early fall evening and the blue vault of heaven was glittering with innumerable stars. The martial strains of the bank awoke the echoes of peaceful Chester Creek valley and hundreds and hundreds of hurrying feet of young and old could be seen moving from all directions toward the Casino.
Shortly after seven o’clock the Casino was filled with people to so great an extent that the youngsters had to find vantage points on the beams along the lower walls. The sand bark floor made the entry of this throng quiet and orderly. To look from the stage toward the audience was in itself something remarkable as the light of patriotic sacrifice beamed from the sea of faces.
A long single row of tables was set in front of the stage, and around these tables were gathered the 42 young men and 13 heroes of the Grand Army, who are resident in Aston and Middletown. A banquet was served to them by D. P. Desmond, proprietor of the Mountain House, in the following appetizing courses: Glen Riddle pickles, olives a la Lenni, cold roast beef, Rockdale style, boiled Crozerville ham, sliced Elwyn tomatoes, chicken salad, Lima style, Wawa potato salad rolls and butter de Village Green, Knowlton crackers, Mt. Alverno cheese, Black Horse cake, Chester Heights ice cream, Aston Mills coffee, E! Middletown Road cigars.
While the banquet was progressing, either the band seated out far from the tables was playing or the audience was singing favorite and familiar melodies, which left no idle moments and made everybody cheerful and happy.
ORATORY AND MUSIC – After the banquet a program of oratory and entertainment were carried forward till nearly 11 o’clock, the conclusion being the singing of the band. If Kaiser Wilhelm could have stood on one of the hillsides, the music to his ears would have been the death knell of Prussian militarism. It sounded like a mighty huge plan of freedom on the solemn stillness of the night and was a fitted finale to the splendid ovation.
The speakers were the Hon. Isaac Johnson, president judge of Delaware County who saw gallant service on the battlefield in the dark days of the Civil War, the Hon. Richard J. Baldwin Speaker of the House of Representatives in Harrisburg; W. A. Garrett of the Remington Arms Company who recently returned from France as an envoy of this government to give the French government American ideas on railroad transportation. Frank B. Rhodes, Esq. of Media, one of the most eloquent members of the Delaware County bar, and John Vance, the eloquent Chief of Police of Chester, whose birthplace was not far from the meeting place.
Equal in importance to this array of speakers was the talent secured for the entertainment, Daniel J. Morterigan, who conducts an entertainment bureau in the Emane Building, Philadelphia, had a dozen Philadelphia players to augment the Rockdale band. Senate’s Philadelphia orchestra and eight professional artists in the musician and comedy time who gave a performance that abounded with enjoyment.
Mr. McGarrigan opened the meeting by leading the audience in singing “America.” Then the names of the heroes of the Civil War and after them the names of the forty-two of 1917 were called by Montgomery Smith. Each man stood on at the table as his name was called and the audience gave each a hearty round of applause. R. G. Taylor read the letter of President Wilson to the army, and this was greeted with a wild volume of applause.
HONORED GUESTS – The roll of honored guests was as follows:
Civil War Veterans – Major John H. Kerlin, William Roberts, James XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
As the names of the guardsmen, drafted men and other enlisted men were called, each was presented with a gift package by the ladies at the tables. Similar gift packages will be forwarded to other soldiers who have gone to the various camps as follows:
Fielding Wilcox, W. Carson Rhodes, Richard Levis, Joseph Fitzpatrick, Bernard Fitzpatrick Frank Fitzpatrick, Charles Holefelder, George Wood, John Jackson, John Fanning, Horace Shefton, Lewis Lawton, William Ketchel and Bradford Smith.
Horace S. Griffith, chairman of the committee that arranged the celebration presided, and introduced Mr. Garrett as the first speaker. His remarks were intensely interesting and gave the people an insight into conditions in France.
“As we were nearing Europe,” he said on the way over there, we saw a sight off the coast of Ireland which xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx