“When it’s over, over there”
Newspaper items from Shelby’s Cleveland Star on a Cliffside soldier fighting in France and Germany during World War I.
Cleveland Star, September 11, 1917
Mr. Cone Elliott, the first Cliffside man to be called into service under the draft law, left this morning for Waco, where he will spend a few days with his parents before reporting for service. Mr. Elliott is succeeded in the Cliffside Mills store by Mr. Palmer Harrill.
Cleveland Star, January 17, 1919
CONE ELLIOTT WAS IN SOME HARD FIGHTING
His Division Lost a Thousand Men – His Brother Hoyle Elliott OK —
Cone May be in Germany
Dec. 8, 1918
Co. B 316 M. G. Bn. A. E. F.
USAPO No. 791
I guess this letter will reach you about the Christmas Holidays. I certainly would be glad if I could be with you but don’t guess I can this time but you know that I am too proud that I am living and in good health and I can be satisfied most anywhere.
My division started a big drive between Verdon and Metz about three days before peace came. We certainly did some hard fighting. Fought up to the last minute and drove the Germans back about nine miles but we lost a lot of men. I left some friends on the battle field that I can never forget. I have been with them ever since I arrived at Camp Jackson. We lost about one thousand men during the drive but we got a lot of Germans. The Germans certainly dreaded the American soldier. We had a chat with some of them after firing ceased. They wanted to know all about America. They hated to give up but had it to do. They are done forever. I don’t think there can be another war during this generation for the world has just learned that Uncle Sam has the men and money to protect our great nation.
I have seen a lot of the world but I love the Stars and Stripes above all. You know that I am proud that I am an American soldier. I feel that I have done my duty and any American soldiers that has been at front fighting had much to do and should be proud that he is living today. I do not care who he is, black or white, treat him as good as you would me if he has been in the battles of this great war. We boys were glad of the chance to walk away from the firing line.
We had to stay right close to the firing line about two days and night before we could be relieved. I tell you war is hell and it was a great sight to see them bring in the dead and picking up the wounded after fighting was over. You can not imagine how brave our boys are. You could see them coming out shot all to pieces but as cheerful as could be and died with a smile on their faces.
I heard from Hoyle the other day. He is all O.K. I certainly am glad to know that he came through all right. I think he is expecting to be home about Christmas. Don’t know when I will be home for our division has been collected to remain over here for awhile. I am now located at Chateau France. It is a good place, with a bed to sleep on and plenty to eat. I have been all over France. You can get a map and look up these places. I have been to most any of the towns that you can see on the map. After the fighting was over, our division marched about two hundred miles with a pack on our backs that weighted about seventy pounds; the railroads are so busy hauling freight.
We may be sent to Germany before we get back but don’t worry about me if you don’t hear from me often for I do not have much of a chance to write. Give all the family my love and best wishes.
ROBT. C. ELLIOTT
August 1, 1919
Mr. Cone Elliott, who served with the 81st division overseas has accepted a position with the Cliffside Mills store. Mr. Elliott was a salesman in the grocery department here before he entered the service of Uncle Sam, and we are glad to have him back with us again.
March 12, 1920
Mr. Cone Elliott who has been in charge of the Cliffside Mills store on River street, has resigned his position and will leave this week, we are informed, for Georgia. Mr. Palmer Harrill will succeed him.
Update: We’ve heard from Robert Cone Elliott’s nephew, Bob (Robert Hoyle Elliott), who lives in Forest City. Bob is the son of Hoyle Elliott, Robert Cone’s brother, mentioned in the account above. Hoyle left Cliffside for Forest City in the early 1920s and sometime later established Hoyle Elliott & Sons, a candy and cigarette distributorship.
Bob, provider of this information, flew P-51 Mustang fighters in 20 missions over Germany in World War II. After the war he became an educator, teaching for several years at Chase, among other schools, and was principal at Mount Vernon for a time.
Robert, the subject of these articles, was killed late on Christmas Eve 1921 in a car wreck. He is buried in Sunset Cemetery in Shelby.
In subsequent generations, there have been two more Elliotts given the name “Robert Cone.” They also met unnatural deaths. Robert’s Uncle Onslow named his oldest son Robert Cone. This Robert Cone was killed in the Battle of the Bulge (winter of 1944-45). Onslow had another son, Tom, who named one of his sons Robert Cone. This one was killed in a car wreck in the 1990s.
Research by Don Bailey