Clinton Ague Jr.

1895 - 1966


Their Story

In the Spring of 1914, just a few years before enlisting in the U.S. Army, Clinton “Kitty” Ague Jr. became a local hero of sorts the Quad Cities region. On April 8, Clinton and a close friend came across a horse who had fallen through the tracks of the railroad over a bridge between Port Byron, Illinois and Cordova, Illinois. Unable to free the horse themselves, they ran to Cordova to inform the train station agent of the situation. The oncoming passenger train coming from Davenport was alerted to stop before tragedy struck – saving both the train and the horse. The pair were featured in local newspapers in both Iowa and Illinois, honored for their good deed.[1]

Born in 1895 and raised in Rock Island, Illinois, Clinton Ague worked at the Rock Island Arsenal for the 225th Military Police Company prior to enlisting in the service. It’s possible he hoped that his experience at the Arsenal would increase his chances at a safer, less combat-heavy position in the Army for which he registered in June 1917. In April 1918, he was sent to train at Camp Dodge in Des Moines, Iowa.[2]

On June 20th Clinton Ague Jr. was listed as a passenger in the Hoboken, New Jersey U.S. Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing List – the official Port of Embarkation for U.S. soldiers sailing to France.[3] Ague was placed in Company D 357th Infantry Regiment 90th Division as a cook.[4] When the regiment arrived in Aigney-le-Duc, France 1 week later, they began intensive training.[5] Ague’s responsibilities as a cook were likely only served during this training period. U.S. soldiers ate surprisingly well, thanks to the Food Division of the Surgeon General’s office, which ensured U.S. Soldiers received nutritional, high-calorie meals. Oatmeal, sausage, chicken, roast beef, and baked potatoes were commonly found on the plates of men training to go into battle and Ague would have been seen stirring large pots of soup, stoking fires to roast meat, and serving meals on government issued aluminum plates.[6]

Despite being well-fed, the few weeks of training could not have prepared Ague or his comrades for the cruel realities of war they were about to face.

The 357th regiment was heavily involved in the 3-day Battle of Saint-Mihiel September 12 through September 15. Ague would have had to cross vast areas of barbed wire fields and navigate the winding 5-mile stretch of trenches to the city the U.S. Army attempted to capture. As a soldier on the frontlines, he would have worked his way through mud filled trenches, dodged flying bullets, and attempt to understand orders from his shouting leaders. During the battle, Ague’s regiment faced heavy resistance from enemy machine guns, engaged in hand-to-hand combat, and was stunned by clouds of mustard gas. They were under continuous fire for 75 straight days. At the end of the 3rd day, the enemy retreated, and the battle was deemed an Ally victory. Over 4,500 American soldiers were killed and 2,500 were wounded.[7] It is likely Clinton Ague, Jr. sustained a critical injury during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, as his obituary states he was “taken to a veterans hospital in Colorado to recover from wounds received in action.”[8]

Clinton Ague received the Purple Heart Medal, though not right away. Purple Hearts weren’t authorized by the U.S. government until 1932, so Ague would not have received his medal until years later.

After recovering, Clinton had a brief marriage and held a series of odd jobs in Colorado before returning to his Rock Island home in 1936. He later opened Ague Tailor and Cleaners from which he retired in 1964 after 15 years of business. In 1962, he married Margaretta Thompson where they lived in Rock Island until he passed away from an illness in 1966.[9]

Clinton “Kitty” Ague Jr. is buried at grave 813, Rock Island National Cemetery.


[1] “Rock Islanders, Ejected for Not Having Fare, Do Good Turn. Horse Is Imprisoned.The Dispatch. April 8, 1914.

[2] “Board Calls More Men.The Dispatch. February 21, 1918.

[3] Ziegler-McPherson, Christina A. “Hoboken During World War One.” The United States World War One Centennial Commission. December 15, 2016.

[4] “U.S. Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939.The National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland. Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 425.

[5] Von Roder, George, S-Sgt. “Regimental History of the 357th Infantry.” Printed by the Ferdinand Nicki Buchdruckerei Weiden, Oberfalz, Baviaria. 90th Division Association. January 1, 1946.

[6] Blakemore, Erin. “What Solders Ate During World War – JSTOR Daily. June 5, 2015.

[7] Von Roder, George, S-Sgt. “Regimental History of the 357th Infantry.” Printed by the Ferdinand Nicki Buchdruckerei Weiden, Oberfalz, Baviaria. 90th Division Association. January 1, 1946.

[8] “Rites Set for Clinton Ague Of Rock Island.The Rock Island Argus. May 3, 1966.

[9] “Rites Set for Clinton.”