Veterans' Memorial Project

William Chandler Peterson

Crystal Lake, IL

World War I

College: Engineering

Graduation Year: 1916

Service Branch: Marines

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Date of Birth: 12/24/1894

Date of Death: 06/06/1918

On August 27, 1917, Chandler (as he was known by his friends and family) Peterson entered the Second Officers Training camp at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Upon receiving his commission, he was ordered to France, sailing on January 19, 1918. (Note: Mr. Peterson was actually in the Army but attached to the Marines for duty.) On June 6, 1918, at the battle of Chateau Thierry, he lost his life while leading his platoon in a morning attack. Lt. Peterson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for Valor. The local American Legion Post No. 171 (Crystal Lake, IL) was chartered in 1919 and named in honor of Lt. William Chandler Peterson. After the war, Lt. Peterson’s body was brought back from France and laid to rest at Union Cemetery, Crystal Lake, IL. A memorial to Lt. Peterson exists in the main entrance hallway at Hussman Elementary School in Crystal Lake, across from the Crystal Lake Library. Lt. Conrad Berg, close childhood friend of Chandler Peterson, offered these remarks at his comrade’s memorial service: “Through Lieutenant Peterson’s death Crystal Lake has lost one of its noblest sons, America one of its true heroes, and the Peterson family a jewel that can never be replaced.”
The Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads as follows:
“The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William C. Peterson, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action at Chateau-Thierry, France, June 6, 1918. Kllled in action, Lieutenant Peterson gave the supreme proof of that extraordinary heroism which will serve as an example to hitherto untried troops.
William is also being honored in 2008 with a memorial brick being placed at a new Veterans’ Memorial Concourse, Union Cemetery in Crystal Lake. The local Historical Society is restoring the local Civil War monument and creating the memorial concourse. The concourse will consist of brick pavers engraved with the veterans’ information.

– submitted by Diana Kenney, President, Crystal Lake Historical Society; Patrick Collins, Crystal Lake; and Christopher L. O’Connor, Crystal Lake

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